Buzz Nov 20 2020

Important COVID-19 Update

Due to rising COVID-19 cases and the uncontrolled spread of the virus, effective Saturday, November 21, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statewide limited curfew. The order issued by the California Department of Public Health will prohibit most nonessential activity outside the home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m in counties in the strictest tier of the state’s reopening roadmap — the purple tier. LA County currently sits within this purple tier.

Effective November 20, Los Angeles County will tighten pandemic safeguards and restrictions as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to increase significantly. These safeguards and restrictions protect the public health and safety of our residents, and their ability to be served in our hospitals.

To save lives, stop the spread and eventually allow our community to return to a more normal level of activity, please wear a mask and follow the restrictions! While the recent news of promising vaccines is encouraging, until those vaccines are available everyone is at risk of COVID-19 exposure when around other people. Although it is painful to change holiday plans, particularly when so many people have been isolated for so long, please do not gather with people not in your household, and continue to wear masks to protect yourself and others. Blumenfield said, “My parent’s live down the street from me, but are only going to Zoom thanksgiving with them this year.” 

New COVID-19 testing and flu shots are available in Canoga Park (see details below).  For more information about the new stay at home order click here:

 

Recap from Blumenfield's Week of Reimagining Public Safety 

This past week, Councilmember Bob Blumenfield hosted two events to help residents of the West Valley think creatively about public safety in their communities: Blumenfield’s Justice and Healing Roundtable, and Reimagining Public Safety: Unarmed Options.

 

Reimagining Public Safety: Unarmed Options Presentation with CAHOOTS

Building on his proposal to explore alternatives to armed law enforcement for certain 911 calls, on Thursday, November 19, Blumenfield hosted a virtual presentation and Q&A session to explore the Eugene, Oregon CAHOOTS program, an innovative crisis response model. Eugene emergency operators have sent out unarmed crisis responders to some nonviolent calls for the past 31 years. In June, Blumenfield introduced a measure to direct City departments to explore creating an unarmed responder program modeled after CAHOOTS. 

Special guests Chief Chris Skinner from Eugene Police Department and former CAHOOTS employee Ben Climer answered community members’ questions, particularly how their dispatch system decides which calls should be considered nonviolent, and whether unarmed responders could handle calls without police. 

Over 100 questions were submitted and if you missed the live stream, please watch the recording here. According to a 2016 report, CAHOOTS responded to 24,000 calls and only required police assistance for 150, totaling .006% of the time. 

This program sends out trauma-informed workers and mental health specialists to respond to mental health calls, welfare checks, substance abuse issues, and other nonviolent calls. In 2017, the CAHOOTS teams answered 17% of the Eugene Police Department’s overall call volume and saves Eugene an estimated $8.5 million in public safety spending annually.

At the moment, the City is working on an RFP to identify and select a qualified nonprofit that may assist the City with establishing a similar service. The program could begin as a pilot to thoroughly test its benefits and effectiveness as an alternative dispatch program. 

 

Community Roundtable on Lived Experiences with the Justice System

Hoping to learn more from local folks about issues affecting their lives, on Tuesday, November 17, Councilmember Blumenfield joined Pierre Arreola from The GR818 and Michelle Miranda-Fuentes from Alliance for Community Empowerment (ACE) to co-host a community roundtable discussion with local residents who shared their lived experiences with policing and the justice system.

A wide array of residents shared their stories. Some of these stories were heartbreaking, some were inspiring, but all of them were enlightening. As people shared deeply personal experiences, the event was not broadcast. However, Blumenfield will share some of the stories from the event in the future, if given express permission by the residents who shared them. 

Blumenfield asked them to share what steps they would take to start healing the community, rebuilding public trust with law enforcement where needed, and what policies they would support to help marginalized communities throughout the West Valley. This discussion is the start of an ongoing series Blumenfield will lead with community members whose stories often go unheard and unseen.

 

Blumenfield Supporting Small Business Community through Partnership with The Change Reaction

In 2020, as our community struggled with the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic downturn, Councilmember Blumenfield joined forces with The Change Reaction to help small businesses in the Third District stay afloat by providing them interest-free loans, which allowed the businesses to survive and keep their workers employed.  Although the small business loan program is ending, Change Reaction’s emergency grant program continues helping individuals and families in financial distress by paying for expenses such as utility bills, rent, and auto repairs. 

Councilmember Blumenfield identified constituents and small businesses needing assistance, and since this summer, he was able to help multiple West Valley businesses receive interest-free loans and several constituents receive emergency grant funds. He and Team Blumenfield are very grateful to The Change Reaction for their generosity that has directly helped business and people meet immediate needs. If you know of someone who lives in the 3rd district and is in severe financial distress because of an unexpected problem, please contact Blumenfield’s staff to see if they might qualify for an emergency grant.

 

Penfield Alley Reopened, Former Location of Illicit Activities

For several years the community has justifiably complained about the blight and illicit activity occurring in the alley at 8334 Penfield Ave in Winnetka.  Because the Alley had been illegally blocked with a concrete wall and a fence for more than a decade, it had become a magnet for many problems.  Team Blumenfield worked hard to remove the wall and fence, get the alley re-engineered, reconstructed, cleaned and returned back into public use. That has finally happened and it is now available for walkers, bicyclists, and drivers to use once again. See below for before and after photo of the alley. 

 

Important Notices:

LADWP Utility Grant Program Now Available

During the pandemic so many families have lost sources of income and are struggling to pay their monthly bills, such as to LADWP.  That’s why Councilmember Blumenfield voted to spend $50 million from our City’s CARES Act Coronavirus Relief funds to help up to 100,000 households.  Starting today folks can apply for the LADWP Utility Grant Assistance Program.  

This new program will provide a one-time $500 grant to qualifying households. This grant can be applied to utility costs associated with cell phone payments, gas services, wifi, internet and cable television. If you'd like to check if you are eligible, your household must meet the following criteria: 

(1) Have an active residential LADWP online account for an address within the City of Los Angeles.

(2) Provide proof that you (or a member of your household) have experienced a "loss of income" related to COVID-19, or the Safer-at-Home order.

(3) Are enrolled in an existing LADWP assistance program or meet the program’s household income requirement of approximately 50% of the Area Median Income.

Please tell your friends and family about this program because the deadline is November 22. Fill out this form to start your application today.

 

Low Cost Auto Insurance for Eligible Residents

 

Bet Tzedek Legal Services Available: Free Workers’ Rights Clinic

 

Upcoming Events

 

Join Blumenfield at LA’s Contractor Development and Bonding Program Workshop

On Monday, Nov. 30, at 4:00 pm, Councilmember Blumenfield will present a virtual outreach workshop focusing on the City of Los Angeles' Contractor Development and Bonding Program, which is designed to assist contractors interested in public works construction opportunities. To register, email [email protected]

 

Little Angels Project Mobile Pet Clinic December 5

On Saturday, December 5, Little Angels Project will be partnering with Spay-4-LA, Rescue Train, and Fix’n’Fidos to host a mobile clinic to give care and prevent surrender for low-income families with pets. The Little Angels Project has been stepping up both in providing payments for care directly to providers and by running monthly outreach events throughout the pandemic and last month, Blumenfield hosted them outside his District Office.

This December 5, The Little Angels Project and their partners will be holding a mobile clinic at 23115 Sherman Pl, West Hills (outside Radnet San Fernando Valley/ Liberty Pacific Advanced Imaging). Sign up for an appointment by emailing [email protected] or by calling 818-515-5461. If you want to learn more about the incredible efforts of the Little Angels Project and how they need additional support, check out their website here.

 

Additional COVID Testing Site Open in Canoga Park

Below are the upcoming free, mobile COVID-19 testing sites and a just-opened, on-going, drive-up flu vaccination site in Canoga Park:

Mobile COVID-19 Testing Sites

Tues, Nov. 24 9am - 3pm -- Vallarta Canoga Park, 8201 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Canoga Park, CA 91304

Wed, Nov. 25, 9am - 3pm -- Vallarta Canoga Park, 8201 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Canoga Park, CA 91304

Drive-Up Flu Vaccination Site Every Mon.-Sat. 8am - 3:30pm

West Valley/Warner Center (New)

6097 Canoga Ave., Woodland Hills, CA 91367

Open every Monday - Saturday, 8 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

You can book an appointment here or register onsite.

For these sites, people do not need to make an appointment, but the testing and vaccination process will be faster if they do so. People will also be asked about insurance and identification, but they do not need either one to be tested or receive a vaccine. Lastly, you can keep up to date on free mobile testing and flu vaccine sites at:


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