Lincoln Place Evictions on Hold
From our press release file:
ROSENDAHL ANNOUNCES LINCOLN PLACE EVICTIONS ARE ON HOLD
AIMCO to Halt Evictions until End of August, Provide More Time for Relocation
LOS ANGELES – City Councilman Bill Rosendahl today announced that the owners of the Lincoln Place Apartments have agreed to delay any further evictions until the end of August.
Patti Shwayder, senior vice president of AIMCO, the company that owns and plans to redevelop the 37-acre property in Venice, told Rosendahl late this afternoon that the company would voluntarily halt eviction proceedings for three more months and allow remaining tenants to consider "enhanced relocation" packages.
"I am thrilled by this news," Rosendahl said. "It gives everyone involved a little time to take a deep breath and assess their options. This was the fair and right thing for AIMCO to do for the seniors and the disabled tenants."
Following years of legal battles, voluntary departures, and a round of evictions last December, fewer than 50 households remain at Lincoln Place. All of the remaining households contain individuals who are senior citizens or who are disabled. After talks between AIMCO, the Lincoln Place Tenants Association, and other interested parties fell apart earlier this month, eviction proceedings were scheduled to resume as soon as June 1.
In a telephone call this afternoon, Schwayder told Rosendahl that the remaining tenants would receive formal letters from AIMCO this week, giving them each 30 days to negotiate individual relocation offers with AIMCO. At the same time, AIMCO would agree to hold off on any eviction proceedings until August 31.
AIMCO has hired LA-based Shober Consulting to work with each tenant to develop individually tailored relocation packages. Schwayder said that since October 2004, hundreds of tenants have accepted packages, which included finding new homes, cash payments and moving expenses. Many tenants have rejected previous packages as deceptive and inadequate. They contend the evictions are illegal and residents should be allowed to remain at the property at rent control rates for life.
The news of the delay in evictions caps a week of intense developments over the controversial property. Last week, the Lincoln Place Tenants Association agreed to hold off for a few days on a lawsuit against AIMCO and the City of Los Angeles, claiming previous evictions had been illegal. On Sunday, Rosendahl met with remaining tenants, and urged them to follow their consciences, but at least meet with AIMCO's relocation officials. Yesterday, the City Council rejected, by a vote of 8-5, a Rosendahl motion directing the Planning Department to unilaterally record restrictive development conditions on the Lincoln Place property.
"I have said time and time again that I will never give up hope," Rosendahl said. "Until the sheriffs show up at the door, there is still a chance for a fair resolution and for a happy ending."
# # #
A Tale of Stagnant Water
Driving past the intersection of Centinela and Alvern now, you would never know the headache and distress that the residents of Alvern Circle suffered through for nearly a year. When I began working in the Council Office in August the phone calls from many residents of the Westchester community started coming in.
"There’s stagnant water on Alvern and Centinela," they said. "Stop putting that ugly asphalt over the puddle of water," they demanded. "It takes me 10 minutes to cross over the lagoon that the water has created," they complained.
The phone calls were overwhelming and the situation wasn't getting fixed. Residents were angry and the Bureau of Street Maintenance said that all they could do is patch up the stagnant water that had eroded the asphalt with more asphalt. They contended that the Special Projects Division had to address the situation. The Special Projects Division said that they would add it to their backlog and get to it as soon as possible, but couldn't guarantee a timeframe for the project. After weeks of my pleading with both divisions, Theresa Tracy, Superintendent for Street Maintenance, offered a solution. She removed the cross gutter and put in a new splash apron made of concrete, not asphalt.
Needless to say, once the intersection was fixed, the calls began coming in. "Thank you for fixing it," they said. "It takes 1 minute to drive through the intersection," they stated. "The neighbors are so happy because the intersection looks beautiful," they shout.
Now my next obstacle is getting the same remedy on the corner of 87th and Emerson in Westchester and Harbor and Bryan in Venice.
Special thanks to Theresa Tracy from the Bureau of Street Services, Street Maintenance Division and all her crew members that made this possible. Residents of Alvern Circle and Council District 11 are very grateful for all their hard work.
-Nancy Aguilar, Constituent Advocate
Keeping Faith with Lincoln Place
Earlier today, after a prolonged and thorough debate, the City Council voted 8-5 against a motion I proposed that would have kept faith with the tenants of Lincoln Place
Apartments in Venice.
It was a simple motion, really. In 2003, the City approved a tentative tract map for a redevelopment on the 37 acre site. In an attempt to preserve affordable rental housing in Los Angeles, the conditions -- which the owner agreed to -- more or less said that the tenants could not be evicted.
Since then, the owners have failed to officially "record" the tract map. But they have proceeded with it anyway. In 2003, the owners demolished a few units, which even the state Appellate Court said triggered the project's mitigations. That should have prevented any evictions, but last December, the current owners evicted 58 households. It was a brutal and ugly day.
Fewer than fifty households remain at Lincoln Place. They all include seniors and people with disabilities. AIMCO, the current owner, is poised to evict them, too.
I asked my colleagues to stand with the tenants and join me in a motion to officially record the conditions of approval, so we could a strong and clear and message that the evictions are out of line and a violation of the law. Afetr all, if the City places conditions on a development, it only makes sense to enforce those conditions.
My colleagues Tony Cardenas
, Janice Hahn
, Jose Huizar
, and Tom LaBonge
stood with us -- despite the strenuous objections of our city attorney's office. I thank them and the tenants thank them for their vote. And I thank Mayor Villaraigosa
, who permitted Deputy Mayor Larry Frank to testify in our favor.
This battle is not yet over. I am determined to keep on fighting these unlawful and unfair evictions. I will continue to stand with the tenants at Lincoln Place.
Here is a copy of the letter
I sent to my colleagues today. And here is the copy of the motion
that we asked the vote on.
Over Memorial Day weekend, Bill and I went to Los Angeles National Cemetery to honor the veterans who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.
Every Memorial Day, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts place small American flags on the graves of lost soldiers on the VA property. The sight is deeply moving. the rows upon rows of flags waving in the wind made me think of the great sacrifices men and women have made in the past for our present.
For the first time in decades, the sitting Governor, the Los Angeles Mayor and a local Councilman a;; attended the annual Memorial Day Ceremony. A District 11 constituent, Governor Schwarzenegger arrived at the event in a Coast Guard Helicopter, delighting the children and parents in the audience alike.
Mayor Villaraigosa and the governor both made solemn comments on the proceedings, thank ing those who sacrificed their lives for us. Bill gave a rousing speech imploring our country to keep the promises not only to those veterans who sacrificed their lives, but also those who have sacrificed their mental health.
More than 15,000 Vietnam Veterans are homeless in the United States. They defended our freedom, we owe them a home. Bill also touched on the importance of funding and supporting veterans facilities because a new generation of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are returning to the US.
-Stephanie Zarro, Assistant Planning Deputy
Thinking of Nancy
During yesterday's City Council meeting, my colleagues joined me in sending some love and positive energy to my dear friend, Nancy Daly Riordan
, former first lady of the City of Los Angeles.
As many of you may have read in the papers, Nancy recently flew back east for some surgery. She has braved it with remarkable grace, strength, and good spirit. Thankfully, she is recovering well.
Nancy, who went to the same high school as me, is truly a treasure. She is a advocate for children, having founded United Friends of the Children, and the Children's Action Network. She is also now on the board of LACMA. She and her husband Dick (who actually biked from Brentwood to my office in Westchester yesterday for a meeting) are a powerful couple to whom we all owe a huge debt of gratitude.
Nancy, all of us on the City Council, and all of us in Los Angeles, wish you lots of love and a full and speedy recovery.
Venice Pier: An Appreciation
Because we continue to celebrate the Venice Pier reopening in time for Memorial Day, and because we like to point out cool stuff on other blogs, we bring you this appreciation of the Venice Pier
, which in and of itself is a great place to check out what's going in the City of Angels, and on LA's slice of the blogosphere.
Chief of Staff
Update on Crestwood Hills Park
Last night completed the final reconstruction plan for Crestwood Hills Park in Brentwood. Crestwood Hills Park received Prop K funding to help renovate the park's facilities. With the assistance from a wonderful seven member appointed Local Volunteer Neighborhood Oversight Committee (LVNOC) to voice what the community needs are along with Recreation and Park, Bureau of Engineering and our office plans were finalized. It was a pleasure working with such a dedicated group, the community and City family, to come up with plans that will benefit the public at large.
I look forward to the groundbreaking in late September early October but most importantly I look to seeing another jewel in CD11 enhanced.
The renovations will allow for more park programs and classes for youth, adults, seniors, and families to all enjoy.
Crestwood Hills Park is a beautiful park nestled away in the hills of Brentwood. I encourage everybody to bring a picnic and enjoy the feel of a welcoming community and the warmth of the park.
Field Deputy, Brentwood and Pacific Palisades
Just in Time for Summer
Just in time for the start of Memorial Day weekend, the Department of Recreation & Parks has re-opened the Venice Pier!
Ever since brutally strong surf ripped the bathroom and a guardrail from the pier in December, we have been relentlessly nagging city staffers to fix the pier and get it open to the public once again. Last week, engineers gave the final blessing, saying there had been no structural damage and the pier was once again safe for locals, for visitors and for fishermen.
Bill, joined by John Kirk Murki of Recreation & Parks, former Councilwoman Ruth Galanter, and community representatives, cut the ribbon and reopened the gates late this afternoon. Within minutes, the pier has filled with scores of visitors, enjoying a great sunny Venice afternoon.
The quick fix is functional, but not quite cosmetic. We'll be doing some more permanent repairs in the coming weeks.
So head down to the beach end of Washington Boulevard, enjoy a nice dinner, and take a stroll on the pier.
-Mike Bonin, Chief of Staff
Carpooling on the 405
Yesterday was a beautiful day in Los Angeles - the sun was shining, the sky was clear and cars were moving on the 405. While the first two are commonplace here, the third is quite novel. However, thanks to CalTrans and the MTA and the new HOV lane they built on the 405, moving traffic will hopefully become as routine as 75 degree weather.
Yesterday, I took part in the ceremony opening the HOV lane on the 405 between the 105 and the 90. This will reduce congestion on the freeway leading into LAX and will give us back, on average, 5 minutes of our day. While it may not seem like much, it adds up. So grab a friend and see how wonderful the HOV lane can be.
A Great Choice
Today Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) is announcing a huge step forward in promoting public safety: Santa Monica Police Chief James T. Butts, Jr., will be assuming the new position of Deputy Executive Director of Airport Law Enforcement & Protection Services.
I congratulate and welcome Chief Butts on his new appointment. I cannot think of a better or more qualified person to lead the LAWA police force, and to make sure that travelers, LAWA employees, and airport neighbors are safe and secure.
I have known Chief Butts for several years. I consider him a friend and superlative law enforcement professional. His tenure in neighboring Santa Monica has been marked by excellence, creativity, and sensitivity. I welcome him to Los Angeles and feel extremely confident in his leadership.
Standing up for Renters
Last night, more than 200 people packed a crowded auditorium at Walgrove Elementary School in Mar Vista to demand more protections for affordable housing, and to call for more rights for renters.
Bill opened the meeting, a joint hearing of the council's Planning and Housing Committees, by calling for revisions of the state Ellis Act, which has allowed an epidemic of condo conversions in CD11, dirving thousdands of low-income renters from ther homes.
The hearing, the second of three citywide, heard from assorted experts, including (pictured above): Sheila Bernard, president of the Lincoln Place Tenants Association; Chris Gabriel of POWER; and Larry Gross of the Coalition for Economic Survival.
-Mike Bonin, Chief of Staff
Launching the Empowerment Congress
Signaling a new era of community participation in city government, Bill launched his 11th District Empowerment Congress this weekend to great success.
More than 150 community leaders gathered at Loyola Marymount University Saturday for the inaugural meeting of the Empowerment Congress, which focused on two key issues in the 11th District: planning and transportation.
"This is the beginning of something very exciting," Bill said. "We are giving people a real chance to determine the direction of their neighborhoods. We are giving people a genuine opportunity to be part of governing.
"During my campaign last year, I promised that people would no longer have their noses pressed against the glass as decisions were being made. With this Empowerment Congress, people will not only be in the room when decisions are being made, they will help frame the issues, shape the debate, and develop the solutions."
Bill and our staff recruited residents from every community in the 11th District to make up the Empowerment Congress, which will develop policy proposals and help Rosendahl lobby for them. The full congress will meet twice annually, and working committees will meet throughout the year on policy issues.
At the weekend general assembly session, members engaged in a lively and informative 90-minute Q&A with Gloria Jeff, the new general manager of the Department of Transportation, and Gail Goldberg, the new general manager of the Planning Department. Both promised sweeping reforms in their departments, and pledged to make their agencies more visionary, and more community-friendly.
Attendees also heard from Laura Trejo, general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Aging. She spoke of expanded opportunities for seniors as a result of money Bill helped her department win in the city budget process.
Reaction from the members was overwhelming and gratifying. After and since the meeting, people have been approachng us and emailing us, telling us how inspired they are, and how grateful they are to have an elected official follow through on his campaign promises.
Now the real work begins. Stay tuned for more details on the working committees and what they will be up to . . .
-Mike Bonin, Chief of Staff
Standing Up for Our Vets
Wearing his American Legion cap, Bill spoke at a rally this morning to protest the proposed sale of federal property in West LA that is supposed to be dedicated for veterans.
Joining with his fellow veterans, community members, the Federal Building Coalition, County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, and fellow Councilman Jack Weiss, Bill called on the federal government to halt the sale, stop the threat of over-development, and use the land to benefit veterans.
"We have a sacred trust to take care of our veterans," Bill said. "We must honor their sacrifice and fulfill our commitments to them."
Bill, who served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam era and is a member of the Pacific Palisades American Post 283, called for a coordinated master plan for the FBI Building, the VA property, and this Army property. He told the crowd of 200 people that the City Council would support any legal action taken by the County to stop the pending auction of the Army Reserve property.
"The federal government should not be looking to sale the VA property to help resolve the budget deficit but rather should be looking to create more services and support for the Veterans who have severed the country," Bill said.
For more information, go to www.federalbuilding.org.
Field Deputy, Pacific Palisades and Brentwood
Government in the Sunshine
Yesterday, the City Council (over the objections of me and my colleagues Jack Weiss and Jose Huizar) voted to fight to continue a city ordinance that effectively criminalizes homelessness. (Los Angeles Times
, Daily Breeze
, Daily News
). The policy that the City Attorney and the majority of my colleagues seek to defend is simply wrong. But just as wrong is the way we handled the issues.
With alarming frequency, the City Council votes to go into closed session, shutting the public and the press out of deliberations. Sometimes
that is a defensible and necessary action. But way too often it is not.
Yesterday was one of the those occassions. We did not discuss top secret legal strategy. We talked about a basic issue of public policy: should we criminalize homelessness and keep a law on the books that allows people to get arrested for sleeping on the streets when we lack enough shelter beds? Or should we pass a new ordinance, one that criminalizes disruptive behavior but not homelessness? That is a public policy issue -- and the public deserved to hear.
By a vote of 11-1, I lost in my attempt to keep government in the sunshine. I will continue to insist that a government of, by and for the people actually be conducted in public view.
We Need Clean Money
One of the projects I work on for Bill is "Clean Money." Clean Money is a public financing system that will help take money out of politics. Instead of politicians having to find money in the pockets of lobbyists and developers to run viable campaigns, they can instead choose to be publicly financed and therefore more likely beholden to the public. It is not a perfect system, but in Arizona, Maine, and Vermont voter participation has increased as have the diversity and number of candidates.
Bill, along with his colleagues Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti, recognize that trust in the government is low and is based primarily on the influence big money has on politicians. If the people don’t feel like they are being heard, they have very little motivation to participate in the political process and this is wrong. A publicly financed campaign system would give the government back to the people.
These types of systems are a bit complicated but to raise awareness, mobilize troops and continue the momentum started by Bill, his colleagues, the Ethics Commission and the California Clean Money Campaign, we will be holding a series of town halls on Clean Money.
We will hold a Town Hall Meeting on this issue May 30 at Venice High School in Mar Vista. Bill will be the host of this event.
We will also have a forum Tuesday, May 9th in North Hollywood at Colfax Elementary School, 11724 Addison Street, North Hollywood, CA 91607 at 6:30pm.
I hope to see you there.
Aaron Gross, Deputy Chief of Staff
P.S. For more information on Clean Money, please visit the California Clean Money Campaign website: www.caclean.org
We Need Humane Immigration Reform
Bill today joined hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in calling for a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.
Speaking at a rally at the south lawn of Los Angeles City Hall, Bill said the current call for humane immigration reform is "the civil rights struggle of the 21st Century."
"We are all Americans," Bill said. "You are not felons. The only crime here is that our leaders have failed to address this problem for decades and have failed to bring you out of the shadows."
Bill said federal legislation that proposes to criminalize undocumented immigrants is "a total disgrace. It is not who we are. It is not American."
Bill urged federal officials to push for sweeping reform that would legalize the status of the estimated 11 million documented immigrants and create a pathway to citizenship for them.
Bill's comments came during a brief lunch break from city budget deliverations. He was joined at the rally by council colleagues Eric Garcetti and Jose Huizar. Also on hand were Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, state Senator Richard Alarcon, and state Senator Liz Figeroa. They spoke underneath a banner reading: "An Injustice to One is an Injustice to All."
The lively crowd was estimated between 250,000 and 600,000. It was the first of two rallies today. A late afternoon rally was scheduled for MacArthur Park.
Bill also called on the State Legislature to approve a bill permitting undocumented immigrants to get California driver's licenses.
-Mike Bonin, Chief of Staff
LAX: What a Big Difference
I was at a recent LAX Advisory Group meeting singing happy birthday to Barbara Lichman, the attorney for the County of Los Angeles and the Cities of Inglewood and Culver City. I was there, and singing, with Lydia Kennard, the Executive Director of LAWA; Mike Doucette, LAWA's chief planner; Kelly McDowell, the Mayor of El Segundo; as well as a number of other LAWA employees, city attornies, and representatives of all the communities that surround the airport.
It is hard to believe that in just the nine or ten months that we have been in office we have gone from suing each other to singing happy birthday and sharing cake. I think that the feelings of goodwill that were exhibited in this meeting are a symptom of the general belief that this is a new day and that we will get the modern and safe airport that we want through community engagement.
There is still a lot of work to be done and we need the community to continue to come out and push for the Green Line. It is encouraging though that the stakeholders involved in this process are slowly beginning to develop the trust necessary to make this a collaborative process instead of a combative one.Phillip M. TateLegislative Deputy