Tuesday, December 30, 2008

An opportunity to help!

On Christmas Eve, I visited with families living at Ronald McDonald House so they can be near their children who are getting long-term care at one of our local hospitals.

During the holidays, many of us look for volunteer opportunities to help those in need, but those needs exist year-round. Ronald McDonald House Los Angeles needs volunteers to help at the reception desk and in the kitchen making means for families staying at the facility. Click here to learn more about Ronald McDonald House.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy holidays!

This photo first appeared in the July/August 2008 issue of Dwell Magazine. Photograph copyright 2008 - Misha Gravenor. Used with permission.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Chanukah!

Today I joined Mayor Villaraigosa, and Councilmember Greuel (pictured with me here) and Councilmember Perry to light the candles on the menorah at City Hall.

New Silver Lake walking path

Since 2005, Silver Lake residents have been able to enjoy a new and improved path for walking and jogging around the west side of the reservoir. This weekend, Councilmember LaBonge and I joined community members to cut the ribbon on the new path on the reservoir's east side.

This second phase of improvements included repairs to the retaining wall and completion of the walking path between Armstrong Avenue and the dog park. The new path spans approximately 3,300 feet.

The reservoir has always been the jewel of the Silver Lake community and now we are enhancing it with this new walking path. Not only does the path look great, it will help improve safety for walkers and joggers.

Friday, December 19, 2008

In these tough economic times, many organizations that serve those in need are finding themselves short of resources when they are most needed in our communities.

In Atwater Village, local business Pampered Birds is helping to collect canned goods for the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. Food drive organizers say that the generosity of local residents has already been overwhelming. One resident, Iris Acosta Lopez, donated more than 1,000 cans to help prevent families from going hungry during the holidays.
Those who wish to donate can bring items to the store (located at 3183 Glendale Blvd) now through January 3.

New ordinance protects against foreclosure-related evictions

Earlier this week, the City Council approved my proposal to suspend all foreclosure-related evictions in the City of Los Angeles for one year. This morning, Mayor Villaraigosa signed the ordinance into law, protecting all Los Angeles renters from being evicted because a bank assumes ownership of a property due to foreclosure.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Protecting renters from foreclosure-related evictions

Many renters are finding themselves out of a home because their landlords have fallen into foreclosure. We’ve helped people who have never missed a rent payment and are suddenly forced to move in the middle of this tough economy.

Today the Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved my proposal to suspend foreclosure-related evictions for one year. The ordinance now goes to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to be signed into law. This new ordinance will protect tenants and help protect neighborhoods from the nuisances that can accompany empty, boarded-up homes.

Under the city’s Rent Stabilzation Ordinance, renters in buildings built before 1978 are currently protected from evictions solely due to a change in property ownership through foreclosure. This ordinance would for a one-year period protect all renters in the City of Los Angeles from being evicted because a bank assumes ownership of a property due to foreclosure.

Renters who have questions about their rights in these situations should call the City of Los Angeles’s renter hotline: 1-866-557-RENT.

Council approves three-month billboard moratorium

Working to give neighborhoods more control over the construction of billboards in our communities, today the City Council approved a three-month moratorium on new billboards, including supergraphics and digital billboards. The temporary moratorium is now on its way to Mayor Villaraigosa to be signed into law. This measure will give the City time to craft a new billboard ordinance that will govern where, when, and how billboards can be constructed to help protect our cities from visual blight. The new ordinance is expected to be presented to the City Planning Commission at the end of January.

New gun laws to help make Los Angeles safer

Today the City Council will consider a package of new gun laws that will help Los Angeles take another step toward being America's safest big city. These laws include a ban on the possession and sale of .50 caliber ammunition. You can see a .50 bullet in the photo to the right. LAPD's SWAT team uses these to stop vehicles because they will go through an engine block. To quote Chief Bratton: civilians have no need for this kind of ammunition.

Gun violence plagues too many of our Los Angeles neighborhoods. Just a few blocks from my house, there have been two gun-related homicides in the last 18 months. These new laws combined with other law enforcement and crime prevention efforts will make a positive impact in our communities.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Beat

I had a great time joining Councilmembers Jan Perry and Bernard Parks on 93.5FM The Beat's community affairs show hosted by Niele this morning. We talked about a wide range of issues facing our city from public safety to the economy.

Friday, December 12, 2008

User Needs Survey for City of LA Website

The city’s website has just been redesigned and the Information Technology Agency (ITA) would like your feedback through a survey. Here's your chance to let us know what you like and also what we can improve on.

You can access the User Needs Survey by clicking here. If you don’t find it convenient to answer the questions online, you can send ITA an e-mail at ITA.webservices@lacity.org.

We're hoping to cast a wide net during the survey, which ends Tuesday, December 16, so let us know how we can better serve you!

Friday, December 05, 2008

GRAMMY Museum Grand Opening

Today I joined Mayor Villaraigosa, Councilmember Perry, and members of the community for the grand opening of the GRAMMY Museum. The brand new museum celebrates 50 years of awards ceremonies, focusing on the development of popular music and its effects on our culture. Highlights include interactive displays that explore how new genres emerge and relate to each other, a simulated sound booth where visitors can record their own songs, and memorabilia, including Elvis’ guitar and Miles Davis’ trumpet.

The museum is located on the campus of L.A. Live, which is now celebrating the holidays with a nightly multi-media display that is free and open to the public. If you’re interested in visiting L.A. Live or the GRAMMY Museum, check out their website!

Christmas tree safety

Christmas is just around the corner. As you start to prepare for the holiday season, please read some of the safety tips from the U.S. Fire Administration about caring for your tree. Every year, approximately 210 home fires begin with a Christmas tree, so make sure to follow their suggestions and keep your tree well watered to have the safest holiday possible.

New LAPD anonymous tip services

The LAPD has developed two new anonymous tip services in response to public demand for a secure way to submit crime tips to authorities. You can now send tips anonymously through text messaging by typing “LAPD” and your message to “CRIMES” (274637). The message is encrypted, which masks the sender’s identity before opening a dialogue with the LAPD Crime Stoppers.

There is also a new Web link where you can send the LAPD tips. Go to http://www.lapdonline.org/ and follow the link for “Anonymous Web Tips.” This also uses a secure server which protects your identity and makes it impossible for detectives to track.

The LAPD wants information on any type of crime, and these resources provide a great way to help cut back the crime in our neighborhoods safely. Remember, the tip services are for non-emergencies only, so if you have an emergency, always dial 911. For more information on the LAPD Anonymous Crime Tip Program, click here.

Atwater Village kicks-off the holidays

Atwater Village kicked-off the holidays with its 17th annual tree lighting ceremony. Hundreds of neighborhood residents came out to help illuminate the 80-year-old California Redwood tree on Glendale Boulevard. Many community organizations and leaders helped to make this event a huge success, including the Atwater Village Chamber of Commerce. Local school children, merchants, and the Tam O'Shanter Singers provided entertainment.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Are you good in a crisis?

Every year, volunteers for the city's Crisis Response Team (CRT) are dispatched to provide immediate crisis intervention and referrals to victims and their families who have been involved in a traumatic incident.

If you are interested in volunteering, a new eight week training session begins in January 2009 to help you develop the skills, knowledge, and relationships needed to serve as an effective CRT member. Volunteers must be at least 21 years old and in good physical condition. The program is especially in need of volunteers with bilingual capability in Spanish or Korean.

The program is managed by the Mayor's Office in close coordination with the city's Fire and Police Departments. Residents interested in learning more about volunteering for the Crisis Response Team should contact Jeffrey Zimerman, Crisis Response Team Manager, at 213-978-0697 or by e-mail.