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.Read more
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.Read more
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 STEPSRead more
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:Read more
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.
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.Read more
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.
“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.”Read more
Following Rep. Henry Waxman's announcement that he would be retiring at the end of his current term, Councilmember Blumenfield penned an op-ed for the Jewish Journal, offering personal reflections on Rep. Waxman's remarkable career and their long friendship:
The news that Congressman Henry Waxman would not seek re-election to a 21st term has sent shockwaves through Los Angeles. From the environmental and health activists for whom Waxman was a hero, to the pro-Israel community where he was one of the most important allies in Congress, many are mourning the loss of a great advocate for California communities in Congress, and wishing him well as he enters the next phase of a career that has been of remarkable consequence to all Americans. For me, it has been an opportunity to reflect on my personal experiences working alongside Congressman Waxman, first as a Capitol Hill staffer, and more recently as an Assemblyman and member of the Los Angeles City Council.
Elected to the California State Assembly in 1968, and then to Congress in 1974, Henry Waxman is one of the finest legislators, not only of his generation, but to have ever served in the United States House of Representatives. His retirement is a loss, not merely to our City, our State and our Country—but to the very body to which he dedicated 40 years of his life.
Few, if any legislators, have had the kind of meaningful, significant impact on the diverse range of issues that Congressman Waxman has had.
When I came to Washington in the late 1980’s Waxman was the powerful chair of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health and the Environment, and already a legend in the hallowed halls of Congress. First as a senior staffer for Congressman Howard Berman, and more recently as a member of the California State Assembly and the Los Angeles City Council, I witnessed Waxman’s style up-close, as he championed causes ranging from health and the environment, women's and gay rights, to strengthening the ties between the United States and Israel. I was working on the Hill when he famously forced the chief executives of seven major tobacco companies to swear under oath that nicotine was not addictive. He barely broke a sweat.Read more
Please be advised that Coldwater Canyon will be closed from Moorpark St. to Ventura Blvd. on Saturday, February 1, 2014 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. as replacement of the 100 year-old City Trunk Line project continues.
Traffic will be impacted, particularly for those using Coldwater Canyon as an alternative to the I-405.
More info From the LADWP after the jump:Read more
Twenty years ago, southern California was rocked by the Northridge Earthquake that stands as one of the costliest natural disasters in United States’ history. Centered in Reseda, its impact was felt across the City as freeways, hospitals, schools were closed. Ruptured gas lines sparked hundreds of fires. Power was unavailable.
The quake’s human cost was enormous. It caused some 57 deaths, 8,700 injuries and 1,600 hospitalizations. And more than $20 billion in damage.
No one who lived through it will ever forget it, and our collective memory of it helps define us as a City. For me, it touched off the legislative effort to bring $14 billion in federal aid to the San Fernando Valley, and a lifelong commitment to promoting disaster preparedness in my community.
A row of cars is crushed beneath a collapsed apartment building in Canoga Park. (Los Angeles Times)
It’s been said the earthquake was felt as far as Nevada. I know it was felt as far away as Washington DC. That’s where I was when I received a call from a friend at CNN who told me “your district is collapsing.” You see, I was working for Congressman Howard Berman, who represented the San Fernando Valley at the time.
With his District Office red-tagged, Howard set up shop in the old San Fernando jail, distributing water and supplies to Valley residents in need while helping to coordinate a massive relief effort involving every level of government. A seasoned legislator, he was the point person for the San Fernando Valley relief bill, and in Washington, I dropped everything to focus on that important work. Putting the bill together was an intense and challenging experience but with the help of the late Congressman Julian Dixon, the top ranking California Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and others, we prevailed.
Getting the money was just part of the equation, another quotient involved actually delivering the aid. I had the privilege of working very closely with the staff and leadership of FEMA, including former Director James Lee Witt, who I just reminisced with yesterday at the Northridge 20 Symposium. This was not the FEMA which was slow to respond to Hurricane Katrina; with Congressman Berman pulling the levers in Congress, a veritable alphabet soup of local, state and federal government agencies quickly coordinated together to ensure that predictions of gloom and doom in the San Fernando Valley would never come true, piecing together what would become the largest ever disaster relief package to that date.
We rebuilt. And we’re stronger than ever.Read more
There is no greater privilege than representing the San Fernando Valley on the Los Angeles City Council. Oftentimes I am asked what advice I have for students who are looking to make a difference in their community. The answer is simple—take advantage of the myriad opportunities to engage in the process.
Our internship program offers high school and college students a unique opportunity to experience the work of a City Council office. The program exposes students to district and legislative office operations and activities of a Councilmember's work. These experiences include working with constituents, conducting community outreach efforts, assisting community based organizations, organizing civic events and projects, databases, staffing the office, and other activities.
Many legislators and senior policy staff began their careers as interns. In my own office, many of our staff started out as interns in my Council or Assembly office, including my Community Affairs Director Michael Owens, Legislative Deputy Erik Rodriguez, and Field Deputy Safi Lodin. Our newest staff member, Arielle Bernard, who handles our Jewish Community outreach and serves as Tarzana field deputy, started as an intern just last summer. Other Team Blumenfield interns have since gone on to top colleges and have had successful careers working for State Senators, Members of Congress, and even the United States Geological Service.Read more