Thank you to all who attended the first CicLAvia of the year. After days of rain, the sun came out and thousands of Angelenos and furry friends walked, jogged, cycled, skated, and enjoyed 5 car free miles along Sherman Way in the communities of Canoga Park, Winnetka, and Reseda. Thank you to CicLAvia and all the community partners who made the event such a success. Watch a recap of the event here.
CicLAvia is a wonderful opportunity not only to have fun and experience our community in a different light, but it can inspire us to think about how we can make it safer and more accessible to bike, skate or walk around our city when streets aren’t closed down. It is imperative to convert this energy into lasting change and continue to invest in proven ways to make our streets safe for everyone.
One of my top priorities as your City Councilmember is to provide safer streets for all. My “Operation Safe Streets” effort to curb speeding/street racing in the West Valley continues to deliver results. In addition to the Street Racing Task Force that has issued hundreds of tickets so far, more speed humps and other mitigation efforts have been installed throughout the district. Just recently, I joined StreetsLA as they were installing new speed humps along Shirley Ave in Tarzana. Special thanks to my Deputy Chief of Staff, John Popoch (below left), and Public Safety Deputy, Safi Lodin, for leading this effort and continuously working with local residents to identify areas in need.
On top of the safety measures, I am committed to improving bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. From the $40M “Connecting Canoga Park” project which includes a comprehensive suite of bicycle and pedestrian improvements in the neighborhood surrounding the Metro’s G (Orange) Line Sherman Way Station, to the Reseda Blvd Complete Street which has added bus boarding islands and other transit improvements, and my efforts to connect the LA River bike paths, I am continuing to make progress in making the West Valley more bike-friendly and pedestrian friendly.
As always, please reach out if you have any questions on these projects at [email protected].
Mayor Karen Bass and Councilmember Bob Blumenfield announced that the latest Inside Safe initiative was conducted along the entire length of the Los Angeles River in the Third District. More than 44 people accepted and embarked on a path to housing starting with motel rooms before the anticipated rainstorm. Everyone, without exception, who had been living along the river was offered housing and services. Especially when it rains, the LA River is an unsafe place for people to set up camps. Councilmember Blumenfield has worked to has to offer better options to people who have resorted to living in this flood control area and along the bike path.
This Inside Safe effort was led by Hope the Mission, the service provider for the two Cabin Communities/Tiny Home programs in Blumenfield’s district, and incorporated their Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT). Teams from LAHSA, Hope the Mission and the San Fernando Valley Comunity Mental Health Center conducted weeks of proactive outreach along the LA River along with rangers from the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) who provide naturalists and patrol along this stretch of the River as well.
Blumenfield is so grateful that Mayor Bass and the Inside Safe team were able to pull together to safely move people indoors from the River and help them get on the path to housing. This effort is particularly important as the entire river location within the 3rd District will be made off limits to encampments per 41.18 starting on March 17.
Partnering with the Freelancers Union and other national advocates who have been working on similar legislation across the country, the City’s new “Freelance Isn’t Free” law will help protect freelance workers from nonpayment and retaliation efforts through written contracts. The City Council unanimously adopted the final ordinance implementing Councilmember Blumenfield’s motion to establish these protections for freelance workers. This law empowers City officials to enforce these workers’ rights and has real consequences for violations, including statutory damages, double damages, injunctive relief, and attorneys’ fees and costs.
This week, the Los Angeles City Council approved Councilmember Bob Blumenfield’s motion aimed at addressing the incredibly long time it takes for the City of Los Angeles to pay vendors and contractors. Currently many local and smaller companies refuse to do business with the City of Los Angeles as they can’t wait more than half a year to get paid. Whether more funding is needed for department staff or software upgrades, or whatever it may be, the City owes it to its constituents and the incredible businesses and nonprofits that are the backbone of LA, to figure out how to pay its bills in a timely manner.
Business and nonprofit groups praised the measure with Nella McOsker, CEO of Central City Association of Los Angeles saying, “Achieving progress towards big issues like homelessness and livability demands powerful partnerships across all sectors, including contractual ones between City departments and local organizations. Unlocking new innovative partnerships is only possible if doing business with the City is worthwhile.”
Blumenfield’s motion specifically calls on the City Controller and City Clerk, in consultation with the City Administrative Officer and Office of Finance, to report within 90 days on the current process of paying city vendors, best practices of the County of LA and other municipal governments and advise what must happen to expedite this process and ensure that invoices are paid within 30-90 days maximum.
For March 11 (3/11), the City is celebrating 311 Week in Los Angeles. 311 is your one-stop connection to hundreds of City services, all from your phone or computer. Help get City services where they're needed most. To report issues in your neighborhood, dial 311 or visit LACity.gov/MyLA311 to file a report or download the MyLA311 app to your smartphone.
Improving the quality of life for residents of Council District 3 is a priority for Councilmember Blumenfield. Through district funding, Blumenfield has a dedicated team from the LA Conservation Corps to supplement the work of the LA Sanitation Department. Young Corpsmembers work hard each day to keep our communities clean. If you see weeds, greenery, litter or trash, bulky items, graffiti, etc, call 818.774.4330 or email [email protected] and a team will be sent out to the area to take care of it.
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 Gas Assistance Fund (GAF) where eligble applicants can receive a one-time grant for the amount of the gas bill, not to exceed $400.00. If the eligible applicant is age 55+ or has an older adult (55+) living in the household, an additional $100 is available for a maximum grant of up to $500. Additionally, those facing certain financial hardships may be eligible for extra grant funding. More information can be found here.
Top: Blumenfield greets attendees of the anti-Semitism roundtable. Bottom right: AJC Regional Director Rick Hirschaut, EU Envoy Katharina von Schnurbein, Rabbi Baker, EU Envoy Eddo Verdoner, and Deputy COS John Popoch.
Councilmember Blumenfield co-hosted an anti-Semitism roundtable with AJC that included European envoys who shared the best ways to respond to the rising anti-Semitism in Los Angeles. While it is important to identify and report incidents of Anti-Semitism, it is imperative to also continue to educate folks on Jew-hatred and the danger it poses to democratic societies. Blumenfield thanked his colleagues Councilmembers Hutt, Raman, and Soto-Martinez for joining the conversation and their commitment to building solidarity to combat all forms of hate against our diverse communities.
Councilmember Blumenfield celebrated the 60th Anniversary of the Sister-City relationship between Canoga Park and Taxco, Mexico. Since 1963, the Sister-City relationship between Canoga Park and Taxco has bridged the two communities through art, student exchanges, annual visits, and extensive philanthropic works.
This week's photo is from the Los Angeles River headwaters in Canoga Park, circa 1900. Learn more here.