Big Sunday Community Service Weekend
I encourage you to come join me for a weekend of community service as part of the Mayor’s Big Sunday program. There are projects all over the City, and I will be pitching in on Sunday at 11am at the Pacific Division Police Station in Del Rey, and then I will head over to Charnock Road Elementary School at noon. Please come join me, or find a project in your neighborhood at http://www.bigsunday.org/
. See you there!
FBI Withdraws Plans for West LA Expansion
As a result of a strong community opposition, the proposed expansion of the FBI building at Wilshire and Sepulveda has been scrapped. The FBI and General Services Administration (GSA) announced they will instead explore alternative sites for the FBI headquarters building.
I took an active role in opposing this project because the intersection of Wilshire and Sepulveda is already plagued by gridlock. A larger FBI building would only exacerbate the traffic congestion that chokes the streets of West Los Angeles. I joined with Councilmember Jack Weiss, representatives of Senator Dianne Feinstein, Congressman Henry Waxman, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, and the Coalition For Veterans' Land to voice my opposition to this project, and our coalition was successful in stopping the development.
My colleagues and I encourage GSA to locate the new FBI facility in downtown Los Angeles where we have a hub of local, state, and government offices, as well as better connection to mass transit.
Earthquakes - Shift Happens Dare to Prepare
Please join Councilman Rosendahl to learn more about emergency preparedness in Los Angeles.
This event is co-sponsored by:
NCWPDR Public Safety Committee
Councilman Bill Rosendahl's Empowerment Congress, Public Safety Committee
Saturday, April 28, 2007
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Dr. Lucy Jones
Loyola Marymount University
St. Roberts Hall Auditorium
Dr. Lucy Jones is a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and Scientist-in-Charge of the USGS's Earthquake Program in southern California. Dr. Jones, who has become famous for her lively TV guest appearances whenever the Southern California earth trembles, will speak on "Earthquakes: Shift Happens - Dare to Prepare," living with earthquakes in souther California.
Councilman Bill Rosendahl will be facilitating the Q&A portion of the event.
Hope to see you there.
-Andrea Epstein, Field Deputy
Recognizing a Local Champion for Youth
I want to introduce you to Alejandro "Alex" Soschin, a great member of our community who I nominated as the CD 11 local champion for youth as part of the City's Week of the Young Child. Alejandro founded LA SCORES, a non-profit after-school program for under-served youth in the Palms community. Since 2002, LA SCORES has grown from a pilot program with a few dozen students in 3 grades to over 250 enrolled students on four campuses from K to 8th grades learning soccer, poetry and community service. The program has been recognized by the Mattel children's Foundation as their Community Partner for the past two years, and is a member of LAUSD's Beyond the Bell after-school partnership.
In addition to his work with LA SCORES, Alejandro has worked in the nonprofit community as part of the Topsail Youth Program's middle school initiatives in Los Angeles. He also served as an inner-city elementary school coordinator for Peace Games in Boston and as a consultant on NGOs to the Inter-American Development Bank in Mexico. A lifelong soccer fanatic, Alejandro has played, coached and refereed throughout his career. Alejandro received his B.A. from Harvard University with a concentration in Political Science. Along with his duties as Executive Director of LA Scores, Alejandro was a member of the Palms Neighborhood Council's (PNC) Advisory Board & Organizing Committee, currently serves on my Empowerment Congress Education Committee in CD11, as well as an advisor to the Westside Regional Center's Peer Mentor pilot program.
I want to express my deep gratitude to Alex for all of the great work he has done and will continue to do for Los Angeles youth.
Keep Del Rey Moving
On Monday morning, the Councilmember celebrated the completion of the Centinela widening project with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Centinela Avenue business owners, community members, City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works staff, and project contractor Excel Paving were in attendance.
In December, Councilmember Rosendahl took action to expedite the disruptive street widening project, which adversely impacted local businesses. Construction began along Centinela Avenue, between Culver Boulevard and Washington Boulevard, in May 2006 in order to ease traffic congestion along the busy corridor. The project improves the north/south traffic flow by adding an additional north bound and south bound lane. The completed project includes: left turn pockets; repaved and newly striped streets; new sidewalks; additional lighting and landscaping; full time parking on the west side of the street; and restricted parking during peak commute hours on the east side of the street. Local merchants expressed appreciation for the project and believe the improvements will encourage business growth. The project involved coordination between various agencies including Public Works and the Department of Water and Power.
This is an example of another successful City effort to keep the Westside moving!
Del Rey and Mar Vista Field Deputy
Nancy and Dick Riordan Trail Dedication
Last week Councilmember Eric Garcetti and I had the opportunity to honor Nancy and Dick Riordan for their immeasurable contributions to Los Angeles' civic life by dedicating the Nancy and Dick Riordan Trail.
When the trail is completed, it will connect two major trail networks within the public parkland. The completed trail will provide access to a network of trails within the "Big Wild," a 21,000 acre public open space area that extends from the San Fernando Valley to the Pacific Ocean. The area is remarkably beautiful and rugged, and from the mountains you can see all the way to Catalina Island.
Not only was this a wonderful chance to recognize a great couple, but the trail itself represents a triumph of cooperation. This trail was made possible through the resolution of a land use dispute over a nearby housing development. I worked closely with Dick Riordan, Castle & Cooke, the Canyon Back Alliance, Save Our Mountains, Inc. (SOMI) and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy to provide trail easements over private open space and allow maximum public access to the invaluable trail system. Funding for the construction of the trail was provided by Castle & Cooke, which is developing the adjacent Mountaingate property.
Nancy and Dick have devoted their lives to making Los Angeles a better place, and this trail is a token of our appreciation. I hope to see you out on the trail!
Denim Day in LA 2007
The goal of Denim Day in LA is to prevent sexual violence and support survivors.
What is Denim Day? - In 1999 an Italian Supreme Court decision overturned a rape conviction because the victim wore jeans. The justices stated that the victim must have helped her attacker remove her jeans, from which they inferred consent. People all over the world were outraged. Wearing jeans became an international symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual assault.
What you can do:
1. Register at www.denimdayinla.org or call 800-NO-RAPE-8
2. Wear denim on April 25, 2007
3. Tell your friends, family and colleagues to wear denim
4. Donate dollars for denim
Last year over 250,000 individuals, 400 organizations and businesses and 49 cities in Los Angeles County signed up to support Denim Day in LA.
Make a social statement with your fashion statement on April 25, 2007. Wear jeans with a purpose.
Westchester Public School Expo
Last Saturday I had a fantastic time at the Public School Expo at the Westchester Park. This was a great event to celebrate our area's public schools and give families a chance to get involved in their children's education. Sure there were pony rides, moon bouncers, and activities for kids, but I was so impressed that families had a chance to meet principals, see what's offered, and meet other involved parents.
The Expo was organized by the Westchester/Playa Del Rey Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the enhancement and advocacy of the public schools in Westchester and Playa Del Rey. Through the leadership efforts in fund raising, researching, developing and marketing our public schools, WPEF creates long-term partnerships with educators, families, local government and the business community to strengthen our schools from kindergarten through high school.
I presented certificates to Christine Moen, Marie Murphy, Forouzan Faridian, Kelly Kane, and Ann Wexler to recognize their contributions to the schools in Westchester and Playa Del Rey.
AB 1634 - California Healthy Pets Act
On Tuesday I made a very difficult decision to vote in support of the CA Healthy Pets Act. This proposed state law would mandate that all dog and cat owners have their pets spayed or neutered by the age of four months, with certain exceptions for breeders, working dogs, and the health of the animal.
My initial reaction was to oppose this measure because it places a burden on responsible pet owners. I am an animal lover, and I have many animals at my house in Mar Vista. I take great pride in looking after their health, safety and happiness. I have even had the joy of breeding a few litters of German shepherd puppies that I gifted to good homes with close friends. I don’t think responsible pet owners should be punished for the misdeeds of the irresponsible pet owners; we should focus on people with unlicensed or problematic pets.
But, as I heard from the public and my colleagues, I realized that our city is forced into a terrible position of having to kill thousands of bright, vibrant animals every year because the pet population is out of control. In order to end this unnecessary killing, I am willing to tolerate a little more government regulation of my pets. With a heavy heart, I joined my colleagues to support AB 1634 for the sake of the animals of California.
This bill will be voted on in the California legislature this month, and if it passes it will take effect April 1, 2008. For more information on the bill please visit: http://www.cahealthypets.com
Earth Day 2007 Celebration
Last week I joined my colleagues on the City Council for a breakfast event to celebrate Earth Day 2007. We gathered together to honor community members from all corners of the city for their outstanding commitments to protecting the natural environment of Los Angeles.
I selected Francine Diamond, chair of the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, as an honoree although she was unable to attend. Francine has also been deeply involved with the California League of Conservation Voters and the LA County Beach Advisory Commission.
I also selected the Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution, founded in 2003 by Martin and Join Rubin, to receive an award. CRAAP works to help reduce the health and safety impacts of living near the Santa Monica Airport, and they have accomplished so much.
And as an added bonus, Councilmember Jan Perry and the Environmental Affairs Department gave me a beautiful tree to plant in my yard at home.