Council Frees Nearly $90 Million for Economic Development

This morning, I was pleased to join with my fellow Councilmembers in moving forward a plan to free nearly $90 million in unused CRA bonds for the purpose of economic development in Los Angeles, some $20 million of which will go directly to my West Valley district.

I’m proud that this has been made possible in part by a one-two punch I helped deliver, first as an Assemblymember and now as a Councilmember.

Under the original state dissolution authority of the CRA, former redevelopment properties and bond proceeds were to be expeditiously sold and paid off. As Chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, I worked to change this, authoring the trailer bill AB 1484 that amended the previous dissolution legislation to allow for eligible successor agencies to utilize unobligated pre-2011 tax allocation bond proceeds.

As a Councilmember, I believe it is critical that we take advantage of this opportunity in a thoughtful and deliberate manner to deliver on the promises to these communities.

It is one reason why last week I traveled to Sacramento to meet with the Director of the Department of Finance and the Governor’s Office. I wanted to stress how important it is for our City to use these bonds to invest in our communities.

The proposed Bond Expenditure Agreement and Bond Spending Plan between the CRA/LA and the City would allow the City of Los Angeles to utilize $86.4 million of existing unused CRA bond money to improve public infrastructure, support affordable housing, invest in catalytic investments, and provide business assistance.

The City Council action today, created the City mechanism to make the plan a reality. The next step will be approval by the CRA/LA successor agency and oversight board.

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Slurry Seal Crews in CD3

The Bureau Street Services Resurfacing and Reconstruction Division will be pouring more than 100,000 gallons of slurry seal in Council District 3 this week.

Find out if your neighborhood is affected and when at the map below:

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Supporting Internet Based Job Creation

Supporting job creation and business development in the City is one of my top goals as a City Councilmember.  To help grow the jobs of tomorrow, the City Council's Budget Committee on Monday discussed my measure to explore a continuation of the reduced gross receipts tax rate for internet based businesses which otherwise will expire on December 31.  

Internet based businesses are a growth area in the local economy, and the technology industry is constantly evolving and changing.   Attracting and retaining these businesses and jobs has been and will be good for the city and neighborhoods.  This week’s measure will have the Office of Finance report on the economic impact of the current rate and provide recommendations for continuing the ordinance. The report on the economic impact of this tax rate is likely to come back to the Committee within the next month.  Our Committee also directed that the City Attorney begin work on an ordinance to continue the rate beyond the sunset date.

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Blumenfield Remarks as Los Angeles Leaders Stand With Israel For Peace

 

Below please find Councilmember Bob Blumenfield's prepared remarks as City leaders gathered to reaffirm their support for Israel and hope for a lasting peace, on August 5, 2014.

Good morning. This morning, as a fragile ceasefire continues to hold in the Middle East, the elected leaders of Los Angeles are coming together with one voice to stand with Israel in her pursuit of peace and hopeful that today’s ceasefire will hold.

Let me be clear: we are not against the Palestinians, nor the residents of Gaza, both of whom have suffered needlessly in this conflict. Their suffering is not taken lightly, and it is heartbreaking to all of us. But we do stand with Israel against with a Hamas regime that in its own charter celebrates a day when its followers will “fight the Jews and kill them; until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees,” and writes that Peace is “contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement.” A Hamas that terrorizes Israelis from the skies and now, from beneath the ground. A Hamas whose primary commitment is not, as it should be, to the security, safety and advancement of the Palestinian people, but to the destruction of the State of Israel. This regime willingly sacrifices innocent Palestinians and rebukes attempts to find peace.

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Orange Line Leads to Jobs and Valley Transformation

While Los Angeles is known as the nation’s car capital, that reputation is changing thanks in large part to the good work of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro).  The visionary passage of Measure R has enabled transit, bicycling, and walking to become viable alternatives to driving in many areas of the County.  Locally, Mayor Eric Garcetti has set out a course toward Great Streets, and I am proud to partner toward a healthier and more sustainable transportation vision in my district and the region.

That’s why I appreciate the effort led by Councilmember Paul Krekorian, with Mayor Garcetti, Supervisor Michael Antonovich, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, Director John Fasana and Director Ara Najarian to enhance service and ridership on the Orange Line by studying improvements including a possible conversion to rail. 

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Name the park

The proposed parklet at the former Fire Station 84 site has already been the subject of the most extensive community outreach program ever undertaken for a project of this scope and scale.

Today, I am asking the community to pitch in once again, and help us name the park

Last year, I conducted an extensive outreach effort to determine the future of the former Fire Station 84 site at the corner of Canoga Avenue and Costanso Street.

Hundreds of people gave feedback, both from mailed and online surveys as well as in person. Dozens of community volunteers joined the me and my and staff for a series of neighborhood canvasses that involved door knocking and tabling at a local grocery store.

There was overwhelming support to convert the property into a small park or “parklet”.

Following this important community decision, I hosted a design charrette to allow 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.

Now, with the design stage well under way and a Draft EIR completed, it is time to choose a name.

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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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