On October 4th, Councilmember Blumenfield and Los Angeles Kings President and Hockey Hall of Famer Luc Robitaille signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), solidifying a new public-private partnership to build and operate the ‘Reseda Ice Rink,’ the City’s first ever year-round recreational ice facility.
“I am proud to further cement the bond between Los Angeles and our iconic Kings as we move forward to create this unique and historic facility in the West Valley,” said Councilmember Blumenfield. “Thanks to the entire Kings organization for your partnership on this project and for their dedication to our City, ensuring that future generations of Angelenos will have access to learn and love hockey and skating.”
“This is a tremendous opportunity for the LA Kings to continue to grow the game of hockey in Los Angeles,” said Robitaille. “We would like to thank Councilmember Blumenfield and Reseda for their hard work and diligent effort in helping make this a reality. We look forward to seeing the shovel in the dirt and watching the Reseda Ice Rink come to fruition. The facility is something that will be enjoyed by the community for a long, long time.”
While thinking about how to best serve the community, and turning over every rock to find the resources to do it, Councilmember Blumenfield realized that voter approved Proposition K funds were put aside in the 1990’s specifically for an ice rink. However, the funds were not enough to build a first class rink. Consequently, Blumenfield sought out the Los Angeles Kings to partner on potential plans for the facility. This will leverage the Prop K funds and create a first class public-private partnership for a recreational community ice rink.
Blumenfield presented concepts for Reseda Ice Rink in line with these opportunities at several community meetings. What were derelict buildings, and are now vacant lots, will one day become a family-friendly attraction bringing people to Sherman Way.
Blumenfield has been trying to get these lots, specifically located at 18128 and 18210 Sherman Way, to be productively used for redevelopment since 2009. They were owned by the CRA and slated for redevelopment. After the passage of CRA reforms authored by then-Assemblymember Blumenfield, the CRA agencies had sued the State to repeal the reforms. This lawsuit resulted in the courts invalidating the reform and eliminating the CRA. As a result, the property was set on a course to be sold off. However, Blumenfield then authored AB 1484, which gave the City of Los Angeles the power to put together a development deal for certain properties that were identified as having important public use. Without this action, the lots would have been sold to the highest bidder for development without consideration of the public good or community vision. The CRA wind down bill was authored with these properties in mind.
This project is a key part of Blumenfield’s Reseda Rising initiative which is a multi-front effort to reinvest in the community and enhance Reseda as a center for entertainment and small business. Recently, Blumenfield hosted the Reseda Rising Art Walk which drew thousands of Angelenos to Sherman Way for an evening of art, live music and food.
The $26 million ice facility will be funded by Proposition K, the Kings and through other City resources including ‘excess CRA bond funds.’ When completed, the facility will be owned by the Department of Recreation and Parks and managed by the Kings and ASEC which currently operates 19 facilities across the nation including the training centers for the LA Kings and Los Angeles Lakers. This facility will serve kids and residents of the West Valley and the entire region, and will provide low cost access to the rink’s recreational opportunities consistent with the guides of Prop K. Blumenfield made certain that the MOU included special accessibility protections to insure maximum free and subsidized access to programming and to insure that profits above a modest rate of return would be plowed back into reductions in pricing for the local community.
On October 16th, Councilmember Blumenfield led the City Council to approve keys steps to reinstate over 300 streets to the City grid, many of which were removed from public use in 1936.
“It is absurd that we have streets in the City of Los Angeles that haven’t been serviced since the Great Depression,” said Blumenfield. “Ever since I took over as Chair of the Public Works Committee last year, I have used the power of that position to right this historic wrong. It is unfair to the people living on the streets to be treated like second-class taxpayers.”
Under Blumenfield’s leadership, the Council specifically approved the recent Bureau of Engineering (BOE) report to direct the City Attorney to draft a new ordinance reinstating all remaining streets. Of the 374 streets that remain removed from public use, 84 are in Blumenfield’s district, the most of any district in the City.
Above: Blumenfield joins neighbors and BSS crews in 2016 at the intersection of Yucatan Ave. and Arcos St. in Woodland Hills after he successfully got those streets back on the City grid.
This problem began in the mid-1930s when the State of California introduced a statute giving local municipalities the power to remove public streets and property from their grid for many reasons, including if they were deemed dangerous or posed potential dangers. Signs were posted on these removed streets, but as the years went by, those signs disappeared as development continued in hillside communities and the streets continued to be used by the driving public.
Until Blumenfield spearheaded this issue, the City claimed that its duty was merely to ensure these streets were physically passable rather than to maintain, update and fix them like every other street in Los Angeles. But this made little sense as many of the removed streets entwined with streets on the grid and most residents had no idea that their street was any different than others.
In 2013, Blumenfield started to investigate this issue and authored motions to bring individual streets back to the grid of City responsibility. Soon that led him to ask the City Engineer and the Bureau of Street Services (BSS) to report on all streets removed in his district and that is when he discovered just how widespread the problem really was. Blumenfield then authored a subsequent motion focused on all removed streets in Los Angeles, leading to this current BOE report agreeing with his assessment that all streets must be brought back in the queue. While waiting for departments to move forward on his City-wide solutions, Blumenfield has proactively brought back eleven individual streets in and a dozen more waiting for approval from the Board of Public Works. Each of these efforts required extensive research about the particular street’s history. Most of the records were paper and deeply archived, but by finding examples of when the City had made alterations to the streets, he was able to argue for the City to accept current responsibility.
Blumenfield said, “It was essential to bring all the key City departments together including BOE, BSS and Planning, to get on the same page and move forward to historically remedy this problem. These streets won’t be fixed overnight, but getting them back in the queue and taking responsibility for them is an enormous step in the right direction.”
Next, the City Attorney will draft the new ordinance reinstating all streets removed from public use.
On September 18th, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously for Councilmember Blumenfield’s motion to ban the manufacture and sale of new fur products throughout Los Angeles. This motion, co-presented by Councilmember Paul Koretz and seconded by Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, will take effect two years after the adoption of the ordinance and will specifically prohibit the sale of new products made in whole or in part of fur, such as fashion accessories.
“It’s 2018, there’s no excuse for being complicit in this inhumane and unnecessary trade. With this vote we are telling the world that Angelenos care about animal welfare, “said Blumenfield. “Thanks to our partners in this effort who helped galvanize so many voices. We will continue to be a leader in animal welfare efforts and must work with other Cities and States until this vile practice is ended across our nation.”
Before the Council meeting, Blumenfield, Koretz, animal welfare activists, and celebrities including Tony Kanal of No Doubt, actresses Joanna Krupa and Maggie Q led a press conference and rally to support the legislation. Marc Ching, founder and CEO of the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation, was instrumental in helping Blumenfield craft the legislation and spoke on the importance of banning the arcane fur trade in Los Angeles.
More than fifty million animals including foxes, chinchilla, minks, raccoons, dogs and rabbits are killed for their fur every year. According to the World Society for the Protection of Animals, eighty-five percent of these animals are raised and killed on factory fur farms. The fur industry is one that has consistently been associated with inhumane practices. Most animals who are cultivated solely for their fur spend their lives in cramped cages, subject to deplorable living conditions. These animals are then killed in inhumane ways to preserve the quality of the pelt above all else. Currently, in California cities such as West Hollywood, Berkeley and San Francisco have adopted similar bans on the sale and manufacturing of new fur products.
Considering the widely available alternatives, Blumenfield strongly believes that the consumer demand for fur products does not justify the unnecessary killing and the cruel treatment of fur-bearing animals. As more cities and countries pass restrictive legislation, companies will begin to decrease the fur cultivation and streamline humane alternatives. Additionally, the Southern California climate doesn't justify fur and as the fashion and creative capital of Western United States, many talented designers have already begun transitioning from fur clothing and accessories. Most recently, fashion companies such as Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo, Burberry Versace and Gucci have made commitments to remove fur from their line of products.
Blumenfield has been an animal welfare advocate throughout his career and has authored many pieces of humane legislation on both the state and local levels. Recently Blumenfield authored a motion called “Cruelty-Free Los Angeles” which will ensure that the City of Los Angeles only purchases supplies such as cleaning products and hand soaps that are free from animal testing.
On September 29th, Councilmember Blumenfield hosted the 3rd annual Reseda Rising Art Walk and Night Market on Sherman Way. Once again he partnered with 11:11 A Creative Collective and the Department of Cultural Affairs to put this event together.
"My ‘Reseda Rising’ initiative is bringing much-needed revitalization and attention to our community,” said Blumenfield. “I am grateful to 11:11 A Creative Collective for doing a fantastic job implementing the Artwalk, bringing artists, musicians and diverse cuisines back to the West Valley. By fostering creativity, vision and inclusivity, Reseda is once again becoming a cultural hub and entertainment destination for the entire region.”
The event took over Sherman Way between Reseda Blvd. and Lindley Ave. At the event, 75 artists displayed their work, local bands played throughout the night and 20 food trucks offered a diverse and delicious spread. There was exciting live art created as well as over 50 independent artists who showcased new designs. This year there were over 12,000 attendees, making it the biggest art walk yet.
On October 6th, Councilmember Blumenfield hosted an Emergency Preparedness Fair at his District Office in Reseda. Residents came to learn tips and crucial information from experts about how to prepare and protect themselves and their neighbors in the event of an emergency.
“When our city was rocked by the Northridge Earthquake 24 years ago, I was working for Congressman Howard Berman and I vividly remember the devastation and heartache our community faced,” said Blumenfield. “The need to be better prepared was indelibly seared into my consciousness.”
As a City Councilmember, Blumenfield established the Volunteer Emergency Command Center (VECC) housed right in his District Office. It has become a one stop shop for emergency training and needs. This center contains HAM radios and Volunteer Emergency Communications (VECOOM) as well as fully loaded Volunteer Emergency Preparedness On Demand (VEPOD) containers. All of this has transformed the building into a disaster response relief point of distribution. Thanks to Nathan Wolfstein and all the members of Blumenfield’s Community Action Team (BobCAT) that have made this vision into a reality.
On October 13th, Councilmember Blumenfield organized an event with LA Sanitation and a shredding company to offer residents an opportunity to get rid of sensitive papers and safely dispose and recycle e-waste and old motor oil.
Blumenfield stated, “Everyone has that stack of sensitive papers laying around that they eventually want to shred or the broken electronics cluttering up their garage that they don’t know how to get rid of, or the cans of motor oil that they cannot pour down the drain. This event provides an easy and free way for people to do all of these things.”
On October 18, Councilmember Blumenfield joined the Tarzana Neighborhood Council for their Town Hall on Homelessness and Public Safety. Along with LAPD HOPE team lead Sgt. Jerald Case, Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, Raffy Astvasadoorian from the City Attorney’s office and City Controller Ron Galperin, Blumenfield spoke on the various ways homelessness is being addressed on the streets of the West Valley. He highlighted how he's used $100,000 of discretionary funds to have the LAPD HOPE Team and Rapid Response come multiple times a week to do clean ups in his district, instead of a few times a month like in other parts of the city. To learn more about what Blumenfield is doing to address homelessness, just click here.
On October 18, Blumenfield co-hosted a Homeless Connect Day with the Office of Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and LA Family Housing in Woodland Hills. Though the West Valley has the least amount of homeless people compared to the rest of the City, our community continues to face serious humanitarian and quality of life issues. These events connect homeless people directly to services such as addiction intervention, haircuts and job assistance, helping and empowering folks to get off the streets. Blumenfield and the sponsors helped provide services to over 120 people from all across the San Fernando Valley.
Thanks to Prince of Peace Church, Tarzana Neighborhood Council, In-N-Out and all our service providers who have been great partners in addressing homelessness in the West Valley.
On October 18, Blumenfield congratulated the Woodland Hills Women's Club on their 70th anniversary. Over the decades they have become philanthropic staple in the San Fernando Valley, supporting causes like community improvement, family welfare, conservation and the arts. He thanked their president Betty Paravato and all the members for helping make the West Valley and the City of Los Angeles a better places for all.
On September 12, Blumenfield visited ONEgeneration to spend some time with West Valley seniors. For 40 years, ONEgeneration has offered a wide range of programs and services for seniors, as well as for the developmentally disabled community, and they continue to be an integral organization in our City.
On October 5, Blumenfield celebrated and recognized LAPD Officer Cory Garza at City Council for all he does to address homelessness in the West Valley. Officer Garza has been a great partner to Councilmember Blumenfield and his staff in expanding the efforts of the LAPD HOPE team in our community and LA River, helping over 60 homeless people get off the streets and connected with services. Officer Garza always goes above and beyond in his service to the district including by helping Blumenfield develop a plan for funding additional over time hours to tackle issues like the removal of hazardous materials from the river.
Also on October 5, Blumenfield celebrated Brad Upshaw, a fantastic LAUSD teacher who was inducted in the National Teachers Hall of Fame in 2018. Brad teaches 3rd grade at Vanalden Ave. Elementary and has been an educator in our community over 30 years