Mike sent the following message to neighbors on May 23, 2021. 

Dear Friends,

Los Angeles’ work to build back better from the COVID pandemic has begun. Last week, the City Council unanimously approved an $11.2 billion budget that focuses on reopening our city, improving our neighborhoods, and fulfilling long-delayed promises of equity and justice.

This new budget includes significant funding for solutions to homelessness, responses to increases in crime, expanding neighborhood sanitation efforts, improvements to our parks, enhancing our urban forest, repaving our streets, and fighting climate change. It also includes resources to help small businesses, renters, seniors, and parents with young children.

Here’s a rundown of some of the key items impacting you and your neighborhood:

HOMELESSNESS
There is no more immediate crisis than homelessness, and this budget devotes an unprecedented $1 billion to confront the crisis. The budget includes:

  • More than $360 million from HHH to build more than 5,600 permanent housing units in 89 different projects throughout Los Angeles.
  • $140 million in hotel and motel conversions to provide 1,500 rooms for housing and shelter to get people out of encampments and off the street quickly.
  • $100 million to increase the supply of affordable housing, homeless and eviction prevention, and homeless outreach programs.
  • Increased mobile hygiene stations and sanitation services to help keep areas with encampments clean and sanitary.
  • A pool of funds that I am proposing to tap for Encampment to Home programs that move people from areas of large encampments, such as Venice Beach, into long-term housing.
  • Funding for a multi-disciplinary team to do dedicated outreach to unhoused neighbors in Council District 11, offering help for those suffering from mental health and substance abuse problems.
  • $3 million for the Los Angeles Regional Initiative for Social Enterprise (LA RISE), which provides job development activities for homeless individuals and for participants at A Bridge Home sites. These activities include subsidized employment for individuals with a history of homelessness, supportive case management designed to help prepare participants for continued employment, and training in both hard and soft skills.

PUBLIC SAFETY
The budget invests in the beginning of reimagining public safety, using non-armed civilians to handle an array of issues while freeing up sworn officers to respond to crime. The budget:

  • Pays for additional police patrols in Westside neighborhoods that have seen an increase in crime over the past year, including the Venice boardwalk.
  • Funds a one-year pilot program for a new crisis response team that will be dedicated to providing a 24/7 community-based response to non-violent emergencies involving unhoused neighbors in Venice.
  • Funds a pilot program with the Department of Mental Health and the Los Angeles Fire Department for a program that will dispatch trained mental health professionals to deal with urgent calls about people experiencing a mental health crisis.
  • Increases funding for gang reduction and youth development programs.
  • Provides funds for constant staffing of LAFD platoons to keep open LAFD engine companies, like Station 69 in Pacific Palisades, that my colleagues and I restored in recent years.

I still felt the public safety programs did not go far enough, and I proposed $18 million for additional smart and cost-efficient programs for unarmed response to a range of issues, including traffic enforcement.

SUPPORT FOR SENIORS, FAMILIES, SMALL BUSINESSES, AND THE ARTS
As we emerge from the COVID pandemic, the 2021-22 city budget uses funds from the American Rescue Act to support those most affected by the pandemic-fueled economic turndown. The budget includes:

  • $25 million to support restaurants and small businesses, as well as an additional $25 million in efforts to focus small business support on disadvantaged communities.
  •  $10 million to a program to serve meals provided by restaurants in disadvantaged communities to low-income seniors. During the pandemic, home-delivered meals from local businesses were a lifeline for seniors. Funding is also increased for congregate meals, a critical nutritional program for seniors.
  • $2 million to make some of the Al Fresco outdoor dining opportunities set up by local restaurants during the pandemic permanent.
  • $10 million for child care businesses, enabling parents to return to work as Los Angeles emerges from the effects of the pandemic.
  • More than $5 million in programs for seniors, including services and programming at senior centers.
  • $20 million to operate eight childcare centers that will serve hundreds of children.
  • $10 million to expand broadband services in disadvantaged communities.
  • Improvements to the Business Assistance Virtual Network, which will open up the supply chain of major public infrastructure projects and sporting events to the City’s small business community.
  • Our targeted local hire program will get $30 million to hire 750 positions in various departments from underserved and underemployed communities in LA.
  • $2.8 million for a summer youth jobs program.
  • $1 million to the Youth and Creative Workers Mural Program will ensure restoration of treasured murals citywide.
  • $1.5 million for LA’s Best afterschool programs.
  • Increases funding to the Department of Cultural Affairs for community arts programming at art centers and theaters, including solo and group art exhibitions, outreach programs for underserved populations, and numerous events during the year that celebrate the cultural diversity of our communities.
  • Creates a new Youth Development Department to coordinate youth programs city-wide and give young Angelenos tools to shape their own futures.
  • Creates a Community Investment for Families Department to run family source centers, domestic violence interventions, and other social services.

PARKS
This year’s budget provides funding to restore services, programming, and investment in the Department of Recreation and Parks to levels not seen in more than a decade. The budget includes:

  • $75 million dedicated to deferred maintenance and improvements at parks throughout LA. This funding will pay for things like new playgrounds, ballfields, lighting, bathrooms, security, and air conditioning in recreation centers.
  • Funding to renovate and restore the pool operated jointly by LAUSD and Recreation & Parks at Venice High School.
  • Money to the Department of Recreation and Parks to expand its capacity in aquatics programming, construction efforts to improve parks, and efforts to connect with unhoused neighbors living in parks.
  • Funds to restore programs through the LA2028 Youth Sports initiative, which provides free sports programming at 80 qualified recreation centers in disadvantaged communities.
  • Additional resources for sanitation efforts to clean up trash and remove bulky items from parks.

STREETS, SIDEWALKS, AND SANITATION
This budget focuses on the essential services neighbors rely on every day, especially streets and sidewalks. The budget:

  • Allocates $183 million for street repairs and reconstruction, an increase of $13 million over last year.
  • Provides funds so that 1,700 lane-miles of roadway will be repaired in the next year, an average of five miles a day. Not only will this fix potholes and cracks in the road, but it will put Angelenos to work by hiring workers locally from underserved and underemployed communities in LA.
  • Expands and accelerates the City’s commitment to pedestrians and our neighbors with disabilities by committing to $44.5 million for sidewalk repairs, a 27% increase over last year.
  • Restores funding for important neighborhood improvements, including median island maintenance, alley paving, and speed humps on residential streets.
  • Expands street sweeping programs, allowing StreetsLA to expand street cleaning to more streets throughout the city, and to do a comprehensive street sweeping optimization study, with further recommendations of how to improve the services.
  • Funds expanded sanitation services for neighborhood cleanups, graffiti removal, and bulky items pickup.
  • Dedicates funding to improve a portion of La Cienega Boulevard in Ladera and Westchester to be a “Green Street” that includes landscaped medians to help filter and clean stormwater.

PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT AND FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE
Los Angeles is leading the way toward a clean energy future and investing in a just transition away from the fossil fuels that have polluted and poisoned our air and water.  This budget:

  • Spends $3.5 million to begin the process of phasing out oil and gas production in LA.
  • Hires staff to ensure more robust and frequent inspections of oil wells and ensure verification of bonding and insurance requirements to ensure oil companies are held liable for clean-up costs; and a team to develop and launch a pilot version of the Oil and Gas Well Site Facility Compliance Program as part of the Office of Petroleum and Natural Gas Administration.
  • Provides funding to plant 200,000 new street trees and to hire new crews to trim 38,000 trees in LA in the next year.
  • Provides staff to advance efforts to create wildlife corridors, protecting critical habitat and tree canopy for the City’s precious wildlife.
  • Provides staff to make environmental justice and climate action more ingrained elements of our planning process.
  • Invests $30 million in expanding the use of solar panels and energy storage at city facilities.
  • Provides $4 million to expand municipal EV charging stations and nearly $5 million to invest in cost- and carbon-saving energy efficiency projects in city buildings.

EQUITY & JUSTICE
The budget makes good on commitments to invest in efforts that focus on equity and justice. This budget includes:

  • Funding is directed to enhance existing employment programs including the city’s youth employment program, LA RISE, and day laborer services.
  • Funding is also provided for new pre-apprenticeship opportunities for transitional workers to learn a trade.
  • $24 million is provided to launch BIG LEAP, a landmark guaranteed basic income pilot to provide $1,000 a month to 2,000 households for an entire year.
  • $8.7 million is provided to launch Clean LA jobs, an initiative to clean up neighborhoods most dramatically impacted by illegal dumping and litter, while implying employing 200 young adults.
  • $5 million for Angeleno Corps, a one-year program of 400 students committing to a year of service in environmental justice, community wellness, tutoring and mentorship, arts education, immigrant services, and closing the digital divide.
  • $10 million to launch LA REPAIR Innovation Fund, providing grants to support job creation, racial healing, justice, and reconciliation work.
  • $2 million is to launch LA REPAIR Peace and Healing Centers in partnership with community and faith organizations to establish safe spaces where youth and adults can dialogue around racial justice and reconciliation.
  • Continuous funding for an Office of Civil, Human Rights, and Equity.
  • Creates the Office of Racial Equity to develop and implement racial equity service programs and policy analysis.
  • $3 million to support the Social Equity Program within the City’s Department of Cannabis Regulation and promote equitable ownership and employment within the cannabis industry.

We have an opportunity to rebuild Los Angeles stronger than ever before as we emerge from the pandemic, and the budget approved by the City Council last week is an excellent start to that work. I am proud to work with neighbors to move Los Angeles forward, do good, and get things done for our neighborhoods.

Regards,

MIKE BONIN
Councilmember, 11th District