Get Free Trees from City Plants + Read Their Urban Forestry Report

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It’s easy to be green thanks to the work of organizations like City Plants, a non-profit running a public-private partnership between the City of LA and six other non-profit organizations. Together they work with Neighborhood Councils, community groups, residents, and businesses to coordinate tree planting and care throughout LA.

Spring is the perfect time to plant a tree and City Plants offers free trees for your street and yard – order your free trees today!

Speaking of trees, are you curious about Los Angeles’ urban forest policies and management? Check out the recently released City Plants and Dudek report, “First Step Toward an Urban Forest Management Plan for the City of Los Angeles” to learn about the steps needed to achieve a sustainable and equitable urban forest.

New Way to Report Suspicious Activity in Our Neighborhood on LAPD Website

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Hello stakeholders, we learned of a new feature on LAPD website when I’d to call non-emergency LAPD for another issue. The helpful dispatcher informed us about this new feature, iWatchLA and we wanted to share with our neighborhood: “http://www.lapdonline.org/iwatchla” –> then click “To file an online report click here.”

You can also download the iWatchLA app on iOS/Android. Let’s be vigilant in our neighborhood for suspicious activities.

LAUSD District 5 Board Election Could Shift Balance Of Charter Power Today

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As voters head to the polls to fill the vacant LAUSD board seat today, the board’s pro-charter majority’s power hangs in the balance.

Ten candidates will be vying Tuesday to fill a vacant seat on the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education in an election that could again shift the balance of power on the seven-member panel.

The vacancy was created last July when board member Ref Rodriguez pleaded guilty to conspiracy and other charges for laundering campaign donations from family and friends. He resigned from his board seat the same day.

The vacant District 5 seat represents areas including Atwater Village, Eagle Rock, Highland Park, Los Feliz, Mount Washington and Silver Lake.

The LAUSD Board of Education is evenly split between pro-charter forces and those aiming to check charter expansion head.

Jackie Goldberg, 74, a former teacher, LAUSD board member, Los Angeles City Council member and Democratic state legislator, is widely considered a front-runner in the race. Two LAUSD board members last year unsuccessfully tried to have her appointed to the seat to serve out the balance of Rodriguez’s term, which runs through next year. But the proposal was rejected in favor of calling the special election.

Goldberg is heavily backed by United Teachers Los Angeles, the union representing the district’s teachers. The union has been pouring money into Goldberg’s campaign, hoping to undo a board majority that generally favored expansion of charter schools in the district. Rodriguez’s departure left the board with a 3-3 split on the issue, and a Goldberg victory would swing the panel back in UTLA’s favor. Read more »

Improving Local Air Quality through the Lawn and Garden Equipment Exchange Program

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Improving air quality of our neighborhoods requires everyone to step up. To that end, the Southern California Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) has begun an equipment exchange program. Commercial gardeners and landscapers, local government agencies, school districts and colleges, and non-profit organizations are eligible to participate in cleaning up our air while saving money and upgrading their equipment.

The goal of the program is to improve air quality by exchanging older, polluting gasoline- or diesel-powered commercial lawn and garden equipment for new zero emission, battery electric commercial grade equipment for operation within SCAQMD four county region. One equivalent operable gasoline- or diesel-powered piece of lawn and garden equipment must be scrapped to qualify for incentive funding towards battery electric replacement equipment.

For more information please visit the SCAQMD website.

Did you feel the earthquake this morning?

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Light shaking could be felt across the San Fernando Valley Wednesday morning.

The temblor was a magnitude 2.8, and its epicenter was roughly a mile from North Hills, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Residents felt the shaking at about 9:46 a.m. According to the USGS, the quake was close to the surface, comparatively shallow at a depth of 6.8 miles. Light shaking was felt across the San Fernando Valley, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

The small quake was the largest felt in the region over the last 10 days, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Teachers Approve Deal To End Strike

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“A vast super-majority” of teachers have voted to to accept an agreement reached Tuesday, ending LA’s teacher strike.

“A vast super-majority” of teachers have voted to approve the tentative agreement, ending the strike, United Teachers Los Angeles President Alex Caputo-Pearl said. Teachers will return to their classes Wednesday, Caputo- Pearl said.

Union leaders and administrators with the Los Angeles Unified School District announced a deal Tuesday that could send teachers back to the classroom Wednesday, ending the first Los Angeles teachers strike in 30 years.

LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner and United Teachers Los Angeles President Alex Caputo-Pearl joined Mayor Eric Garcetti at a morning news conference at City Hall to announce the breakthrough, which Garcetti said came after “a 21-hour marathon session that wrapped up just before sunrise this morning.”

UTLA teachers went on strike Jan. 14, calling for smaller class sizes and the hiring of more support staff, such as nurses, counselors and librarians, and a pay raise. Beutner said during the standoff with the union that its demands would cost billions of dollars and bankrupt a district already teetering on insolvency.

The new proposal was voted on by UTLA members on Tuesday, and teachers will return to work Tuesday. The LAUSD Board of Education also needs to formally approve the deal.

“The strike nobody wanted is now behind us,” Beutner said at the City Hall news conference, reflecting confidence that the deal will be approved.

But he also cautioned: “We can’t solve 40 years of under-investment in public education in just one week or just one contract. Now that all students and our educators are heading back to the classroom, we have to keep pour focus and pay attention to the long-term solutions. … The importance of this moment is public education is now the topic in every household in our community. Let’s capitalize on this. Let’s fix it.”

Caputo-Pearl said the tentative agreement addressed the union’s core issues.

“We have seen over the last week something pretty amazing happen,” Caputo-Pearl said. “We went on strike in one of the largest strikes the United States has seen in decades. And the creativity and innovation and passion and love and emotion of our members was out on the street, in the communities, in the parks for everyone to see.”

The deal includes a 6 percent pay raise for teachers, with 3 percent retroactive to the 2017-18 school year and another 3 percent retroactive to July 1, 2018. It also includes provisions for providing a full-time nurse at all schools, along with a teacher-librarian. The proposal also calls for the hiring of 17 counselors by October.

The proposal also outlines a phased-in reduction of class sizes over the next three school years, with additional reductions for “high needs” campuses.

Caputo-Pearl said the issue of class size is a key element of the pact. He said the district agreed to eliminate contract language he dubbed an “escape clause” that would allow the district to increases class sizes in the future.

A main thrust of the union’s strike was a call for increases in the number of nurses, counselors and librarians at campuses. According to the district, the proposed agreement’s provisions for reducing class sizes and hiring nurses, librarians and counselors will cost an estimated $175 million from 2019-21, and $228 million for 2021-22.

It was unclear exactly how the costs will be covered. Garcetti said the deal’s various provisions will include a combination of funding or other support from the state, county and city.

The county Office of Education, which oversees the district and has raised questions in recent weeks about the LAUSD’s financial stability, will have to review the proposed deal.

“Our obligation is to ensure that the district has a funding plan in place to cover the costs associated with this agreement, and thereby able to remain fiscally solvent,” county Superintendent Debra Duardo said in a statement. “Now that a tentative agreement is in place, the Los Angeles County Office of Education has the legal obligation to review and provide comments before the LAUSD governing board takes action.

“While the statute provides a window of 10 working days, we intend to provide these comments as soon as possible once we receive the relevant data,” Duardo said.

The proposal also calls on the district to support a statewide cap on charter schools and to provide regular reports on proposed co-locations of charter and public school campuses. The deal also calls on the mayor to support a ballot initiative going to voters in November 2020 that would roll back Proposition 13 property tax limits on commercial buildings to increase state tax revenue for public education.

“We have seen over the last few weeks the way that the city has rallied around public education, and quite frankly it’s been breathtaking; it’s been inspiring to see,” Garcetti said.

Just before the strike began, Beutner said the district’s latest contract offer to the union “represents the best we can do,” but of the new deal, he said Tuesday that “this does even more” than the previous one.

The union had vocally disputed the district’s claim that it could not afford more extensive investment in school staffing, pointing to what it called an estimated $1.8 billion reserve fund and insisting the district has not faced a financial deficit in five years. The district contended that reserve fund is already being spent, in part on the salary increase for teachers.

Caputo-Pearl, who stood next to Beutner during the news conference, was asked about his past comments in which he harshly criticized the superintendent while accusing him of lying about the amount of money the district has available, and being dedicated to privatizing schools. The UTLA president was also asked if he could trust Beutner to follow through on the deal.

“We have, Austin Beutner and I, we certainly have our differences, and we’ve expressed those, and I think we will continue to express those. But what we’ve been able to do over the last chunk of days is work together with a bunch of partners and a bunch of help to forge an agreement that we are both committed to making sure is implemented, to make sure that our students are served and our schools are improved,” Caputo-Pearl said.

He added, “We are building trust, and the last several days have helped on that.”

Garcetti quipped that “I’m not saying that everybody is going to go and have a beer today, but I do think that this is a new chapter.”

The second-largest school district in the nation, the LAUSD covers 710 square miles and serves more than 694,000 students at 1,322 schools, although 216 schools are independent charter schools, most of which were being staffed with non-union teachers unaffected by the strike. The district says about 500,000 students have been affected by the walkout.

District officials said the UTLA strike, which kept teachers out of classrooms for six school days as of Tuesday, had cost the LAUSD at least $125 million in attendance-based state funding. That amount is partially offset by an estimated $10 million per day by the salaries that were not paid to striking teachers.

Candidate Workshop 2019 Neighborhood Council Elections (1/19/2019 in Van Nuys)

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Date and Time

Sat, January 19, 2019
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM PST

Location

Marvin Braude Building
6262 Van Nuys Boulevard
Van Nuys, CA 91401

Description

At our Neighborhood Council Candidate Workshop, you’ll learn tips for:

  • running a successful campaign
  • connecting with voters
  • advocating for issues you’re passionate about
  • writing your personal statements

You’ll also be able to register as a candidate during the workshop, either online (if you bring your own tablet or laptop) or on paper.

Please make sure to RSVP, to make sure we have enough space for everyone. Read more »

LA Teachers Strike Postponed

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Less than 24 hours before the possible strike of 33,000 LA teachers, the union announced plans to hold off for a few more days.
United Teachers Los Angeles is delaying the start of a possible teachers strike until Monday, union leaders announced Wednesday.

Thursday was the original strike date publicly set by the union weeks ago, but the Los Angeles Unified School District has challenged that date in court, contending it was not given official 10-day notice, as state law requires. Although the legal challenge is still playing out in Los Angeles Superior Court, UTLA leaders announced the new strike deadline at a news conference outside district headquarters just before entering into another round of bargaining with LAUSD leaders.

“While we believe that we would eventually win in court against all of (Superintendent) Austin Beutner’s anti-union, high-priced attempts to stop our legal right to strike, in order for clarity, and to allow members and our communities to plan, UTLA is moving the strike date to Jan. 14,” UTLA Vice President Gloria Marinez said.

Should more than 30,000 teachers, nurses, librarians and counselors strike, it would be the district’s first walkout in 30 years, impacting 600,000 students.

LAUSD officials have tried a number of legal maneuvers to delay the strike, but the district’s efforts to date have been unavailing. On Tuesday, no hearing took place after Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Samantha Jessner denied a motion by UTLA for an exemption to the electronic filing rules that would have allowed a hearing to occur.

Before the delayed strike date, the union’s goal in court gas been preempt the district from going to court on the same issue after a strike begins; if that occurred, a judge could shut down the strike for several days, dampening its momentum.
No court rulings are expected to be made Wednesday, and both sides are scheduled to be back in court at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

The LAUSD case scheduled to be heard Thursday before Judge Mary H. Strobel seeks a delay of a matter of weeks based on grounds that UTLA did not comply with a requirement that its members not encourage a strike for a 10-day period after the Jan. 3 announcement of the walkout.

UTLA’s case, which maintains the union indeed gave the LAUSD a legally required 10-day notice that its members would stop working under the existing contract, is currently before another judge. The union attorneys will try Wednesday afternoon to get their case before Strobel to be heard Thursday morning as well.

The LAUSD Board of Education passed a motion Tuesday that eases background check requirements for some parent volunteers in anticipation of the need for help in the event of a strike. Those volunteers will not need to pass a full federal background check but will still be checked against a national database of sex offenders. The less-restrictive policy would kick in only if the superintendent declared an emergency. A volunteer would then simply fill out a form and the district would check a database to make sure the person was not a registered sex offender.

The district has 12,000 volunteers who have cleared background checks, said district spokeswoman Shannon Haber.

The board Tuesday also passed a resolution that directs Beutner to create a three-year “enterprise plan” aimed at bringing in more money. The resolution states that the district faces a structural budget deficit that requires the district to cut costs and generate additional revenue, and sets a March 18 deadline for creating a plan that could include parcel tax and school bond measures, as well as strategies for increasing enrollment.

“We recognize that Los Angeles Unified needs more resources, and this resolution confirms our commitment to work with families, labor partners, and the communities we serve to achieve this,” Beutner said.

No one issue separates the two sides. They have been negotiating for nearly two years without coming close to a resolution. They’ve already gone through mediation and a fact-finding session in recent months. The fact finder’s report was issued last month, and it sparked more verbal sparring between the two sides.

The LAUSD said it brought forward a new proposal Monday that would have added nearly 1,000 additional teachers, counselors, nurses and librarians, which the UTLA rejected. UTLA President Alex-Caputo Pearl told reporters he had several problems with the proposal and was surprised the district had “so little to offer.” He said, “Unless something changes significantly there will be a strike in the city of L.A.”

Caputo-Pearl said the district’s latest proposal was inadequate for several reasons, including that a potential raise for teachers would be contingent on cutting future health care benefits, that it actually increases class size instead of lowering it, and would not add enough long-term nurses, counselors, and librarians.

With about 900 schools in the district, Caputo-Pearl said the offer would only amount to about one additional employee per school. He added that it was not clear if the 1,000 positions agreed to by the district would be new hires or the result of the district shuffling around employees.

For its part, the district has insisted that its contract offer to the union incorporates many of the recommendations set forth in a previous fact- finding report, such as a 6 percent pay raise, a $30 million investment in hiring of professional staff, reducing class sizes and elimination of a section of the labor agreement that the union claims would allow the district to unilaterally increase class size.

UTLA officials have said many elements of the district’s offer remained “unclear,” suggesting that the 6 percent salary increase being offered still appears to be contingent on cuts to future union members’ health care and contending the offer also appears to maintain the contract section allowing increases in class size.

The union is also continuing to push for increased district investment in hiring of counselors, nurses, librarians and other professional staff, saying the $30 million proposed by the district would have a negligible impact on only a small percentage of LAUSD campuses.

The union has been pushing the district to tap into an estimated $1.8 billion reserve fund to hire more staff and reduce class sizes. LAUSD says the staffing increases being demanded by the union would cost an estimated $786 million a year, further depleting a district already facing a $500 million deficit.

Beutner told reporters the district simply did not have enough money to address all of UTLA’s demands.

“There’s no more than that, so the notion that we are hoarding reserves, the notion that more money exists somewhere else to give more to reduce class sizes at this time, is not accurate,” Beutner said. “We are spending more than we have in service of our students.”

Despite the absence of a consensus between the district and its teachers, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, who has no formal role in education issues, was relatively upbeat about Monday’s talks. He was involved in separate phone conferences with both sides, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“Yesterday was really a very positive sign that they’re at the table,” he said Tuesday. “An agreement won’t get finalized in the street or in a press release but in face-to-face conversations.”

He added: “There’s not a lot that separates them. People want lower class sizes. People want fair pay. People also want to make sure that there’s support in our schools.”

But could this be a long strike?

“It could be,” the mayor said. “It really depends on the leadership, both sides, the union and of the administration. Without betraying any of the confidential negotiations, I think real progress was made yesterday (Monday). Still many steps to go, but after a long time with them never really talking to each other for months, I think that conversation has finally started.”

Community Meeting- Naming of New Porter Ranch Park (1/14/18)

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The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks enlists your support in the determination of a name for a new 50-acre park in Porter Ranch.

On January 14, 2019, L.A. City Parks and Council District 12 will meet with the community at the Chatsworth Recreation Center (22360 Devonshire St., Chatsworth, CA 91311) from 6-8 pm to receive input in the naming process.

Get Your SHAKEALERTLA Phone App

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L.A. County earthquake early-warning app is now available on iPhone and Android devices through the Apple APP Store and Google Play Store.

This phone app alerts Los Angeles County residents to earthquakes, possibly giving critical seconds of warning before shaking starts. You may receive the alert before during or after shaking.

Community Meeting Friday – Help Name the New 50-Acre Park in Porter Ranch!

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Park Community Meeting

Councilmember Englander and The Department of Recreation and Parks invite you to join us on Friday, November 16th at 4:00PM at the Granada Hills Charter High School to assist in the naming of a new park in Porter Ranch!

The park, located at 11900 MASON AVENUE, is planned to offer outdoor pavilion, splash pad, courts, hiking trail, and great views of Los Angeles.

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More info:
https://www.dailynews.com/2018/10/10/this-new-porter-ranch-park-will-be-named-after-la-councilman-englanders-mom-sister/

https://urbanize.la/post/50-acre-park-coming-porter-ranch

A Bridge Home: FAQ for LA’s Temporary Homeless Housing Initiative

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Mayor Garcetti’s temporary homeless housing initiative – called A Bridge Home – has begun rolling out across LA, with the first site already open in the historic city center district near El Pueblo.

Many Neighborhood Councils have been fielding questions and concerns from their stakeholders about the impact this program will have on their community. The Mayor’s office has created the following FAQ, to answer the most commonly-asked questions about A Bridge Home.

Please feel free to share this information with your neighbors. If you’d like to download or share a printable version of this FAQ, here’s the link to do so: http://tiny.cc/BridgeHomeFAQ

FAQ in Spanish: https://www.lamayor.org/bridge-home-spanish

FAQ in Korean: https://www.lamayor.org/bridge-home-korean

To learn more about A Bridge Home, please visit LAMayor.org/bridge-home

FAQ: ANSWERS ABOUT BRIDGE HOUSING FROM THE MAYOR’S OFFICE

Why was my neighborhood selected for bridge housing?
If we’re going to end homelessness, we need to create solutions in every community — which is why the Mayor’s budget funds temporary emergency housing in all 15 Council Districts. Each temporary emergency housing site will be selected based on its proximity to dense homeless encampments. These sites are specifically designed to serve the homeless population that already lives in your community, and will help clean up encampments in your neighborhood. Every Council District that builds temporary emergency housing will receive additional sanitation and LAPD HOPE Team funds to restore spaces that were previously encampment sites into safe, clean, public passageways.

Who is going to live in the new housing?
The City is deploying teams of outreach workers to engage homeless Angelenos who live around the A Bridge Home site to ensure that people moving into the temporary emergency housing are already residents of the neighborhood. The only qualification for people to move in is their proximity to the site. Each site is specifically designed to support the needs of the population nearby — whether they are women, men, or senior citizens. Everyone will have their housing needs assessed as they come on-site, and their case manager will work with them to move them into a more permanent solution.

Will A Bridge Home bring homeless people into my neighborhood?
No. This temporary emergency housing is designed specifically to serve people who live in encampments in the community surrounding the site, who will be pre- identified during a period of outreach. The City is bringing in additional sanitation and enforcement services to ensure that the streets surrounding the sites remain safe and clean.

How are you deciding where to put the bridge housing?
The City is primarily looking at lots it already owns — that are at least 20,000 square feet in size and located near dense homeless encampments. But before a site is officially chosen, it is assessed by engineers to ensure that it’s an appropriate place to put temporary housing, and that it’s equipped with the necessary water, power, and sewage connections.

What will the sites look like?
Each council district is committed to creating a site that reflects the spirit and aesthetic of the neighborhood where it stands. They will be designed to incorporate the input of service providers, to
optimize access to services and create a comfortable community space that helps clients stabilize and get back on their feet. The structures themselves will be trailers or platformed spaces covered in canvas.

How long will they be open?
Three years.

What are the hours of operation for A Bridge Home sites?
The sites are operated 24 hours a day; 7 days a week, with staff and security on site at all times.

How long do you expect people to stay in the bridge housing?
Our goal is to move people out of the shelters and into more permanent housing as quickly as possible — meaning that beds could turn over as many as four times in a year. But how long someone stays in the temporary emergency housing is based on their need. The sites will be staffed with housing navigators, mental health professionals, and anti-addiction specialists who will help clients get back on their feet as quickly as possible.

Will our neighborhood be less safe with this bridge housing?
No. All of the sites will be fully staffed with 24/7 on-site security, and City staff will closely monitor each site to help ensure safety and cleanliness. Our County partners are ramping up the deployment of outreach workers and supportive services to local homeless residents, to help them transition into the temporary emergency housing, and later into permanent homes. With the City’s additional funding for sanitation services, existing encampments will be converted into clean, safe public spaces for all residents to enjoy.

Are you going to have services on site?
Yes! The City and County have partnered to fund services for all residents of A Bridge Home sites that will help people move out of the temporary emergency housing and into permanent housing as quickly as possible. Each resident will have a case manager, as well as mental health, housing, and substance abuse support — not to mention three meals a day, storage, showers, restrooms, a place for pets, and 24/7 security.

Are residents of A Bridge Home sites required to be sober?
No. Entry to the site is determined by how close someone’s tent is to the site — not whether they’re sober. However, each site will be fully equipped with mental health and anti-addiction specialists who will help new residents start on the path to sobriety.

How are you going to make sure the encampments don’t come back?
The City is committed to making sure that the streets surrounding new A Bridge Home sites stay safe and clean. Homeless Angelenos will still be able to put up their tents between the hours of 9pm and 6am, but during the daytime, the City is establishing special enforcement zones to ensure that tents are taken down.

Are you criminalizing homelessness?
This effort is in no way intended to criminalize people who live on the streets. We cannot — and will not — arrest our way out of the homelessness crisis. People in desperate need of help should not be punished for their circumstances. The City’s priority is bringing people indoors — not issuing citations. However, if homeless residents choose not to take down their tents during the daytime, and receive citations as a result, the Mayor’s Office will connect them with the HEART program, which gives homeless Angelenos the option of doing community service or participating in substance abuse counseling in lieu of paying fines.

This doesn’t sound like a permanent solution. What about everyone who doesn’t get into A Bridge Home site?
Thanks to the voters of L.A., the City is getting to work building thousands of units of supportive housing for our most vulnerable homeless neighbors over the next decade. But people who are living on the streets tonight can’t wait for new housing to come online. They need help now. That’s why A Bridge Home is helping connect people to permanent solutions today.

How else can I help my homeless neighbors?
No one can do everything to solve homelessness, but everyone can do something. The most important thing you can do is say “yes” to supportive housing and bridge housing in your community, and help educate your neighbors about the critical importance of this work. You can also learn more about how you can help at LAMayor.org/HelpHomelessAngelenos

Today Is California’s Last Day To Register To Vote in the 2018 Election

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If you aren’t registered to vote by Monday night, you’ll have no say on the gas tax, daylight savings time, the governorship, or Congress.

Monday is the deadline to register to vote in California, and here are just some of the ways the Nov 6. Election will affect you: it will determine whether you have to change your clocks twice a year and set your alarm earlier, how much you pay at the gas pump, and whether or not your city can enact rent control. It’s also going to determine which party controls the U.S. House of Representatives. California voters will have a major say in the matter because this year, the Golden State holds the key to the House.

You can register to vote here before the Monday deadline at 11:59:59 p.m. — it only takes a minute. If you aren’t sure if you’re registered at your current address, you can check the status of your voter registration here.

City of L.A. phasing out single-use plastic straws by 2021

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By 2021, all L.A. restaurants will phase out single-use plastic straws with NEW straws-upon-request policy.

LA City Councilman Mitchell Englander to Vacate His Seat December 31 to Join Oak View Group

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A Personal Statement from CD12 Councilmember Mitchell Englander

Dear [constituent],

Serving on the Los Angeles City Council has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my entire life and has gone way beyond a career. I truly love what I do and who I work with.

Recently, I was presented with an amazing opportunity in the private sector to work with some of the most brilliant and well-respected leaders in their industry. While I didn’t seek this out – sometimes tremendous opportunities find you.

Second only to my marriage to Jayne of 25 years and the pride of raising my two daughters, Lindsey and Lauren, serving as Councilmember for the area I grew up in will forever be one of my life’s most significant and gratifying experiences. Given the joy I have received in serving the people of the 12th Council District, it is with great difficulty that I am announcing that I am vacating my Council seat as of December 31, 2018.

Together, we’ve weathered horrific emergencies and tragedies from fires, to train collisions, the largest gas blow-out in U.S. history, and more. Throughout these crises, our community always came together – never running away from, but always toward danger in order to help each other. We became even stronger.

We have accomplished so much together to improve our community and the lives of all residents for generations to come. Together, we have rebuilt parks and opened new ones. In fact, it was just last week that we broke ground on our new Bloom Park in Porter Ranch. We have opened new pools, established at-risk-youth facilities, expanded hospitals, fought to protect our neighborhoods from overdevelopment, protected horse-keeping, created a first-of-its-kind rescue mission shelter for homeless families, opened new veterans’ housing, completed massive community improvements and created new programs like Making Movies that Matter, Clean Streets – Clean Starts, Neighborhoods FIRST, E12 Student Leadership Academy, the City’s first ever Great Street, and so much more.

As Chair of the Public Safety Committee, I am so proud to have helped transform the Los Angeles Fire Department with the implementation of FireSTAT, which has improved response times, saving countless lives every day. We created new programs like our LAFD Fast Paramedic Response and Nurse Practitioner Unit (NPU), which completely revolutionized our fire department now and forever. We were also the largest police department to fully deploy on-body cameras to make sure we remain accountable to the public and to ensure our officers are even more protected. We have also eliminated our backlog for processing rape kits, a priority I set as mission critical.

This is only a fraction of what we have achieved together. The greatest gift has been working with the incredibly engaged and passionate people throughout the 12th District. My family and I are truly honored to have worked with thousands of volunteers who give selflessly to improve our neighborhoods and have forged lifelong relationships with so many.

I am also incredibly blessed to have worked with my fellow elected officials. While we didn’t always agree, I genuinely believe that each one of them has brought their own lifelong experiences to the table and will continue to fight hard for what they believe in. We’ve always shared a common goal – to leave the City and our community better than we found it. I will forever treasure the relationships I’ve shared with my colleagues and so many City staff over the last 15 years.

The most difficult part of this decision will be leaving my team that serves the 12th District every day. The staff of CD12 has been much more than just staff to my family and me. I consider each and every one of them family. I have been incredibly blessed with the best team in the entire City of Los Angeles. Their tremendous work on behalf of our constituents is unmatched, and their never-ending creative ideas and massive achievements are extraordinary. We have also been there for each other for so many milestones in our personal lives – celebrating weddings, funerals and newborns and so much more. My CD12 family will always be part of my family!

If I ever dreamed of fulfillment beyond what being a Councilmember has brought me, it would be to make a significant difference in many more lives and communities. This new endeavor will give me just that. The remarkable people I am joining are not only passionate about their work, they care deeply about improving lives in every community they work in – and they do. They have helped completely turn neighborhoods around, created tens of thousands of good paying jobs, invested significantly in community programs that make a difference, all while creating memories and bringing joy to millions of people throughout the world.

I will be staying on in my position as Councilmember until the end of this year and will remain laser-focused on continuing to represent my district as I have always done. My family and I will also remain deeply involved in all of our non-profit partnerships and volunteer programs for years to come.

It is with tremendous gratitude that my family and I thank you for giving us this opportunity to accomplish so much together over the past decade.

With sincere appreciation,

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LADWP Approves New Community Solar Power Program for Renters

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Pilot Program Targets Areas with Low Solar Penetration

LOS ANGELES (September 26, 2018) – Recognizing that a large segment of the city’s population is unable to benefit from solar power, the Board of Water and Power Commissioners voted September 25 to launch a new community solar program to improve solar equity for renters and to expand geographic diversity of solar projects in Los Angeles.

The pilot Shared Solar Program stems from LADWP’s Equity Metrics Data Initiative, which identified the need to expand the benefits of solar to renters as well as improve the geographic solar diversity in Los Angeles, bringing clean energy to more vulnerable communities.

The program will bring the economic and environmental benefits of this clean sustainable resource to customers who live in multifamily buildings and cannot participate in traditional solar programs. To broaden the geographic equity of local solar projects, the solar power will come in part from new projects built by LADWP in areas identified as having a lack of installed solar. These include economically disadvantaged communities as well as those designated by the city as “Clean Up Green Up” neighborhoods—Pacoima-Sun Valley in the East San Fernando Valley, Boyle Heights near downtown, and Wilmington in the Harbor area. If green-lighted by the City Council, LADWP expects to launch the program in January 2019.

“Every Angeleno should have access to clean energy, and you shouldn’t have to be a homeowner to be part of L.A.’s sustainable future,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “The Shared Solar Program will make that possible for more people in our communities — and progress today will keep us on the path to a tomorrow powered by 100 percent renewable energy.”

“The shared solar program gives my constituents in the Sixth District the right to access clean energy,” said Councilwoman Nury Martinez, Chair of the City Council’s Energy, Climate Change, and Environmental Justice Committee. “There should not be economic barriers to saving our environment. This program makes solar power affordable and also creates good, clean energy jobs that our community need most.”

Under the pilot program, participating customers will be able to purchase blocks of solar power—up to 100 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month—at a 10-year fixed rate, enabling customers to better manage their electricity bill. LADWP has committed to providing up to 10 megawatts (MW) of solar power under the pilot program. LADWP will build new local solar on rooftops of LADWP and City-owned buildings, parking lots, and other structures. Part of the solar power for the program will also come from a large-scale 90 MW solar project due to be completed in 2019 in the Mojave Desert.

“Los Angeles is already America’s No. 1 Shining City, and now thousands more Angelenos will be able to enjoy the benefits of solar power,” said Mel Levine, President of the LADWP Board of Water and Power Commissioners. “At the same time, the program will help us achieve the Sustainable City pLAn local solar goals and our aggressive renewable energy targets.”

Expanding community solar has been an important component of Mayor Garcetti’s Sustainable City pLAn. Shared Solar is another example of LADWP’s commitment to delivering on the goals of that plan.

“We are absolutely committed to reducing economic barriers to solar power in Los Angeles, and so we are initially giving priority to customers who rent and live in areas that have not benefited from solar through other LADWP solar programs,” LADWP General Manager David H. Wright said.

Wright said the Board’s action today is just a first step. “The program’s end goal is to carve out a reduced rate for Shared Solar to make it affordable for income-qualified and disadvantaged customers,” he said. Toward that end, LADWP is working with community partners to obtain external funding, such as grants, to offset the cost of a discounted low-income rate. The Shared Solar program was crafted to be revenue neutral for non-participants, so that the proposed rate covers the cost of procuring, building, operating, and maintaining the solar projects along with program administration.

“What we won today is one of the nation’s first community solar programs that prioritizes reducing inequities while setting the course for a meaningful transition to renewables,” said Allison Mannos, Director of the RePowerLA Campaign at the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE). “Since 2014, Repower LA has organized for a new clean energy future at LADWP that benefits low-income ratepayers and could grow over time.”

Shared Solar is part of LADWP’s umbrella of Community Solar Programs. LADWP launched the first Community Solar Program in February 2017—the pilot Solar Rooftop Program (SRP)—which also prioritizes customers who reside in areas of low solar penetration. Under this program, customers receive a fixed payment from LADWP to lease their roof space for a solar system that LADWP installs at no cost to the homeowner. Participating customers receive an annual $360 check for the year for 20 years. Currently, 43 homes have been approved for the Solar Rooftop Program, representing about a total of 110 kilowatts of new clean solar energy for customers who couldn’t install solar on their own.

LADWP is also developing a pilot Virtual Net Energy Metering Program (VNEM) as part of community solar. A VNEM program enables customers in multifamily housing to receive a credit on their bill for solar that is installed on their building. “LADWP’s efforts toward solar equity are growing and so is the Community Solar Program,” Wright said.

Under a Board resolution in June 2018, LADWP committed to accelerating the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from its power facilities while expanding energy efficiency and community solar programs that primarily benefit renters in multifamily housing. That action led to an increased investment of $10 million in Community Solar Programs to launch Shared Solar and started the development of the new VNEM Program.

http://www.ladwpnews.com/ladwp-approves-new-community-solar-power-program-for-renters/

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