Thursday, May 27, 2010


I had a lot of fun at the Silver Lake Jubilee last weekend, which brought together so many neighbors and community groups, not to mention music, art and food trucks.

Some of the entertainment was provided by the Marshall High School band, the Silver Lake Conservatory and dance teams from King Middle School. Volunteer readers from the Friends of Silver Lake Library were on hand, and attendees received a lot of great information from the Eco-Village.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


As the city made tough choices in our work to balance the budget, I wanted to make sure that key programs in my district -- particularly for kids -- were protected.

I won't bore you with the accounting details, but working with my staff, we identified "GCP" funds that we could personally direct to mitigate cuts to parks, youth programs and other important services across the district, particularly during the summer when kids are out of school.

We are funding two skate parks, La Conte Skate Park in Hollywood and the Marsh Street Skate Park in Elysian Valley. These parks give young people safe places to hang out, but limited funding has threatened the good they are able to do. Marsh Street, for example, is only open Tuesday through Saturday from 3 pm to 7 pm. Through the funding we provided, the park will be open from 12 pm to 8 pm every day during the summer. In addition, we directed funding to protect the Hollywood Hot Spot summer youth program at Helen Bernstein High.

We also directed funding to the park at Beverly and Union in Historic Filipinotown. Right now, the city cannot assign anyone to open and close the park, making access dependent on when volunteers can be there. This funding will guarantee the park can operate daily from 8 am to 8 pm.

Other initiatives to which we are directing GCP funds include a campaign to make sure people know how they can report graffiti, potholes, trash or other issues by calling 311 or using the new "Garcetti 311" iPhone app; murals on walls and utility boxes, which beautify and prevent graffiti; and initiatives to introduce and attract businesses to Historic Filipinotown.

In addition, we are funding a Nonprofit Leadership Academy to help groups facing tough budget times of their own with tools and assistance to continue providing critical services.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


As President of the Los Angeles City Council and as an officer in the Navy Reserve, I was proud today to join my colleagues Council members Dennis Zine and Bill Rosendahl, who is an Army veteran, in recognizing National Military Appreciation Month. We were joined in Council Chambers today by members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard.

In addition to recognizing their service, and that of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in to defend our freedom, a ceremonial cake-cutting, complete with a sword, was held in honor of the Army's 235th birthday.

You can find out about how you can support our troops at

Monday, May 24, 2010

It's not too late! Be Counted! Census 2010

The federal government uses the Census to allocate billions of dollars in funding, so it's vitally important everyone in Los Angeles is counted so we get our fair share.

If you didn't mail back your Census form, you can expect a Census worker to visit your home. Door-to-door visits will continue through July 10th, and I encourage you invest a few minutes to answer their questions -- which will
pay off with more police, fire, education and other dollars in your

All Census takers carry an official badge and a shoulder bag – both with the U.S. Department of Commerce seal – and a binder. To confirm the identity of a Census worker or any questions, call the Los Angeles Regional Census Center at (818)-717-6700 or visit

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Breed Street Shul Project

I was pleased to recently lend my support to The Breed Street Shul Project's work to restore the historic Boyle Heights Shul, which dates back to when the neighborhood was home to a thriving Jewish community. The non-profit, which was established in 1999, also aims to forge closer relationships between the Jewish and Latino communities.

The Breed Street Shul encompasses two historic synagogues -- a 1923 un-reinforced brick building and a 1915 wood-frame building. Both buildings have been designated by the City of Los Angeles as Historic-Cultural Monuments and are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. My interest in the The Breed Street Shul Project in driven in part because of my family background -- my paternal grandparents immigrated to the United States from Mexico, while my maternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Russia who settled in Boyle Heights. More information about The Breed Street Shul Project is at

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


The Glassell Park Neighborhood Council will host a “Fire, Life and Public Safety Forum’ on Tuesday, May 25 from 6pm - 8pm in the Main Assembly Hall at the Glassell Park Community/Senior Center at 3750 North Verdugo Road (behind the Public Storage).

The event will focus especially on brush and weed abatement measures that impact residents and property owners on or near hillsides.

Capt. Robert Knight and Capt. Tony Valdez of the Fire Department's Brush Clearance Unit will attend the forum to discuss abatement, fees, Red Flag Days, and other issues.
For more information, visit


Mr. Recycle himself will raffle-off recycling bins, gifts and prizes as part of the Bureau of Sanitation's Northeast Central District Yard open house and resource fair on Saturday, May 22 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The event, which is aimed at kids and kids at heart alike, will also include free food, truck demonstrations, tours and information about recycling. The yard is at 452 N. San Fernando Road.

For more information, call (800) 773-2489 or visit or Pictures and information about past open houses are at

Monday, May 17, 2010

Lucretia Steps in Echo Park Clean Up

My office was proud to help neighbors from Grafton, Lucretia, Lemoyne and Lakeshore streets in Echo Park, as well as volunteers from the Central City Action Committee and Aztecs Rising, clean the area around the Lucretia Steps near Grafton.

The Saturday, May 15 clean up saw 30 volunteers clear brush, pull weeds, and clear trash, filling 75 to 100 bags of debris. Central City Action, which is a partner of the Department of Public Works, will return to clean graffiti in the coming days.
Now that the area is clear, community members hope to begin landscaping with succulents and other native plants.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bark for Life 2010 on Sunday

Friends of Silver Lake Animals, a sub-committee of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council, invites anyone with a four-legged best friend to participate in Sunday's "Bark for Life 2010," Silver Lake's version of the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. This walk around the Silver Lake Reservoir will raise funds for ACS research, advocacy, education and services. The cost is $20 per dog, $30 for two dogs, and each dog will receive a purple Bark for Life bandana.

Sign-up online at or register on-site (cash or checks only) between 3pm and 4 pm.

Where: 2300 Silver Lake Blvd (just South of Armstrong) on the walking path.

When: Sunday, May 16, 3pm - 6pm

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Prom Dress Loan System

Helen Bernstein High School
is hosting its very
first annual
Senior Pr
om on June 4, 2010
and the teachers at HBHS have come together to start a
"Prom Dress Loan System" to help girls who otherwise could not afford to attend.

Between now and Friday, May 28, the school is accepting
formal dresses, jewelery, shoes and purses that students can use to dress up for the prom. Donations are tax deductible.

Items may be dropped-off at the school's Main Office at
1309 N. Wilton Pl. in Hollywood. For more information call (323) 817-6400.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Operation Gratitude

Operation Gratitude started in an Encino living room.

Carolyn Blashek, after being moved by a soldier's story while she was volunteering at the military lounge at LAX, decided to go home, call some friends, and put together a few care packages to show the troops overseas that people back home care.
From that simple start, Operation Gratitude has grown into an enormous volunteer effort that has sent 550,000 care packages to date.

As an officer in the Navy Reserve, I was especially honored last night to recognize Carol with the 2010 Spirit of VIC Award for Community Service
at the Valley Interfaith Council's annual awards dinner, which was accepted on her behalf by Marty Martin.

Anyone can go to and submit the name of a service-member to receive a care package. The packages are prepared twice a year at the California National Guard armory in Van Nuys by 10,000 volunteers with the support of more than 300 businesses.
I also want to recognize the Vally Interfaith Council for its work throughout the year to help seniors in the San Fernando Valley. The Council makes a difference by delivering 150,000 meals a year to home-bound individuals; serving seniors with three multi-purpose senior centers, eleven nutrition sites and in-home care assistance; working with victims of stroke and other illnesses and impairments at four adult day care centers; and free "Handyworker" service to help low income seniors and disabled persons make their homes more accessible. More information is at

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Asbarez Headquarters in Little Armenia

This Wednesday I had a chance to tour the new Asbarez newspaper headquarters in the heart of Hollywood’s Little Armenia. In circulation since 1908, Asbarez ( is the oldest Armenian newspaper in the United States, and recently moved to Los Angeles from its previous location in Glendale. Horizon, its television partner, shares the new offices on Vermont, and I was impressed by their first-rate broadcast studio.

Asbarez English Editor Ara Khachatourian was a wonderful host and after checking out the paper's archives, we had a great discussion about how we can work together to better link the community with City services and ensure every Los Angeles resident knows how to be heard by their government.

200 Help Clean Up Echo Park

A huge thank you to all the volunteers who participated in last weekend’s Echo Park Clean Up. More than 200 community members helped clean the streets and filled more than 35 bags of trash. A special thank you goes out to the staff of Kaiser Permanente and the Big Sunday organization for helping make the event possible.