Friday, August 28, 2009

Hollywood Hot Spot Pizza Party

Last night, nearly 100 students celebrated the end of the Hollywood Hot Spot summer program with a pizza party at Helen Bernstein High School.

Hollywood Hot Spot offered innovative programming to local high school students for eight weeks this summer. During that time, students created art projects and portfolios and others learned to play instruments for the first time.

At the Hollywood Hot Spot pizza party, students showcased their work from the summer. There was an urban art gallery, a live art demo with aerosol paint, a musical performance from SoundArt’s rock bands, and much more.

I am very proud of the students who participated this summer, and am looking forward to seeing many more great things from them in the future!

W Hotel in Hollywood is hiring

The W Hollywood is looking to fill more than 150 full-time and part-time jobs at its new hotel at Hollywood and Vine.

Some of the available jobs include agents, concierge, and welcome office positions, dining room staff, estheticians, massage therapists and more. All applications need to be completed online and are available here.

On August 31 at 11 a.m., the Talent Center, W Hollywood’s Recruitment Center (located at 6225 Hollywood Blvd), will open and candidate pre-screenings will begin. Offers of employment will begin on November 2. The hotel will open December 3.

For more information click here or call the W Hotels Job hotline at (323) 798-1380.

Echo Park Chamber of Commerce Dodgers Night

September 3 is the annual Echo Park Chamber of Commerce Dodgers Night. The event will raise money for the Echo Park Chamber of Commerce, an organization that promotes economic growth and increases communications among all members of the Echo Park community.

Come cheer for the Dodgers as they play against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

For more information or to purchase a ticket, email or call (213) 630-3032.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

FAQ: Simple tips to make riding public transit a more efficient experience for all

Do your part to help Los Angeles Metro trains run efficiently by following these simple tips to make sure riding the Red Line or other LA Metro trains is a great experience for all Angelenos.

  • When riding the escalators, remember to stand on the right and walk on the left. If you're standing, make sure that other passengers can pass you so that they can catch their bus connections and get where they need to go.
  • Let other passengers off of the train before you board.
  • Have your money ready at ticket kiosks so the line can move quickly.
  • Give priority seating to disabled or elderly passengers who board the train.
Enjoy the ride!

LAPD Western Corridor Clean-up

Last Saturday, more than 150 volunteers participated in the Western Corridor LAPD clean-up, which helped to beautify Western Avenue between Hollywood Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard.

LAPD Senior Lead Officer Brenda Ramirez organized the clean-up with volunteers and residents, and some of the participants included LAPD Captain Beatrice Girmala from, youth ministries from the Seventh-Day Adventist Church of Hollywood, and volunteers from Covenant House California.

A big thanks to everyone who helped to clean-up the streets of Council District 13!

Inaugural Barnsdall Art Park Outdoor Movie Night

On Saturday, September 5, come to Barnsdall Art Park in Hollywood (4800 Hollywood Blvd.) for an outdoor screening of the film “Swingers.” Bring a picnic, soft drinks, and a blanket. The film will start at 8 p.m. and $10 suggested donation is requested. Come early to get a good spot!

There will be a concession stand, a Coolhaus ice cream sandwich truck and the Let’s Be Frank hot dog truck. A beer tasting from Silverlake Wine will also be available from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tickets to the beer tasting are $25 (including the $10 suggested donation for the screening) and are available here.

All proceeds will benefit the Barnsdall Art Park Foundation.

Park[ing] Day LA 2009

On Friday September 18, stop by Heliotrope and Melrose for Park[ing] Day, an annual one-day global event where parking spaces are reclaimed and converted into temporary green spaces. The event encourages people to think about how public space is allocated and used.

At this free event you can enjoy plants, shade, seating, a swimming pool, gardening workshops, BBQ, games, a petting zoo, live music, a raffle, and more!

For more information, contact Alfredo A. Hernandez at
(323) 383-5915 or, or click here to find out more about the origins of Park[ing] Day.

Richard Neutra exhibit at the Los Angeles Central Library

Check out the Richard Neutra, Architect: Sketches and Drawings exhibit at the Getty Gallery of the Los Angeles Central Library before it closes on November 1.

Neutra's designs have had a tremendous impact on Los Angeles and this show exhibits over 135 drawings which are on loan from UCLA’s Charles E. Young Research Library.

While you’re at the Central Library, browse the vast selection of books, or check out some of the building's art and architectural features.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Relay for Life in Hollywood

Over the weekend, my office participated in Hollywood’s first Relay for Life at Helen Bernstein High School. The event raised awareness and money for the American Cancer Society and ran for 24 hours, from 9 a.m. on Saturday through 9 a.m. on Sunday.

The event featured food, live music, and the traditional Relay for Life Luminaria Ceremony that honors participants' family and friends who have had cancer. Hollywood
’s Relay for Life was also a green event- it was partially solar powered, there were plant and seedling giveaways, and vegan and vegetarian food was available.

I am very proud of everyone from my office who participated in the relay (particularly intern Charlotte who organized the CD13 team and stayed all 24 hours -- see photo of her catching a few zzz's in the tent), and I am looking forward to many more years of Relay for Life in Hollywood.

Celebrate National Community Garden Week

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has declared August 23-29 National Community Garden Week. Take some time this week to stop by your local community garden. Bring your family, take a tour, and consider investing time into cultivating herbs, fruits and vegetables in your own plot.

Here are some of the community gardens in Council District 13:

Fountain Community Garden, 5260 Fountain Ave.
Opened this summer, Fountain Community Garden is Hollywood’s newest community garden. The garden was created by local residents who transformed an empty lot into a community space.

Jardin del Rio, Riverdale at Crystal Street
This community garden was built at the site of a former nuisance property. The garden features a gazebo and custom designed gates.

Rosewood Ave. Community Garden, 4160 1/2 Rosewood Ave.

For a list of other community gardens in Los Angeles, visit the Los Angeles Community Garden Council website here.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Introducing the new Cityride fare card

On October 1, a new and more secure fare payment system will go into effect for all Los Angeles Department of Transportation Cityride customers. Each Cityride customer will receive a government-issued photo identification card that will function just like a pre-paid debit card (the fare will be deducted when the cards are swiped).

The new system will increase convenience for Cityride clients by eliminating the need to handle 84 paper scrip each quarter. The system will also provide better security, better taxi service and will reduce the potential for fraud.

For more information on the new Cityride Card, customers can call Cityride at (213,310,323,818) 808-7433. For the hearing impaired, the TDD number is 1-800-559-1950.

FAQ: Recycling

Here’s a statistic we can be proud of -- Los Angeles has the highest recycling rate out of the 10 largest U.S. cities. The recycling rate here is 65 percent and over 240,000 tons of recyclables are collected annually.

Wondering if an item can go in a blue recycling bin? For example, did you know that bottle caps must be screwed onto the bottles in order for the tops to be recycled? Click here for the Bureau of Sanitation list of all items that can be recycled in Los Angeles.

LA Bicycle Film Festival

The Los Angeles Bicycle Film Festival will run from August 26-30. The event is a celebration of bicycles through film, art, and music. Now in its ninth year, the festival is held in 39 cities worldwide, and this year 250,000 people are expected to attend.

On August 26, the indie rock band Deerhunter will open the festival. Film screenings will be held throughout Los Angeles during the week. To see a film schedule or buy tickets, click here.

Report illegal dumping and you could win $1,000

This week, the Department of Public Works released statistics on illegal dumping in Los Angeles for the fiscal year 2008-09.
During the year, 15 illegal dumping related arrests were made and 172 administrative hearings were conducted. Illegal dumping costs the City about $12 million annually in clean-up costs.

Do your part to keep Los Angeles clean! Report illegal dumping here and you could be eligible for a $1000 reward. Also, remember to call the city non-emergency service line, 3-1-1, if you need your own bulky items to be picked up.

For more information, contact the Department of Public Works Public Affairs Office at (213) 978-0333.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

FAQ: Street curb colors

Avoid traffic tickets!

Don’t mix up your red, blue, yellow and green curbs. The Los Angeles Department of Transportation website is a great resource for your FAQs on parking and transit regulations.

Click here for a refresher on the meaning of different curb colors in L.A. Find out where you can legally stop, pull over, or pick up passengers.

Echo Park Library book sale

Saturday, September 12 is the first Echo Park Library Community Group Book Sale.

Stop by the Echo Park Library Community Room (1410 West Temple Street) from 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for rummage items, Echo Park Library Knitting Club crafts, Echo Park Gardening Club seedlings, and books ranging in price from $0.25 to $0.50. There will also be free coffee and donuts while supplies last.

The Echo Park Library Community Group is also looking for donations for the book sale, which can be dropped off at Echo Park Library. For more information, contact Lisa Baca at (323) 660-7234 or

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

LA Public Transportation on Google Maps

Tired of driving in rush hour traffic or searching for a parking space?

Using Los Angeles public transportation became even easier this summer when Los Angeles Metro was added to Google Maps. This convenient and free service can help you easily plan your travel routes around Los Angeles.

To use Google Maps, click here, plug in your starting address and destination, choose the “public transit” option, and Google will calculate the best route.

It’s a great way to travel around town!

4th Annual Frogtown Artwalk

Save the date! The 4th annual Frogtown Artwalk, a free self-guided tour of studios and galleries in Elysian Valley, will be held on September 19 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Wander around the Los Angeles River and see some of the best talent of this diverse neighborhood. More than 30 artists will be opening their studios to display their videos, photographs, installations, and other art pieces. Local bands including Eagle Winged Palace and Victim Vision will provide live music from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Street parking will be available.

For more information and a map of tour sites, click here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Help Choose the New LAPD Chief

Want to help choose the next Bill Bratton? Come to a community meeting with the Los Angeles Police Commission to discuss what you’d like to see in your next Los Angeles Chief of Police:

  • September 2 at 6:30 p.m.: Friendship Auditorium (3201 Riverside Drive)
  • September 3 at 6:00 p.m.: DWP Community Auditorium (4030 Crenshaw Blvd.)
  • September 9 at 6:30 p.m.: Felicia Mahood Senior Center (11338 Santa Monica Blvd.)
  • September 10 at 6:30 p.m.: One Generation (18255 Victory Boulevard)

All meetings will be attended by two Police Commissioners and will be facilitated by Police Commission Executive Director Richard Tefank. For more information, call (213) 485-3531.

Got licuado?

I happily agreed to participate in the new Got Milk? summer milkshake campaign to encourage people to drink milk as part of a healthy, balanced diet. I knew immediately that I wanted my recipe to have a green tea flavor.

Mariah Swan, pastry chef of Grace and BLD, crafted the Green Passion Milkshake -- an amazingly tart and tangy licuado that I really enjoy. It’s a great healthy treat on a warm Los Angeles summer day.

Green Passion Tea Milkshake
Makes 2-3 servings
1 ½ cups ice
1 cup milk
¾ cup passionfruit juice
1 teaspoon green tea powder
½ cup honey
Pinch ground ginger (optional, for a little heat)

Place all ingredients into a blender and pulse until well-combined. Serve in a cold glass on a hot Los Angeles afternoon. Enjoy!

Free Small Business Tax and Opportunities Seminar

On Friday, August 28, all are invited to attend a free small business tax and opportunities seminar. Some of the topics that will be covered include tax law changes, business opportunities, tax credits and incentive programs to help small businesses during challenging economic times.

The seminar is hosted by State Controller John Chiang in collaboration with the Armenian National Committee of Hollywood and the Armenian American Chamber of Commerce - Little Armenia Chapter. It will be held at Karapetian Hall (1614 N. Alexandria Ave.) from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. There will be free parking on-site.

RSVP by emailing Audrey Noda. For more information, please call (213) 833-6020.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Job Readiness Workshop held in Atwater Village

Last night's Job Readiness Workshop at Chevy Chase Park in Atwater Village provided information to people about how to qualify and prepare for construction jobs. The workshop was led by Rene Angeles of Ironworkers Local 433 .

Next Thursday, Youth Employment Services will lead a workshop at the Chevy Chase Recreation Center. For more information, contact Arsen in my office at 323-957-4500.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Summer program keeping kids off the streets in Glassell Park

On Saturday night, I visited the Summer Night Lights program at Glassell Park. The program was launched by the mayor last year and is similar to the At the Park After Dark program we created at the Glassell Park Recreation Center in 2007 to give young people a safe, supervised place to go during the late summer evening hours.

Since the program's inception, young people in the neighborhood have had opportunities to participate in some great activities and this year is no exception. When I visited, I saw kids playing soccer, taking part in a beading jewelry workshop, and playing video games on an outdoor system. A few lucky participants won tickets to a Dodgers game.

Summer Night Lights continues until Labor Day weekend. For more information about locations and schedules, click here.

Save the date for Thai Cultural Day - September 20!

The 17th Annual Thai Cultural Day, sponsored by the City of Los Angeles's Department of Cultural Affairs and Team Thailand, is happening at Barnsdall Art Park on Sunday, September 20.

Thai Cultural Day is one of the many fun and interesting cultural events in Council District 13. It will feature delicious food, dancing demonstrations, a costume fashion show, arts and crafts, kickboxing, painting demonstrations and much more.

Mark your calendars so that you remember to check out this event!

Thank you for making Atwater Village walk a success!

Many thanks to the volunteers and staff (pictured at right) who helped make our Atwater Village neighborhood walk a success on Saturday morning.

We knocked on doors of both residences and businesses to share information about recent efforts to make the neighborhood safer and provide information on an upcoming workshops, and a job and resource fair. We also received feedback from the community on ways to improve the neighborhood. Many neighbors also expressed appreciation for the police department's efforts to crack down on gang activity.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Women's Resource and Job Fair in HiFi

All are welcome to attend the Women's Resource and Job Fair on Saturday, August 22, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 1910 W. Temple Street (near Alvarado). This event is presented by the City of Los Angeles Human Services Department and the Los Angeles Derby Dolls. I am also proud that my office is one of the sponsors.

This free event will feature information on career training, career counseling, and the opportunity to meet with employers and recruiters. More than 20 exhibitors will have representatives to meet with participants about career opportunities.

For more information, contact the Human Services Department at 213-978-0300. To RSVP in advance for one of the free workshops offered by the Los Angeles Fire Department, Community Development Department, Los Angeles City College, or Next Stage Life Coaching, please email the Human Services Department by August 17.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Making production sustainable

Today, I spoke at the Los Angeles Business Council's Sustainability Series Lunch Forum on a panel entitled: How do we Sustain and Grow Los Angeles’ Entertainment Industry?

We discussed the topic of "sustainability" both in terms of keeping filming in L.A. as well as encouraging productions to take advantage of cost savings and other benefits that go along with consuming less energy and water.

I've been a strong advocate of keeping production in Los Angeles. It's a vital part of our economy because it provides so many middle class jobs and also because it attracts tourists from all over the world visit Hollywood because of its connection to the entertainment industry.

As far as greening productions, industry professionals who participated in today's discussion stressed their commitment to the environment through the use of hybrid production vehicles, bio-diesel generators, LED lighting, and other innovative green technologies.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Emergency Preparedness fair coming to Hollywood

The 18th Annual Emergency Preparedness Fair will be held on Tuesday, September 23, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Hollywood and Highland (6801 Hollywood Blvd.).

Organized by the City of Los Angeles Emergency Management Department and its partners, the fair brings together representatives from city, county, state agencies, and community partners to provide information and resources to help you prepare for emergencies such as earthquakes, fires, floods, and landslides. The event will feature information booths, emergency preparedness demonstrations, activities for children, an entertainment stage, and a food court.

For more information, click here or call (213) 978-2222. (Pictured here is the winning poster from the Emergency Preparedness Department's poster contest. The artist is Daniel Kim of Lawrence Middle School.)

Hollywood gets more police officers

Today, I joined Mayor Villaraigosa and LAPD Chief Bratton in announcing the addition of 40 LAPD officers to Hollywood's Entertainment District, which will mean more foot patrol officers on our streets to make Hollywood a safer place to work, visit, and live.

Last year, Hollywood saw the greatest reduction in crime compared with every part of the city. Hollywood is a case-in-point that stronger neighborhoods bring families, investment, and tourism, and that an assurance of public safety can truly turn a neighborhood around. We’ve seen more than $2 billion invested in the neighborhood, and as the number of visitors to Hollywood increases, a focus on public safety is even more crucial.

Although Hollywood is one of the biggest areas of Los Angeles, the neighborhood had not received any significant increase in police officer deployment in almost a decade. Now, we’ve changed that.

Celebrate CA Coastal Cleanup Day at Echo Park Lake

On September 19, come to Echo Park for California Coastal Cleanup Day, one of the largest volunteer days in the world!

Volunteers will help clean up trash around the lake. The event will be hosted by Heal the Bay in partnership with the California Coastal Commission.

Please meet at Echo Park for registration at 8 a.m. The cleanup will be from 9 a.m. to noon.

For more information and to register, visit Heal the Bay's website or call (800) Heal Bay.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Thank you, Chief Bratton!

LAPD Chief Bill Bratton phoned me this morning to let me know about his plans to resign.

Chief Bratton has been an extraordinary leader for our police department, and I’d like to thank him for his exemplary service to the City of Los Angeles.

Under Chief Bratton’s watch, crime rates in LA have plummeted to the lowest levels in decades, more officers have been put on our city's streets and in our neighborhoods, and the reputation of the LAPD has improved significantly. A few weeks ago, the consent decree was lifted, which is further proof that Chief Bratton initiated a dramatic change in the culture of the LAPD. In Los Angeles, we have come to expect community-based and community-focused policing that emphasizes civil rights as well as public safety.

Our city is safer today because of Police Chief Bratton’s leadership, and I am optimistic that his legacy will make the LAPD a stronger institution for years to come.

L.A. stands with the President on health care reform

The health care crisis is a national issue, but one local leaders confront every day.

The numbers tell a story of need:

  • 18% of all Americans under 65 lack health insurance
  • 28% of non-elderly Angelenos are uninsured
  • In Council District 13, that number is even higher -- 37%

It is long past time for change.

Leaders in Congress are at work crafting legislation to meet President Obama’s three core principles for health care reform:

  • Reducing costs for families, businesses and government;
  • Protecting people’s choice of doctors, hospitals and health plans; and
  • Assuring affordable, quality health care for all Americans.

Today, Los Angeles became the first big city to endorse those principles.

Before voting on the resolution, we heard passionate and moving testimony from Angelenos with personal experiences with the difficulties of today’s health care system. Dr. Rab Razzak came to Council Chambers from his 13-hour overnight shift at Good Samaritan Hospital to share his perspective as a physician. Jack Dannibale told of his father’s decision to forgo chemotherapy at the hospital where he worked so that he could leave his sons money to go to college. He passed away days later.

These stories, these experiences, are not acceptable. Not here, not anywhere. We all know that it is time for real reform, and now this is the official position of the City of Los Angeles.

North Atwater Neighborhood Walk this Saturday!

We need volunteers to join me in walking the North Atwater Village neighborhood to talk to residents about city resources and upcoming community events.

After a short training, groups of volunteers will be dispatched throughout the neighborhood to share information with residents and hear their concerns.

To RSVP or for information, please call (323) 957-4500.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Here comes Pine Valley!

I'm very pleased that Los Angeles -- and specifically Andrita Studios in my Council District -- will be the new home to the ABC daytime drama All My Children when the production moves here in December.

I've been working to encourage more productions to come to L.A. and stay here, and was proud to work with ABC on issues such as identifying financing opportunities and studio space.

Flu shots at Glassell Park Community Center - September 25

Influenza, or more commonly known as "the flu," is a serious infectious disease that affects hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. The best way to protect yourself from the seasonal flu is to get vaccinated!

The Glassell Park Community Center, located on 3750 Verdugo Road, will be offering flu shots on Friday, September 25th from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Protect yourself and your community by getting a flu shot!

Echo Park Lake Bird Walk

Grab your binoculars!

The Echo Park Lake Bird Walk on Sunday, August 9 is a perfect opportunity for bird watchers of all levels to see and identify the different birds who call Echo Park their home.

More than 70 species of birds have been spotted in Echo Park in the past few years, including mallards, finches, great egrets, green herons, and others.

The Bird Walk is free and parents are encouraged to bring children. Meet at the Echo Park boathouse at 8:00 a.m. Another walk in Vista Hermosa Park will follow at 10:30 a.m.

For more information, e-mail or call (323) 663-6767.