In the wake of devastating fires, Blumenfield’s motion will require safer building practices to reduce wildfire risk in Los Angeles neighborhoods
LOS ANGELES, CA – Moving to ‘harden the target’ for buildings in the path of potential wildfires, today Councilmember Bob Blumenfield’s comprehensive measure to expand fire-resistant building codes unanimously passed the Council’s critical Planning and Land Use Management Committee. Currently dense population centers like Downtown LA and Hollywood have stronger building codes to withstand fires with treated wood or other building materials, and this proposal broadens where more resistant materials are needed, especially in high fire risk areas such as the hills and other population centers of the San Fernando Valley. This motion also requires fire protection plans that help ensure safe construction sites when a structure is at its most vulnerable.
“California wildfires are deadly and can spread incredibly quickly when winds carry embers miles away,” said Blumenfield. “Year-round fire season is now our reality and we must do everything in our power to save the lives of Angelenos if disaster strikes close to home, including building safer and smarter to resist the flames.”
Today’s discussion comes following the release of Los Angeles County’s After Action Review of the Woolsey Fire Incident, a 200-page document which includes recommendations that the region increase requirements for construction codes. Councilmember Blumenfield participated in the Woolsey Fire Task force as an appointee of Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.
Blumenfield calls for pilot program to establish an enforcement and outreach partnership program with MRCA along the LA River in the West Valley
LOS ANGELES, CA – Today Councilmember Bob Blumenfield introduced a new initiative to revolutionize environmental and law enforcement along the headwaters of the LA River by establishing a pilot program giving authority for the area to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA). Currently the River is a confluence of jurisdictions which has led to a number of difficult to resolve environmental and quality-of-life issues. Blumenfield’s plan aims to cut the immense red tape and bureaucratic hurdles that currently exist around solving these issues and improve the environment and safety of the area.
“The status quo around how we handle issues along the LA River is broken,” said Blumenfield. “I’m tired of the finger pointing around who is responsible for what and the time is now to bring in the MRCA, an organization that is tested, trusted, and perfectly suited to help resolve the complex, multijurisdictional problems we are facing.”
“We have made progress toward improving conditions along the LA River in our area in collaboration with Councilmember Blumenfield, but we need a unified enforcement entity for the River,” said Evelyn Aleman, co-founder of the L.A. River Walkers and Watchers. “The MRCA will bring much-needed support to neighbors living near and adjacent to the bike path, and help restore the bike path to its original use."
LOS ANGELES, CA – Today Councilmember Bob Blumenfield introduced a motion for the LA City Council to consider the Bothwell Ranch, located at 5300 N. Oakdale Avenue, Tarzana, as a City Historic-Cultural Monument. The Bothwell Ranch has been part of the West Valley since owner Lindley Bothwell purchased the lot in 1926 to grow Valencia and Navel oranges for residents of the Valley to enjoy. Consistent with an architectural assessment from SurveyLA, the City’s Historic Resources Survey, Councilmember Blumenfield is taking action to try and preserve the Bothwell Orchard.
“For nearly a century, the Bothwell Ranch which straddles Tarzana and Woodland Hills has been a family-operated enterprise that has captured the spirit of the West Valley,” said Blumenfield. “As a representative of our Valley community, it is my duty to help retain our Valley-identity. That starts by holding onto our special landmarks like the Bothwell Ranch.”
Much has changed since the Bothwell family first bought the 100-acre land in 1926. Los Angeles’ agricultural parcels have disappeared throughout the City as housing booms took land from farmers and their vast acreage. The Bothwell Ranch has survived decades of rising property values and has shrunk in size to now only include 13 acres of land.
In the wake of devastating fires, Blumenfield aims to broaden safer building practices to more at-risk communities
LOS ANGELES, CA – Today Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, along with Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, introduced a comprehensive measure to expand fire-resistant building codes, which are currently only applicable in dense population centers like Downtown LA and Hollywood, to other high fire risk areas such as the hills and other population centers of the San Fernando Valley. This motion would also require fire protection plans that help ensure safe construction sites when a structure is at its most vulnerable.
“From the Da Vinci Fire a few years ago to the horrific Woosley Fire last November, Angelenos know that fires can happen in the blink of an eye and change your life in a flash,” said Blumenfield. “It doesn’t matter if you live in a tall apartment building downtown or live in the hills of the West Valley, it is imperative that we use every tool in our chest to make sure our high-risk communities are as safe as possible.”
Community leaders joined for a ceremonial key exchange and celebration for budding Canoga Park Arts Hub
CANOGA PARK, CA – Today Councilmember Bob Blumenfield was joined by General Manager of the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) Danielle Brazell as well as many community stakeholders to celebrate the acquisition with a ceremonial golden key exchange for the newest city-owned performing arts center in the West Valley. Dubbed the Canoga Park Stage Arts Lab (CPSAL), this site will serve as an incubator space for all types of local artists. Blumenfield also unveiled new renderings for renovations for the nearby Madrid Theater, another huge investment in his ‘Canoga Park Arts Hub.’
“While in our schools funding for arts and cultural education continue to be under siege and I am proud that today we welcome the newest public performing arts center to our city,” said Blumenfield. “With CPSAL, we open up our community to be transformed into an arts and entertainment destination where playwrights, actors, musicians and others can shape and highlight their work.”
"With the addition of this venue, which we are calling the Canoga Park Stage Arts Lab, the Department of Cultural Affairs hopes to usher in a new era of innovation that showcases the vitality of the local arts community and offers opportunities to develop artists and arts programming that will benefit the region. We are thankful for Councilmember Blumenfield’s vision, leadership, and support of this project,” said Danielle Brazell, General Manager City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.
Nora Ross, CEO of the Valley Cultural Foundation, said, “The Valley Cultural Foundation is so excited for the West Valley Playhouse and all its future growth. The benefits of the Playhouse will continue to bring, share and nurture the Arts while bringing so much to the West Valley. We are looking forward to supporting all that ventures through its doors.”
LOS ANGELES, CA –Inspired by a bold new proposal from US Senator Kamala Harris, today Councilmember Blumenfield launched ‘Equal Pay LA,’ a new local effort, co-presented by Councilmembers Monica Rodriguez, Mitch O’Farrell and Nury Martinez, to close the gender pay gap and hold bad actors accountable. Currently women in the United States are paid $0.80 cents to the dollar compared to what their male counterparts make and the burden of proof remains on the shoulders of the employee, rather than the employer.
“After hearing about Senator Harris’ proposal to hold corporations accountable for the gender pay gap, I knew Los Angeles should lead the way by implementing her idea locally,” said Blumenfield. “We really need to have a paradigm shift where instead of a worker having to fight for what is right, we should hold corporations accountable for continuing this injustice. Though California has the lowest pay gap compared to other states, anything short of complete equality is unacceptable.”
Councilwoman Nury Martinez said, “Since I’ve been in office, fighting for equal pay has been one of my top priorities. So much that I worked to remove all questions about salary history from City job applications to close the gender wage gap. It is ridiculous that in 2019 women across the United States are still getting paid just $0.80 cents for every dollar paid to men. As a City, taking this important step forward in ensuring women get paid equally as men for a hard day’s work, is the right direction in creating a more equitable future for the next generation. It’s the right thing to do, especially now, when women's rights are under attack.”
"It's simple -- women deserve to be paid as much as men for equal work," said Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez. "Latinas on average make $0.53 cents for every dollar paid to men. We must close the gender pay gap to ensure that women of all backgrounds are compensated fairly."
Blumenfield leads effort to raise financial penalty for disability placard abuse up to $1,100
LOS ANGELES, CA – Today the Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed Blumenfield’s measure to raise fines for disability placard abuse from $250 up to $1,100 per infraction. The misuse of these parking placards are not only a crime, they waste resources and make it incredibly difficult to manage parking in many desired destinations.
“Taking disabled parking spots from those who truly need them is unconscionable and we must increase the penalties now,” said Blumenfield. “Last September, the DMV reported that 345 people were caught abusing disabled parking placards over four days at the LA County Fair alone. These abuses happen every day and increasing the fine is the least we can do.”
In 2013, the City Council adopted a resolution regarding the misuse of a disabled parking placard or special license plate. The resolution also prohibited the use of a disabled placard or special license plate when not transporting the individual to whom the placard or license plate was issued.
LOS ANGELES, CA – Today the Los Angeles City Council, led by Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, voted unanimously to create permanent roadside memorial signs at the locations of fatal bicycle crashes. Currently, in the immediate aftermath of a traffic fatality, family members and loved ones frequently establish temporary roadside memorials, including "ghost bikes" placed at the site of fatal bicycle crashes. However, the City did not have a policy or program for establishing permanent roadside memorials until now.
“I’ve been to too many ghost bike memorials only to see them gone in a few days, as if nothing tragic happened,” said Blumenfield. “Cyclists are dying on the streets of Los Angeles and creating a permanent memorial, which will also serve as a reminder to share the road, is needed.”
In 2018, 240 people died from traffic collisions in the City of Los Angeles, including 21 bicyclists. After the tragic death of 15-year-old Sebastian Montero while bicycling in Woodland Hills on April 1, 2018, LAPD Topanga Division Senior Lead Officer Duc Dao suggested that Blumenfield should pursue such a program. Blumenfield worked closely with the LA Department of Transportation (LADOT) to create a program similar to how Caltrans places memorial signs at locations of certain alcohol-related traffic fatalities.
LOS ANGELES, CA – Today Councilmember Bob Blumenfield and the Los Angeles City Council approved funding for a new permanent Bridge Housing site in the West Valley. In partnership with County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, this property in Canoga Park will be the first permanent Bridge Housing site in the City.
“When the Mayor announced his plan for Bridge Housing throughout Los Angeles, I knew that I wanted to help create something in the West Valley that could have a permanent impact,” said Blumenfield. “Thanks to the partnership and leadership of Supervisor Kuehl, we were able to leverage this funding with the services provided by the County to create a facility that will help our community’s most vulnerable for many years to come.”
“This project is a great example of City – County cooperation and will help reduce the number of our friends and neighbors who are experiencing homelessness," said LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “Bridge Housing is a critical step in moving men and women from the street and their cars to permanent housing. This Bridge Housing will help us build on our successes last year of re-housing tens of thousands of people in permanent and bridge housing.”
LOS ANGELES, CA – On March 26, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to fund four key projects of Councilmember Bob Blumenfield in the communities of Reseda and Canoga Park. These projects are an expansion of the Aliso Creek Confluence Park, streetscape enhancements on Sherman Way in Reseda, improving the Madrid Theater as part of the Canoga Park Arts Hub, and a new traffic signal. All are funded with Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) excess bond funds, funds he helped secure and which Blumenfield has been using to successfully grow economic opportunities in parts of the West Valley that have struggled to attract and sustain robust commercial activity.
“For over a decade, I have worked with residents, business owners and community organizations on ways to help the West Valley become an engine for economic growth and a destination for commerce, art and culture,” said Blumenfield. “These projects are critical to achieving that goal in Canoga Park and Reseda.
The Council specifically approved four motions which include:
$4.65 million for an expansion of the Aliso Creek Confluence Park. Opened in 2016, the park was developed in collaboration with the Trust for Public Land, community partners, stakeholders, various City Departments, the Reseda Neighborhood Council, and local residents. Blumenfield supported the project early on as an Assemblymember who helped get State Prop 84 monies and then as a Councilmember who secured City dollars. The new funds will create two new walking paths along the north side of the LA River between Reseda Boulevard and Wilbur Avenue, a new pedestrian bridge across Aliso Creek to better connect the park to surrounding greenways, and various elements to capture stormwater to replenish our local groundwater and limit urban runoff into the River channel. Learn more here.
$2.5 million for Blumenfield’s Sherman Way Great Streets project. The stretch of Sherman Way between Lindley and Wilbur Avenues comprises Reseda’s central business district, and these funds will be used for streetscape improvements based upon designs developed in 2016 through a robust community planning process. The project will add a new pedestrian crossing, trees, landscaping, “Reseda” monument signs, shade structures, seating, wayfinding signage, and bike racks. Additionally, it will install traffic-calming measures on Hart Street between the Aliso Creek Bridge and Lindley to make the street more bicycle-friendly. These place-making enhancements will support the area's numerous small businesses, and attract new development and investment in the area. They will also make it safer and more convenient to reach and navigate downtown Reseda while using transit, walking and bicycling. These streetscape improvements also leverage investment in other projects on Sherman Way supported with CRA excess bond proceeds, including renovations to the Reseda Theater and a new skating rink being developed in a partnership between the City and the L.A. Kings.