On Wednesday, a key City Council committee took a big step toward making our city more humane toward animals. The Personnel Audits and Animal Welfare Committee unanimously supported my proposed ordinance banning electrocution devices, flank straps and other tools of torture at rodeos. Following similar laws in cities including Pasadena, Irvine, Chino Hills, and Pittsburgh (where it passed 30 years ago), this will put our city on the record- if entertainment requires animal abuse, it has no place in Los Angeles.
As the LA Times reported this week, in California over the past two decades in 35 of the injury reports, the animal died immediately or within minutes of the accident, or had to be euthanized — or in one case, slaughtered — in the following hours or days. And 28 of those animals died while performing. Twelve horses died in bronco riding events — rodeo performances in which a flank strap is cinched around a horse’s waist to make it buck. Riders try to stay atop the bucking horse for several seconds. One of these horses ran headfirst into a pole and died almost immediately; another went full speed into a metal gate and broke its neck. Others had their legs break underneath them as they bucked.
The details are horrifying and it is believed that these statistics represent a severe undercount.
One of the big annual rodeos for the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) happens in the heart of Downtown LA with regular usage of these harmful devices. Their lobbyists have been pushing the narrative that this law would have an impact on our robust, local equestrian community- this simply is not true. I have spoken extensively with our City Attorney and his team has made it abundantly clear that this law is about rodeos, and that is it. It won't impact recreational riders, the upcoming Olympics or anything of the sort.
While my legislation passed this critical hurdle, it still has to come to the full City Council for a vote- most likely in the new session this January. If you are interested in learning more about this effort or have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to write to us at [email protected].
After years of stagnation, the Reseda Theater is again on track to become a destination for entertainment and deliver on the promise to the community to restore this long vacant landmark site. Previously, Laemmle Theaters had partnered with Thomas Safran & Associates (TSA) for a mixed use development project, with greatly needed affordable and permanent supportive senior housing on one parcel and renovating and reopening the theater on another. Unfortunately, with COVID Laemmle's business plans changed and they are no longer involved in the project build-out. COVID-19 rules and public concern about gathering had threatened to derail the vision for a theater venue, however TSA found a new theater partner who is ready to step in and deliver on the original vision for this property. Azure Inc is proposing to build a theater and public market, similar to an open food court. The theater is one of the keystone projects in Blumenfield's Reseda Rising efforts and it is exciting to be taking steps toward reopening this iconic site. And, as promised, the iconic marquee will be preserved.
On December 7, Councilmember Blumenfield joined a majority of the City Council and voted to end the City's COVID local emergency, effective February 1, 2023. Mayor Garcetti issued a Declaration of Local Emergency in March 2020, at the outset of the COVID pandemic more than 2 1/2 years ago. Until this week, the City Council has renewed that declaration every 30 days.
This does not mean that COVID is no longer a threat to public health and to our economy. COVID numbers are rising and you should still do everything you can to protect yourself — including getting vaccinated, wearing a mask when appropriate, regularly washing hands, etc. It does mean that COVID has become endemic and that we must adjust our lives and policies to this ‘new normal.’
The most significant policy tied to our Local Emergency is our residential eviction moratorium, which has prevented evictions of residents who are unable to pay rent for COVID-related reasons. It was one of the strongest eviction moratorum’s in the Country and it has lasted longer than almost all of the other such moratoriums imposed by States, Counties and cities. When the Local Emergency ends on February 1, tenants will be required to pay their full current rent going forward. However, tenants will have an additional 12 months to pay any back rent they may owe, and cannot be evicted for COVID-related back rent.
The Declaration of Local Emergency was essential when adopted. It allowed the City to respond quickly to the pandemic and protect the health and safety of Angelenos, including by adopting residential and commercial eviction moratoriums; providing relief to businesses and residents impacted by safer-at-home orders; obtaining personal protective equipment and setting up testing centers; and more. Over time, as COVID has become a manageable--though still serious--public health threat, life has largely returned to normal. Thanks to the sacrifices and hard work of all Angelenos, to vaccines and anti-virals, the emergency/triage phase of the crises has passed.
The City still faces a housing shortage and a housing affordability crisis. Blumenfield is committed to creating and implementing comprehensive renter protections that apply broadly, instead of being contorted into what can be called a response to COVID.
Part of the sprawl of our city overlaps with the natural habitat of many wild animals, coyotes included. When you see a coyote, the first step is to report it to the Department of Animal Services (888-452-7381). This triggers a report and investigation of the area based on your description of the coyote’s behavior and location.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations prohibit the relocation of coyotes without written permission. Although state law preempts many of the ways that the City of Los Angeles can address this issue, the City does have a coyote management plan in place. A summary of the policy is available here.
Experts say that trapping and removing coyotes is expensive, slow, creates risks to pets and most importantly ineffective. The report also states that trapping has a similar effect of killing coyotes – it increases their reproduction rate resulting in more coyotes. There are extensive studies pointing out that the most effective ways to mitigate coyote presence is to deter them, in effect removing inhabited areas from their territory. The best way to deter them according to the study is to make sure that the local community is not feeding them.
Experts say that trapping and removing coyotes is expensive, slow, creates risks to pets and most importantly is ineffective. The report also states that trapping has a similar effect to killing coyotes – it increases their reproduction rate, resulting in more coyotes. There are extensive studies pointing out that the most effective ways to mitigate coyote presence is to deter them, in effect removing inhabited areas from their territory. The best way to deter them according to the study is to make sure that the local community is not feeding them. The Councilmember has asked Recreation and Parks to put up signs that warn against feeding the Coyotes. They have done so, but still need to put additional signs, including along Farralone where someone has been contributing to the problem by feeding the Coyotes.
Take advantage of LADWP’s most popular water conservation program. Turf replacement rebates have increased from $3 to $5 per square foot. Transform your lawn and create a sustainable landscape that will also help you save on your water bill by reducing your water use. For more information, please click here.
Applications for the 2nd cohort of [email protected] Elevate are now open. The [email protected] Elevate program will provide LA County’s foster youth, individuals experiencing homelessness, LGBTQ+, and justice impacted youth, ages 17-24, with pathways to unsubsidized jobs in in-demand, high-road jobs. Participants will receive 400 hours of personal enrichment training, paid mentoring and paid work experience with high-growth and in-demand jobs while earning $16.04 an hour. The 2nd cohort will begin January 2023. Interested youth can apply here.
From addressing homelessness to tackling infrastructure improvements and delivering for the San Fernando Valley, Councilmember Blumenfield and Mayor-elect Karen Bass discussed the future of our City.
Councilmember Blumenfield stopped by holiday events throughout the West San Fernando Valley. Blumenfield thanked Dustin Troyan for hosting the 19th Annual Motor4Toys Charity Foundation Toy Drive and Car Show and LAPD Topanga Division PALS for putting a Holiday Carnival together for the community to enjoy.
Councilmember Blumenfield gathered with many old and new friends at Central City Association's Holiday Gathering.
This week's photo is from the Security Pacific National Bank Collection taken in 1962 of the Woodland Hills Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, the first permanent library building for the community. The architects were Bowerman & Hobson and the library opened on June 28, 1962. The Los Angeles Public Library celebrates 150 years serving Los Angeles with 150 days of special activities and programs, beginning December 7, 2022 through May 6, 2023. Visit lapl.org/150 to find more activities and join the celebration.