DAILY BRUIN: USAC ethics pledge hinders tolerance, awareness

Councilmember Blumenfield authored an op-ed in the Daily Bruinwritten in response to disturbing reports of bullying and harassment on UCLA's campus as a result of the so-called "ethics pledge," which was distributed during the recently concluded student elections. 

I was dismayed to read reports of a so-called “ethics pledge,” circulated during the Undergraduate Students Association Council election, which sought to pressure candidates for student government office to promise they would not take educational trips to Israel offered by some of the most well-regarded Jewish community organizations in the country.

In response, I offered a resolution with the support of six of my City Council colleagues, urging the University of California to develop policies to ensure that no student will have to live in fear of bullying for his or her beliefs.

As an elected official, I feel a strong responsibility to lead the charge for social justice, fairness and dialogue. I believe that an essential part of my job is to educate and enlighten. This “ethics pledge” is particularly insidious because it is falsely couched in words like tolerance and transparency when in reality it promotes the opposite. At the same time, its proponents have utilized tactics of bullying and intimidation to promote a version of events that ignores basic facts in favor of politically expedient narratives.

The pledge singled out groups that include a pro-Israel mission and mischaracterized them as promoters of intolerance and discrimination. I have worked with these organizations for decades and know that they have actively helped lead the charge against discrimination and intolerance worldwide.

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Excessive Heat Warning: Cooling Facilities Open

UPDATE 5/14/2014 4:53 PM :

The National Weather Service continues to forecast a prolonged period of hot and very dry conditions this week with potential record heat through Friday, May 16, 2014.

City of Los Angeles facilities will continue to be available for use as cooling centers to provide the public with relief from the heat. City Libraries are open Monday through Thursday until 8:00 p.m. For a list of branches and hours, please visit: http://www.lapl.org/branches.

City of Los Angeles Recreation and Parks facilities will also be open through Friday, May 16, 2014, from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. For a list of cooling centers in the County of Los Angeles, click here or visit http://lacoa.org/.

The National Weather Service forecasts a prolonged period of hot and very dry conditions this week with potential record heat Tuesday, May 13, 2014, through Thursday, May 15, 2014. Temperatures in the San Fernando Valley could climb over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The relative humidity will make temperatures feel even hotter.

A Red Flag Condition has been issued for the Los Angeles City. Red Flag Restricted Parking will be in effect from Tuesday, May 13, 2014, 8:00 a.m. to Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 8:00 a.m. or until further notice. For more information regarding LAFD’s Red Flag Parking Program go to http://lafd.org/redflag/ or call 3-1-1.

Cooling Facilities

City facilities will be utilized as cooling centers to provide the public with relief from the heat. City facilities are open to the public during regular business. During periods of high temperatures, the City may extend the hours of facilities beyond regular business hours. City facilities are physically accessible, and upon request, will provide auxiliary aids and services for program access and effective communication.

The National Weather Service continues to forecast a prolonged period of hot and very dry

To help Angelenos during this period of excessive heat, City Libraries will be open until 8:00.pm nightly through Thursday May 15, and until 5:30 p.m. Friday, May 16.

The following Recreation and Parks facilities will also be open on Tuesday, May 13 through Thursday May 15 from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.:

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From LAPD: Beware of people claiming to be DWP, telemarketers, and escrow agents, who ask for money.

Beware of anyone claiming to be a DWP worker, telemarketer, escrow agent, or anyone who call or come to your door and ask for money. 

Before you give anyone money or your credit card info get their info then contact the company they're claiming to be from. 

For more info contact West Valley Burglary Detectives at 818-374-7730

 

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The SFV Rescue Mission Needs Our Help

This weekend, a devastating fire destroyed the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission’s emergency shelter, vehicle fleet, and clothing and food warehouse. The fire started just before 1 a.m. Saturday at a wood pallet warehouse adjacent to the shelter on Saticoy Street and took Los Angeles City firefighters over an hour to get the flames under control.

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With so much damage done, the Mission needs the community's help to rebuild. Cash donations are the most vital right now and may be made by visiting the Mission’s website here. Trucks and temporary storage containers are also needed to continue the Mission’s work without interruption. Other items critically needed include blankets, clothing, small household items and personal hygiene items.

Donated items can be dropped off to the Sun Valley Thrift store at 9007 Lankershim Blvd, Sun Valley, CA 91352 between hours of 9am–6pm daily or at Councilmember Blumenfield's office at the West Valley Municipal Center at 19040 Vanowen Street, Reseda, CA 91335.

For more information and how to donate, please contact (888) 937-4448.

The destruction of the Mission’s vehicle fleet will seriously impact the emergency mobile program, which travels to six distinct areas of the Valley each week equipped with its mobile shower unit, hot nutritious food, and clothing and hygiene items for distribution. Each month, the SOS program serves an average of 1,500 men, women and children and provides over 1,500 meals, 1,400 items of clothing, 300 showers, and 400 hygiene kits.

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Budget Hearings and Survey Results

Earlier this month, Mayor Garcetti unveiled his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2014-15, his first as Mayor, available for your review here.

Today at 1pm, the City’s Budget and Finance Committee, of which I am a member, will begin a three week process of reviewing the proposed budget with the first of a series of a hearings. A link to the budget hearing schedule can be found here.

In a budget survey sent out last month, I asked you to let me know your priorities for the City’s upcoming budget. I received hundreds of responses, and despite a diversity of ideas, a clear consensus emerged: we need to remain focused on growing and improving the City’s physical and environmental infrastructure to make LA a safe, clean, green and friendly place for people and businesses while ensuring our long-term, fiscal sustainability. A visual representation of what you told us can be found after the jump.

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Budget Survey

The City of Los Angeles’s budget for everything we do is approximately $7.2 billion. We are facing a $242 million structural deficit entering the next fiscal year which begins on July 1. A “structural deficit” fundamentally means that our expenses (money going out) are outpacing our revenue (money coming in). Because the City can’t continue to live beyond its means, I need your input on what is most important as the Council faces tough budget decisions this year.

Please know that I will continue my concerted efforts to make City government more efficient, cost effective, transparent and rooted in performance measures and metrics. However, despite ongoing successes in this realm, and more expected, the budget choices we have to make cannot be completely averted.

Please take the survey below to let me know your budget priorities, thoughts and concerns for the upcoming budget.

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Fire Station 84 Park Survey

THANK YOU

During an extensive community outreach effort in your neighborhood, I heard overwhelming support for converting the former Fire Station at the corner of Canoga Avenue and Costanso Street to a small community park or what many call a "parklet". Following this important community decision, I hosted a design charrette. This meeting allowed the community to work collaboratively with the City to mold and shape the plans for the future park and to hear and address issues and concerns. Thank you for your input during this important process.

NEXT STEPS

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Slurry Seal Crews in CD3 This Week

Starting yesterday and lasting through the end of the week, the Bureau Street Services Pavement Preservation Division will be pouring some 94,700 gallons of slurry seal in two areas in Council District 3. 

Street work will occur in the area between Rod Ave. and Platt Ave., from Sylvan St. to Calvert St. and between Le Sage Ave. and Fallbrook, from Victory to Calvert St.

Please see below maps to minimize daily disruption:

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Questions about subvention?

Do you have questions about the City’s role in the Village at Westfield Topanga Project? So did I. That’s why I worked day and night to help craft a fair deal for taxpayers that will create jobs and economic opportunity here in the San Fernando Valley. Below, please find some of our most Frequently Asked Questions about the project and subvention.

-Bob

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What is a “subvention”?

A subvention agreement provides for a mechanism by which site-specific tax revenue can be used by the City to provide financial assistance to a project to bridge the feasibility gap in its construction cost to help build the project. As per City policy, up to 50% of the net new tax revenue (general fund revenue) generated by a project may be used to assist a project through subvention.

Net new revenue? What does that mean?

Net new revenues refer to tax revenues the City would not get unless such a project was built.

Okay, got it. What’s a feasibility gap?

A feasibility gap is the difference between what the project costs to build and the revenues expected to be earned. Put another way, it is the additional financing needed to make the project viable.

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BEVERLY PRESS: L.A. looks to impede Iran’s investors

The Park La Brea News-Beverly Press' Aaron Blevins covers the City Council's historic stand against Iran's nuclear weapons program: 

City officials hoped to make a statement to the Iranian government last Friday, when the Los Angeles City Council voted to prohibit entities that do business with Iran’s energy sector from pursuing local government contracts.

The vote brought the city into compliance with the Iran Contracting Act of 2010, which was authored by then-Assemblymen Mike Feuer and Bob Blumenfield. The two have teamed up again to ensure that the legislation is implemented at the city level.

“We’re going to send a strong message to the Iranian regime that until they give up all aspirations for developing nuclear weapons, the United States will use every arrow in our quiver to prevent that from happening,” said Blumenfield, who now represents the council’s 3rd District. “And crucially, today’s action provides much needed peace of mind for all Angelenos, that their tax dollars will never be party to a nuclear Iran.”

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