Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Monday marked the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and I was proud to help host a City Hall celebration of this landmark civil rights achievement, which has improved access and opportunity for millions of people.

The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, services, accommodations, communications and access. I am proud that Los Angeles followed the ADA by being the first city in America to create a specific department on disability. The Los Angeles Department on Disability provides a wide range of services. More information can be found at

Monday, July 26, 2010


One of the driving reasons why crime continues to drop despite the poor economy is increased engagement between the community and the LAPD.

On Wednesday, July 28th at 6 p.m., the LAPD's Northeast Area will host it's annual SLO (Senior Lead Officer) Summit at Dodger Stadium. This informal community gathering is being held to strengthen the partnership between Northeast Area officers and the neighborhoods they serve: Atwater Village, Cypress Park, Eagle Rock, East Hollywood, Echo Park, Elysian Park, Elysian Valley, Glassell Park, Griffith Park, Highland Park, Los Feliz, Mt. Washington, and Silverlake.

I will be there too, joining the SLOs and LAPD commanders to provide the latest public safety information and to address residents' questions and concerns. Representatives from other City departments that tackle safety and quality of life issues, such as Public Works, Housing and Animal Services, will also be in attendance.

To RSVP, Danny Roman at (213) 485-2548. Enter Dodger Stadium via the Elysian Park Avenue gate.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


The Northeast Los Angeles Coalition will host a capacity building workshop tonight at the Glassell Park Senior and Community Center at 3750 North Verdugo Road. Newly elected board members will meet with residents at 5:30 P.M. The workshop will begin at 6:30 and will focus on community building skills and feature a keynote presentation by B.H. Kim, General Manager of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment. For more information please e-mail Philip Dorsey Iglauer at

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Yesterday, we called the DWP administration into Council Chambers to get answers about their demand earlier this year for an unreasonable and unnecessary rate hike. While that increase was ultimately defeated, it has since come to light that DWP misled the public about their reasons for backing an increase. This is unacceptable.

To make sure the DWP puts its customers -- the people of Los Angeles -- first, I have introduced a motion that would create an
independent DWP watchdog through a Charter amendment passed by the voters, ensuring that this customer advocate would be insulated from politics and the DWP.

Yesterday, I built on that motion with another action to reform DWP.
The motion is aimed at increasing public scrutiny and reducing the uncertainty the DWP can inject into the overall city budgeting process. The motion would require DWP to publicly present its budget well in advance of the budget deadline and would change the current deadline that allows DWP to pass its budget after the passage of the city’s budget, as was the case this year.

Specifically, it would require DWP to present its proposed budget by April 20, which is when the Mayor is required to present a proposed city budget every year. This would guarantee a lengthy period of public discussion about the budget. The motion would also require the DWP Board of Commissioners to pass the department’s final budget by June 1, which is when the City Council must pass the final city budget.

The motion may be found here:

Friday, July 16, 2010


The Department of City Planning will host its first ever citywide "webinars" on July 22, with a focus on bicycles and other ways to reduce traffic and clean the air. From 6 pm to 7 pm, the City’s new Draft Bicycle Plan and other transportation strategies will be discussed. From 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm the topic will be the Five-Year Implementation Strategy for new city bikeways.

This is a great way for Los Angeles residents to not learn more about the city's transportation planning, but the technology provides the ability to ask questions as well, all from your own personal computer at home or work.

To register or for more information, visit:, where you can also find more information about in-person regional public workshops/hearings that will be held in September.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Hollywood will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the world-famous Walk of Fame on Sunday, July 25 from 11 am to 6 pm. The all day event will include tours of historic Hollywood theaters and studios in addition to live music, movie screenings, and activities for kids. As you walk through Hollywood, be on the lookout for restaurants and attractions offering discounts, special menu items and giveaways.

If you’re in the neighborhood at 11:30, you can watch a special walk of fame ceremony for the late Louis Prima in front of The Montalban at 1617 Vine Street, which will include a special performance Louis Prima, Jr. & the Witnesses and a special appearance by Lena Prima.

For maps and detailed information, visit And don’t forget that the Red Line stops at Hollywood & Vine and Hollywood and Highland!


On Tuesday I introduced a City Council motion that would put a Charter Amendment on the March 2011 ballot to create a DWP customer advocate's office. This independent watchdog would make sure the utility's rates were fair to the people of Los Angeles -- and enforce accountability, transparency and integrity at the DWP.

Among other revelations, a recent audit showed that the DWP misled us about its call earlier this year for a power rate hike of up to 28%. The City Council beat that increase back, but the dispute led to a drop in the city's credit rating. While the rating has since gone up as a result of the way the Council balanced the budget, it is inexcusable for the DWP to be anything less than 100% open and forthright with the people of Los Angeles. And it is outrageous that in this instance the taxpayers of Los Angeles were put at risk for millions of dollars in unnecessary interest payments.

I've been working on this advocate's office since last year. Recently, the DWP offered to create a "ratepayer advocate" within its own bureaucracy. While this may seem like a good first step, true reform cannot occur without true independence. The customer advocate's office spurred by my motion would be located outside of any political office and certainly outside of the DWP. By being created through the City Charter, the office's role and resources would have iron clad protections -- only the voters could make changes.

The city is right now developing a schedule of public meetings citywide where the public, DWP customers, the business community, Neighborhood Councils, and experts - will be asked to provide us with input on how best to develop this office. I believe that increasing transparency at DWP starts with an open, public process, and ends with the vote by the people. (Incidentally, to expedite this process and to save money, this election would be held on the March ballot when a municipal election is already being held.)

Stay tuned for more updates. DWP reform has been a priority for me, and with the help of an independent advocate and watchdog, we can ensure that the Department's customers and the people of Los Angeles come first.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Crackdown on Bank-Caused Blight Begins

With the City’s new ordinance cracking down on banks that neglect foreclosed homes going into effect last week I joined Councilman Bernard Parks in South L.A. on Saturday to let the community know how they can take action.

I proposed this ordinance to stop banks from compounding Los Angeles’ already dire foreclosure crisis by seizing homes and then neglecting them to the point that they drag down the surrounding neighborhood’s public safety, quality of life, and property values.

Take make sure banks clean up their act the ordinance imposes fines up to $100,000. The ordinance also establishes a centralized registry of foreclosed homes (and those in pre-foreclosure status) that requires banks to provide the city with a local contact person or company that can fix problems.

Anyone who sees a neglected foreclosed home should make a report by calling 311.

Hollywood Cleanup a Great Success

Saturday’s 2010 Hollywood City Wide Clean-up was incredible, with more than 500 volunteers turning out to clean the neighborhood bordered by Hollywood Blvd and Sunset Blvd, and Wilton and Virgil. My office also pitched in, not only working alongside the volunteers but also providing tools, water, and city department support.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Latest Crime Statistics

I was happy to be able to share good news about the city's crime rate Friday morning, as I joined the Mayor and Chief Beck to detail the latest crime statistics compiled by the LAPD.

Conventional wisdom says that when the economy is down, crime goes up. I’m extremely proud to say that, even in these tough times, violent violent crime is down 11.4% over the past year and 28.9% since 2005, while property crimes are down 5.3% over the past year and 23.2% over the last five years, while gang-related crimes are down 9.4% this year.

These numbers show what we can do not only through increasing LAPD manpower and using cutting edge crime-fighting technologies, but by working closely with the community.

Then, at the beginning of the City Council meeting, I was proud to honor the men and women who work the LAPD's Northeast Area beat in my district for reducing overall crime by 40% and homicides by 80% over the last two years. In addition to hundreds of federal and state law enforcement officers, LAPD launched major crackdowns against two of the community's most violent gangs, resulting in more than 150 criminals off the street and the shut-down of 13 gang clubhouses.

There is a lot more to do in terms of making our city safer, but by tracking data in addition to what our officers are reporting from the streets, we are able to know what is working and what is not -- so I am confident we will be able to keep up the momentum.

To see the latest crime information in your neighborhood, visit

Friday, July 02, 2010

CicLAvia: Opening up the Streets of LA

In reducing Los Angeles’ traffic and cleaning our air, we must use every option available – whether buses, light rail, commuter trains, bicycles, and even walking. CicLAvia is an organization that encourages bicycling in a dramatic way, and in doing so also expands the open space available in our city.

CicLAvia is inspired by Ciclovía, a weekly event in Bogotá, Colombia where certain streets are closed to cars to create new open spaces where people can exercise, socialize and, of course, ride bikes.

I am happy to announce that the City of Los Angeles will be working with CicLAvia on a pilot closure project on September 12 from 10 am to 3 pm. The pilot will create a route of open space that winds through BoyleHeights, Downtown, Little Tokyo, MacArthur Park, Koreatown, and East Hollywood. I hope you can check out this incredible and innovative event.

For more information, please visit:


The most significant financial obstacle to higher education is often not that there aren't loans, scholarships or grants available, but that people just don't know about them or how to navigate the process to get that money. Cash for College is Los Angeles' way of linking students in need with the money they need to get a college education.

Earlier this week, I met with some of the students who are receiving $600,000 in scholarships directly from LA Cash for College at its
5th Annual Scholarship Program Awards Reception. But that direct funding is just a small part of Cash for College's work. It's annual convention this year drew 13,000 students and parents. Between January and March, LA Cash for College hosted 120 financial aid workshops to help students identify funding sources and navigate the paperwork and process apply and receive those funds.

The annual LA Cash for College convention features a wealth of financial aid information, seminars on college life, interactive career exhibitions, and an Exhibit Hall packed with college and university recruiters from campuses across the country. High school students and their parents should plan their calendars now to attend on December 8-9, 2010.

For more information, visit :