On the night of March 14, a domestic terrorist fueled by a hateful ideology stormed into two mosques to murder innocent worshipers in New Zealand. The death toll has increased to 50 victims, a devastating loss for the Muslim community. I offer my sincerest condolences to the families and survivors of this terrible attack and my solidarity to all those who feel targeted by the message of terror that the cowardly shooter was attempting to spread.
We must not ignore the terrible resurgence of hate crimes and vile rhetoric against religions and minorities that we are seeing around the world. While we all call out for tolerance, it is too low of a bar. We must come together, embrace one another, unify and stand up to bigots, racists and hatred.
The morning after the New Zealand shooting, LAPD stationed extra patrols in front of our local mosques to deter any copycat attackers. Officers regularly checked in with the mosque’s clergy to make sure attendants felt safe and had whatever they needed.
If your faith based organization is in need of resources to improve security, my office is eager to provide help. For any staff concerned about the security of their religious organizations, schools, and houses of worship, we will be hosting a Public Safety Grants Writing Workshop on March 27 from 10:00am-12:00pm in the Lyn Shaw Hilfenhaus Community Room located at my district office, 19040 Vanowen St, Reseda, CA. The goal of this event is to educate faith-based institutions about how to apply for security grants for up to $80,000 a year.
Later that evening, the West Hills Neighborhood Council will be hosting an active shooter safety forum from 6:30-8:00pm at El Camino Real Charter High School in Woodland Hills. They will be joined by LAPD officers and other knowledgeable individuals who can provide crucial life-saving strategies for any future attack. To learn more please visit their website here.
Our friends from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) are ready to lend a hand during this difficult time. They are offering advice and information to parents, families, and educators on how to explain hate crimes and mass shootings to children. Please visit their page here to view their comprehensive guide
Lastly, I am proud to know our federal partners are standing right beside us. The Department of Homeland Security, the Secret Service, and the FBI have prepared a series of documents to help religious organizations and worshippers become better prepared for an attack. Our partners from FEMA have excellent webinars and online training guides for anyone looking to be better prepared in case of a potential attack. To learn more, please visit their page here.
If you are in need of a security assessment for your house of worship, the LAPD and the secret service offer free consultations. Please contact the LAPD at 877-ASK-LAPD or your local secret service office, which may be reached at 951-276-6781. If my staff or I can be of help, please call my office at 818-774-4330.
Recently Blumenfield joined more than 2,000 local leaders from around the country for the National League of Cities conference in Washington D.C. From addressing homelessness, to tackling infrastructure problems, to building stronger partnerships between the federal and local governments, this conference provides a unique opportunity to share ideas, strategies, and solutions.
“I was thrilled to meet with my counterparts from around the nation to connect, empower and engage to help our city,” said Blumenfield. “So many of the problems cities face cross party, geographic and other lines, and these conferences help create and foster important relationships that can help fix our shared problems.”
As the newly appointed Chair of the California Chapter of Democratic Municipal Officials (DMO), Blumenfield also used his time to meet with DMO counterparts from around the country. In addition, he sat down with many friends from across the country including members of the Los Angeles and California delegation such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, Representatives Adam Schiff, Jimmy Gomez, Katie Hill, Gil Cisneros, Harley Rouda, Jared Huffman, and many others. He also joined the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Access DC delegation for several meetings to help better connect local businesses with the federal government.
Blumenfield with Adel Hagekhalil, General Manager of the Bureau of Street Services (BSS); as well as Assistant Directors Keith Mozee and Greg Spotts; and BSS tree trimming crews on Winnetka Ave.
Since Blumenfield became Chair of the City’s Public Works Committee about a year and a half ago, his goals have included getting Public Works back to pre-recession levels of resources and staffing and focusing on proactive measures to create and sustain a healthy urban tree canopy. On March 20, Councilmember Blumenfield led the City Council’s Public Works Committee to approve several new measures to increase tree service efficiency. This includes conducting a thorough tree inventory; increasing tree trimming, dead tree removal and root pruning to ensure safe sidewalks; and creating jobs for more Targeted Local Hire workers instead of contracting out work which is often less cost effective.
In last year’s budget, Blumenfield was able to secure a dramatic increase in funding to LA’s Urban Forestry Division that was decimated during the Great Recession. His committee directed the Bureau of Street Services to pursue a state grant to conduct a much needed street tree inventory which will help assess the needs of each tree. The committee also approved to moving forward with many of Controller Ron Galperin’s recommendations in his recent audit of the City’s tree trimming and maintenance program.
On March 13, Team Blumenfield and the City Planning Department hosted a focus group session at the Woodland Hills Branch Library for “Reimagine Ventura,” an initiative aimed at improving the section of the Boulevard between Royer and Sale Ave. During its initial phase, Councilmember Blumenfield’s office hosted several sessions to gather community input on how the city could improve parking, pedestrian walkways, and many other street amenities. The second phase of Reimagine Ventura addresses beautification including planting trees, installing benches that incorporate new design elements, and many other amenities to make Ventura a more attractive destination for residents, business owners, and visitors.
Thanks to community input, Ventura Blvd. will soon better reflect the collective identity of Woodland Hills. Ventura Blvd is the main street of the West Valley, there will be more opportunities for people to join the conversation. Stay on the lookout for two more community workshops planned for Spring and Summer 2019.
On March 20, Councilmember Blumenfield joined LAPD Chief Michel Moore at Reseda High School to talk with students about the importance of civic engagement.
Blumenfield said, “We are fortunate to have a police chief who not only really listens to our youth, but who actually know about and cares about the San Fernando Valley.
Chief Moore took questions from students from all over the West Valley who are in the LAPD Cadet program.
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Blumenfield congratulated Vallarta Supermarkets on opening their new store in Canoga Park on Topanga and Roscoe. As the largest Vallarta in the City of LA, this new grocery store offers a wide variety of fresh foods including made to order guacamole, delicious juices, and incredible meats. We welcome this new market to the West Valley it is a catalytic investment that will positively impact the whole neighborhood.
Blumenfield helped lead the 16th annual Canoga Park St. Patricks Day Parade! Thanks to John Parker, the CP Business Improvement District, Canoga Park Neighborhood Council, Greater West Valley Lions Club and all the participants for another fantastic year.
As winter becomes spring that can only mean one thing- it's finally time for baseball! Recently. Blumenfield joined the players and parents of Encino Little League, many of whom live in Woodland Hills, Tarzana and Reseda, to help kick off the 2019 season. In addition to serving as his Deputy Chief of Staff, John Popoch is also a proud coach and his kids have played here for the past three seasons.
Blumenfield wanted to thank his colleague Councilmember Paul Koretz for helping fix their parking lot. He said, “Many of the folks who use the facilities are our constituents and I am proud to serve with friends like Paul who work hard to ensure that our parks get needed repairs and upkeep.”