Friday, September 28, 2007

Silver Lake DASH, One Day Only!

Proposed Silver Lake DASH Route
Originally uploaded by CD-13
Saturday, September 29 is your chance to try out the Silver Lake DASH. Leave your car at home and see how many Silver Lake spots you can hit: a walk around the reservoir? Lunch at a restaurant? Grocery shopping? Music lessons?

We'll have four buses on loan for the day, and they'll be running at 15-minute intervals from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Yerevan, Sister City

Yerevan, Sister City
Originally uploaded by CD-13
Yerevan has long been a sister city in our hearts. Now it's on our sign.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Picture, Thousand Words

Shane and Monica's Wedding
Originally uploaded by CD-13
I don't think I could amplify the spirit of the last post any more than by including a picture of the wedding I described.

Rally for Equality

Rally for Equality
Originally uploaded by CD-13
One of the greatest privileges that I've enjoyed as an elected official has been to perform marriage ceremonies. Friends and colleagues have asked me to preside over celebrations of their love and commitment to one another. I've had the opportunity to wed both heterosexual and same-sex couples, the latter including two former CD13 staff members known to readers of, Shane Goldsmith and Monica Granados.

Attitudes on same-sex marriage are undergoing a huge generational shift, but the law in this country has been slow to accommodate this change. Meanwhile, activists continue to advocate for equality under the law all over the nation. I joined the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center and a host of other gay rights advocates in calling on the Governor to sign AB43, Assemblymember Mark Leno's bill that would make marriage in California gender-neutral. AB43 would make California a state where everyone can enjoy the benefits of marriage, from the social sanction of legal recognition to the material privileges that come with married.

No matter what comes of this legislative session, we'll continue to work towards just and equal marriage laws.

New Jobs Committee

I had the pleasure to welcome businesses from across Los Angeles to council chambers as the LA Area Chamber of Commerce sponsored the 10th annual Access City Hall. In those ten years, participants have visited three different mayors and have seen the name above every council district’s office door change (and one change back).

When I first came to office, I decided that the time had come to get real business tax reform done. I was greeted by ten years of shelved reports and big ideas that had fallen by the wayside. nonetheless, I pushed with Councilmember Wendy Greuel to pass the Greuel-Garcetti business tax reform. That legislation has seen taxes fall and receipts rise as Los Angeles officially nailed its “Open for Business” sign to the door.

Our next step to bring economic prosperity to Los Angeles begins October 1st, when Councilmember Greig Smith will officially be appointed chair of the Jobs, Business Growth, and Tax Reform committee. As Council President, I created this committee to give the issues critical to business a single, focused home. The committee and the chair will champion the middle-class jobs that have made Los Angeles great, bringing together government, industry, and community groups to explore new enterprises such as the exploding renewable energy market.

Los Angeles has the raw material of a 21st century city. The challenge before all of us to transform our city into an economic hub for the entire world.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Chief Barry

Firefighters and a new chief
Originally uploaded by CD-13
I joined the mayor and my colleagues on the council for the swearing in of interim Fire Chief Douglas Barry as the permanent chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department. Congratulations, Chief. It's an awesome task, to keep a city safe and reform a department at the same time. I know you're up to the job.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Green Season: Beverly Union Park

Originally uploaded by CD-13
The Green Season continued this weekend in Historic Filipinotown, where I was joined again by the Neighborhood Land Trust to welcome CD13’s 19th new park in the last six years, Beverly Union Park (the name "Unidad Park" has been proposed).

Partnering with the Anna Bing Living Trust, a foundation committed to expanding recreational space in the city, the new park features a playground, landscaping, a BBQ pit and a community garden that neighbors of all ages can enjoy.

Perhaps the park’s most distinctive feature is the “Gintong Kasaysayan, Gintong Pamana” (“A Glorious History, A Golden Legacy) mural, painted by Eliseo Silva. The largest Filipino American mural in the country, it serves as a major landmark to the Filipino-American experience. Unidad Park is a space for the diverse communities of CD13 to share; it's a space that is also shared with history.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Hue mai?

Thai Elvis
Originally uploaded by thebradmiskell
There's never been a better time to take a blog-guided eating tour of the 13th District's Thai Town, on Hollywood Boulevard between Western Avenue and Normandie Avenue. (Thai Town is a designation of the commercial thoroughfares; Little Armenia, which covers some of the same territory, includes the residential districts and the side streets.)

Gridskipper has entered the fray with "The Best Eats of Thai Town", which calls out their 6 favorites places to eat.

With 8 entries (by 6 different authors) and counting, however, LAist dominates the category with their "Thai On One" category.

Hungry yet?

Fran Drescher

Fran Drescher
Originally uploaded by CD-13
“I feel like I got famous, I got cancer, and I lived to talk about it,” Fran Drescher said to the City Council this morning.

Years ago, Drescher was misdiagnosed with a perimenopausal condition. After a two-year, eight doctor odyssey, she was finally told she had uterine cancer. She turned that experience into a bestselling book, Cancer Schmancer, and now leads the Cancer Schmancer Movement.

Drescher also was a leader in the effort to pass "Johanna's Law" (aka The Gynecologic Education and Awareness Act), signed into law in January 2007. The U.S. Department of State recently appointed her "Special Envoy for Women's Health Issues",

The Cancer Schmancer Movement is working to ensure that all women's cancers are diagnosed in Stage 1, when they are most curable. Her unique gift combines compassion, experience, personal outreach, legislative savvy and a very recognizable laugh. She's just begun to save lives.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Green Season: Marsh Street Skate Park

Marsh Street Skate Park
Originally uploaded by CD-13
Open space is a scarce resource in Los Angeles, where less than half an acre is available to every 1000 residents. Recreational space is an even more precious commodity, as less than a third of Angeleno youth live within a half mile of a safe space to play.

Shortly after taking office, I was approached by members of St. Anne’s Church and Elysian Valley United, concerned about the lack of viable alternatives for their children and their families in one of the city’s park-poorest communities. Working with the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust (LANLT), we identified a space that had once been part of a glass factory and were able to transform it into an active skate park that will be run year-round by the LANLT.

Six years later, we joined with those very same constituents and our new partners to christen the new Marsh Street Skate Park, along with scores of young skaters and a live band.

Marsh Street Skate Park is the first of three new parks that will open in CD13 during the next month. These are the 18th, 19th, and 20th parks that have been opened since I took office in 2001. We'll reach a total of 33 parks in CD13. The green season for CD13 is in full bloom.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Originally uploaded by mashroms
Last week, high temperatures and record demand caused the loss of power to nearly 30,000 Department of Water and Power customers. With Councilmembers Jan Perry, Tom LaBonge, and Wendy Greuel, I announced Operation C.O.O.L. LA to improve our city’s power infrastructure and provide reliable information to customers during emergencies year-round.

In early spring of this year, Councilmember Perry and I brought DWP in to the Energy and Environment Committee to get briefed on how the utility would prevent power outages like those that plagued ratepayers in 2006. While they had undertaken a program of replacing old transformers, they said that they did not expect temperatures to return to 2006 levels. They hadn't taken into account increases due to global warming, only regular weather variations. Long story short: they said they'd be prepared. They weren't.

This week, we'll be holding special hearings in the Energy and the Environment committee, and we'll introduce a motion to commence Operation C.O.O.L. LA:

Customer Service – when the lights go down, you deserve information fast

Operations – audit the system, learn the weak spot, fix the problem

Oversight – LADWP reports to council every month, starting now

Load – create and promote incentives to reduce the demand on the system

We'll be keeping track of the utility's efforts throughout the year, and I'll update you as we make progress.


Originally uploaded by Wildbell
Earlier this summer, when the Department of Recreation and Parks ran out of funds to keep the Echo Park paddleboat operation afloat, I made sure that we kept them going throughout the summer. We won weekend operations through labor day. The summer's over; the boats are back in the dock. Thanks to all who got out and about under the fountain's spray these past few months.

In the long haul, there will be boats on Echo Park Lake as long as there's water to paddle them on. The Department of Recreation and Parks has placed on them on hiatus for the off-season, but we're going to work with them to find a plan that floats, and we'll bring them back soon. We're not going to take no for an answer.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Try out a DASH of Silver Lake

Proposed Silver Lake DASH Route
Originally uploaded by CD-13
On Saturday, September 29th, Silver Lake will host the first trial run of the proposed DASH line running through the neighborhood. Coordinated with the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council elections and the breaking of ground for the Silver Lake Library (a LEED Gold structure), the trial run of the DASH route will give Silver Lake residents a glimpse of what a neighborhood connector could do.

Survey input and on-the-ground interviews helped to shape the proposed route, which runs north from near the 101 along Silver Lake Blvd., around the reservoir and back down Hyperion connecting shopping areas, residential areas, and parks in the community. Can a DASH line connect our neighborhoods to major transportation corridors and get Silver Lake out of its cars? We'll start to find out later this month. Save the date to jump on board!