Blumenfield, Englander and Koretz demand public apology and Holocaust sensitivity training.
LOS ANGELES, CA – In a resolution introduced this morning, Los Angeles City Councilmembers Bob Blumenfield, Mitchell Englander and Paul Koretz demanded a public apology from instructors and administrators involved in the recent Rialto school assignment denying the Holocaust. Additionally the Councilmembers called on those involved to participate in Holocaust sensitivity training at the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
In April, students at Rialto Middle School were asked to debate whether the Holocaust “was an actual event in history or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain wealth.”
The assignment required that students base their argument on “multiple credible sources,” and included an article that stated, “even the Diary of Anne Frank is a hoax.”
LOS ANGELES, CA – Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield this morning announced the release of a request for information, available immediately for comment and review, in a crucial step forward in his initiative to bring universal access to high-speed wired and wireless broadband to Los Angeles. By seeking feedback, not only from potential bidders and industry experts, but from the residents and businesses who will benefit from the service, Councilmember Blumenfield hopes to design a robust system that is truly reflective of the needs of our diverse communities.
Last July, Councilmember Blumenfield directed the City to design an initiative, now known as the Los Angeles Community Broadband Network (LACBN), to ensure every residence and business in Los Angeles has access to world-class, high-speed Internet access and wireless broadband. The next step will be an RFP to be issued later this year.
“By getting bidder and community input upfront, we are better able to design a system to meet the needs of consumers and businesses with a process that utilizes the free market for the benefit of all Angelenos,” said Councilmember Blumenfield. “From the public library, to the post office, to the telephone, universal access to information and communication has helped make our country great. The Los Angeles Community Broadband Network will lead the nation into the 21st century by applying that principle to the Internet.”
"The LA Community Broadband Network will be the largest municipal broadband network in the nation and will benefit a community that still has nearly a third of its residents without internet access or the ability to pay for it,” said Steve Reneker, General Manager of the City’s Information Technology Agency.
While some parts of Los Angeles do have access to high-speed broadband, approximately 30% of all Angelenos, and possibly more, either do not have access to broadband or cannot afford it.
WINNETKA, CA – Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield was joined by Board of Public Works President Kevin James, Jim Treadaway from the Bureau of Engineering and community members to mark the full reopening of the Vanowen Street Bridge after more than three years of construction.
The north side of the bridge was closed on December 22, 2010 after a large hole was discovered on the north side of the bridge deck due heavy rain and erosion.
“Today, I’m proudly checking this bridge opening off my list of first-year priorities,” said Councilmember Blumenfield. “This new bridge is 25 feet wider, it’s better lit and more attractive, but more importantly, it’s much, much safer.”
Recognizing recent accord between Gov. Brown and Prime Minister Netanyahu, ideas pave the way for enhanced cooperation and innovation.
LOS ANGELES, CA – Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield today introduced a pair of measures to celebrate and strengthen the relationship between the City of Los Angeles and Israel. Both measures build on the recently signed MOU between the State of Israel and California.
“California and Israel share more than just similar climate and culture,” said Blumenfield. “We are two of the most prolific hubs of tech and innovation in the world. With the MOU signed, we must build upon these efforts and continue to work closely for our mutual benefit.”
Blumenfield introduced a resolution which activates Los Angeles’ policy team in Sacramento to support legislation and administrative action that implements provisions of the recent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for strategic partnerships and joint innovation exchanges and cooperation between California and Israel.
Councilmember Blumenfield joined Governor Jerry Brown as he signed the MOU with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Mountain View earlier this month. This MOU grew out a 2009 bill by then Assemblymember Blumenfield that directed the State to create a similar MOU, focusing on clean tech and green tech exchanges.
Building on that important work, Councilmember Blumenfield today also asked the City Council to establish the Los Angeles/Eilat Innovation and Cooperation Task Force. The Task Force is designed to build on a 55 year-old Sister City relationship with Eilat and will foster technology investment, business development and research opportunities in clean technology, water resources, solar energy, and environmental technologies and promote the exchange of ideas and innovation between Israeli companies, Southern California business and education communities, non-profits and the City of Los Angeles.
“As Los Angeles and California reckon with the most severe drought in decades, this task force will foster an exchange of technology and ideas with a country that has dealt successfully with water scarcity for years,” concluded Blumenfield.
Agreement finalizes work Blumenfield began in Legislature.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA – Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield today joined Governor Jerry Brown as he signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to strengthen trade, research and economic development ties between California and the State of Israel, with an emphasis on water conservation, alternative energy, cybersecurity, health and biotechnology, education and agriculture technology.
“Israel and California share more than culture and climate,” said Blumenfield. “We represent two of the most dynamic high-tech sectors in the world, and it only makes sense that we redouble our efforts to work together for our mutual benefit.”
Today’s MOU evolved from a similar proposal by then-Assemblymember Blumenfield in 2009. That bill, AB1032, would require the Governor to establish a memorandum of understanding to formalize a relationship between the state and Israel to foster technology development, business development, and educational opportunities in solar energy and environmental technology industries.
Major destination retail center opening in fall 2015 will create jobs and revitalize area.
LOS ANGELES – Led by Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, the Los Angeles City Council today approved a final subvention agreement to leverage local investment by sharing new City tax revenues with the Village at Westfield Topanga project. By allowing the project to recoup up to 50% of new City tax revenues generated over 25 years, the City enabled the approximately $350 million private investment to be fast tracked with construction in one phase, immediately creating jobs and economic benefits in the area.
“The Village at Westfield Topanga project will jump start a major economic engine in the West San Fernando Valley and provide substantial benefits to the entire city,” said Blumenfield. “My communities are excited that we are redeveloping this land to house a first class hub for entertainment and shopping, with a sustainable green and modern design.”
The Village at Westfield Topanga mixed-use development will invest about $350 million in the local economy with upscale retail, boutique specialty shops, personal services, restaurants, a Costco with a member-only fueling station, and a community center. The project will create middle class construction jobs and approximately 1,500 permanent jobs for local residents as a new major destination for shopping, dining, and investment in the Valley.
The project is expected to generate tens of millions in net new tax revenue for the City, including new sales tax revenue the City could not realize without such a project. Indirect City revenue benefits also will result from increasing property tax values, attracting other investments and improving the attractiveness of the West Valley as desirable places to live and do business.
Councilmember Bob Blumenfield urges City to explore feasibility of rubber and decomposed granite material for Los Angeles’ sidewalks.
LOS ANGELES – Councilmember Bob Blumenfield today introduced a measure that instructs the Bureau of Street Services (BSS) to develop a sidewalk repair program using environmentally friendly sidewalk paving materials rather than conventional portland cement concrete.
“Concrete is about as cutting edge as the wheel,” said Blumenfield. “It doesn’t hold up to tree roots; it doesn’t allow for groundwater recharge. If we’re serious about greening the Valley and beyond, there’s no reason we shouldn’t be looking towards a more sustainable and cost effective mix of paving materials as we tackle our City’s unique infrastructure challenges.”
BSS has experimented with alternative materials to cement concrete including rubber panels, recycled mixed plastic materials, poured rubber materials and porous concrete. The City of Santa Monica implemented a sidewalk repair program using rubber sidewalks in 2000 and has since installed approximately 20,000 square feet of rubber sidewalk.
In fact, over 100 cities have rubber sidewalk programs. It is estimated that each square foot of rubber sidewalk diverts one passenger tire from the landfill.
Both decomposed granite and rubber are ADA accessible and allow us easier access to grind tree roots. Sidewalks made from permeable pavers reduce harmful runoff and act as a natural filter for solids and pollutants.
Rep. Eliot Engel, top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, joins Councilmember Blumenfield and City Attorney Mike Feuer to urge municipalities to follow Los Angeles’ lead.
LOS ANGELES – Councilmember Bob Blumenfield today secured the Los Angeles City Council’s support for his measure that makes Los Angeles the first City to be in full compliance with the Iran Contracting Act of 2010. That law, authored by then Assemblymembers Feuer and Blumenfield, bars persons engaged in investment activities in Iran’s petroleum, natural gas, or nuclear industries from bidding on or renewing contracts with the State and local governments.
“With an economy that ranks among those of major industrialized nations, home to one of the busiest ports in the world, Los Angeles plays an outsized role in ensuring the crucial sanctions designed to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capabilities are as robust as possible,” said Blumenfield. “Now more than ever, it is crucial that all levels of government work as a team in the interests of maintaining pressure on the Iranian regime.”
|Councilmember Blumenfield is joined by Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, City Attorney Mike Feuer, and Jewish community leaders as Los Angeles takes historic steps for a municipality in the ongoing effort in preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capabilities.
In 2010, Congress extended US sanctions to parties involved in Iran’s energy sector through the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (CISADA). Section 202 of CISADA authorized state and local governments to divest their funds from parties involved in Iran’s energy sector and to bar such parties from state and local government contracts. The Iran Contracting Act of 2010 made California the first state in the nation to enact a law pursuant to Section 202.
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was among those who drafted the original language, under then-Chairman Howard Berman.
“There is no greater threat to the United States and our allies than a nuclear-capable Iran. In recent years the Congress has passed bipartisan legislation designed to cripple the Iranian economy,” said Rep. Engel. “These measures played a major role in bringing Iran back to the negotiating table. We must continue to work with our partners here in Los Angeles and around to country to keep the pressure on Iran until it verifiably abandons its efforts to develop nuclear weapons.”
Takes first step towards bringing City’s 50/50 sidewalk repair program to LA’s commercial corridors.
LOS ANGELES, CA – Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield today introduced a measure that will instruct the Bureau of Street Services (BSS) to prepare and present a citywide pilot sidewalk repair program for commercial properties, similar to the City’s successful 50/50 program, which ended in 2009.
Uprooted sidewalk in Woodland Hills. Bureau of Street Services has previously estimated that 40% of the system or 4,620 miles is in disrepair, with a majority of the disrepair caused by tree roots.
“Public-private partnerships present an innovative opportunity for the City to address critical infrastructure needs while making the most of every available public dollar,” said Blumenfield. “Investments in infrastructure reap tangible benefits to our City, as well as to our business communities. With our sidewalks in disrepair, it’s time to revive this idea in a way that best reflects the changing needs of our City.”
The Trust for Public Land will develop critically needed open space in Reseda as part of the Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan.
LOS ANGELES – Taking swift action before an important end-of-the year deadline, Councilmember Bob Blumenfield today secured council approval to allow The Trust for Public Land, in partnership with the City of Los Angeles, to move forward on the Aliso Creek Confluence Project that will bring critically needed open space to Reseda along the banks of the Los Angeles River. Without today’s council action, funding for the park would have been lost, and its future uncertain.
“I was proud to support this project since its inception and throughout my time representing the San Fernando Valley in the California State Assembly. When I took office in July, I made bringing this project over the finish line one of my top priorities. This project will add open space, improve bike connectivity and is a great opportunity to move forward on a project envisioned both by the LA River Revitalization Master Plan and the newly passed Warner Center 2035 master plan,” said Blumenfield.