I am very grateful to all of the people that help make Los Angeles such a wonderful place. I want to especially thank people who volunteer their time for the betterment of our community, including Neighborhood Council members, Chamber of Commerce members, and community volunteers of all stripes. It was very special to join Hope of the Valley staff to thank them and help serve Thanksgiving lunch for the residents of our Sycamore Cabin Community, behind my District Office.
I am also extremely grateful to our first responders and public safety workers who risk their lives to keep us safe, to the public servants who do everything from picking up trash, to fixing street lights, to doing homeless outreach, to educating our children. Los Angeles is stronger because of our diversity and because of the common bond that we share as Angelenos. I hope everyone has a wonderful thanksgiving and urge you to take a few moments to reflect on the many things for which we all can be grateful.
Update on Permanent Supportive Housing Project on Ventura
While the proposed Permanent Supportive Housing project next to the 101 freeway on the vacant plot of land adjacent to the Bowlero along Ventura Boulevard is a private/non-government project, I’m writing to share a quick update on what I know about it.
Normally, I would expect such a proposal to have to go through the City’s land use process, however, it is being processed under State Assembly Bill 2162. This State law allows for expedited processing for 100% affordable projects that include at least 25% of the units as permanent supportive housing. In short, because of this law, public hearings cannot be required and there is no appeal process for these types of projects — the City is essentially cut out of the decision making process.
Even though I don’t have the authority to compel the developer to do much at all, I have asked them to present their project to the Neighborhood Council and they have assured me that they plan to do so.
As State laws designed to circumvent the City planning process are utilized and as new reforms are put forward to reduce the City Council’s land use discretionary power, we will see more and more circumstances like this where your voice as spoken through your local elected representative, and as spoken directly through public hearings, will be muted.
I will continue to update you and as always, please reach out if you have any questions on this issue at [email protected].
This week, Councilmember Blumenfield joined the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), Bureau of Engineering, and community leaders for The Madrid Theater "Counterbreaking", kicking off the renovation of the Madrid Theater. This project is a key component of the Canoga Park Cultural Arts District vision – a plan to make the West Valley an arts and entertainment hub. The District includes the Madrid Theatre, the Taxco Theatre, and the Canoga Park Youth Arts Center. DCA will revitalize both theaters and harness the power of these cultural institutions to fuel sustainable economic development along the surrounding corridor. Under Blumenfield’s leadership, he secured and invested nearly $8 million in the renovation along with $3 million secured by Senator Henry Stern. Blumenfield believes this catalytic Cultural Arts District is an economic driver that will bring more foot-traffic to Sherman Way, help drive customers to adjacent restaurants and shops, and draw cultural arts vendors to the area.
Upgrading local streets throughout the West San Fernando Valley has been a long-standing priority of Councilmember Blumenfield. At his request, over 30 trees were trimmed and maintained on Mulholland Blvd by the tree surgeons of StreetsLA’s Urban Forestry Division. To request tree maintenance on your block, please email [email protected].
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. The City Administrative Officer has reported that there are very few public properties that could possibly work but they identified the five large parking lots in Reseda as possibilities. This is due primarily to the size of the parking lots and their proximity to each other.
The City has hired a consultant, Economic & Planning Systems, to complete a comprehensive economic analysis which will serve as a critical factor to help determine if affordable development is possible at any of these sites. Blumenfield insisted that there be such an economic study done, in addition to the standard feasibility study, because he wanted to make sure that there weren’t unintended consequences to the small local businesses that utilize these parking lots. Consequently, they are looking for input from local business and property owners to understand and document how each parking lot is used. Join EPS on Thursday, December 1st from 10AM-6:30PM for an open house at Reseda Elementary School to share your thoughts. More information can be found here.
In an ongoing effort to update community plans to reflect current needs and realities, the Department of City Planning is currently amending the Ventura-Cahuenga Boulevard Corridor Specific Plan. The goal is to modernize regulations and speed up the project review process in order to support small businesses along the Valley’s premier commercial corridor. Councilmember Blumenfield’s district includes the Western end of the Boulevard through Woodland Hills and Tarzana, and Councilmember Nithya Raman’s district includes the stretch from Encino to its Easternmost point in Studio City.
To reflect local needs, Councilmember Blumenfield is asking for your feedback to understand community support for policy goals such as access for all, safer streets, improved air quality, climate resilience, and public health. The goal is to develop a list of mobility and right-of-way investments consistent with community-defined needs and advance policy goals the community is interested in. Share your thoughts by completing the Planning Department survey here.
Join the Los Angeles Housing Department at a virtual community meeting as they present City’s 2023-2028 Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) process and to receive feedback from the public regarding their fair housing concerns and experiences to shape future programming and goals. A total of seven meetings will be held starting on Thursday, December 1, 2022 through Thursday, December 15, 2022. All meetings will take place from 6:00pm to 7:30pm. Please click here for more info.
Each year, Councilmember Blumenfield hosts an annual holiday party and toy/essentials collection drive. Team Blumenfield is looking forward to seeing familiar and new faces on Thursday, December 8 from 4-7pm at an outdoor gathering at the Tarzana Community and Cultural Center located at 19310 Ventura Blvd. Like in years past, Team Blumenfield will be collecting toys, nonperishable dry and canned goods, hygiene products, and more to be distributed among less fortunate members of the community. See above for more details and don't forget to RSVP.
On behalf of Councilmember Blumenfield, Team Blumenfield's Kekeli and Rebecca accepted the Community Leadership Award from the Boys and Girls Club of the West Valley. Blumenfield was honored to receive the award from the Boys and Girls Club, especially since the Club epitomizes leadership and is an integral part of the community that transforms the lives of local youth.
Team Blumenfield enjoyed the Multicultural Food Festival hosted by Magnolia Science Academy 1. Families and friends came together to celebrate the diversity of the community and enjoy foods from Armenia, Mexico, El Salvador, the Philippines, Bangladesh, and Turkey.
This week's photo from the Los Angeles Public Library's archives is from the Valley Times Collection taken on November 24, 1955 of the Armstrong family of Tarzana preparing for a Thanksgiving celebration. Councilmember Blumenfield wishes a Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones.