Welcome to the first CD11 “Neighborhoods First Newsletter”!
We’re launching this newsletter to help spread the word about what’s happening on the Westside, and to celebrate the neighborhoods that make Los Angeles a great place to live, work and play. In addition to filling you in on the latest work we are doing to make the City work better for you, this new monthly newsletter will strive to offer news you can use, opportunities for you to connect and get involved in your neighborhood, and ways for you to let me know what you think about the pressing issues of the day.
IN THIS ISSUE: We take a look at supporting small businesses, conserving water in our neighborhoods, the plan to bring a “Great Street” to Mar Vista, protecting affordable housing, Ice Bears at the LADWP and much more… but first, please read this month’s Neighborhoods First Profile – a personal story about the importance of thinking ahead and “aging in place” on the Westside.
You can find out more about me, meet your CD11 staff and see the latest videos and updates from the Westside on our website at www.11thdistrict.com. And remember to like my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter to always see the latest news about your neighborhood.
Aging in Place on the Westside
Mar Vista resident Sherri Akers recently launched the “Aging in Place Ad Hoc” Committee on the Mar Vista Community Council to focus on issues facing the elderly and their caregivers on the Westside. Read our interview with Sherri below and visit the committee’ website for more helpful information and resources.
Please tell us about how you came to focus on aging in place on the Westside and your experience caring after your father.
Last July, my 86 year old Dad was released from the hospital to home hospice care and my 91 year old stepmother was in a freak accident. Within six hours, we needed to arrange to have 24/7 caregiving in place. We were totally unfamiliar with options or resources and had no idea what was covered by insurance or Medicare. Suddenly our parents were dependent on us and we were completely ill equipped. Three months later, my Step-mother passed away. Dad was 36 miles away and there is no one size fits all solution. Options range from co-housing, 24/7 caregivers, roommates, living with family and moving into a seniors complex – and we were unfamiliar with all of them. Instinctively most of us want to remain in our homes as we age. My Dad’s sudden need for caregiving made us face the complications in that – both for him and for our family as we were assisting him. By sharing our experience in social media I’ve begun connecting with others and we are learning together. By 2030, 1 in 5 people will be 65 or older and for the first time in history, people over 65 will outnumber children under 5. We can’t all tackle this on our own – we need to create a community that is prepared to support this changing demographic. Our experience convinced me that I want to be part of that process.
What advice do you wish someone gave you as you started focusing more on aging in place?
Be willing to challenge your assumptions. We began by thinking that the number one priority was keeping Dad in his home where he was comfortable. He was actually the one to realize that the top priority was being close to one another. Having Dad move to a senior complex near my home eliminated an enormous amount of stress and gave us the gift of enjoying our time together.
What kind of challenges can family members and friends expect as their loved ones get older?
Begin the conversation long before you think you need to. Don’t assume that you will be able to continue your career as long as you would like to. Families are scattered – even with 24/7 caregiving or assisted living, there is still a demanding role to managing that care and it is a challenge from a distance. There are solutions that keep a loved one safe – but we also need to consider stimulation and social engagement.
Tell me about the Mar Vista Community Council’s Aging in Place Ad Hoc Committee.
In 1970, people retired at 65 and the life expectancy was 70. Now the average life expectancy is 85, and plenty of us will live past 100. This changes our needs for everything in city planning, policy and services. Our Aging in Place Committee collaborates with all of the MVCC committees to ensure that issues and policies in our community are viewed with specific attention to how they support our ability to age in place in our community. The committee members represent a tremendous amount of knowledge and diversity. We have members who are seniors looking at their own needs, family caregivers for senior parents and professionals in related professions.
Please visit https://www.facebook.com/aginginplaceMarVista for more information, research, articles and to read more about Sherri’s story.
On February 5, Mike participated in the ceremonial groundbreaking on the 1736 Family Crisis Center’s new “Everychild Foundation Emergency Shelter and Youth Program” in Del Rey.
The home will serve homeless and at-risk kids on the Westside and embrace the comprehensive supportive services provided by 1736 Family Crisis Center. “This is where hope will live,” Mike said at the event. “I am phenomenally proud to have been one of the many people who helped make it possible.
The project is funded and supported by a huge group of people and organizations, including the City of LA (with tremendous support from Mike’s predecessor, Bill Rosendahl; the County of LA; the W.M. Keck Foundation; the Rotary Club of Venice Playa Sunrise: the Rotary Club of Westchester; and most especially the Everychild Foundation, which generously awarded a grant of $1 million.
“One of my favorite parts of this job is getting to put neighborhoods first by helping a city work crew improve a community on the Westside. On February 5, I got to help an LADOT crew install a new four-way stop sign at Pacific and Wade in Mar Vista. This will not only make it safer for pedestrians to walk in the area, but it will prevent car accidents in this residential community.” – Mike
“Downtown Mar Vista” was selected as one of the first 15 streets in the city to get increased focus from Mayor Garcetti’s “Great Streets Initiative,” bringing a coordinated approach from various City Agencies and Departments in an effort to improve pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, foster economic growth, promote sustainable environmental stewardship and encourage neighborhood empowerment.
In January, Mike and Mayor Garcetti went door-to-door in Mar Vista to talk with neighbors and local business owners about how to transform Venice Boulevard into one of LA’s “Great Streets.” To figure out how to make Venice Boulevard a truly Great Street, we need – as Mike likes to say – “to put neighborhoods first.” That means the vision needs to come from you – not from bureaucrats, not from consultants, not even from elected officials. We need to hear from you and there are a number of other ways you can tell us what you think:
- You can stop by the Mar Vista Community Council tent at the Farmers Market any Sunday,
- You can contact the new Mar Vista Chamber of Commerce (www.marvistachamber.com), or
- You can email my office at firstname.lastname@example.org (include the subject “GREAT STREETS” in your email).
Mike made public safety a top priority during the budget process earlier this year, and it is already making a difference in our neighborhoods. Mike and his Council colleagues not only preserved the size of the Police Department and increased funding by $22 million for the Los Angeles Fire Department, but they added staff to the City Attorney’s office for more neighborhood prosecutors to improve quality of life, and to enforce voter-approved medical marijuana regulations and crack down on rogue operators.
The City’s Neighborhood Prosecutor Program brings together Deputy City Attorneys and local neighborhood leaders to identify and tackle local public safety priorities. Each neighborhood has its own distinct challenges, and this neighborhood-focused approach to law enforcement is something I am very proud to partner with our excellent City Attorney, Mike Feuer, in accomplishing for Los Angeles. Read more about the Neighborhood Prosecutor Program here: http://atty.lacity.org/CRIMINAL/NeighborhoodProsecutorProgram/index.htm
Mike Delivers Keynote Address at Brentwood Homeowners Association Annual Meeting
On February 19, Mike addressed hundreds of members of the Brentwood Homeowners Association for the keynote address at the group’s annual meeting at University Synagogue. He unveiled a proposal to hold a charrette (or brown bag brainstorming session) in May with community members and transportation experts to address the terrible traffic gridlock on Sunset near the 405.
Representing more than 3,000 single family homes north of San Vicente, BHA is one of the largest HOAs in the country and certainly one of the most active. They are great partners, and Mike works with them on a range of issues, including community improvements, local development and construction, traffic concerns, utility installations, city service allocations and other issues.
Mike recently joined a crew from the Department of Transportation to help install a new left-turn signal at Lincoln and Manchester in Westchester. The installation is part of a $6 million citywide “Signal Improvement Construction Program” that Mike was able to secure in last year’s budget. The program focuses on intersections where there is a history of accidents and this was the first intersection that received an upgrade on the Westside (there are a total of 32 intersections throughout the city, including six in CD11).
Second Chance Vests for the West LA Police Officers
Thanks to a generous donation by the Friends of West LA, with support from the Century City Chamber of Commerce and JMB Realty, LAPD officers in West LA will be better protected as they protect us. Mike and his colleague Paul Koretz joined FOWLA to donate dozens of bullet-proof “second chance vests” at the West LA Community Police Station on February 19.
Pali High Fall Athletics Champions Welcomed to City Hall
On January 20, Mike welcomed student athletes from Palisades Charter High School to City Hall, where he hosted a special presentation in honor of the exceptionally successful Fall athletics teams. This year, the Pali High Boy’s Water Polo, Girl’s Cross Country, Girl’s Volleyball and Girl’s Tennis teams all took home City Section Championships!
Wonder Women Tech Conference Comes to Playa Vista
The growing tech sector of our LA economy is exciting, inspiring, creative — and, sadly, lacking in women. That’s why Mike and his staff worked with the City of Los Angeles Commission on the Status of Women to host the first ever “Wonder Women Tech” conference in Playa Vista.
The free conference was held at The Hangar – Hercules Campus, and featured engaging exhibits, speaker panels and a hackathon.
Find out more here: http://wonderwomentech.com/#home
Bay Foundation and LADWP Launch Energy and Water Conservation Program
As part of a Community Partnership Outreach grant from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, The Bay Foundation has launched an online public survey and the first of three Public Service Announcements to promote energy and water conservation. The brief survey asks people about their views on energy and water savings to help bring about awareness and change.
Check out the PSA here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyVgp2KZYX0, and take the survey here: http://www.santamonicabay.org/conservation-survey/
Small Business Spotlight – Nominate Your Favorite Business Today
Each week, Mike will be celebrating local small businesses on social media by profiling them in a “Small Business Spotlight”. We would love to know what your favorite business is, so we can promote it, and let the owners know how much we value what they do.
You can make a nomination for the “Small Business Spotlight” at this link.
Meet the Westside’s New Business Development Team
Last year, Mike announced a first-of-its-kind partnership with a local Small Business Development Center that allowed him to hire a Business Development Advisor – a business concierge – who provided one-on-one business counseling and helped business owners cut through red tape in City Hall. Mike’s Small Business Development Advisor helped dozens of Westside entrepreneurs launch their businesses, expand their reach and create jobs in our neighborhoods as they continued to thrive.
Earlier this month, Mike announced that he is expanding his Business Development Advisor program! Instead of a single staffer focused on creating jobs by supporting small businesses, he will have an entire team working out of his offices on behalf of businesses on the Westside.
Find out more about the team and sign up for one-on-one counseling here: https://www.11thdistrict.com/small_business_corner
Find out more about our March 17 Small Business Workshop and RSVP here: https://www.11thdistrict.com/small_business_workshop_3_17
Hundreds of folks turned out on February 19 and 21 to provide feedback on the new ground transportation system being proposed for LAX. The new tram system, transit hub, consolidated rental car center and connection to Metro will get people into and out of LAX more easily, reducing congestion in the central terminal and nearby neighborhoods. Find out more about all of it at http://www.connectinglax.com and see the boards that were on display at the meeting here: https://www.11thdistrict.com/lax_landside_access_scoping_meeting_info_bds.
Getting Rid of the City’s Foolish Business Tax
Last year, hundreds of small business owners responded to Mike’s Small Business Survey and overwhelmingly supported phasing out the City’s gross receipts tax – a bizarre system that taxes businesses based on the money they collect, not on the profits they make.
Thankfully, that system is finally changing. Last month, Mike and his colleagues voted to begin phasing out the gross receipts tax in Los Angeles, and the top tax rate will be gradually reduced every year until 2018. Read more about the Council’s business tax reform here: http://www.dailynews.com/government-and-politics/20150211/top-los-angeles-business-tax-rate-to-drop-every-year-through-2018
Planning and Development Reform – More Affordable Housing in Coastal Areas
As the economy recovers and the pace of residential development continues to speed up, Mike has grown increasingly concerned about the loss of affordable housing – throughout the City of Los Angeles, but particularly in the Coastal Zone and most particularly, in Venice.
The Mello Act is a state law, adopted over 30 years ago, that is supposed to preserve, replace, and develop low-income and affordable housing in the Coastal Zone. For the past 15 years, the City has been implementing the Mello Act through a set of interim guidelines. The only way that we can make sure the City is following the Mello Act the way it was intended is to finally get an ordinance on the books implementing the Mello Act, and in the meantime, to make sure that the City is doing everything it possibly can to follow the rules that we do have.
Accordingly, Mike introduced a motion last month intended to just that: to direct the City to take steps it should have taken over a decade ago by replacing the interim Mello Act provisions with a permanent ordinance; to get clear, on-the-record answers about how or whether the City has been complying with the guidelines, and to figure out what more the City can do to protect affordable housing in the Coastal Zone, including by requiring rigorous third-party financial analysis of applications covered by the Mello Act.
Read Mike’s Mello Act motion here: https://www.scribd.com/doc/256798258/Mike-Bonin-s-Mello-Act-Motion
Conserving Water in Los Angeles
With California still in a historic drought, Mike and his colleague Felipe Fuentes introduced two initiatives to combat drought and steer residents and LADWP into rethinking their use of water. The Councilmembers called on LADWP to: explore expanding its tiered-pricing system for water; help residents establish reasonable “water budgets” for their households; better measure outdoor water use; and further promote sustainable and drought-tolerant landscaping. They also called for LADWP and the City to stop watering turf lawns at City properties while they wait to be replaced with drought-tolerant landscaping. Find out more here: https://www.11thdistrict.com/bonin_and_fuentes_propose_water_conservation_measures
Looking for Innovative Ways to Fund Improvements in Venice
Seeking to reverse a chronic lack of investment in parking, affordable housing and transportation infrastructure in the Venice area, Mike is proposing to take advantage of a new state law that would allow a portion of property taxes from Venice to be spent only on Venice projects.
Mike introduced a motion to the City Council that calls for the City to begin the process of creating an Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District (EIFD) in Venice. Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts, which were created by a bill signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown last year, allow for tax increments to finance specific public capital improvements in defined areas. The districts do not levy new taxes, but rather allow for needed improvements to be made by dedicating future tax increments to the projects.
“Venice is in dire need of more parking, improved transportation infrastructure, and a lot more affordable housing,” said Bonin. “An Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District could create a revenue stream to fund those long-neglected neighborhood priorities. And it could do it without raising taxes.”
Find out more about the motion here: https://www.11thdistrict.com/bonin_proposes_innovative_way_to_fund_venice_improvements
We are looking for creative and energetic interns to serve at our City Hall, West LA and Westchester offices. Those selected will work closely with the professional staff of the elected office in one or a number of areas including public policy, land use and planning, communication, transportation issues, research, and community outreach efforts. Each internship offers an enriching experience for students and other candidates looking for hands-on experience in local city government. Find out more and apply at: https://www.11thdistrict.com/interns
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Community Calendar – Attend a Community Event at Your Local Library!
Find out more about just some of the great neighborhood events at some of the many libraries around the Westside. CLICK ON THE LINK TO EACH LIBRARIES’ WEBSITE TO SEE EVEN MORE EVENTS!
Have an event you would like listed? Email email@example.com to submit events.
- Westchester Library
- Story time – Held on Wednesdays, from 10:15am – 11am. Join them for stories, songs, rhymes and more. Lasts about 30 minutes, followed by 15 minutes of playtime.
- Baby Story Time – Held on Mondays, from 10:15am -10:50am. For children 18 months and under and their caregiver. Lasts about 20 minutes, followed by 15 minutes of playtime.
- Computer Basics Class – Noon on Thursday, March 5 and Thursday, March 26. Free introductory class for those just starting to learn more about computers.
- Playa Vista Library
- Chess Club – Held on Wednesdays, from 4:15pm – 5:15pm, ages 6-12. For kids to learn and play chess as taught by a master chess player.
- Conversation with Author Yaja Boren, Holocaust Survivor – Saturday, March 14, 3pm. Yaja Boren is the author of her memoir “We Only Have Each Other,” and her novel “There are No Strangers.” Ms. Boren is a holocaust survivor of five concentration camps including Aushwitz. She now lives in Playa Vista, and contributes to our local community. Hear her recall the history of holocaust survival, and learn about her life philosophy of love and kindness.
- Venice-Abbot Kinney Memorial Library
- Adult Yoga – Wednesdays, 12:30pm. Bring a mat & get ready to breathe. Open to all levels!
- STAR Reader Story Time – Tuesdays at noon. (STAR –Story Telling and Reading) Storytelling to children either one-on-one or in small groups. Children earn a free book after 3 visits.
- Chess Club – Held on Thursdays, and starts at 4:15pm, for ages 6-15. For kids and teens to learn and play chess. The club is taught by a master chess player.
- Mar Vista Library
- Toddler and Pre-School Story Time – Wednesdays at 11am. Toddlers and preschoolers can join us for a fun storytime full of rhymes, fingerplays and picture books!
- Seuss-a-Mania! – Saturday, March 7, 2pm – 3pm. Celebrate a silly Seuss day! Join in the fun with your favorite characters, from the “Cat in the Hat” to “Sam I Am!” Enjoy crafts, songs, stories and more!
- Irish Poetry with Joe Prami – Saturday, March 14, 2pm. Joe Praml, a former London-based stage actor, will read from a selection of Irish poetry to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
- West Los Angeles Regional Library
- NAMI Peer-to-Peer Support Group – Wednesday, March 4 and Wednesday, March 18, 6pm to 7:30pm. NAMI Peer-to-Peer is a recovery support group for adults living with mental illness in which people learn from each other’s experiences, share coping strategies, and offer each other encouragement, empathy, and community. PRIOR REGISTRATION REQUIRED. To register or to ask questions, please contact Ms. Andrea Pulcini at (310) 872-7944 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Donald Bruce Kaufmann Brentwood Library
- UCLA Gluck String Quartet in Recital – Thursday, March 5, 6:30pm. The acclaimed UCLA Gluck String Quartet, funded by a grant from the Maxwell H. Gluck Foundation, returns to the Brentwood Branch for a FREE classical recital. Composed of two violinists, a violist, and a cellist respectively, the group is known to “…show musical versatility while feeding off the energy from each other and the audience.”
- USC and the Making of Los Angeles – Thursdays in March at 1pm. A six part lecture series by Dr. John G. (Tom) Tomlinson, Jr. Using the life of John R. Haynes (1853-1937) L.A. physician-millionaire-philanthropist and the development of USC, Dr. Tomlinson tracks the growth of L.A. from a dusty town of 12,000 in 1880 to an international metropolis approaching 1,000,000 in 1932 when the city hosted the Olympic Games. We will explore Los Angeles as a place of tuberculosis sanatoria, citrus orchards, oil fields, aqueducts, film sets, airports, and diverse and international peoples. Each class is 1.5 hours long. Registration is Required. Email email@example.com or call (213) 740-7122
- Pacific Palisades Library
- College Scholarship Support Group – Wednesday, March 11, 6pm. As soon as you learn where you’ll be attending college, you’ll need to figure out how to pay for it all. Ideally, the time to start hunting for college scholarships is the summer between your junior and senior year of high school. Learn about the scholarship application process from C2 Education’s Jacob Kantor. He’ll explain how to find scholarships, when to apply and how to avoid scams.
- Poetry, Spoken Word & Hip Hop Workshop – Mondays, March 16 & 23, Tuesday, March 31, Mondays April 6 & 13 from 3:30pm to 5:30pm. Los Angeles Public Library & Urban Word LA is offering a FREE poetry, spoken word and hip-hop workshop for teens, 13-19. Led byTedX Poet, Rachel Kann, the five-week workshop will be an opportunity for teens to take their poetry to the next level. Participants will also have the chance to enter the Los Angeles Youth Poet Laureate contest. The winner will also win a book deal to publish their first book of poems! Kann has performed her work from Royce Hall to San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts. She is a James Kirkwood Award for Fiction recipient.
Find out more about events at your local library at http://www.lapl.org/
Thank you for reading the March issue of Mike Bonin’s Neighborhoods First Newsletter.