LOS ANGELES, CA – Responding to news reports that Amsterdam would not be following through on their planned Sister City relationship with Tel Aviv, Councilmember Bob Blumenfield today introduced a measure, co-presented by Councilmember Tom LaBonge, to urge Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard Van der Laan to move forward with the planned relationship between the two cities.
A vote to establish the relationship had been planned for July 1, but was has since been cancelled.
“As a City that opens its arms to the world and is committed to the promotion of global cooperation, cultural understanding and economic development through the Sister Cities movement, we in Los Angeles urge Mayor Van der Laan to reverse course and strengthen bilateral relations with Tel Aviv,” said Councilmember Bob Blumenfield. “Against the backdrop of increasing anti-semitic incidents in Holland and throughout Europe, building bridges of understanding with the only pluralistic democracy in the Middle East has never been more important.”
According to the country’s main anti-semitism watchdog, the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI), anti-semitic incidents in Holland rose 71% in 2014.
Lanark Park Skate Plaza is the First Skatepark West of the Sepulveda Basin
CANOGA PARK, CA – Tony Hawk and members of the Birdhouse Skateboards team joined Councilmember Bob Blumenfield and City leaders today to help the community inaugurate the Lanark Skate Plaza: a brand new 14,000 sq. ft. street plaza style skatepark set among old-growth trees at Lanark Recreation Center in Canoga Park
Blumenfield joined the world famous skateboarder, the Birdhouse Team, and local youth, hopping on a skateboard to try out the new park.
“This is a great resource for the community,” said Blumenfield. “Growing up, I loved to skateboard, but we didn’t have anything like that. The Lanark Skate Plaza will be a great place for our kids to stay active, learn a sport, and do it in a way that is safe and fun.”
Lanark Recreation Center was identified as a potential skate park site by the Department of Recreation and Parks in 2008. Upon election to the City Council, in 2013 Blumenfield worked with Recreation and Parks to make this a priority project for the West Valley. The new skate plaza, designed by New Line Skateparks and built by California Skateparks, was partially funded by a Tony Hawk Foundation grant.
“I want to congratulate Canoga Park on this skatepark,” said Hawk. “We were happy to help, and it was the effort of the Councilman who made it happen and it’s exciting to be here.”
City Council Votes to Approve CityLinkLA Request for Participants.
LOS ANGELES, CA – The Los Angeles City Council today approved a Request for Participants (RFP) to identify one or more providers to commit to deploying advanced wireline and wireless networks that can provide one gigabit broadband speed or more to residences and businesses. The RFP asks proposers to provide a free level of service, including free basic wireless services, and to complete build-out within the next five years.
The RFP was issued as part of CityLinkLA, the long-term initiative led by Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield to ensure that Los Angeles is among the most connected cities worldwide. The RFP received unanimous approval from Los Angeles City Council following remarks from supporters including Kenn Phillips of the Valley Economic Alliance and Norma Fernandez of EveryoneOn, a national non-profit organization dedicated to closing the digital divide.
“In today’s digital age, Internet access is a necessity, not a luxury. Today however, too many Angelenos do not have access to broadband, while many businesses and residents pay higher prices for slower speeds when compared to other global cities,” said Councilmember Blumenfield, who chairs the Council’s Innovation, Technology and General Services Committee. “Universal access to high-speed Internet is essential to the City’s future economic competitiveness, and will drive Los Angeles’s entertainment, tech and entrepreneurial activity. Free wireless Internet access will be a game changer in terms of helping to bridge the city’s digital divide.”
"More than 30% of our families in LA still don't have broadband Internet access. That presents real challenges in everyday life, from finding jobs to obtaining an education to participating in our City's social fabric," said Mayor Eric Garcetti. "Delivering digital infrastructure for access to the Internet is as important today as our other older infrastructure that delivers electricity, transportation, clean water, and lighted streets. This RFP makes City assets—real estate, strands of fiber optics, streetlights, and more—available to broadband providers, cellular operators, and new providers to continue the trend of faster speeds around LA and help us connect more of our residents, visitors, and businesses to the Internet."
"We've been in the 21st century for 15 years, it's time we move into the future,” said Council President Herb Wesson. "I am confident that with the right partners we will be able to position Los Angeles as a global leader in connectedness."
“CityLinkLA was created to deliver the high-speed, high-quality and affordable Internet that Angelenos need and deserve. Our goal is to see that all Los Angeles neighborhoods have equal access to advanced communications networks, allowing residents and businesses to take full advantage of Internet capabilities. We have set a course for the City’s technological future. We’re looking for providers that share our vision and are ready to invest now,” concluded Blumenfield.
LOS ANGELES, CA – Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield today made the following statement following the City Council’s vote to move forward the Citywide Minimum Wage Ordinance.
The final motion incorporates several policy suggestions raised by Blumenfield in the months since Mayor Eric Garcetti proposed increasing the City’s minimum wage:
“President Kennedy famously proclaimed that 'a rising tide lifts all boats,' and today, through a thoughtful, deliberative process, we've created a policy that will give Angelenos the raise in wages they need and deserve, while lifting the economic and spiritual tide of our City, including for our most vulnerable populations.
The Citywide Minimum Wage is among the most consequential policy decisions enacted by this Council in years, and as with any major policy, it is crucial that it be crafted in a way that is thoughtful and deliberative to ensure that we achieve our goal of lifting Angelenos out of poverty.
LOS ANGELES, CA – Councilmember Bob Blumenfield today convened the Los Angeles-Eilat Innovation and Cooperation Task Force at the Milken Global Conference, the annual symposium that brings together some of the world's brightest minds to explore solutions to today's most pressing challenges in financial markets, industry sectors, health, government and education.
The task force was created to facilitate the exchange of ideas and innovation between Israeli companies, education communities and non-profits and their counterparts in the City of Los Angeles. It was established following last year's signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU), based on legislation Blumenfield authored as an Assemblymember, to strengthen trade, research and economic development ties between California and the State of Israel.
In its second meeting, the task force members today explored innovation based solutions for tackling California’s water crisis, including increasing irrigation efficiency, enhancing groundwater recharge, and expanding water reclamation projects. Israel is a recognized leader in dealing with water scarcity issues.
LOS ANGELES, CA – Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield today was joined by his colleague Councilmember Nury Martinez in securing the Los Angeles City Council’s support for a funding plan for the first round of proposals as part of the City’s Innovation Fund program. The Innovation Fund solicits and funds ideas from the City family, including employees, commissioners and others, to make city government work better, faster and more efficiently.
The Innovation Fund was spearheaded by Mayor Eric Garcetti, who joined with Councilmember Blumenfield in officially launching the solicitation and evaluation process in November 2014.
“In government, as in business, we are constantly seeking creative ideas to create efficiencies, save money and make life better for the residents of Los Angeles,” said Blumenfield. “With the establishment of the Innovation Fund, we are exponentially multiplying our ability to explore new ideas to achieve these goals.”
"City employees are at the intersection of our government and the community. They understand how the City works and the needs of its residents,” said Martinez. “It’s time we put their unique skills to work. By utilizing their combination of skills, the Innovation Fund gives employees the opportunity to take the lead and improve our neighborhoods one solution at a time."
Applauds additional Orange Line buses for the Valley’s first CicLAvia event
LOS ANGELES, CA – Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield today applauded Metro’s decision to run more frequent buses on the Orange Line as CicLAvia is held in the San Fernando Valley for the first time this Sunday.
“The Orange Line is without a doubt the Valley’s most important transit resource, particularly for my West Valley constituents. Increased service means that more Angelenos will be able to get to and enjoy the first CicLAvia in the Valley,” said Blumenfield. “It’s also a great opportunity for my West Valley communities to utilize the Orange Line, perhaps for the first time.”
The Orange Line runs a light schedule on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays. This Sunday, extra buses will run on the Metro Orange Line for more frequent service during event hours. More information on Metro’s schedule for CicLAvia, including information on bus detours and tips for riding Metro this weekend can be found at Metro.net.
Council approves motion to include seismic upgrades in PACE program
LOS ANGELES, CA – The Los Angeles City Council today took necessary action to include seismic retrofits in the state’s successful Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program. PACE allows property owners to finance specific upgrades through an assessment on their property taxes. The move is designed to give property owners a practical tool to help finance the costs of necessary retrofits that will enhance our city’s resiliency in the event of a major earthquake.
“For Los Angeles, the question is not ‘if’ but rather ‘when’ we will face our next major earthquake,” said Councilmember Blumenfield. “It is crucial that state and local governments work collaboratively with property owners to help them manage retrofit costs, because the costs of inaction are too great.”
In December, Mayor Eric Garcetti and his Science Advisor for Seismic Safety, USGS Seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones released a series of recommendations to enhance Los Angeles’s earthquake resiliency. Among the recommendations made by Dr. Jones and her team of technical experts is mandatory retrofit of Los Angeles’s approximately 16,000 soft-first story buildings. Soft story buildings are wood frame buildings where the first floor has large openings, for example tuck-under parking, garage doors, and retail display windows.
Los Angeles lost 49,000 housing units in the 1994 Northridge earthquake, two-thirds of which were soft-first story buildings.
“Without such a tool, compliance would be financially out of reach for many property owners. It’s important that we add PACE financing to the toolbox ahead of the passage of a retrofit mandate,” concluded Blumenfield.
LOS ANGELES, CA – Los Angeles City Councilmember and California Film Commission Member Bob Blumenfield joined his colleagues on the Commission as they approved a set of emergency draft regulations for the expanded and improved California Film & TV Tax Credit Program. The approval comes in time to get the program up and running in time to accept applications for the network TV season in May.
“As one of the primary economic engines of the San Fernando Valley and surrounding region, the film industry has provided untold numbers of Angelenos with well-paying jobs, both above and below the line, for generations” said Councilmember Blumenfield. “As the media landscape shifts, it’s critical that we take action to protect those jobs, and the families they support, throughout the Valley and Los Angeles, and across the state.”
The expansion of California Film & TV Tax Credit Program is the result of the California Film & Television Job Retention and Promotion Act, which was signed in to law by Governor Jerry Brown at a Los Angeles press conference last September. The program more than triples available tax credits to $330 million for California film and television productions.
Council calls on state and federal governments to raise reimbursement rates
LOS ANGELES, CA – Ahead of an important state legislative deadline, the Los Angeles City Council today urged state and federal lawmakers to increase reimbursement rates for nonprofit service providers. The resolution, authored by Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, is designed to guard against any loss in services as the result of proposed increases to the City’s minimum wage.
Many nonprofits, particularly child-care centers and those who serve people with developmental disabilities and other vulnerable populations, rely almost exclusively on financial support from state and federal reimbursements but these reimbursement rates do not take in to account cost of living data, including local minimum wage. Consequently, unless that changes, they will likely have to cut services.
“The City of Los Angeles has the opportunity to act on an ambitious and important minimum wage proposal that can dramatically improve the lives of many, but we must do so in a way that will actually create jobs, improve our economy and best serve our entire community,” said Blumenfield. “As we work together to lift families out of poverty, it is crucial that we be deliberative and get it right.”