Message from Councilmember Blumenfield- What the Homeless Count Means for the West Valley
Anyone who drives Ventura Boulevard, rides the LA River Bike Path, or walks their neighborhood knows that the West Valley is in the midst of a homelessness emergency. Even though the area has fewer homeless people than any other part of the city, it is still a human tragedy for those experiencing homelessness, a quality of life issue for the entire community, and a moral issue that tears at our collective soul.
The 2019 LAHSA Homeless Count results released last week are both awful and frustrating, but they reflect some progress that we must continue to build on. At the same time, more than 20,000 formerly homeless people now have homes, and 90% of folks who enter Rapid Re-Housing are staying housed. LAHSA has expanded their legal services, helping avoid evictions and mediating with landlords to prevent tenants from becoming homeless. With Prop HHH funds, 10,000 units are in the pipeline and 1,400 supportive units will open this year. But, right now more people are falling into homelessness for the first-time and we must continue to push for more innovative policies that will both help lift people out of homelessness and help prevent people from losing their homes in the first place.
Over the past few years, I’ve helped create some important programs that will benefit people for years to come, and we are just starting to see results. We established an innovative program with Tarzana Treatment Center and Providence Tarzana Hospital that puts emergency drug or mental health patient navigators in the emergency room specifically to help homeless people, because when they hit rock bottom in the ER even the most service-resistant person may finally accept help. The navigators coordinate post-ER treatment at their centers and in special group homes.
I will continue to work with anyone who wants to be a part of the solutions. If you have the passion and time, I encourage you to join my Community Action Team on Homelessness (BobCAT). Together we work with local and regional service providers to help homeless people get the help they need. This is a small way to learn about homelessness firsthand and help us climb out of this emergency. Please check out more about what I’m doing to combat homelessness at WestValleyChange.com. If you see someone who needs help, please use the LA Hop Portal so LAHSA caseworkers get dispatched to offer services.
To learn more about what I have been crafting on the local level to address homelessness please read my recent op-ed for the Valley News Group here, to learn more about the results of the LAHSA Homeless Count click here.
Councilmember Bob Blumenfield
As part of his ongoing effort to build and grow an integrated network of bike infrastructure in the West Valley, Councilmember Blumenfield was joined by bike advocates and community members to celebrate the completion of Phase One of the Winnetka Street Improvement Project.
“We need to make our streets safer for everyone and by expanding our bike infrastructure, we are doing just that,” said Blumenfield. “The reality is that bicyclists are hit by cars everyday and people are dying on our streets.”
This project provides safer connections to many destinations including Los Angeles River Path, the Metro Los Angeles Orange Line Winnetka Station and Bike Path, Pierce College, the West Valley Occupational Center, and the Woodland Hills Sunrise Little League Park. This project connects bicyclists with so many destinations while preserving existing traffic and turn lanes.
The project was vetted through multiple community meetings and altered to insure that phase II would not result in traffic lands being reduced south of Victory Blvd. as originally proposed. Furthermore, the project will provide parking along Winnetka Ave. that was desired by the community.
Two years ago, Ignacio Sanchez Navarro was killed on a stretch of Winnetka Ave. while he headed home one night from work. A ghost bike installation still remains alongside the new bike lane.
Blumenfield also recognized his Legislative Deputy Jeff Jacobberger, who was instrumental in this project and is currently recovering from being hit by a car on his bike. Jeff has a deep personal commitment and professional expertise in transit and bike infrastructure and we are all encouraged to see his recovery.
To learn more about the Winnetka Ave Street Improvement Project, please click here.
As fire seasons become never ending, Councilmember Blumenfield introduced a comprehensive measure to expand fire-resistant building codes, which are currently only applicable in dense population centers like Downtown LA and Hollywood, to other high fire risk areas such as the hills and other population centers of the San Fernando Valley. This motion also requires fire protection plans that help ensure safe construction sites when a structure is at its most vulnerable.
“From the Da Vinci Fire a few years ago to the horrific Woolsey Fire last November, Angelenos know that fires can happen in the blink of an eye and change your life in a flash,” said Blumenfield. “It doesn’t matter if you live in a tall apartment building downtown or live in the hills of the West Valley, it is imperative that we use every tool in our tool chest to make sure our high-risk communities are as safe as possible.”
This motion would work to bring the fire and building codes into alignment with new building standards and technologies that have been put in place in the last 10 years. As an example, fire resistance standards for equally sized office buildings are surprisingly much stronger than those for multifamily housing; multifamily housing needs to catch up with the times.
With this motion, Los Angeles has an opportunity to lead the state and the nation in protecting against the growing risk of wildfires, by expanding the reach of High Fire Severity Zones and ensuring that new standards include the changing and growing regional centers and neighborhoods within our City.
For more information about how this motion will make LA safer, please click here.
As summer kicks off, Councilmember Blumenfield would like to remind constituents about the danger of illegal fireworks. Illegal firework launching can end up accidentally starting massive fires, resulting in families losing property and possibly their lives. Not only can law enforcement issue a $1,000 ticket, fireworks also frighten animals causing them to run away, filling our LA Animals Services Centers.
Keeping the community safe is one of Blumenfield's top priorities and he urges you all to please take the time to report illegal firework activity to the LAPD. Please take advantage of the many sanctioned fireworks shows including the ‘Fourth of July Blumenfield Fireworks Extravaganza’ at Warner Ranch Park.
Please stay safe this summer and 4th of July! To file a report please follow this link.
As Part of his ‘Cooling the Valley’ Efforts, Blumenfield Welcomes World’s First ‘Cool Pavement’ Neighborhood
Seeking creative ways to cool down the West Valley, Councilmember Blumenfield joined Adel Hagekhalil and Greg Spotts, Director and Assistant Director at Streets LA, to create the world’s first ‘Cool Pavement’ Neighborhood. Blumenfield originally launched the Cool Pavement pilot program in 2017, which soon grew to all fifteen council districts. Now they are taking the next step and testing the technology on an entire 65,000 square foot community in Winnetka.
“On the day I went out with Adel and Greg, we saw a 30 degree temperature difference between the cool paved street versus standard asphalt nearby,” Blumenfield said. “This in conjunction with a variety of my other efforts including growing our urban forest and better maintaining our existing neighborhood trees, will help us cool the Valley.”
As the individual street pilot program demonstrated, cool pavement technology will coat streets to seal asphalt surfaces and lower surface temperatures through increased solar reflectivity, essentially acting as a sunscreen. This program is the first test of cool streets on a small neighborhood ever. The street temperature and the ambient air temps will be monitored over the next year as the long term impact is unknown.
“We are attempting to cool the Valley down, especially during the peak summer months. This would not only lower AC bills, but it would have a direct impact on asthma and other health related factors” Blumenfield added.
To learn more about the cool pavement project, read Greg Spott’s report.
Recognizing a Unique Art Show that Brings to Life pre-Holocaust Jewish Culture in Eastern Europe, Blumenfield Celebrates the David Labkovski Project
Councilmember Blumenfield honored the ‘David Labkovski Project’ in City Council for its work preserving pre-Holocaust Jewish history and culture through the arts. David Labkovski, who passed away in 1991, was a Holocaust survivor who grew up in Vilna, Lithuania in the early 20th century. In the 1950s, Labkovski moved to Israel where he began to paint the lost world of ‘Jewish Vilna’ that was decimated during World War II. This project has taken his work all over California and across the world, including countries such as Lithuania, South Africa, and can be seen at City Hall in September.
“By engaging viewers with his paintings and sketches, the David Labkovski Project shares lessons of life, survival, tolerance, acceptance, and the importance of bearing witness to history,” Blumenfield said. “It is more important than ever to show these paintings to the world and to reflect on how hatred and bigotry has the potential to annihilate entire cultural enclaves, as seen in Vilna during the Nazi occupation.”
Last month, the Labkovski Project was featured at the Daniel Pearl Magnet High School, where students created their own works of art about tolerance and bearing witness to history that were inspired by the art. Recently, the exhibit featured collaborative work between local students from Viewpoint High School and Lithuanian students from Vilnius Lyceum School. That exhibit was shown in Lithuania and will be viewable in Los Angeles City Hall starting on September 18.
Every year, Blumenfield spends discretionary dollars to keep pools in the Third Council District open a little longer than other community pools in Los Angeles. He knows that summer in the Valley does not end on Labor Day. That is why Blumenfield was especially proud to announce that the Los Angeles Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2028 is providing a grant to extend the hours for swimming pools in the mornings. This will help combat urban heat effect and encourage residents to go swimming in the mornings. Lanark, Reseda and Woodland Hills Facilities will have extended hours from 10:00am-12:00pm and Cleveland from June 17 and ending on August 9. These facilities will also be open from 6:00pm-7:00pm from August 12-23. Cleveland will also extend hours in the mornings from 10:00am-11:00am starting on June 17 and ending on August 9. To learn more, please visit this page to read the report here.
“Jasmine”- ID #A1854506- Sweet Jasmine has a lively spirit -- she loves to amuse you and play fun cat games. Jasmine is also a very loving kitty, perfect for cuddle-time! She likes when you pet her cute white and black coat. Come adopt Jasmine and she will be the star of your home, with endless love and play!
“Wynn" ID # A1865204- Wynn is 5 years old and is a beautifully handsome Husky mix with lots of energy. There is no better companion for exploring, adventure -- and then couch cuddling!
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/.
Located in Canoga Park along Sherman Way, Allen & Sons Table Tennis Club is a fun and welcoming establishment for all ping pong enthusiasts. When owners Alan Verny and Fovad Kaseb first opened their doors six years ago, there were no Table Tennis Clubs in the West Valley. Now a thriving community, ping pong players of all ages come to Allen & Sons for lessons, competitions, and to buy new sports gear.
With emphasis on being a welcoming space, Allen & Sons offers coaching and classes for players of all skill levels and ages. Allen & Sons is proud of their team of instructors, including Coach Fovad Kaseb, the former national champion of Iran and head coach of the Iranian National Table Tennis Team. The club is also lucky to have Coach Bella Livshin, a USA Open Gold and Silver medalist among women for 2013. In addition, Allen & Sons has a Newgy Robot designed to hit and collect balls, allowing players to sharpen their skills by themselves.
If you are looking to purchase new equipment, improve your skills or to try table tennis for your first time, the staff at Allen & Sons are happy to help. To learn more about their club, please visit the Allen & Sons website here.
21915 Sherman Way, Canoga Park, CA 91303
Blumenfield recognized five remarkable women in City Council who were honored at the Inspirational Women of the San Fernando Valley Luncheon (Arlene Alpert, Yvonne Chan, Natalie Hill, Jean Sinatra, and Brenda Young).
Emergency preparedness is a key priority for Blumenfield and he was recently proud to recognize the key individuals in the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) community for their leadership during the Woolsey Fire and previous disaster events. Blumenfield honored Nathan Wolfstein and Jamie Pellegrini for their Whole Community Emergency and Disaster Management, Response and Relief program. Blumenfield also highlighted the work of Roozy Moabary, who has spearheaded the movement to train people in operating HAM radios during disasters. In addition, Blumenfield celebrated Captain Cody Weireter of the LAFD for his leadership and service defending the City and for his training countless CERT volunteers. And lastly, Blumenfield recognized Captain Juan and Nancy Argumedo from the Salvation Army SFV Corp, for bringing Whole Community Preparedness to over 46 zip codes in their corps demographic.