Monday, November 30, 2009

Eat, be merry, and help others, too!

This weekend, Los Angeles area food bloggers will hold a massive bake sale all proceeds going to support the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank. Indulge yourself with pumpkin swirl brownies, handmade macaroons, black sesame cupcakes with matcha frosting or any of the more than 800 other baked goods.

The Eat My Blog bake sale will be held on Saturday, December 5, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Zeke's Smokehouse (7100 Santa Monica Boulevard). In addition to the scrumptious goodies, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf will feature a selection of beverages.

Nevermind that this event has an official butter sponsor (Challenge Dairy) -- it's all calorie-free when it's for a good cause, right?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Submit your comments on the Los Angeles Bicycle Plan

The Los Angeles Planning Department is accepting public comments on the draft City of Los Angeles Bicycle Plan and wants as many Angelenos as possible to participate in developing our new plan.

Comments may be submitted until January 8, 2010. After that date, city staff will begin to prepare a revised Plan based on the input received through the website, workshops, letters, e-mails, and comment cards. They expect to release a staff report and revised Draft Bicycle Plan in February 2010, and give all interested parties two months to review it and provide comment. This part of the public process will also include hearings and a public meeting at with the City Planning Commission will act on the revised plan, which would then be submitted for review by the City Council.

All are encouraged to submit comments. Those with questions may contact Jordann Turner at 213/978-1379..

Training for apartment owners and managers

On Thursday, December 10, my office will join the City Attorney's Office in co-hosting a training for apartment owners and managers.

Come to the Glassell Park Community Center (3750 Verdugo Road) to learn more about abatements, evictions, and how to prevent crime through environmental design of your property. The free seminar begins with registration at 5:30 p.m. and the training will last from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Spanish translation will be available.

For more information or to reserve a space, please contact Armida Bayliff at 310-575-8548.

HiFi Parol Parade is December 11

Join the Historic Filipinotown Neighborhood Council in celebrating the holidays with the annual lighting of the polemount parols and the parol parade. (For those not familiar with them, parols are Filipino Christmas lanterns traditionally star-shaped and made of paper.)

The festivities begin at 4:30 p.m. and go until 8 p.m. at 1711 W. Temple Street. There will be music, dancing and food, as well as the parol parade and prizes for the best parols.

For more information, contact HiFi Neighborhood Council President Cecile Ramos (213/413-3323) or Director Jorge Prado (213/484-8292).

Check out the Silver Lake library opening on Channel 35

Click here to see LA CityView Channel 35's coverage of the Silver Lake Branch Library opening.

Hollywood Christmas Parade - November 29

After the turkey and stuffing are gone, come to Hollywood to usher in the holidays at the Hollywood Christmas Parade. The parade steps onto Hollywood Boulevard on Sunday, November 29, at 6 p.m. and will include celebrities, floats, marching bands, equestrian units, and -- of course -- Santa Claus. The 2009 Grand Marshall is All My Children's Susan Lucci, pictured at right.

Curbside viewing is free. Grandstand seats are also available for $35 per ticket by calling 866-PARADE1. The parade will begin at the corner of Orange and Hollywood and follow a U-shaped route that heads east down Hollywood Boulevard. Those who can't be there in person can watch the parade locally on KCOP-TV (Channel 13) and across the country. Check the television schedule here.

Coca-Cola, Associated Television International, and the City of Los Angeles are Presenting Sponsors of the 2009 Hollywood Christmas Parade. It's great to be able to bring this free family event to Hollywood and have the opportunity to show off the new revitalized Hollywood to the rest of the country.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Garcetti Community Holiday Party - December 7

I hope to see you at the annual Garcetti Community Holiday Party, which will be held on Monday, December 7, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Silver Lake Library. This annual event provides an opportunity for our community celebrate the holidays together and this year we'll do it in style at Council District 13's newest branch library. There will be refreshments, entertainment, and stories for kids.

Please consider bringing a canned good that will be donated to a family in need this holiday season.

RSVP to 323-957-4500. For more information, click on the invitation at right.

Thanks for walking East Hollywood with me

On Saturday, I joined a team of volunteers in walking the neighborhood around Lemon Grove Park in East Hollywood. We went door-to-door to provide information about 3-1-1 (the city's non-emergency service number) and distribute our Go Green brochures. We also let neighbors know about the new street lights that will be installed in January 2010.

I would like to thank and acknowledge the volunteers who helped knock on doors, provided information, and listened the concerns of their neighbors. Improving our neighborhoods is a team effort and I'm proud to represent an area where so many residents care deeply about our community.

Gobble Gobble Give needs Thanksgiving volunteers

What better way to show gratitude than helping to serve others this Thanksgiving?

Ten years ago, Gobble Gobble Give was started by one Echo Park resident who cooked and delivered Thanksgiving meals to homeless in the neighborhood. Last year, this event served more than 1,500 people and provided clothing and toiletries, too!

This year, Gobble Gobble Give needs volunteers who can donate their time or money (or both!). Those who would like to make a financial contribution to support this event may click here. Those who can volunteer their time to prepare or serve food can click here to sign up. Volunteers are asked to arrive at The Echo (1922 Sunset Blvd.) at 10 a.m. sharp on Thanksgiving morning a potluck dish of any size. They will assemble meals and then head out in teams to deliver Thanksgiving dinner to homeless people who might otherwise not have anything to eat on this holiday.

Monday, November 23, 2009

New business in Elysian Valley - welcome to Franky and Johnny's Seafood Outlet!

As the sign out front proclaims, everyone is welcome at Franky and Johnny's Seafood Outlet, which is now open in Elysian Valley.

This welcome addition to the neighborhood is meeting its goal of being the "seafood lover's value paradise," providing high quality seafood at wholesale prices. In addition to fresh and frozen seafood, the store also sells grab-n-go lunches with sandwiches and sushi starting around just $3.

Visitors with a little more time can also buy a fresh fish lunch that is grilled-to-order. The Mexican sea bass or red snapper is marinated in a special Italian dressing that co-owner Johnny helped develop to complement seafood.

Franky and Johnny's is located at 1633 Riverside Drive (at Eads), a site that sat vacant for most of the last 20 years. It's great to have such a wonderful and delicious new neighbor here!

FoSLL celebrates library opening

On Saturday, Friends of the Silver Lake Library (FoSLL) hosted a community open house to celebrate the new Silver Lake Branch Library. The weekend event gave local residents an opportunity to come check out books and their new library.

The day-long festivities included live music, dancing, and readings, as well as food and fun for people of all ages.

I am a proud member of FoSLL and thrilled to be part of the community celebration of our beautiful new library.

2nd Annual Glassell Park Tree Lighting Ceremony on December 11

The 2nd Annual Glassell Park Tree Lighting Ceremony will be on December 11 at 6:30 p.m. in the Rite-Aid parking lot at 4044 Eagle Rock Blvd.

I'm proud to partner with Councilmembers Jose Huizar and Ed Reyes, the Glassell Park Neighborhood Council, the Glassell Park Improvement Association, and the Glassell Park Chamber of Commerce to bring this family-friendly event to the neighborhood.

If you join us, please consider bringing a canned or nonperishable food item. Volunteers will be collecting them to donate to families in need.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Support Project Angel Food at Divine Design

This December you can support Project Angel Food and shop the latest styles at the annual Divine Design event, which raises money to help the non-profit organization fulfill its mission of feeding men, women, and children living with HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles County.

More than 300 companies will participate in the Divine Design marketplace, and lucky shoppers can purchase designer fashion, accessories, beauty, and home decor at a substantial discount. All proceeds will go to Project Angel Food, which delivers more than 13,000 free meals every week with the generous help of 1,500 active volunteers.

The Divine Design marketplace will be open from December 4 through December 7. General admission is $25 per day, and there is a special $100-admission VIP shopping night on Thursday, December 3.

For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit Use the coupon above to receive $10 off general admission tickets.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

LADOT launches real-time DASH Downtown LA arrival times

The City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) has launched a real-time passenger information service for the DASH Downtown bus. This new system will allow riders to check whether the bus will be delayed by traffic, weather conditions, or an accident... or if it will arrive as scheduled.

The system tracks all DASH buses every six seconds via wireless technology and the information is made available via text, mobile web, phone, or regular web.

For details about how to access the arrival times, click the image on the right.

Hear narratives of the blind and visually-impaired on November 30

On November 30 at 1 p.m., the Weingart Center at the Braille Institute (741 N. Vermont Ave) will present Perspectives: Stories of the Blind and Visually-Impaired.

This collection of personal and family narratives were collected over three months of storytelling and oral history workshops directed by playwright and Council District 13 Artist-in-Residence Henry Ong. The evening will feature Braille Institute community volunteers and students, including Joey Barker (pictured as a child) who will present a story about how he became blind from a shootout when he was 15 years-old.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Charline Su at (818) 240-1802.

Echo Park holiday sale on December 5 and 6

The annual Echo Park Holiday Sale and Celebration, held by the Echo Park Animal Alliance and Echo Park Pottery, will be on December 5 and 6.

Stop by Echo Park Pottery (1850 Echo Park Avenue) between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. to start your holiday shopping. The holiday sale and celebration will include Zyana Aromatherapy, Frog Dog Organic Salsas and Herbs, and stockings filled with home-baked dog biscuits, plus pots, cups, dishes, and bowls. Pet photos with Santa will be $10 each or three for $20.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Congratulations, Chief Beck!

This morning, the L.A. City Council confirmed the appointment of Charlie Beck as our city's new Chief of Police.

Throughout the confirmation process, Chief Beck has repeated this mantra: Cops count. Character counts. Do the right thing and you can make the difference.

I agree. A stronger, more effective LAPD working in collaboration with community partners has made our city the safest it's been in decades.

I was proud to pin the badge on our new chief and I look forward to working with Chief Beck to continue the progress we have made in making the police department a more transparent agency that is accountable to our neighborhoods and is helping to make Los Angeles the safest big city in America.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Silver Lake Branch Library is now open

This morning we opened the brand new Silver Lake Branch Library at the corner of Glendale and Silver Lake Boulevards! Fighting for a Silver Lake branch library was one of the commitments I made to the community when I was first elected to the City Council, and we set this project in motion within my first year in office. I'm really excited that it is now a reality.

The new facility is full of stories for people of all ages, but one of the most interesting tales it holds is the story of its development from conception to construction. Funding for the new library came from a 1998 voter-approved bond to build new libraries and improve or expand existing ones. The construction program was so well-managed that excess funds were available for additional projects. The Silver Lake Branch Library was built with these savings... the result of the L.A. Public Library’s careful budgeting and planning.

Silver Lake residents and readers have been part of the project every step of the way. The Friends of Silver Lake Library was deeply engaged in the advocacy effort to build a new library in this neighborhood, and then stayed involved through the siting and design process.

The new library is 13,600 square-feet with thousands of volumes for readers of all ages and interests, a multipurpose meeting room, a storytelling area, and computer workstations with Internet access. It is also the first branch library in the L.A. Public Library system with an automated materials handling system that checks in and sorts materials that patrons return onto a conveyor belt.

Silver Lake's library is also an example of sustainable design. The facility will meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standards. Among the many environmentally-sustainable features are low-flow plumbing and irrigation, double-glazed windows, and a new integrated photovoltaic skylight system. More than 40 percent of the cost of construction materials was spent on recycled materials and materials from sources within 500 miles of the library site.

If you couldn't attend today's celebration, join us this Saturday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. for an open house sponsored by the Friends of the Silver Lake Library.

Introducing Chief Beck to the Drew-Estara community

This weekend I was proud to introduce LAPD Deputy Chief Charlie Beck (and the next LAPD Chief of Police) at a Harvest Festival my office hosted in the Drew-Estara neighborhood of Glassell Park. It was a beautiful sunny day at Juntos Park, and more than a hundred neighbors came to the park to meet the chief and learn more about the city services and community resources available to them.

I am proud of many things I've done to make the neighborhoods I represent safer, but one of the areas where I think we've particularly made a lot of progress is in Drew-Estara. Multi-agency task forces have helped to significantly reduce gang violence by putting behind bars dozens of criminals who live in this neighborhood. We've held numerous resource fairs to help families get services to improve their lives. And we've made tangible changes, such as building Juntos Park on the site of a former nuisance property.

I'm confident that Chief Beck will continue to work in close partnership with this community to continue our work to make it a safer place for the families who live there.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

FREE Hollywood/Wilshire Center/Koreatown Business Resource Fair - November 19

A free Hollywood/Wilshire Center/Koreatown Business Resource Fair will be held on Thursday, November 19, to provide information about the benefits of operating in a State Enterprise Zone. These benefits include a hiring tax credit, a discount on LADWP utility bills, business loans, and more.

The fair will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Wilshire Boulevard Temple (3663 Wilshire Boulevard). Korean translation will be available and refreshments will be served.

For more information or to register, click here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Free health screenings at Hollywood Wilshire YMCA

This Saturday, the Hollywood Wilshire YMCA will host free health screenings for people of all ages. Learn more about or be assessed for problems with asthma, cholesterol, dental care, immunizations, blood pressure, and much more.

The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 1553 N. Schrader Boulevard.

For more information, please call Kitty Gordillo at 213-639-7542.

Happy Veteran's Day!

Thank you to our nation's veterans for their service to our country.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Economic impact analyses would help the Council make more informed decisions

Last week I introduced a motion that would establish a mandatory economic impact analysis for city initiatives that could affect our regional economy. There is currently no established protocol for objectively reviewing the local legislations’ impact on our economy, such as the number and type of jobs created, the number of businesses retained, or the amount of private sector investment attracted.

An analysis of legislation’s economic impact would be an invaluable tool in our legislative decision-making process, helping us decide how to allocate scarce resources so that they have the biggest positive impact on our local economy.

The City and County of San Francisco, for example, established an office of Economic Analysis following passage of a ballot measure calling for one.

The Chamber, along with fellow business groups BizFed, the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA) and the Central City Association (CCA) have and continue to be strong advocates for the inclusion of economic impact analysis in the City’s decision making process.

The next steps are for the Chief Legislative Analyst and City Administrative Officer to review best practices and develop a proposed process for conducting the economic impact analyses and for incorporating the information into the decision-making process. The motion is expected to be heard in committee the week of November 16.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

A few words about our new LAPD Chief

Charlie Beck embodies the new era of LAPD. He represents the future, but connects us with the best of our past. He has the vision, temperament, and intellect to continue making Los Angeles safer. I believe he is the right Chief for our time and I commend the mayor for making an excellent choice.

I had the opportunity to work closely with Deputy Chief Beck at Rampart. He was one of the finest captains I've ever worked with -- embraced by the rank-and-file and the community. He is an innovative leader, using technology in groundbreaking ways while building new partnerships with residents and businesses. His creative and innovative management strategies will help the department, particularly in this tough economy when everyone is being asked to do more with less. He will work with all of our city’s diverse communities and he will push the department to be as transparent as the windows on its new headquarters.

Charlie Beck's work has consistently produced results. Whether it was turning around MacArthur Park for the community or moving forward on languishing rape kits, Deputy Chief Beck gets things done. We will need that drive and follow-through to continue making our city safer.