Message from Councilmember Blumenfield- Addressing Homelessness in All Communities in the West Valley
Recently, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to support my amended motion to explore the feasibility of building affordable or permanent supportive housing on a public parking lot in Reseda. I had postponed this vote, originally scheduled last week, so that the Reseda Neighborhood Council would have time to discuss this measure before Council took it up.
Homelessness is the biggest issue facing our city. There are many root causes of homelessness including drug addiction and mental health, loss of middle class jobs, and domestic violence. But affordability of housing is undoubtedly one of the top factors driving people into homelessness. According to Zillow, between 2010 and 2018, the average one bedroom apartment in Los Angeles rent rose 84%, from $1,275 to $2,350, while at the same time, according to Census.gov, the average median income only increased 11%. This is beyond unsustainable and since the market isn’t helping this problem by itself, we need to help spur the production of desperately needed affordable and permanent supportive units.
Recently, the City Administrative Officer (CAO) identified City-owned lots in Reseda that could potentially be used for affordable or permanent supportive housing. These lots include 7120 Baird Ave, 7131 Canby Ave, 7222 Baird Ave, 7130 Darby Ave, and 7246 Baird Ave. City properties in other districts were identified as well. These were the only City-owned lots in my district that were determined to be viable for potential housing. This Council vote authorizes a study that will tell us what, if anything, could be built. There is no project yet, there are no permits- this is simply a study that when done will yield a possible menu of opportunities.
I want every corner of my district to be a part of the homelessness solution. For example, in Canoga Park we are creating Bridge Housing. In Winnetka, we have the Winnetka Village which has almost a hundred permanent supportive units. In Tarzana, we have my innovative program with Tarzana Treatment Center and Providence Tarzana Hospital geared toward helping drug addicted and mentally ill homeless people, and we have an RV waste pumping facility for the homeless. In Woodland Hills, we are working to mandate affordable housing in every new development in Warner Center and we work with Prince of Peace Church (West Valley Food Pantry) on a variety of efforts. And now, in Reseda, we are working toward creating more housing.
Business owners and community stakeholders in Reseda have shared their concerns about how an affordable or permanent supportive housing development could affect the community. To help address concerns, in addition to a standard feasibility study, an economic analysis will be done to identify any impacts to the adjacent businesses (not something that is typically done for affordable housing opportunity sites). Furthermore, the feasibility motion mandates that for any potential development, replacement parking must be part of the project.
I don’t know if these lots are feasible for an affordable or permanent support housing development. I do believe that they are the only City-owned lots in my district that have the potential to be used to help build much needed affordable or permanent supportive housing. When we have the feasibility study and economic analysis completed, whatever they say, my staff and I will meet with any group or community member who reaches out wanting to further discuss this effort. I will continue to insist that the process is open, transparent, and inclusive.
In the meantime, I encourage everyone to be open to locating housing and services for the homeless (and those at-risk) in the West Valley. Together we can turn the tide on the homeless crisis if all communities of the city will step up and be part of the solution.
Councilmember Bob Blumenfield
Recently, a number of drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities have sprung up in the West Valley. Often these facilities provide needed residentially based services for patients who want to recover and reintegrate into society and go unnoticed to their neighbors. However, some facilities have used loopholes and a patchwork of laws to turn portions of neighborhoods into rehabilitation centers. The quality of programs and their ability to be good neighbors varies by operator. Not only does this impact the residential character of the neighborhood these patients are promised but it opens the door to lower quality of care and the revolving door whereby patients are kicked onto the street and taken back in for the purposes of profit, not care. It is important to ensure that patients are receiving proper care and the services they are seeking. It is also imperative that neighbors be protected from bad operators that infringe on their rights to live peacefully in a residential community.
Councilmember Blumenfield introduced a motion, approved by the Planning and Land Use Committee that will set the record straight and unravel the complex labyrinth of state and federal laws so we can better now what actions we legally take locally and what laws we will need to lobby to get changed at other levels of government.
“I am tired of the ambiguity of the rules that regulate this industry, and our communities and the patients who are repeatedly demonized seeking treatment they need because of how these facilities operate,” said Blumenfield.
The motion instructs the City Attorney and the Planning Department along with a number of other agencies to help lay the facts and issues out plainly. This study is the first step to discerning what the City can and cannot do to help the patients, the neighbors, and restore a sense of normalcy to our community. Paramount to all of this is ensuring this needed residential treatment model benefits its patients and is a good neighbor to the neighborhood it has joined. The motion will be heard by the full City Council soon.
Blumenfield Celebrates Local Pioneers and West Valley History with Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Presentation
On June 26, Councilmember Bob Blumenfield hosted a City Council celebration of the 50th anniversary of the legendary Apollo 11 mission with local pioneers highlighting the role the West San Fernando Valley played in the history of the space program. Aerospace companies like Aerojet Rocketdyne and Northrup Grumman played a pivotal role in mission success by building the game-changing rocket engines that powered Apollo 11 and many other missions.
As part of the celebration, Blumenfield recognized several key members of the Apollo 11 mission including engineers Larry Mizell and Percy Brown for their work developing the lunar module, as well as Shelby Jacobs who helped create the camera equipment that captured iconic images throughout NASA’s history. When hired by Rocketdyne in 1956, Jacobs was one of only eight African American engineers out of 5,000 and went on to serve in the Space Shuttle program.
Local space historian Rod Pyle and Benjamin Dickow, president of the Columbia Memorial Space Center as well as representatives from Rocketdyne including Karel Miller and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) joined the celebration to offer historic context and feature the exciting work they are doing on documenting and highlighting space travel.
To learn more about the event, please read this article from the LA Daily News.
As summer kicks off, Councilmember Blumenfield would like to remind constituents about the danger of illegal fireworks that can accidentally start massive fires, resulting in families losing property and possibly their lives. Not only can law enforcement issue a $1,000 ticket, fireworks also frighten pets 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 everyone to please take the time to report illegal firework activity to the LAPD online rather that by calling 911. Please take advantage of the many sanctioned fireworks shows including the Blumenfield ‘Fourth of July Fireworks Extravaganza’ at Warner Ranch Park.
Please stay safe this summer and 4th of July!
To file a report please follow this link.
During July 4th festivities, many pets get scared and run away from home, leading them to overcrowd local city animals shelters. Consequently this is the most important and impactful week to foster a dog or cat. Please consider visiting your local city shelter this weekend to help create life-saving space.
Come by the West Valley Animal Shelter at 20655 Plummer Street or go to the Department of Animal Services website to find the perfect animal for you.
Every 4th of July, Councilmember Blumenfield is proud to be joined by Keyes Cars in sponsoring the incredible Fireworks Extravaganza at Warner Ranch Park with the Valley Cultural Foundation. This year it is special to welcome musician Ryder Green and as always, there will be lots of local food and family fun.
With over 60,000 Angelenos expected to attend, please arrive early to find a great spot. Attendees are encouraged to take the Metro Warner Center Shuttle, which Blumenfield helped launch last years. This offers easy access to 10 locations and connects directly with the Orange Line.
“Sinbad” ID# A1866855- Sinbad is 3 1/2 months old, already neutered and ready to go home! He loves toys (be careful; he thinks everything is a toy!) Sinbad has a great personality and will do well in any cat-loving home. He has a deformed tail which gives him even more charm
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/.
Nicola’s Kitchen is a family-owned restaurant in Woodland Hills that has been serving delicious Italian cuisine for 30 years. When John Saffell and his sister Annie first opened their restaurant, they planned for the business to be completely family operated to preserve its special charm. Nicola’s Kitchen is most famous for their unique and diverse menu, inspired from dishes around the world including world including Thai and Cajun-style cooking. With so many great recipes, the regulars are always coming back for dishes such as the Linguine with Thai Grilled Shrimp, Special Chop Salad, and Fettuccine Spicy Italian Sausage.
Owner John Saffell is proud to celebrate 30 years of running a successful business in the West Valley and is grateful for the customer loyalty that has maintained Nicola’s strong presence in the local community. Over the last few decades, John and his family have given back to many local groups by hosting fundraisers, school events and many private celebrations as well. To learn more about Nicola’s Kitchen please visit their website.
20969 Ventura Blvd,
Woodland Hills, CA 91364
As a leader in the Jewish Community, Councilmember Blumenfield joined a panel discussion hosted by the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles to discuss the role local leaders play in tackling anti-Semitism and other forms of hate. Over the past few years, anti-Semitism in California has been on the rise. According to the ADL, incidents in California have increased by 27% in 2018, including hundreds of reported assaults, cases of vandalism, and harassment, including locations in the West Valley.
To promote cyber-literacy and safety, Blumenfield and the LAPD Cyber Crimes Unit organized the first ever cyber literacy workshop on June 19 at the West Valley library is the number one targeted city for cyber crimes in terms of number of attacks and money stolen.
On June 14, Blumenfield honored Sergeant 1st Class Roscoe Frazier as the LA City Council celebrated the 244th anniversary of the US Army. Roscoe is an extensively decorated resident of Winnetka who has 20 years of service to the US Army. Over his career, Roscoe was highly decorated 5 bronze stars, 2 purple hearts, the designation as a Master Parachuter, and several other awards and decorations.
During his service, Roscoe fought in some of the bloodiest and hardest-fought battles in the Vietnam War as a helicopter gunner supporting the Vietnamese allies and bringing troops to and from the front lines. During his four month tour of duty, he flew 479 combat assault and supply missions, where he earned four air medals and an army commendation.
On top of his service, Roscoe is a very kind and caring individual who had endured many hardships but told me he would do it all over again to serve his country. Thanks and appreciation are never enough for our defenders of American ideals, freedom and democracy.