Friday, July 29, 2005

Rich Llewellyn, Chief Deputy City Attorney

Rich Llewellyn

Rich Llewellyn

This is perhaps the most bittersweet announcement I have made since taking office. Rich Llewellyn, my chief of staff and dear friend, has accepted a position as Chief Deputy to City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo. For the past four years, Rich has led my office. He has helped me cultivate an incomparably talented staff by encouraging their creativity and individuality. Guided by his light touch and strong example, that staff has produced real results for the people of the 13th District.

Rich has been an ideal political advisor and a true friend. Those of you who had the good fortune to work with him on legislative and district projects know firsthand his extraordinary intelligence, wit and compassion. Even though he'll only be across the street from City Hall, he will be deeply missed by all of us, and he only has to look at the state of CD13 today to know that he has accomplished wonderful things.

Rocky is getting an exceptional lawyer in addition to a great human being. Before joining my office, Rich was Special Counsel to former District Attorney Gil Garcetti, my father. Prior to that he served in the office of Supervisor Ed Edelman. He has also served as a litigator in the Department of Justice and at the Los Angeles law firm of Riordan & McKenzie. Rich, best of luck.

P.S. As a resident of Los Feliz, you should direct any personal constituent concerns here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Clean Money for Los Angeles

Would you rather have your candidates raising money on the phone or out in the neighborhood, knocking on your door and figuring out how to deal with the issues that confront you? No matter how many campaign finance reforms we consider, we always find ourselves with a system that requires candidates to raise money day in and day out. But now the City Council has taken a step down the road to changing that.

With my colleagues Wendy Greuel, Bill Rosendahl, and Tony Cardenas, I joined Susan Lerner and Ted Williams from the California Clean Money Campaign to kick off our push for full public financing of city elections. The states of Arizona and Maine have clean money laws, and the city of Portland, Oregon is considering one (they call it "voter-owned elections"). In a clean money system, candidates demonstrate a base of support, for example by collecting micro-donations of $5 each from a few hundred supporters. After that, they receive froma trust fund the amount of money necessary to run a campaign. (With the amount of money we put into our election trust fund under the current system, we could fund most city council races.) If their opponents don't accept clean money or receive independent expenditure support, clean money systems also provide additional funds to match those expenditures. As a result, grass-roots candidates flourish on the basis of their community support, not their fundraising acumen.

Our motion today asked city staff to look at the systems that are out there and bring back options that could work in Los Angeles. Next it will go to the Ethics Commission. I'll let you know how this policy develops along the way; my hope is to enact a clean money law that lets candidates in the 2007 elections compete with full public financing—and lets all of us in government win back your trust in our democratic system.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Crystal Street Park

Today I joined Supervisor Gloria Molina, State Senator Jack Scott, Joe Edmiston from the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, and Larry Smith from NorthEast Trees as well as numerous community members who had all been involved with the creation of a pocket park just a few feet away from the banks of the Glendale Narrows in Elysian Valley. (Here's a map.)

The new park, situated on DWP land, is a natural jumping-off point to the river bike path; it has parking, seating, shade trees and bicycle maps for users of the path. It's dotted with saplings planted by NorthEast Trees with community input, and on the nearby riverbank, a looming stand of cottonwoods planted by that same group just seven years ago gives you an idea of just how the park will truly let you escape the freeways and streets only a few yards away. With the other parks and green spaces[.pdf links] we've opened along the river, I believe we are finally turning around to face the river and looking to it to guide the shape of our city in the 21st century. Congratulations to everyone who was involved in the project.

With Sen. Jack Scott

With Sen. Jack Scott

A trip to Sacramento

I traveled on Wednesday to Sacramento for my inaugural meeting as a member of the California Debt Allocation Limit Committee, aka CDLAC. The committee is responsible for issuing up to $2.83 billion in tax-exempt state bonds each year, much of which finds its way into affordable housing developments. The voting members of the committee are State Treasurer Phil Angelides, Governor Schwarzenegger, and State Controller Steve Westly. I'm the advisory local government representative, and my position on the committee will give me a chance to shape policy on this critical source of funding for affordable housing in Los Angeles and throughout California. It's an exciting honor and I thank the Treasurer for nominating me to the committee.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Your Council District Close-Up

For those of you with cable, please check out my "Your Council District Close-Up" segment this Friday, July 22 at either 8:30 a.m. or 7:00 p.m. on LA Cityview Channel 35. Host Phil Shuman and I mix it up on issues from the new feeling in City Hall to our housing crisis to ethics reform. He even mentions the blog!

Monday, July 18, 2005

July e-news now available

If you haven't received July's e-news in your inbox, it's now up on line, too. (Would you like to subscribe?) Even avid blog readers will want to check out this month's update: there are extra pictures from the inauguration and plenty of yet-unblogged news from the neighborhoods.

Vining on Casitas

Vining Casitas with the HBT

Vining Casitas with the HBT

Sharyn Romano brought her incomparable Hollywood Beautification Team out to Casitas to plant vines along the street wall there. Vining is a graffiti solution with a double benefit: not only does it make a wall much harder to tag, it also gets more plant life into public sapce, something we're always trying to do in our CD13 streets.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Red Car River Park

The Los Angeles River and the historic 'Red Car' Pacific Electric Railway converged many years ago in Atwater Village. On Monday afternoon I joined Friends of Atwater Village to reclaim the open space where the tracks crossed the river for a pocket park by Glendale and Ferncroft. In doing so we also reclaimed an important piece of L.A.'s history. The Red Car River Park overlooks the green Glendale Narrows, the soft-bottomed section of the river. I invite all Atwater Village residents, neighbors, and passers-through to come pass the time down by the river at the park. (You can also check out the gorgeous blue heron mural.)

L to R: Netty Carr, Eric Garcetti, Sandra Caravella, Ann Lawson, Cesar Portillo

L to R: Netty Carr, Eric Garcetti, Sandra Caravella, Ann Lawson, Cesar Portillo

A City Hero for a Fallen Feathered Friend

Diane Edwardson writes in with a commendation for a compassionate city hero:

Photo:Copyright 2005 Diane Edwardson

Photo: ©2005 Diane Edwardson

Thought you’d like the attached photo from June 14, 2005, when Animal Reg came to the rescue of a baby red tail hawk that fell about 100’ from a eucalyptus tree off the log cabins on Corralitas Drive to the street below. Wildlife Officer Greg Randall had an officer out here in less than an hour. They transferred the hawk to Brenda with Camarillo Wildlife Rehabilitation where they discovered he had a broken leg. It did not require surgery and the hawk is in rehabilitation at the Ojai Raptor Center.

Thanks for sending in the note and the picture, Diane, and thank you Officer Randall and Officer Perea (who came out on the call and made the actual rescue) for your great work.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Lotus Festival

I hope you had a chance to get outside and experience the sights, sounds and tastes at last weekend's Lotus Festival. Echo Park was packed with people enjoying the cultural and culinary offerings of Los Angeles's Asian Pacific Islander communities, with an emphasis this year on Korea.

And of course, Team Garcetti dominated the Dragon Boat races yet again. Last year we won our individual race and tied for first in the elected officials category. This year we won the elected officials category and tied for first in the overall contest with the Echo Park Locals. Our time was 6:14, which may be a lake record.

My friend and colleague Wendy Greuel, whose 2nd Council District is only a short 10-mile drive from Echo Park, launched a boat for the first time ever, joining the able crews of Councilmember Ed Reyes, Assemblymember Jackie Goldberg, State Senator Jack Scott, Congressmember Xavier Becerra and my own boat on the waves. Conspicuously absent was a boat helmed by Mayor Villaraigosa. We'll see him on the water next year!

The final stretch: Power 10!

The final stretch: Power 10!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Boat Races Time Change

Our racing slot against Councilmember Reyes' dragon boat team has changed to 1:15 pm tomorrow. Opening ceremonies are at noon, so come early and take in the Lotus Festival!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

St. Anne's grand opening of the Bogen Family Center

I spoke at the opening of the new Bogen Family Center, a 40-unit affordable housing facility for pregnant and parenting teens and their babies that St. Anne's Maternity Home opened up in our district on Occidental near Beverly. The child care center on the site will serve up to 100 children. The grand opening was not only attended by Cardinal Mahony and Supervisor Burke, but also by Joyce Walter, a board member who, sixty years ago, was born at St. Anne's, and by Elizabeth Mendez, a resident (with her small child) of the center today.

Elizabeth spoke to the assembled crowd about the experiences that led her to St. Anne's. She spent her childhood swinging from an abusive home to the vagaries of the foster care system. She got pregnant while living on the streets, and, seeing rock bottom, she found St. Anne's, got a job, enrolled in school and now works, goes to class, and takes care of her child. She said she couldn't do it with out St. Anne's. She's not alone: nearly half of all minors emancipated from the foster care system become homeless.

With $2.5 million committed from the Los Angeles Housing Department, the Center won funds from City of Industry Funds, Tax Credits, HUD Supportive Housing funds and substantial private donations for a total project cost of $10.8 million.Once again the city proved that by anteing up funds for affordable housing at the beginning of a project—by jumping into the pool first—we can help good projects leverage many times more than our initial contribution.

St. Anne's grand opening

London Terror Attacks

Dear friends,

Our hearts go out to the victims of the violent attacks in London early this morning. The emergency personnel who responded to the attacks have our boundless admiration.

In response to these tragic attacks, security has been intensified at local transit centers and the Los Angeles Police Department is on modified tactical alert. The alert is strictly precautionary; Chief Bratton and Sheriff Baca have stressed that we have no information pointing to specific threats in Los Angeles or any part of Southern California. Our transit system is safe; please use it!

The modified tactical alert means that the City Emergency Operations Center has been staffed, that all LAPD watch commanders have been put on alert, and that LAPD officers require specific approval to leave at the end of their shifts. LAWA has also enabled additional security measures. My office has been in contact with our local police stations and will remain so. The Terrorist Threat Assessment Center can be contacted at (877) A-THREAT with reports of suspicious activity related to terrorism.

Peace be with you and your families today,