Tuesday, August 21, 2007

"We have to build the housing ourselves"

The Executive Director of PATH Ventures, which is going to build an 80-unit apartment building at Hollywood and Gower for formerly homeless men and women, has begun blogging at the LA Homeless Blog about PATH Ventures' strategy for fighting homelessness.

All the homeless folks I have ever met have only one thing in common: they do not have homes.

This is why PATH Partners, highly esteemed for its successful direct service programs, created PATH Ventures. We recognize that, while it is necessary to provide direct services, it is not enough.

The average monthly rent in Los Angeles and Orange Counties is $1607[1]. So, all the supportive services in the world are not going to be enough to help very low income people afford these rents.

The blogosphere welcomes Shane Goldsmith (who until very recently was this office's Senior Legislative Deputy). Hi, Shane!

Coyotes in the area

My neighbor.
Originally uploaded by kbakken
The high number of calls to my office tells me that coyotes have been seen in greater numbers in CD13, likely as a result of the Griffith Park Fire. I've even seen a few in my own neighborhood in Echo Park. Courtesy of the Department of Animal Services, some hints on dealing with your wilder four-legged neighbors:

A number of factors, including people leaving out food for animals, and the presence of unenclosed refuse containers encourage coyotes to interact with humans.

Coyotes are wild animals. Do not encourage or approach them. They are smart, fast, and they will take what they can get.

Cats should be maintained indoors at all times. Dogs must be kept under direct supervision and restrained by a substantial chain or leash not exceeding 6 feet in length while being walked in any public area.

The Department of Animal Services suggests the following guidelines to assist residents in co-existing with this wildlife:

  • Do not leave small children and pets (even if caged) unattended outdoors.
  • Should you have to maintain your pet outdoors and you have the room to do so, consider the placement of an enclosed dog or cat run adequate in size to allow your pet exercise. The run should contain a 6 sided shelter and potable water and have some shade to protect your pet from direct sunlight.
  • Do not encourage, entice, app roach or feed mammalian wildlife such as coyotes, which is a violation of the law. (L.A.M.C. 53.06.5)Please remove your pet’s food dish or bowl when your pet has inished eating and do not leave any unattended foods outdoors.
  • Pick up all fallen fruit & berries from your yard and if possible, do not leave ripened fruit on branches. Trim ground level shrubbery and low hanging branches. Enclose or remove wood piles.
  • Enclose vegetable gardens with sturdy welded wire mesh or greenhouse.
  • Clear dense vegetation to reduce wildlife hiding places.
  • Secure crawls spaces such as access ways under the house, decks, and porches by screening of with high gauge welded wire mesh where possible. Do not use chicken wire as most wildlife can chew right through it.
  • Block access under storage sheds and containers.
  • Clean all grills or barbecues after use.
  • Secure or store trash containers in enclosed structures or securely strap down the lids, do not place refuse containers out until the day of service. Spray ammonia occasionally in the trash to cut down on food odors.
  • Canned goods, water bottles, soda cans, soaps, cosmetics, toiletries, and trash, unwashed items that were used for preparing or eating meals can become food. Coyotes are opportunistic predators and eat fruit, vegetables, and refuse in addition to their usual prey.
  • Report abandoned or severely neglected unkempt property to the Department of Building and Safety and overgrown brush to the Fire Department as wildlife may often take up living at such locations.
  • Keep your property well lit at night and use motion lights when possible to help alert you to activity outdoors.
  • Placing an electronic motion activated device such as a motion alarm with strobe or motion activated sprinkler may help to discourage wildlife from your property. A radio plugged in to a motion activated outlet may scare away wildlife outside (Use caution for outdoor electronics near water sources and avoid setting out where
  • they may be rained on).
  • Make sure that your fence is secure. Check for gaps and openings that even a cat can it through. Fence heights should be increased to 6 feet when possible and have an angled addition at the top extending outward for and additional 16 to 24 inches at 45 degrees. Coyotes have been known to scale chain-link so consider options to block climbing. Wrought iron bars should be no further apart than 4” inches in width to avoid wildlife squeezing between or even your pet from exiting. You might also consider wrought-iron mesh to cover half way up the fence height as well. Coyotes may walk on top of brick or cinder block walls so consider obstructing the top of the wall with lattice, lower pots, etc. (A variance may be required for fences over 6 feet in height.)
What you should do should you see a coyote?
  • Do not turn and run. Running may be the trigger for the coyote to chase you and coyotes can sprint at up to 40 mph.
  • Teach children never to approach coyotes just as you would tell them about stray dogs.
  • Make yourself appear larger by raising your arms and waiving them. If you have a jacket or belt with you, wave it around over your head and yell in a loud low tone at the coyote.
  • Stomp your foot and clap your hands to scare them.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Riding Atwater Village & Elysian Valley

Originally uploaded by Wildbell
William Campbell took a Sunday bike ride through the CD13 river communities of Atwater Village and Elysian Valley and has an exquisite Flickr set to show for it. (via blogging.la)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Helping Those At Risk of Foreclosure

Already in the midst of a housing crisis, thousands of Angelenos are now facing the possibility of losing their home to foreclosure due to the ongoing collapse of the sub-prime market. Though many people feel that this is a burden that they must face alone, the ripples started in the mortgage lending industry have now affected all sectors of the economy, and as a result, what may feel like a private defeat has become part of a public crisis.

In response to the growing number of people at risk of losing their home, the city council has allocated $100,000 towards financial literacy programs that can provide assistance to the most vulnerable populations. The Housing Department is going to issue a request for proposals, and we'll soon hear from contractors who can reach people at risk and give them the help they need.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Health Care for All

It's been said that a conservative was a liberal who got mugged. As our health care system continues to buckle and fail before our eyes, changing the minds of many who formerly belittled the idea that government should provide health care as a public good, the newer version of the phrase is that a liberal is a conservative who got sick.

I had the honor of emceeing a rally on City Hall's front lawn in support of Shelia Kuehl's Senate Bill 840, which would create single-payer health insurance in California.

Part of the 365-city tour in support of SB840, the rally featured speakers from the unions and activist groups that are pulling together to make universal health care a reality. There's more information at the campaign's website. Sign up and get involved.

The Los Angeles City Council has long endorsed single-payer health care for California, and I was proud to be part of sponsoring a motion to do so this year with Councilmember Richard Alarcon.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Hal Fishman 1931-2007

Hal Fishman 1931-2007
Originally uploaded by appleguy
To the many tributes paid Hal Fishman in the blogosphere, let me add only this: My last interview with the venerated KTLA anchor was earlier this year, and the subject was new development in Hollywood, as well as the issues that face the whole city. We spoke about many of the development and transportation issues that I've discussed on this blog, and he asked me tough questions that really dug into the issue. Just last week, at a small ceremony at the Gene Autry museum, Hal's 47 years of broadcasting were celebrated along with KTLA's 60th anniversary. Los Angeles misses him.

Hi-Fi 5k @ 5

Historic Filipinotown celebrated its fifth anniversary this past weekend, featuring a 5k run/walk down Temple Street. Congratulations to all the Hi-Fi activists who have done so much to unify and beautify this community over the past five years. (The Historic Filipinotown tag on this blog is a good quick review of some of the community's notable features and feats.) Thanks to my fellow councilmember Wendy Greuel for joining the celebration. And congratulations to the sizable CD13 staff contingent who ran the 5k! More pics by nalaboe on flickr.