Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Hollywood and Vine advances

I joined local business owner Bob Blue, Hollywood Chamber of Commerce President Leron Gubler, and representatives from the Community Redevelopment Agency, Legacy Partners and Gatehouse Capital at the most famous intersection in the world to announce an agreement on the final piece of the puzzle of the $500 million Hollywood and Vine development. The human-centered vision of economic development that shapes this project links Hollywood’s past to its future. In an area where family incomes average between $19,000 and $23,000 a year, the W hotel that will rise at Hollywood and Vine will create 250 permanent living-wage union jobs. In an economy that all too often segregates people by income, the 350 apartments on site will include 79 affordable units.

The working-class residents of the Hollywood flats stuck by the crown-jewel of Los Angeles when it was down, as did the local businesses like the one run by Bob Blue. When Hollywood began its revitalization, Legacy Partners and Gatehouse Capital came to the city with a world-class vision that fit this world-famous intersection. Together, we have produced an unparalleled development that will ensure that those who believed in Hollywood during its darkest hour will be able to bask in the light of its new success.

What's CD13 Doing in Silver Lake?

Silver Lake is the beating heart of the Thirteenth Council District, a dynamic neighborhood that serves as a cosmopolitan center where culture, commerce, and compassion co-mingle. Traffic safety measures have been implemented, crime prevention steps have been taken, and our developing and unique infrastructure projects, such as the senior center, the library, the dog park and the reservoir, all speak to the tremendous strides that Silver Lake has made. A summary of CD13's ongoing projects in Silver Lake follows. You can find the print-ready file on Silver Lake here.

LAPD has increased the number of patrols in the Sunset/Silver Lake/Parkman area of Laurel and Hardy Park in order to target gang activity, graffiti, and other nuisance behaviors. Additionally, we found funds and have installed a security camera, which is monitored by the police department at Bellevue Recreation Center.

We have fully completed Phase I of the renovation of the "Sunset Triangle," the median where Sunset Blvd., Griffith Park Blvd., and Edgecliff Drive meet. Furthermore, we have finished $1.7 million in improvements to Bellevue Park, where we have renovated the irrigation system, installed new lights, and erected another security camera.

Look for the six new crosswalks around the intersections near Mayberry Street Elementary School, and check out the installation of speed humps on Coronado Terrace. All of these measures will make the walk to school safer for the students of Mayberry Street.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

What's CD13 Doing in Hollywood?

One of the most dramatic revitalizations in the city of Los Angeles over the past five years has been the renaissance of Hollywood. And while the most famous neighborhood in the world has once again become a hopping center for business and nightlife, my office has worked to ensure that the residents that have called Hollywood home for decades can also participate in this resurgence. What follows is a summary of the projects that are going on in Hollywood. You can find the print-ready file on Hollywood here.

In 2005, I pledged to find and support permanent housing for the homeless individuals in Hollywood. Later that year, the Community Redevelopment Agency purchased a property on Gower Street, and has subsequently received a joint application from A Community of Friends and People Assisting the Homeless to develop the site and provide services there. Our next steps will be to receive community input on the proposal.

We have installed security cameras along Hollywood Blvd. that allow the LAPD to keep 24-hour surveillance of the area. The cameras have been instrumental in securing the 18% drop in crime in the areas they monitor between 2004 and 2005.

Finally, the Highland and Franklin traffic relief measures have begun. The project will widen streets, add right-turn pocket lanes, and add 45 new street lights to the area.

Monday, September 25, 2006

What's CD13 Doing in Glassell Park?

Glassell Park has been a busy center of development over the past several months. Here's a summary of recent projects, from the resurfacing of Verdugo Road to the various joint-use developments being constructed in Glassell Park. You can find the print-ready file on Glassell Park here.

The 3901 Eagle Rock Blvd. project is underway, a mixed-use development that will ultimately consist of four, 50 foot high buildings with 12,000 square feet of retail space, 114 condos, and 326 parking spaces, is underway.


Also, look for the Central Region Glassell Park Early Childhood Education Center, a joint-use project that includes affordable housing, seven classrooms, and 13,200 square feet of play area, to start construction soon at the intersection of Carlyle St., Ave. 30, and Verdugo Rd. This kind of collaborative effort helps to address two of the most pressing problems in the city: high housing prices and overcrowded schools. Hopefully, this joint-use project will serve as a model for others as we continue to provide affordable housing and improve our education system.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Elysian Valley Finds Its Voice

Three years ago, community members in Elysian Valley approached my office with an unusual but inspired idea. Elysian Valley United (EVU) wanted to buy a radio recording and production booth to keep at the community center, one that could be used by community members to create and broadcast their own shows, that would provide high school students with hands on media experience, and that would give the smallest certified neighborhood in the city a voice that can be heard the world over.

That vision has become a reality. I was joined at the EVU Community Services Center by community members, the center's directors, and local youth to launch KEVU. The radio station will provide a unique opportunity for kids in the community to learn first-hand how to record and produce their own radio shows. Not only will it give these students a safe and productive after-school activity, but for some it will provide tools that they will someday be able to turn into a career. The broadcast booth includes a recording studio and a producing unit, and many students in the area have already begun to broadcast their own shows. I was interviewed on "The Big Show," hosted by Marshall High School students Maritza Mesa and Teresa Herrera. You can find the link to the KEVU Radio Station here; look for my interview to be broadcast soon!

Martin Luther King III

We were joined in council chambers by Martin Luther King III. In January of this year, King co-founded “Realizing The Dream”, a non-profit dedicated to continuing his father's unfinished work: the fight against poverty and economic injustice in america.

He is currently on a looking, listening and learning tour to communities in the United States that are struggling with poverty, preparing for a summit from affected communities next month in Washington D.C. I was glad to have a chance to talk to him about Los Angeles, where the 300 richest individuals own the combined wealth of the 3 million poorest. That's as clear a picture of the gap between rich and poor in our country as you'll see. A society with that kind of gap is, at some level, undemocratic; a city with that kind of division is divided against itself.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

What's CD13 Doing in Echo Park?

Echo Park is home to a bustling community, one that has been the focus of much media attention lately. Whether featured in the L.A. Times or seen in the film QuinceaƱera, Echo Park's popularity is booming. But with this growing enthusiasm comes increased expectations for a safer and more beautiful community. Over the last year my staff has worked to make sure that the reality of life in Echo Park matches the hype. What follows is a summary of the projects that are going on in the neighborhood of Echo Park. You can find the print-ready file on Echo Park here.

The Echo Park Lake and Boathouse is in the middle of a major renovation. A federal grant provided by Congressman Xavier Becerra has allowed for the restoration of the structural stability of the boathouse, installation of an ADA accessible ramp, the replacement of the dock decking and building floor sheathing, and many other improvements. Look for more improvements to the bridge, water quality of the lake, and the recreation center.


A farmers market is coming to Echo Park in October! Look for future announcements about the location.

The Glendale Corridor Project is finally complete! Several of the implementations have been put into place including a signal at Aaron and a left-turn arrow at Alvarado and Sunset. Many thanks to the dedicated core of Echo Park volunteers who have worked with Department and city officials over the past 7 years to obtain local, state, and federal funding for the project. Your vision to transform this section of Echo Park from a cut-through motor speedway into a more manageable and more aesthetically pleasing corridor for us all.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What's CD13 Doing in East Hollywood?

We have witnessed an incredible amount of change throughout East Hollywood over the last year, and the improvements that have been made are reflective of some of the most pressing concerns for Angelenos anywhere. Whether it is the construction of a new park or the installation of security cameras along the Vermont corridor, it seems that as East Hollywood goes, so goes Los Angeles. What follows is a summary of the projects that are going on in the neighborhood of East Hollywood. You can find the print-ready file on East Hollywood here.

There are a number of beautification projects going on in East Hollywood. Construction is almost complete on the Heliotrope Median between Beverly and Oakwood. Improvements include the expansion of sidewalks and the installation of diagonal parking, along with the planting of new trees and shrubs along the median. Furthermore, the Melrose Hill Community Garden is being revitalized. Debris has been cleared and a new vision for the area is becoming a reality. Read more...

Construction on the Lexington II Pocket Park has begun. The city’s Bureau of Engineering will be working with the Department of Recreation and Parks to secure funds for the project. Additionally, look for new benches and tables soon at Madison West Park.

Finally, $155,000 in federal funds has been found to improve traffic at the intersection of Santa Monica and Western – the most pedestrian intersection in all of Los Angeles. Look for left-turn arrows, pedestrian countdowns, and extended left turn pocket lanes.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Armenian clean-up panorama

Almost 100 Armenian youth met at the Rose and Alex Pilobos school bright and early Saturday morning to scrub the neighborhood down. Click on the picture to see the group circled up and ready to untrash the neighborhood. The community clean-up is one of the most effective ways to build neighborhood relationships and beautify your block: to get started with one in your own neighborhood, go to the "How To" section of and download the print-ready "How To Brighten Up Your Block" file.

Lexington Park II Ground-breaking

I joined representatives from the Santa Monica Western Residents Group, the Hollywood Studio District Neighborhood Council, and the Department of Recreation and Parks to break ground on the 18th new park to rise in CD13 since I came to office in 2001. (We started with 13; I vowed to double the number of green spaces in the district, and we're not stopping there.) The park should open in spring next year with murals, a basketball court, a playground and grassy play areas. It's just two blocks away from the first Lexington Pocket Park, which is well cared for by the members of the Santa Monica Western Residents Group.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

What's CD13 Doing in Historic Filipinotown?

The pride and joy of Los Angeles's Filipino Community, Historic Filipinotown, or "Hi-Fi" models how a community's pride can translate into real quality of life benefits for the individuals it represents. What follows is a summary of the projects that are going on in the neighborhood of Historic Filipinotown. You can find the print-ready file on Historic Filipinotown here.

There have been many, many improvements to traffic and pedestrian safety, including the installation of "smart" crosswalks in front of Rosemont Elementary and at the intersection of Alvarado and Valley Street; stamped artistic crosswalks at Temple & Hoover, Temple & Alvarado, and Temple & Glendale; and replacement sidewalks at Reno Street and Parkman Avenue.


Historic Filipinotown's proud history and culture is taking shape in our built environment. In the last few months, we’ve witnessed the formation of the Historic Filipinotown Improvement Association Chamber of Commerce, overseen the allocation of $75,000 for the development of a Filipino WWII Veterans Memorial at Lake Street Park, and once again hosted the annual Filipino Veterans Parade through Temple Street.

What's CD13 Doing in Elysian Valley?

Over the past year, our constituent services and district development team has been so busy that I haven't had time to blog everything they've been up to. Over the next week, look for an update in this space for your neighborhood. What follows is a summary of the projects that are going on in the neighborhood of Elysian Valley. (I've already put up a similar list for Atwater Village , and you can download print-ready files about your neighborhood from our What's CD 13 Doing? Page) You can find the print-ready file on Elysian Valley here .

In our effort to make the neighborhood even brighter and better, my office has worked with the community to allocate over $1 million towards new street lighting for the area. Look for the new lights to be phased in over the coming months, starting in the northern end of Elysian Valley.


The new lighting caps off a prolonged period of community beautification and improvement. We have installed K-rails where Gilroy Avenue meets the Los Angeles River to prevent illegal dumping, continued to co-sponsor the yearly clean-up, and overseen the dedication of the Jardin del Rio on Riverdale and the dedication of Phase 1 of the Marsh Street Park project.

Along with these beautification projects have come numerous infrastructure improvements. We have allocated $45,000 to Elysian Valley United for the purchase of radio equipment, and we have officially launched KEVU, "Community Radio for Elysian Valley." A $1.5 million Prop 40 grant has been approved for the development of an 18-acre parcel located between Newell and Stadium Way on the southwest side of Riverside Drive into a new park.

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11th Remembrance Ceremony

As the country takes a collective moment to remember the tragedy and honor the heroism that took place on a bright, crisp morning five years ago, I joined my colleagues on the City Council, Mayor Villaraigosa, Governor Schwarzenegger, and members of the LAPD and LAFD in paying tribute to those that lost their lives on September 11th, 2001. What follows is an excerpt of the remarks that I made while attending Los Angeles' September 11th Remembrance Ceremony at the Fire Department's Frank Hotchkin Memorial Training Center.

Delivering the Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln observed that he could say nothing that would hallow any further the ground where so many had given their lives. "We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain," he said. Let that spirit guide our remembrance of those who died on September 11, 2001.

Our work is not to make this day seem holy: those who gave their lives have done that for us. Our work is to draw from their sacrifice and from their suffering. Our work is to invest our lives with worthy meaning, to give to our friends and our family with a nobler spirit that we have done, to give to our neighbors and to our city with higher aims that we have had.

Over and over, we have told ourselves that everything changed on that day. Today, let us take a lesson from that which did not change but was revealed. We saw the bravery and selflessness of first responders, police officers and fire fighters who rushed into buildings whose collapse would—and did—bury them. Ordinary citizens helped each other with a spirit that defies those who believe ours is a dissipated age. On United Flight 93, men and women who did not know each other, some from our own city, fought back together against terror.

In my district, the Hollywood Beautification Team has pledged to plant 3000 trees for the fallen civilians and first responders of September 11th. From this example, let us too give life back to our families, to our city, and to our world.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

How To Improve Your Neighborhood!

If you look closely, you'll notice a new addition to the website. Under the “Get Informed” section, there is a link entitled “How To”. Each of the seven pamphlets, ready to be printed out for community groups or fairs, provides information on a different city process that can help neighborhoods help themselves.

One of my guiding principles as a representative of an engaged and concerned neighborhood is to put the tools of government directly into constituents’ hands. Too often, the barrier between the needs of our communities and the delivery of services to remedy those issues is a result of a lack of communication between government and the people. Whether you want to wipe out graffiti on your street, make improvements to your home, install speed bumps on your street, or simply learn how the city operates, these brochures are a way that we can begin to break down the divide between government and the people it serves, a guide to enhancing your knowledge about how city government works and improving your neighborhood.

CD13 Is The Undisputed Ice Cream Capital Of The World

Amy Walters' ice cream investigation for NPR's Day to Day magazine uncovers the cold, creamy truth about Los Angeles: its best ice cream parlors are in the 13th Council District.

Walters manages to sample the goods at Pazzo Gelato, the new line-at-all hours Silver Lake haunt, the ever-inventive Scoops (where one CD13 staffer sampled the Olive Oil Pine Nut gelato last week), Helados POPS on Vermont and Mashti Malone's, the Persian parlor that is across the street from the district. She might have also included the Disney Soda Fountain across the street from Hollywood and Highland and Lickety Split in the Egyptian Theater courtyard, both of which Jonathan Gold included in his guide to L.A.'s "ice cream renaissance" in the L.A. Weekly.

Can any other elected official lay claim to so much creamy deliciousness?

Back from Pensacola

Over the last two weeks, I met an incredible, committed group of 22 other fellow Americans from diverse cultural, geographic, and professional backgrounds, all of whom were serving alongside me in Pensacola, Florida as Direct Commission Officers (DCO) in the U.S. Navy.

I met doctors and nurses, college deans and law enforcement officers, engineers, academics, and public servants. Staying in barracks on the historic and beautiful Pensacola Naval Air Station, we tested ourselves against a rigorous academic, athletic, and leadership training regime. We started most of our days at 4:30 in the morning and we worked into the evening. We were inspected, graded, drilled, and inspired by our instructors, who let us go with a solemn and moving graduation ceremony that recognized that during our two weeks of training, two dozen young people had lost their lives serving in the Armed Forces.

We were almost visited by Hurricane Ernesto, who politely down-shifted into a tropical storm and passed just to the east of us. Our days regularly topped 100 degrees and 100% humidity.

I missed Los Angeles. While I was gone, I stayed in regular touch with my office and my staff to keep tabs on the district and in the city. The lessons in leadership and discipline of Pensacola have inspired me to look with new eyes at the challenges facing our city. I'm glad to be back.