Blumenfield Announces New Initiative with Providence Hospital and Tarzana Treatment Center to Help Homeless Who Are Most Service Resistant- Those With Drug and Mental Health Issues
In early January, Councilmember Blumenfield announced an innovative partnership with Providence Hospitals and Tarzana Treatment Center to bring more mental health and addiction services for homeless patients into the emergency room. This program is now up and running at both Providence Tarzana and Burbank and is yielding tangible results.
“We needed to create a better avenue to get folks with severe mental or drug problems off the street and into services,” said Blumenfield. “With finite resources as a City, and the reality that most human services falls under the purview of the County and not the City, it is imperative that we get creative to get results, so that is why I was happy to help create a unique public-private healthcare solution like this.”
This program originated when Providence met with Blumenfield to discuss the planned expansion to their facilities. As part of the negotiations, Blumenfield requested that they help target the root issues with mentally ill and drug addicted homeless patients, instead of just treating them for their overt illness in the ER and discharging them back to the streets. Because of that request, Providence now has trained patient navigators in their ERs ready to connect with homeless people who enter their facilities, sometimes at rock bottom. This may be the only time they are open to accepting services.
The partnership is special because they offer first rate treatment combined with transitional housing. Once individuals have achieved some stability, the program can connect them with jobs and permanent housing. The program utilizes current housing used by Tarzana Treatment Center and new housing specially acquired for this new program.
“Unlike most programs that are targeted towards people who are seeking help, this program is targeted to those who are often the most service resistant and the most difficult to get off the streets.”
Blumenfield and City Purchase Former West Valley Playhouse Property for Cultural Arts Hub
On December 24, Councilmember Bob Blumenfield and the City of Los Angeles closed escrow on the former Clyde Porter West Valley Playhouse property in Canoga Park. In conjunction with the nearby Madrid Theater and the Canoga Park Youth Arts Center, the purchase of the theater adds another venue to Blumenfield’s long term vision for a Canoga Park Cultural Arts Hub. The hub will serve as an incubator and home for local artists and ensure this cultural resource continues to welcome the local arts community.
“I couldn’t stomach the idea that our community would lose this important cultural asset. If we had not purchased this theater, it would have been transformed into an office building, a fast food restaurant or whatever the new owner had wanted,” said Blumenfield.
Located at 7242 Owensmouth Ave. in Canoga Park, the theater seats about 150 people and was formerly a Masonic Lodge before it was transformed into a theater in 2000. After Blumenfield found out that the company was unable to buy the property from their landlord who was selling it, he and his staff began their efforts to save the theater. They harnessed $1.395 million in excess Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) bond funds to purchase it. The theater will ultimately be operated by the City’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) and be available to various community theater and performance groups from throughout the region, including the West Valley Playhouse Company.
The CRA bond funds are required to be spent within the geographic boundaries of Canoga Park and Reseda by 2020, and can’t be redirected to other services such as police or homelessness. This Cultural Arts Hub investment is just one of the local projects Blumenfield has initiated to ensure the community receives the full benefit of these bond funds that remain following the dissolution of the former CRAs in California.
Since serving in the State Assembly, Blumenfield has worked creatively to support the arts and bring patrons back to the West Valley. In addition to this acquisition, Blumenfield shepherded the revitalization of the Reseda Theater on Sherman Way which soon will be renovated to house a five screen multiplex to be operated by Laemmle Theaters and has initiated arts initiatives throughout Reseda such as the annual Reseda Rising Art Walk and Night Market. Also, he has worked diligently with DCA to revitalize and establish the Madrid Theater as a viable, competitive, state of the art theater for renters, users and audiences.
The purpose of Blumenfield’s Cultural Arts Hub initiative is to drive community-centric economic development through the arts, akin to the North Hollywood ‘NoHo Arts District.’ These synergistic efforts are meant to draw arts-oriented vendors, artists, and organizations to relocate into the hub and to provide a unique demonstration of how the arts can support small businesses by encouraging patronage at local restaurants and businesses, improving public safety by adding pedestrian traffic, and supporting community development in the surrounding area.
Canoga Park is one of the Valley’s underserved communities, eligible for Community Development Block Grants due to a higher than average level of need. Ultimately this Cultural Arts Hub investment will stimulate additional private sector investment that leverages the public’s dollars for arts programming.
Blumenfield is planning a community event in the coming weeks to celebrate this new addition to the Canoga Park Arts Hub.
Message from Councilmember Blumenfield- Help Meet the Need by Joining the 2019 LAHSA Homeless Count
The 2019 Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) annual Homeless Count is right around the corner. On the evening of January 22nd, come join me and my team at our District Office in Reseda to literally count the homeless in our community and thereby help ensure that the West Valley gets its fair share of resources to address homelessness.
For the past few years, my office has served as the main deployment site for the West Valley night of the annual count. Essentially, we meet in the evening and dispatch in teams to go around our community and count how many homeless people we see and where they are located. Groups from all around the City give that information to LAHSA to compile a thorough report which will help dictate where resources are allocated. For anyone who wants to help us address homelessness this is an easy and an incredibly impactful way to do so.
Check out this quick video to learn more about the importance of the Count and how you can help. If you can't make it to Reseda, there are many other community Counts throughout the region. Click this link to find out more: https://www.theycountwillyou.org/.
Councilmember Bob Blumenfield
City of Los Angeles Launches ShakeAlertLA, a New Public Warning System for Impending Earthquakes
On January 3, Councilmember Blumenfield proudly applauded the launch of ShakeAlertLA, a brand new app designed by the City of Los Angeles to warn Angelenos about impending major earthquakes. The app is free for anyone to download and only works within the City of Los Angeles. Once downloaded, the app is designed to send the user notifications for when ‘the big one’ hits.
“After having helped our community in the aftermath of the Northridge ’94 earthquake, I know firsthand how it is critical that everyone be prepared for the next devastating earthquake that will one day hit Los Angeles. ShakeAlertLA can and will save lives.” Blumenfield said.
The app can be downloaded in the iOS app store and Google Play store for smart phones and is available in both English and Spanish. ShakeAlertLA warns users of earthquakes of 5.0 magnitude or larger seconds before the quake occurs. Always remember in the event of a major earthquake to drop, cover, and hold on. Next week will make the 25th anniversary of the Northridge Earthquake.
Blumenfield Kicks Off New Year With Public Works Crews in the West Valley
Blumenfield with Adel Hagekhalil, General Manager of the Bureau of Street Services (BSS); as well as Assistant Directors Keith Mozee and Greg Spotts; and BSS tree trimming crews on Winnetka Ave.
On January 7, Councilmember Blumenfield toured multiple work sites throughout the West Valley with Adel Hagekhalil, General Manager of the Bureau of Street Services (BSS); as well as Assistant Directors Keith Mozee and Greg Spotts. He joined several different crews to survey their work including: tree trimming on Wilbur Ave., slurry seal maintenance in Reseda, and pothole repairs in Tarzana.
“As Chair of the Public Works Committee, I plan to utilize our resources as efficiently as possible to creatively improve our infrastructure,” said Blumenfield. “From innovative new materials to repair at a fraction of the cost, to being smarter about how we maintain and grow our urban tree canopy so trees don’t damage streets and sidewalks, LA is moving in the right direction and we must continue to make our City stronger and more efficient.”
Since becoming Chair, Blumenfield has helped increase the Public Works budget and worked with General Managers and Directors on ways to increase productivity and efficiency. After the 2009 recession, Public Works bureaus experienced deep budget cuts which affected their ability to maintain vital infrastructure such as LA’s urban tree canopy. Last year, Blumenfield successfully increased the Urban Forestry Division’s budget, and with some of those funds they just hired over 20 tree surgeons.
Another great improvement is how quickly potholes are now filled thanks to LA’s My311 app and an innovative use of technology championed by Blumenfield and funded through his committee’s innovation fund program. Concerned residents can send a geo-tagged photo of a pothole from their phone directly to the city through this app and crews in the field have their routes altered, maximizing their efforts. The result is that on average, within roughly 48 hours of sending in the photo, a crew comes out to the site and fills up the pothole in an efficient and sustainable manner.
Blumenfield with BSS crews in Tarzana while they are completely reconstructing a street.
Blumenfield Launches 'Warner Connects,' New Initiative Advocating Transportation Alternatives in West Valley
On January 10, Councilmember Bob Blumenfield launched ‘Warner Connects,’ a new Transportation Management Organization (TMO) focused on encouraging the use of sustainable or alternative transportation such as walking, biking, public transit and carpooling. Blumenfield was joined by transit advocates to educate commuters and community members about local transportation options in Warner Center. By reducing traffic and encouraging transportation alternatives, Warner Connects aims to create a fun and active atmosphere for the entire Warner Center community, envisioned as a live, work, play, transit-friendly neighborhood under the Warner Center 2035 Plan.
“My vision for Warner Center is to be greenest and most welcoming destination in all of Los Angeles,” Blumenfield said. “Warner Connects will help us reduce traffic and carbon emissions while improving residents’ and local employees’ quality of life.”
A TMO traditionally brings together community stakeholders to raise awareness of transportation options outside of traditional cars. Warner Connects is specifically a public-private partnership comprised of Blumenfield, local businesses, residents, LA City Planning, Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) and LA Metro. This TMO will also leverage its unique position to assist local businesses comply with air quality and trip reduction regulations and advocate for regional mobility improvements.
"The road to success is paved with partnerships like this one that will give safe, reliable travel choices to the West San Fernando Valley," said LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds. "Warner Connects is a trusted guide who can connect people to the best choice for each trip."
Executive Director of Warner Connects Julia Wean says, “Our goal is to connect people to the services and resources they need to better navigate to, from and around Warner Center.”
Warner Center has become the downtown for the West San Fernando Valley and is home to about 14,000 Angelenos as well as thriving businesses like Anthem Blue Cross, Kaiser Permanente and Westfield, creating over 50,000 jobs.
This TMO is the latest in Blumenfield’s efforts to encourage cleaner, greener transportation options in the traditionally auto-centric San Fernando Valley. In June, Blumenfield helped launch the new Metro Warner Center Shuttle and joined in its inaugural ride. Replacing the single Orange Line Stop at Warner Center Station, this new line connects riders to 10 new stops including Westfield Topanga & the Village, Warner Center Corporate Park, Kaiser Permanente and others. It serves as a local circulator to make it easier for local residents and workers to get around without using their cars.
Blumenfield stated, “The Warner Center is a major destination in our Valley for businesses and families and it is one of my top priorities to make transportation faster, safer, and greener.”
Community members can learn more at www.warnerconnects.org.
Blumenfield Explores Ways to Improve Dirt Mulholland
On January 9, Councilmember Blumenfield joined engineers at the City’s GSD Standards Division in Cypress Park to learn how they are testing new solutions to help streets with dust and erosion issues such as on Dirt Mulholland in Woodland Hills.
“One of the problems we have had with Dirt Mulholland is that in some conditions it is not safe to drive, but many residents understandably want to maintain the natural rustic beauty of this scenic community,” said Blumenfield.”
Blumenfield also spoke with GSD staff about “1781,” a resurfacing mix that is greener, more cost-effective than its competitors, and lasts longer.
He said, “It is particularly exciting because this new material, unlike other slurries, can actually be applied to many of our failed streets.”
This resurfacing material is largely made up of recycled tires found from landfills and is a greener alternative to traditional asphalt mixes. It has been rolled out on countless projects throughout the West Valley. While discussing 1781, Blumenfield also further explored strong infrastructure improvements options that cost less than traditional materials, such as cool pavements and cool slurry seals.
Blumenfield is a major supporter of finding materials that last longer, cost less, and are more environmentally friendly. Especially on roads such as dirt Mulholland, Blumenfield is pushing for novel advances in infrastructure tech that may be able to reduce the impacts of natural erosion without the aesthetic and environmental problems of other alternatives.
Local Business Spotlight: Thunder Light Electrical Inc.
Since 2001, Thunder Light Electrical Inc. has been a small business that offers Industrial, Commercial and Residential electrical services from design to installation. Owner Ira Bakhtiara is a Woodland Hills resident who worked in Germany on a wide array of high voltage projects. Throughout his work, Bakhtiara developed a keen interest in starting his own business and once he moved to the US he was able to make his dream a reality. Now a successful business owner, Bakhtiara works on a wide range of projects such as installing solar panels, switchgears, controlling panels, high voltage transformers, and security cameras for homes, businesses and factories throughout the West Valley. Bakhtiara is proud of his business and his commitment to developing positive working relationships with his clients through providing efficient and high quality installation services. To learn more about Thunder Light Electrical Inc., please visit their website at: http://www.trustiraelectric.com/index.html.
West Valley Animal Shelter Pets of the Month
"Jinx" ID# A1591157 and "Buster" ID# A1591739- Here are Jinx and Buster and they are exceptionally sweet brothers. They came in with with two other siblings and need to be indoors. Come take your pick – they are all fantastic cats you will love!
"Brita" - ID# A1831701- Brita is only 1 year old and she is scared at the shelter! All little Brita knew was her home and her dog-sister. But both dogs lost their home but her sister got adopted. Now tiny Brita is alone at the shelter. She is a very sweet, timid and undemanding little girl, and just 9 pounds. All she wants is to feel safe in a loving home with folks who will take the time with her and give her lots of love.
Bring home forever love, smiles, purrs and wags -- come adopt a shelter pet today! Dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, bunnies, all sizes, types and fur lengths, from playful youngsters to gentle, loving seniors -- they are waiting for you at your local CD 3 Animal Shelter! Come fall in love at the West Valley (L.A. city) Animal Shelter at 20655 Plummer St., Chatsworth, (818) 756-9325. See all the L.A. City Shelter animals at http://www.laanimalservices.com/.
Blumenfield attended a recent Canoga Park Business Improvement District (BID) meeting. A BID is a organization formed by local property or business owners to add additional resources to a community such as beautification and security services.