Category: Granada Hills North

Community Cheers “Very Major” Council Vote to Improve Neighborhood Empowerment

From the CD2 website

That big sigh of relief you heard this morning was from the city’s 91 neighborhood councils, who cheered a vote by the City Council Wednesday on a motion to they say will strengthen community empowerment.

The motion, by Councilmember Paul Krekorian, chair of the Education and Neighborhoods Committee, restored five positions to the embattled Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) and transfered $1.3 million to it from the Community Development Department (CDD).

“This is a budget-neutral action that does not cost taxpayers a dime, but still allows the department to function in support of neighborhood councils,” Krekorian said. “DONE’s budget and staffing have been decimated of late, so this fiscally prudent move was an important step to strengthen community participation in governance.”

In fact, DONE itself was close to decimation after the mayor proposed rolling the department into CDD during this year’s budget negotiations. Neighborhood councils railed against that proposal, fearing it would be the death knell for the community empowerment department after its funding – and staff positions – had been steadily siphoned off.


Community empowerment: Alive and well in L.A.

 

As late as 2008, DONE operated with 72 staff members to help the city’s neighborhood councils flourish. Earlier this year, as the city’s fiscal situation worsened, the department’s budget was greatly reduced as its staff was cut to 36 people. Later, that figure was slashed in half again, to 18, where it stood before Wednesday’s action.

“Today’s vote was very major,” said Barbara Monaghan-Burke, chair of the Studio City Neighborhood Council’s Government Affairs Committee. “This is just the beginning of restructuring [DONE] as an independent system so we can operate most effectively.”

The 2010-11 adopted city budget provides $1.34 million to the CDD for functions that had been performed by DONE. Pursuant to the reccomendation of Krekorian’s committee, that amount of funding was transfered out of CDD and into DONE. The additional positions are to be paid for out of that existing funding.

“We’ve never wavered in our support for this,” said Nina Royal, a member of the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council and chair of the public safety committee. “This is great. It will strengthen DONE and give us better service.”

While many of DONE’s staff fan out across the city, helping the city’s neighborhood councils solve a plethora of problems, the five new positions will work internally to help the department function and maintain a high level of accountability.

While Krekorian cheered Wednesday’s action, he added that it was one step on the road to ensuring greater neighborhood empowerment.

“Today, we sent an important message to Los Angeles that we value the importance of neighborhood councils, and  my office will always stand with those who care passionately about community empowerment,” he said. “However, this is not an end, but another important step as we continue to reorganize and improve one of our city’s most important movements.”

Former Assemblyman Keith Richman: 1953-2010

Keith Richman, a former California Assemblyman who would have been mayor of the San Fernando Valley if the 2002 secession drive had prevailed, has died after fighting brain cancer for more than a year.

Richman died Friday night at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. He was 56.

“Keith Richman was a great leader and passionate public servant,” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said. “He advocated for so many important causes in California, including health care and pension reform, and his work for our state made a lasting impact that will be remembered.”

Colleagues remembered the longtime Northridge resident’s political courage in being one of the few prominent elected officials who supported San Fernando Valley cityhood before the movement became popular.

“There are few people that have done so much for the San Fernando Valley,” said Richard Close, who was chairman of the secession effort.

“Keith was a warrior, and we needed warriors,” said attorney David Fleming, a major backer of secession.

Dr. Richman’s funeral service is scheduled for this Wednesday, August 4, from 2-4 pm at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills.

Read the rest of this article on the Daily News website.

Memorial Day Special Events in Granada Hills

Memorial Day 2010 Flyer
There are three consecutive events on Monday May 31st (click for an informational flyer), comprised of two ceremonies and also a Charity Fundraiser Barbeque Steak Dinner.

  • The first is at 1600 (4 PM) on the new patio at VFW Post 2323 dedicating our new flag pole featuring a 21 gun salute and bugle call for memorial day taps.
  • The second will be at 1700 (5 PM) at Veterans Park on the southeast corner of Chatsworth and Zelzah with the same service plus other activities for 3 new flag poles and the New Beautiful Veterans Park Grand Opening rebuilt by the Rotary Club of Granada Hills.
  • These will be followed by a great Charity Fundraiser Barbeque Steak Dinner at 1800 (6 PM) at Post 2323 on our beautiful new patio by the waterfall, across from the putting green. The Post is located just a few blocks east of the park at 17522 Chatsworth St. with parking in the Verizon lot in the rear. Dinner tickets are a $12 donation purchased at least two days before the event at VFW Post 2323, or a $15 donation after and on the day of the events. You may call the Post at 818 366-7799 for information any afternoon, 7 days a week.

The Granada Hills Veterans’ Park project by the Granada Hills Rotary Foundation has transformed a dilapidated traffic median at the corner of Zelzah Ave. and Chatsworth St. into a beautiful tribute to the military men and women who have served our country.

The improvements include a new pergola (thanks to the generous contributions of the Granada Hills Improvement Association), new landscaping, brick and cement work, flagpoles, a monument and a statue (thanks to the generous contribution of Jake Parunyan, the 2009 Gil Benjamin Granada Hills Citizen of the Year).

Contributors have been Granada Hills North Neighborhood Council, Granada Hills South Neighborhood Council, Councilman Greig Smith’s office, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2323, and the Granada Hills Rotary Foundation.

The tribute bricks are currently being installed, and more are still available for community members to dedicated to veterans, businesses, friends and loved ones. For information about donating for tribute bricks, contact John Weitkamp at (818) 363-3144 or [email protected].

Mayor Villaraigosa Addresses Current Financial Crisis and Ways to Balance the Budget

Mayor asks the City Administrative Officer to develop a plan to shut down all General-funded city services except for public safety and revenue-generating positions for two days per week beginning the week of April 12

With the looming possibility of the City of Los Angeles running out of money in less than a month, Mayor Villaraigosa called upon the City Administrative Officer to develop a plan to save money by shutting down all General-funded city services, except for public safety and revenue-generating positons – for two days per week beginning the week of April 12.

“There are no easy decisions or simple ways to solve this budget crisis,” Mayor Villaraigosa said. “But as the CEO of this great city, it is my responsibility to make these difficult but necessary decisions to steer the city out of this crisis and onto solid financial ground.”

The Mayor said he would immediately ask the CAO to develop the plan to shut down the City for two days per week and calculate the savings the city would earn from this. He also called an emergency meeting of the Executive Employee Relations Committee to discuss the next steps to replenish the General Fund.

Last night, Mayor Villaraigosa also sent a memo to all General Managers asking them to adhere to the spending controls initiated in the joint Mayor-Controller memorandum issued last month, expedite repayment of Reserve Fund loans to ensure that the Reserve Fund is fiscally sound by the start of the next fiscal year, and to submit the requested repayment information from each department with an outstanding loan to the City Administrative Officer immediately.

Yesterday, in reaction to Fitch Ratings, a major credit rating agency, withdrawing the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s AA- bond rating, the LADWP informed the City Controller that they could not transfer $73.5 million to the City’s General Fund.  Controller Greuel immediately issued a memo saying the Los Angeles was in danger of running out of money by May 5, 2010 and recommended draining money from the City’s limited reserve fund.

A complete copy of the Mayor’s remarks as written for delivery follow:
My fellow Angelenos,

Good morning.

For the past year, I have been trying to work with the City Council to put the Department of Water and Power on a more sustainable path: a path towards transparency and accountability, a path towards clean renewable energy and a path towards fiscal health.

It has been clear to me and it has been clear to the City Council that the DWP needs to change.

So in March 2009, I began to speak about the Department’s fiscal health and the need to increase the Energy Cost Adjustment Factor to account for the rising cost of energy and fossil fuels.

In August 2009, the DWP Board recognized this need and proposed a two-cent rate adjustment. The Council rejected it and instead, asked for an independent fiscal review. I supported the Council in this decision, and I welcomed the outside opinion.

In February, the independent consultant finished their exhaustive review and recommended an even larger rate adjustment of 2.7-cents. The DWP Board correctly used this outside, independent review and approved a 2.7-cent rate hike spread over four quarters in a manner that not only secured the Department’s fiscal health but put us on a path to a greener, cleaner future.

The Council rejected it.

I listened to the Council’s concerns.  And I agreed to a compromise for a one-time 0.8 cent adjustment with added protections for residents and employers.

The Council rejected it.

The DWP Board listened to the Council and did its best to address the concerns and, over my objections, tried to meet the Council halfway with an even more modest adjustment than what I authorized.

And again, the Council rejected it.

The politics of no is no more sustainable than the DWP’s over-reliance on coal. Instead of acting in the tradition of past city councils, where progressives put partisanship aside and positioned Los Angeles as a national leader,  this Council leadership has demonstrated what we’ve already seen at the national level: they have shown the results of the politics of no.

With the Council leadership saying no to my every attempt at compromise, at the DWP Board’s attempt at compromise, and NO to their own outside, independent fiscal review, we’ve seen the detrimental effects of only saying NO, and it is simply not acceptable for the council leadership to continue this practice.

The facts tell us that the cost of energy and fossil fuels will only continue to rise.

The facts tell us that the DWP gets 44% of its energy from dirty coal.

The facts tell us that the State and Federal governments will soon penalize us because of this over-reliance on coal.

The facts tell us that the DWP has been under-collecting by $6 million per week.

And the facts tell us that the national agencies have withdrawn the DWP’s credit rating because of this under-collection.

The facts don’t lie.

There are no easy decisions or simple ways to solve this budget crisis.But as the CEO of this great city, it is my responsibility to make these difficult, but necessary decisions to steer the city out of this crisis and onto solid financial ground.

As such, today, I am asking the CAO to develop a plan to shut down all General-funded city services – with the exception of public safety and revenue-generating positions – for two days per week beginning the week of April 12.

I am also calling an emergency meeting of the EERC to discuss the next steps to addressing this fiscal crisis and ways to balance our budget.

We can no longer wait. We can no longer keep saying no. We must act now.

For the Mayor’s official press release, click here.

Granada Hills’ Fire Station 18 to Lose Their Ambulance at Night?

Local Councilman Greig Smith’s Response to the City’s Budget Dilemma:

Greig SmithDear Friend:

It has come to my attention that there has been some misunderstanding about certain proposed reductions in the Fire Department as part of the City’s efforts to close the $212 million budget shortfall.

We received messages from community members in Porter Ranch, Granada Hills and West Hills voicing concern about a proposal from the L.A. Fire Department to reduce the BLS (Basic Life Support) ambulance to 12 hours a day at Fire Stations #8 in Porter Ranch, Station #18 in Granada Hills, and Station #106 on Roscoe Blvd. in West Hills (which is in District 3 but serves part of our area).

I sincerely understand this concern. As an LAPD Reserve Officer, I serve as a first responder myself, and the last thing that I would support is a cut that would affect emergency services.

However, it has been incorrectly stated that this was my proposal. This proposal was made by the Fire Department, and was brought forward to the Police and Fire Efficiencies Working Group as one of the means to meet the goal set for budget reductions in the Fire Department.

When the Fire Department presented this package of proposed reductions, Fire Chief Millage Peaks stated that he did not want to do this, but that it was the “easiest to suggest.” I served as the moderator of the Police and Fire Efficiencies Working Group and the group forwarded this proposal as part of several options. The City Administrative Officer then created a report recommending that proposal to the City Council. It was not my proposal. In fact, the Fire Chief has full authority over Fire Department deployment and could do this now without our approval.

The Chief’s proposal states that Fire Stations #8, #18 and #106 will lose the BLS (Basic Life Support) ambulance for 12 hours a day at a time during which there are the lowest number of calls.

Station #8 gets only 2.2 calls a day in total, and less than one call per day during the affected time frame. Station #18 gets 3.8 calls per day and 1.4 calls during the affected time frame. Station #106 gets 2 calls per day and less than one call during the affected time frame.

(GHNNC.org note: The nightly average stated above is equal to 511 calls at night per year for the GHNNC area.)

The engine and the ALS (Advanced Life Support) ambulances from Station #96 in Chatsworth, Station #70 in Northridge, and Station #87 in Granada Hills will continue to cover the Porter Ranch and Granada Hills area as they have. The West Hills area will continue to be covered by Station #28 in Porter Ranch and #105 in Woodland Hills.

Finally, there has been some concern raised in the community about the Fire Department wanting to retain the Battalion Chiefs’ Staff Assistants whose functions include driving them to fire calls, and a feeling that they should be cut before reducing ambulance services.

The Fire Department and the Firefighters Union (UFLAC) both have fought vigorously against taking away the Staff Assistants. The City Council will consider the issue of whether we should eliminate service of 10 ambulances for 12 hours a day in very low-use areas, or eliminate the full-time Staff Assistants serving Battalion Chiefs.

I anticipate that eventually both will be gone, at least temporarily. But I am interested in hearing the community’s point of view in the debate at this time.

I hope this clarifies my position, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts. (Click to email the Councilman)

Sincerely,
GREIG SMITH
Councilman, Twelfth District

March 2, 2010 Election Results (OFFICIAL)

GHNNC would like to thank all of the voters who showed up to the Election at our office. We were so excited to see a couple hundred stakeholders there!

The following results are final results that have been posted on the City Clerk’s website. We are now in a challenge period and will be fully certified should we pass the challenge period without and challenges.  We will keep you posted.

Click here for the Official List at the L.A. City Clerk’s website.

Neighborhood Council Funding Update

Your Voice is Urgently Needed!

Council to Consider NC Recommendations Today at 10 am

The City Council is set to consider, among other issues, five sweeping motions approved this week by the committee that oversees Neighborhood Council (NC) policy. On Tuesday, the Councilman Paul Krekorian-led Education and Neighborhoods Committee sent five recommendations to the City Council which set in  motion a series of regulations to increase NC efficiency and transparency. Those recommendations – tomorrow’s motions – can be seen here (.pdf) and a detailed account is here.

You can watch the meeting on Channel 35, online or by calling one of the phone numbers below to listen to the meeting in progress:

  • Downtown (213) 621-CITY (2489)
  • San Pedro (310) 547-CITY (2489)
  • West Los Angeles (310) 471-CITY (2489)
  • Van Nuys (818) 904-9450

THIS IS IT.  This week, the L.A. City Council WILL VOTE on drastically cutting Neighborhood Councils annual funding and may take ALL NC rollover funds back.  DONE staff will probably be cut at least in HALF, from around 38 to 19.

RIGHT NOW, we need to E-MAIL AND CALL the City’s Education and Neighborhoods Committee Members, because of the Monday holiday and because they’re meeting FIRST THING Tuesday morning.  Their staffs are working NOW, this weekend, on NC issues.

E-mail Chair Paul Krekorian, Vice-Chair Dennis Zine, and Janice Hahn at [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]. They can be called at (Paul Krekorian) 213-473-7002; (Dennis Zine) 213-473-7003; and (Janice Hahn) 213-473-7015.

If you took the time to write an email to these three Council Members (or if you’re planning on it), why not send it to all of the City Council Members, their chiefs of staff, and Mayor Villaraigosa? GHNNC has made it easy for you to do: just send your email to the list we have created at [email protected], and your letter will be automatically forwarded to all of them!

BudgetLA, a group of many NC Board Members and other NC Stakeholders from around the City, has a plan to SAVE MONEY for the City, SAVE THE NC SYSTEM, and RE-ORGANIZE DONE to better serve NCs.  See the www.BudgetLA.org website for the latest information and wording to use in your City Councilmember contacts, so we all present a unified message.

Also see www.LANCCoalition.org and www.CityWatchLA.com.The FULL City Council meets this THURSDAY MORNING THE 18TH at 10:00 a.m. downtown at the same location, L.A. City Hall, Room 340, 200 N. Spring St., Los Angeles.  The Neighborhood Council Agenda Items will be heard some time after that.

If you can get away for some hours THURSDAY the 18th, drive, carpool, train, bus, bike, do what you can to get to City Hall – with as many others as you can – to help save the NC System.

The City Council intends to take our rollover funds and cut next year’s funding in half at next Tuesday’s meeting

A Letter from the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Coalition

LANCCwww.lanccoalition.org 

Our Neighborhood Council System is Under Attack

 We deserve a fair hearing before the City Council takes our current rollover funds and restricts our ability to carry out our Charter mandated functions.

 We need to have these agenda items referred to the E&N Committee where we can have a fair and open hearing and where NC members can have more than one minute to say why we should not lose our past rollover funds and future funding.

AGENDA
LOS ANGELES CITY COUNCIL
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2010
10:00 A.M. 

Items for Which Public Hearings Have Not Been Held – Items 11-18

(10 Votes Required for Consideration)

ITEM NO. (11) – Motion Required

09-0600-S159 COMMUNICATION FROM CITY ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER relative to a Three Year Plan to Fiscal Sustainability.

Recommendations for Council action,

SUBJECT TO THE APPROVAL OF THE MAYOR:

18. ELIMINATE the Neighborhood Council “rollover” policy and TRANSFER all suspended “rollover” funds totaling $1.61 million to the Reserve Fund.

19. ELIMINATE the Neighborhood Council bank card system and convert to a demand warrant system.

20. INSTRUCT and REQUEST as appropriate, the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE), City Attorney and CAO to evaluate and redefine allowable expenditure categories for Neighborhood Council funds.

21. INSTRUCT the General Manager, DONE to issue a memo to the Neighborhood Councils regarding a proposed 50 percent reduction to the annual allocation amount for 2010-11.

We need you to be at the City Council meeting next Tuesday.  Fill out a speaker card for agenda item number 11.  Even if you don’t intend to speak, fill out a card so they know we’re there.

The LANCC meets Saturday, 10:00 AM at 6501 Fountain Ave in Hollywood (a few blocks west of Vine St.)

GHNNC Elections Coming Soon!

GHNNC Election Ad

The Granada Hills North Neighborhood Council (GHNNC) has been actively seeking individuals who are interested in serving their community.  There are currently over 30 individuals who have signed up to run as Candidates.  These Candidates are volunteers.  We do not get a salary, we do not get a car, and the only perk we get is the satisfaction that comes from knowing that we are making a huge difference in our community!

You will have an opportunity to meet all of the Candidates at our informal Candidate Forum which will be held on February 22, 2010.  This Candidate forum will take place immediately after the GHNNC’s General Meeting.   The General Meeting will start at 6:00 PM, with the Candidate Forum following at 7:00 PM. You will have a chance to meet the Candidates, hear directly from them about their views of the community, what their future goals for GHNNC will be, and ask questions about issues that concern you.  You can see the list of Candidates below (on this web page).

Elections will take place on March 2, 2010 from 2:00 PM to 8:00 PM at the GHNNC Office which is located at 11139 Woodley Avenue, Granada Hills, in the Albertsons Shopping Center.  Please be prepared to state the nature of your interest in GHNNC and bring proof to show you are a stakeholder. Some acceptable forms are driver’s license, pay stub, property tax bill, utility bill, tuition statement, church statement, etc.

We invite and encourage all GHNNC Stakeholders to come out and vote for your Granada Hills North Neighborhood Council.   Your vote is important.  Your vote will make a difference.  Put these two important dates on your calendar and make 2010 the year you get involved in your neighborhood!

Official List of GHNNC Election Candidates

List of Candidates who will appear on the Official Ballot with statements from the candidates

District 1 Representative
RAFAEL M. GARCIA (statement)
District 2 Representative
RAHIM KAZI (statement)
District 3 Representative
WILLIAM E. LILLENBERG (statement)
AGNES LEWIS
MICHAEL GREENWALD (statement)
SID GOLD
ANNE ZILIAK (statement)
KIM THOMPSON (statement)
ERIC T. ROSENBERG (statement)
CARL BUETTNER (statement)
SUE DEVANDRY (statement)
WAYDE A. HUNTER
EDWARD W. HEADINGTON (statement)
WILLIAM J. HOPKINS, JR. (statement)
MARTIN B. SERKIN
ANDREW VARTANIAN
JOE A. VITTI (statement)
DEVENDRA M. PARIKH
RAY B. POLLOK (statement)
LEON F. MARZILLIER (statement)
SCOTT A. MANATT (statement)
Educational Representative
STEVEN L. STEINBERG (statement)
Faith-Based Representative
RALPH E. KROY (statement)
Neighborhood Organizations Representative
JAN H. SUBAR (statement)
Parks Representative
MARY ELLEN CROSBY (statement)
Student Representative
NEYSA K. FRECHETTE
Youth Group Representative
GARY L. HOLMEN (statement)

List of Write-In Candidates and their statements

District 3 Representative
PATRICIO E. LEON-ALVARADO
Environmental Representative
JOSH JORDAHL

Neighborhood Councils Demand a ‘Seat at the Table’ of Power

The NCs want “a seat at the table.” They want Ex Officio status at the City Council, Council Committee, Task Force and Departmental meetings so that they can fulfill their Chartered responsibilities:

1. “…to promote more citizen participation in government…”
2. “…to make government more responsive to local needs…”
3. “…to present to the Mayor and Council an annual list of priorities for the City budget…” and
4. “…(to) monitor the delivery of City services in their respective areas and periodic meetings with responsible officials of City departments…”

The NCs want the opportunity and the ability, like all City-chartered officials, to bring their understanding, opinions and suggestions to our City’s decision-makers.

To read more about this and the reasoning behind it, go to the article at OurLA.org.

Public Notice of Hillside Geotechnical Exploration

Beginning in February 2010, URS, Corporation, a geotechnical consultant for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), will be performing geologic and geotechnical engineering exploration in a portion of the hillsides on the west side of the Van Norman Reservoir Complex (See map on following PDF link). Geologic and geotechnical engineering data obtained from this investigation will be used to design the proposed Bull Creek Extension Channel realignment and for proposed future work related to the Granada Hills Reservoir and Los Angeles Reservoir Division Dam.

For more information, click here.

Sick of the Sunshine Canyon Landfill Odors???

We urge you to attend an important meeting Thursday evening.

Landfill Odor MeetingThursday, December 17, 2009 — 6:00 pm
Van Gogh Street Elementary School
17160 Van Gogh Street
Granada Hills, CA 91344

At the November 5, 2009 meeting of the Sunshine Canyon Landfill – Community Advisory Meeting, there was much discussion about the recent increase in odor events resulting from Sunshine Canyon Landfill operations and the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s (AQMD) current and potential enforcement efforts in response to those complaints and documented public nuisance situations. At that meeting, the various corrective actions available to the AQMD that could be employed/imposed for purposes of resolving the odor problem resulting from landfill operations were discussed. One of the options was the possibility of the AQMD filing a petition for an Smelly faceOrder for Abatement with the AQMD Hearing Board in an attempt to bring the facility in to compliance with Rules and Regulations and the California Health and Safety Code, particularly as their compliance status relates to nuisance.

On November 17, 2009, the South Coast Air Quality Management District filed such a petition against Allied Waste Company, Inc., and Republic Services, Inc. dba Sunshine Canyon Landfill. The matter is scheduled to be heard and considered by the AQMD Hearing Board on the evening of Thursday, December 17, 2009, at 6:00 p.m. at Van Gogh Elementary School located at 17160 Van Gogh Street, Granada Hills, CA.

*** Please note that it was at AQMD’s request that this hearing be conducted in the community instead of at AQMD’s headquarters in Diamond Bar.

Click here for a copy of the Public Notice providing additional details about the hearing. During the hearing proceedings, the interested public will have the opportunity to provide testimony to the AQMD Hearing Board regarding this matter.

Congratulations to GHNNC Board Member, Joe Vitti

GHNNCJoe Vitti at the Awards Banquet congratulates Joe Vitti on receiving a “Leaders of Character” Award from Learning for Life, Western Los Angeles County Council. His accomplishments and contributions to our neighborhood are many, including:

  • Joe actively participated in the formation and certification of GHNNC from 2001 – 2003.
  • He was elected to the GHNNC Board in 2003 and serves on several committees.
  • In 2006 he was appointed by Councilman Greig Smith to serve on the Neighborhood Council Review Board as a commissioner representing the 12th Council District.
  • Joe is the GHNNC representative to the L.A. Department of Water and Power and participated in the development of the precedent-setting LA-DWP-NC Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in April of 2005.
  • Joe currently represents GHNNC at the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Coalition (LANCC).
  • Joe has been an active board member of the Granada Hills Chamber since 2002 and is presently serving on the boards for Los Angeles Mission College Foundation and Mid-Valley Family YMCA.
  • Joe Vitti, a Valley VOTE member since 1998, has served as Valley VOTE’s President since 2003. He has guided Valley VOTE’s members and committees in developing positions and preparing reports on key quality-of-life issues facing Valley residents and the citizens of Los Angeles. Joe has been a major driver behind Valley VOTE’s mission, to “empower the people of the San Fernando Valley and the City of Los Angeles to improve local governance, education and public participation on policy matters.”

Holiday Safety Notes from our Public Safety Committee

Property crime is generally low in our area, but does up-tick during the holidays. Burglary-Theft from Motor Vehicle (BTMV) is the biggest one. Go to www.lapdonline.org and click on crime maps in your area hyperlink (http://www.lapdcrimemaps.org). Enter the address of concern and click on the GO button under all the colored dots. Only crimes that are reported (documented) are listed.

First, foremost, and easiest — don’t leave ANY mail by your mailbox for the postman. Wait to hand deliver it to the postal carrier or better, take it to the post office or drop-off location yourself.

Keep packages out of sight in your vehicle at all times while shopping.

If you return to your vehicle to drop off packages before continuing shopping, be sure to drive around, like you’re leaving, and then park in another spot.

Don’t leave anything visible in your vehicle while parked unattended, even for a moment, including in your driveway, anybody’s driveway, or on the street, and keep it locked. Prime targets are iPods, GPS units, laptops, cell phones, purses and the like. If your in-dash radio has a removable faceplate, consider taking it with you when shopping, etc.

Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Walk like you own the place.

Watch for suspicious activity in your neighborhood, such as someone staring into car and house windows, checking door handles, etc. If you see someone like this, it’s a 911call, although not a high priority 911 call. Get a good description without placing yourself in jeopardy. Police will respond.

Best not to let the world see your tree or other seasonal decoration with all the presents under it through that big window on the front (or side) of your home or business.

When disposing of boxes, especially those that once contained electronics, best to take them directly to a recycling center. Next best is to cut up and place in your blue bin, stored out of sight, and placed at the curb on the day of pickup. Don’t make it easy for scavengers to get a peek at all the new and expensive stuff you’ve recently bought. Never leave the empty box sitting in your driveway, parkway or other highly visible spot on or near your property.

Be alert for scams and door-to-door solicitors, especially requests for charitable donations. Also be alert to scams on public transportation and mall parking lots.

Watch for the delivery truck (UPS, FedEx, USPS, etc.) in your neighborhood. If you’re friendly with your neighbor and they get a package left on their doorstep while they’re not home, consider holding it for them until they return. And let your neighbor know you’d appreciate the return favor. You could possibly prevent a theft. Yes, the thieves are that bold!

Take Action: The Census Forms are Here

A message from Los Angeles City Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa


Controller Greuel, along with Councilmembers Perry, Parks, and LaBonge
joined Mayor Villaraigosa to fill out and send off their census forms.

My fellow Angelenos,

I just took 10 minutes to fill out the 10 questions in my Census form, and I am encouraging all Angelenos to do the same. It critical to your community and your city that you make yourself count in this year’s Census.

Your participation will help decide the future of our City for the next ten years. The census determines the number of representatives we can send to Washington, the amount of child-care and senior centers we can have, and the level of federal funding we will receive.

Yet, with each new decade, the census still manages to miss some of our most vulnerable residents: young children in low-income homes, large families living under one roof, minorities, renters, recent immigrants, and the homeless. In the 2000 census, it is estimated that 76,8000 Angelenos went uncounted. This was the second highest undercount in the nation.

What did the undercount mean for the City of Los Angeles? The loss of $206 million. In our dire economic climate, we simply cannot afford to leave that money on the table.

All of you should have already received your census forms in the mail this week, so if you have any questions or did not receive your form, please visit one the many Assistance Centers opening across the City tomorrow. To find out where the nearest one is located, call the City Hall info line, 3-1-1.

With only thirteen days left until National Census Day, we need your help to represent the interests of four million Angelenos. Because each census form represents about $2700 in federal funding for your community, we need you to not only turn in your own form, but bring up the census to your friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors, and tell them what the census means to their city and their community.

Tell them it is safe, confidential, and easy. Tell them that it will make a real difference in the future of our City. And tell them that by standing up and being counted, they will assume their rightful place in America’s story.

Thank you,
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

For more information on the Census visit http://www.lacounts2010.org