This week thousands of teachers and staff from the Los Angeles Unified School District took to the picket line to fight for improved wages and work conditions for school workers. I was proud to march alongside them at Woodland Hills Academy MS, Taft Charter HS, and Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies and support this fight to ensure that the folks who make our schools run, don't continue to live in poverty.
This three day protest followed months of mounting tensions between SEIU Local 99 and LAUSD, focusing on bus drivers, custodians, special education assistants, cafeteria workers and other support staff. Their main demands include a pay increase and $2 an hour increase for the lowest paid employees. This would ensure that the annual wage of their members was $36,000- which still seems too little for those who help our school operate. In solidarity, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) joined the strike in support.
During the strike, our city stepped up to help those families who struggle with childcare and meals. We created food distribution sites and converted many parks, and other city facilities, into supervised spaces for kids.
As the City of Los Angeles observes Cesar Chavez Day this Monday, March 27th for his tireless efforts advocating for better working conditions for workers across the country, let us continue to support our teachers and support staff. They deserve far more than they are getting. Simply put, if you are teaching or are serving a crucial role in our schools, you should not live in poverty- and that really shouldn't be controversial.
The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to support a “Right-to-Counsel” Program to be funded as directed by the United to House Los Angeles Measure (ULA) allocating 10% of revenues generated through ULA to provide housing-related legal services to lower-income household tenants threatened with eviction. Councilmember Blumenfield co-authored a motion instructing the Los Angeles Housing Department to report back with recommendations for establishing a “Right-to-Counsel” Program, expanding the City’s existing Eviction Defense Program, prioritizing vulnerable individuals as a way to prevent eviction and homelessness. Representation can help tenants successfully defend themselves and ideally reach a settlement with their landlord to find mutually beneficial terms to repay rent or address issues and stay in the unit.
In November 2022, Los Angeles City voters approved Measure ULA, a ballot measure intended to provide ongoing revenue dedicated to addressing – and ultimately ending – housing insecurity and homelessness in the City. Measure ULA establishes a transfer tax of 4 percent on the sale of property valued over $5 million and 5.5 percent on property sales valued over $10 million and mandates a number of programs intended to increase the production and preservation of affordable housing, and to expand homelessness prevention programs throughout Los Angeles. These elements are all in the process of development by the City departments that will implement them, and the right to counsel program is among the first to be authorized as the eviction process is about to begin for many tenants after the end of the COVID19 eviction moratorium.
An estimated 30,000 formal evictions are filed in the City every year and a vast majority of tenants who receive an eviction notice often have to navigate the eviction process without a lawyer. The process can get very complicated and technical. By providing access to counsel to people facing eviction with funding from ULA, it can help prevent and reduce homelessness.
Living in Los Angeles, residents must be prepared for earthquakes, fires, floods, and more. Join Councilmember Blumenfield at the free and family friendly 2023 Disaster Prep Fair happening this Saturday, March 25 from 9AM-3PM at Pierce College. Learn how to keep yourself and your family safe in case of an emergency. Gather information and resources from community responders, organizations, and providers and participate in various demonstrations including CPR, fire extinguisher, and utility shut off.
To be part of the solution to the housing and homelessness crisis, Councilmember Blumenfield has been working with City departments to determine what, if any, city-owned properties in the West Valley could potentially be feasible for needed housing, i.e. supportive and affordable units. Mayor Karen Bass and City leaders are actively looking for potential housing sites throughout the City, and they consider many of the City’s LADOT public parking lots to be opportunities for potential development.
Councilmember Blumenfield has been concerned that a change in use of LADOT parking lots could have consequences for local businesses and commercial areas that rely on them. Economic and Planning Systems, a contracted economic research firm, last week released preliminary results of their Reseda Microeconomic Study evaluating the impact of public parking lots on nearby businesses. Preliminary results showed that either partial or full removal of City-owned parking lots would have a negative economic impact on area businesses.
While there are no proposed projects for any of the City-owned lots in Reseda, Blumenfield will continue to question any potential project that would have a negative impact on Reseda businesses, and will seek to ensure that these impacts are acknowledged and addressed in any future proposals. The final report is expected to be completed by early summer 2023. Read more about the EPS process here.
Councilmember Blumenfield’s Domestic Violence Community Action Team (DV BobCAT) has been reactivated. The goal of the Domestic Violence BobCAT is to assist Blumenfield in raising awareness about domestic violence in the community by fostering an inclusive and empowering environment working towards peace, harmony, and non-violence. Committee members are devoted to reducing violence and will take actions to raise awareness, link people with services, and support providers of those services. Stay tuned for the "I Matter" Resource Event this fall.
Councilmember Blumenfield has allocated $4.5 million to expand the Aliso Creek Confluence Park in Reseda and create a walking path along the north bank of the Los Angeles River between Reseda Blvd and Wilbur Ave. On April 8, from 10AM to Noon, the Trust for Public Land will hold an open house at the Aliso Creek Confluence Park to provide information and collect community input about this park project. The Aliso Creek Confluence Park can be accessed from either Wilbur Ave and Kittridge Street (via the alley), or from Vanowen and Aliso Creek (just east of Wilbur) via the walking path. Hope to see you there.
Councilmember Blumenfield hired Pierce College students Zachary Washington, as his Spring Pierce Fellow via the College Career Center and Umoja Community Program, and David Vargas, through the HireLA Program, to gain valuable experience working in his Reseda District Office. While in school, many students cannot afford to work for free and finding a first job is hard, especially for those from neighborhoods that don’t have as many economic opportunities as others. Blumenfield is happy to provide paid experiences for students to help them develop key skills needed in the workplace and build networks within the community. Zachary and David will be working part time to learn about constituent services and city operations.
LA Metro’s LIFE Program provides transportation assistance including a free 90 day pass, transit pass discounts, reduced fares, and more to low income individuals in Los Angeles County. Enrolled participants can apply discounts to Metro fares at any of the 13 participating transit agencies including LADOT’s DASH. More information on the program can be found at www.metro.net/LIFE.
Councilmember Blumenfield joined Councilmember Katy Yaroslovsky in celebrating the Shalhevet Girls Basketball Team, the first Jewish school to win CIF State crown.
Councilmember Blumenfield presented LA Family Housing President and CEO, Stephanie Klasky-Gamer, a framed key in honor of The Willows, an interim housing site in Canoga Park which provides essential services to unhoused community members.
It's baseball season and Councilmember Blumenfield joined his Deputy Chief of Staff and ELL Coach, John Popoch, for the opening day of Encino Little League where he met the coaches and so many Council District Three youth athletes playing in the league.
Los Angeles, especially the West San Fernando Valley, is home to thousands of Persian-Americans and Councilmember Blumenfield was happy to join City and Persian community leaders in celebrating Nowruz.
Taken in 1962, this week's photo is from the Valley Times Collection of Valley Red Cross volunteers practicing major disaster operations. Emergency preparation is an ongoing priority and Councilmember Blumenfield reminds you to always have a "go bag" ready in event of a disaster. Watch this video to see what items to include in your bag,