Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Neighborhood Preparedness Ambassador Program workshops

Emergency preparedness is everyone’s responsibility, and it could save your life or the life of a friend of family member.

The City of Los Angeles is hosting a Neighborhood Preparedness Ambassador Program to train residents to make sure our neighborhoods is as prepared as possible for any natural disaster. The training is also designed so that participants will be able to teach these procedures to their Neighborhood Councils or other organizations.

The workshops will be held on two consecutive Saturdays -- April 18 and April 25 -- from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Olympic Community Police Station located at 1130 Vermont Avenue. Participants are asked to attend both sessions.

Classes are free, but space is limited. For additional information or to RSVP, contact Mona Curry at the Emergency Management Department at 213-473-9921 or by emailing mona.curry@lacity.org.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Camping opportunities for inner city youth

The City's Department of Recreation and Parks will provide hundreds of inner city youth with an opportunity to experience overnight campaign this spring through its Wonderful Outdoor World (WOW) program. I'm excited that the Hollywood Recreation Center will be one of the WOW sites this year.

The Hollywood Rec Center WOW program will be April 3-4, 2009. Campers will learn about basic camping skills such as tent set-up, basic first aid and fire safety; caring for our environment; our ecosystem; and astronomy. All campers receive a sleeping bag, journal, and t-shirt. The cost is $5 per camper.

For more information, click here.

2009 Pioneer Woman: Hyepin Im

This morning each Los Angeles City Councilmember recognized an outstanding woman leader as part of our Pioneer Woman awards, and I had the pleasure of honoring Hyepin Im.

Hyepin founded and serves as the President of Korean Churches for Community Development (KCCD), which has organized more than 4,000 Korean American churches around the country to do economic development work. KCCD also reaches out directly to families through innovative initiatives including a Homeownership Initiative that has educated more than 4,000 potential homebuyers, a national database and research study on Korean American Churches, a financial literacy program, and a program for at-risk Asian American youth that is funded by a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Hyepin was recently confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a Presidential appointee to the Board of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal government’s largest funder of service and volunteerism. Her leadership was integral to the success of KCCD’s two conferences with the White House that brought together Asian American leaders to learn about faith-based economic development.

Hyepin is an outstanding example of the entrepreneurial spirit of a pioneer woman. Her work in our communities not only benefits families today, but is laying the foundation for a better quality of life for future generations.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

GlenFeliz/Valleybrink/Dover Intersection Improvement Project underway in Atwater Village

Construction has begun on the GlenFeliz/Valleybrink/Dover Intersection Improvement Project, which will make the 5-way intersection safer for drivers and pedestrians. City crews are pouring concrete to extend the curb and to bring the sidewalks into ADA compliance. The crosswalks will also be restriped so that they are more visible to drivers and the area will also be beautified with plants. Once the project is completed, volunteers with the City's Adopt-A-Median program will maintain the landscaping.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Composting workshop this Saturday!

As a city, we produce an astounding 6,652 tons of waste per day. To help make Los Angeles a more sustainable community and to help close more city landfills, the Department of Public Works has begun hosting monthly workshops to teach how we each can help cut back on waste through backyard composting.

The next workshop is this Saturday, March 28, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Griffith Park Composting Education Facility located at 5400 Griffith Park Drive. For a schedule of other workshops and compost bin sales, please visit the Department of Public Works website.

Can the Ugly Betty experience help us keep jobs in LA?

This morning, the City Council will vote on a package of incentives to keep filming in Los Angeles. The incentives are part of a report that I requested after Ugly Betty moved its production from our city to New York.

The incentives include assistance with identifying parking and with reducing parking costs, the installation of utility nodes in frequently used locations to eliminate the need for on-site generators, and taking action to implement a business tax break for productions.

The report also included an analysis by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) that quantified what we've always known to be true -- runaway production means fewer jobs for Angelenos and hurts our economy. LAEDC's study concluded a one-hour television program generates more than 180 direct jobs and supports 540 indirect jobs as well as generates $2.2 million in state income taxes and $880,000 in state sales taxes.

The entertainment industry is a key economic driver for Los Angeles, and we need to do what we can to keep production where it belongs – in the entertainment capital of the world.
You can read a full copy of the report here.
UPDATE: The City Council unanimously adopted the incentives today.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Housing Rights Workshop tomorrow!

If you have questions about fair housing, evictions, security deposits, rent increases, or repairs, join us tomorrow (Wednesday, March 25) for a housing rights workshop. The workshop will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Belmont High School located at 1575 W. 2nd Street.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact Aida Alvarado at 323-957-4500.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Teaching for America (and Los Angeles)

Today I participated in a program sponsored by Teach for America that brings government and business leaders into the classroom to experience what it is like to be a teacher in our public schools.

I taught two great science classes at Virgil Middle School. We talked about our environment and human impact on our planet. The students had thoughtful questions -- many about the possible cuts to public school budgets that could result in larger class sizes and the loss of good teachers. Their intelligence and interest in doing their part to improve our community made me even more hopeful for our city's future.

New Kaiser Hospital facility coming to Hollywood

On Friday night I attended the grand opening of Kaiser Hospital's newest facility in East Hollywood. The nearly 800,000 square foot hospital will offer primary care, specialty care, health classes, and other services. The new building features advanced technology, clinical resources, and physicians representing a a range of specialties. There is also plenty of green space, including a play area for pediatric patients.

This new facility -- which officially opens next Tuesday -- is a part of the Los Angeles Medical Center, which is the largest Kaiser Permanente facility in the United States. Overall, this complex features a hospital, mental health center, and 11 medical office buildings with over 5,400 employees, 1,000+ registered nurses, 652 physicians, and a revenue base of $1 billion.

Kaiser has not only played an important role in keeping our community healthy by treating its members, it has also provided financial contributions to local organizations that work in our neighborhoods. A few examples include the Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic, LACER Afterschool Program, Hollywood Police Activities League, Hollywood Community Housing Corporation, and the Los Angeles Youth Network. Kaiser was also a major sponsor of the At the Park After Dark programs in Hollywood last year.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Thank you, Clean and Green!

It can get kind of messy at the public staircase at the intersection of Council and Lake Shore Terrace (next to Glendale Blvd.) in Echo Park. When the Echo Park Chamber of Commerce told our office that the situation had gotten particularly bad, we called on Los Angeles's very own Clean and Green program to help. Within 24 hours, Clean and Green youth workers had cleaned it up. Thank you, Clean and Green!

Principal for Day

Today I am participating in the Principal for a Day program sponsored by the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce and the Los Angeles Unified School District. It's been a great experience to see first-hand the many challenges of running an urban public school. I've talked to administrators, teachers, staff, and students.

Many things have changed since I was a student at a Los Angeles public school in the 80s, but certain things - like the dedication of some great educators - have not.

We still have a long way to go to make sure every student has the resources they need for success, and I am as committed as ever to helping to make that happen.

Happy Norooz!

Today is Norooz, the Persian New Year marking the first day of spring. I'm pleased to wish a happy Norooz to all!

Norooz has many traditions and symbols, including the goldfish which represents life. Colorful goldfish are often part of the traditional Norooz table arrangement - called Haft Sin - such as the one in the City Hall rotunda this morning.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Volunteers Needed for Homeless Demographic Surveys

As a follow up to the 2009 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority is conducting Homeless Demographic Surveys throughout the county to get a better understanding of the homeless population in Los Angeles. Tomorrow night they will be surveying the Hollywood community, and still need volunteers to help conduct these interviews. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Sarah MacPherson at the Hollywood Business Improvement District at sarah@hollywoodbid.org.

In Washington (again) to advocate for Los Angeles

I'm back in Washington, DC, with the National League of Cities. Mayors and City Councilmembers from across the country are here to meet with federal government leaders regarding our need for economic recovery funds.

We are also sharing best practices. This morning I spoke to a group of fellow councilmembers about Los Angeles's workforce development programs. I was proud to share with them information about the Health Care Career Ladder program that we started at Los Angeles City College to prepare students for jobs in the growing health care industry. The Career Ladder program allows students to take classes to prepare them for entry level jobs, and then work while continuing to take classes that will help them move up the career ladder. The program has been such a success that we are looking to expand the program to other industries.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Come help build Hollywood's newest community garden!

The next Fountain Community Garden Work Day will be on Saturday, March 21, from 9 a.m. to noon. The garden is located at 5620 Fountain Avenue (at St. Andrews).

Participants will help plant trees, fill garden beds, construct the pathway, and get the garden ready for spring plantings.

The first Fountain Community Garden Work Day was a huge success thanks to the many community members who came out to help (including the students in the photo). Come on out and participate with your neighbors on this great community project!

For more information or to RSVP, please call Helen Leung at 323-957-4500.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fighting for Los Angeles in Washington DC

I’m in Washington DC this week to advocate for federal funding to help Los Angeles.

This morning, I attended a bipartisan meeting that not only brought together Republicans and Democrats, but Southern Californians and Northern Californians to fight to ensure that our Golden State gets the federal resources we need in this tough economy. In an impressive show of strength and unity, we filled a hearing room at the Cannon House Office Building with more than 400 civic and business leaders to hear from 12 members of Congress.

Some of the funding we've discussed will help us keep people in their homes and allow cities to hire more police to keep our neighborhoods safe.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Hope Rides Again through Hollywood

This weekend hundreds of cyclists took to the streets of Hollywood with seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong to launch Stages, a partnership between Nike and the Lance Armstrong Foundation to raise awareness of and funding to fight cancer.

Through Stages, artists from around the world create art inspired by Lance's courage and determination to beat cancer. Los Angeles artist Shepard Fairey is among the 20 artists who are participating in this unique project.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Young artists beautifying neighborhoods - RaeVaughn

This is the second blog in a series in which young artists talk about the art they created on city traffic control boxes as part of our effort to beautify East Hollywood, Thai Town, and Little Armenia. LA Commons -- a non-profit organization that works with communities across the city to highlight their ethnic, historic and cultural assets -- enlisted the artists who are from local neighborhoods. To protect the art, the boxes have an anti-graffiti coating.

Artist: RaeVaughn

Traffic control box location: Southwest corner of Hollywood Blvd. and Alexandria

Message from the artist: I started this project with Grace at Hollywood Youth and Family Center as a part of community service. When that service was done I kept on going because I love this project and I want to be a part of future art projects. One more thing I have to say (about the 27 fellow youth artists) ... we started out strangers and ended up friends."

Spring forward on Sunday

Daylight Savings Time begins on Sunday at 2:00 a.m. Remember to set your clocks an hour ahead before you go to bed on Saturday night!

Also, remember to reset automatic sprinkler systems and lights that are on timers to help us conserve energy and water. It's also a great time to check the batteries in your smoke detectors.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Young artists beautifying neighborhoods: Eddie Cortez

I was pleased to partner with LA Commons -- a non-profit organization that works with communities across the city to highlight their ethnic, historic and cultural assets -- to enlist young people to create works of art on city traffic control boxes in East Hollywood, Thai Town, and Little Armenia. To protect the art, the boxes have an anti-graffiti coating.

This is the first blog in a series in which the artists will introduce their work.

Artist: Eddie Cortez
Traffic control box location: Northeast corner of Hollywood and Western
Message from the artist: I started with ideas that I had in my head. The first thing I drew was a tree. I went through a Thai art book and got ideas for how to make my design more Thai-like. Then it just fell into place. I created the Dancing Trees. It just means to go green and to save this planet. People need to get more involved with what goes on.

New foodbank in Hollywood is open for customers, needs volunteers

A new foodbank in Hollywood will distribute canned food, beans, rice, and other items free of charge to people in need. The foodbank is coordinated by Los Angeles Housing Partnership and is located at the organization's Bronson Family Apartments (1229 N. Bronson Ave). Food distribution will occur on the first Friday of the month starting this week, March 6, at 4 p.m. Volunteers are also needed to help pack food. For more information about receiving food or volunteering, please contact Matthew Valdez at Los Angeles Housing Partnership.

Public viewing of California Supreme Court hearing

This morning, all are invited to City Council Chambers to watch a live public viewing of the California Supreme Court hearing regarding Proposition 8, which was passed by California voters in November 2008 and eliminated the right of same sex couples to marry. The hearing is being televised on the California Channel, and is scheduled to occur from 9 a.m. to noon today.

All of us – gay and straight – who care about fairness, justice, tolerance, and equality are watching this case closely with the greatest hope for our state and our nation that those who serve to protect our rights and freedoms will see fit to do so for all of us.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Suspect arrested and charged in Echo Park/Glassell Park shootings

Today I joined Chief Bratton and Councilmember Huizar in announcing that an arrest has been made in the Echo Park and Glassell Park homicides that occured on Sunday evening. The suspect is a documented gang member who has been booked for murder with bail set at $1 million.

As a resident of Echo Park who lives not far from where these shootings happened, I want to reaffirm to my neighbors that I am committed to the safety of our communities. I'm proud that earlier this week, we announced that LAPD reached a departmental record for the number of officers deployed. And I want to thank the officers whose hard work and expertise led to this arrest. We'll keep working to make Los Angeles the safest big city in America.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Belmont Zone of Choice enrollment workshops are happening now

Parents of 8th graders at King, Berendo, Virgil, and Leichty Middle Schools are invited to attend informational meetings to help them select and apply to one of 19 Belmont Zone of Choice public high schools for their student.

At these meetings, parents will learn more about the application process and have the opportunity to find out about the public high school options for their student.

Meetings are being held on middle school campuses through April 2, 2009. For information about the Belmont Zone of Choice enrollment process and a schedule of meetings, click here.

Vote today!

Today is Election Day in the City of Los Angeles. If you need help finding your polling place, click here to go to the County Registrar-Recorder's online polling place locator.

Monday, March 02, 2009

LAPD force reaches record level

More than 60 new recruits to LAPD started their training today and their addition to the department marks a record number of police officers for Los Angeles. At 9,895 officers, this is the largest deployment in LAPD's history (the previous high was in 1998 with 9,852 officers).

I've been working to expand our police force and have consistently supported city budgets that have allowed us to hire more officers. Under the leadership of Chief Bratton, our department is using technology to strategically deploy officers and it is working in partnership with community residents to deter and solve crimes.

But we know we have a lot more to do.

Just last night there were shootings in Echo Park and Highland Park; two victims are dead and one is in the hospital. That is three too many.

I am committed to continuing to add officers to our police department to protect and serve our neighborhoods.

Fountain Community Garden work day!

Fountain Avenue at St. Andrews Place is about to get a little greener thanks to community volunteers and businesses. The Fountain Community Garden is under construction on a 0.42 acre city-owned property and will feature 50 garden plots, a landscaped area with native plants, and community open space.

On Saturday morning, dozens of volunteers helped build planter beds and plant trees in preparation for local gardeners who will begin planting in about a month. Many thanks to the Home Depot for providing materials and equipment for the work day, and to the many volunteers who made the day a huge success.