On May 30, Councilmember Bob Blumenfield was joined by General Manager of the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) Danielle Brazell as well as many community stakeholders to celebrate the acquisition with a ceremonial golden key exchange for the newest city-owned performing arts center in the West Valley. Dubbed the Canoga Park Stage Arts Lab (CPSAL), this site will serve as an incubator space for all types of local artists. Blumenfield also unveiled new renderings for renovations for the nearby Madrid Theater, another huge investment in his vision for ‘Canoga Park Arts Hub.’
Blumenfield said, “With CPSAL, we open up our community to be transformed into an arts and entertainment destination where playwrights, actors, musicians and others can shape and highlight their work.”
When Blumenfield found out that the former West Valley Playhouse property was on the market to be sold to the highest bidder, he wanted to make sure that this Canoga Park venue would not be lost. He believed it could become an incubator for live dance, music and theater in the West Valley and Los Angeles. With creative thinking and strategic partnerships, Blumenfield has helped save this site. Under city leadership it will not only become a new home for the development of local performance arts projects for many years to come, but it will serve as a key element in realizing Blumenfield’s dream for the new Canoga Park Arts Hub that will help transform the area. Blumenfield outlined other elements of the new hub including exciting upgrades to the nearby Madrid Theater.
Located at 7242 Owensmouth Ave. in Canoga Park, the petite performing arts center seats about 150 people and was formerly a Masonic Lodge before it was transformed into a theater in 2000. Blumenfield used $1.395 million in excess Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) bond funds to purchase it. These are funds that can only be used for community revitalization efforts and cannot be utilized for issues such as public safety or homelessness. The theater will be operated by DCA and be available to various community theater and performance groups from throughout the region.
After the key exchange, Blumenfield welcomed the community into the theater to learn about the future of the nearby Madrid Theater and how it’s all connected to the budding Canoga Park Arts Hub. Blumenfield also announced that Gensler was selected to renovate the Madrid Theater, and displayed renderings of the proposed $8.5 million of upgrades.
Since serving in the State Assembly, Blumenfield has worked creatively to support the arts and bring patrons back to the West Valley. In addition to this acquisition, Blumenfield shepherded the revitalization of the Reseda Theater on Sherman Way which soon will be renovated to house a five screen multiplex to be operated by Laemmle Theaters and has initiated arts initiatives throughout Reseda such as the annual Reseda Rising Art Walk and Night Market.
Over the past few weeks, my colleagues on the Budget and Finance Committee and I met with leaders from every department for public hearings to discuss their priorities and recommend changes and adjustments to ensure that the City’s more than $10 billion annual budget is properly prioritized. Last week the Mayor signed our final budget and I was able to secure a lot of exciting projects and investment for our district.
Prioritizing public safety, we increased LAPD’s budget to over $3 billion which will maximize patrol, staffing, illegal cannabis investigations and other critical investments. As homelessness continues to be the biggest issue facing Los Angeles and the West Valley, we committed $420 million to address homelessness including funding new bridge housing projects, outreach teams, sidewalk cleaning programs and other crucial mental health and drug programs.
As Chair of the Public Works Committee, I am also proud to have secured $25 million for our urban forest and local tree maintenance as well as $200 million to restore roadways. We also were able to dedicate over $2 million for a Street Repair Task Force to quickly respond to high risk streets. These are all major investments well above previous year’s allocations.
In the West Valley, we are investing an additional $5 million to restore the Madrid Theater which is on top of the $3 million I secured in former CRA excess bond proceeds for this purpose. Also, we earmarked $500,000 for programming in for the new Canoga Park Cultural Hub, $250,000 for local LAPD PALS programming, and $1.2 million toward storm water infrastructure in Woodland Hills.
These are just a few of the exciting investments I was able to secure for our community. To learn more about other efforts, check out the graphic below or click here.
Councilmember Bob Blumenfield
On May 29, Councilmember Blumenfield co-hosted ‘Being Deborah,’ a special celebration to recognize and honor the Jewish women who played critical roles throughout the history of Los Angeles.
‘Deborah’ was a biblical figure who was the only female judge and prophet mentioned in scripture. She is often referred to as a symbol of leadership and strength.
Blumenfield honored Woodland Hills resident and trailblazer Stephanie Wolfson, for her educational work with the Resource Center for Educators at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, her educational programming at Congregation Or Ami, and her incredible efforts preserving and presenting the work of artist David Labkovski. Passionate about preserving Jewish culture, Wolfson helped establish an exhibit on Labkovski’s work to remember Jewish life in Eastern Europe before the Holocaust. The exhibit was shown in Vilnius, Lithuania and will be on display at City Hall in the fall. To learn more about Labkobski program click here.
Blumenfield also recognized two indispensable sponsors, Tabby Refael from 30 Years After and Chavas Shervington, from the Jewish Multiracial Network and Bend the Arc.
Inspired by a bold new proposal from US Senator Kamala Harris, Councilmember Blumenfield launched ‘Equal Pay LA,’ a new local effort, co-presented by Councilmember’s Monica Rodriguez, Mitch O’Farrell and Nury Martinez, to close the gender pay gap and hold bad actors accountable. Currently women in the United States are paid $0.80 cents to the dollar compared to what their male counterparts make and the burden of proof remains on the shoulders of the employee, rather than the employer.
“After hearing about Senator Harris’ proposal to hold corporations accountable for the gender pay gap, I knew Los Angeles should lead the way by implementing her idea locally,” said Blumenfield. “We really need to have a paradigm shift where instead of a worker having to fight for what is right, we should hold corporations accountable for continuing this injustice. Though California has the lowest pay gap compared to other states, anything short of complete equality is unacceptable.” According to a recent study on gender pay inequity from the National Partnership for Women and Families, the median annual pay for a woman who holds a full-time, year-round job is $41,977 while the median annual pay for a man who holds a full-time, year-round job is $52,146.
Pay discrepancy is abhorrent when the statistics are broken down by race. African American women are typically paid $0.61 cents, Native American women $0.58 cents and Latinas just $0.53 cents for every dollar paid to white men. Eliminating this pay gap could equate to more than a year of food, seven months of mortgage payments, ten months of rent or one year of tuition at a state college.
Blumenfield concluded, “The time is now to try and correct the institutionalization of pay inequity. Making sure people are paid fairly should not be controversial. My hope is that folks around the country listen to what Senator Harris has proposed and see what we are trying to do here in Los Angeles, so they can work toward a more equitable future in their own communities. My initiative should serve as both a ‘proof-of-concept’ for Senator Harris’ great idea and a momentum builder for a long overdue equity fix.”
On May 28, Councilmember Blumenfield joined City Attorney Mike Feuer and Councilwoman Nury Martinez to announce a lawsuit against the owners, operators and landlord of two Blue Moon Relax Spas in Tarzana and Van Nuys for allegedly running prostitution rings. With Blumenfield’s support, the City Attorney is seeking injunctions to permanently shut these establishments down and set an example for other brothels disguised as massage parlors.
"It is sickening that there is alleged human trafficking and prostitution in our own backyard,” said Blumefield. “Thanks to City Attorney Feuer and his team for their diligent work in uncovering this scheme. Among many alarming aspects of this case, the fact that 16 year old high school students were allegedly offered sexual services is truly disturbing. We must protect our community and seek justice for victims of trafficking."
The LAPD has conducted numerous vice investigations at both locations of Blue Moon Relax Spa since 2012. These investigations have resulted in 14 prostitution-related arrests. Because arrests seem only to impact individuals and not stop the operation, the City Attorney has taken a new approach by seeking civil charges.
The Blue Moon Relax Spas will face injunctions under California’s Red Light Abatement and Unfair Competition laws, including eviction and preventing the landlord from leasing the property. Lastly, the lawsuit will seek civil penalties for each defendant and prevent the business owner and operator from having any future business interest in any service oriented business in the City of Los Angeles, unless they receive written approval from the court.
The City Attorney wants to make reporting simple and accessible. If you would like to report any problem properties in the West Valley, please use this easy-to-use online method at www.lacityattorney.org/report-problem-properties or by calling the City Attorney’s Office at (213) 978-8340.
To learn more, watch the video below.
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Nathan’s Tattoo and Piercing is a professional body modification studio based in Canoga Park that has provided expert artistic services to customers throughout the West Valley. Nathan first opened his business in 2000, but he has been working in the industry since 1993. All of Nathan’s employees are certified in CPR, First Aid, and Bloodborne Pathogens. As both a tattoo professional and an artist, Nathan takes customer satisfaction very seriously. He guarantees his shop provides fully customizable, high quality tattoos and piercings to reflect each customer’s personal taste. Nathan is happy to greet anyone interested in learning about tattoos and other expert services his team provides.
Along with running his business, Nathan is a talented mentor in the art of piercing. Nathan has trained 25 apprentices in piercing, many who have become employees of Nathan or have gone on to work in successful businesses elsewhere.
In addition to running the shop, Nathan along with his wife Crystal have a strong commitment to the community. Nathan reaches directly into the community by working with the Salvation Army’s adult rehabilitation center, participating in community cleanups and supporting the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission. His colleagues help volunteer at animal rescues, support local school football teams, and help provide many other community services.
To learn more about Nathan’s Tattoo and Piercing, visit their website at: http://www.nathanstattoos.com/
Nathan’s Tattoos and Piercings
7222 Topanga Canyon Blvd.
Canoga Park, CA 913
On May 19, Blumenfield supported the Kiwanis Club of Warner Center for their Pancake Breakfast and Children's Festival.
On May 19, Blumenfield joined 20,000 attendees at the Israeli-American Council's Israel Fest to celebrate Israel's 71st Independence Day.
On May 19, Blumenfield joined the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters to honor Councilmember Paul Krekorian for his environmental leadership in City Council.
On May 27, Blumenfield celebrated Memorial Day at the 30th Annual Canoga Park Memorial Day Parade to commemorate the brave soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
On May 28, Blumenfield was the emcee at the Tarzana Neighborhood Council's Earth Day poster contest award ceremony. Hundreds of local students participated in the contest to demonstrate their views on the environment and Earth.