Pierce College Opens as Valley’s Premiere COVID Vaccination Site, Second Largest in City After Dodger Stadium
To combat the pandemic in the West Valley, Pierce College has allowed its campus parking lots to be used as a City run COVID-19 Vaccination site. The site now offers both vaccines and Covid tests. While you need an appointment to receive the vaccine, the testing site accepts drive-ups and walk-ins. The College is accessible on the Metro Orange Line and the operating hours are Mon-Sat 8am-4pm.
While the site can handle more than 3,000 vaccination appointments per day, as dosage supplies are still very limited they are only booking a small fraction of that number right now. However, they are organized to handle the larger number so that when supplies do become more available they can seamlessly surge its capacity and book all of the needed appointments.
Councilmember Blumenfield went to inspect the site and to thank the LAFD and CORE for all of their outstanding work organizing and running this site. He also thanked the many volunteers that are helping make the site successful. He found the site to be extremely well planned and managed. He toured the site with Pierce College President, Alexis Montevirgen, and expressed his gratitude for allowing the City to use their expansive parking lots for this important purpose.
Be sure to book your appointment today if you are eligible (healthcare worker or senior 65+). All appointments can be booked at: http://coronavirus.lacity.org/vaxappointment
Update on Homelessness and Storage Issue
As people take shelter we must have the tough discussion about what to do with belongings left on the streets. Can we build trust with unhoused people who have traditionally been let down by the system? We can’t let property (abandoned or not) sit on the streets and sidewalks forever. We need clear protocols so everyone understands the rules and how they are implemented. To read more about this issue and hear Blumenfield’s thoughts, click here.
Bridge Housing - The Willows- Officially Opens in West Valley
Last week, Councilmember Bob Blumenfield was proud to participate in the virtual grand opening of the Willows Bridge Housing site, a 75-bed interim housing development in Canoga Park for individuals and couples experiencing homelessness. The Willows is helping get homeless Angelenos off the streets and into housing and vital services that will help them rebuild their lives.
Before becoming The Willows, this site was privately owned, but years ago it had served as a County mental health facility. Blumenfield and Supervisor Sheila Kuehl came together with a plan and the City gave $4.3 million to the County to purchase the property. The County renovated the site and has committed to provide at least fifteen years of homeless services.
The Willows name honors the Tongva Tribe, as the site is located on their ancestral land. It was their tradition to house the needy by constructing shelters from Willow Trees. The main hallway inside will be decorated with Willow Tree branch stencils.
LA Family Housing is managing this site and providing 24/7 on-site supportive services, including mental health care, recovery support and counseling for those who have experienced domestic violence. They are also providing security, and housing placement services to help residents find a permanent home. Click here to watch the virtual grand opening.
Message From Bob: Streamlining Safe Parking and Homelessness Projects
(Thumbnail from Blumenfield Safe Parking Video)
Embracing Safe Parking is the least we can do to offer support and security to Angelenos living in vehicles. To expedite the expansion of this program, my Council colleagues unanimously supported my motion to remove the Transportation Commission entirely from the approval process.
The commission operates using “borrowed authority” from the Council and were not set up to evaluate homelessness interventions, especially those that are part of the City’s homeless roadmap. Nor were they intended to slow down an already very slow process — especially during a crisis such as we are experiencing.
Unfortunately, with regard to a local lot in Canoga Park, the commissioners did the community a disservice by implying otherwise and attempting to make themselves the arbiter of how the service provider should operate the program. My motion prevents them from making this mistake with other homeless interventions that are happening on a variety of City owned properties (including DOT parking lots) across the City in the future.
After establishing a Safe Parking lot behind my District Office, my team and I have been looking to expand this program throughout CD3. We've talked to private lot owners and anyone else who had parking. We quickly figured out the easiest way to expand quickly is using city land — even if such a lot might only be used temporarily until better options become available.
The CAO went over every city owned parking lot and studied which were underutilized at night and found one in Canoga Park that could work. LAHSA agreed. After explaining it to the community through meetings and letters, we moved forward.The Neighborhood Council in conjunction with business stakeholders has since come up with a number of conditions and ideas about how to make the lot successful and I have communicated all of them to the Safe Parking Lot service provider, North Valley Caring Services (NVCS). As the project proceeds there will be an ongoing dialog to make sure it runs smoothly.
More Safe Parking is needed now and we must do everything to expedite the process, not slow it down.
BOOSTING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND SUPPORTING SMALL BUSINESSES
Blumenfield Engages with Local Restaurants, Fast Tracks Creative Business Solutions
Blumenfield has been doggedly pursuing ways to help restaurants and small businesses from going under during these difficult times. Toward that end, Blumenfield authored special legislation to temporarily suspend and/or streamline certain City regulatory hurdles that have been financial burden to small businesses during the pandemic. If passed this will be a major victory and will play a vital role in keeping businesses running in LA. At last week's Planning & Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee Blumenfield’s bill jumped a major hurdle and continues its path toward consideration by the full City Council.
During one of his regularly scheduled small business outreach meetings, Councilmember Blumenfield met virtually with Kamil Majer, the owner, and Jay Perrin, the Operations Director of Blu Jam Cafe in Tarzana. Blu Jam Cafe is one of many local businesses hit hard by the pandemic, forcing them to close their doors for two of their locations. They were two of the many restaurant and small business owners who called in during the PLUM committee to express their strong support of Blumenfield’s legislation.
Although the City does not have the vast resources of the Federal and State Government to bail out local businesses, Blumenfield is actively working with business owners to identify creative solutions at the City level to assist businesses and their workers during this difficult time.
Blu Jam Cafe has an open location in Tarzana and plans to reopen its Woodland Hills location on March 1.
Blumenfield Helps Warner Center Step into the Future with Innovation Zone
Recently the City Council adopted Councilmember Blumenfield's motion to create a Transportation Technology Innovation Zone in the Warner Center. With its mix of office, residential and commercial uses and--compared to many other parts of Los Angeles--relatively uncongested streets and sidewalks, the Warner Center is an ideal location to test new technologies that can help reduce our reliance on fossil-fueled vehicles, improve access for all, and create a better quality of life.
Councilmember Blumenfield is partnering with Mayor Garcetti, the Department of Transportation, Urban Mobility Labs, and community organizations to create a permitting process that will encourage innovation, ensure safety and bring new technologies to the Warner Center area. Some of these technologies--such as sidewalk-operated robotic delivery devices--are already in operation. This is another step toward making the Warner Center a true live-work-shop-play neighborhood and Blumenfield is proud to be part of this exciting initiative.
Contractor Development and Bonding Opportunities in the West Valley
Are you looking for contracting opportunities with the City? In the West Valley alone, there’s an abundance of projects in the works that total more than $109 Million in construction costs, not to mention the billions of dollars of City construction opportunities with the City’s proprietary departments.
Councilmember Blumenfield has worked hard to put contracting and bonding opportunities front and center for residents and business owners. Last year, Blumenfield worked with 3D Networks to organize a virtual workshop to let folks living in the West Valley know about many of these opportunities. There will be a followup webinar later this year to continue to engage folks with these opportunities. In the meantime, stay tuned and please use this below resource to learn more about the LA contractor development and bonding program.
Round 3 of the FOUND/LA Small Business Recovery Fund Now Open
Starting this week, Round 3 of the FOUND/LA Small Business Recovery Fund is open and accepting applications. FOUND/LA launched the Small Business Recovery Fund in partnership with Pacific Community Ventures and TMC Community Capital to protect small businesses in LA who have been impacted by COVID-19. Grants range between $5,000 and $25,000 depending on the size of the business - money you won't ever have to pay back.
Application Window Opens
Monday, February 15, 2021
Application Window Closes
Sunday, February 21, 2021
Recipients Selected & Notified
Wednesday, February 24th, 2021
LACC CLEAN AND GREEN
The LA Conservation Corps is working hard to make a difference in the West Valley. One of their recent projects was servicing a request at the walkway between 7943 and 7946 Rudnick. See below for before and after photos of the walkway.
Blumenfield has provided space for the Corps in his West Valley office to encourage the inclusion of local young people on projects in the district and he set aside special funding from his budget to make their local work possible. Together they have been doing cleanups throughout the District. These special CD3 cleanups supplement the work of the Department of Sanitation.
In addition to helping keep our communities clean, the LACC is proud to announce their partnership with the company Pallet to help build cabin communities for individuals experiencing homelessness. Recently Blumenfield announced he and his team have worked to secure two cabin community sites in the West Valley to help get folks off the streets and into shelter, where they may receive centralized services and start to build stability into their lives. Learn more about Blumenfield’s cabin community initiative here.
HISTORIC WEST VALLEY: CANOGA PARK BRANCH LIBRARY
Team Blumenfield is partnering with the Los Angeles Public Library’s (LAPL) photo archive to highlight historic photos of the West Valley. This week's photo was taken in 1950 at the Canoga Park Branch Library, located at 7260 Owensmouth Ave.
According to the Child Development Institute, the Canoga Park Library relocated in 2004, leaving its former home vacant. The facility languished, suffering from deterioration and vandalism. In 2007, the Child Development Institute (CDI) worked with the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles (CRA/LA) to adaptively reuse the facility for its new Early Learning Center. Now bursting with activity, the landmark serves more than 1,000 young children and families each month. People come to explore, play, and learn through discovery zones, reading circles, puppet shows, and more. To learn more about the archived photo, click here.
COMMUNITY UPDATE: WEST VALLEY ANIMAL SHELTER
Good News! I'm thrilled the West Valley Animal Shelter is reopening on March 14. Our animals deserve having a center right here in the West Valley. Click here to read the full report. More information TBD, COVID-19 cases permitting.