Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Foodbank at Bronson Family Apartments open on Friday

On Friday April 2, beginning at 4:00 p.m., the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank will distribute free food items to qualified people in need at the Bronson Family Apartments (1229 N. Bronson Ave.) in Hollywood. Volunteers are also needed to help pack food.

For more information about receiving food or volunteering, please contact Matthew Valdez ( at the Los Angeles Housing Partnership.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

WE Connect Weekend

California First Lady Maria Shriver will host WE Connect Weekend starting Friday, March 26, and concluding on Sunday, March 28, at the Forum in Inglewood.

The three-day event will provide free tax preparation, job search assistance, foreclosure assistance, housing information, free flu shots, and valuable workshops and resources. Every participant will leave with a free bag of fresh produce and groceries.

For free tax preparation, call to make an appointment at 888-434-8248 and tell the operator that you would like to make an appointment for the WE Connect event in LA.

For more information, or to volunteer, click here.

Neighborhood Council pollworkers needed

Elections for Neighborhood Councils are coming up and volunteers are needed to help work the polls. Pollworkers will be able to help with the elections for their own Neighborhood Council* as well as other Neighborhood Councils throughout the city.

Volunteer pollworkers are important in helping the City Clerk conduct elections and keeping
costs to the taxpayer low.

Upcoming Neighborhood Council Elections include:

  • Region B (Pacoima), Saturday, March 27, 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
  • Region D (Venice), Sunday, April 11, 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
  • Region G (Eagle Rock), Thursday, April 29, 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
  • Region E (Hollywood), Thursday, May 13, 2:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
  • Region C (Encino), Thursday, May 27, 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
  • Region I (San Pedro), Tuesday, June 8, 1:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
  • Region H (DLANC), Friday, June 25, 2:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
  • Region H (Mid-City & Westwood), Saturday, June 26, 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.

For more information, you can go here or call the Election Division Office at (213) 978-0444. To apply click here.

*Subject to distribution of workload and bilingual needs

Monday, March 22, 2010

Union Station-Dodger Stadium Shuttle

Earlier today, I joined Mayor Villaraigosa, Frank McCourt and the Dodger family to celebrate the start of brand new Dodger Stadium Express bus service for the 2010 baseball season.

The service will operate from Union Station to Dodger Stadium and was made possible by a special $300,000 grant from the Mobile Sources Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee. Metro will use state-of-the-art clean burning Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses to operate the service, so the new bus will decrease traffic and reduce carbon emissions.

Mayor signs my proposal to reduce taxes on Internet-based businesses

This morning, I joined Mayor Villaraigosa at where he signed my proposal to reduce taxes on Internet-based businesses to help attract new and keep existing entrepreneurs in the city. Internet-based businesses can easily pick up and move anywhere in the country. We want to keep these jobs here for Angelenos and this business tax reform will help us do that.

The ordinance created a new tax category for Internet-based businesses, which had previously been included in the "Business and Professions" classification, which is taxed at a higher rate. Businesses that use the Internet as the primary means to provide services (such as a search engine) may apply under the new category.

In addition to direct jobs that this new tax category will help to create, Internet-based jobs have also demonstrated a multiplier effect. According to the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation, one new job in Internet publishing, broadcasting and web search portals creates 2.8 additional jobs.

Hollywood Wilshire YMCA Healthy Kids Day

On Saturday, April 17, the Hollywood Wilshire YMCA will host Healthy Kids Day. The event will take place at the Hollywood Wilshire YMCA (1553 N. Schrader Blvd.) from 10:00 a.m to 2:00 p.m.

Healthy Kids Day will feature games, prizes and activities for children and families including performances, face painting, karate and gymnastics demonstrations by YMCA instructors, clowns, music and arts and crafts projects. There will also be free health screenings and H1N1 Vaccines.

Other event participants will include the Los Angeles Police and Fire Departments, LA County Department of Public Health, the Saban Free Clinic, Network for a Healthy California and the Los Angeles Children's Hospital.

For more information or to get involved, contact Natasha Radojcic at 213-639-7549.

Friday, March 19, 2010

LA Magazine's GetLA Film Competition Finalists

Last month, I hosted a press conference announcing the launch of Get L.A., a short film competition celebrating the city, the lifestyle and the state of mind that we call Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Magazine and L.A. Works have selected eight finalists from the many, many they received. The videos are up on the LA Magazine website, and I encourage everyone to visit the site and vote for your favorite short film to help one filmmaker win the Audience Selection award.

LA Magazine will post both the Audience and Jury Selections on April 16.

Wildwoods Foundation Mile 6 Circus

Planning on coming out this Sunday to support runners participating in the LA Marathon? Whether you know someone participating in the Marathon, or just want to enjoy a beautiful spring day, join the Wildwoods Foundation as they host the Mile 6 Circus at the corner of Sunset and Alvarado on Sunday, March 21, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

The Wildwoods Foundation's Mile 6 Circus is being held to celebrate the Foundation's 4th year acting as an official charity of the LA Marathon in addition to the unveiling of the new Marathon course "Stadium to the Sea."
The Mile 6 Circus will include acrobats, jugglers, clowns and a brass band.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

YPI tour with U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis

Today I joined U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis (pictured far right) on a tour of the Hollywood location of the Youth Policy Institute (YPI), which recently received a $3.6 million federal grant to provide training and employment opportunities in the health care industry. We saw dozens of men and women receiving training on how to prepare for job interviews and conduct a job search.

Hollywood is one of the world's most famous neighborhoods, but it is also a place where every day people live and work. Our unemployment rate is above the national average and our community needs all of the assistance we can get with putting people back to work.

I'm very proud of the Health Care Career Ladder program that I helped to establish at Los Angeles City College in East Hollywood and of the work that YPI is doing in Hollywood to prepare local residents for work.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Meetings in Washington, DC

This week I've been in Washington, DC, meeting with the Obama Administration and members of Congress about issues that are important to Angelenos.

Yesterday, I met with Labor Secretary Hilda Solis to discuss summer jobs programs for our young people that will keep them busy and give them valuable work experience. We also discussed the need for more funds for workforce training to prepare people for a new generation of green jobs.

I also met with representatives of the Department of Justice about the process for testing DNA evidence kits. The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) currently requires a technical review of all kits that are tested in private labs before they are uploaded to the national database. This secondary testing has not found any errors in the past several years and the additional requirement means delayed justice for crime victims and their families.

It's been a productive and busy trip, but I'm looking forward to coming home to Los Angeles.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Los Angeles River Ride is coming up

On Sunday, June 6, the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition will be hosting the 10th annual Los Angeles River Ride starting at the Autry National Center in Griffith Park. It will include six different rides ranging from 100 miles to 15 miles for families.

The event will also include food and live music as well as a fun fair for children. Registration is required and participants can save if they do so before May 15th. There are also discounts for all LACBC members. For more information, and to register, please visit the LACBC website at

Monday, March 15, 2010

LA City Marathon Street Closures

On Sunday, March 21, 2010, the Honda LA Marathon will take place beginning at 6:55 a.m. for the wheelchair division with arrivals beginning at 5:00 a.m.

The marathon route will begin at Dodger Stadium and end in Santa Monica at the Santa Monica Pier. Due to the extensive running course, many streets will be closed the day of the marathon. Click here for a map of the Marathon route as well as turn-by-turn directions. Click here for a list of street closures.

If you have any questions, please contact the LA Marathon at 310-271-7200 or call the Neighborhood Focus Line at 323-224-2636. For more information, you can also visit the LA Marathon website.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Hollywood gets new garden

New seedlings were planted yesterday as part of the "first shovel" ceremony at a new garden that now grows in what was previously an empty lot next to St. Stephens Church in Hollywood.

The garden is being made possible through a partnership with the church, the non-profit organization Urban Farming, and Triscuit as part of Urban Farming and Triscuit's national effort to create 50 community-based home farms across the country.

Urban Farming's mission is to grow food on unused land to help uplift communities. In Hollywood, local residents will participate in cultivating the garden and enjoying the harvest of fresh produce. The photo is of participants planting the first seedlings of peppers, squash, onions, tomatoes and other vegetables.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sunset Blvd/Civic Center Urban Design Plan meeting next Thursday

The Community Redevelopment Agency/Los Angeles (CRA/LA) will host a community briefing on the Sunset Boulevard/Civic Center Urban Design Plan on Thursday, March 18, at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held at the CRA/Hollywood building (6255 Sunset Blvd.) in Suite 904.

The draft plan can be reviewed here.

Parking is available at the following locations:

  • Free parking with CRA/LA validation at the Cineramadome Garage
  • Street parking after 6:00 p.m.
  • Parking on site for a fee
RSVPs are appreciated, but not required. Those who are interested in attending may RSVP to Alison Becker at 323/960-2660 or

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Cash for College

Click here to watch LACityview Channel 35's coverage of our Cash for College workshop at Belmont High School.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Hollywood/Western Streetscape planning workshops

My office in partnership with Councilmember LaBonge's office has been holding planning workshops to get public input on streetscape improvements in Hollywood.

The next workshop will be held on Thursday, March 25, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Assistance League (1370 N. St. Andrews Place). The focus will be on the study area of Western Avenue between Santa Monica and Hollywood Boulevards.

There will also be a workshop on Thursday, April 22, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Metro Housing conference room (1672 Western Ave). The focus will be on the study area of Hollywood Boulevard between Gower and Western and Western Avenue between Hollywood and Franklin.

There will also be a workshop on Thursday, May 27, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Assistance League (1370 N. St. Andrews Place). The focus will be on the study area of Western Avenue between Santa Monica and Hollywood Boulevards.

On June 24, there will be a presentation of a draft plan from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Metro Housing conference room (1672 Western Ave).

For additional information, please contact my office at 323/957-4500.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Make the Homeless Count sock drive

The City of Los Angeles is collecting socks to be distributed at events throughout the city as part of the effort to count homeless men, women, and children for the U.S. Census.

This community is one of the most challenging to accurately count. The Los Angeles Housing Services Authority estimates there are nearly 25,000 homeless in our city on any given night. Getting an accurate count is important because census data is used to determine, among other things, Los Angeles's allocation of state and federal dollars for programs that help people in need.

Please consider donating a new pair of socks in any size (men, women, or children). Socks may be dropped before March 14 at the Echo Park Family Source Center (1824 Sunset Blvd.) or any City of Los Angeles fire station. For more information, please contact Sindia (x116) or Anna (x112) at 213/483-6335.

New computers and more at Dayton Heights Elementary School

This morning I attended the ribbon cutting of a new computer center and other improvements at Dayton Heights Elementary School that will help students learn the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century workplace. The upgrades were made through a partnership between the Everything Channel and L.A. Works.

Through this project, L.A. Works volunteers helped makeover the school library, including the installation of 35 new computers. Volunteers also painted murals on the campus and brought two new copiers to the faculty and staff supply rooms.

This is a wonderful addition to the 100 year-old elementary school, which serves a diverse community.

Friday, March 05, 2010

ArtCycle is coming to East Hollywood

On Saturday, March 13, join the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council and the East Hollywood Arts and Culture Committee at the Second Annual East Hollywood ArtCycle, an event designed to showcase the emerging art and bicycling cultures in East Hollywood.

From 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., take a bike tour of more than a dozen galleries and historical sites in East Hollywood, or just linger at the street fair at Santa Monica Boulevard and Madison Avenue, across from the Cahuenga Branch Library. There will be plenty of art, live entertainment, food, and more -- so hop on your bike and pedal over!

Free Wells Fargo/Wachovia mortgage workshop

Wells Fargo and Wachovia bank mortgage customers facing payment challenges are invited to get free counseling at workshops that will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The workshops will run from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on March 21, 22, and 23. Bank representatives will be available to confidentially discuss concerns and help participants determine whether they are eligible for assistance through the federal Making Home Affordable loan modification program.

Walk-ins are welcome, but registration is recommended. Sign-up online by March 18 at

Mark your calendar to celebrate Earth Day in Silver Lake

Sustainable Silver Lake (formerly the Silver Lake Chamber of Commerce Green Committee) will host Pledge for the Planet in recognition of Earth Day on April 22. Local residents, business owners, and others are invited to record pledges to make eco-friendly changes in their lives. These pledges will be broadcast on DUBLAB's website.

This event is free and open to the public, and will be held at Spaceland (1717 Silver Lake Blvd.) from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Music will be provided by DUBLAB deejays and sustainable snacks will be available for participants to sample.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

This weekend, comics will lend their talents and time to help Haiti through Comic Aid for Haiti performances that will be held at three venues across Los Angeles, including the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre (4800 Hollywood Blvd.) in Hollywood.

Comic Aid for Haiti tickets are $15 on-line and $20 at the door, and may be purchased at . "Proceeds will go toward the Haiti earthquake relief effort. Organizations, such as will also be on site to accept any donations for this effort.

The events will be hosted by Evan Lionel and feature comedians who have appeared on Comedy Central, HBO, BET, and other outlets. Comics scheduled to appear include Jamal Doman, Earthquake, Joe Torry, Aaron Edwards, Deon Cole, Darren Carter, Darryl Bronsen, Ida Rodriguez, Esau McGraw, Dannon Green, David Raybon, Clayton Thomas, Doug Williams, and Corey Holcomb.

Yard sale at Lemon Grove Park this weekend

On Saturday, March 6, a yard sale will be held at Lemon Grove Park (459 Lemon Grove Ave.) from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. to benefit Leaders of the Community in Action (LCA), an organization coordinated by Children's Hospital that provides programs to reduce drug and alcohol abuse among teens in the Hollywood community.

NALEO hiring bilingual (Spanish) phone canvassers to help with U.S. Census count

The 2010 U.S. Census is coming and we need an accurate count! Census data is used for a variety of purposes, including determining how much state and federal funding we get for schools, health care, and other important programs.

The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Eduction Fund is launching a GOTC (Get-Out-The-Count) effort through which bilingual canvassers will call 120,000 households in some of the hardest-to-count areas of Los Angeles County.

NALEO is looking to hire 60 bilingual canvassers in the Los Angeles area. These positions are part-time and the compensation is $9.50 per hour. More information is available on the flyer (click on it to enlarge) or by contacting Elva Pullenayegam at

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

LADWP analysis available

An independent analysis of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's (LADWP) proposed rate changes is now available. The study, conducted by PA Consulting, was the result of a motion by Energy and Environment Committee Chair Jan Perry to provide an independent analysis of LADWP's cost to produce or purchase energy. The study is available here.

The next step is that the Energy and Environment Committee will review and discuss the study. Those interested in following the debate or coming to voice their opinion can check the committee calendar here to see when it appears on the agenda.

Lemon Grove Park exercise equipment dedication

On Saturday, the East Hollywood community gathered at Lemon Grove Park to dedicate a new fitness trail and exercise zone that includes a 10-piece set of exercise equipment. The new equipment will give local residents another option for free outdoor exercise.

This project was jump-started in 2007, when the Hollywood Studio District Neighborhood Council and the Lemon Grove Recreation Center applied for and were awarded a $10,000 Community Beautification Grant to help fund this park improvement. My office also allocated more than $50,000 in QUIMBY Funds to make the project a reality.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council open house

On Saturday I attended the first Echo Park Block Party and the opening of the Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council's (GEPENC) new office and community center.

The Neighborhood Council worked with the property's owner (Bank of America) to lease the office space, which sat vacant for about four years. This weekend it was the site of a lively gathering where neighbors met each other, toured the new space, and enjoyed food and deejayed music.

Cash for College workshop

This weekend my office hosted a Cash for College workshop at Belmont High School to help local students access financial aid for college. Students and their families brought their tax forms and other information and got one-on-one assistance with filling out the FAFSA and other financial aid forms.

Every year, state and federal funding for college goes unused because students and their families are unable to decipher the complicated application forms. To address the situation, the City of Los Angeles in partnership with the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce, labor, and other partners started Cash for College. Now, the Chamber takes the lead in organizing workshops across the city as well as the annual Cash for College Convention.

On Saturday, I met high school seniors who hope to attend UCLA, USC, Cal State Northridge, and other schools. I want to thank the volunteers who donated their time to help these students achieve their dreams by getting a college education. And I want to congratulate the students and their families for pursuing higher education. I wish you all the best.

Community Forum on the City's Budget Crisis

On Saturday, March 6, the Glassell Park Neighborhood Council will hold a Community discussion on the City's budget with Councilmember Bernard Parks, who chairs the Council's Budget and Finance Committee. The event will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Glassell Park Community Center (3750 N. Verdugo Rd.). The meeting is free and open to the public, and light refreshments will be served.

Immediately following the forum, the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Coalition will meet.

Bresee Foundation fundraiser - March 25

On March 25, the Bresee Foundation will host a wine and cheese tasting event to help support its after school programs for local at-risk youth. The event will be held from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Bresee Community Center (184 S. Bimini Pl.). Tickets are $25.

The Bresee Foundation is a non-profit community center that seeks to remedy the effects of poverty in Central Los Angeles. In an area where less than 50 percent of students are expected to graduate from high school, the Bresee Foundation works directly with community members to help improve their lives.

For more information and to reserve tickets, visit the Bresee Foundation website. For additional questions, please contact Samantha Musa at 213-387-2822 ext. 167 or email