May 29, 2015
West LA Office
6380 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90035
15760 Ventura Blvd.
Encino, CA 91436
200 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
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.
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.
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After many committee meetings, countless hours of discussion and review, and a great deal of community/constituent input, the Los Angeles City Council approved, and the mayor signed, the $8.6 billion dollar budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year, which starts on July 1 of this year.
This year’s budgetary process, which started with the mayor’s proposed budget, was rigorous and demanding but not as harrowing as it has been in recent years, when the city of Los Angeles, like most governmental jurisdictions, had to struggle mightily to cope with the national financial downturn. Efficiencies that have been introduced, along with increased revenues that come with the improving economy, have made a positive impact on the city’s financial condition. That has meant that the city was able, this year, to do some good things while still on a very tight budget. Here are some of the things that Councilmember Koretz was able to help get added to the Mayor’s initial version:
• It’s important that the city have a plan in place to meet financial a crisis such as the recession that the country suffered seven years ago, and from which we are still slowly recovering, and for that reason the councilmember will always seek to put funds aside into the city’s reserve fund. With this budget, the council was able to add around 30 million to the amount set aside by the mayor, making it now around 6%, exceeding the city’s goal of 5%. Councilmember Koretz would like to see it at 10% eventually;
• For the first time, funding was allotted to match the city’s policy of spending 1% of the budget on capital improvements and infrastructure. That includes significant spending on sidewalk repair;
• Funding for two additional firefighter training classes to aid in recruitment and staffing, and an additional fire department engine company;
• Funding police overtime costs as part of the budget for the first time in recent years (thereby reducing deficit spending and higher payouts). Expanded LAPD’s mental health training program, remedying the LAPD fingerprint analysis backlog, and moving forward with body-worn cameras;
• Achieving efficiencies, including digitization of personnel files, staffing to alleviate personnel examining backlog (which is needed as we begin to hire again and also to deal with 40% of staff hitting retirement age in a few years), greater funding of information technology — much of our cost saving measures require technology upgrades;
• Funding sustainability and climate change efforts by creating sustainability officers in several key departments, and setting aside $500k to support implementation of the mayor’s climate action plan;
• Setting aside funds to increase the discretionary allocation to neighborhood councils and training for NC’s;
• Funding additional planning staff for neighborhood conservation (HPOZ’s), targeted code amendments unit, general plan update, and anti-mansionization staff;
• Funding of the AIDS prevention program, and senior programs that were funded at state and federal levels but cut, to ensure the continuation of services like our wonderful Frida Mohr Senior Center;
• Wage theft prevention;
• Funding of street services staffing for median island landscaping;
• Funding of a modest revival of speed hump program, blue curb program, permit parking program;
• Set aside additional funding for programs and needs related to addressing homelessness.
The budget that was approved and signed takes effect July 1, and thereafter, changes can occur.
City officials and staff with their volumes of budget analysis
Thanking our firefighters
Counclmember Koretz is always delighted to greet, chat with and thank our Los Angeles Fire Department personnel, because they do so much of crucial significance in serving and saving the people of Los Angeles, whether it’s rushing to the scene of a fire or helping someone who may have suffered a heart attack.
Usually such conversations occur at a community event or during a visit to a fire station. On May 27, the Councilmember attended a meeting of United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, in order to express his gratitude and discuss the 2015-2016 city budget. In recent years, as the city (and nation) struggled to cope with the financial downturn and ramifications of the great recession, Councilmember Koretz has been on the frontlines in protecting the department and LAFD services from severe budgetary cuts.
This year, the budgetary news has been relatively upbeat, so the Councilmember was able to share good tidings such as funding for 270 new firefighters to be hired – this will make up for some but not all of the firefighters lost through attrition during the past several years of budgetary crisis.
The new budget provides funding for five new training classes (which will produce many new firefighters), the restoration of an additional engine that was previously cut, two additional firefighter training classes to aid in recruitment and staffing, additional maintenance of dispatch centers, and critical software upgrades, especially in the area of dispatch. Provisional funding has been added for an additional engine company if a federal grant to pay for it is not forthcoming.
Councilmember Koretz, who championed those essential budgetary accomplishments named above, will always salute, thank and do his utmost to support the LAFD and its personnel – every day, they are there when we need them, often at the risk of their own life and limb.
Older Americans Month
On Friday, May 15th, Councilmember Koretz led a presentation in front of the City Council to recognize Older Americans Month. Joining him were representatives from organizations and agencies from all over the city and county, including our own Los Angeles Department of Aging.
May is Older American’s Month, and it was established by President John F. Kennedy in 1963. This was created to recognize the contributions of older adults in our society. This year, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act, which was signed by President Lyndon Johnson on July 14, 1965. This Act was the first federal initiative aiming at providing comprehensive services for older adults. The Act remains absolutely essential to our communities and people across this land, for it provides key funding for nutrition and supportive home and community-based services, disease prevention/health promotion services, elder rights programs, the National Family Caregiver Support Program, and the Native American Caregiver Support Program.
In recent years, the services for senior citizens have been under attack. When the United States Congress created the disastrous sequester in late 2012, this resulted in a cut of approximately $1.6 million dollars to the City of Los Angeles’ Senior Meals Program. All hope was not lost though. Councilmember Koretz, along with the City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee, advocated to use city funds if the federal government wasn’t going to fully fund this program. As you may know, the sequester is still active, and our city faces this cut every fiscal year. Every fiscal year though we’ve used our own monies to fund this program so that not one senior citizen (usually homebound or low-income) gets cut from the program. The City of Los Angeles is very concerned about the issue of senior hunger.
If you need any type of services or information for yourself, or anyone you know who is an older adult, please call the Department of Aging at (213) 482-7252 or visit their website at http://aging.lacity.org/. Also, the department has a show called "Aging Well in L.A.", and focuses on issues affecting seniors in Los Angeles. To watch this show, please visit: http://www.lacityview.org/programs/aging-well-la
Senior Fraud Awareness Day
As we work together to advocate for the senior citizens of our city, we also point out one very serious issue – Senior Fraud. Two years ago, on May 15th, 2013, then-Councilmember Bill Rosendahl created Senior Fraud Awareness Day in the City of Los Angeles. It was marked on his birthday – May 15th. Councilmember Koretz and Councilmember Mike Bonin keep this tradition alive every year by signing a resolution to illuminate this growing problem, while working with organizations throughout our city to help educate the public. On May 14th, an annual event took place at the Felicia Mahood Senior Center in West Los Angeles, spearheaded by an instructor at LAUSD’s Programs for Older Adults, Adrienne Omansky, and her Acting Program. The event aims to educate the public of senior scams by acting them out through skits. For example, the "Grandparents Scam" is when someone calls a senior and tells a lie saying their grandchild is in trouble and needs money to get out of it. The senior citizen then gives their credit card number, or mails a check.
If you know someone who has been a victim of fraud or abuse, you can report it by calling the Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Hotline at (877) 4-R-Seniors. For more information, please visit the District Attorney's website is http://da.co.la.ca.us/seniors/.
NORMS La Cienega update
The Los Angeles City Council has unanimously approved designating NORMS La Cienega as a Historic-Cultural Monument. That’s a huge victory for everyone who loves the restaurant’s great Googie architecture and wants it kept safe for years and years to come. (The question of the fate of NORMS La Cienega arose after the existence of a demolition permit became known.)
Councilmember Koretz helped lead the charge in advocating for the designation. That said, the Councilmember's goal was (and is) not only to save the great Googie architecture, which is of tremendous significance, but also the business itself. The 24-hour restaurant is a much-loved community gathering place, and quite affordable eatery, for an extraordinary number and diversity of people, many of whom dine there several times a week and have done so for years and even decades. In addition, the people who work there include some who have been doing so for 30 and even 40 years.
The good news is that the property owner and NORMS ownership are continuing to have very positive discussions about the restaurant continuing on in the building for the foreseeable future –for a long time to come.
Thanks go to the many members of the public who have spoken out, and/or signed a petition, in favor of saving NORMS La Cienega, as well as to the Los Angeles Conservancy, which played a major role in championing Historic-Cultural Monument status for NORMS. Here is a link to their coverage of the recent City Council vote: https://www.laconservancy.org/issues/norms-la-cienega-coffee-shop -- you can find the Conservancy’s petition here: https://www.change.org/p/new-owner-of-the-norms-la-cienega-property-vacate-the-demolition-permit-for-norms-la-cienega.
Councilmember Koretz and staff regularly attend community meetings throughout the 5th District, including many this month of May. Such meetings are a tremendous way to share news and ideas – the best ideas are often ones offered by local residents and neighborhood groups. On May 27th, the Councilmember greatly enjoyed the discussion at the Roscomare Valley Association's annual meeting.
Du-par's in Encino
Du-par’s Restaurant & Bakery is a longtime Los Angeles institution and neighborhood/family gathering place – and now a new Encino Du-par’s has officially entered the ranks, joining the legendary original 1938 Du-par’s Farmhouse at the Los Angeles Farmers Market, and the Studio City Du-par’s, built in 1948, as well as Du-par’s Pasadena, which is still a newbie of one year’s age.
It’s great to see yet another new business open in the 5thDistrict – especially one with such crowd-pleasing history and heritage!
On May 19th, Encino Du-Par’s held a special “Grand Opening” event with a ribbon cutting and a stroll back in time to 1938, the year the original Du-par’s opened. There was some eye-opening, mouth-watering special pricing on that one day, at the new Encino Du-par’s: the Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Hotcakes were 25 cents, fresh-ground hamburgers cost but 20 cents, award-winning fresh-fruit pie slices were dished out at 15 cents apiece, and Farmer Bros. coffee got slurped at a nickel a cup.
The new Du-par’s is located at 16120 Ventura Blvd., Encino, CA 91436. Like all Du-par’s, the Encino Du-par's is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Du-par's buttermilk hotcakes and other breakfast specialties are served at any time, day or night, as well as comfort foods like chicken pot pie, steak, hot turkey, fresh-ground hamburger, handmade fruit pies and mashed potatoes. All food is prepared fresh from scratch on location.
In 1938, James P. Dunn and Edward W. Parsons opened the first Du-par’s restaurant in the Farmers Market, at the corner of Third and Fairfax in Los Angeles. For 70 years, Du-par's Farmhouse has attracted movie and TV stars, as well as locals and visitors of all kinds. (James Dean is believed to have eaten breakfast at Du-par's on his final day, Sept. 30, 1955.) By the 1960s, Du-par's had eight locations in Southern California. The Du-par's chain was purchased in 2004 by an investor group led by W.W. "Biff" Naylor. The original Farmer’s Market location reopened in 2007 after a multi-million dollar ground-up renovation. Biff's father, Tiny Naylor, was a California restaurant pioneer, founding the first Tiny's Waffle Shop in Fresno in 1926. In 1944, Tiny opened the Beverly Hills Club, and in 1948 he started Biff's Restaurants, named after his son. In 1955, the Tiny Naylor's coffee shop chain premiered, with the flagship Hollywood landmark Tiny Naylor's Drive-ln. In the Tiny Naylor’s tradition, all Du-par’s locations are now open 24/7. Du-par’s Old Fashioned Buttermilk Hotcakes haven’t changed since 1938 – the secret recipe is locked away in the Farmers Market safe.
Mid City West GreenFest 2015
The Mid City West Community Council's Green Festival was held recently at Poinsettia Recreation Center. Hundreds of people showed up for what was a day of fun, food, and education about sustainability and conservation. Councilmember Koretz and the 5th Council District office sends a big shout-out to the Mid City West Community Council for providing such great leadership and hard work on this GreenFest event, as well as the local businesses, government agencies, non-profit organizations and others who participated. Thank you!
Charing Cross and Hillgard Regulator Station Bypass Line Project
Please prepare for upcoming traffic challenges and plan accordingly
A major arrest
On May 26, a crucial arrest occurred, marking a breakthrough in an investigation that’s been happening for nearly six months.
A 56-year-old Los Angeles resident, Dawud Abduwali, was arrested and has been arraigned on one count of arson of a structure and one count of aggravated arson. He has pleaded innocent, is being held on $1 million bail, and faces a maximum of ten years to life.
Back on December 8, a massive fire destroyed a downtown L.A. apartment building under construction and caused as much as $60 million in damages to an adjacent city building (the Department of Aging, for example, had to be relocated as a consequence). Luckily, no lives were lost, in part because firefighters were so heroic in their efforts to contain the inferno.
The investigation involved the Los Angeles Fire Department, LAPD, and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and a significant reward was offered to help prompt the flow of information. Mayor Eric Garcetti, Councilmember Jose Huizar, and various representatives of the investigative team spoke at a May 27 press conference. While many details of the investigation have yet to be revealed, it is well known that the work to date has involved an incredible effort – in time, resources, and dedication – by arson investigators and all who have taken part. The City’s thanks go to all those who have helped in this vital undertaking.
Representing Councilmember Koretz, Chief of Staff Joan Pelico joined in thanking Joe Castruita, Director of Water Distribution at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, for his nearly 32 years of service on behalf of the city. He has led the Water Distribution Division since 2010, thus helping oversee the design, construction, maintenance and operation of the City's water distribution infrastructure that serves nearly 4 million people through 7200 miles of pipeline: an incredibly complex and demanding challenge in trying times of drought. The City expresses its gratitude, and wishes him its best on his retirement.
Celebrate Israel Festival
This year’s Celebrate Israel Festival, marking Israel’s 66thIndependence Day, was held on May 18 at Cheviot Hills Recreation Center. The City congratulates Celebrate Israel and the Israeli American Council for their annual efforts, and thanks the local community for its gracious ways in welcoming this major event.
PICO Neighborhood Council Police Body Camera Forum