February 24, 2023

Last week, two Jewish Angelenos were shot near places of worship. Anti-Semitism is real, deadly, and horrifyingly common. Sadly, this recent shooting spree is not an isolated incident against Jewish people. According to the Anti-Defamation League, there was a 27% spike in anti-Semitic hate crimes from 2020 to 2021 in California; over the past five years, they’re up 40% across LA, Kern, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. In LA County alone, 75% of all religious based hate crimes are against the Jewish community. That’s outrageous.

One of the scariest things that is often highlighted after the sort of anti-Semitic events we saw last week, is how undereducated so many people, especially kids, are on the Holocaust and anti-Jewish history. According to a PEW Research poll, about 60% of teens don’t know that 6 million Jews perished in the Holocaust, and just one-third know that Hitler came to power through a democratic process. Only a few generations ago, nearly 2 out of 3 Jewish people in Europe were slaughtered by the Nazis and, as anti-Jewish sentiment continues to rise around the world, too many people aren't properly educated in what happened during the Holocaust.   

Coming soon to the Reagan Presidential Library is the Auschwitz Special Exhibit which brings together more than 700 original objects of great historic and human value and I encourage folks to visit and learn more about the survivors and lives that were lost. We must speak up whenever anyone seeks to demonize and blame certain groups for the ills of society. We must remember that the Holocaust did not happen overnight and we must never make the same mistakes that allowed this evil over a half century ago.

As always, please reach out if you have any questions on this issue at [email protected].


Supporting Federal and State Bills to Combat Catalytic Converter Theft

Councilmember Bob Blumenfield introduced two resolutions supporting key federal and state legislation that will help address the surge of catalytic converter theft. An important car part that helps reduce emissions, catalytic converters have become a valuable commodity to thieves due to the increased black market value of the rare metals they contain. This has left hundreds of thousands of people throughout the country without a car, for often months, and with a hefty mechanic bill.

The two bills that Blumenfield is calling on the City to support are The Preventing Auto Recycling Thefts (PART) Act (introduced in the United States Senate in 2022) and California’s SB 55 (introduced by Senator Umberg). The PART Act would require new vehicles to have a Vehicle Identification number (VIN) stamped onto the converter to allow law enforcement officers to link stolen parts to the vehicle from which they originate, improve recording keeping standards for purchases of used catalytic converters and help establish enforceability of laws against theft by codifying these crimes as a criminal offense. And SB 55 would prohibit the sale of new or used vehicles unless the vehicle identification number (VIN) has been engraved or etched onto the converter.

Rain or Shine-CicLAvia this Sunday

Enjoy 5 miles of open streets connecting Canoga Park, Winnetka, and Reseda this Sunday, February 26, from 9AM to 3PM. Enjoy local music and dance performances throughout the day, grab a bite to eat at a local eatery, enjoy artwork, learn about conservation projects and more along the route. Team Blumenfield will be at the Reseda and Canoga Park hubs so come by and say hello. More information on activities along the route can be found here.

If you live or work along the route, please be aware of street closures and parking restrictions. Beginning on Sunday at 1AM, no parking will be allowed on the route. Streets, as well as driveways, will be inaccessible and closed to vehicles from 7AM to approximately 5PM. For more information on closures and detours, please click here.

Winter Storm Update

As you have surely seen, Los Angeles is currently experiencing an unusually intense winter storm series. For emergency alerts, sign up at notifyla.org and in a life threatening emergency, call or text 911.

The Los Angeles Fire Department encourages residents to take simple steps necessary to protect themselves from injury and their property from storm damage. Tips and resources from LAFD can be found here. For non-emergency City services such as pothole repair, clogged drains, or fallen trees call 311 or use the MyLA311 app. Report LADWP power outages at 800-DIAL-DWP. City crews will be in the field to keep our roads safe and help restore power as quickly and safely as possible.

Umoja Program at Los Angeles Pierce College

During Black History Month, Team Blumenfield highlights the Los Angeles Pierce College Umoja Program, a unique learning community that offers educational resources dedicated to enhancing the cultural learning experience of African American students. Umoja is a Kiswahili word meaning unity, which is exactly what the program strives and achieves to create. Councilmember Blumenfield’s Caseworker, Kekeli, is a student in the Umoja Program and in her own words, she shares her experience below:

As a student at Pierce College in the Umoja Program, I appreciate this incredible program that offers insightful classes that prioritize Black History and learning. While taking classes sponsored by the Umoja Program, I was able to learn about prominent Black figures and Black History that is underemphasized in other classes. In addition to providing engaging classes with amazing teachers, the Umoja Program also offers equally dedicated and engaged counselors and mentors. The program has offered endless opportunities to come together as a community to embrace Blackness, unity, and academic excellence. This support system allows Black students to thrive in a safe space that they can claim as their own as they pursue their educational dreams at Pierce College.

Sneak Peek of Reseda Theater Housing

Councilmember Blumenfield has approved every single unit of permanent supportive housing proposed in his district. The Reseda Theater Senior Housing facility is the first of several PSH/Affordable sites set to open in Council District Three this year. Well managed supportive housing apartments with services blend into neighborhoods and are a crucial solution to ending street homelessness. Watch a sneak peek of the latest Permanent Supportive Housing in the West Valley here

Citywide Curbside Organics Program

OrganicsLA is a curbside organics recycling program from the City of Los Angeles, mandated by the State of CA to reduce organic waste and greenhouse gas emissions. LA City residents are required to place food scraps and food-soiled paper in their green bins. The green waste will be composted by farmers.

To help residents start recycling their food scraps, LASAN is offering a free kitchen pail to City of Los Angeles residents, while supplies last. Pails are also available for pick up at Councilmember Blumenfield’s district office in Reseda by signing up here. Please note there is a limit of one kitchen pail per household and you must be an LASAN customer.

Financial Assistance for Natural Gas Bills

Councilmember Blumenfield’s office has been hearing from frustrated consumers about unexpectedly high gas bills. Although the City of LA’s LADWP provides water and electricity, natural gas is provided by SoCalGas, which is regulated by the State Public Utilities Commission. Questions about the regulation and oversight of SoCalGas should be directed to state officials. In an effort to help combat the rising prices and ease the burden on customers, SoCalGas is offering several customer assistance programs including the following:

California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE)

  • Eligible customers can save 20% on their natural gas bill.

Gas Assistance Fund (GAF)

  • Eligible customers could receive a one-time grant of up to $100 for their natural gas bill.

Medical Baseline Allowance Program

  • Eligible customers with qualifying medical conditions can get additional natural gas at the lowest baseline rate.

Level Pay Plan Program

  • Averages customers annual natural gas use and costs over a 12-month period. Customers pay an average bill amount each month instead of actual charges.

Energy Savings Assistance Program (ESAP)

  • Eligible customers can save energy and money through professional home improvements at no cost.

Please call 800-427-2200 if you would like to sign up for various programs.

Free Tax Prep Los Angeles

Free Tax Prep Los Angeles is a trustworthy resource helping Angelenos file their taxes. IRS-certified volunteers provide free, basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals. Persons with disabilities, the elderly and limited English-speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their tax returns are encouraged to participate. To find more information on free tax preparation assistance—including location, hours of operation, appointment types, and more—visit www.freetaxprepla.org.

Community Events

Around Town

Photo Credit:Gabrielle Jablonski

Councilmember Blumenfield joined community leaders for the groundbreaking of the West Valley Food Pantry Community Center. During the height of the pandemic, as we faced an unprecedented call for help, Debbie Decker and the West Valley Food Pantry were there for our community in more ways than one. Blumenfield has been an admirer and partner of Debbie for many years and it will be truly incredible to see what they can do with this new facility.

It is Engineers Week and Councilmember Blumenfield was proud to welcome LAUSD students to City Hall. City engineering professionals led fun-filled activities, introduced students to careers they may have not known existed, and inspired the next generation of innovators.

Historic West Valley

This week's photo is from the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection. Circa 1915, an individual braces the cold and walks through the snow in Canoga Park.