In the wake of devastating fires, Blumenfield aims to broaden safer building practices to more at-risk communities
LOS ANGELES, CA – Today Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, along with Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, 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 would also require 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 Woosley 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 chest to make sure our high-risk communities are as safe as possible.”
Community leaders joined for a ceremonial key exchange and celebration for budding Canoga Park Arts Hub
CANOGA PARK, CA – Today Councilmember Bob Blumenfield was joined by General Manager of the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) Danielle Brazell as well as many community stakeholders to celebrate the acquisition with a ceremonial golden key exchange for the newest city-owned performing arts center in the West Valley. Dubbed the Canoga Park Stage Arts Lab (CPSAL), this site will serve as an incubator space for all types of local artists. Blumenfield also unveiled new renderings for renovations for the nearby Madrid Theater, another huge investment in his ‘Canoga Park Arts Hub.’
“While in our schools funding for arts and cultural education continue to be under siege and I am proud that today we welcome the newest public performing arts center to our city,” said Blumenfield. “With CPSAL, we open up our community to be transformed into an arts and entertainment destination where playwrights, actors, musicians and others can shape and highlight their work.”
"With the addition of this venue, which we are calling the Canoga Park Stage Arts Lab, the Department of Cultural Affairs hopes to usher in a new era of innovation that showcases the vitality of the local arts community and offers opportunities to develop artists and arts programming that will benefit the region. We are thankful for Councilmember Blumenfield’s vision, leadership, and support of this project,” said Danielle Brazell, General Manager City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.
Nora Ross, CEO of the Valley Cultural Foundation, said, “The Valley Cultural Foundation is so excited for the West Valley Playhouse and all its future growth. The benefits of the Playhouse will continue to bring, share and nurture the Arts while bringing so much to the West Valley. We are looking forward to supporting all that ventures through its doors.”
LOS ANGELES, CA –Inspired by a bold new proposal from US Senator Kamala Harris, today Councilmember Blumenfield launched ‘Equal Pay LA,’ a new local effort, co-presented by Councilmembers Monica Rodriguez, Mitch O’Farrell and Nury Martinez, to close the gender pay gap and hold bad actors accountable. Currently women in the United States are paid $0.80 cents to the dollar compared to what their male counterparts make and the burden of proof remains on the shoulders of the employee, rather than the employer.
“After hearing about Senator Harris’ proposal to hold corporations accountable for the gender pay gap, I knew Los Angeles should lead the way by implementing her idea locally,” said Blumenfield. “We really need to have a paradigm shift where instead of a worker having to fight for what is right, we should hold corporations accountable for continuing this injustice. Though California has the lowest pay gap compared to other states, anything short of complete equality is unacceptable.”
Councilwoman Nury Martinez said, “Since I’ve been in office, fighting for equal pay has been one of my top priorities. So much that I worked to remove all questions about salary history from City job applications to close the gender wage gap. It is ridiculous that in 2019 women across the United States are still getting paid just $0.80 cents for every dollar paid to men. As a City, taking this important step forward in ensuring women get paid equally as men for a hard day’s work, is the right direction in creating a more equitable future for the next generation. It’s the right thing to do, especially now, when women's rights are under attack.”
"It's simple -- women deserve to be paid as much as men for equal work," said Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez. "Latinas on average make $0.53 cents for every dollar paid to men. We must close the gender pay gap to ensure that women of all backgrounds are compensated fairly."
Blumenfield leads effort to raise financial penalty for disability placard abuse up to $1,100
LOS ANGELES, CA – Today the Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed Blumenfield’s measure to raise fines for disability placard abuse from $250 up to $1,100 per infraction. The misuse of these parking placards are not only a crime, they waste resources and make it incredibly difficult to manage parking in many desired destinations.
“Taking disabled parking spots from those who truly need them is unconscionable and we must increase the penalties now,” said Blumenfield. “Last September, the DMV reported that 345 people were caught abusing disabled parking placards over four days at the LA County Fair alone. These abuses happen every day and increasing the fine is the least we can do.”
In 2013, the City Council adopted a resolution regarding the misuse of a disabled parking placard or special license plate. The resolution also prohibited the use of a disabled placard or special license plate when not transporting the individual to whom the placard or license plate was issued.
LOS ANGELES, CA – Today the Los Angeles City Council, led by Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, voted unanimously to create permanent roadside memorial signs at the locations of fatal bicycle crashes. Currently, in the immediate aftermath of a traffic fatality, family members and loved ones frequently establish temporary roadside memorials, including "ghost bikes" placed at the site of fatal bicycle crashes. However, the City did not have a policy or program for establishing permanent roadside memorials until now.
“I’ve been to too many ghost bike memorials only to see them gone in a few days, as if nothing tragic happened,” said Blumenfield. “Cyclists are dying on the streets of Los Angeles and creating a permanent memorial, which will also serve as a reminder to share the road, is needed.”
In 2018, 240 people died from traffic collisions in the City of Los Angeles, including 21 bicyclists. After the tragic death of 15-year-old Sebastian Montero while bicycling in Woodland Hills on April 1, 2018, LAPD Topanga Division Senior Lead Officer Duc Dao suggested that Blumenfield should pursue such a program. Blumenfield worked closely with the LA Department of Transportation (LADOT) to create a program similar to how Caltrans places memorial signs at locations of certain alcohol-related traffic fatalities.
LOS ANGELES, CA – Today Councilmember Bob Blumenfield and the Los Angeles City Council approved funding for a new permanent Bridge Housing site in the West Valley. In partnership with County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, this property in Canoga Park will be the first permanent Bridge Housing site in the City.
“When the Mayor announced his plan for Bridge Housing throughout Los Angeles, I knew that I wanted to help create something in the West Valley that could have a permanent impact,” said Blumenfield. “Thanks to the partnership and leadership of Supervisor Kuehl, we were able to leverage this funding with the services provided by the County to create a facility that will help our community’s most vulnerable for many years to come.”
“This project is a great example of City – County cooperation and will help reduce the number of our friends and neighbors who are experiencing homelessness," said LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “Bridge Housing is a critical step in moving men and women from the street and their cars to permanent housing. This Bridge Housing will help us build on our successes last year of re-housing tens of thousands of people in permanent and bridge housing.”
LOS ANGELES, CA – On March 26, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to fund four key projects of Councilmember Bob Blumenfield in the communities of Reseda and Canoga Park. These projects are an expansion of the Aliso Creek Confluence Park, streetscape enhancements on Sherman Way in Reseda, improving the Madrid Theater as part of the Canoga Park Arts Hub, and a new traffic signal. All are funded with Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) excess bond funds, funds he helped secure and which Blumenfield has been using to successfully grow economic opportunities in parts of the West Valley that have struggled to attract and sustain robust commercial activity.
“For over a decade, I have worked with residents, business owners and community organizations on ways to help the West Valley become an engine for economic growth and a destination for commerce, art and culture,” said Blumenfield. “These projects are critical to achieving that goal in Canoga Park and Reseda.
The Council specifically approved four motions which include:
$4.65 million for an expansion of the Aliso Creek Confluence Park. Opened in 2016, the park was developed in collaboration with the Trust for Public Land, community partners, stakeholders, various City Departments, the Reseda Neighborhood Council, and local residents. Blumenfield supported the project early on as an Assemblymember who helped get State Prop 84 monies and then as a Councilmember who secured City dollars. The new funds will create two new walking paths along the north side of the LA River between Reseda Boulevard and Wilbur Avenue, a new pedestrian bridge across Aliso Creek to better connect the park to surrounding greenways, and various elements to capture stormwater to replenish our local groundwater and limit urban runoff into the River channel. Learn more here.
$2.5 million for Blumenfield’s Sherman Way Great Streets project. The stretch of Sherman Way between Lindley and Wilbur Avenues comprises Reseda’s central business district, and these funds will be used for streetscape improvements based upon designs developed in 2016 through a robust community planning process. The project will add a new pedestrian crossing, trees, landscaping, “Reseda” monument signs, shade structures, seating, wayfinding signage, and bike racks. Additionally, it will install traffic-calming measures on Hart Street between the Aliso Creek Bridge and Lindley to make the street more bicycle-friendly. These place-making enhancements will support the area's numerous small businesses, and attract new development and investment in the area. They will also make it safer and more convenient to reach and navigate downtown Reseda while using transit, walking and bicycling. These streetscape improvements also leverage investment in other projects on Sherman Way supported with CRA excess bond proceeds, including renovations to the Reseda Theater and a new skating rink being developed in a partnership between the City and the L.A. Kings.
LOS ANGELES, CA – Today Councilmember Bob Blumenfield celebrated and honored local media legend Jillian Barberie by declaring February 19, ‘Jillian Barberie Breast Cancer Awareness Day’ in the City of Los Angeles. Late last year, Ms. Barberie was diagnosed with breast cancer and made her recovery journey public to encourage, support and honor the tens of thousands of women and their family members who endure the same challenge.
“Jillian has made honesty, full public disclosure and transparency a hallmark of her storied and acclaimed media career. When she was given a life altering diagnosis, she decided to step up and use her experiences to shed more light on this disease,” said Blumenfield. “Early detection is vital and for the sake of the countless families who are impacted by it everyday, we must continue to break down stigmas around cancer.”
Ms. Barberie said, “I am beyond moved and honored to receive this recognition. My fight is the fight of so many and I am committed to raising the awareness of the impact of breast cancer on so many women and their families. My thanks to Councilman Blumenfield and the City Council, for this great honor, to all my colleagues at KABC and Cumulus Los Angeles for their support, and to the many people who have sent their messages of love.”
Since her diagnosis, Ms. Barberie has undergone aggressive treatments, using her public platform to break stigmas and raise awareness around breast cancer. Over the following months, she has shared her story every step of the way through social media and her radio show.
Los Angeles becomes the largest City in the United States to ban the sale and manufacture of new fur
LOS ANGELES, CA – Today Councilmember Bob Blumenfield and the Los Angeles City Council voted to support an ordinance to ban the sale and manufacture of new fur throughout Los Angeles. Blumenfield authored the ‘Fur Ban’ motion, which was co-presented by Councilmember Paul Koretz and seconded by Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, last year and in September, the City Council supported the drafting of a formal ordinance. This legislation makes Los Angeles the largest City in America to ban new fur products.
“This arcane and inhumane practice must end and today we said loud and clear, fur will not have a future in Los Angeles,” said Blumenfield. “I am proud that our City made a giant step in ending the unnecessary killing of animals but we must continue towards finally eliminating this vile market.”
“The fur trade is senseless and brutal to animals. Today’s ordinance to stop the manufacturing and retail sales of animal parts is long overdue,” said Councilmember Paul Koretz. “These beautiful animals deserve better than the cruel treatment they receive at the hands of fur ranchers, especially if it is to create trivial fur fashion items. The world looks to Los Angeles for fashion trends and this will be one we can be proud of.”
This ordinance will take effect on January 1, 2021 and specifically prohibit the sale of products and apparel made in whole or in part of fur or any fashion accessory, such as handbags, shoes, hats, earmuffs, and jewelry.
A new chapter to end mobile billboard blight, Blumenfield aims to restrict the use of potentially dangerous distractions
LOS ANGELES – Today Councilmember Bob Blumenfield introduced a motion for the City of Los Angeles to ban digital billboards on top of personal vehicles. On the streets of LA, drivers have noticed an increasing number of digital billboards attached to the top of some Uber and Lyft ridesharing vehicles.
“It was not too long ago that the Valley was blanketed with unhitched mobile billboards advertising everything you can imagine and I am proud to have helped rid our communities of that blight,” said Blumenfield. “Constituents would come up to me all the time and ask what can we do to get rid of those awful mobile billboards? We learned then that some companies will go to extreme lengths to circumvent regulations. Digital billboards on cars are just the next generation of advertising blight on our streets. They enable companies to use, for free, our public rights of way to profit at the expense of our quality of life. Furthermore, they can be a dangerous distraction for drivers. We need a clear law to prevent this problem from becoming an epidemic.”
Called dynamic message signs (DMS), they use digital LED technology to display changeable illuminated advertising. Currently a company called Firefly installs the rooftop DMS devices using Thule roof racks and wiring the screens to the car battery. At 52 inches long by 17 inches high, the boxes holding the screens are bigger than most rooftop cargo carriers. Uber and Lyft drivers who agree to mount the digital screens on their vehicles may be paid an average of $300.00 monthly.
In November 2018, the City Attorney's Office told Firefly that installation and operation of its DMS devices in the City is illegal under state and City law. Disregarding that admonishment, Firefly continues to place its DMS devices on rideshare vehicles operating in the City. The following month, representatives of Firefly appeared at the Board of Taxicab Commissioners ("Board") to request that the Board permit Firefly to install its DMS devices on the roofs of taxis pursuant to Board Rule 415(c). Board. Rule 415(c) allows commercial advertising to be mounted on a taxicab roof or trunk. The Board has yet to act on that request.
California Highway Patrol (CHP) has expressed safety concerns with Firefly's DMS devices, including that the devices may detract from legal lighting requirements such as clearance lighting and hazard lights, and reduce the effectiveness of emergency vehicle lighting. CHP advised that the DMS devices may impact first responders while operating in a "code three" response.