Open & Transparent Government
Bill often talks about the need for government to be open and transparent - that everyone should know what is going on and should have the opportunity to chime in on issues that concern them. More often than not the complaint/question we get in the Council office is "Why didn't I know about that?" or "Why was I not told?" These questions come from residents who learn of a project that will affect their community, or commute to work, or quality of life.
Well fortunately, the Bureau of Engineering has enabled everyone to learn about and view public projects within the City. Via the internet, by project name, council district, or neighborhood council, you can see existing City projects including time lines, project manager contact info, cost of project, and status. The Councilman gets quarterly reports, but believes that the public should be able to get this information without a lot of effort, and now you can. The City is engaged is some really innovative and/or necessary public improvements that will not only improve City service, but will improve traffic, recreational facilities, and our ability to grow as a City.
If you are interested in learning about public projects in your community, you can find this info at: http://eng.lacity.org/iuprs
Deputy Chief of Staff
In June of this year, when I read news reports of buried hazardous waste near Barrington Park at the WLA VA, I became concerned about the potential health risks for local residents, veterans and employees of the VA.
I urged immediate steps be taken to identify, contain and clean up the hazardous contamination. I directed my staff to work collaboratively to resolve these issues with everyone affected: those who reported the news, affected residents, governmental colleagues. The atmosphere was contentious.
I challenged the local leadership of the WLA VA to embark upon an open and transparent process to investigate & take all steps necessary to protect the public health. The response was strong and constructive. An expert team from both within and outside the VA was assembled and given this broad mandate.
I will continue to work with all affected parties to until we are all satisfied that we have a safe environment for adults, children, & our pets that use Barrington Park, and our veterans & employees at our WLA VA.
For recent news reports of the efforts undertaken, please see links below.http://enviroreporter.com/nukedumpsummary.htmlhttp://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-brentwood30nov30,1,5843208.story?coll=la-headlines-california&ctrack=1&cset=true
Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month
Today, Mayor Villaraigosa, along with former Mayor Dick Riordan and his wife, Nancy Daly Riordan joined me to declare the month of November as "Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month" in the City of Los Angeles.
Pancreatic Cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Every 15 minutes, someone in the United States is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Approximately 33,730 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year and 32,300 will die of the disease. We must do all we can to bring more awareness to this disease.
Organizations such as the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Inc
, (PanCAN) have worked hard to bring national attention to pancreatic cancer in order to increase and improve research, treatments, prevention programs, and early detection methods.
Earlier this month, PanCAN honored my good friend, Nancy Daly Riordan with the Emily Couric Public Service Award for her exemplary philanthropic service to America's children, youth and families. Although Nancy was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, she has not let the disease deter her from continuing to make a difference in the lives of so many people. She is still deeply involved in the community; serving on numerous boards and organizations throughout the Los Angeles area. In fact, she has become an advocate for pancreatic cancer research and has helped raise awareness of the disease.
I truly admire her tenacity, strength and courage; she continues to be an inspiration to cancer patients nationwide.
Standing Up for the People of Los Angeles
This week the City Council voted to approve a living wage ordinance for hotel workers along the Century Corridor. This historic vote will improve working conditions and give dedicated workers a fair and decent wage. It is our social responsibility as a City to ensure that our workers, the backbone of our economy, receive fair treatment as employees. I would like to thank my council colleagues, especially Councilwoman Janice Hahn, for standing up for the people of Los Angeles.
Ready, Set, Gold!
Today, I joined Mayor Villaraigosa, School Board President Marlene Canter, the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games (SCCOG) and the Southern California Olympians to launch the Ready, Set, Gold! pilot program at Coeur d' Alene Elementary School in Venice.
Ready, Set, Gold! is a youth fitness program that helps youth set and meet health goals. The program, designed in part to complement Fitnessgram, a state mandated fitness program for youth, was created to inspire, motivate, and educate students about health and fitness. The program pairs 30 Olympic and Paralympic athletes with 30 schools within LAUSD. Each Olympian and Paralympian will visit the adopted school's physical education classes five times during the school year to promote healthy living and active lifestyles.
I would like to thank the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games and the Southern California Olympians for partnering with the City of Los Angeles to ensure that our children learn the importance of fitness and nutrition. I hope to see many more schools in the 11th district participate in this wonderful program.