Update on Cabin Communities in the West Valley
Connecting local cabin community stakeholders and neighbors with the newly chosen service provider, Councilmember Blumenfield hosted the first meetings of his advisory committees on cabin communities for the homeless coming to the West Valley. These committee meetings will take place monthly until the cabins are operational and quarterly or ‘as needed’ afterwards. They are one of several methods that Blumenfield is employing to keep the community engaged and informed on the new homeless projects being built as part of the federal court proceedings before Judge David O. Carter.
Councilmember Blumenfield facilitated discussions between stakeholders and the service provider, Hope of the Valley. Both the Reseda Cabin Committee and the Tarzana Cabin Committee are comprised of community members and neighbors, many of whom have objected to the cabin community being located in their neighborhood and who remain very concerned about cleanliness, safety, and property values. The committees drilled down on operational questions such as curfews for residents, drug use consequences, security, lighting, COVID-19 testing, staffing and more. Ken Craft, the CEO of Hope of the Valley, and Councilmember Blumenfield spent over 90 minutes answering questions from the group at these meetings.
Before Hope of the Valley was selected as the service provider, Councilmember Blumenfield created an FAQ on his website to respond to community questions related to the cabin communities. Click here to read the FAQ. Councilmember Blumenfield is committed to making these two cabin communities a success both for the residents who are transitioning out of homelessness and for the neighborhood community members that do not want to experience any negative impacts from the sites.
Please stay tuned for further information about additional public, live interactive discussions featuring Hope of the Valley.
Update on Comprehensive Encampment Cleanup
Photo: Blumenfield with Pastor Huck, who continues to be a valuable partner in local outreach
Below is an excerpt from the Councilmember's latest blog post. Click the link at the bottom to read the full post.
When my staff and I were doing community outreach for our new transitional Bridge Housing site ‘The Willows,’ we promised the neighbors and local business owners that if they welcomed this needed project, the streets and sidewalks around the site would receive extra care and cleaning. This is a promise I will keep. However, for transparency, decency, and building trust within the unhoused community, the protocols for clean ups within these “special enforcement and cleaning zones” (SECZ) around Bridge Housing sites need to be clear, predictable and about cleaning up, not about making an already difficult living situation even more difficult for an unhoused person. Click here to read full post from Councilmember Blumenfield
COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Expands
Councilmember Blumenfield at the Pierce College vaccine site this Friday morning, speaking with constituents
Starting this week, more than 1 million Angelenos across LA County just became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, including teachers and workers in child care, emergency service, food and agriculture. If you are eligible, be sure to regularly refresh the appointment page to find a time slot this week or the next. Click here to learn more about eligibility and how to make an appointment
Right here in the Valley at Pierce College we have the second largest vaccine distribution site in the City, second only to Dodger Stadium. Blumenfield will continue to push to make vaccines more accessible in our community.
ONEgen and Lyft Partner to Transport Seniors to Vaccine Sites at No Cost
Accessibility is a huge issue when it comes to rolling out the vaccines, and many seniors in the West Valley need extra assistance. For seniors who don't have access to a car and have a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, ONEgeneration has partnered with Lyft to provide free rides. This program comes at no cost to seniors and exclusively applies to folks living in the San Fernando Valley who booked a local vaccine appointment.
Paycheck Protection Program Expands for Small Businesses and Nonprofits
Small businesses need support now more than ever and the Biden Administration is stepping up to expand the Paycheck Protection Program. Starting last week, small businesses and nonprofits with 20 employees or fewer are eligible to apply for the PPP for a two week window (ending March 9). Visit the Small Business Administration( SBA) webportal to learn more about eligibility and steps to find a lender in your area.
FEMA Webinars Available for Nonprofit Security Grant Program
Blumenfield Gives $3K to Local Nonprofit After Break-In
Photo of United Cultural Center before COVID-19 pandemic
The GR818ERS, a Canoga Park nonprofit aimed at improving racial and social tensions in the San Fernando Valley among youth, was recently broken into and perpetrators stole $3,000 worth of items. When Councilmember Blumenfield learned about this horrible incident, he got on the phone to call the founder of the GR818ERS, Pierre Arreola, and offered them funds to cover this terrible loss so they could continue their operations. Blumenfield has worked extensively with the GR818ERS on several community outreach projects--including a recent community roundtable to highlight the experiences of youth who have lived experiences with the LAPD and justice system. Learn more about this great organization by clicking here.
Canoga Park’s Active Transportation Plan Receives Record-breaking Funding
Printed from StreetsblogLA: Connecting Canoga Park Through Safety and Urban Cooling, an extensive active transportation upgrade in and around Canoga Park’s Sherman Way commercial core, is the most expensive ATP project in the history of the program, totaling $30.7 million. The project is the result of a community planning process, funded by a Caltrans Climate Change planning grant and led by L.A. City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield. The project includes adding missing sidewalks, curb ramps, new crosswalks, new bike lanes, newly walk/bike-prioritized quiet streets (aka bike boulevards or neighborhood greenways), bus stop upgrades, additional shade at the Sherman Way G (Orange) Line Station, and more.
Street Sweeping Notification System Opens up to Community
Starting this week StreetsLA is modifying its street sweeping operations and launching a new notification system where residents can register for notification of when their street will be swept. With the financial crisis spawned by the COVID-19 pandemic, StreetsLA is losing staff due to retirements and a Citywide hiring freeze. This necessitates a reduction in the frequency of street sweeping: routes in the City that had received weekly sweeping will now be swept biweekly--that is, every other week.
In order to assist residents with this change, StreetsLA has created the “Street Sweeping Near Me” notification system. At the StreetsLA website, anyone can explore the map of sweeping routes across the City and sign up for email notification about when their street will be swept. Notifications will be sent 24 and 48 hours before StreetsLA will be sweeping that route. This will give residents the opportunity to move their vehicle prior to the posted sweeping time and avoid being ticketed. Vehicles will only have to be moved on the actual days when the street sweeping is occurring.
Hero Pay Ordinance Passes in City Council
(Photo by Chava Sanchez/ LAist)
Recently the City Council passed an ordinance requiring large grocery and pharmacy retailers within the City of LA to pay their employees an extra $5 per hour, as “hazard pay” for working on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic. The hazard pay will be given to all non-managerial employees working at grocery or drug retail stores that have more than 300 employees nationwide. Councilmember Blumenfield supported this measure and made an amendment to ensure this ordinance would apply to stores such as Target, by including retail stores that dedicate 10% of their sales floor to groceries or drug retail. Hazard pay will apply for 120 days and give much needed relief for frontline workers who put their health and safety out on the line everyday to make a living. Click here to read the ordinance.
City Council Unanimously Passes Blumenfield Measure to Evaluate City Insurers on Enabling Climate Change
This week with the support of many community advocates who have expressed concerns about climate change, the City Council unanimously passed Councilmember Blumenfield’s measure to have the City create an index of insurers we do business with, and to identify which insurers are currently underwriting and investing in risky fossil fuel projects.
Blumenfield believes the City should do business with insurance companies that have a vested interest in caring for the planet, not companies trying to make a quick buck on the expense of future generation’s wellbeing as sea levels rise and natural extreme weather events continue to become regular occurrences.
To combat climate change, folks need to do much more than conserve water and buy electric cars. Members of the community need to call out financial institutions that at a large scale are enabling coal mining, tar sand drilling, and other projects. Blumenfield has made similar efforts to call out climate change enablers by directing City Departments to create a divestment plan for our LACERS pension funds, which passed in City Council back in December 2020. Click here to read the motion.
Blumenfield’s Measure to Create Trans Sensitivity Training in Neighborhood Councils Passed in Council
Last week the City Council passed Blumenfield’s measure calling on the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment to take two important actions: 1) include issues of gender identity and gender expression in their mandatory trainings for all neighborhood councils, 2) develop a plan and protocols to proactively provide additional training on issues relating to gender identity and gender expression to individual neighborhood councils when a board member or actively-involved stakeholder has transitioned or made known that they have changed their name or preferred pronouns. Blumenfield wrote this motion after hearing that a local neighborhood council member was discriminated against after announcing they were transitioning. With the passage of this motion, gender identity and gender expression training will be included in the mandatory Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training and anti-bias training for all members of Los Angeles Neighborhood Councils and there will be additional training when needed. Click here to read the motion.
Blumenfield Calls on State for $2B to Help Fund Municipal Services During Pandemic
This week the City Council passed Blumenfield’s resolution calling on Sacramento for a one-time allocation of $2 Billion to help the City of LA and other major California Cities fund critical municipal services. Blumenfield’s resolution requested these funds to replace Cities’ unavoidable revenue shortfalls that have come in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and have jeopardized the basic services residents rely upon, such as pothole repairs and tree trimming.
The State has collected a massive surplus because their revenue comes mainly from income tax and when the stock market is up and high income people are collecting Capital gains, income tax income revenues increase. Whereas most cities’ (including LA) revenue has tanked because cities rely on sales, property, and tourism taxes which have been severely impacted by COVID. Thus, the State has an opportunity to provide immediate aid to cities to prevent the hollowing out of critical services. Los Angeles is facing a deficit of more than $750 million and desperately needs this help.
Not only would State funds keep critical services on track, they are also desperately needed to save the jobs of hard-working civil servants and ensure public health and safety. For California cities and the State to recover economically, residents need to know that their garbage will be picked up, that infrastructure will get repaired quickly, that police and firefighters will show up when needed, and that city hall will remain responsive. Click here to read the full resolution.
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 1956 on Sherman Way and Etiwanda Ave in Reseda, when workers broke ground to repave and widen the lanes, and replace a dirt median with an asphalt divider. Just like today, Councilmember Blumenfield has spent years advocating for infrastructure improvements along Sherman Way, and he is proud to announce the Sherman Way Great Streets Project has finished installing its Welcome To Reseda sign just last week. Blumenfield is injecting over $100 million directly into Reseda as part of his Reseda Rising initiative, which you can read about here. To learn more about the archived photo, click here.