As we welcome in 2023, I am incredibly grateful to the residents of the West Valley for entrusting me and my team with a third, and final, term on the Los Angeles City Council.
One of the biggest changes for me personally is that I’ll no longer be the chair of the Public Works Committee, but instead will now lead the Budget, Finance and Innovation Committee. From vastly increasing resources for bureaus within the Public Works department, to embracing technology to improve efficiency and decrease costs of street maintenance, and so much more, I’ve loved every second of chairing the Public Works committee. I will continue to serve as the Vice-Chair of this important committee, so I will still be in a position to make good things happen. And, I will certainly have my work cut out for me as the new Chair of the Budget committee at a time when a potential recession looms and when fundamental decisions about city spending priorities must be addressed.
Mayor Bass is someone who I’ve been proud to call a friend for many years. I served alongside her when she was Speaker of the State Assembly. Just before the new year, I proudly voted to support Mayor Bass’ emergency declaration on homelessness and recently she rolled out her ‘Inside Safe’ initiative. The goals of this effort include eliminating street encampments, increasing access to mental health and substance abuse and getting people inside as fast as possible.
The Mayor has assembled a Cabinet of city departments and LAHSA to implement the Inside Safe Action Plan to coordinate outreach, housing and services, and to bring more resources from the County. Inside Safe sets a citywide united front to cut down on bureaucracy and tasks city departments and LAHSA to focus strategically on delivering homeless services and programming to get folks onto a pathway to housing for good. Some of the specific tasks include identifying interim and permanent housing resources for each person in encampments, creating a unit acquisition strategy (including master leasing) and ensuring that data collection is centralized on all relevant matters, including where encampments are, what specific services people need, housing availability, housing placements and retention. Many of these policies are already in place in the district that I represent and it is encouraging to see similar policies consistently launched throughout the city.
My goal is to serve you and help make the West Valley an even better place to live, work, and enjoy. As always, if you have any city-related issues, please reach out to my team and I at [email protected].
This week, Councilmembers Blumenfield and Krekorian introduced a resolution calling on the state to allow local legislative bodies to continue to meet virtually—at least some of the time. Throughout the pandemic, from Neighborhood Councils, to commissions, to LA City Council committees, participation greatly increased.
Blumenfield believes it is critical to continue to use tech to better bring people together. This isn't just for the public to interact with elected leaders- this is so that in a city as large as LA, Angelenos who can't always go to City Hall have an opportunity to serve their city. Government and the public have adapted and enjoyed the benefits of remote participation, and should take advantage of the flexibility and environmental benefits that virtual meetings allow.
Photo Credit: LA Times
On January 17, 1994, a 6.7 magnitude earthquake centered in Reseda (originally thought to be in Northridge), struck Los Angeles and sent shockwaves throughout Los Angeles. The quake caused at least 57 deaths, 9000 injuries, made some 125,000 people temporarily homeless, damaged or destroyed 82,000 residential and commercial units and 5,400 mobile homes, collapsed seven and damaged 212 major freeway bridges. The damage cost more than $20 Billion and caused more than $49 billion in economic loss. At the time it was the costliest natural disaster to have occurred in United States history, today it still ranks as the third largest economic loss in US history.
It changed the trajectory of many lives, including Councilmember Blumenfield’s, who was at the time serving as staff to Howard L. Berman, the Congressmember who represented the epicenter of the quake. Blumenfield was pivotal in helping the Congressmember secure a record amount (over $14 billion) in federal assistance funding and he subsequently spent the next 18 months helping people, businesses and non-profits recover and rebuild. Click here to read Blumenfield’s reflection about his experience and role in the recovery efforts.
As the anniversary of the 1994 Northridge Earthquake approaches, we are reminded of the importance of emergency preparation. Emergency preparedness is one of Councilmember Blumenfield’s top priorities, a priority he describes as “being seared into his consciousness” by his experiences back in 1994.
Keep yourself and your family safe in case of an emergency. Learn more at the upcoming free and family friendly 2023 West San Fernando Valley Disaster Preparedness Fair on February 25th. Gather information and resources from community responders, organizations, and providers and participate in various demonstrations including CPR, fire extinguisher, and utility shut off. For more information, please contact Blumenfield’s Public Safety Deputy, Safi Lodin at [email protected]
For the last 7 years, Team Blumenfield has participated in the Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count in the West Valley and Blumenfield’s district office in Reseda has served as the hub for volunteers. Between Tuesday, January 24th and Thursday, January 26th, 2023, thousands of community members across the greater Los Angeles area will be counting their neighbors who are experiencing homelessness. The Count, which is mandated by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is among our most important tools in addressing the homeless crisis as it creates the foundation necessary to build and target solutions. It helps determine the need, measure progress and focus delivery of services to where they’re needed most.
Team Blumenfield continues to help lead this effort and ensure that LAHSA has the most up to date numbers on the homelessness issue in the West Valley. If you are interested in volunteering and joining the count in Reseda, please register here or find a count in your neighborhood here.
Earlier this week, Councilmember Blumenfield joined City crews in surveying damage from last week’s storm. Another storm is coming this weekend and Blumenfield urges you to be prepared and stay safe. For emergency alerts, sign up at notifyla.org and in a life threatening emergency, call or text 911.
For non-emergency City services such as pothole repair, clogged drains, or fallen trees call 311 or use the MyLA311 app. With MyLA311, City information and services are just a few taps or a phone call away. Report LADWP power outages at 800-DIAL-DWP. Blumenfield thanks the City crews who will be in the field all weekend fixing infrastructure issues as they occur.
In response to the COVID pandemic and under Councilmember Blumenfield’s leadership, the City implemented a number of innovative policies that helped Los Angeles thrive and recover, including the Al Fresco program that made it easier for restaurants to establish outdoor dining spaces. Now, the City is working on a comprehensive transition from the temporary LA Al Fresco program to permanent outdoor dining opportunities.
Register now to join the City Planning Department for a virtual information webinar and public hearing to learn more.
Virtual Information Webinar
Wednesday, January 18, 2023, 12 p.m. - 1 p.m.
Virtual Presentation: 12 p.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Virtual Q&A: 12:30 p.m. - 1 p.m.
Currently, there are vacancies on several West Valley Neighborhood Councils (NCs). NC board members are elected every two years, but may become vacant if members are unable to fulfill their entire term of service. Vacant seats are then filled by someone who serves the remainder of the term.
NCs are advisory bodies, who advocate for their communities with City Hall on important issues like development, homelessness, and emergency preparedness. Neighborhood Council board members are City officials who are elected by the members of their local communities, but they donate their time as volunteers. Find and learn more about your local NC here.
Councilmember Blumenfield hosted a breakfast for participants of Safe Parking behind his District Office in Reseda. Blumenfield was happy to hear more folks have been matched for permanent housing. This is an essential resource for those residing in their cars and provides an opportunity to connect them with services.
There are so many great local eateries in the West Valley, each with their own story that contribute to make the West Valley the best community in Los Angeles. Councilmember Blumenfield congratulated Chef Mark on the grand opening of Jerk Wings Cafe at Westfield Topanga. Stop by and taste the wonderful flavors of Jamaican food.
This aerial photo of the Weeks Poultry Community was taken on January 10, 1925. The Weeks Poultry Colony was located in the community of Owensmouth (today’s Canoga Park), and created a new community, named Winnetka, in 1922. Learn more about Weeks Poultry here.