On April 16th, we lost our friend District Director Michael Owens. The past few weeks have been incredibly difficult for Michael’s family, friends and all of us on Team Blumenfield. For those who were not fortunate enough to know him, I wanted to share a few memories and let you know what he meant to us.
Michael joined Team Blumenfield back during my first term in the State Assembly,over 13 years ago. Ever since, he has been a true force for good in the West Valley and the City of LA. Starting as intern and then Director of Constituent Affairs, he built partnerships and friendships with so many residents and nonprofits and had such a unique gift for guiding residents through the civic issues and finding solutions. He truly had boundless empathy, patience and a deep passion for public service. He was a formidable force in our office, always elevating causes dear to him and using the tools of the state and city to make lives better for the most vulnerable.
Raised by two parents in the military and having grown up all around the country with roots in the south, his southern twang went everywhere with him and greeted everyone he met with immense kindness. Michael’s sense of humor was legendary. He could make a whole room laugh with just a look and god help you if you set him up for a double entendre joke- because he never missed. He was always able to bring resilience and determination to stay upbeat and moving forward, no matter what obstacles got in his way.
Eternally kind, caring and looking for ways to help others, I can’t express the hole his passing has left in our team. While plans for a memorial are underway, I hope you all can join me in remembering Michael and think about his family during this difficult time. There will never be one like him and I hope that he and his late husband Camron are at peace and again united. We will always love Michael.
As Chair of the Budget and Finance and Innovation Committee, Councilmember Blumenfield began the City’s budget process which will be reviewing, analyzing, and updating the Mayor’s Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2023-24. The Mayor’s draft budget–totaling more than $13 billion–reflects critically important priorities like how we address homelessness and increase public safety resources.
Blumenfield’s goal is to produce a balanced budget that enables the City to function but also one that reflects our values, takes bold steps to address our City’s biggest challenges and is the product of genuine stakeholder engagement and compromise. At the start of deliberations, the BFI Committee held an evening session where they heard more than 2 hours of public comment, hearing from folks both in person and telephonically. Public comment will continue at scheduled times during the course of deliberations. Throughout the proceedings, Blumenfield has been asking department heads questions submitted by Angelenos. So if you’d like to make your voice heard, you can offer written testimony here or submit a question to be asked here.
One of Councilmember Blumenfield's top priorities has been expanding residents' access to open spaces and improved recreational facilities in the West Valley. Blumenfield is excited to share that the much needed solar shades at the playground at Serrania Park have finally been installed.
Blumenfield was happy to join Winnetka Neighborhood Council, Winnetka Chamber, LA Parks, and community members for the groundbreaking of the $2 million park improvements at Runnymede Park. Improvements include demolition and installation of a new children’s playground, fitness equipment, picnic tables, and more along with improvements to existing lighting and fencing. Stay tuned for more updates.
The City Council is currently considering changes to the way that City Council district boundaries are drawn, including but not limited to: creation of an independent redistricting commission; and changing the size and number of Council districts as a possible means of improving representation of various communities of interest. Over the next two months, the Ad Hoc Committee on Governance Reform will hold a series of listening sessions to gather community input on these issues. As a member of that Committee, Councilmember Blumenfield wants to hear from you--the people of Los Angeles--about the changes that are needed to restore trust in City government and to ensure the reforms are people-driven and not politician-driven. Attend an upcoming meeting or register your thoughts here.
Councilmember Blumenfield joined community members at Lanark Park for Holi, a Hindu celebration of new beginnings and a welcoming of spring. Blumenfield thanked the Department of Cultural Affairs and all the talented performers brought color and joy to the community.
Councilmember Blumenfield was joined by Consul General of Israel Hillel Newman and Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles to celebrate Israel's 75th Independence Day. In the evening, we joined halls of government across the country as we lit up City Hall blue and white.
In celebration of Eid al-Fitr, the last day of the holy month of Ramadan, Councilmember Blumenfield joined MTO Shahmaghsoudi® School of Islamic Sufism® and interfaith leaders at the launch of a global food donation campaign to provide essential food items to those in need in over 50 cities around the world.
On Denim Day, Team Blumenfield wore denim with a purpose to support survivors and educate others about sexual violence. There is no excuse for sexual assault and we must continue to fight against violence and harassment in all forms.
Taken on March 11, 1959, this week's photo is from the Valley Times Collection West Valley moms preparing for the All-Woman Transcontinental Aire Race.