Welcome to the November 2017 Edition of Mike Bonin’s Neighborhoods First Newsletter!
IN THIS ISSUE:
Thanks are given, veterans are honored, and those in need are connected with resources, support and services… but first, please take a look at our Neighborhoods First profile of Floyd “Shad” Meshad, a Westside veteran who has played a key role in treating post traumatic stress disorder in veterans across America.
You can find out more about Mike and see the latest videos and updates from the Westside on our website at www.11thdistrict.com. And remember to like Mike's Facebook page to see the latest news about your neighborhood.
Floyd “Shad” Meshad - CD11’s Veteran of the Year
The City Council hosted a special presentation in November to thank veterans from throughout Los Angeles for their service to our country, and to honor one especially remarkable serviceman or servicewoman from each council district. At the presentation, Mike was honored to recognize Westchester resident Floyd “Shad” Meshad LCSW, CTS, TFTdx, the President & Founder of National Veterans Foundation, as Council District 11's Veteran of the Year.
Founder of the National Veterans Foundation, Shad has been working with Veterans since 1970. Meshad was a Medical Service Officer during the Vietnam War, where he counseled soldiers in the field who were suffering from a multitude of psychological and emotional problems resulting from their experiences in combat, including what would later become known as “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” or PTSD.
After the war, Shad continued to counsel Vietnam veterans through his work with the Veterans Administration in Los Angeles. He co-founded the VA’s Vet Center program — 300 storefront facilities throughout the country, located away from VA Hospitals, where veterans walk in off the street to receive mental health counseling. He also authored the critically acclaimed book, A Captain for Dark Mornings, which chronicles his experiences both during the war and after coming home.
Today, Meshad remains one of America’s most sought-after experts on combat stress, trauma therapy and the readjustment issues confronting returning soldiers and their families.
Vietnam Veterans Foundation
In 1985, Shad founded The Vietnam Veterans Aid Foundation (VVAF). The mission of the VVAF is to help veterans in need and their families with a variety of issues. Due to an overwhelming number of requests for help, the VVAF established a toll-free number in 1987 to help veterans and families in need more easily connect with the assistance they required. The VVAF was the only veterans outreach service offering nationwide benefits information, resource referral, and crisis counseling via a toll-free helpline.
By 1992, VVAF had become a recognized resource for veterans of all wars who were struggling to access benefits, locate services, or overcome the emotional scars of war. As a result, in 1992, the VVAF formally changed its name to the National Veterans Foundation, a human services agency committed to serving the crisis and information needs of all veterans and their families.
Staffed by Veterans for Veterans
Staffed by a team of specially trained veterans (who served in Vietnam, during the Cold War, and in Iraq and Afghanistan), as well as a team of licensed volunteer counselors to whom all crisis calls are routed, more than 400,000 veterans in need of medical treatment, substance abuse or PTSD Counseling, VA benefits advocacy, food, shelter, employment training, legal aid or suicide intervention, have now been served by this unique, one-of-a-kind resource.
Also, as a recognized leader within the community of organizations that specialize in providing human service programs to veterans and their families, NVF frequently plays a key role as advisor, partner, and collaborator.
Over the past two decades, this has included providing financial assistance, training, and donations of food, clothing, and other goods to other non-profits serving the specialized needs of veterans in California and around the country, including New Directions (CA), The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation (NJ), LA County Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (CA), Desert Storm Justice Foundation (OK), Point Man of Northern California (CA), Veterans Coalition of the Hudson Valley (NY), Westside Stand Down (CA), Stamford Homeless Project (CT), US VETS (CA), and Swords to Plowshares (CA) among many others.
The NVF’s extraordinary record of service has not gone unnoticed. As one of the world’s most sought-after experts in treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the U.S. Government asked Shad to provide training to the counselors at Ground Zero after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The NVF continues to evolve. Shad, his team and the Board of Directors are committed to continually seeking and developing the most effective means to help those who have served our country and their families. The NVF is open to all who seek emotional support and other assistance.
Shad’s service and lifelong commitment to helping the brave men and women of our armed services readjust to life after the trauma of war is inspiring, and Mike was honored to celebrate his service during this year's Veterans Day council presentation.
Mike Cracks Down on Contractors Illegally Closing Lanes on Sunset Boulevard
Mike is cracking down on contractors who have been illegally closing lanes on Sunset Boulevard and increasing traffic in the congested corridor.
In November, Mike directed city staff to immediately issue “stop work” orders to contractors who had shut down lanes on Sunset Boulevard, in violation of their permits. City inspectors discovered the illegal work after being alerted by a Brentwood resident who questioned why lanes had been closed repeatedly, causing significant traffic back-ups even during non-peak hours.
The City had authorized a contractor installing fiber-optic cables to work on Sunset Boulevard, but authorized the firm to cone off lanes only on weekends, when traffic is lighter. Residents recently reported to Mike’s office a series of weekday closures, and after Mike personally drove the corridor, he launched an investigation by City officials, who discovered the unpermitted activity.
Mike is asking City agencies to halt issuance of permits for weekday work, except under emergency or extreme circumstances. He is also proposing the City sharply increase fines for unpermitted lane closures. The current fine is a mere $250, which is not a disincentive for scofflaw behavior that can impact thousands of commuters.
Over the next several weekends, during daytime hours, contractors will continue work on stretches of Sunset to install fiber optic cables.
The crackdown on unpermitted lane closures is the latest in a series of steps Mike has taken to alleviate traffic on Sunset. To date, Mike’s Sunset Traffic Solutions Initiative has:
Re-striped eastbound Sunset to the I-405 north and southbound on-ramps to improve traffic flow as drivers use Sunset to access the freeway;
Improved lane assignment signage on Sunset to the I-405 to reduce the number of drivers creating traffic by changing lanes at the last moment;
Began the process of adopting technology to improve traffic flow on 405 on-ramps by syncing the meters used on the on-ramps with traffic lights on Sunset;
Deployed traffic control officers to the Sunset corridor;
Adjusted traffic signal timing to move traffic smoother through the corridor;
Initiated a feasibility analysis using a reversible lane during peak hours;
Negotiated trip reductions from schools along the Sunset Corridor; and,
Formed a collaborative among Sunset Boulevard institutions to generate collective traffic management and trip reduction strategies.
Through his perch as chair of the Transportation Committee and a member of the Board of Directors of LA Metro, Mike is also working on legislative proposals to require better construction management programs, incentivize carpooling, and encourage trip reduction strategies at existing businesses.
Small Business Saturday and Mar Vista Art Walk Join Forces for a Special Weekend on Mar Vista’s Main Street
Mar Vista's Great Street was alive with activity the weekend following Thanksgiving, as the Mar Vista Chamber of Commerce and the Mar Vista ArtWalk - Steppin into Art joined forces for a very special Make it Mar Vista + Art Walk celebration for Small Business Saturday along and near Venice Boulevard. It was a wonderful event, and Mike's family was glad to join so many others in doing some holiday shopping, grabbing a bite to eat, and checking out to the amazing art and music.
Veterans Day Celebrations at West LA VA Culminate in Columbarium Groundbreaking
Starting on Veterans Day, a week-long series of events honoring servicemen and servicewomen culminated in grand fashion with the groundbreaking of a new columbarium at the Los Angeles National Cemetery in West Los Angeles.
Mike joined friends and colleagues at Los Angeles National Cemetery on November 15 to officially break ground on a new columbarium, which will provide eternal rest to the remains of up to 90,000 veterans - effectively doubling capacity at the West LA cemetery.
This project has been the dream for two decades of Lt. Col. Dick Littlestone of Pacific Palisades. Col. Littlestone has pursued construction of this columbarium with dogged persistence and tremendous heart, and Mike thanked Col. Littlestone and the Los Angeles National Cemetery Board of Directors for helping make this important milestone happen.
Westside Thanksgiving Dinner Offers Free Meals to Those in Need
Thanksgiving is a special time for friends and families to come together, celebrate the things they are grateful for, and to extend that gratitude to others in need. For the past three decades, the West LA VA campus has hosted a special Westside Thanksgiving Community Celebration to offer a free meal to people living on the street or who are in need of support. Unfortunately, this year, the event needed to find a new home. Thankfully, Mike and community partners stepped up to make sure the longstanding community tradition found a new home at the West LA Civic Center.
Mike was thrilled to join volunteers, neighbors and those in need for another Westside Thanksgiving Community Celebration. In addition to free meals, the event provided free blankets, haircuts, clothing, sundries, medical, optical and dental services and a resource fair. Thank you to all who made this Thanksgiving a special holiday for every member of the Westside community!
Sidewalk Reconstruction and a New Retaining Wall in Playa del Rey
Last year, heavy rains severely damaged a sidewalk on Falmouth Avenue in Playa del Rey. Working quickly to address the hazard created by the damaged sidewalk, Mike instructed the Bureau of Street Services to conduct immediate temporary repairs, and worked to secure funding for long-term fixes. This month, Bureau of Street Service crews finished the permanent solutions - a newly constructed sidewalk, new retaining wall and new access ramps to make the sidewalk easier to navigate for families with strollers and people with disabilities.
Thank you to the Bureau of Street Services crew for getting this important neighborhood repair project done!
Mar Vista Turns 90 and Mike Hosts Special Council Celebration of Community Milestone
Ninety years ago, Mar Vistans voted to officially joined the City of Los Angeles. In November, Mike kicked off a series of community events celebrating this milestone anniversary by inviting neighborhood leaders to City Hall for a special Council presentation.
During the presentation, Mike talked about the history of the neighborhood, and how that history is continuing to be made today. In the nine decades since Mar Vista officially became a part of Los Angeles, the neighborhood has grown from lima bean fields and a modest population numbering 5,000 people to a vibrant community of nearly 60,000. The community leaders then, like now, saw Mar Vista as an amazing place - and rightly so. It is a place where families grow in a fun and inviting neighborhood that is right in the middle of the eclectic and exciting Westside, a place where mom and pop shops add a little “Mayberry” to the lives of good, hard-working folks, a place where neighbors still say “hi” to each other and where block parties, community festivals and, of course, the legendary farmers market, are places to be seen.
In addition to the special council presentation, Mike was happy to join neighbors at a celebration at the Mar Vista Farmers Market the following weekend.
Lyceum Alley Cleanup in Del Rey
It is always a great thing when neighbors band together and work the city to improve their community.
Last month, Del Rey resident Kathleen von Schlegell organized her neighbors to host a community clean up in the alley behind the 4200 block of Lyceum Avenue in Del Rey. Kathleen reached out to Mike’s office and asked for two large bins and materials, which Mike was happy to provide to help the neighbors remove blight from their neighborhood.
Pacific Palisades Dog Park - Working Group Update
Earlier this year, Mike announced that he was convening a group of neighbors in Pacific Palisades to explore the possibility of creating a new dog park for people (and their four-legged friends) to enjoy. At a series of meetings during the last few months, the Palisades Dog Park Working Group has identified a half-dozen possible locations in Pacific Palisades that might work for a dog park, and the group is now examining each potential location to see if there are any restrictions or limitations to each site. Once the site-by-site analysis is complete, the working group will make a recommendation for where a new dog park could be built, and Mike’s office will then work with neighbors to formally propose the new park to the Recreation and Parks Commission and to seek input from the larger community.
Otis Veterans Day Celebration
On Veterans Day, Mike got to spend some time acknowledging the service of veterans who are now students at Otis College of Art and Design in Westchester. This year, the school honored the 17 women and men who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Mike was honored to recognize them and present them with certificates of appreciation from the City of Los Angeles.
Feeling the Berm - Protective Sand Barriers Return to Playa del Rey
Low-lying coastal areas like Playa del Rey are especially susceptible to flooding during winter months, and Mike has worked closely with the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors and Supervisor Janice Hahn to ensure berms (large sand hills) are built on beaches to protect coastal properties from flooding. Thanks to outspoken advocacy from neighbors in the Jungle area of Playa del Rey, the berms have returned to the beach and beachfront homes will be safe from flooding for another year.
Evelyn Rosenwein Honored at Felicia Mahood Center
The Felicia Mahood Senior Center in West LA is a wonderful and inviting hub for the Westside’s aging population to gather, break bread and enjoy the company of their friends. This month, Mike helped say goodbye to Evelyn Rosenwein, who for the past four decades has called West LA her home, and who has spent the last 20 years helping make sure programs at the Felicia Mahoood Center run smoothly. Most recently, Evelyn has played a big role in helping to educate seniors about how to identify and report senior scams as a member of the Stop Senior Scams Acting Troupe. Evelyn is moving up to the Valley soon, and Mike's staff joined Felicia Mahood staff and patrons at a special event to thank her for her work.
Thank you, Evelyn, for your years of advocacy on behalf of seniors! We will miss you!
St. Bede’s Celebrates 50th Anniversary in Mar Vista
For half a century, St. Bede’s Episcopal Church has been part of the ecumenical fabric of the Mar Vista neighborhood. On November 15, Bishop John Taylor visited St. Bede's to mark its 50th anniversary in Mar Vista at Grand View and Charnock. Mike’s Mar Vista deputy Len Nguyen attended the celebration to present a certificate to mark the occasion and to thank the St. Bede’s community for creating a welcoming and inclusive place, attentive to the pastoral needs of the neighborhood.
Sylvia Levin Plaque Rededicated to Legendary Voter Registration Volunteer
In a democracy, one of the most important things a citizen can do is help ensure their neighbors are registered to vote. With that in mind, Mike was very pleased to help honor a legendary voter registration volunteer, Sylvia Levin, with the rededication of a ceremonial plaque on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice.
Sylvia, who passed away in 2009, is believed to hold the national record for new voters registered, with an estimated 47,000 people added to voter rolls during Sylvia’s inspiring 36 years of volunteer service.
Sylvia got her start registering voters in 1971, after her son Chuck founded the “First Vote” campaign. The campaign registered young people to vote once the voting age was lowered to 18 years old in 1971, with the adoption of the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Sylvia took notice of her son's campaign and began working as a deputy voter registrar outside Canter's Deli in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles in 1973. She gradually expanded her voter registration efforts to several communities throughout Los Angeles County's Westside, including Westwood Village, Malibu, Venice and Westwood. Sylvia spent six days a week commuting by bus to reach her work locations.
Sylvia was formally inducted into the California Voter Participation Hall of Fame in 2001, and a plaque in her honor was first unveiled on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in 2011. After the building featuring the plaque was demolished and rebuilt, Sylvia’s plaque needed to be rededicated, offering Mike and other neighbors an opportunity to remember Sylvia’s legacy of impressive volunteerism.
Cutting Red Tape to Clean Palisades Drive Stormwater Catch Basins
Stormwater catch basins are important parts of our local infrastructure that help make sure rainwater and other runoff makes it to the bay without flooding the neighborhood. For years, tricky jurisdictional issues allowed catch basins along Palisades Drive in Pacific Palisades to go unattended by the various local agencies that might be responsible for cleaning them, which resulted in a large accumulation of debris and unwanted items, making the basins less effective in sending stormwater out out the neighborhood.
Working with neighbors including Peter Culhane, David Dwyer, Bruce Schwartz, Mike and his team overcame the years of bureaucratic inaction and were able to get the City’s Bureau of Sanitation to conduct a large-scale cleanup of the Palisades Drive catch basins, removing the debris and unwanted oversized items from the basins so that they could continue functioning effectively.
Thank you, Peter, David and Bruce for helping make sure this important neighborhood maintenance project was completed before the rainy season comes in the next few months!
Mike Receives Honorary Pin from Westchester Rotary
Mike received a special honor in November, as the Rotary Club of Westchester made him an honorary member during a special luncheon honoring Mike’s late friend Howard Drollinger. The special event also included the dedication of a 13-foot, four sided Rotary Clock on Howard B. Drollinger Way in the Westchester Business District. The Rotary motto, "Service Above Self" describes Howard and his family (and their love of Westchester) perfectly.
Mike is very proud to represent the members of this club. So much of their service has focused on improving the lives of children -- fighting sex trafficking, helping address youth homelessness through support of Safe Place for Youth (S.P.Y), supporting Vision To Learn, which gives free eye exams and eyeglasses to children, and much, much more. Special thanks to Westchester's very own Cozette Vergari, Rotary's District 5280's Governor, for inducting and presenting Mike with his Rotary pin.
New Cedars Sinai Facility Opens in Playa Vista
Playa Vista is now home to a world-class medical care facility. On November 7, Mike joined Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, the LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce, and local residents to welcome Cedars-Sinai to Playa Vista. The top-notch hospital has opened a primary care, an urgent care, and a specialized care facility at the Runway at Playa Vista, and the new location will offer convenience and care for neighbors in the region.
Find out more at https://www.cedars-sinai.edu/About-Us/Playa-Vista.aspx.
Bundy Wayfinding Signs Added to West LA Neighborhood
The West LA Walks Project (formerly known as the “Expo Bundy First Last Mile Project”) is an effort to improve safety for the neighbors and employees who walk and bike to and from the Expo Bundy Metro station. Earlier this month, city crews installed new wayfinding signs on Bundy Drive in West LA, which will help people navigate the area on foot and bike and will highlight shopping centers, parks and other destinations people won’t want to miss as they visit West LA.
Once complete, the West LA Walks project will include construction of 24 curb extensions, 54 ADA access ramps, 190 trees, and a landscaped median is being funded by a $3 million Active Transportation Grant. The project will also enhance the urban forest and assist those with disabilities.
Improvements Coming to Venice Beach Bike Path
The Venice Beach bike path is a great way to enjoy the world-renowned neighborhood on a relaxing, winding path along the beach, and Mike is working with regional partners to improve safety for cyclists who use the path, and pedestrians who are enjoying the beach.
Mike partnered with Los Angeles County and Supervisor Sheila Kuehl's Office to develop a new design for pavement markings and signage along the path. The goal of the new design is to reduce conflicts between bicyclists and pedestrians by better demonstrating to beach-goers that the bike path is meant for bicyclists and Ocean Front Walk is meant for pedestrians. The new bike path design includes new green-backed "bike only" pavement markings, similar to those on the portion of the path through Santa Monica, crosswalks at key locations, and several "no pedestrian" signs. In addition, the design also includes improved transitions at both the Navy (north) and Washington (south) ends to direct bicyclists and pedestrians where they should be traveling.
The County took input on the design from the Venice Neighborhood Council Board earlier this month and hopes to implement the new design next year.
More than 1,000 Runners Participate in Annual Palisades Turkey Trot
For the fifth year in a row, the Pacific Palisades community started off the Thanksgiving holiday with some preemptive exercise before the feast began. More than 1,000 runners laced up their running shoes for the annual Palisades Turkey Trot, a fun community event held at Palisades Charter High School.
The event raised money for Hearts With Hope, an initiative that brings medical, dental and administrative care to children living with congenital heart disease throughout the world. Thank you to all who participated in another wonderful neighborhood event!
Mike Honors USVAA on Veterans Day
The United States Veterans Artists Alliance (USVAA) is an amazing organization that seeks to open doors for military veterans to work and thrive in America’s creative economy by providing opportunities in the arts, humanities and entertainment industry. With a solid track record of programming excellence in place, USVAA works tirelessly with veterans, artists, supportive individuals and organizations within the arts and veterans’ communities to find funding and support for individual and collaborative projects in photography, literature, theater, film, television, fine arts and a wide variety of crafts.
On Veterans Day, Mike was very proud to help the Phi Beta Kappa Society honor Community Partner Keith Jeffreys and USVAA for their work to support veterans. Mike has been proud to support USVAA’s efforts in the past and has hosted the organization’s Shakespeare productions at West LA Civic Center Bandshell.
West LA Community Coalition Hosts Neighborhood Cleanup
The West Los Angeles Sawtelle Neighborhood Council organized a series of community cleanups in November at the West LA Civic Center, Nora Sterry Elementary School and University High School.
Thank you to the many volunteers who help the WLA Sawtelle Neighborhood Council keep the neighborhood looking great!
Badge of Heart Turkey Giveaway
For the third year in a row, families in Del Rey were treated to a wonderful holiday meal, thanks to LAPD Officer Ken Lew and his colleagues at Pacific Division. Officer Lew organizes the “Badge of Heart” Turkey Giveaway, a great event that hands out more than 500 holiday dinners to families in need. The event, hosted at the Venice Japanese Community Center in Del Rey, was a terrific reminder that the good LAPD officers do in our community extends far beyond the “protect and serve” mantra they are known for.
Thank you Officer Lew, and everyone who made this event such a success!
Mar Vista's All Star Girls Minor Soccer Team Win Citywide Championship
Congratulations are in order to Mar Vista Park's All Star Girls Minor Soccer Team, which won the 2017 Citywide Championship! Mike joined the proud parents, coaches and friends for a special presentation to unveil the championship banner and present certificates to the athletes, congratulating them for their success. Make sure to check out the championship banner the next time you are in the Mar Vista Recreation Center!
Pocket Park Coming to Venice After Trees Trimmed at the Corner of Ocean and Venice
A previously underused corner in Venice will soon be the site of a cool new pocket park, thanks to a local artist, helpful neighbors and Mike's office!
After receiving reports of the corner of Ocean and Venice Boulevards becoming a community nuisance because overgrown palm trees and shrubs created blight, Mike's staff teamed up with local artist Robin Murez to transform the corner into what will soon be a new pocket park! In addition to getting trees trimmed at the corner and working with the Abbot Kinney Festival to raise money to get trees on the adjacent private property trimmed, Mike's staff has been able to secure a $10,000 grant to fund Robin's community beautification project. Once completed, the pocket park will look like a "mini ball field," complete with large mosaic concrete art installations.
Soon, the formerly blighted corner will be a welcoming new park for neighbors to enjoy! Thank you, Robin, the Abbot Kinney Festival and all who have helped make this community beautification project happen!
Mar Vista Gardens Thanksgiving Dinner
Neighbors in Mar Vista Gardens enjoyed a community Thanksgiving celebration last month, marking the 29th year that the Del Rey neighbors came together to celebrate the holiday as a neighborhood. Thank you to the local Ralph’s supermarket, which provided dinner for the dozens of neighbors gathered to share thanks and celebrate blessings from the past year.
Runway Playa Vista Night Market
Runway at Playa Vista was converted into a quaint artisan marketplace on November 17 for a special evening of neighborhood fun and camaraderie. “Runway Playa Vista Night Market” was a pop-up artisan marketplace that featured local craft breweries, music, activities for kids, and a series of artisan vendors. The event also collected toys and food to be distributed at the Los Angeles Police Department Pacific Division’s annual Winter Wonderland community celebration.
Make sure to stop by the Winter Wonderland celebration at LAPD’s Pacific Division Police Station (12312 Culver Blvd. Los Angeles, 90066) on December 9, from 10am - 2pm.
Dangerous Del Rey Lagoon Dock Secured in Playa del Rey
After neighbors in Playa del Rey shared concerns about the state of the old dock at Del Rey Lagoon, Mike and his staff worked with the Department of Recreation and Parks to schedule safety upgrades and ultimately, the removal of the deteriorating structure.
Once a source of fun and sports in the community, the dock had since become an attractive and dangerous hazard. Thank you to Recreation and Parks staff for working quickly to get the dock removed, eliminating a dangerous structure from the community.
Westchester Mental Health Guild Holiday Home Tour
The Westchester Mental Health Guild hosted their 35th annual Holiday Home Tour in early November, and Mike stopped by the event, which raises money for Airport Marina Counseling Service (ACMS), to congratulate Ylla De Leon, Linda Petersen and Eden Garcia-Balis of ACMS on another wonderful celebration of the season.
Every year for the past three and a half decades, the Mental Health Guild’s Holiday Home Tour has offered neighbors a great kickoff to the holiday season, while creating an opportunity for the community to support a wonderful and worthy cause.
Thank you to the volunteers and staff who made this milestone Holiday Home Tour another great success!
New Left-Turn Lanes to Improve Traffic on Great Streets Pilot Project in Mar Vista
The work to continue improving the Great Streets Pilot Project in Mar Vista continues!
This weekend, crews from the Los Angeles Department of Transportation will begin work to address two key concerns that Mike has heard from Mar Vistans regarding the Great Streets program - that traffic concentrates at the intersection of Venice and Centinela, and that because of that traffic, some motorists cut through local neighborhood streets to avoid driving through the intersection. In response to those concerns, Mike has asked LADOT to improve the intersection to significantly relieve traffic, and beginning this Saturday morning, LADOT crews will start adding two left turn lanes in each direction of Venice Boulevard onto Centinella Avenue (work is being done on the weekend to avoid impacting Venice Boulevard during the work week).
Once completed, the capacity of this intersection to handle motorists traveling in all directions will be improved, reducing traffic and congestion at the light. The construction will require temporary closure of one to two lanes on Venice Blvd in both directions during the hours of 8 am to 4 pm on Saturday and Sunday, and work will be completed on the new left turn lanes before the Monday morning commute.
Thank you to all who have sent constructive feedback and ideas for how to continue improving the Great Streets pilot project!
Venice Forward Success Story
Venice Forward - the mutli-agency collaborative Mike formed in 2014 to help coordinate service delivery to homeless people in Venice - continues to see success, one uplifting story at a time. Last month, Senior Crisis Chaplain Regina Weller submitted the following story, about two women who the Homeless Task Force helped access the help they needed.
Hazel and Mary – Broken Down on Rose Avenue (Names changed for confidentiality)
The two women dragged all they owned in several bags and entered the Nursing Home in Riverside last night. The good news is that they would be roommates. “They were not fussing”, the driver informed me. “This is nice!” he added, quoting Mary’s words. The new environment was a 100 percent turnaround from where they’d been.
Two weeks prior, Venice residents Matt and Jamie, who are also members of the Venice Neighborhood Council, had discovered the two fragile seniors living in their broken down car on Rose Avenue by 3rd Street, and called me for assistance. The Homeless Task Force certainly has the availability and know-how to get people off the streets, but there are so many other factors and obstacles that become apparent after engagement – nothing is ever simple. Hazel and Mary had been friends for many years – Hazel was once an independent film producer, and her production assistant Mary had worked steadily by her side. Years passed and now in their seventies, they had hit the sidewalks of homelessness. Their social security benefits were not enough for both food and housing, so they opted to live in Hazel’s car and go from motel to motel until their funds ran out. Along the way, they met up with two stray dogs and claimed them as their own. The dogs had puppies and now there were four living creatures with them in the car, until the papa dog ventured off about a month earlier. I surmised that he was the lucky one. For a time, the two friends had set up a tent on the Venice Beach sand, but the sand fleas, and the wind and rain of last November got the best of them and they opted again for the protection of their vehicle. The transmission finally gave out and they were stranded on Rose Avenue by 3rd Street. For a few bucks, a homeless man would push their car from one side to the other during street cleaning days.
Hazel spent most of her time just sitting in the passenger seat of the car. She said it had become challenging for her to even walk a block with her walker, so Mary had to constantly monitor and serve her. My assistant Rachel and I met with the these ladies several times, and we always became uncomfortable to witness the dogs entwine their leashes around Mary’s legs while she attempted to walk all three at the same time. It was incredible to me that she hadn’t fallen down yet. Jamie, the Venice resident who had first engaged with the women, was of great help with offering to walk the dogs daily, and keeping them for hours at a time to give the seniors a break. These women wanted a place to live, but I was more concerned that the unhealthy conditions had already compromised their lives. I bought them food and coffee and eventually, I discovered something more and more unnerving about their situation. During their time in Venice, they had been robbed and swindled out of a small inheritance and their monthly benefits. With all their aches and pains, they relied on the over the counter pain medication from CVS pharmacy, and had sometimes gone days on end without bathing. It was evident they would remain a vulnerable target to the treacherous influx of criminal types at the 3rd and Rose homeless encampment.
I called for the LAPD Hope car to assist with the transport of the ladies to the Department of Social Services office to possibly acquire a motel voucher until a permanent housing opening for them on February 1st. While enroute to DPSS, Hazel became very ill in the back seat and I requested the officers to pull over. Officer Kwon called for an ambulance, which responded quickly, and transported Hazel to Marina Hospital where they later discovered a large blood clot in her leg that would require hospitalization for a week. The Hope car kept to the original plan and continued on to DPSS, but to no avail from that office for certain bureaucratic reasons. With the “no motel voucher” outcome, we headed back to their broken down vehicle. Meanwhile, the Venice Neighborhood Council members moved into action and raised money for a two-week stay in a dog friendly motel. It soon became apparent that Mary was also quietly enduring a large open wound and a staph infection, and now it was her turn to enter the emergency room of the hospital. Jamie took on the arduous task of finding emergency foster care for the dogs, and she and I kept vigilant for the next step in our plan of action. When both women were finally back together in the motel room, it was imperative to set newfound goals, especially since they had been kicked out of both motel rooms due the squalor they were accustomed to living in and creating. For the sake of not making one queasy, I choose to leave out the specifics. We encouraged them to give up their homeless lifestyle for a safer and more stable environment. The two friends agreed and were then transported by private ambulance carrier to their new residence. Today, Hazel and Mary became tenants of the Fairmount Nursing Home in Riverside, California - still roommates, still side by side through thick and thin and the homeless camps in Venice, and to the end. With one night of uninterrupted sleep in a warm clean bed, and the nurture of the nurse attendants, Mary said, “I feel human again.”
Manchester Square Thanksgiving
Los Angeles World Airports, which runs LAX, continues to do its part to help house our homeless neighbors.
On November 21, as part of our sixth monthly Homeless Resource Day, Mike’s office and LAWA helped coordinate a Thanksgiving Lunch and Resource Event in Manchester Square, where 85 people were served hot meals and could connect with a series of fifteen service providers, who were on hand to offer housing resources, assistance, showers, haircuts, clothing, and help getting proper identification. This was done in coordination with PATH - Making it Home, St. Joseph Center, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, the City of Los Angeles, and the County of Los Angeles, the California Department of Motor Vehicles, Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa, Lava Mae and more.
Griffith Construction Co. generously paid for and helped serve the meals. Thanks to the efforts of LAWA and these agencies, more than 100 people have been provided with housing and services in the past several months.
The Future of Transportation in Los Angeles
The future of mobility in Los Angeles is coming faster than we can imagine, and earlier this month, Mike authored legislation that will advance the important conversation we need to have about how we plan for what's next.
California will allow the testing of autonomous vehicles on our roads in 2018, and Los Angeles will be one of the testing grounds. LADOT and LA Metro, blessed with voter-approved funding for hundreds of billions of dollars to build a genuine mass transit network, are exploring the concept of “micro-transit,” an on-call ride-sharing service that will take commuters to and from the core Metro system. The City of Los Angeles has approved Mobility Plan 2035, providing the framework for accommodating all modes -- including mass transit, active transportation, and new transportation options -- within our street grid.
And in recent months, headlines have heralded new technologies that could be even more transformative:
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is developing the technology for low-cost, efficient tunneling and a prototype for high-speed electric mass transit that could take passengers from LAX to the San Fernando Valley in as little as 8 minutes. The City of Hawthorne has permitted construction of a 2-mile tunnel in its City, and Musk’s Boring Company is preparing to seek approvals to tunnel north through Los Angeles.
Uber is predicting that flying cars that could take passengers from LAX to Union Station in less than 30 minutes will be in operation in Los Angeles by 2020. The company hopes to pilot aerial taxi service here, and is working with NASA on a brand-new air traffic control system to manage these low-flying, possibly autonomous aircraft.
LA CoMotion held a mobility festival last weekend displaying a full range of new electric mobility devices from scooters to e-bikes to autonomous shuttles. Many of these technologies are already on the market, but operate in a legal gray area, leaving early adopters with few places to use them safely and legally.
Any of these modes of transportation would be transformative – and all of them will likely face technological, regulatory, and psychological hurdles. As a forward-looking city with a population hungry for better mobility options, Los Angeles must prepare for exciting new technologies, and consider the public policy and real world implications of flying vehicles, high-speed underground transit, and electric personal mobility devices on our streets.
That is why Mike's legislation asks representatives from The Boring Company, Hyperloop and Uber to report to the Council's Transportation Committee so we can learn more about the status of these new technologies, their potential applications for increased mobility and traffic relief, and related public policy questions.
Read the full motion at: http://www.11thdistrict.com/the_future_of_transportation_in…
Microtransit Survey Launched
The Los Angeles Department of Transportation is preparing to demonstrate the concept of Microtransit - which is like a traditional transit service, but on a smaller, flexible scale using vans instead of larger buses. Microtransit is a service that riders summon on demand using a smartphone application. Microtransit creates routes by combining rides from common pickup and drop off points.
As they prepare to test Microtransit, LADOT is asking neighbors who live or work in Palms, Mar Vista, Venice, or Marina Del Rey to complete a survey that will help identify how people travel, where they are going, how they choose your transportation options, and what is most important to them when they travel. Most importantly, DOT wants to know if you would use Microtransit service.
Take the survey for residents or for employees.
Mike Convenes Metro Customer Experience Committee for Important Conversation About Making Transit More Appealing
From improving the TAP system to making service more reliable and appealing, Metro Los Angeles's Ad Hoc Committee on Customer Experience is working to make public transportation more convenient and inviting.
The Committee met in November to talk about restructuring and reimagining bus service in LA, micro-transit (which will likely be a small bus that can be fetched by riders, similar to an Uber or Lyft and shared with others) and improvements to the TAP system that will allow people to recharge their TAP cards with mobile phones. All of these discussions are focused on one mission statement for the committee - getting more people to ride public transportation by making public transportation more convenient for people to ride.
Mike is very proud to chair this important committee and he thanks the committee members and members of the public who attended the meeting for their work and input in these important discussions.
Bids Received From Builders Wanting to Construct LAX’s New Automated People Mover
The exciting progress toward revolutionizing how people get to and from Los Angeles International Airport took a big step forward in November.
Three pre-qualified teams submitted proposals to become the builder and operator of the Automated People Mover (APM) at LAX. A team of subject matter experts has started reviewing the proposals, and notice of award to the selected team is anticipated for January.
"The three proposals have been received on-time," said Jamaal Avilez, procurement manager for the Automated People Mover RFP. "Subject matter experts will now proceed with reviewing each proposal and will make a recommendation to our CEO and Board in January."
Scoring for this project is based on technical merit, visual appeal, user experience and price. The evaluation criteria were developed to ensure a fair and transparent procurement that maximizes private-sector creativity and innovation.
Once built, the APM will be the backbone for LAX’s new landside access modernization program, and will carry people from a new Metro train station to a consolidated rental car facility, intermodal transportation facility and terminals.
TAP Integration on Flyaway Shuttles
Just in time for the holiday travel season, the FlyAway non-stop bus service, which provides direct transportation to and from each of LAX terminals, began accepting LA Metro’s Transit Access Pass (TAP) card and EZ Transit Passes as payment options this month.
Riders who use a TAP card or EZ Transit Pass to pay for their FlyAway trip enjoy reduced fares depending on the route, loaded EZ Pass zone, and method of payment. This initiative, which will make it easier to access public transportation to LAX, is in line with the sustainability goals set forth by Mayor Eric Garcetti in his “Sustainable City pLAn,” which includes the goal of expanding high-quality transit options across the city.
Instead of purchasing tickets online using a credit card, holders of active TAP cards and TAP-EZ Transit Passes with sufficient stored value will be able to complete transactions for any FlyAway route via TAP card readers. The new payment options will also provide discounts for some TAP card and EZ Transit Pass holders. Riders on the Westwood and Long Beach FlyAway routes who pay using a TAP card’s stored value will pay only $8, a discount of from the routes’ regular price of $10 and $9, respectively. Pricing for the Hollywood, Orange Line, Union Station and Van Nuys routes will remain the same whether the transaction is completed with TAP card stored value or by credit or debit card.
Riders using an EZ Transit Pass will pay an upcharge that varies depending on the EZ zones loaded onto the TAP card. Depending on which zone is loaded onto the TAP card, EZ Transit Pass users may be able to ride the FlyAway service for no additional upcharge. More information on upcharges and zones can be found by visiting http://www.laxflyaway.org.
Venice Local Coastal Plan Update
The Coastal Act of 1976 ushered in an era of significant new land use planning policies in California. The Act recognized the need to rely on local government and their local land use planning authority. By relying on local government, the Coastal Act aimed "to achieve maximum responsiveness to local conditions, accountability, and public accessibility." The Coastal Act requires that coastal communities prepare a Local Coastal Program (LCP) in order to establish the kind, location, and intensity of land and water uses appropriate to its portion of the coastal zone.
In order to comply with the Coastal Act, Venice is required to have a Local Coastal Program (LCP) for its coastal zone. A multi-year effort to prepare, adopt, and certify the Venice LCP as the coastal planning tool for the area is now underway. Once certified by the California Coastal Commission, the LCP will be implemented by the City of Los Angeles' Department of City Planning in partnership with the California Coastal Commission.
The Venice LCP Team hosted a Workshop Series on Sea Level Rise Planning on November 4 at Westminster Elementary School to focus on introducing aspects of the sea level rise vulnerability assessment. This workshop also served as an opportunity to solicit input and discussion on community assets and other considerations for adaptation planning in the context of the City’s LCP update effort.
If you would like background information about the LCP, you can visit this webpage as well as review a presentation from the workshop presented by AdaptLA, titled, ‘Helping Coastal Communities Plan for Climate Impacts’ Linked Here.
Please visit the Venice LCP website at http://www.venicelcp.org/workshop-series-nov-4-2017.html to find out more.
Divest LA at Budget and Finance
The City of Los Angeles represents nearly $8 billion in business for the banking institution we work with, and Councilmembers including Mike are taking action to use that purchasing power to ensure banks who want the city’s business are treating customers and neighborhoods fairly.
On November 27, Mike and his colleagues on the Budget and Finance Committee considered a Request for Proposals for banking business with the City. Thanks to passionate advocacy of leaders in the “Divest LA” movement and groups like Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), Mike and his colleagues amended the request for proposals to require that banks bidding on the city’s business certify that they do not engage in illegal banking practices or the kind of sales goals that caused a recent controversy at Wells Fargo.
The RFP will next be considered by the full City Council, and if approved, the City could choose to do business with banks that demonstrate positive, community-supporting activity in LA neighborhoods.
Council Hears Report on Sexual Harassment, Asks for Improved Reporting Process
As new reports about sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct in the workplace are reported on an almost daily basis, Mike and his colleagues on the City Council are working to ensure that they city is a safe place to work, and that all city employees feel supported and protected from harassment of any kind.
While sexual harassment is hardly a new phenomenon, society has finally reached a long-overdue tipping point when the victims of harassment or assault feel comfortable coming forward to report their experiences without fear of retribution or retaliation. As the third largest employer in Los Angeles County, the City of Los Angeles has a crucial responsibility to demonstrate good practices for creating a culture where employees feel safe coming forward to report inappropriate conduct.
On November 29, the City Council heard a report from the City of Los Angeles Commission on the Status of Women (represented by Pacific Palisades resident Maryam Zar) and the City's Personnel Department. The report, which was requested by Councilmembers Paul Krekorian and Nury Martinez, outlined the current process for reporting workplace misconduct, also highlighted areas where the reporting process can be improved.
Now, Mike and his colleagues will work with city staff to improve not only how misconduct is reported, but also how the city trains both employees and managers about appropriate workplace conduct.
Council Acts to Update Speed Surveys
Traffic safety is a genuine public health crisis in Los Angeles. Traffic collisions are the leading cause of death of children under the age of 14 in Los Angeles County, and victims of collisions are disproportionately seniors, children, and the disabled. As part of a broad series of efforts to better protect people on our roads, Mike is working to have the City enforce speed limits on local roads.
Setting speed limits is largely regulated by a state law, which says that our local police officers are not allowed to enforce speed limits on a road unless there has been a recent and valid speed survey conducted on the street.
Under Mike’s leadership as chair of the Transportation Committee, the City has embarked on a dramatic and aggressive updating of its speed surveys and its ability to enforce speeding violations. Removing this tremendous backlog has been Mike's priority as champion of Vision Zero, an international program to eliminate traffic fatalities. Last month, the Transportation Committee approved updated speed surveys, allowing LAPD to enforce speeding regulations on 99.7% of the streets on the “high injury network” and on two-thirds of all streets in Los Angeles. The full Council is scheduled to formally approve this item tomorrow, and Mike is taking additional action to ensure that 100% of Los Angeles' streets have enforceable speed limits by next year.
Mike Proposes Strengthening the City's Protected Tree Ordinance
Trees provide vital ecosystem services, including absorbing carbon dioxide (which helps combat climate change), creating canopy shade and, by their roots, water retention, protecting soil health, preventing soil erosion and thereby helping prevent landslides, providing habitat for animals, insects and birds, producing oxygen, improving the livability of neighborhoods, the health of inhabitants, and increasing property values, among many others.
Unfortunately, trees are not being adequately protected and city departments are not working well together to protect them. Trees are being cut before development permits are applied for, trees are not being protected during construction activities, and building permits are routinely issued without the Department of Building and Safety being aware of the presence of protected trees on the affected properties, all resulting in an accumulating net loss of trees, tree canopy and the accompanying ecosystem services across the City.
Mike and his colleague Paul Koretz are working to improve how Los Angeles protects trees in our neighborhoods, and last week, Mike and Councilmember Koretz co-authored legislation instructing the Urban Forestry Division to work with the Planning Department and the Department of Building and Safety to convene and consult with stakeholder groups (which will include the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, arborists, community groups, environmental groups like TreePeople, members of the Community Forestry Advisory Committee and the Mayor’s expert biodiversity group). The group will meet and report back within 75 days regarding recommendations for strengthening the Protected Tree Ordinance, including, but not limited to: determining methods to preserve overall native tree cover and habitat areas, limiting damage to trees retained during development, and possibly adding protected trees based on circumference and species notability.
Welcome Krista Klein
Mike was very excited to welcome a new Planning Director to his team this month, as Krista Kline joined Council District 11. Prior to joining Mike's team, Krista served as an Environmental Compliance Specialist, an Air Quality Specialist for the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the Managing Director for the Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability, and a Senior Project Coordinator for the Los Angeles Housing Department. Krista has also worked for former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, where she served as an Urban Planning and Design Coordinator.
As Mike's Planning Director, Krista's primary role will be ensuring that neighborhoods are put first as new development proposals are considered, and that smart and sustainable development helps the Westside grow and thrive - while preserving the unique community character of each neighborhood in the district.
Welcome to the team, Krista!
Welcome Marisol Samayoa
In a move that will expand the capacity of his communications team, Mike was happy to announce the hire of Marisol Samayoa as Communications Deputy in November. Marisol most recently served as Communications Deputy to Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, and has previously worked as a Digital Organizer for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign and as a Research Associate for the California Endowment.
In her new role, Marisol will work with the rest of Mike's team to enhance the ways constituents can communicate with Mike's office, and will help ensure neighbors on the Westside are informed about what is happening in their neighborhoods.
Welcome to the team, Marisol!
Find out about just some of the events happening in your neighborhood in the next month!
Do you have an event you would like listed? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to submit events.
- LMU Tree Lighting
- December 1, 2017; 7pm
- Loyola Marymount University, Regents Terrace
- Winter Westchester Lacrosse Day
- December 2, 2017; 10am - 2pm
- Westchester Recreation Center
- Venice Holiday Sign Lighting Celebration
- December 2, 2017; 6pm
- Windward and Pacific, Venice
- LAPD Pacific Division Winter Wonderland Toy Giveaway
- December 9, 2017; 10am - 2pm
- LAPD Pacific Division Station (12312 Culver Blvd. Los Angeles, 90066)
- 40th Annual Christmas Run 5k/10k/Kids Run
- December 9, 2017; 7:30am
- Windward and Pacific, Venice, CA
- Gateway to LA Holiday Concert
- December 12, 2017; 5pm
- H Hotel Los Angeles (6151 W Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045)
- Pacific Palisades Community Council Holiday Dinner and Awards Gala
- December 14; 6:30pm
- 17300 Pacific Coast Hwy, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
- Federation of Hillside and Canyon Associations 2017 Holiday Party
- December 14; 6:30pm
- Mulholland Tennis Club, 2555 Crest View Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90046
- The Giving Spirit - Homeless Care Package Preparation
- December 14, 15 and 16
- Brentwood Presbyterian Church (12000 San Vicente Blvd, LA 90049)
- Playa Vista Holiday Hustle 5K/10K
- December 16, 2017l 8:20am
- Playa Vista, CA
2018 Winter Shelter Donation Drive Kicks Off
The Westside Winter Shelter Program offers hundreds of homeless people on the Westside a warm bed. The Shelter will open on December 1 at the West LA National Guard armory.
Every year, Mike hosts a donation drive to request the supplies needed to operate the shelter. Please see below to find out more about what supplies are needed, and how you can help offer comfort to those in need this holiday season.
REQUESTED ITEMS INCLUDE:
Cleaning items (i.e. brooms, mops, scrub pads, bleach, disinfectant, and trash bags)
Plastic drawstring or resealable bags
First aid kits
Items can be dropped off at any CD11 office until December 15.
West LA Office
1645 Corinth Ave. #201
Los Angeles, CA 90025
200 N. Spring St. #475
Los Angeles, CA 90012
7166 W. Manchester Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Thank you for reading the November issue of Mike Bonin's Neighborhoods First Newsletter.