July 02, 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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I want to wish you all a safe, meaningful and fun 4th of July.
As always, Independence Day is an opportunity not just for relaxation but also for reflection on our heritage and understanding of our nation's birth and history.
The past couple of weeks have been an amazing time, full of thought-provoking and heart-wrenching moments. Let’s contemplate the greatness of our nation's enduring flag and what it stands for, even as the flag representing rebellion against this nation and support for slavery and racism is suddenly fast disappearing. As evidence of our resilience, communities victimized by violence and hate show the power of their peaceful and forgiving resolve. The Supreme Court decision on marriage equality gives added and crucial substance to our guiding principles of liberty and justice for all. A more secure health care system lessens the likelihood of individuals and families being devastated by illness, and that is as essential to our safety as a strong national security.
Although these are challenging times, I look forward to an optimistic future. Have a wonderful 4th of July!
Councilmember Fifth District
On July 2, Councilmember Koretz was proud to officiate at the unveiling of a new American flag at the Westwood Recreational Center. The old and honored flag that had flown for many years had become very weathered and tattered, and so it was officially retired; in addition, the flagpole was moved to a more visible location because surrounding trees in their maturity had grown sufficiently to conceal the flag. Thanks go to the Friends of West L.A. organization for helping to make this possible, as well as Boy Scout Troop 137, Girl Scout Troop 6262, and community leaders from the Westwood Neighborhood Council, Westwood Community Council and local HOAs.
Council members and many lucky audience members at a recent council meeting were delighted to see the Tuskeegee Airmen of the Los Angeles Chapter honored at City Hall. Everyone was enthralled and deeply appreciative, and happy to applaud those veterans of World War II, for they had served our nation with remarkable distinction and valor despite the indignity of being in a segregated military. The persons who were recognized as part of this ceremony, led by Council President Herb Wesson, were inspiring, not just for their gallantry in war but also for their efforts, then and now, in representing the strength and virtue of people in the face of massive discrimination, and the importance of equality. By the way, one of the gentlemen being honored (the man in the photo wearing the red cap) is a spry 105! Los Angeles thanks them all for their heroic service and dedication to this country.
Westwood South of Santa Monica Annual HOA
Councilmember Koretz is always proud to salute this incredibly active HOA and participate at its gatherings. At this year's annual Westwood South of Santa Monica HOA meeting, the Councilmember addressed a variety of issues that are of priority to this neighborhood and the city. While touching on regional and citywide topics such as the drought and transportation, he also highlighted the miles of streets that have been resurfaced in this community in the past year. He enjoyed the questions, comments and ideas that were shared, and thanks everyone involved for all that they do.
The proposed new citywide sign ordinance was discussed at the City Council's Planning and Land Use Management Committee again on June 30th. The latest draft contains some controversial proposals regarding billboards that Councilmember Koretz is concerned about, especially with regard to digital billboards.
The new idea would be to go beyond a previous restriction on billboards of any type outside designated sign districts and allow them to be placed anywhere provided they have a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) from the City. As the LA Times noted in a recent editorial, this essentially would make every sign negotiable on a case-by-case basis, destroying the sense of certainty about controlling billboards that neighborhood leaders all over Los Angeles have been seeking for years.
Councilmember Koretz is opposed to these new proposals, which also include a possible amnesty for existing billboards erected without permits. After hearing considerable comment on both sides of the issue, Planning Committee asked the Planning Department to continue working on the draft ordinance. Watch this space for future updates.
Change at City Hall
July 1 was a momentous day in City Hall. Not only did a new fiscal year begin, and that has a massive effect on all aspects of governance, but all the councilmembers representing even-numbered districts were sworn in, following their recent election or reelection – this included two new councilmembers, David Ryu of the 4th Council District, and Marqueece Harris-Dawson of the 8th Council District.
Mayor Garcetti visited at the start of the meeting and greeted the Councilmembers while noting that with the new members, some of the council now had new seats and seatmates (because council seating is arranged in alphabetical order). The fifteen members of the Council unanimously and enthusiastically voted for Council President Herb Wesson to have a new term as Council President, and for Council Member Mitchell Englander to continue on as President Pro Tempore. The Council President then appointed Councilmember Nury Martinez to be Assistant President Pro Tempore.
Councilmember Koretz with Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson of the Eighth District
Council President Herb Wesson addresses the Council
Her colleagues applaud as Councilmember Nury Martinez accepts her new Assistant President Pro Tempore role
The room was packed to the hilt with proud community members, especially those on hand to cheer for the two newly incoming Councilmembers. Dignitaries included present and former elected officials including John Chiang, Yvonne Braithwaite Burke, Mark Ridley-Thomas, Robert Farrell, Mike Hernandez and Rita Walters. Council President Wesson gave a rousing speech about recent accomplishments, achieved sometimes against seemingly long odds, as well as significant goals ahead; Councilmember Englander spoke of the Council in all its diversity being the voice of Los Angeles, and Councilmember Martinez remarked forcefully about the need for more women on the Council – she is now the only one – while describing how Council efforts such as regarding the minimum wage have had a major impact on many people's quality of life.
It was a long meeting – the last before the Council begins its summer recess – and afterwards, people lunched on such community staples as Pinks hot dogs!
Believe it or not - Pinks Hot Dogs as political memorabilia!
Even though all Councilmembers representing even-numbered districts of the 15 were sworn in at City Hall at the start of the July 1st first council meeting of the new term, many chose to have their own community event to allow maximum access for community members and other involved stakeholders. 8th District Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, a former executive director of the nonprofit organization Community Coalition, will have his gathering later in July; 4th District Councilmember David Ryu, a former aide to then-County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, had his event on the 1st Street Steps of City Hall, on Sunday, June 28, and that attracted a giant crowd, there to witness the ceremonial swearing in (Ms Burke did the "oath of office" honors), and to celebrate the victory of the first Korean-American to be elected to the Council. Among the many on hand were former County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Attorney Mike Feuer, City Controller Ron Galperin, Council President Herb Wesson, many Council Members (including Paul Koretz), and Councilmember Ryu's family.
Congratulations and best wishes on a bright future and stellar service on behalf of the City.
Councilmember Koretz joined Councilmember David Ryu of the Fourth District at his Community Swearing-In Ceremony on June 28th
Councilmembers usually each have a unique way of making an entrance, impact and,eventually, an exit. We saw that last act with the two outgoing Councilmembers: Tom LaBonge left with a huge fanfare of affection from the community for him, and from him for the City – first with a Council presentation honoring him for his nearly 40 years of city service, and then with touch more festivities on his actual final day in Council – while Bernard Parks left without any such showing, as was his choice, exiting on his own terms, even missing the last meeting or two, though he did send out a final newsletter that expressed, as always, blunt views, saying, "You didn't think I was going to go quietly – did you?" (Councilmembers did speak well of both LaBonge and Parks, at the end of the June 30th council meeting that marked the end of their elected tenures.) Both Councilmembers are to be applauded for their long careers of public service and utmost dedication, and the City's best wishes go to them regarding all future endeavors and the happiest of retirements.
Quite a feat!
Last week, Councilmember Koretz cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the new footgolf courses at Rancho Park Golf Course.
Footgolf is emerging in popularity and has made its way to West LA, as Rancho Park now joins over 257 parks and facilities in the United States that provide footgolf. While the origins of footgolf are unclear, it seems increasingly evident that footgolf is here to stay. So if footgolf has been on your bucket list, you now know where to go!
Schools on Wheels
In a recent City Council presentation, Councilmembers Jose Huizar and Paul Koretz honored the non-profit, School on Wheels, whose mission is to provide education and school supplies to Southern California's homeless children. With its sizable volunteer base, School on Wheels has been able to tutor thousands of homeless children throughout the region. In the past year, School on Wheels has also donated thousands of backpacks, school supplies and bus tokens, so that homeless children do not have to miss out on an invaluable education. Councilmember Koretz commended Schools on Wheels for its proactive support of Southern California's most at-risk children.
Councilmembers Jose Huizar and Paul Koretz with School on Wheels Executive Director Catherine Meek (middle) and School on Wheels President Joshua Fein (right)
Ventura Boulevard Resurfacing
Resurfacing was completed on Ventura Blvd. from Haskell to Gaviota. Thanks go to the workers, and of course to community members for their patience and input.
FIREWORKS ARE NO FUN FOR PETS!
Pet Safety Tips for 4th of July -- provided by City of Los Angeles Animal Services:
Make this Independence Day fun and SAFE for your pets! Some people love big gatherings and loud noises - but that can be very frightening for our pets.
Here are some Pet Safety Tips for Independence Day:
Make sure your pet is microchipped and that the registration has your current address. In addition, make sure your dog is wearing a license tag. These two simple steps help us reunite families if a pet does get lost.
You can contact any of our L.A. Animal Services Shelters and schedule an appointment to have your companion animal microchipped. The cost of for the public is $25.00 per animal. Most veterinary clinics also offer microchipping.
KEEP PETS INDOORS
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.
CREATE A CALMING ENVIRONMENT
Surround pets with their favorite toys and other familiar objects. Play soothing music and keep the room as quiet as possible by closing doors, windows and blinds.
KEEP AWAY FROM FIREWORKS
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.
ADOPT NOW and Help Us Save MORE Animals
The fourth of July is a time shelter staff knows that we will have a sudden influx of lost and frightened animals. Our shelters are already over crowded. If you are considering adopting, please visit our shelters and adopt NOW or consider fostering a great dog or cat! They are counting on us. We are all they have.
In advance of the 4th 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 wonderful residents of Encino Village gathered on Saturday, June 27, to participate in a neighborhood cleanup drive. It was a hot day in the Valley, but their dedication to their neighborhood is unstoppable. The 5th Council District office attended and provided support and also helped with scheduling the picking up of trash bags and bulky items. Councilmember Koretz salutes all those involved, and sends a particularly momentous shout-out to Cathy Strull for gathering everyone together at her house for refreshments before the day’s work began.
Another recent cleanup in Encino took place on Killion Street between Lindley and Yarmouth Avenues – many thanks go to the Bureau of Sanitation, who led the charge as part of the new Clean Streets Initiative (a couple of months ago, Fairfax between Beverly and Melrose Avenues was the beneficiary).
CD 5 encourages neighborhood cleanups through both community participation and government engagement. If you are planning one, or want to do one, then please reach out to our office, by contacting John Darnell (firstname.lastname@example.org, or 323 866-1828 or 818 971-3088). We are glad to assist!
Deputy Mayor transitions
Rick Cole, former L.A. deputy mayor of budget and innovation, has recently ended his invaluable term of service in City Hall, in which capacity he provided outstanding fiscal guidance while helping to produce a city budget with maximum efficiency and minimal strife. He also championed various successful technological initiatives and improvements. He is now embarking on a new endeavor, as Santa Monica's city manager. His previous governmental stints, which won him great accolades, include being city manager of Ventura and Azusa, and mayor of Pasadena. His replacement in the deputy mayor slot is Matt Szabo, who has had extensive experience working at City Hall, serving most recently as a member of the Board of Public Works, and previously as deputy mayor for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and handling manager of communications duties for Mayor Richard Riordan, then-Councilwoman Wendy Greuel, and the City Attorney's Office. Councilmember Koretz and the City of Los Angeles thank Rick Cole for his tremendous leadership and efforts for the sake of the City of Los Angeles, and heartily welcome Matt Szabo to his new post as deputy mayor.
Councilmember Koretz with former Deputy Mayor Rick Cole
Councilmember Koretz with newly installed Deputy Mayor Matt Szabo
Andra Hoffman was recently sworn in as a member of the Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees. Andra took her oath of office at the Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City. Unfortunately – it's that time of season! – Councilmember Koretz could not attend the event because he was at another such swearing-in ceremony, but he congratulates Andra on her commitment to service and her victory in a close election. The Los Angeles Community College District serves over three million students at nine campuses, providing them with a high quality, affordable education. Andra's years of experience and indefatigable energy will help improve the largest community college district in the United States, making quality education more accessible to countless community members.
Immigrant Heritage Month
On June 26, the Los Angeles City Council held a special ceremony to celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month. This presentation was led by Councilmember Cedillo of the 1st Council District, and acknowledged the essential contributions of immigrants throughout Los Angeles, which of course is a city of remarkable diversity. Each councilmember selected and honored an immigrant who had made a mark in her or his Los Angeles community: featured were important business people, community leaders, and others who had left places far behind to come here and contribute much to this city.
Councilmember Koretz's honoree was David Hekmat, a businessperson who immigrated to the United States from Tehran. David owns one of Westwood's most beloved restaurants, Mary & Robbs Westwood Café, and continues to serve as an invaluable member of the community as an executive committee board member on the Westwood Community Council, and through his participation in HOAs and other neighborhood groups and trade organizations. Congratulations to Mr. Hekmat and all who make a difference.
The drought, and wildlife
Among those most affected by our state's record drought are coyotes, mountain lions, bears, and all kinds of California wildlife, for these animals are increasingly forced to leave their normal grounds and enter residential communities filled with people and their pets, in a desperate search for water. Cats and small dogs consequently do disappear, and parents of small children become concerned.
It is unfortunate for wildlife to be hunted or destroyed simply because they are acting on the need for water – and we want people and their pets to be safe from possible dangerous encounters with wildlife.
That's why Councilmember Koretz recently introduced a motion, seconded by Councilmember Jose Huizar, calling on the Department of Animal Services, in consultation and partnership with the Department of Recreation and Parks and other local wildlife agencies and organizations, to report back to the Council in 30 days with a plan to provide watering troughs or other solutions for providing water to wildlife in the City's nature areas, such as the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Area and Griffith Park. We want our wildlife animals to find water where they live! The motion has been referred to the Council's Arts, Parks, Health, Aging and River committee.
Photo courtesy of Michael Masterson