Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Recycle your Christmas tree

Now that Christmas has passed and decorations are coming down, I wanted to remind everyone that in Los Angeles it is illegal to leave Christmas trees on the curb because they are a fire hazard.

Christmas trees may be easily recycled by cutting them and placing them in your green bin OR by taking them to designated drop-off sites (including 15 fire stations).

For more information about the City of LA's Christmas tree recycling program call 3-1-1 or
click here.

Glassell Park Chamber of Commerce Mixer - January 13

The Glassell Park Chamber of Commerce will kick off 2010 with a mixer on Wednesday, January 13, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Eagle Rock Brewery (3056 Roswell Street). Meet other Glassell Park and neighboring community business operators and learn about plans for 2010.

For more information, please contact James Bond via email or 626/483-5338.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Thank you to all who donated to the CD13 canned food drive

Thank you to all who donated canned food items to be distributed to needy families this holiday season. I'd like to extend a special thank you to the Dickerson Employee Benefits office, which donated more than 200 of the more than 400 items we collected this year!

Your generosity will benefit families served by PATH (People Assisting the Homeless), SOVA, and Temple Israel of Hollywood.

Happy holidays to all!

Musical Strangers create good cheer

This holiday season the Silver Lake Musicians Co-op, an organization that engages musicians in civic activity, has been organizing local talents to perform free concerts at hospitals and convalescent homes to spread holiday cheer. The participants are people from all walks of life, including educators, students, salespeople, and even professional musicians such as Jim Wootten, Led Zepagain bassist and nephew of the legendary Les Paul.

The We Were Strangers Yesterday Christmas Band has raced from one nursing home to the next, dealing with car problems, equipment failures, car accidents, traffic tickets, and even a set of car keys falling down an elevator shaft -- all in the same day! Still, nothing has kept them from getting to their next performance and seeing as many patients as possible.

The group will also be organizing performances on Christmas Eve and on Christmas afternoon. If you would like to lend your musical talent to the group, please contact Gary Gamponia,
Silver Lake Musicians Co-Op Director, at (213) 388-8500 or 1starvingmusician@sbcglobal.net.

Support Hollywood Central Park

The Hollywood Central Park (aka the Cap Park) will get a boost from local supporters at a gala dinner on Thursday, January 7, at Vanguard. Proceeds will benefit Friends of the Hollywood Central Park, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating the park.

The idea for a park over the 101 freeway between Bronson and Santa Monica is truly visionary and would provide sorely needed open space in one of Los Angeles's (and America's) densest neighborhoods.

For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Laurie Goldman at 323/464-8888 or via email.

Echo Park Lake and Vista Hermosa bird counts - January 3

The Echo Park Lake and Vista Hermosa bird counts hosted by the Los Angeles Audubon Society will be held on Sunday, January 3. This is the 110th annual Christmas Bird Count, which involved more than 50,000 volunteers in the U.S., Canada, Central America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific helping to monitor the health and diversity of local and migratory bird populations.

The Echo Park Lake count will begin at 8 a.m. Meet at the boathouse for a two-hour walk along level terrain.

The Vista Hermosa count will begin at 11 a.m. Meet at the parking lot (100 Toluca Street just north of First Street) for a 90-minute walk along mostly level terrain.

For more information, call 323/663-6767 or 213/361-7273 (on count day).

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Central City Action Committee's BIG rummage sale is next week

The Central City Action Committee will hold its BIG 2-day rummage sale on Monday (12/21) and Tuesday (12/22) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The sale will be held at CCAC's offices (534 E. Edgware Road at Bellevue) and will raise funds for the non-profit organization's winter program, which includes trips to the snow, zoo, Imax theater, Long Beach Aquarium, and ice skating.

All year long, CCAC helps keep our communities looking great by painting out and removing graffiti. Here's a chance to help them help us!

Grinch goes Nutty!

Terrible news to report -- first the Grinch tried to steal Christmas and now he's stolen Goldstar's Nutty, the award given to the best U.S. production of the Nutcracker.

Check out the video below (stay tuned to see the surveillance video at the end) or head down to the Pantages Theater to tell the Grinch to give back the Nutty!

You can follow along as Goldstar works to recover the award by visiting the Goldstar website and signing up for a free membership. You can also buy discounted tickets to How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which is playing at the Pantages, while you're on the site, too.

Glassell Recreation and Child Care Center's 2009 Winter Showcase

On Friday, December 18, the Glassell Recreation and Child Care Center will present its 2009 Winter Showcase featuring performances from the classes and programs at the center.

The show begins at 6 p.m. at the Rec Center (3650 Verdugo Rd) and is sponsored by my office and the Glassell Park Neighborhood Council.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Echo Park Community Holiday Parade on Saturday

On Saturday, December 12, come out to Echo Park for the Echo Park Community Holiday Parade, which steps off at noon from the corner of Sunset and Elysian Park Avenue. The parade route heads west along Sunset and ends at Park Avenue. See you there!

Census jobs available

The 2010 U.S. Census is coming up and the bureau needs help surveying the people who live here. They are hiring temporary, part-time employees who may work up to 40 hours per week.

For more information, click on the flyer at right or call 1-866-861-2010 to apply today.

Free foreclosure prevention fair tomorrow

Los Angeles County NeighborWorks will present a free Foreclosure Prevention Fair tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Shrine Auditorium (700 W 32nd Street).

Participants will be able to get free confidential foreclosure counseling from HUD-certified counseling agencies, major lenders, and legal counselors. Participants are encouraged to come prepared by bringing:

1. Income documentation (e.g. 2 current pay stubs, most recent year's W-2 form)
2. Most recent mortgage statement
3. More recent 2 years' tax returns
4. A list of monthly expenses

For more information, call 213/381-2862.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Help others in times of crisis!

The Crisis Response Team is recruiting new members to help respond to traumatic incidents. Volunteer team members are trained to provide on-scene crisis intervention, attend to survival and comfort needs, act as a liaison between the victim and emergency personnel, and provide referrals to victims and their families. They are called to the scenes of major incidents or accidents at the request of the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles Fire Department.

The eight-week Crisis Response Team training sessions begin on February 2 and will take place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings until March 25. The sessions are held at the LAPD Academy in Westchester. The team is especially in need of bilingual volunteers.

Those who are interested may contact Jeffrey Zimerman in the Mayor's Office at 213/978-0697 or LACRT@lacity.org.

Celebrate Echo Park's principals

Echo Park's elementary school principals will be the guests of honor at a community reception hosted by the Positive Energy Group and the Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council. The reception will be held on Tuesday, December 15, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at St. Paul's Cathedral (840 N Echo Park Ave).

Please RSVP by Friday, December 11, to Rosie Betznaos or Lisa Baca. For more information, please call 323/660-7234.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Chabad Menorah Lighting Ceremony

Today, I welcomed the coming of Hanukkah with the Chabad Menorah Lighting Ceremony, along with Mayor Villaraigosa, Councilmembers Jan Perry and Dennis Zine. We were joined by representatives of Chabad including Rabbis Mosheh Greenwald, Yosef Cunin, Chiam Cunin, and Ari Baitleman.

Happy holidays!

Thanks for a wonderful Community Holiday Party!

Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate the holiday season at the annual Council District 13 community holiday party!

The event was held at the new Silver Lake Branch Library and was a great success.

I would especially like to thank the choir from St. Teresa of Avila school who performed wonderful holiday songs, the student readers from 826LA who read from their newsletter, and the many community volunteers who read stories to children.

I would also like to thank Genevieve of Delilah's Bakery, for providing special treats.

Most of all, thank you to everyone in Council District 13 for making this year productive and fun. Happy holidays!

Los Angeles adds 1 million recyclers to the rolls

Today, I joined with Mayor Villaraigosa and tenants at the Echo Park Senior Housing to announce that we have added another 1 million Angelenos to our recycling program thanks to the Multi-Family Recycling Program, which provides free recycling services for buildings with 5 or more units and was officially launched in 2007.

The city's recycling program is an enormous success, serving 745,000 households and 578 LAUSD elementary and middle schools, as well as 913 restaurants that have diverted 32,000 tons of food waste into composting.

Thanks to these efforts, Los Angeles recycles more than any other major city, diverting 65% of its trash away from landfills -- or 6.7 million tons a year.

To sign up for the Multi-Family Recycling Program or other recycling programs, call 3-1-1. As Echo Park resident Ida Talalla will tell you (in the video below) it's that easy!

HiFi clean-up postponed!

We're postponing this weekend's Historic Filipinotown community clean-up because of the impending rain.

We'll let you know when it gets rescheduled!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Give back to our community this holiday season

Looking for a way to give back to the community during the holidays?

Each year, Big Sunday produces a list of volunteer opportunities submitted by local non-profit agencies. The list is available by clicking here and the options abound -- underprivileged children, homeless people of all ages, veterans, HIV/AIDS patients, and so many more need our help. If you have time, this is a great way to make the holidays a little brighter for some of our neighbors.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Help us find one of America's Most Wanted

The Los Angeles Police Department is seeking the public's assistance in helping to find Jesus Catalan (also known as Brian Nanes or Luis Santiago) who is a person of interest in the homicide of an East Hollywood woman that occurred in August. He is a 24 year-old Hispanic male with a tattoo on his right arm (pictured at right). He is believed to be homeless, but often frequents the Hollywood and Rampart areas.

Mr. Catalan is considered armed and dangerous. He will be featured on an episode of America's Most Wanted that will air this Saturday, December 12, 2009, at 8:00 p.m. on KTTV (Fox Channel 11).

Anyone with information about his whereabouts should contact the LAPD Rampart Division Homicide Unit at (213) 484-3650. Information can also be provided by calling 877-LAPD-24-7.

HiFi community clean-up this Saturday!

This weekend, my office is hosting a community clean-up in Historic Filipinotown and we need volunteers!

If you can spare some time this holiday season, please consider spending Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. -- or anytime in between -- helping to beautify this great neighborhood. We'll be gathering at Our Lady of Loretto Church (258 Union Ave at Beverly). Our office will provide trash bags, work gloves, brooms, and other equipment.

Even if you don't live in HiFi, come check out this treasure of a neighborhood and meet some fellow Angelenos (we had a great time planting trees in the neighborhood earlier this year... see photo above).
Let Billie Jean in my office know if you have questions or can help out. Hope to see you there!

Mr. President, please give us job tax credits

Unemployment is Los Angeles’s largest challenge in turning around our economy, and creating new jobs must be a core component of our regional economic recovery.

As President Obama moves forward with his focus on creating more jobs to help pull us out of this recession, I have asked him to consider expanding job tax credits for cities with high unemployment rates.

Specifically, these areas where the unemployment rate is above the national average (such as Los Angeles) could be helped by making businesses in them eligible for the same employment tax credits currently available to businesses in Empowerment Zones.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Los Angeles’s unemployment rate is currently 13.9 percent, not including those who are chronically unemployed or have simply given up their efforts to find a job. The national unemployment rate is 10 percent.

Two employment tax credits are currently administered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Empowerment Zone Program. That the program already exists and would need to be expanded rather than developed from scratch would allow federal dollars to quickly begin making an impact in areas where job creation is most needed.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Support the Hollywood Studio District Neighborhood Council's holiday toy drive

On Tuesday, December 15, you can support the Hollywood Studio District Neighborhood Council's toy drive by simply catching a show at the Music Box @ Fonda.

Maripat Donovan (a Council District 13 resident) will donate the proceeds of a special one-night performance of her show Sister's Christmas Catechism to help provide hundreds of local children with toys at the neighborhood council's annual holiday party.

The show is like CSI: Bethlehem with selected audience members participating in a nativity/crime scene. The Los Angeles Times promises Christmas Catechism will "amuse, regardless of your faith."

All tickets are $25 and audience members are urged to bring an unwrapped toy for a child aged 1 through 12 years. For tickets, please call 323-817-7000. You can click on the flyer above for more information.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Announcing the Southern California Regional Plug-in Electric Vehicle Collaboration

Yesterday I joined Mayor Villaraigosa and representatives from local cities, environmental organizations and auto manufacturers to announce the plans for an Electric Vehicle infrastructure that will prepare Los Angeles for the new wave of plug-in vehicles expected to hit roads over the next few years.

This initiative will bring together regional stakeholders to coordinate efforts that will streamline charging station installations at homes, business, and multi-family residential buildings, explore and expand public charging options, and create incentives for EV drivers.

As somebody who has driven an EV for more than a decade, I am very excited about developing a comprehensive EV plan for the region.

To find out more information about the city's electric vehicle plan please click here.

Enjoy a Breakfast with Santa on December 19

On Saturday, December 19 from 9am-11:30am, the Echo Park Recreation Center (1632 Bellevue Ave.) will host a fun-filled Breakfast with Santa.

Breakfast will include pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, and your choice of OJ or coffee. Tickets are $3 for youth and $5 for adults. The first 100 kids will receive a FREE stocking with goodies!

There will also be a toy give-away. Tickets for the toy give-away will be given first come, first served to kids who are under 15 years-old and have a Breakfast with Santa ticket.

For more information, click on the flyer at right or contact the Echo Park Recreation Center at (213) 250-3578 or (213) 250-8946.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Playgroup's Rummage and Bake Sale - Saturday, December 5

Playgroup was started in 1970 by Echo Park and Silver Lake residents who needed access to quality, affordable child care. A few years later, the group was incorporated into the Echo Park/Silverlake People Child Care Center as a non-profit organization and it's been serving neighborhood children ever since.

This weekend, Playgroup will host a Rummage and Bake Sale with all proceeds going to support the child care center. The event will be held on Saturday, December 5, from 9 .m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Vons Market on Alvarado (1342 N Alvarado St).

Atwater Village tree lighting - Friday, December 4

Check out the annual Atwater Village tree lighting ceremony and festivities, which will be held on Friday, December 4, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. along Glendale Boulevard (the tree is near the Wells Fargo located at 3250 Glendale Blvd.). The evening will include music, treats, and a visit from Santa -- perfect for children of all ages.

This event is organized by the Atwater Village Chamber of Commerce and gets bigger and better every year. I'm proud to help sponsor this year's event, along with the Chamber and the Atwater Village Neighborhood Council.