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.

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