Friday, August 20, 2010

First Ratepayer Public Hearing a Success

Thanks to all of you who attended the first in the series of publichearings on DWP reform that I am leading. Video and audio of the meeting will be posted here soon for you to review and comment on.

I was impressed by the turnout and by the quality and thoughtfulness of the comments. These hearings are being held to shape an agenda of real DWP reform to increase transparency and accountability and ensure DWP customers are the agency's top priority.

More than 100 people joined me and Councilmembers Smith, Perry and Wesson in Northridge on Wednesday to hear about the DWP watchdog and budget reform amendments to the City Charter that I am putting on the March 2011 ballot, in addition to other proposals. Dozens of people offered their informed thoughts on how those amendments should bedrafted. Much of the input centered on what the DWP watchdog'sjurisdiction would be, how it would fit within the city's leadership, and what it should be looking out for.

The next hearing is in Mar Vista on September 16th. Stay tuned for more information and updates, and please post your thoughts on DWP reform. I called for these hearings to gather official public comment-- on-the-record -- to help shape the actual drafting of these ballot measures. True reform can only be accomplished by making sure the people of Los Angeles have a seat at the table, so I welcome you to join us.

Ray Bradbury Week in Los Angeles

It was my honor today to declare Ray Bradbury week in the City of Los Angeles in honor of the literary giant's 90th birthday. I am pleasedto report that Ray is still going strong -- he was first published atage 20 and soon, 70-years later, he will publish a collection of new short stories, tentatively-titled "Juggernaut." Some of Bradbury's best-known works include "Fahrenheit 451" and "The Martian Chronicles."

Bradbury, who has been recognized with a special Pulitzer Prize andthe National Medal of Arts, notes that he "graduated" from the Los Angeles public library system, having been unable to afford college, and since then he has publicly and privately been the foremost champion of our libraries.

Bradbury once wrote, "Los Angeles is everything you want to be." He is a true treasure of this city.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Speak Out About DWP Reform Wednesday, 8/18

Starting Wednesday August 18th, I will be holding a series of hearings across Los Angeles for the public to speak out about how best to improve transparency and accountability at the Department of Water and Power. The first hearing is on Wednesday, August 18 from 6 pm to 8 pm at the PALS Center, 8721 Wilbur Ave. in Northridge. The goal is to ensure that the DWP puts its customers -- the people of Los Angeles -- first.

The hearing offers a chance for neighborhood residents, business owners, consumer advocates and experts to weigh-in on proposals to clean up the DWP, including my plan to put a City Charter amendment on the March 2011 ballot to establish an independent DWP customer advocate’s office.

This first hearing is being held in partnership with Councilmembers Greig Smith and Jan Perry

Parkman Triangle Grand Opening

This past Saturday, I attended the opening of Silver Lake’s newest “pocket park.” For years, Parkman Triangle was nothing but an empty patch of asphalt between Silver Lake Boulvard and Parkman Avenue, attracting trash and illegal parking. But thanks to grants from the Office of Beautification, the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council and the hard work of many volunteers the corner is now filled with drought resistant plants, providing shade and open space for the community. Projects like the Parkman Triangle are vitally important as they not only help make our city a greener place to live but demonstrate what can be accomplished when government works together with its citizens.

Test-driving the Newest Electric Car

Last Wednesday I met with the CEO and leadership at CODA, a manufacturer of electric cars. I had an opportunity to test-drive the newest model which uses a lithium-ion battery to travel up to 120 miles on a single charge. Like all electric cars, the CODA produces zero tailpipe emissions and can be safely and cheaply recharged at home or at any electric charging station. The CODA also features a 5 star safety rating and built-in Bluetooth technology to help eliminate the dangers of using a cell phone while driving.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Today's Court Decision

Today's decision by Judge Vaughn Walker was a victory for love and commitment in our state. I was proud to officiate the weddings of more than 15 committed couples in 2008, including the first wedding in the City of Los Angeles on the steps of City Hall. These weddings were some of the most moving experiences of my life--I still remember each of the smiles on the faces of couples I married who in some cases, had waited for decades for equality to apply to their unions and to have the same legal recognition from the state that their friends and co-workers and neighbors enjoyed. These couples looked like California--young and old, white, black, Latino, and Asian, men and women, public employees and private entrepreneurs, incredibly committed and contributing residents of our beautiful city and our state.

Religious beliefs are private and are protected by the United States Constitution--this is one of the great things that makes this country so special. But the ability of two loving and committed individuals to be recognized by the state for their union should not be denied to two adults simply because of whom they love. This is the promise of our country and of our constitution. Proposition 8 flew in the face of this. As Judge Walker wrote:
Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. indeed the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California constitution the notion that opposite sex couples are superior to same sex couples.
Congratulations to all of us in California. While the march towards equality in this country seems easy when we read about it in history books, it can be a painfully slow walk through many moments of defeat. Today is a day to celebrate.