COVID-19 Update - Vaccination Requirements
Last week the City Council approved an ordinance that will require proof of vaccination for large events, City buildings, and indoor public spaces such as restaurants, gyms and fitness venues, entertainment and recreation venues, and personal care establishments beginning on November 8, 2021. Those who claim medical or other exemptions to the vaccine are able to show proof of a negative COVID test within 72 hours. Those who are unvaccinated are still able to use the outdoor areas and may use the indoor portion briefly to use the restroom, order, pick-up, or pay for food “to go.”
I voted for this ordinance, but I did not take this decision lightly. I understand the gravity of limiting individuals’ ability to go to restaurants and other places, but it is necessary as we face an ongoing extreme crisis with more than 700k American deaths, including losing 26,000 people in Los Angeles County. Many others are still struggling with COVID symptoms for months. Every day, more people are hospitalized and other, more dangerous, variants are allowed to develop among the unvaccinated and spread to kill others. We’ve made so much progress; the last thing we need is to go back to the business closures, lockdown and hospital bed shortage of just a few months ago. Unvaccinated people are 5 times more likely to get COVID and therefore are much more likely to spread it.
Getting everyone who is eligible vaccinated is key to our return to ‘normal’ and I encourage everyone to do their part. If you need more information on where to get the vaccine, a test, or wish to know if you are eligible for a booster please visit the County’s Public Health portal here.
Let’s keep up the progress and each do what we can to put this pandemic behind us.
Pushing for innovations to reduce the impact of climate change, Blumenfield was joined by Mayor Eric Garcetti, Councilmember Paul Krekorian, Keith Mozee with City of Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services, Assemblymember Luz Rivas and many climate and public works friends to check out LA's latest 'Cool Neighborhood' in North Hollywood. This effort started with one Canoga Park street in 2017 and has continued to expand to each Council District. Check out this video from the event.
The science has been clear - Cool Pavement, along with more trees, lowers the temperature of pavement and surrounding communities. More data will be collected as part of this 48 street expansion and Blumenfield is excited to see the progress and continued results of this effort. To find out more details about this program and the City’s expansive tree planting and maintenance endeavor, give this Los Angeles Daily News article a read.
With the release of the 2020 Census a few months ago, commissions all around the nation are convening to update districts for various levels of government to reflect the population and demographic changes from the previous decade. Right now the Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission (LACCRC) is doing just that.
Recently the LACCRC voted to move forward with a map that has some pretty big implications for the future of the San Fernando Valley’s representation at City Hall. Last week Blumenfield wrote this guest editorial for the Valley News Group about what is at stake, where in the process the LACCRC is, and how it’s critical for everyone to make their voice heard. While the commission has proposed adding some wonderful new communities to CD3, they have also proposed removing some of the amazing communities that are already part of CD3– communities where Blumenfield and his team are strongly connected and have invested years of service and work into. There’s one more LACCRC hearing tomorrow morning (more info here) that is dedicated to public comment and he hopes you can call in and share your thoughts and feedback.
More updates to come.
On October 5, the City Council voted to move forward with studying the feasibility of a public bank in Los Angeles. Los Angeles has a large number of unbanked and under-banked residents who face high fees from check-cashing services, money orders, and the like, as well as facing difficulty accessing credit and being charged higher fees and interest rates on credit cards, car loans, and mortgages. A public bank could provide basic financial services to Angelenos where the private banking system has failed. However, there are many questions about how a public bank would be financed, its mission, and its governance structure. The study is intended to answer those questions to enable the City Council to make a sound decision on this issue. More information can be found here.
The City’s Bureau of Engineering just released details to close the gap on the LA River bike path in the West San Fernando Valley between Vanalden Avenue in Reseda to Balboa Avenue in the Sepulveda Basin. In 2019, Blumenfield secured $18.8 million in State funding for the project, which includes the installation of bicycle and pedestrian pathways, construction of undercrossings and river parks, and on-street improvements to increase access to the LA River Bikeway in this area. Construction is anticipated to begin in the Fall 2022 and last for approximately three years. This project was included in voter-approved Measure M and will receive additional funding from Metro and other sources.
Blumenfield looks forward to the day when we have one continuous greenway-bikeway that goes from the headwaters in his district, 51 miles through downtown and eventually to the ocean in Long Beach.
Blumenfield thanks all who have submitted feedback to Metro’s Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project. The Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project will provide a high-quality transit service that will effectively serve a large and growing travel market between the San Fernando Valley and the Westside and eventually to LAX. Metro will soon begin the environmental phase with a scoping period where residents can continue to submit input. To hear the latest update on the status of the project, join a lunchtime webinar on Tuesday, October 26 from 11:30am-1:30pm. Register now.
Prevention and intervention in domestic violence requires a multi-faceted approach with the partnerships between nonprofit service providers and law enforcement. Domestic Violence affects families of all backgrounds, income levels, ethnicities, and has caused the deaths of too many people, particularly women, in the West San Fernando Valley. According to the Downtown Women’s Center domestic violence is one of the main drivers into homelessness for the over 18,330 homeless women in Los Angeles County. From the immediate crisis to finding a safe temporary shelter for victims, to breaking the cycle and permanently stopping the violence, Blumenfield believes the City of Los Angeles must invest in intervention and support services for the long term. Register now for the LA City Attorney’s webinar focused on a multi-disciplinary approach to supporting survivors of domestic violence and their children experiencing homelessness in our community happening on October 26 from 12:30pm-2pm.
If you or someone you know needs services or support, please call the LA County Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-978-3600. In the West San Fernando Valley, Haven Hills has gone above and beyond by providing safe, crisis shelter along with outreach services such as support groups and educational information sessions to survivors of domestic abuse. For more information about Haven Hills, please call 818-887-7481 or visit havenhills.org.
This week's photo from the Los Angeles Public Library's archives is from the Valley Times on June 19, 1956. Taken at the corner of Saticoy and Mason in Winnetka, drivers take a look at the buckled street caused by 105 degree temperatures. Cool pavement is one of our tools to combat climate change and improve the infrastructure in the West Valley. Learn more about this photo here.