Sunday is Father's Day, and I wish you all a good and happy time.
My dad taught me through his example as well as through his caring ways. I know that he showed me how important it is to stand up for one's beliefs but also for the right of all people to enjoy freedom, opportunity, safety and respect. He came to this country to survive the Holocaust, and he always felt it was vital that we speak up for others. He was tireless in that respect, but he was also always gentle, friendly, courteous and supportive - a gentle man and a gentleman, both.
When I think of fathers, I think of him, and also of myself and what I hopefully learned about fathering, through him. My wife, Gail, and our daughter, Rachel, have likewise taught me so much, through their understanding and wisdom. Of course, I also think of many of you that I know, and what you and your families have given me through your insights and shared experiences. I even think of fictional examples, like Atticus Finch, that great character from "To Kill a Mockingbird," played so perfectly in the film version by Gregory Peck. He, too, was a fighter and champion for the rights of others, but was also a loving parent, true gentleman and truly gentle. I think we all learn crucial lessons from such positive examples, and hopefully set such examples in turn.
Have a wonderful Father's Day – and for those of you who shop for gifts to give, I urge you, as always, to consider first the fine stores to be found right here in our 5th Council District!
Thursday, June 14, 2012 is Flag Day. So many people have done amazing, courageous and heroic things for the sake of our flag and what it represents. The red, white and blue that waves across our nation is a symbol of monumental significance, but it is also part of our physical landscape, holding fort over governmental buildings, schools, and many homes and businesses. It is impossible to surmise just how many millions upon millions of people have been moved by the literal vision as well as the idea of that flag. Certainly, many strive to live up to the noble ideals embodied in that "grand old flag," and Flag Day is an invitation to all of us to take a longer look on this occasion, and to contemplate both our diversity and our unity and the values we hold dear.
Community activists gather in Culver City to express opposition to fracking
A very interesting town hall meeting was held in Culver City on the evening of Tuesday, June 12 – it focused on hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, and was sponsored by the State of California’s Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) in Culver City. Attending the meeting were many residents of both Culver City and Los Angeles who were concerned about the effects of fracking on air quality, groundwater and, perhaps most troubling, earthquakes. On the day following the meeting, Councilmember Koretz introduced a Los Angeles City Council resolution calling on Governor Jerry Brown, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and DOGGR to place an immediate moratorium on fracking until it can be proven to be done safely.
Hydraulic fracturing – "fracking" – is a type of resource extraction that requires unconventional drilling techniques, vast quantities of water and the use of toxic chemicals, and has been the subject of controversy across the country, with unsettling evidence continuing to emerge. In a recent study in Pavillion, Wyoming, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) documented water contamination from fracking chemicals and, famously, the documentary film, “Gasland,” depicted water flowing from the water faucets in Colorado residents’ homes catching fire. Since the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power testified recently that it was unable to find any information about any fracking activities along the entire Los Angeles water supply line, Councilmember Koretz wants to ensure that our water supply is safe and secure, now and in the future.
Fracking also contributes to serious local and regional air pollution problems across the country, including the release of such hazardous air pollutants as methanol, formaldehyde, and carbon disulfide, in addition to the release of volatile organic compounds, including benzene and toluene, and nitrogen oxides. Additionally, emissions generated by producing, refining and burning shale oil, and drilling and fracking for shale oil can result in uncontrolled emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas often associated underground with oil. Councilmember Koretz is concerned that fracking in California may, in fact, undermine the state’s efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
The potential for a devastating earthquake in the Los Angeles region also has Councilmember Koretz’s full attention. Earthquakes in Ohio were linked to injection well disposing of fracking wastewater and resulted in a moratorium on injection wells in the Youngstown, Ohio, area. The United States Geological Survey recently linked about 50 earthquakes in Oklahoma, ranging in magnitude from 1.0 to 4.0, to fracking activities in that state. One of the Culver City residents testified that a fault line runs through the Inglewood Oil Field above Culver City, with the potential for a 7.0 earthquake. Fracking activities are already underway in this oil field and Councilmember Koretz wants it stopped immediately to ensure the health and safety of all 10 million people in LA County, including Culver City and the communities surrounding the Inglewood Oil Field. Joining Councilmember Koretz in introducing his resolution were Council President Herb Wesson and Councilmember Bernard Parks; seconding was Councilmember Jan Perry.
Hooray for neighborhood watch programs!
Encino community members and LAPD officers meet to address neighborhood safety
A fine recent event was the All Encino neighborhood watch annual gathering. Encino Senior Lead Officer Robert Trulik was gracious enough to organize this meeting and brought along Senior Lead Officer David Ham, who covers the Encino Village area. Councilmember Koretz and his staff salute the LAPD and the many local participants who participated in the event, and applaud all who take part in our great neighborhood watch programs! Together, you bring increased safety from crime and a friendly and positive neighborhood spirit to our community and city.
First of 405 Project ramp closures to commence on June 22nd
Photo credit: Gary Leonard for Metro.
If you live near or travel along the I-405, you are probably well aware that most of that freeway from the I-10 on the south to Ventura Blvd. on the north is an active construction zone.
The project intensifies further as closures begin this month for the complete reconstruction of the eight freeway ramps to and from the 405 freeway at Wilshire Blvd. For further details about this closure and other aspects of this project, please go to www.metro.net/projects/I-405. If you travel on the 405, it is well worth checking out this site in advance, to allow for patient study of the information contained there – as you can see from the following paragraphs, there’s a lot to absorb!
On the evening of June 22nd the first two ramps will close for up to 90 days, as the westbound Wilshire Blvd. on-ramp to the northbound 405 and the northbound 405 off-ramp to westbound Wilshire Blvd. are to be closed in tandem for demolition and reconstruction.
Impacts to the traveling public will be immense during this phase of the project. The project management team for Metro (our LA County regional transit agency) which manages the 405 project for Caltrans is working collaboratively with LA Department of Transportation engineers, the 5th Council District office and others to prepare for this upcoming closure.
The project team has anticipated the impacts upon planned detours and other alternative routes and has devised detours. Traffic detours for the closure of the westbound Wilshire Blvd. to the northbound 405 will include southbound Sepulveda to westbound Santa Monica to the northbound on-ramp, and northbound Sepulveda to the northbound on-ramp at Moraga. As a result of the detour of northbound Sepulveda north of Wilshire Blvd., the project team, in collaboration with LADOT, has developed a temporary detour for westbound traffic on Sunset – and that will enter the northbound 405 at the existing on-ramp for eastbound Sunset to the northbound 405. The current access point for westbound traffic at Sepulveda Way to Sepulveda Blvd. will be closed for the duration of this ramp closure. This temporary detour and closure was put in place by the project contractor this past weekend.
The Council office will work closely with Metro staff, the contractor and LADOT to monitor traffic patterns during the ramp closure and will be ready to make modifications if needed and when viable options are available. The Council office joins Metro in encouraging residents and commuters in the Westwood area to plan extra time for travel during these closures.
We love a parade!
Councilmember Koretz participates in the annual LA Pride Parade
In 1970, local leaders Morris Kight and Reverends Troy Perry and Bob Humphries united the LA community to produce LA PRIDE, the first LGBT Pride Parade in the world, thereby creating Christopher Street West. Forty-two years later, CSW remains committed to the goals of human rights, outreach, education and equality for the LGBT communities in Los Angeles and around the world. With over 400,000 participants, spectators and marchers, this emotionally charged experience, showcases all that is great about the LGBT community. Councilmember Koretz has been pleased to participate in this parade since its inception, and this year was happy to join with Los Angeles Councilmembers Bill Rosendahl and Joe Buscaino and various City staff in representing the City of Los Angeles.
Councilmember Koretz at the 52nd annual Glen Fair
The annual Glen Fair recently enjoyed its 52nd year of fun festivities, and Councilmember Koretz was honored to be there to salute The Residents of Bevely Glen HOA, who organized this great annual event. He thanked everyone for their tremendous civic and community activism, and had a wonderful time while also discussing local issues. As is so often the case, community involvement by many residents proved to be helpful and enjoyable for all concerned.
For 19 years, OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center has helped thousands of children, teens, and adults on their journeys to hope and healing. OUR HOUSE is a nonprofit organization, providing support groups for children and adults who have experienced the death of someone close. OUR HOUSE has 2 locations – West LA and Woodland Hills.
OUR HOUSE offers a variety of rewarding opportunities for generous and compassionate people who would like to make a difference in the lives of grieving children, teens, and adults. Volunteer opportunities include being a Group Leader, volunteering at special events, assisting in the office, and becoming an OUR HOUSE Ambassador. Currently, Group Leaders are urgently needed in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. You will be trained by the agency's clinical team to learn the skills necessary to be a Grief Support Group Leader. No previous experience is required. Training sessions starting soon.
For more information or to volunteer, please contact OUR HOUSE at 310-473-1511 or 818-222-3344, or visit their website at www.OurHouse-Grief.org.
RESIDENTIAL BURGLARIES DISTRACTING ELDERLY VICTIMS
There has been a small increase in residential burglaries in the City of Los Angeles, including in the areas of Pacific Palisades, Westwood, and West L.A., where organized groups of thieves target vulnerable elderly citizens and use trickery or a distraction to gain access to the residence and remove property.
The suspects, a diverse group of males and females ages 17 to 50, have been variously described as Caucasian, Eastern European, Hispanic, Filipino and "Gypsy." The suspects are usually very courteous and convincing. Sometimes, they have children with them. Once the victim(s) is distracted, a secondary team of burglars enters the residence and steals valuables.
Some common methods of trickery used have been:
• Posing as Department of Water & Power employees who need to inspect the backyard.
• Posing as construction workers at a neighboring house and needs to enter the backyard to inspect the wall.
• Asking to go into the backyard to get their lost cat.
• Posing as telephone company employees who need to inspect the telephone pole.
Police are seeking to raise public awareness of these crimes. To report suspicious activity or if you have information about these crimes, call the 24-hour toll free Detective Information Desk at 1-877-LAW-FULL (1-877-529-3855), or the West Los Angeles Area Front Desk at (310) 444-0701 or 444-0704.
Operation Sparkle - Fairfax
Councilmember Koretz welcomes community members at Canter's who joined together to clean and beautify their local neighborhood
This newsletter, the Hi-5, loves to promote and give credit to community and civic efforts, but sometimes a great cause or event slips by without attention being given in these pages. An Operation Sparkle effort back in March was one such instance, so we are going to slip into a time machine, so to speak, to use this current edition of the Hi 5 to give praise. Please, always feel free to let us know about past as well as upcoming community events and efforts, and also feel free to send pertinent photos: send all such information and ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
On March 3, more than 100 volunteers from Oasis Church, staff from Pacific Graffiti Solutions and Los Angeles Conservation Corps, and Melrose Action Neighborhood Watch joined forces with Councilmember Koretz and LAPD to do ‘Operation Sparkle – Fairfax."
Operation Sparkle was created in the San Fernando Valley in the early 1990s as a way to involve the various communities in making their neighborhoods better places in which to work and live. Volunteers would work with the police and go through neighborhoods and do sweeps so the neighborhoods could ‘sparkle’ again. The Police Department spearheaded the operation back then, and Councilmember Koretz was glad to work with Captain Eric Davis of Wilshire Division to see this tradition renewed on Fairfax Avenue. Operation Sparkle helps fill that critical need when neighborhoods need a sparkle. The clean-up included painting over graffiti, trash pick-up, weed abatement, power spraying sidewalks, and bulky item pick-up. Plus, a few days before the event, many local residential blocks were also cleaned, thanks to National Advertising and Promotions. They removed stickers, graffiti, posters, and trash.
Councilmember Koretz and District 5 Field Deputy John Darnell hard at work at Operation Sparkle - Fairfax
Canter's Restaurant was very gracious in providing breakfast for everyone involved. The event started off by gathering in Canter's parking lot and Councilmember Koretz thanked everyone for their efforts and gave appreciation.
And in the true tradition of Operation Sparkle events, volunteers gathered for lunch afterwards. A free lunch was provided at Currywurst (a few blocks south of Canter's). Currywurst is part of the new generation of businesses on Fairfax Avenue, and is a great community partner regarding local issues involving Fairfax Avenue. Councilmember Koretz thanks everyone involved and looks forward to the next Operation Sparkle.
Animal-friendly NBC and Subaru have the right to strut like a peacock!
In mid-March, NBC4 and Subaru teamed up to support Los Angeles Animal Services. NBC said it would donate a dollar to La Animals Services every single time someone visiting the NBC 4 facebook page clicked the Like button, up to a grand sum of $10,000. Subaru was kind enough to agree to match those donations up to $10,000 for a potential total of $20,000 of donations to LA Animal Services. The $20,000 goal was reached, and has already been partially donated.
These organizations rose to the occasion and came up with a brilliant and creative way to get much needed revenue to LA Animal Services. The City of L.A. too often suffers from overcrowded animal shelters and as a result, has not been able to save all the animals, including many that are adoptable. The generous donations from Subaru and NBC will go to fund much-needed services for the City's shelter system. Councilmember Koretz was delighted to commend NBC and Subaru for their animal-friendly civic involvement, and praised Steve Carlston, NBC4 President & General Manager and Terri Hernandez Rosales, NBC4, VP Communications & Community Affairs for helping to facilitate this arrangement.
Good people helping animals
Councilmember Koretz with the founders of Fresh Paws of Bel-Air
The 5th Council District was recently host to a syndicated radio show that is dear to the hearts of many animal lovers around the world. That's because on Saturday, June 9, Warren Eckstein and the Pet Show broadcast live from Fresh Paws of Bel-Air, a full-service pet store that includes a multifaceted grooming salon and an exceptional array of retail products and services. Fresh Paws of Bel-Air goes well beyond the norm of even an exemplary business, because it is a virtuous and compassionate leader in rescuing dogs and providing them with good homes. Warren Eckstein is also a champion regarding animal issues, for he helps raise awareness about crucial facts and numerous causes associated with animals, while encouraging a happy, healthy and harmonious sharing of our planet among all species. As an invited guest on the program that day, Councilmember Koretz discussed animal issues that have come before the City Council. The Councilmember thanks Fresh Paws founders, Ilene Katz and Linda Massaro, as well as Warren Eckstein for all that they are doing.
Congratulations, Jahan family and Pico Cleaners!
Pico Cleaners, owned by the Jahan family, receives accolades for enviromentally sound business practices
Pico Cleaners, located at 9150 W. Pico Blvd. at the corner of Oakhurst Drive, is a family owned business - and the family in question, the Jahans, are to be congratulated for being the recipient, this year, of the "Outstanding Green Citizenship Award," given out by the South Robertson Neighborhoods Council.
That honor is well earned, for Pico Cleaners has been serious and virtuous in its belief that a business should do its best to make as little impact on the environment as possible. In 2000 they stopped using PERC as a cleaning solvent, years before it was declared a banned substance in 2008. As early as 1997 they implemented a “wet clean” method that washes garments in special soap and water rather than using harsher chemical solvents. In 2008 they switched to Green Earth solvents, a method which does not use petrochemicals but rather a liquid silicon or sand. This method is now used on 65% of their garments and for which they must pay a $2500 yearly licensing fee. They also have invested in reusable garment bags for transferring cleaned clothes to their clients and encourage customers to return all hangers for recycling. In addition to their business practices, they have also made changes to their working environment and equipment, replacing boilers and water heaters with low energy appliances.
All these adaptations are expensive, but the Jahan family feels not only a responsibility to their community but to the earth on which we live… and for that we commend them today.
LAPD Wilshire Division – Rededication of Exercise Room
Pictured: Captain Eric Davis, CD5 Field Deputy John Darnell, Dr. Slava Shut, Dr. Ian Novotny, Danny Valdez, Mid City West Community Council Chair Sheryl Turner, and Mid City West Community Council Public Safety Committee Member Stefani Poretz
On June 8, an event was held at LAPD Wilshire Division for a rededication of the exercise room. Over $15,000 of equipment was donated to Wilshire Division, for which a big thank you goes to Danny Valdez from Specialty Fitness, Inc., and Dr. Slava Shut and Dr. Ian Novotny from Back 2 Health Physical Therapy. Also, much applause go to Mid City West Community Council’s Public Safety Committee for donating $980 to repair a treadmill that is heavily used by all officers at Wilshire Division, and to Stefani Poretz for spearheading this event and contacting the companies to get the equipment. The equipment donated included one treadmill, two stationary bikes, one elliptical machine, one adjustable bench and one treadmill was repaired. Canters Restaurant, Cellar 55 Restaurant and Mendocino Farms generously catered the event. The LAPD officers at Wilshire Division love the equipment and are using it constantly. Needless to say, this keeps them in tip-top shape, which has the added benefit of maximizing their great service to the public.
New equipment at the Wilshire Division!
Farewell to Kian
Left to right: Kian's mother Karen, Councilmember Koretz, KianKaeni, his aunt Connie, and his father Jerry at Council District 5's City Hall office
Legislative Deputy Kian Kaeni has served the 5th District with distinction since Councilmember Koretz took office in July, 2009. The Councilmember, Kian's fellow staffers and appreciative constituents were by no means the only ones to take note of this fine public servant – and so he has been invited to join the firm of Englander, Knabe and Allen, for whom he will now be involved in advocacy and campaign endeavors.
Kian has been a tremendous force for good on the Council floor and in the community. He has helped draft and submit Council motions and staffed the Transportation and Budget & Finance committees while also monitoring issues that come before various other committees. During very difficult fiscal times for this city and governmental jurisdictions worldwide, Kian has helped Los Angeles on the major issues of the day – including as a key staffer while Councilmember Koretz championed full funding for the Los Angeles Fire Department – but he's also been responsible for dealing with a vast range of topics and controversies that are part of the fabric of urban existence. He has always been dynamic, inventive and thorough in his reasoning, and splendid in offering and implementing effective solutions – while handling 14 things at once because that’s what needs to be done. Kian has done his part and then some.
Councilmember Koretz and Kian Kaeni on his last day at City Hall
The son of an immigrant Iranian father and a mother born to poor Iowan farmers, Kian grew up with a deep appreciation for hard work, equality and true democracy.
He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree, Cum Laude, Political Science, from San Francisco State University in 1998, and his Juris Doctor from Southwestern University School of Law in 2002. Thereafter, Kian successfully tackled numerous challenging, crucial and varied projects, including as California Political Director for People for the American Way, before joining the 5th Council District Office and entering the world of city service. We salute Kian Kaeni for his generosity of spirit and productive tenure as a member of the city family, and wish him the best in the years to come.
CONGRATULATIONS, LOS ANGELES KINGS!
Through wonderful play, amazing teamwork, incredible dedication and savvy coaching, the Los Angeles Kings are now Stanley Cup champions! Kings' fans are no longer long-suffering, and certainly deserve to relish this triumph – our congratulations go to the Kings and everyone who rooted them on!
Father's Day in City Hall
Andrea Alarcon, President of the Board of Public Works and her father Councilmember Richard Alarcon in City Council
People in city government often talk about the "city family," and that's because so many good working relationships and friendships are forged with common purpose concerning public service. As people from the different city offices and departments get to know each other better over the years, they also often get to meet each other's families.
Sometimes it does take years, but as David Zahnizer wrote so artfully for the Los Angeles Times almost a year ago:
"Andrea Alarcon began exploring the corridors of Los Angeles City Hall at age 8, tagging along with her father as he advised Mayor Tom Bradley on issues in the San Fernando Valley. By the time she was in her teens, she was the girl with braces sitting behind the desk of her dad, City Councilman Richard Alarcon, listening to the speeches of such "big, powerful personalities" as council members Joel Wachs and Jackie Goldberg. Now, as president of the powerful Board of Public Works, the Sylmar resident and single mother has stepped firmly out of her father's shadow."
The article went on to describe how Andrea Alarcon has emerged "as the public face of a newer, more budget-conscious City Hall," due to her strong leadership demanding accountability. Zahnizer wrote that concerning various controversies such as the Sunset Junction Street Fair's continued delinquency in reimbursing the city, "...the Georgetown University graduate demonstrated a tart tongue, a grasp of detail and a visible impatience with the city's inability to collect money she says is owed to it."
Councilmember Koretz has appreciated her relentless efforts on fiscal accountability but has also appreciated her hard work and determined stewardship regarding environmental issues as well as her keen commitment to do the very best with limited resources when it comes to public works and fixing our streets, sidewalks and aging infrastructure. She and her staff have worked tirelessly with the Councilmember and his staff to bring as many resources as possible, in tough economic times, to repairing potholes and paving local roads. She gets CD 5's thanks.
Clearly, she has learned a lot from her father and from the city family. So as our Father's Day tribute to the Alarcons, we share this picture from a recent City Council meeting where, as part of a panel, she watched various Councilmembers, including her father, share their views. Happy Father's Day!