The 2020 Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority Annual Count is coming up in a few weeks. This count is crucial in determining where homeless resources go so please join #TeamBlumenfield on January 21 at our District Office in Reseda and help ensure that the West Valley get its fair share of tools to address homelessness. We need to make sure everyone who is homeless is counted.
Click this link to RSVP and find out more: https://www.theycountwillyou.org/reseda_cd3_count_20200121
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On New Year’s Day 2020, LAMC 85.02, the law that limits where and when people can sleep in their vehicle expired. Before the City Council’s winter recess, I authored legislation to extend this important law to protect residential neighborhoods from problematic vehicular living, but to my disappointment this issue was neither debated nor voted upon. As a result, areas that were previously off-limits to vehicular living, including those zoned residential and those within 500 feet of licensed schools, pre-schools and day-care facilities, will now be open to vehicular living. This is very significant, and I believe it is problematic for residential areas in CD3 and throughout our City.
What does this mean? The official map that shows areas acceptable to dwell in one’s vehicle — the LAMC 85.02 color-coded map — will no longer apply, as the entire City will essentially become a green zone. That is, without a vote to reauthorize 85.02 or a similar new law, while posted parking restrictions (time limitations, etc.) must be abided by, the entire city will now be legal for vehicular dwelling. This has been, and remains, a contentious issue at City Hall and throughout the city. I continue to believe that while we must not criminalize poverty or homelessness, we must have limits on where and when people can park and live in their vehicles. Our streets are meant to be used as a public right-of-way, not for habitation. While we need to grapple with the reality that cars are the last resort before the sidewalks for many people, we must also recognize that neighborhood communities rely on the City to keep order, health and safety.
We need to help people who are struggling, but sanctioning people living virtually anywhere outside without services and utilities like bathrooms is not the way to do it. I will continue to fight for reinstating the amended 85.02 parking restrictions, and it is my hope that a vote to do so will be scheduled. I will also push for more "Safe Parking" areas such as what we established behind my District Office (click here to learn more).
Reimagine Ventura will Invigorate the Boulevard
Ventura Boulevard is the San Fernando Valley’s Main Street, and it is so iconic that it is referred to simply as “the Boulevard.” But the westernmost portion, near Fallbrook Avenue, has the potential to be even better. Please watch this video to learn more about Councilmember Blumenfield’s street improvement project, Reimagine Ventura, and to learn about the community partners who have been there since day one.
Thank you Dennis T. DiBiase, who has served on the Woodland Hills Neighborhood Council and the Planning Review Board for Ventura Boulevard, and Diana Williams CEO of West Valley Warner Center Chamber of Commerce for your ongoing partnership on Reimagine. To learn more, please visit http://blumenfield.lacity.org/reimagine_ventura
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Update on Feasibility Study for Reseda Parking Lots
As you may know, two years ago the Mayor and Council directed the City Administrative Officer (CAO) to examine all undeveloped City-owned property for potential use as supportive or affordable housing. While my district has very few parcels of City-owned property that would qualify for potential use, under the CAO’s criteria, the five parking lots in Reseda hold the most promise; their size and proximity to each other make them more likely to accommodate a project that provides replacement parking. This replacement parking was something Councilmember Blumenfield had insisted be part of any project that could even be considered on the public parking lots. Insuring replacement parking is especially important in Reseda where the few parking lots that we have are heavily used.
Just to be extra clear, there is no actual development project proposed, only a study to look at the pros and cons of potential project types.
Normally, the City only performs a feasibility study for potential projects on City-owned land. But, Blumenfield insisted that an economic impact study also be conducted in conjunction with the feasibility study. It is his hope that moving forward with the economic study will help quell fears from all sides and will provide a much better understanding of the community impact that a supportive and/or affordable housing project could have on our community. After this process is complete, serious discussions with the community will be held to discuss where, in what form, and if some housing may be possible.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact senior planning deputy Elizabeth Ene at 818.774.4330 or [email protected]
Permitted Sidewalk Vending Now Underway in Los Angeles
In this New Year, after long debates formalizing legislation, the City started issuing permits for Sidewalk Vending in Los Angeles. Though the City had been working on creating a regulatory framework for the past few years, a state bill in 2018 eviscerated the City's ability to enact crucial local control measures.
Blumenfield's push to give local businesses some control as to whether they wanted street vending in front of their brick and mortar businesses was disallowed by the State law. The only City regulations that are permitted by the State are limited to certain health and safety issues--City discretion about location for other reasons was prohibited.
While Blumenfield felt it was important to legitimize these micro businesses/ entrepreneurs, he was very disappointed with the State law and worries about the impact the newly legalized vendors will have on brick and mortar businesses as well as public health and safety.
Nonetheless, and given the handcuffs put on the City, the City did pass regulations designed to help ensure compliance with County health codes, insure sidewalk passability, and ultimately require a permit. Also certain highly congested areas were made off limits.
Over the next year, a new citywide permitting process will be established to allow vendors to reserve specific locations as well. Currently, it is done on a first come first serve basis. By hope is that the State will loosen the restrictions on the City so that we can better regulate in a way that will allow us to support the vendors with reasonable low-cost fees, but also let us have better control over our sidewalks to ensure order, safety and health. To learn more about sidewalk vending regulations, click here.
Sherman Way Streetscape Project Coming Soon!
Moving forward for construction of Councilmember Blumenfield’s long awaited Sherman Way Streetscape improvements, on January 8, 2020, the City’s Board of Public Works awarded a contract for construction of the Great Street improvements between Wilbur Avenue and Lindley Avenue. This $3.5 million project is part of Blumenfield’s Reseda Rising initiative to help revitalize the neighborhood’s commercial core, and is intended to make Sherman Way a more inviting place to visit, shop and dine.
The project scope was developed through a lengthy community planning process that included the Reseda Neighborhood Council and other stakeholders. When construction is complete, Reseda residents and visitors will enjoy features that beautify the street and enhance community identity, including “Reseda” monument signs; additional trees and landscaping; distinctive shade structures, tables and chairs; and unique sidewalk decals. The project also includes safety improvements for those who walk and bike, including a signalized pedestrian crossing at Sherman Way and Capps; ADA-compliant curb cuts; high-visibility crosswalks; and traffic-calming measures on Hart Street, including a mini-roundabout at Hart and Baird, while maintaining travel lanes and curb parking. Construction should begin by early summer, and take about 9 months to complete.
Candy Cane Lane Tradition Continues
Like thousands of Angelenos, Councilmember Blumenfield enjoyed a visit to Candy Cane Lane with his family last month to see the lights, decorations, and festivities. Candy Cane Lane is a wonderful Woodland Hills tradition spanning over 60 years with neighbors providing a welcoming holiday experience to visitors every year.
A few years ago there were some concerns about street vending, traffic, trash, and the ongoing viability of continuing the Candy Cane Lane holiday tradition. Consequently, Blumenfield and his team worked with residents to implement full-service trash cans during the holiday season, provide large signs reminding visitors to be courteous and respectful of the hard work it takes to present these wonderful holiday displays and deploy enhanced LAPD presence and foot patrols on weekends. Councilmember Blumenfield visited with Candy Cane Lane Neighborhood Watch members in December at one of their homes and was very happy to hear that mitigations have helped minimize prior problems. He will continue to meet with neighbors each year to evaluate the results of his efforts to provide support and assistance to the Candy Cane Lane area and to talk about additional resources when needed. Thank you all the families who have helped make the Candy Cane Lane area holiday decoration tradition spectacular.
Preparing for Disasters 26 Years After the Northridge Earthquake
Twenty six years ago today our region was rocked awake by the 6.7 magnitude Northridge Earthquake which left 57 dead, almost 9,000 injured and caused billions of dollars of damage up to 90 miles from the epicenter. This event remains one of the worst natural disasters to face our city and this anniversary reminds all of us that these sorts of emergencies can happen at any time.
There are easy steps that all of us can take today to be more prepared such as:
• Have a ‘go bag’ in the car and in your home. This includes emergency rations for you and your pets, water, a first aid kit, extra clothes, prescription drugs, batteries and things like a transistor radio.
• Download the new ShakeAlertLA app (https://apps.apple.com/us/app/shakealertla/id1445922632) to your iPhone or Android so you are warned before impending earthquakes.
• Have phone numbers and contact information written down on paper in a safe place.
• Designate a friend or loved one who lives far away to serve as the point of contact for your family to check in with in case local communication is not working properly.
• Put some cash away just in case ATMs/the internet goes down.
If you want to learn more about how to be better prepared for natural disasters and my work on this issue, please go to http://blumenfield.lacity.org/emergency_preparedness.
Councilmember Blumenfield shared his reflections on the Northridge Earthquake in his blog here
2019's Small Business Success: Blumenfield Individually Met with 101 Small Businesses in West Valley
The West Valley is home to thousands of small businesses offering every product and service imaginable. From sushi and pizza, to shoes and office supplies, these businesses help drive the local economy. In 2019, Councilmember Blumenfield donned his walking shoes and visited over 100 small businesses in the Third District's five communities of Canoga Park, Reseda, Tarzana, Winnetka, and Woodland Hills. The one-on-one interactions allowed the Councilmember to provide business owners with helpful information and resources from the City of L.A. and to listen directly to their concerns. It helped him get a timely picture of the issues and challenges facing entrepreneurs including homelessness, permitting, and street maintenance. He will continue this active outreach in 2020.
Councilmember Blumenfield applauds the many small business owners who donate their time and money to community causes. Jerry of Generation Cuts Barber Shop in Winnetka offers his space for community meetings. Last November, Miri and Nicola of Cowe Consulting in Woodland Hills spoke on business development at Blumenfield's BLOOM (Business Leadership Optimization & Opportunity Making) information and resource symposium. Tamara, the new owner of Tamara Heinig Insurance Agency (Farmers Insurance), also attended BLOOM and is getting involved with the Canoga Park Improvement Association. The time and effort these business owners put into their communities contribute to a safer, healthier, and more prosperous West Valley.
Helping Bridge the Digital Divide, Blumenfield Partners with California Emergency Technology Foundation to Provide Low-Cost Internet
Councilmember Blumenfield is working with the California Emerging Technology Foundation and EveryoneOn to provide Angelenos with the best low-cost internet service and computer offers. Internet access is essential for Angelinos to maximize opportunities, especially for kids in school. Financial limitations should not impede someone’s access to information and a bright future.
Learn more here.
LA Conservation Corps: Cleanups in Action:
The LA Conservation Corps is working hard to make a difference in the West Valley. One of their recent projects was servicing a request for an alley behind 7747 Desoto. Blumenfield has provided space for the Corps in his West Valley office to encourage the inclusion of local young people on projects in the district and he set aside special funding from his budget to make their local work possible. Together they have been doing cleanups through the District.
Be Prepared for the Mass Notification Evacuation Exercise on Feb 1, 2020
Los Angeles Football Club Job Fair
LAFC is hosting its 2020 Job Fair next week, where hundreds of part-time positions will be available for hire. It will take place on January 24th from 4pm to 8pm at Freeplay, at the Banc of California Stadium.
West Valley Animal Shelter Pets of the Week
Historic West Valley: Ventura Blvd Near Shoup
Team Blumenfield is partnering with the Los Angeles Public Library’s (LAPL) photo archive for a new segment to highlight historic photos of the West Valley. This week's photo was taken in 1956 off of Ventura Blvd near Shoup Ave. The caption from the photo reads, “[this] slope will become one of symmetrical concrete and street as freeway overpass sweeps across Ventura Boulevard. To learn more about this photo and use the digital photo archive, click the link here.
Blumenfield provided bus transportation for seniors at St. Joseph the Worker in Reseda.
Blumenfield joined Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley students at Aerojet Rocketdyne to discuss the importance of #STEAM education as well as the role the West Valley played in the success of the #Apollo11 mission and aerospace history.