Councilman Paul Koretz's Newsletter: Obama in Los Angeles and More

The POTUS is returning to attend several functions, according to the latest CD5 newsletter.

[The following information was provided by the office of Councilman Paul Koretz].

Traffic Advisory for Presidential Visit

The following has been provided by the LAPD in conjunction with the United States Secret Service:

Los Angeles Police Department advises Los Angeles motorists to expect traffic delays during the anticipated visit of the President of the United States this Sunday and Monday.

On Sunday October 7, 2012, President Barack Obama is expected to arrive in Los Angeles in order to attend several functions within the City.  Although specific details about his destinations are not available for security purposes, the following information is provided to assist community members who may have a need to travel in those areas where the President may be traveling. 

Every effort will be made to minimize the traffic impact to the public while the President is traveling through the City.  It is anticipated that the following streets may be affected and may experience temporary closures to facilitate the safe passage of the President.  Motorists are encouraged to review the following information and make the necessary plans to avoid those areas during those time periods where traffic may be stopped or congested due to the President’s motorcade.

Sunday 10/7/12

12:30 – 2:30 pm
Pico Blvd btwn. Overland Ave & Beverly Dr.
Ave of the Stars btwn. Olympic to Sunset Blvd.
Sunset Blvd btwn. Beverly Glen & Doheny Drive

3:00 – 5:00 pm
Sunset Blvd btwn. Beverly Glen & Doheny Drive
N. Whittier Drive btwn. Sunset Blvd. & Santa Monica Bl.

5:00 – 7:00 pm
Ave of the Stars btwn Wilshire Blvd. & Pico Blvd.
Motor Ave btwn. Pico Blvd. & 10 Fwy
Streets around LA Live / Nokia Center

9:30 – 11:30 pm
Motor Ave btwn National Blvd. & Pico Blvd
Ave of the Stars btwn Pico Blvd. & Santa Monica Blvd.

Monday 10/8/12
7:00 – 9:00 am
Ave of the Stars btwn Santa Monica Blvd & Pico Blvd.

These above dates times and areas are provided as a general guide and are subject to change without notice.  It is our intent to provide the best possible information to the public without compromising the safety of the President.  The public’s cooperation is greatly appreciated.

Secret Service

Visits to Southern California by presidential and vice presidential office holders and candidates increase greatly in number during an election year, due to the many fundraisers held here.  Unfortunately, the traffic impacts of these motorcades can be horrendous – that's because routing decisions, which can involve closures, are necessarily and understandably kept secret and subject to change until the last moment.

The United States Secret Service has an obvious need for secrecy and flexibility in plotting and announcing the details of these trips, and everyone respects the transcendent priority of the Secret Service's missions. Still, Councilmember Koretz wondered if appropriate improvements could be made in how we alert the public as to which areas to avoid and for how long, in order to best minimize the impact.

Consequently, he and his staff called the United States Secret Service, who were great in wanting to help.  A special thank you goes to Jim Kollar, Deputy Special Agent in Charge of the Los Angeles Field Office. Councilmember Koretz hosted a meeting that was attended by the Secret Service, LAPD, the California Highway Patrol, the L.A. County Sheriffs, LADOT, CalTrans, Metro, several Los Angeles City Council offices, and representatives of the cities of Beverly HIlls, Burbank, Culver City, Santa Monica and West Hollywood, all of which can be affected by these trips that so often travel to or through CD 5.  

The full room was completely attentive as strategies were discussed for communicating with maximum efficiency with the media and the public.  The goals were for everyone to be on the same page, with a centralized flow of information that's not unnecessarily belated and vague, and with council offices having the capacity to share information vetted and cleared by the Secret Service in as timely a manner as possible, so that local residents will have maximum advance notice and minimum stress.  It was a very positive meeting, and the Councilmember thanks everyone who participated. 

What's the best way to get the very latest POTUS information in real time? LAPD invites you to sign up for NIXLE, its breaking news notification system.  Go to LAPDonline.org and click on the NIXLE button. 

Carmageddon II postscript

The recent Carmageddon II weekend, like Carmageddon I, demonstrated how Los Angeles can overcome challenges and surpass expectations through extraordinary effort and sustained cooperation.

After all, it is a huge potential trauma to take a 10 mile section of the 405 out of circulation for a full weekend – about half a million motorists a day use that stretch on a typical weekend. 

That's why concerned governmental leaders and agencies, the media and community groups all helped get out the word to avoid the area during that weekend. Everyone joined together in a spirit of shared sacrifice, stayed away from the 405 and to a great extent avoided their cars altogether.  That allowed the work to be finished in expert manner, hours ahead of schedule.

This time, though, the media fully cooperated. Last year, the media had played an important, positive role in getting the word out in advance of last year's closures, but over the Carmageddon I weekend, news helicopters were an incessantly noisy annoyance to local neighborhoods, with multiple helicopters seemingly being in the air at all hours of day and night.  Leading up to Carmageddon II, Councilmember Koretz repeatedly asked the media to figure out ways to lessen their presence, and others added their voices, and the media clearly listened and decided to pool their video feeds, leading to far happier residents than would have otherwise been the case.  Thank you, media, and thank you, Los Angeles!

Appearing before Congress

Councilmember Koretz at the recent Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Congress 2012 with Grayce Liu, the Interim General Manager, Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (EmpowerLA)

Councilmember Koretz was proud to speak to Congress – the 2012 Los Angeles Congress of Neighborhoods.  Held on September 22, the daylong event featured speakers, workshops, community leaders and other stakeholder activists from the 95 certified neighborhood councils throughout Los Angeles.

The Councilmember thanked the many hundreds of people present for their ongoing participation in civic matters, and praised all the community groups that are helping to guide Los Angeles and its neighborhoods to a brighter future. 

He also spoke specifically about the crucial goal of public safety.  Councilmember Koretz invited all concerned people and groups to continue speaking up for restoring needed funding for the Los Angeles Fire Department, in order to avoid brownouts and ensure maximum emergency services.

Putting Los Angeles Residents Back to Work

Councilmember Koretz speaks on the importance of renewing the City's new business tax holiday program

Councilmember Paul Koretz joined Councilmember Eric Garcetti and Richard Alarcon Friday morning for a signing ceremony with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to renew the City’s new business tax holiday program. Under the New Business Tax Holiday, which was originally authored by Councilmember Richard Alarcon and former Councilmember Greig Smith, businesses are exempted from the City’s business tax for the first three years that the business operates in Los Angeles. The holiday gives new businesses the opportunity to establish a solid foundation for economic success, while creating important jobs for Los Angeles in a time when many are struggling.
The signing ceremony was held on the Wilshire Corridor in Westwood to celebrate HKS Architects, an international leader in architecture who recently used the tax holiday to move their offices to Los Angeles. Councilmember Koretz explained “from improving the game-day experience of every Dodgers fan, to helping to design the rebirth of Hollywood, HKS is a tremendous architecture firm and I am so proud to have them here in Los Angeles' 5th Council District."
Newly available data from the City of Los Angeles Office of Finance demonstrate that the New Business Tax Holiday has been effective in attracting new businesses to Los Angeles. The number of firms in Los Angeles grossing $500,000 and above that took advantage of the New Business Tax Holiday more than doubled between 2011 and 2012. The idea is that firms locate in Los Angeles and immediately begin paying property and sales taxes, their employees eat lunch and buy gasoline in Los Angeles and jobs are made available for city residents. Over time the resulting revenue increases, in fact despite the business tax holiday overall business tax revenue to the City has grown each year for the past three years.
The business tax policy is just one part of an overall jobs strategy program for the City. The Council has adopted programs to apply a local firm preference in procurement, simplified the permit process for new restaurants, increased marketing for hotels and tourism, and worked with Metro to fast-track transportation infrastructure projects. Councilmember Koretz noted that “all this means added revenues that buy real investment in our communities. It means new trees, resurfaced streets, updated parks and the best police and fire force in the nation. I’m committed to building on our accomplishments with the business tax holiday to attract the best companies in the world to Los Angeles. From permitting to customer service, we still have a ways to go but together with my colleagues I know we will get it done.”

Palms Recreation Center soon to be known as the Rosalind “Roz” Wyman Recreation Center

Councilman Koretz with Councilwoman Roz Wyman and Peter O'Malley, former president and owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers

The City of L.A.’s Board of Recreation and Parks has unanimously approved the renaming of the Palms Recreation Center (2950 Overland Ave), so that it shall be known as the Rosalind “Roz” Wyman Recreation Center. A formal ceremony marking the official renaming shall occur in Spring of 2013. The Board’s October 4th vote won swift praise from Councilmember Koretz, who now represents the 5th District which was once represented by Wyman after her trailblazing election in 1953 made her the youngest person and second woman to serve on the Los Angeles City Council.

Councilmember Koretz said, “I think it’s great that the Rec and Parks Board has agreed to rename the Center after Roz Wyman. She has been an exceptional leader. Her lifelong dedication and heroic achievements have been an incredible blessing and inspiration for our 5th District and all of Los Angeles.”

The renaming, done at the behest of Councilmember Koretz, was initiated through his earlier City Council motion which also received unanimous backing when the City Council considered it on September 28th. On hand that day were Roz Wyman and former Los Angeles Dodger president & owner Peter O’Malley. During her three terms, she was always much respected as a top-notch and diligent Councilmember, but Roz Wyman is best known for her crucial role in bringing the Dodgers here from Brooklyn. It is also true, but less well known, that she was instrumental in getting the Lakers to move here from Minnesota.

The praise for Roz Wyman and the renaming of this recreation center has continued to roll in.

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein said, “As a Councilmember, Roz changed the face of Los Angeles, having made it a major league city by helping to bring the Dodgers to Los Angeles. She also made sure the children of Los Angeles were cared for through her advocacy of parks. This facility will forever be a monument to Roz’s legacy as a public servant and a reminder for young girls and boys that public service remains a noble calling for which good does get done.” Supervisor Zev Yaroslavskly noted, “Roz Wyman has had a profound influence and impact on the City and County of Los Angeles. As a councilwoman and as a patron and advocate of arsts and culture, she has been a pivotal figure in the development and maturation of our region. It is wholly appropriate to name the Palms Recreation Center – in the heart of her original council district – for her.” Judith Kieffer. Executive Director of the LA Parks Foundation explained, “The Los Angeles Parks Foundation is pleased to accept a donation dedicated to enhancing, preserving and expanding our city parks, in recognition of the naming of the Roz Wyman Recreation Center at Palms Park.” Doug Fitzimmons, President, South Robertson Neighborhood Council stated, "For 6 decades, Roz Wyman has worked tirelessly on behalf of our neighborhood and the City. Not least among her remarkable list of achievements was championing the park system in Los Angeles. Indeed, innumerable families and children throughout our area have been enriched by her vision for Palms Recreation Center. The South Robertson Neighborhoods Council… unanimously supports the effort to rename Palms Recreation Center in her honor." Dee Olomajeye, President, Palms Neighborhood Council, remarked, "For over 60 years, Roz has worked tirelessly to advance commendable causes that improve the quality of life of the residents of our great City. In addition to serving as a Councilmember representing the 5h District, Roz's stewardship has proved indispensable in the creation of many of the parks and community centers that Angelenos and their families enjoy today… the Palms Neighborhood Council fully supports all efforts to re-name The Palms Recreation Center in Roz's honor for we believe she is most deserving of it!"

L.A. and football
NBA star Kareem Abdul Jabbar was in attendance speaking in favor of the downtown football stadium plan

In a wonderful coincidence, the same day Roz Wyman was in City Council being honored, the other big topic was bringing football back to L.A.  Decades ago, Roz Wyman led the charge in bringing the Dodgers and Lakers here, and now it's beginning to look like we'll once again have an NFL team to call our own, or at least a place where one can play. 

The packed City Hall chambers saw many luminaries including basketball great Kareem Abdul Jabbar speaking in favor of a plan for a $1.5 billion football stadium and convention center hall in Downtown L.A.  The City Council unanimously approved the environmental impact report for the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) project, thus clearing the way for construction of the 72,000 seat stadium, assuming an NFL team is found that agrees to make that new stadium its home.  Various Councilmembers asked questions about AEG being for sale and what that might mean for Los Angeles, but all felt that the project is good for Los Anglees.

Councilmember Koretz explained his support, "the jobs and the business that will result will bring us out of the recession."

Marci Marx

From left to right: Councilmember Krekorian, Councilmember Koretz, Marci Marx, and Councilmember Tom LaBonge

Councilmembers Paul Krekorian, Paul Koretz and Tom LaBonge joined together to salute the Studio City*Sherman Oaks*Encino News, and all who make it possible:   first and foremost Publisher/Editor Marci Marks, but also the News' staff, advertisers and readership. Together, they showcase how the media and communities can share crucial information and ideas about local issues, and that's a wonderful thing.  Congratulations on a great anniversary celebrating 4 years of stellar journalism! 

Deaf Awareness Month honoree


Councilmember Koretz honors Robert Arnold at City Hall at the recent Deaf Awareness Month presentation

Councilmember Koretz was delighted to honor Robert (Bob) Arnold during the City Council ceremonies commemorating Deaf Awareness Month.  That's because Robert is the creator of si5s, which is the written form of American Sign Language, or ASL.
Did you know that there are about 7,000 spoken languages in the world, and yet only about 2,500 of them have a written system?  Yet in the world of sign language, there has not been one written system.  If you don't have a have a written system, there is so much less you can explore, learn, express and share. 

American Sign Language, which is commonly called ASL, is its own distinct language; it is not a translated version of English.  It is a visual-spatial language whereas English is a verbal language. ASL is recognized as an official language, but only in its signed form. Today, however, it can be recognized in its written form, thanks to Robert. In other words, he invented a way to write ASL and he has done so while respecting and expressing the three dimensional nature of sign language.
If you're wondering about the name of that writing system – si5s – Robert explains it as follows: it is an English transcription of a gesture that is an adjustment of the common sign for the term, "sign language." 
Robert has a wonderful academic background, including a Masters of Art in Deaf Studies.  His master's thesis, "A Proposal for a Written System for ASL", explained the need for a written form of American Sign Language, and how the world can benefit from si5s.  But back in 2003, when he formed si5s, he did so NOT within the halls of a wondrous academic institution, but at a Starbucks coffee shop at Astor Place, in lower Manhattan New York.

In 2010, Robert formally presented si5s to the public at the National Deaf Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada . Since then, it has grown in recognition in the Deaf community, most notably by Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. As of the 2012 school year, Gallaudet will include the written system in its Freshman level curriculum.  Additionally, an eight-week online course will be taught by Robert, beginning in October.   Also beginning this Fall, si5s will be formally introduced into the ASL curriculum at Mt. San Antonio College, in Walnut, California.

AIDS Walk Los Angeles 2012 - Coming on October 14, 2012

Please join Councilmember Paul Koretz, and many others, at AIDS Walk Los Angeles 2012.  Every year thousands of people walk to support the cause.

 Since its inception in 1985, AIDS Walk Los Angeles has benefited AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA), an AIDS service organization dedicated to: improving the lives of people affected by HIV disease; reducing the incidence of HIV infection; and advocating for fair and effective HIV–related public policy.  AIDS Walk Los Angeles makes it possible for APLA to provide urgently needed food, dental care, safe housing, and much more to people with HIV/AIDS who also face poverty, hunger, and homelessness. APLA also runs the county’s largest network of HIV prevention programs to end the epidemic in Los Angeles.

AIDS Project Los Angeles has long recognized that no single organization can meet all the critical needs that arise from HIV/AIDS. That’s why, each year, AIDS Walk Los Angeles and APLA invite other vitally important AIDS organizations to be co–beneficiaries of the event. These organizations provide medical care, home–delivered meals, women‘s and children‘s services, and much more throughout Los Angeles. They participate as fundraising teams in AIDS Walk Los Angeles at no cost to themselves, and they keep 100% of the funds they raise. 

Please visit the website to find out more:  http://www.aidswalk.net/losangeles

Medical marijuana update

In July of this year the Council adopted a full ban (also known as the "soft" ban) on all medical marijuana dispensaries. The voters subsequently submitted adequate petitions to overturn that decision and place it on the ballot. On September 28, the Council decided to repeal their ban in light of the referendum petitions. If Council had placed the item on the ballot there would have no rules until March 2013 and considerable uncertainty regarding what rules could be adopt in the future.

This decision has two immediate consequences: marijuana will not appear on the March 2013 ballot (which is good because some costly turmoil will be avoided), and the City now has no operative rules regarding medical marijuana establishments (state and federal law still applies). This creates the next challenge of enacting new rules for dispensaries within Los Angeles. Councilmember Koretz and his staff have already worked with the City Attorney to draft such an ordinance and hope to present that ordinance to the planning commission later this month. Councilmember Koretz has been very clear that he wants an ordinance that will ban most but not all dispensaries and protect neighborhoods while still securing safe access for legitimate patients.

The Council also adopted a resolution asking the State to clarify the law regarding medical marijuana and grant the City a clear path for regulation and control.

The September 28 decisions has something for everyone to be happy about. For marijuana opponents this actually allows the City to adopt new rules faster than waiting for the March election (an ordinance could in theory be adopted the second week of November but in 2010 it took 8 months so time will tell), and it prevents a chaotic period leading up to an election. For marijuana supporters today's decision means that the City can craft regulations that protect patient access for those who are truly in need.

Dawn October 06, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Solyndra, Solyndra, Solyndra! How many millions does Obama need to spend, just to lose the election?
BackwardsThinker October 07, 2012 at 06:32 PM
A round of applause for Paul Koretz. A sensible councilman mindful of our city's differing views.


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