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.
LOS ANGELES, CA – Councilmember Bob Blumenfield was joined by LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas to honor two firefighters who heroically saved a family during the Woolsey Fire. On November 9th, LAFD Air Operations Pilots David Nordquist and Joel Smith were requested to evacuate three people and their two dogs in Malibu.
“It’s no secret that LAFD is comprised of incredibly brave and selfless heroes, but the actions of Mr. Norquist and Mr. Smith during the Woolsey Fire were truly remarkable,” said Blumenfield.
With low visibility, running out of fuel, as well as smoke and flames surrounding them, Nordquist and Smith risked their lives for this miraculous rescue. Blumenfield and Chief Terrazas presented the pilots with certificates of recognition and the video of the incredible rescue was shown as well.
LOS ANGELES, CA – Today 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. A community envisioned as a live, work, play transit-friendly neighborhood under the Warner Center 2035 Plan.
“My vision is 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 to comply with air quality and trip reduction regulations and to advocate for regional mobility improvements.
Blumenfield leads effort to save this local arts institution by making it part of his Canoga Park Arts Hub
LOS ANGELES, CA – On December 24, 2018 Councilmember Bob Blumenfield and the City of Los Angeles closed escrow on the Clyde Porter West Valley Playhouse in Canoga Park, acquiring the property to ensure this cultural resource continues to welcome the local arts community. In conjunction with the nearby Madrid Theater and the Canoga Park Youth Arts Center, the purchase of the Playhouse adds another venue to Blumenfield’s Canoga Park Cultural Arts Hub which will serve as an incubator and home for local artists for years to come.
“With the decimation of arts funding in our schools and the decline of accessible theater in our community, I am proud to help transition the West Valley Playhouse into a public asset,” said Blumenfield. “This will prevent the loss of a community gem and ensure that we have local theater for current and future generations. It will also help fuel local economic opportunity.”
Located at 7242 Owensmouth Ave. in Canoga Park, the West Valley Playhouse seats about 150 people and was formerly a Masonic Lodge before it was transformed into a theater in 2000. Blumenfield and his staff have worked over the last year to save the West Valley Playhouse after he found out the building was up for sale and harnessed $1.395 million in excess Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) bond funds to purchase it. These are funds that can only be used for community revitalization efforts and cannot be utilized for issues such as public safety or homelessness. The theater will now 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.
Danielle Brazell, General Manager of DCA said, "Arts, culture, and creativity are catalysts for economic development, community engagement, and civic identity. The acquisition of the West Valley Playhouse is an essential component of a new cultural hub that will further develop local artists, generate dynamic programming, and serve the residents of Canoga Park as well as the greater Los Angeles region. The purchase advances our shared goal to develop a creative hub that engages the creative spirit of the residents of Blumenfield’s district, while advancing the Councilmember's mission of investing in cultural infrastructure to support the local arts ecology, increase access to art education, and celebrate the unique creative character of this community.”