Unique opportunity for collaboration on substantive challenges confronting California and Israel.
LOS ANGELES, CA – Councilmember Bob Blumenfield today opened the inaugural session of the Los Angeles-Eilat Innovation and Cooperation Task Force 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.
|Members of the Los Angeles - Eilat Cooperation and Innovation Task Force listen to a presentation by Professor Eilon Adar, one of the world's foremost hydrologists, one how Israel has confronted water scarcity and how California can learn from its example, on October 20, 2014.
The task force builds on the 55 year-old Sister City relationship with Eilat and is designed to promote collaboration and advancement in technology investment, business development and research opportunities in clean technology, water resources, solar energy and environmental technologies throughout Los Angeles and the State of Israel.
“Israel and Los Angeles share much,” said Blumenfield, who chairs the Council’s Innovation, Technology and General Services Committee and will, along with Israeli Consul General David Siegel, serve as Governing co-Chair of the task force. “We are two innovation centers, two promised lands. By establishing this task force, we are ensuring that we share more than just climate and culture, but reputations as two of the most important centers for innovation and technology in the world.”
Earlier this year, Councilmember Blumenfield joined Governor Jerry Brown and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as they signed a historic memorandum of understanding (MOU), based on AB 1032, legislation Blumenfield offered as an Assemblymember. That MOU works to strengthen trade, research and economic development ties between California and the State of Israel, with an emphasis on water conservation, alternative energy, cybersecurity, health and biotechnology, education and agriculture technology. The establishment of this task force is an outgrowth of that work.
Blumenfield push seeks to reduce barriers to the use of artificial turf for landscaping.
LOS ANGELES, CA – To reduce outdoor water use, Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield today secured Council support to reduce barriers for residents and businesses interested in installing artificial turf in parkways. This move builds on Blumenfield’s ongoing efforts to “green the Valley” and push water conservation citywide.
Despite recognition as an excellent alternative to thirsty grasses, artificial turf is not available to many Angelenos because no standard has ever been developed by the City for installation. This leads to permitting costs that can frequently exceed $2000. Blumenfield’s motion directs the Bureau of Engineering (BOE) to develop a standard for the use of artificial turf in parkways in order to increase the viability of artificial turf as an option for residents.
“Angelenos understand the severity of the threat posed by the current drought,” said Blumenfield, who serves as Vice Chair of the Council’s Energy and Environment Committee. “We in the City need to make it easier for Angelenos to conserve water by rethinking their landscpaing. Reducing barriers to the use of turf alternatives is an important step in that direction.”
Councilmembers Bob Blumenfield and Mike Bonin praise Council action to continue attracting tech jobs to LA
LOS ANGELES, CA – In a move that will protect high tech jobs in Los Angeles, the City Council today voted unanimously to extend reduced business tax rates for Internet-based businesses.
The job-creating legislation, which was championed by Councilmembers Bob Blumenfield and Mike Bonin, is the latest in a series of business-friendly efforts by the Los Angeles City Council and comes in the middle of “Los Angeles Innovation Week.”
“Internet based businesses are an increasingly important part of our Los Angeles economy,” said Blumenfield, who introduced the motion to extend the reduced rate and chairs the City’s Innovation, Technology and General Services Committee. “I am pleased to see the Council support these businesses and ensure that this highly mobile industry continues make its home and thrive within the City of Los Angeles.”
Without Council action, the tax rate for internet based businesses was set to see a five-fold increase this December as the 2010 ordinance reached its sunset date. The motion also seeks a study of the impact and effectiveness of the internet based business tax reduction.
Move follows Metro report on short and long term improvements along one of the Valley’s most critical pieces of transit infrastructure.
LOS ANGELES, CA – Los Angeles City Councilmembers Bob Blumenfield and Paul Krekorian today took a key first step toward upgrading the Orange Line by directing City departments to actively engage in making immediate and short-term improvements along the heavily used busway. The Orange Line is among the San Fernando Valley’s most vital pieces of transit infrastructure, starting in the West Valley where it passes through each of Blumenfield’s five communities, across the San Fernando Valley, before terminating in North Hollywood, just steps from Councilmember Krekorian’s district office.
Today’s motion, introduced as the Los Angeles City Council met in the San Fernando Valley, would direct the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) to work in cooperation with the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro) to examine options for enhancing service performance and ridership on the Metro Orange Line, including immediate and short term improvements for which City department collaboration will be needed. The motion follows a report last month from Metro detailing both short and long term improvements to the Orange Line in response to a motion brought before the Metro Board by Krekorian in his capacity as a Metro Boardmember.
“Making the Orange Line faster and more efficient is crucial, not only for my West Valley neighborhoods, but for communities across the region,” said Blumenfield. “I have vigorously applauded Councilmember Krekorian’s advocacy and leadership on the Metro Board, and I am pleased to be able to work together to support that work in the City of Los Angeles.”
LOS ANGELES, CA – Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield was joined today by City officials and community members to cut the ribbon on the third and final phase of the LA River Bikeway in Winnetka, running along the southern portion of the Los Angeles River from Winnetka Ave. to Mason Ave. The first phase begins at Vanalden Ave.
“The completion of the LA River Bikeway project is a milestone accomplishment in realizing the dream of the LA River as a 51-mile long natural and recreational resource, and is an important addition to the bike infrastructure of the San Fernando Valley,” said Blumenfield.
Following the ribbon cutting, bicycle-mounted LAPD officers from Topanga Division joined community members to activate the bike path—entering at Delco Ave. and biking the stretch from Mason Ave. to Winnetka Ave., and beyond.
Phases 1 and 2, completed in 2012, extended the bikeway from Vanalden Ave. to Winnetka Ave., but with the final section now complete, West Valley residents have access to 2-miles of uninterrupted bikeway to promote both multi-modal transportation and healthy lifestyles.
|Blumenfield cuts the ribbon on 2-miles of uninterrupted bikeway along the LA River. Joining him from left to right: Anthony Jusay, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (METRO); Gary Lee Moore, City of Los Angeles Chief Engineer; Barbara Romero, Board of Public Works Commissioner; Kevin James, Board of Public Works President; Bob Blumenfield, Councilmember, City of Los Angeles; Seleta Reynolds, General Manager Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT); Omar Brownson, Executive Director, Los Angeles River Revitalization Corp.; Ed Ebrahimian, Director, Bureau of Street Lighting. On August 28, 2014.
LOS ANGELES, CA – As a fragile ceasefire holds in the Middle East, Los Angeles City elected leaders gathered today to reaffirm their solidarity with the people of Israel, support for Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorism, and their desire to secure a lasting peace for the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. The gathered officials held a moment of silence in memory of all innocent lives lost in the recent conflict.
“Today we speak with one voice standing with Israel, for peace,” said Blumenfield, who organized this group of leaders in their call for peace. “We are not against the Palestinians, nor the residents of Gaza, both of whom have suffered needlessly in this conflict. Their suffering is heartbreaking to all of us. But we stand with Israel against a Hamas regime that terrorizes Israelis from the skies and now, from beneath the ground. That regime prioritizes hatred and destruction over cooperation and prosperity for the Palestinian people, and believes that peace is counter to its aim of total destruction of the State of Israel.”
Blumenfield also played the familiar air-raid siren, evoking the sensation that has led millions of terrified Israelis in to bomb shelters as nearly 4,000 rockets have fallen from the sky, to the gathered leaders including Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Attorney Mike Feuer, City Controller Ron Galperin, City Council President Herb Wesson, City Council President Pro Tempore Mitch Englander, Assistant City Council President Pro Tempore Tom LaBonge, as well as CouncilmembersJoe Buscaino and Paul Koretz.
“Israel is by far our strongest ally in a tumultuous region. One that we stand by in its right to meet its obligation to protect its citizens,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Our prayer today is that this ceasefire holds so that we have an opportunity to create a lasting peace.”
LOS ANGELES, CA – Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield today made the following statement regarding the announcement of Assistant Chief Ralph Terrazas as Mayor Eric Garcetti’s appointee to serve as the next Chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department:
“I congratulate Assistant Chief Ralph Terrazas on his appointment by Mayor Eric Garcetti to lead the Los Angeles Fire Department, pending approval by the City Council.
From the medical emergencies that make up the highest volume call request received by LAFD, to house fires and brush fires, West Valley residents understand the vital importance of LA’s firefighters and the services they provide to public safety. I was proud to fight for important increases in funding to fire services in this year’s city budget, but it is crucial that the next administration works to address recruitment, staffing levels and response times, and recommit itself to innovation and technology.
I am confident that Assistant Chief Terrazas, a native of Los Angeles with three decades of service to the Fire Department, will have the intelligence, nimble mindset, and willpower to make the necessary changes at the department that will keep our City safe.
I thank Chief Featherstone for his leadership over the last year and I look forward to working with Assistant Chief Terrazas to build an even better LAFD that will provide true peace of mind to Angelenos in the Valley and throughout Los Angeles.”
LOS ANGELES, CA – Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield today made the following statement following the discovery of the bodies of Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach. Fraenkel, Shaar and Yifrach had been missing since being kidnapped by Hamas terrorists on June 12.
“Our hearts are heavy with the news that after weeks of searching, the bodies of Naftali, Gilad and Eyal have been discovered, and their souls have passed from our world.
Angelenos of all faiths and creeds join with their families and the people of the State of Israel in mourning these three young men whose lives were senselessly lost, and in condemning the murderous terrorists still at large. We pray they are brought to justice.”
Committee moves forward program to utilize innovative paving materials for City sidewalks.
|Councilmember Bob Blumenfield speaks in support of his measure to utilize innovative permeable paving materials at a Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee meeting, on June 18, 2014
LOS ANGELES, CA – The City Council’s Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee today voted to move forward Councilmember Bob Blumenfield’s proposal to utilize innovative permeable paving materials for City sidewalks.
“Concrete is about as innovative as the chiseled wheel,” said Blumenfield, who spoke in support of his measure at Committee today. “In order to be a modern city, we need to utilize more modern materials that will benefit our environment, reduce maintenance, liability and other costs, while significantly improving the quality of life for all Angelenos.”
The Bureau of Street Services (BSS) has experimented in the past with alternative sidewalk materials including rubber panels, recycled mixed plastic materials, poured rubber materials and porous concrete. Decomposed granite is another option, though it has not been studied by BSS.
LOS ANGELES, CA – Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield today made the following statement regarding the recent kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas terrorists in the West Bank.
The kidnapping follows the recent pact between Fatah, the leading Palestinian party, and Hamas, which is listed by the United States as a foreign terrorist organization and has governed the Gaza Strip since 2007. The State of Israel is engaged in an intensive operation to return Gilad Sha'er (16), Naftali Frenkel (16), who has dual Israeli-American citizenship, and Eyal Yifrah (19) to their families.
“As a steadfast advocate for a lasting peace in the Middle-East with a long record of working to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship, I was dismayed to learn of the recent kidnapping of three Israeli teens by Hamas terrorists.
These kidnappings have sent shockwaves through Los Angeles, home to one of the largest Israeli-American communities in the nation. L.A. and the international community must condemn these terrorist acts in the strongest possible terms.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas has opened the door to wider Hamas activity in the West Bank with the recent establishment of the Fatah-Hamas pact. These kidnappings are a painful illustration of how the pact between Abbas and Hamas seems to have pushed peace further away and further destabilized the region.
Our hearts are heavy as we keep the families of the Gilad, Naftali and Eyal in our thoughts, and pray with millions around the world for their safe and swift return.”