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|Los Angeles County, CA||March 8, 2005 Election|
By Jeffrey PrangCandidate for Council Member; City of West Hollywood
This information is provided by the candidate
I hope you had a happy New Year's holiday and you're all working hard on living up to your New Year's Resolutions!
Well, the rain is finally past us (for the moment anyway!) and we're finally beginning to dry up, but let's not forget about the thousands of people affected by the horrendous tsunami a couple weeks ago. At the last City Council meeting I asked the City Manager to include a link on our City website so that people could get more information on how to help the tsunami victims. I hope you will visit the City's website at http://www.weho.org and give generously to one of the charitable organizations listed.
As always, I welcome your responses and inquiries, whether about this Update or any other issues you might have with our City government. Please direct them to me at email@example.com or to Josh Kurpies, my deputy, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our phone number at City Hall is (323) 848-6460.
Feel free to share and forward these Updates with friends. I am happy to add new names to the list. If you would like your name removed, just let Josh or me know.
COUNCILMEMBER JEFFREY PRANG City of West Hollywood
IN THIS ISSUE:
I. City Council Meeting Issues
JANUARY 3rd MEETING
RESOLUTION URGING HOTEL CORPORATIONS & WORKERS TO NEGOTIATE IN GOOD FAITH The City Council approved a resolution urging the Hotel Corporations and Hotel Workers (HERE Local 11) to continue their labor contract negotiations in good faith and reach an agreement rather than going on strike. The Hyatt West Hollywood is one of the hotels that could be the target of a strike.
Tourism is a vital to the City's economic success. A large part of the revenues collected by the City come from the transitory occupancy tax (TOT) + the tax guests pay each night they stay at one of our hotels - and a substantial part of those revenues are appropriated to pay for social services for those most in need. Without these services, many of our residents would see their quality of life impacted. Thus, the risk of a labor strike within our jurisdiction and the resulting decrease in revenues could have a very negative effect on these programs.
To prevent a strike, the City Council unanimously encouraged both parties to reach an agreement that is fair and takes into consideration the needs of the workers and the survival of our local hotels.
GREEN BUILDING PROGRAMS UPDATE The City Council has asked city staff to develop a Green Building Ordinance over the next 90 days with mandatory requirements for all public buildings. Green buildings are structure that minimize energy use and that are constructed with environmentally friendly and sustainable materials.
The City Council previously requested staff research additional information regarding "green" building regulations in other local municipalities, as well as potential costs of a green building program in the City of West Hollywood to both the public and private sectors.
The US Green Building Council (USGBC) has developed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System which is a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance sustainable buildings. LEED promotes green building through a comprehensive system offering project certification, professional accreditation, training and practical resources.
Under the LEED rating system, a project is awarded points based on the incorporation and implementation of green building elements. Projects can be awarded one of four levels of status: certified; silver; gold; or platinum depending on the number of points achieved.
Existing development standards in the City currently require
projects to provide a number of "green" features that would qualify for points under the LEED Rating System. For example:
The development of a green building program in the City has the potential to reduce demand for additional energy, water, raw building materials and other natural resources while reducing emissions and providing health, community and economic benefits.
JANUARY 18TH MEETING
HYBRID VEHICLE PURCHASE/LEASE INCENTIVE PROGRAM Mayor Pro-Tem Abbe Land and I have proposed the City Council consider adopting a residential parking incentive program to encourage the purchase or lease of hybrid vehicles. The program, if adopted, will waive permit fees and allow a permit holder to park in any permit district.
The federal government is encouraging hybrid vehicle ownership by passing legislation to provide tax deductions for "clean fuel" vehicles. I support programs in City of West Hollywood that fully participate and expand incentive programs for vehicles meeting "clean fuel" requirements.
The City of Los Angeles recently implemented a hybrid parking policy incentive that provides certified hybrid vehicle drivers free parking at meters up until the posted time limit.
In West Hollywood the adoption of a similar "free meter" program would be problematic. One of the reasons for not following the same program being tested by Los Angeles is due to West Hollywood's inherent geographical limitations by having linear commercial zones rather than a central commercial district. (i.e. Sunset and Santa Monica Boulevards)
Due to the intense shortage of residential and commercial street parking in West Hollywood, a "free meter" program could unintentionally penalize businesses if visitors, residents and/or employees started using meters for non-patron parking.
A "free meter" program in West Hollywood would require an increase in time and cost for the City for enforcement of posted time limits, and would have an unknown effect on patron accessibility.
In West Hollywood the hybrid vehicle parking policy would provide an individual resident with more flexibility and access to on-street parking by designing a universal resident pass, a concept many residents have suggested that the City adopt.
The success of the pilot program can be measured by the number of hybrid permits issued. There will be a means to track revenue lost from the sale of $9 residential passes and the number of hybrid vehicle permits issued. A report can be generated to track the number of hybrid permits issued within each parking district. If it later appears the number of hybrid vehicle passes are skewed by area of residence and/or usage, the concept of having a universal resident pass can be evaluated and eliminated if necessary.
The pilot program would also be valuable in that it would serve dual purposes. It would promote vehicle ownership in the City that is more environmentally conscious, while providing residents with sufficient incentives to change to hybrid vehicles; waiving the cost of the hybrid permit, and providing vehicles with hybrid permits universal access to all Preferential Parking Districts during the pilot period.
Certification of vehicles during the pilot period shall be based on IRS certification of vehicles for the hybrid vehicle tax deduction. The Transportation Commission will review the incentive program and will make recommendations to the City Council whether to expand the program to include electric and Partial Zero Emission Vehicles (PZEV), most often only found in California due to our cleaner gas formulation.
To date the following vehicles have been certified as hybrids by the IRS. The City and the public may get the most up to date certification list by visiting http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=104549,00.html.
IRS certification has been announced for the following vehicle
If you would like more information on this incentive program, please contact my office at (323) 848-6460.
PREFERENTIAL PARKING - 1100 BLOCK OF GENESEE The City Council will consider approving a request to implement preferential parking regulations on the 1100 block of Genesee Avenue. The preferential parking regulations would limit on-street parking to vehicles with permits only between the hours of 7pm and 7m, seven days a week.
In January 2003 the City Council conducted a public hearing and approved the expansion of Preferential Parking District 8 (basically the residential area bordered by Fountain Ave and Santa Monica Blvd on the north/south borders and Fairfax Ave and La Brea Ave on the east/west border). The expansion of the district was conditioned that individual streets located within the district would not have parking restrictions posted on their block unless initiated by residents by circulating a petition and gathering at least 51% of the units (not residents).
Whenever a block within the district meets the petition requirements, the City Council reviews a routine agenda item as an informational report for the public who may not be aware of the prior district approval and how long the implementation process will be before permit restrictions are enforced.
With Council approval, the parking regulations on the 1100 block of Genesee Avenue would take effect on March 9, 2005. Following a brief warning period of approximately two weeks, enforcement would begin on March 24, 2005.
If you have questions about this process or would like more
information on implementing preferential parking regulations on your
street, please contact our Parking Operations office at (323) 848-
3-MONTH EXTENSION TO THE AGREEMENT WITH LA SHANTI FOUNDATION The City Council will consider a three-month extension to the agreement with the LA Shanti Foundation for HIV education, prevention and emotional support services for people living with HIV and AIDS. If approved, the City would provide LA Shanti $18,294 in exchange for their services.
The City of West Hollywood has supported programs of the LA Shanti Foundation since its first office opened in West Hollywood in 1984. The City granted $95,000 to LA Shanti in the 2003-04 grant period for emotional support services for people living with HIV and AIDS; HIV prevention education efforts; and CITY Project, a prevention program targeting youth. The agency has experienced turn over in several key administrative staff positions. A new Executive Director joined the agency July 1, 2004. The agency's proposal for continued grant funding in the 2004-06 contract period was submitted late. Staff did not read the proposal and the Human Services Commission recommended to the City Council that the proposal not be considered.
At that time, the City Council sought a way to continue support for an agency which has provided vital services to the community and which is in need of the City's support at a crucial juncture in its organizational history. The Council approved a one month contract extension for Shanti from October 1 to November 1 at the 2003-04 grant amount of $95,000. The Council identified $56,000 for possible allocation to Shanti by reducing recommended grant amounts to seven agencies by $36,000 and earmarking $20,000 in contract savings from 2003-04. The Council requested that staff review the agency's plans for administrative stability and develop a proposed scope of services and return to the Human Services Commission and Council with a recommendation. The Commission and City Council subsequently approved a three-month contract extension until January 31, 2005 at $18,294.
This recommendation to Council to extend the contract for an additional 3-months includes several special terms and conditions. It recommends probationary status requiring monthly reports to the Human Services Commission, an increased level of monitoring and technical assistance from City staff, and quarterly progress reports to the City Council. These conditions are suggested in response to the fact that some of the agency's programs have struggled over the past several years to find a West Hollywood constituency, and in recognition of the recent administrative and staff changes.
YEAR-END REPORT ON SOCIAL SERVICES PROGRAMS FOR 2003-2004 The City Council will receive a year-end evaluation report of contract programs from staff. This report is part of ongoing monitoring and review of our social services programs.
The following is a summary of some of the services the City funds
for people in need, most of whom are very low-income Seniors; people
with disabilities including AIDS; immigrants; children; and youth
and adults who are homeless.
The Social Services and Finance Division staff reviews program reports submitted each month and conducts program and fiscal site visits. Site visits allow staff to verify the information provided in reports by reviewing all the materials relevant to the City's contract.
For a copy of the summary of each agency's programs for 2003-04, please contact my office at (323) 848-6460 or email my deputy, Josh Kurpies at email@example.com.
RESOLUTION OPPOSING AMENDMENT TO CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION PROHBITTING SAME SEX MARRIAGE Mayor John Duran and I have asked the City Council to consider adopting resolutions opposing two legislative bills (ACA 3 & SCA 1) attempting to amend the California Constitution to prohibit gay marriage.
The proposed Constitutional amendments would change the California Constitution to provide that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. The proposed amendment would further limit the provision of the rights, responsibilities, benefits, and obligations of marriage to a man and a woman, and would add the following language to the CA Constitution:
"SEC. 7.5 (a) only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California, whether contracted in this state or elsewhere. (b) The rights, responsibilities, benefits, and obligations of a marriage shall only be granted, bestowed, and conferred upon a man and woman joined in a valid marriage, and may not be conferred upon any other union or partnership".
I believe this proposed amendment is an attempt to overturn the California State Legislature's adoption of the Domestic Partnership bill AB 205 (Goldberg), which expanded the rights and responsibilities afforded to domestic and same-sex partners.
Assembly Constitutional Amendment 3 and Senate Constitutional Amendment 1 run contrary to the welfare of the residents of West Hollywood. The proposed amendments violate the tenets of tolerance and inclusion upon which the City was incorporated, and denies the most basic principles of equality to human beings solely because of their sexual orientation and who they choose to love.
II. CITY NEWS
WARNING: BEWARE OF BANDIT TOW COMPANIES City staff and Sheriff's Department have become aware of many recent complaints about a scam that preys on unsuspecting motorists in private parking lots.
What are termed as "bandit" tow companies set up a scam operation that works like this:
A tow truck hangs out in the parking lot (example: one such company hangs out at the surface parking lot next to the Ramada and Collar and Leash) and whenever someone parks in the lot to use the ATM near the hotel, they come back and are told by a tow truck operator that their car will be impounded if they do not pay $206 to $219 in cash to the tow operator. The sad thing is that some go back to the ATM to withdraw more money and pay the fee to the tow truck operator.
Be leery if you are confronted by a tow truck operator who will only release your vehicle for cash. While private property owners may have cars towed that are illegally parked on their property, you still have rights, such as paying with a credit card and having your car towed to the nearest impound yard (which is Johnson's on Fuller Avenue). Johnson's Tow on Fuller Avenue is the ONLY official tow operator for the City of West Hollywood and the Sheriff's Department.
If you have reservations, ask the owner of the business if they ordered your car towed, or call the Sheriff's Department at (310) 855-8850.
Johnson's Super Service is the ONLY officially authorized tow service operating in West Hollywood. Their impound yard is located on Fuller.
Under federal law, the City has very little authority to regulate tow companies. We are working closely with U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein's office to allow municipalities the authority to regulate the tow companies that operate in the area.
WEST HOLLYWOOD TO OFFER FREE OUTDOOR HIGH-SPEED WIRELESS INTERNET "Wi-Fi" The City will launch a free outdoor high-speed wireless internet access, also known as "wi-fi", pilot program later this year. The pilot project area will encompass Santa Monica Boulevard between La Brea Avenue and Fairfax Avenue.
Telecommunications companies have been asked to send the City proposals to build the wireless system.
The West Hollywood Outdoor Wi-Fi Program will offer laptop users with wireless internet equipment the capability to log on to the world wide web without the use of phone lines or other traditional wires that tether most Internet use to the office or home. That means that patrons on the patio at Marco's Café or the courtyard at the Gateway Project--among many other West Hollywood outdoor establishments--can sip a drink from one hand and surf the internet with the other. Visitors to the City with laptops will be able to search for the nearest spa, pharmacy or restaurant.
Providing free, wireless high-speed Internet access will allow our residents and visitors to take advantage of cutting edge technology to stay in touch, and allow creative new ways of work and entertainment.
For more information on the City of West Hollywood Wi-Fi Program, contact Brian Ganley, Information and Technology Manager, at (323) 848-6477.
ACTIONS OF THE JANUARY 6TH WEST HOLLYWOOD PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING At the West Hollywood Planning Commission meeting held on Thursday, January 6th, the Planning Commission took the following actions:
- Approved a request with conditions for a new bar (Barella Bar) to be located at 7509-7511 Santa Monica Boulevard (formerly Hunters). The resolution approving the project will be brought back to the Planning Commission for adoption at their January 20th meeting.
- Approved a three year extension on the use of the temporary parking lot at 365 San Vicente Boulevard by Cedars-Sinai.
- Delayed a request to demolish two single family residences and the construction of a six unit condominium at 632-636 N. Kings Road. The project crosses the city limit line with Los Angeles. The delay is required so that the developer can provide the status of the portion of the project that lies within the City of Los Angeles.
- Delayed for 60 days a request to modify the Sunset Specific Plan at 9016-9034 Sunset and the requested permits for a 113,320 square foot medical-office building so that the Planning Commission can continue discussing the policy implications of the proposed Specific Plan modifications.
For more information about any of these actions, please contact the Planning Department at (323) 848-6475.
SUNSET BOULEVARD STREET MAINTENANCE + JAN 24 TO FEB 3 Between January 24th and February 3rd the City will be performing routine street maintenance work (crack sealing and re- striping/painting of roadway markings) on Sunset Boulevard. All work will be performed on Monday through Wednesday, during the hours of 10:00pm and 6:00am.
Inquiries regarding this maintenance work on Sunset Boulevard can be made to Kevin Trudeau, Maintenance Superintendent at (323) 848-6339 or via email at Ktrudeau@weho.org.
LA COUNTY BEGINS CONSTRUCTION ON NEXT PHASE OF HOLLY HILLS STORM DRAIN On January 12th, Los Angeles County began construction on the next phase of the Holly Hills Storm Drain. This phase involves work in Orlando Road (in Los Angeles between Romaine St and Waring St), in Romaine St (half in Los Angeles and half in West Hollywood: between Orlando Rd and Kings Rd), and in Kings Rd (in West Hollywood between Santa Monica Blvd and Romaine St). The construction is anticipated to be completed in July 2005.
Important contact telephone numbers for this Los Angeles County
On January 17, 2005 work will begin at the intersection of Romaine and Orlando. Work will go in both directions (Los Angeles on Romaine and Orlando, West Hollywood on Romaine). The work in West Hollywood will be an open trench and will prohibit any vehicular traffic or parking on Romaine. The work in Los Angeles on Orlando involves tunneling and the street with be restricted to local access only.
The work on Romaine to Kings Road will take between three to six weeks. When the Contractor reaches the Kings Road/Romaine intersection, he will proceed north on Kings Road towards Santa Monica Blvd. There will be no parking on Kings Rd. and the intersection of Kings Rd/Romaine will be impassable due to the trench area required to build a transition box structure.
The County has sent notifications to affected residents and businesses. Motorists must plan their travel routes since those north of Romaine will have to access Kings Road off of Santa Monica Blvd., keeping in mind that westbound Santa Monica Blvd traffic cannot make a left hand turn onto Kings Rd. Those who are south of Romaine on Kings Rd. will have to access from those streets south of Romaine.
Trash pick up and safety vehicles will have access and the Contractor will work to make sure the trash is picked up on schedule.
Construction work will take place Monday through Friday (except for Holidays). Hours of work will be 8am to 5pm. Kings Road Park will continue to have pedestrian access.
If you have questions about this project, please contact Greg Weiss, the County's Project Inspector at (818) 807-4861.
HAVENHURST PARK COMMUNITY MEETING + JAN 29 A third and final community meeting to gather public input for design of the Havenhurst Park is scheduled for Saturday, January 29th at 10:00 am.
Come and share your thoughts about the proposed final design of a future 6,000 square feet neighborhood pocket park to be built at 1351 N Havenhurst Drive. The park will be built as part of a condominium project. Your community input will help determine how this new park will be developed.
The meeting will be held at the Kings Road Park Community Room located at 1000 Kings Road. Free parking is available at Kings Road Parking structure located at 8383 Santa Monica Boulevard.
For more information, call (323) 848-6308.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PUBLIC PARKING LOT AT SANTA MONICA & WESTBOURNE? You may have noticed that the public parking lot located at the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Westbourne Avenue is gone and the lot is under construction.
Approval was granted in October 2004 for a new 4,200 square-foot one- story retail building at 8631 Santa Monica Boulevard. The project includes 8 ground level parking spaces and 14 roof-top parking spaces. This site was recently used as a public parking lot and before that was a church. The "alley" behind the site that provides access to Borelli's Salon is not a public alley, despite the previous accessibility. This private access easement across the back will remain.
We appreciate that while the lot remained vacant, the property owner allowed the City to use it to temporarily increase parking for the surrounding retail shops.
FIRE DEPARTMENT ACTIVITIES FOR DECEMBER 2004 For the month of December 2004, the Fire Department participated in the following incidents:
1. 8 miscellaneous fires (trash, cooking)
The Fire Department continued its community outreach and education efforts through the following programs and events:
1. Participated in the Children's Festival
TOWN HALL MEETING ON TRANSGENDER HEALTH CARE ISSUES + FEB 4 Assemblymember Paul Koretz, Assemblymember Jackie Goldberg, Assemblymember Mark Leno and Senator Sheila Kuehl will host a town hall meeting to discuss Transgender Health Care issues on Friday, February 4th from 6pm to 8pm at the Village at Ed Gould Plaza, located at 1125 N McCadden Place in Los Angeles (One block East of Highland, and just North of Santa Monica Boulevard).
This event is sponsored by The City of West Hollywood, the Transgender Law Center, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the LA Gay and Lesbian Center and Equality California.
Transgender people face barriers in healthcare due to insurance exemptions, cultural insensitivity, affordability and a variety of other issues. This town hall meeting will explore these concerns and what the state can do to address them.
This is a free event. For more information, please contact Nicole Curran in the office of Assemblymember Paul Koretz at (310) 285-5490 or via email at Nicole.Curran@asm.ca.gov.
ELECTRONIC WASTE COLLECTION EVENT + FEB 26 You can recycle your old computers, monitors, printers and other e- waste by dropping them off on Saturday, February 26th at the West Hollywood City Hall parking lot, located behind the building at 8300 Santa Monica Boulevard from 9:00am to 3:00pm.
LA CHORAL ARTISTS CONCERT CELEBRATE WEST HOLLYWOOD 20TH ANNIVERSARY + FEB 26 Join Los Angeles Choral Artists as they celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the City of West Hollywood. A cappella music from the Russian, Jewish, Latin American and American sacred music traditions combine with the marvelous acoustics of St. Victor's to create a concert experience not to be missed.
This concert is sponsored in part by a grant from the City of West Hollywood Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission. The concert will take place on Saturday, February 26th at 8:00pm at St. Victor's Catholic Church, located at 8634 Holloway Drive in West Hollywood.
For tickets, call 323/660-0375 or visit http://www.lachoralartists.org.
WEST HOLLYWOOD JOB FAIR + MAR 3 The West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce will host a Job Fair at Plummer Park from 9:00am to 1:00pm on Thursday, March 3rd. There is no charge to attend.
For more information, contact the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce at (323) 848-6360 or visit http://www.wehochamber.com.
III. OTHER NEWS & UPCOMING EVENTS
DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE LISTENING TOUR + JAN 15 Members of the California Delegation to the Democratic National Committee (the national Democratic Party) will be conducting a hearing on Saturday, January 15th from 12 noon until 4pm to discuss the upcoming election of the National Chairman. This hearing will allow members of Democratic Party to address the members of the DNC.
This is a great opportunity to let them know your views on the future of the Party, its direction, and your thoughts on who the next chair should be as they will also be getting together the following week to interview candidates for chair and this hearing may help influence their questioning of the candidates as well as their eventual votes for Chair at their meeting in Washington, D.C. in February.
There will be no speeches, nor responses from DNC members as they want to hear from you and to do so would detract from your input. The purpose for this meeting is for them to listen to your comments and concerns. While I cannot attend this meeting, I am supporting Howard Dean for DNC Chair.
The meeting will be held at Patriotic Hall, located at 1816 South Figueroa in Los Angeles.
LOS ANGELES COUNTY HATE CRIME REPORT: 2003 The following is a synopsis of prevalent information for West Hollywood in the most recent LA County Hate Crime Report:
The LA County Human Relations Commission has released its County Hate Crime Report for 2003, which shows that the number of overall hate crimes fell in 2003 in Los Angeles County by 14% with a total number of 692 reported.
Hate Crimes targeting those based on their sexual orientation (or their perceived sexual orientation) declined by 19%, after two consecutive years of in which sexual orientation hate crimes was the only category to see an increase. There were 192 reported cases, 83% of which targeted gay men.
The most violent hate crimes were those based on gender where the targets were Transgender women, 100% of which were violent in nature.
The number of hate crimes based on Religion decreased with a total of 104 cases, although the number these crimes that were anti-Jewish increased slightly from 78 to 79.
The decrease in reported hate crimes in LA County parallels what has been reported statewide in California and nationally, where they have seen decreases of similar proportions.
NEW LAW PROMOTES ACCESS TO FREE CREDIT REPORTS
A new federal law became effective December 1, which allows
consumers to request free credit reports from each of the three
nationwide consumer reporting companies once every 12 months. This
can be done either:
Identity theft and privacy experts all recommend that consumers review their credit report annually to be sure that all the information reported in your name is accurate.
DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP & ESTATE PLANNING LEGAL CLINIC + FEB 16 The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center's Legal Services Department will present a workshop on estate planning and related domestic partnership legal issues. The discussion will include AB 205, the Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities Act of 2003, which took effect Jan.1, 2005. Existing domestic partners need to consider whether they want to remain domestic partners considering that under the new law, all domestic partners assume added responsibilities, which include mutual obligation for debt and child support.
The one-hour workshop will be followed by brief one-on-one consultations with an attorney on a first-come, first-served basis. A notary public also will be available to notarize domestic partnership applications. The workshop will be held on Wednesday, February 16th in the Renberg Theater at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center's Village at Ed Gould Plaza, 1125 N. McCadden Place. The workshop will begin at 6:30 pm.
For complete cites of where this information was gathered, please email my deputy, Josh Kurpies, at firstname.lastname@example.org and he can provide them to you.
This newsletter reflects the views and opinions of Councilmember Jeffrey Prang and not necessarily the views of the City Council, nor does it necessarily reflect the official position of the City of West Hollywood.
To subscribe to this newsletter, send an email to: Councilmember_Prang_Newsemail@example.com
For more information about Councilmember Prang, please visit the City website at: http://www.weho.org/index.cfm? fuseaction=detail&navid=16&cid=6
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