Thursday, December 27, 2007

Recycle your Tree

Recycling Trees
Originally uploaded by CD-13
Now that Santa has come and gone, and presents have been unwrapped, and Christmas dinner has been eaten, it’s time to clean up. Using a quick three step process, all Angelenos can easily and safely dispose of their Christmas trees in an eco-friendly manner. Simply pick it up, cut it up, and put it in your city-issued green yard trimming bin. Residents without green bins can bring their trees to one of 28 drop-off centers throughout the city, some of which will be giving out free compact fluorescent light bulbs and trees for your yard (call 3-1-1 to find the drop-off center closest to you). Last year, more than 80,000 trees were recycled and turned into mulch for use in gardens and landscaping.

Helping the Homeless Year Round

LA Mission
Originally uploaded by CD-13
This holiday season Los Angeles got an early present in the form of $72 million from the federal government for shelter funding to serve the homeless and help to lift them out of poverty. For more than a decade, this program has given millions of dollars to organizations that provide people with a place to stay, help to pay the rent, provide job training, rehabilitation for substance abuse, and much more.

After announcing these new funds with Mayor Villaraigosa and Councilmember Janice Hahn at the Los Angeles Mission, we joined volunteers from across the city in serving food and handing out gifts to homeless families and children. During the holidays, we’re all reminded of the tremendous number of people in need – but for those who are homeless, those needs don’t end once Christmas is over. The return of the shelter plus care program will help thousands of people get back on their feet and find a brighter future.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Seily Rodriguez Park

Me and the kids at Seily's Park
Originally uploaded by CD-13

Today I opened Seily Rodriguez Park in East Hollywood. This is the 20th park that we've opened in the 13th Council District since I took office in 2001. There are now 33 parks, which means we've almost tripled the number of parks.

There were several hundred neighborhood kids who came out to celebrate the new park, which features playground equipment and a basketball court. The park is in the middle of one of the densest neighborhoods in the country, and is a much needed open space for kids to play. It was great to see so many kids running around and having fun.

BTW, we named the park after Seily Rodriguez, who was 8 years-old when she was killed by a car while walking to school in the neighborhood. I think that Seily would have loved the park and it will be a great way for the community to remember her.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy holidays!

Parading down Hollywood Boulevard
Originally uploaded by CD-13
Looking back on 2007, Amy and I are happy to have had the opportunity to celebrate so many great moments with friends and family. We hope the road ahead is filled with friendship and fulfillment for you!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Holiday Shopping Traffic Relief Brigade

Holiday Traffic Brigade
Originally uploaded by CD-13
LA shoppers are getting some help with holiday shopping -- the City of LA is deploying white-gloved traffic officers to help keep traffic moving around some of our busiest shopping centers. Mayor Villaraigosa, Councilmember Wendy Greuel and I made the announcement at Hollywood and Highland this morning.

Of course, it's always great to take public transit. The Metro site can be helpful with planning routes.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Protecting LA's waterways

Street gutter screen
Originally uploaded by CD-13
This morning, Councilmember Jan Perry and I joined others in announcing that Los Angeles waterways are now protected with the installment of screen covers and inserts at more than 20,000 street gutter “catch basins.” These covers and inserts have already diverted more than 1,500 tons of trash from reaching the ocean and polluting Los Angeles waterways and beaches. The street gutter catch basin covers and inserts were funded by Proposition O, the clean water bond that Los Angeles voters overwhelmingly approved in 2004.

Trash or chemicals such as paint or oil dumped into storm drains end up in our waterways -- so don't dump them down there! If you're unsure how to dispose of any item safely, you can call 3-1-1 to ask for help.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

New Urban Canvasses

Los Angeles Garment & Citizen has an article on the project our office has embarked upon to beautify our local utility boxes, which are those grey, anonymous boxes sprinkled throughout the Los Angeles streetscape. We have worked with AT&T and our community partners, Central City Action Committee and the Hollywood Beautification Team, to engage local artists and youth in painting these boxes. The Garment & Citizen article highlights the Carlos Callejo piece shown on the left, which Carlos painted with the help of youth in Echo Park. If you have an idea for a good box to paint, contact Kabira Stokes-Hochberg, our CD13 arts deputy.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A Day Without a Bag

Councilmember Greig Smith and I joined with Heal the Bay Director of Programs, Meredith McCarthy yesterday in City Council to proclaim December 20th as "A Day Without a Bag" in Los Angeles. Each year, Angelenos consume some 6 billion plastic bags, almost 600 bags per person per year! Only 5% of these bags get recycled (and it is important to know that we have made it possible for you to recycle plastic bags by putting them in your blue bins--here is a helpful list of what you can put in the blue bin), so the rest wind up in landfills, the Los Angeles River, Echo Park Lake, Santa Monica Bay, and our streets.

On December 20th, we are encouraging Angelenos to use reusable bags and get into the habit of using these bags for our shopping needs. We have only been using plastic bags since around 1977, so the habit shouldn't be a tough one to break, but we hope the blogosphere will help do its part to spread the word. If we can begin to live without consuming the amount of plastic bags we currently do, we can save landfill space, clean up our waterways, and reduce the amount of oil consumed and global greenhouse gases emitted in the manufacture of these bags.

Who's Number 1? We're Number 1!

Via our friends at Curbed LA, Los Angeles is the national leader in green development, ownership, and occupancy. While our friends around the country in cities like New York and Chicago have often enjoyed good press about their laudable green building efforts, we have more than twice as many green projects as New York and more than four times more than Chicago. This underscores that our early leadership (or LEEDership, as the case may be) is yielding results and helping lay a foundation in the public and private sector for buildings that will help us live more sustainably in Los Angeles. Considering that less than two years ago, we were seen as lagging but quickly catching up with our peer cities, this is great news for our city.

Older links on green building in LA:

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Huge Crowd for the Atwater Village Tree Lighting Ceremony

More than 500 people came out to help light the community Christmas tree in Atwater Village. Despite the cool temperature, the crowd enjoyed the students who sang and danced, Christmas carolers, and tasty treats. There was even a special appearance by Santa Claus, who arrived just in time to deliver the switch that turned on the Christmas tree lights.

The Atwater Village neighborhood, and particularly the Chamber of Commerce which sponsors the ceremony, have created a truly wonderful annual event that gets bigger and better every year.

Hollywood Pizazz and Midnight Ridazz

This morning, I helped to unveil plans for a newly-proposed office building above the Pantages Theater in Hollywood that was originally approved by the city in 1929 but never built. The Los Angeles Times had a preview from Roger Vincent of the As I said in the article: "How often do we get the chance to bring history back?"

In Hollywood, we are working to balance jobs and housing in Hollywood and we are having success in building badly-needed housing alongside high-paying entertainment jobs in our most famous neighborhood. When people can live close to where they work, it is good for the entire city, by relieving traffic and creating a neighborhood that residents, visitors, and employees alike can enjoy.

Thanks to the community leaders from our neighborhood councils, business associations, and historical preservation groups that have embraced this project moving forward.

Also in The Los Angeles Times is a piece by Liam Gowing on the phenomenon of bicyclists in our city known as Midnight Ridazz.

Finally, don't miss Kerry Cavanaugh's excellent story in the Daily News on one of our very own city employees, City Planner Simon Pistucha, who ditched his car two years ago and now enjoys a better quality of life as an Angeleno (actually Pasadenan) who traverses the city on foot, bus, train, taxi, and occasional shared car.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Making streets safer

New traffic signal on Temple
Originally uploaded by CD-13
Students from Rosemont Elementary School helped me dedicate a new traffic signal on Temple Street at Rosemont Avenue. More than 22,000 cars pass through this intersection every day and the new signal will make it safer for the 1,200 students who attend Rosemont and nearby Lake Street Primary Center. The community has been advocating for a traffic light here for years. It was great to be able to help them bring this much needed addition to their neighborhood.