July 03, 2014

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Contact Information

West LA Office
822 S. Robertson Blvd.
Suite 102
Los Angeles, CA 90035
(310) 289-0353

Valley Office
15760 Ventura Blvd.
Suite 600
Encino, CA 91436
(818) 971-3088

City Hall
200 North Spring Street
Room 440
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 473-7005

Get Water Quality Grades on the Go

Beachgoers can now check the latest water quality grades at 650+ West Coast beaches via Heal the Bays Beach Report Card mobile app for the iPhone or Android, at http://www.beachreportcard.org/

The new, free Beach Report Card app provides the only access anytime and anywhere to a comprehensive, weekly analysis of coastline water quality. The mobile app delivers A through F grades, weather conditions and user tips throughout beach locations in California, Oregon and Washingtonto swimmers, surfers and anyone who loves going in the ocean water.

In addition to discovering which beaches are safe or unsafe, beachgoers can look up and save their favorite local beaches, as well as learn details on beach closures.

Know before you go!


The Los Angeles Fire Department is pleased to unveil LAFDmobile, a free application for iPhone and Android smartphones. For more information, please click HERE.


For the latest construction notices and closures along the I-405, please visit Metro HERE.


Shopping within the City limits of Los Angeles not only supports local businesses, it also supports City services, its neighborhoods and the well-being of all Los Angeles residents. For every $10 you spend on taxes - $1 goes back to the General Fund! Whether shopping along Melrose or grabbing some food in Encino, every dollar we spend within the city is an investment to the future of Los Angeles. Details HERE.


iWATCH is a community awareness program created to educate the public about behaviors and activities that may have a connection to terrorism. It is a partnership between your community and the Los Angeles Police Department. For more information, please click the logo above.

Send us your news and events!
If you or your community group have any upcoming events that you would like to see featured in our next newsletter or on my website, please e-mail me at paul.koretz@lacity.org.

Please feel free to send this newsletter along to your friends and neighbors and tell them to visit the CD 5 website at http://cd5.lacity.org to sign up for this newsletter.

Happy 4th of July!

The July 4th holiday and weekend are upon us, and Councilmember Koretz and the 5th District staff wish you a great, fun and meaningful holiday – and a safe one!

Year-round, but especially during this Independence Day holiday which is so closely associated with fireworks, it is critically important that we uphold safe and legal practices regarding fireworks and fire prevention.

Indeed, all of July is National Fireworks Safety Month.  Half of the fireworks-related injuries occur to children under the age of 15, and more injuries occur to bystanders than to those who are actually setting off the fireworks, so everyone is vulnerable to paying a grim price, even if you’re not the one setting off the explosives.  Especially due to the current, severe drought, the Southern California region has dry terrain that is very susceptible to fire, and so we all need to recognize that one errant spark can set off a terrifying, costly and deadly blaze.

Of course, all fireworks are illegal in the City of Los Angeles, not counting those allowed in permitted professional fireworks shows.  It is also unlawful to purchase fireworks in other cities (where sales might be legal) for use within the City of Los Angeles.  Possession and/or use of fireworks within Los Angeles is a violation of Municipal Code 57.55.01A, or Section 12677 of the Health and Safety Code.

Reports of fireworks are handled by the Los Angeles Police Department.  You should call 1-877-ASK-LAPD  (1-877-275-5273) for non-emergency police service, and 9-1-1 if injuries are involved or if a fire has resulted from the use of fireworks.  For a safe July 4th, go to a professional fireworks show, and you can find one by visiting www.SafeJuly4th.org.

The 4th of July is a holiday of tremendous significance to us all as we celebrate the birth of this nation, but please, commemorate and enjoy it in safety.  A special thanks goes to the police and fire personnel who do their utmost during such times to help keep us safe.

For some, it's not a howling good time

Human beings aren’t the only members of a household affected by fireworks – so, too, are animals, who may be quite unsettled and alarmed by the explosive clamor.  City of Los Angeles Animal Services offers pertinent 4th of July Pet Safety Tips, including to “make sure your pet is micro chipped, and that the registration has your current address.  In addition, make sure that your dog is wearing a license tag.  Those two simple steps help reunite families if a pet does get lost.  Keep your pets inside.  If you are having guests over, keep pets in a room that is off-limits to guests, with plenty of water and food.  Surround pets with their favorite toys and other familiar objects.  Play soothing music and keep the room as quite as possible by closing doors, windows and blinds.  Even if your pet does not seem obviously upset by fireworks, they can still cause harm to pets.  Avoid potential burns, injuries or possible ingestion by keeping all pets out of the vicinity of fireworks.”

Seleta Reynolds - new head of DOT

On July 1, the City Council unanimously confirmed the appointment of Seleta Reynolds to become the new General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, a post she will formerly assume on August 11th.

Councilmember Koretz congratulated her at the Council meeting, and wished her the best.  Needless to say, her position is crucial to the city and in particular the 5th District, where transportation, historically, is of transcendent priority.

An appointee of Mayor Garcetti, Ms. Reynolds previously served with San Francisco's transportation agency in its "Livable Streets" office, was well-regarded as an innovator and communicator, has been applauded for her interests in multi-modal transportation and safety, and had a crucial leadership role with S.F.'s Vision Zero effort, which has as its goal eliminating all traffic fatalities by 2024.

10 Thousand

Councilmember Koretz was very pleased to attend the June groundbreaking ceremony for the 10 Thousand project.

The Councilmember has called the project “a textbook example of how it should be done."   Supported by neighborhood groups, 10 Thousand – located at 10000 Santa Monica Blvd, at the gateway between Los Angeles and Beverly Hills and therefore within walking reach of those communities' shops and offices – will be a smartly designed and constructed residential building that is  modern, elegant  and environmentally friendly (LEED-certified)  It is estimated that the project will generate more than $300 million in regional economic activity and create more than 1900 construction-related jobs.

Saluting Henry Waxman

Councilmember Koretz was delighted, recently, to help lead a salute of Congressmember Henry Waxman, whom the Councilmember has called "one of the truly great figures of modern American politics and governance."

Back on January 30th, when Congressmember Waxman announced that he would not be seeking a 21st term in Congress, the Councilmember immediately called him to thank him for his magnificent service over all these years, and to ask if the City Council might have the privilege of honoring him, and that day came in June, with the Congressmember, his wife, Janet, members of his congressional staff and other friends and family being on hand. Councilmembers Koretz, Bonin and Blumenfield introduced a resolution, unanimously adopted by the full Council, declaring that day to be Henry Waxman Day in the City of Los Angeles:  City Attorney Mike Feuer also joined in the salute.

Councilmember Koretz stated that, "In every aspect of his tremendous career of public service, Henry Waxman has mentored us about how we can shape the world for the better, through hard work, wisdom, fairness, idealism and determination.  He is the very epitome of good government and principled leadership.

"He has also been a steadfast advocate and leader for a remarkable diversity of crucial causes.  On every issue that I consider to be at the top of my list of transcendent concerns, including environmental protection and climate change; economic justice; human rights, including women’s rights; public health and well-being in the era of HIV/AIDS; global democracy and security, and on and on, Henry has been a fearless champion who has changed the world for the better."

Top photo: Councilmembers Paul Koretz, Bob Blumenfield and Mike Bonin present proclamation to Congressmember Waxman and his wife, Janet

Bottom photo: Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, City Attorney Mike Feuer, Congressmember Henry Waxman, and Councilmembers Paul Koretz and Nury Martinez

Important environmental goals

On June 26, Councilmember Koretz introduced a motion in City Council that will hopefully make a huge difference in years to come.

The motion, which was seconded by Councilmembers Mike Bonin, Bob Blumenfield and Mitch O’Farrell, aims to set crucial goals for our city to meet in order to address the threat of climate change, which is now projected to have severe consequences for every region of the United States, while costing businesses billions of dollars. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has noted that “impacts have already been distressing, including heat-related illness and death, respiratory ailments, increases in the proliferation of infectious diseases, unaffordable rises in energy costs, loss of farm land, and crushing natural disasters.”

Things are only getting worse.  UCLA and the City’s climate change reports show a tripling and quadrupling of extreme heat days in the City and that the region’s mountains may see a reduction in snowfall of up to 42% below annual averages, if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase – and California is already suffering from the worst drought in its history with resultant tinderbox fire conditions.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that globally, “decades of foot-dragging by political leaders had propelled humanity into a critical situation, with greenhouse emissions rising faster than ever,” and that, “Though it remains technically possible to keep planetary warming to a tolerable level, only an intensive push over the next 15 years to bring those emissions under control can achieve the goal.”

We of Los Anglees can do our part – for our own sake, and as part of that global push.  Councilmember Koretz and his staff have been working closely with researchers at UCLA on their Grand Challenge for LA, as well as with Mayor Garcetti’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Matt Petersen, to figure out how the City Council can be complementary to the excellent and important work happening in Los Angeles, including the Mayor’s efforts to develop the first ever sustainable city plan and his leadership nationally and internationally, representing Los Angeles on the President’s Climate Change task force.

The Koretz motion sets new and important goals, by calling for the City of Los Angeles to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.  The cities of New York, Toronto, Chicago, Boston, Washington DC, Seattle and San Francisco have all made a commitment to reach 80 by 50, and it’s high time Los Angeles did the same.   

The Koretz motion, which has been sent for review in the Council’s Energy & Environment and Trade, Commerce and Tourism committees, also asks the Department of Water and Power, which has already been making amazing strides moving off of coal power, onto renewables and into energy efficiency, to reduce its emissions by 80 percent by 2030.  The DWP is nearly there already. These goals that the Koretz motion seeks to establish are not laws set in granite, but are invaluable and much needed markers for Los Angeles to yearn and work to reach, as we set about protecting our environment for now and the future. 

The Sierra Club and other members of the Clean Energy Coalition spoke out in support of the Koretz motion 

Taking on the banks

On June 2, acting on a motion by Councilmember Koretz, the City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee unanimously voted to seek renegotiation or termination of “interest rate swap deals” with Bank of Mellon and Dexia.  These deals, which were made well before Councilmember Koretz took office, soured years ago when the economy tumbled and interest rates dropped, and have been harshly criticized for their costs to the city and profits for the banks. 

The Fix L.A. Coalition, which has supported the Koretz motion and has said it could save the city many millions of dollars, has called for the banks to be taken to task, asserting that they preyed on municipalities.

The day of the committee hearing, hundreds of protesters took up the Fix L.A. cause by marching and circling City Hall to support the motion and voice their frustration over deals benefitting Wall Street institutions.

No date has been set, yet, for the hearing of this matter by the full council. 

Councilmember Koretz visits fire station 61

Recently, Councilmember Koretz visited Fire Station 61 to thank two fire captains with over 30 years of service. Captain Andre Raya began his service with the City on October 9, 1983. Captain Sterling Johnson began his service with the City on December 14, 1980, and recently transferred back to Fire Station 61 after working at another fire station for about nine months. Celebrating 30 years of service is a special occasion in the fire department and one that Councilmember Koretz was honored to help observe with certificates of appreciation from the City of Los Angeles Fire Station 61 serves sections of the Fairfax District, Beverly Grove, Miracle Mile, and Hancock Park. Councilmember Koretz praised the two captains and thanked them for their extraordinary dedication and accomplishments.

Stopping wage theft

City Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Paul Koretz have introduced a City Council motion calling for a local ordinance to address the wage theft crisis in Los Angeles.

Wage theft is the pervasive and illegal practice of not paying workers for all of their work. It includes violating minimum wage laws; not paying time and a half overtime pay; forcing workers to work off the clock; misclassifying employees as independent contractors to avoid paying minimum wage and overtime; and not paying workers at all.

Workers and their families are hurt and hurt badly, but so are the local businesses and the entire surrounding communities, where those hard-earned dollars would have been spent. Los Angeles is considered to be the wage theft capital of the nation. Every week, workers lose $26.2 million in wage theft violations, the highest of any other major city in the country. Other major cities, including Denver, Colorado and Austin, Texas have passed city ordinances to hold unscrupulous employers accountable.

The motion that was introduced, if approved, will instruct the City Attorney to draft a Wage Theft Ordinance to criminalize the practice of wage theft in the City of Los Angeles while providing increased tracking enforcement capacities.  The State of California's Wage Theft prevention Act of 2011 law did put in place some heightened penalties, but an ordinance by the city would provide a greater array of tools and enforcement mechanisms for actually determining cases and findings related to wage theft.

The Los Angeles Coalition Against WageTheft joined the two Councilmembers in announcing this motion. Many businesses that do not practice wage theft are part of this coalition and support this ordinance, because it promotes fair competitive practices and therefore levels the playing field.

Bag ban phase 2

The City of Los Angeles has been doing its part to eliminate the plastic bag epidemic that has taken a huge environmental toll while littering our neighborhoods and waterways.

In part one of the LA plastic bag ban that began on January 1st, 2014, the city banned plastic bags at the big corporate grocery stores.  Part two began on July 1, and so the flimsy, polluting, choking plastic bags will no longer be allowed at the little mom and pop stores, nor the pharmacies either.

In order to help our city's small, independent stores make the Phase 2 transition, Councilmember Koretz announced the launch of what is being called the LA Epic Reusable Bag Giveaway, which involves partnering with two at-risk community groups: Green Vets LA to make the bags, and Homeboy Industries to silkscreen them.  A host of local groups will help hand the bags out, including LA Conservation Corps, California Greenworks, Green Education Inc., Sustainable Works, Heal the Bay and Environment California. The first batch of bags are being distributed to stores which have signed up with LA Food Policy Council’s innovative Healthy Corner Stores initiative.

To help make all of this possible, Metabolic Studios, a division of the Annenberg Foundation, generously gave a starter grant of $25,000.  More sponsors are being sought, and a “Crowdrise” crowd funding campaign is also being launched to raise even more funds: you can find it by doing a search for the “LA Epic Reusable Bag Giveaway.”

Also announced at the media event was the winner of the Tote Bag Logo Contest that was made possible by Mayor Eric Garcetti. The winner, whose design is being used on the reusable giveaway bags, was selected on the basis of votes by thousands of Angelenos and chosen from over 200 different and excellent submissions.  The winning logo is called “Shaping Los Angeles” and was designed by Melodie Pisciotti, who is a BFA Graphic Design graduate from CSU/Long Beach.  (She currently works for WeAreGiants, a creative strategy and design firm.)

Johnny Rivers and New Horizons

Los Angeles loves the entertainment industry because of its cultural contributions and economic benefits, but we also treasure the many entertainers who do wonderful things benefiting great causes and people in need.  A tremendous case in point is Johnny Rivers, the legendary singer/songwriter/guitarist/record producer who has been responsible for an array of remarkable tunes (perhaps most notably, the classic hit "Secret Agent Man") while gaining 19 gold records and two Grammy Awards. 

He recently held a benefit concert  at the Ford Ampitheatre in support of the non-profit organization, New Horizons.  Joining him to perform at the benefit was Jimmy Webb, the revered songwriter and performer whose songs include "MacArthur Park,"  "Up, Up and Away," "By the Time I get to Phoenix," "Wichita Lineman,"  and "Galveston."   Rivers came to City Hall to promote the concert and to be honored for his artistry and charitable ways by Councilmember Mitch Englander and the City Council.  

New Horizons is dedicated to helping individuals with special needs reach their potential and fulfill their dreams.  Founded in 1954 by eight parents whose children had mental retardation, the agency has evolved to provide services and support each year to nearly 1,000 individuals (age 18 and older) and social/recreational services to nearly 3,000 individuals from throughout the greater San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys of Los Angeles.

This message was sent to  by:

Los Angeles Councilmember Paul Koretz
200 N. Spring Street, Rm. 440
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 473-7005