June 26, 2015
West LA Office
6380 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048
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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This day's Supreme Court decision
On June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled, 5-4, that same-sex couples can marry throughout this nation.
Soon after the announcement, even while the four losing judges were still in the process of reading their dissents inside the Supreme Court Building, the large numbers of joyous celebrants who had gathered outside were permitted up the steps near the building's entrance, a perhaps unprecedented allowance in an area usually kept empty, where they sang the Star Spangled Banner.
Here in Los Angeles, as in the rest of Southern California, California and the nation as a whole, there is much cause for the elation that is felt by many, many people. Dignity and love as well as legal status have been affirmed. Councilmember Koretz has long called for this civil right to be granted, and is so proud of all those who have made this day possible through their activism, leadership, humanity, generosity of spirit, and resolve.
Taking action about housing
On June 10th, Councilmember Koretz introduced two housing-related motions to address important aspects of the housing affordability crisis facing many Angeleno tenants.
The first one approaches the current tenant eviction crisis from a general angle, asking the Housing and Community Investment Department to review the Rent Stabilization Ordinance and how the City implements the state Ellis Act (which allows landlords to take units off the market and evict tenants), and to recommend technical amendments and updates responding to changes in state law, changes mandated by case law, and market conditions, as well as fees, rents, and amendments to state law the Council might want to pursue.
With Ellis Act usage having jumped by nearly 300% in Los Angeles in 2014, and economic pressures motivating developers to do even more, it’s time the City got serious about the Ellis Act, which at the time of its adoption as state law had been proposed as a mechanism to help "mom and pop" property owners exit the business, not as a method for evicting tenants in order to flip properties. While state legislators debate what they might do to correct the current problems with the Ellis Act, the City will now look for what possible remedies it might pursue.
The second motion focuses on several specific ideas for protecting rent-controlled apartments, which generally are the ones most at-risk in the current over-heated real estate market. Among the ideas the Councilmember suggested for a multi-department review are limiting the number of rent-controlled apartments that can be demolished each year, making sure those apartments aren’t demolished until the City knows for sure that a project has been approved that requires the demolition, finding ways to replace any lost rent controlled units in new projects that cause them to be demolished, and addressing some technical glitches in the “small lot subdivision” law that have provided developers with a loophole for evading one of the few tenant protections in the Ellis Act, the one that says if you replace or re-rent rent controlled units within five years you have to do so at the rent controlled rates.
Both motions call for the departments to report back to the Council with recommendations within 120 days. They were referred to the City Council Housing Committee, where a hearing on them and other pending housing matters is expected later in the summer.
LAPD event in Encino covering concerns of terrorism
On Thursday, June 19, the Los Angeles Police Department’s Valley Bureau hosted a Multi-Faith Community Outreach event at Valley Beth Shalom in Encino. The guest speaker was Dr. Erroll G. Southers (speaking in the picture). Dr. Southers is the Director of Transition & Research Deployment DHS National Center for Risk & Economic Analysis of Terrorism Event (CREATE), and an adjunct professor at USC’s Sol Price School of Public Policy. The topic was countering homegrown terrorism and emerging community issues that directly affect the San Fernando Valley. This was a great opportunity for leaders of different faiths and community organizations to dialogue with the LAPD.
The Valley Bureau oversees operations in the following police divisions: Devonshire, Foothill, Mission, North Hollywood, Topanga, Van Nuys, and West Valley, as well as Valley Traffic Division. It covers a population of roughly 1,426,071 million people and encompasses 226.47 square miles. For more information about this event, please call the LAPD's Valley Bureau at (818) 644-8000.
Hot off the griddle!
Councilmember Koretz is a great supporter of our courageous firefighters - plus who doesn't like tasty pancakes? - and so he was among the many people who came to a recent "Adopt Fire Station #71" pancake breakfast. There were antique cars and fire trucks, t-shirts, caps and a raffle to be enjoyed. Breakfast was free but donations went for station improvements. Thanks, everyone, for this fun and fine event.
This year's annual Pick Pico festivities may have been the best one yet! There were more vendors than ever and plenty of attractions for visitors of all ages.
Organized splendidly by Jae Wu and Lisa Morocco of the Westside Neighborhood Council, and held on a sunny June 7th, the event offered many fun and informative booths and attractions on topics as varied as health and fitness, insurance, financial well-being, home improvement, and pet grooming, just to mention a few. There were plenty of activities for children, such as the bounce house and face painting, do-it-yourself color ties, and the opportunity to perform on stage. And speaking of the stage, in addition to local bands and musical artists performing, Councilmember Paul Koretz and Lisa Morocco were, as always, eagerly prepared to sing their yearly duet rendition of “Pico and Sepulveda”, but circumstances didn’t allow for it- the Councilmember simply spent all his timevisiting with constituents, as well as giving recognition to event organizers and volunteers.
If one happened to work up a thirst or appetite wandering around the event, there were plenty of beverages and treats ranging from cookies, pizza, and chicken sliders to higher end restaurant items to nosh on, provided by the various food service participants. And if all that weren’t enough, there was even a raffle! Councilmember Koretz and his staff thank and congratulate all the community leaders, businesses, volunteers, entertainers and local residents who make this endeavor such a great success.
Ventura Boulevard resurfacing
Ventura Blvd, from Haskell to Gaviota, will be resurfaced on Saturday June 27, 2015 and Sunday June 28, 2015. The Resurfacing Department will grind and pave the street within those two days. They will do one side of the street and then come back the following day to grind and pave the opposite side. In doing so, they will maintain two-way traffic, (one in each direction) each day while completing the work.
Since Valley Beth Shalom Synagogue is located on the North side and they will have service on Saturday, the department will leave the northern, west bound side open for traffic on Saturday and work on the southern, east bound side. On Sunday they will complete the opposite, Synagogue or northern side of the street letting two lanes of traffic drive on the new pavement which was completed the previous day.
The department will begin work at 6:00 a.m. both mornings and hopefully be off the street by mid- to late-afternoon each day. Temporary No Parking, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. signs will be placed on both sides of Ventura for both Saturday and Sunday. As always, any Emergency Response Vehicles will be given full access to their destination.
Starbucks Welcome to the Neighborhood
On June 20th, Councilmember Koretz joined with the South Hollywood Neighborhood Association and many local residents to welcome a new Starbucks to the South Hollywood neighborhood with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and to celebrate their historical preservation efforts. The new Starbucks, located at the corner of Highland and Willoughby Avenue, occupies the storefront of the historic old Gilmore Gas Station, which was built in 1935 and has wonderful visual character, but which had been basically deserted for years, moribund other than a small amount of filming that occasionally took place there. This new Starbucks, which has both sit-down and drive-thru capacities, already seems to be quite a hit! The Councilmember thanked Starbucks for choosing to do business within the 5th District community, and for preserving a unique piece of Los Angeles's architecture to be enjoyed by current and future generations of Angelenos. Congratulations to Starbucks, the South Hollywood Neighborhood Association, and all involved!
American Cancer Society
Councilmember Koretz was proud to join in congratulating the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop for its 50th anniversary of operation within California. The Discovery Shop has been an instrumental organization in the fight against cancer. Over the past 50 years, the Discover Shop has raised over $308 million for preventative care, treatment, and research--all in the name of public health. The 5th Council District and the City of L.A. thank the Discovery Shop for being a model business within our community, and wishes them all the best on a 50th anniversary and in years to come.
The City takes stands
The City of Los Angeles, through its City Council, not only crafts municipal laws and policies, but can also take stands in support of, or opposition to, county, state and federal policies and/or proposed legislation. Such "resolutions" can have a meaningful impact on the deliberations of those other governmental jurisdictions and their elected bodies.
Recent legislative resolutions, presented or seconded by Councilemember Koretz, have all passed through the City Council's Rules, Elections and Intergovernmental Relations Committee without incident - some have now been approved by the full Council for placement in the City's legislative packet, while others await such Council action:
· Opposition to any proposal to reallocate Social Security payroll taxes - such reallocation could jeopardize the stability and future of Social Security. This Resolution in opposition was approved by the Council on June 26. This Resolution in opposition was approved by the Council on June 26.
· Support for California State Assembly Bill (AB) 474 to mandate annual adjustments for state payments to elderly, blind or disabled individuals, thereby protecting many economically vulnerable people from potentially dire straits. This Resolution was approved by the Council on June 26.
· Opposition to AB 57, the bill to have the state pre-empt what little is left of City jurisdiction over siting of cell towers. This Resolution in opposition was approved by the Council on June 24.
· Support for AB 48 and California State Senate Bill (SB) 151 regarding controls over tobacco.
· Support for SB 588 to crack down on wage theft.
· Support for SB 716 to ban the use of elephant bull hooks statewide. This Resolution is expected to be in Council on Tuesday, June 26, the same day that the State Assembly's Public Safety Committee is expected to hold a hearing on SB 716.
On June 26,the City Council's Public Safety Committee unanimously approved a proposal generated by Councilmember Koretz, instructing the Los Angeles Police Commission to establish rules and regulations governing valet parking at non-recurring special events (such as parties) at private residences. This grew out of problems in the Bel Air and Holmby Hills neighborhoods of CD5. Party hosts in Bel Air tend to hire valet parking companies who park the guests' cars south of Sunset in Holmby Hills, where the streets are wider and there is more curbside parking and shuttle valets back to the party location. After complaints of a proliferation of these situations from Holmby Hills residents, the City has decided to have the Police Commission place specifically applicable conditions of operation on each valet event permit they issue, hopefully alleviating some of the problems that have festered for years. The same procedure will apply citywide, though Bel Air/Holmby has been the place, so far, where the problem has arisen to such a level of concern.
Earlier that day, the Council's Public Safety Committee backed a proposal to install "No Smoking" signs in Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones in the City. These are mostly in hillside areas, some of which are in CD5, and Councilmember Koretz has been the driving force behind this idea over the last year. More than 350 signs are expected to be deployed once funds are identified to pay for them. In CD5, Councilmember Koretz will use funds to expedite the installation of the signs in the Fifth District over the coming weeks. The Los Angeles Fire Department will take the lead in getting the signs made and posted.
L.A. Beautification Team
On June 9th, Councilmember Koretz and the Los Angeles Beautification Team had the privilege of honoring Monica Rodriguez from the Los Angeles Department of Public Works for her implementation of a rainwater collection program to help alleviate the effects of California's ongoing drought. Under Ms. Rodriguez's program, 1,000 re-purposed rainwater collection barrels were distributed to Los Angeles residents for the purpose of collecting irrigation water. So far, the rain barrels have conserved approximately 240,000 gallons of water that otherwise would have gone into the city's storm drains. The conserved rain water has allowed for Angelenos to continue watering their plants, without having to take from the state's potable water supply.
Councilmember Koretz congratulates Ms. Rodriguez and the Los Angeles Department of Public Works for their dedication to finding creative solutions to reduce the city's water consumption.
Councilmember Koretz joins Councilmember Tom LaBonge in congratulating Monica Rodriguez. Credit: LADPublic Works
A new customer service tool for Los Angeles
As a part of his back-to-basics agenda, Mayor Eric Garcetti has announced a new customer service tool from the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (LADBS), the LADBS Online Building Records system, which will offer users a quick and easy way to research building records and obtain digital images of original documents online.
The Online Building Records system allows 24-hour access to key records such as building permits and Certificates of Occupancy without requiring customers to make a trip downtown and wait in line at the records counter, saving Angelenos and businesses time and money.
"Putting our building records online is good business practice and just plain common sense," said Mayor Garcetti. "This system cuts red tape and improves customer service for builders, developers, and everyday Angelenos, making L.A. more attractive to key investments that create jobs. City Hall is working to help those investing in LA."
The system contains more than 13 million records dating from 1905 to the present, including building permits, Certificates of Occupancy, building modifications, grading information, Commission files, and more. Since the system's soft launch in May, it has been accessed more than 27,600 times by nearly 3,700 unique users.
Access to Online Building Records is from LADBS.org under the “Online Services” tab, or directly at http://ladbsdoc.lacity.org/idispublic. Records can be retrieved by address, legal description, County Assessor Parcel Number, or document number.
Permits and Certificates of Occupancy, the most requested and used documents, were converted to digital image first, and more than 4.7 million of them are now available. Conversion of historic microfilm and paper documents is in progress, and those images will be placed online as they are converted.
LADBS serves approximately 65,000 records customers annually. Primary users include homeowners, contractors, architects, engineers, escrow agencies, banks, and permit expediters. Real estate industry users may use records to validate use and occupancy for a building being sold or purchased. Development industry users might use records to review permits and Certificates of Occupancy, address code enforcement issues, or bid on jobs. Homeowners preparing to obtain new permits, sell their homes, or wanting to satisfy curiosity and concerns may also seek records.
The Online Building Records service is part of a suite of development services enhancements and customer service improvements being rolled out by LADBS, including Inspection Case Management and Saturday inspections.
Honoring a wonderful life
Joseph Gatto was a remarkably beloved and respected community member, family man and art teacher. He was well-known and highly-regarded both for his own great accomplishments and those of his family, which includes a son, Mike Gatto, who is a California State Assemblymember.
Tragically, Joseph Gatto's life was ended on November 12, 2013 when he was slain at his Silver Lake home by an intruder: the LAPD is still actively seeking to apprehend a suspect. It is urgent that we close any and all crimes of this nature, but it is also vital that we honor the achievements and living legacy of people such as Joseph Gatto, who meant so much to his community, and who was such a positive influence on generations of students. That's why Councilmember Tom LaBonge recently unveiled a sign naming a street intersection in front of Ivanhoe Elementary School, near the Gatto home, "Joseph Gatto Memorial Square."
Joining Councilmember LaBonge were Councilmembers Koretz, Mitch O'Farrell and Joe Busciano. Sadly, a legislative session in Sacramento ran late, forcing Assemblymember Gatto to stay there and miss the ceremony, but his sister, Mariann, was there to remember their father, as were numerous community leaders. As Tom LaBonge noted, for years and years to come, people, including students on their way to and from the school, will notice the sign and wonder, learn and be inspired.
Alexa Delwiche has made great contributions to the well-being of the people of Los Angeles, but now she is stepping down from her position as the managing director of the LA Food Policy Council (LAFPC) to start the Center for Good Food Purchasing in San Francisco.
Alexa's work for the LAFPC has benefited many. During her time as managing director, she supported local farmers, provided safe and healthy working conditions for workers, reduced the use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides, and helped preserve the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting wildlife. While she was at the LAFPC, the council grew to have six staff members, 40 board members, and hundreds of engaged organizations. Although we are sad to see her go, we are sure she will be successful in her future at the Center for Good Food Purchasing, and that she'll be championing productive food policies, not just for San Francisco, but for people, cities and communities across this state and nation.
On June 8th, 5th District Councilmember Koretz and his Chief of Staff, Joan Pelico, participated in the annual Firefighter Appreciation Night at Dodger Stadium. More than 100 L.A. City Firefighters were at thegame, along with firefighters from other departments throughout California. In addition, all of the leadership of the California Professional Firefighters (CPF) were in attendance.
A portion of the money from tickets sold at the game was dedicated to the work of the California Fire Foundation, a 501C3 charity benefiting Firefighters and their families throughout the state.
As if anything could make a great night even better, the Dodgers walloped the Arizona Diamondbacks, 9-3!
Councilmember Koretz with CD 5 Chief of Staff Joan Pelico and United Firefighters of Los Angeles President Frank Lima
Saluting Tom LaBonge
Tom LaBonge's 14 years' tenure on the Los Angeles City Council is coming to an end, and so on June 23rd, the Council Chambers were filled with people there to sing his praise and say a fond farewell.
Having served the maximum allowed of three terms as the Councilmember for the 4th District, he is packed up and ready to go, but it is fair to say that he will have left quite a mark on City Hall and this city as a whole. As Councilmember Koretz remarked, "Tom LaBonge may be the last of the larger than life Councilmembers." Known for his gregarious, effusive and outgoing ways, Councilmember LaBonge is renowned for his willingness to ask anyone and everyone about what high school they attended - and to know all about that school - while also preaching the virtues of public service, community involvement and knowledge of history.
He has worked in some capacity or other on behalf of the city and its people for close to 40 years, including as Chief Deputy to longtime 4th District Council Member (and Council President) John Ferraro. He is very well known to the 5th District - the 4th and 5th Districts neighbor each other, and for that matter, portions of the 5th used to be in the 4th before boundary lines were changed through redistricting. He and Paul Koretz first met when they were both members of Mayor Tom Bradley's Youth Council, and part of what made the June 23rd farewell so touching was the degree to which many there were imbued with lasting idealism through such relatively early experiences. Key, too, was the presence of his beloved family, including his wife, Brigid Manning LaBonge; their two children, Mary-Cate and Charles, and a number of the Councilmember's brothers.
Speakers included family members, community leaders and fellow members of the City Council - and of course, Tom LaBonge himself - and there were many laughs and tears shared. There was also much talk of how he has championed bonds between Los Angeles and other places around the world, through his involvement with the Sister Cities of Los Angeles program. Crucial local accomplishments that were cited included the acquisition of Cahuenga Peak as open space for Griffith Park, and the approval of new Historic Preservation Overlay Zones. What stayed clear, throughout the farewell ceremony and throughout his entire career in public service, is that Tom LaBonge as much as anyone in the history of Los Angeles shouts out a love of this city that is profound, joyous, tireless, determined and generous.
Thanking Bernard Parks
The Los Angeles City Council is losing two of its long-standing members: The ebullient Tom LaBonge of the 4th District is one, and the far less demonstratively enthusiastic Bernard Parks of the 8th District is the other.
Members of the City Council can be incredibly diverse in their backgrounds and personalities. Councilmember Parks decided against having a public goodbye in City Hall, and so his years on the Council are coming to a comparatively quiet end, but his tenure has been substantial, including as LAPD Chief from August 1997 to May 2002, and then during the years on the Council, beginning with his assuming office on July 1, 2003. He is known for his focus on budgetary manners and on getting sidewalks fixed and libraries supported. Councilmember Koretz, the 5th District Office and the City of Los Angeles thank him for his years of service, and wish him the best.
Former Councilmember Greig Smith, Councilmember Bernard Parks, former Councilmember Bill Rosendahl and Councilmember Koretz
In advance of the4th of July holiday and its celebrations, the Los Angeles Fire Department is providing crucial information about fire works. The goal is to discourage their illegal purchase and gravely hazardous use, while letting the public know where to go to observe safe, legitimate fire works shows that are held as part of the Independence Day festivities.
Inevitably, people maim and otherwise hurt themselves and other people through the dangerous use of illegal fireworks. Along with the terrible accidents that so frequently occur, there is also the all-to-real risk of starting fires, which is a transcendent concern at a time of record temperatures, unprecedented drought and ultra dry fire conditions. By way of example, on June 25, a palm tree caught fire in the West Valley. Firefighters rushed to the scene and where able to contain the blaze, which threatened nearby homes: the cause was illegal fireworks. It is worth noting that there will be extra LAPD squad cars patrolling Los Angeles neighborhoods over the July 4th holiday weekend in order to ensure greater safety, but you can do your part by reading the information contained in this link. Here is a link to our LAFD post about fireworks safety, which includes a listing of all legal, public shows in the city and county of LA. As a reminder, ALL personal use fireworks are illegal in the city of L.A. and residents are encouraged to call (877) ASK-LAPD to report illegal fireworks, or 911 if they sense immediate danger.
The Los Angeles City Council is in its summer recess from July 7 to July 24. A lot of work on behalf of constituents will be done - city service never stops - but the council itself will not be meeting during that time.