Mar 082017
 
L.A. Congratulates Mayor Garcetti On His Re-Election

Mayor Garcetti Re-Elected! Photo property of the Mayor’s office.

Los Angeles 42nd Mayor Eric Garcetti won the Tuesday (03/07/2017) election by a landslide! Not all votes have been counted yet, but those that have been indicate that our Mayor won over 80% of the vote, leaving other contenders in the dust and setting a new Los Angeles mayoral popularity record.

Just like the president of the United States, the city mayor serves a 4 year term. Because of the upcoming change in the electoral calendar – beginning in 2020 all elections: federal, state and city will take place at the same time – Mayor Garcetti’s new term will last longer than usual: five and half years.

(Some members of Los Angeles City government, City Attorney Mike Feuer, Controller Ron Galperin and Councilman Bob Blumenfield have been re-elected virtually without opposition. Most of other local politicians faced newcomers vying for their seats, still it is expected that the majority will retain their offices.)

Like the majority of Angelenos, Mayor Eric Garcetti is a liberal democrat. Even so, he faced some criticism from democrats for his less than forceful stance against the immigration policies of President Trump and for not declaring Los Angeles a “sanctuary city”. The overwhelming majority of Angelenos however appreciate Mayor Garcetti’s numerous achievements in the areas of economy, affordable housing, his efforts to combat homelessness and improving mass transportation.

The latest and overwhelming electoral victory of Mayor Garcetti might serve him well beyond Los Angeles, too. Being re-elected in a landslide will help ensure his future on California’s – and perhaps even, national – political scene.

Anything L.A. Magazine congratulates Mayor Garcetti on his SPECTACULAR re-election victory! Good for the Mayor! Good for Los Angeles! Angelenos look forward to five and half more years of prosperity, safety and DEMOCRACY in Los Angeles.

Anything L.A. Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

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Feb 222017
 

New Immigration Enforcement And L.A.

Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti made the following statement on DHS Plans for Implementing the President’s Executive Orders on Immigration:

“Stoking fears of mass deportation, turning our backs on refugees and children, denying asylum-seekers the right to see a judge, and showing indifference to suffering are not policies to make us safer — they’re a cruel abandonment of everything we believe as Americans and stand for as Angelenos.

Whether they live in Van Nuys or Virginia, East L.A. or East Lansing — Americans everywhere expect their leaders in Washington to act with the justice, grace, and tolerance that give us our identity. The Administration’s release today of details on how it will implement the President’s executive orders on immigration enforcement reveal plans that run counter to fundamental American principles: Protecting our homeland means focusing on criminals who pose a threat to our safety and security — not turning local police into a deportation force or creating widespread fear by targeting hardworking immigrants who contribute so much to our economy, culture, and spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood. And that no matter who is in power, people who have already built lives in this country — or seek refuge from violent persecution, religious oppression, and other extreme hardships — should never have to live in fear of their families being torn apart, and should be able to count on all of the protections that our Constitution and judicial system provide.

Los Angeles stands firm on those ideals, and I will do everything in my power — in partnership with the City Council, our City Attorney, the LAPD, advocates for immigrants, educators, and members of Congress — to protect and defend the rights of all Angelenos whose families may be unjustly affected by these orders. We will fight for the people who call our communities home, and stay committed to leading with the humanity and openness that define us as a people.” — Mayor Eric Garcetti

Los Angeles’ Mayor’s statement is noble and courageous. At some point however the authority of the City and the State ends and is superseded by the Federal authority.

President Trump’s Executive Orders on Immigration were explained during a press conference on February 21st 2017 by the White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. A memorandum of the Department of Homeland Security explains which specific groups of undocumented immigrants are priorities for removal. The people who:
(a) have been convicted of any criminal offense;
(b) have been charged with any criminal offense that has not been resolved;
(c) have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense;
(d) have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a governmental agency;
(e) have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits;
(f) are subject to a final order of removal but have not complied with their legal obligation to depart the United States;
(g) in the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.

During immigration raids, none of the above exempts the undocumented immigrants who don’t pose a threat to national security and who didn’t break any but one of American laws by entering the Country illegally. Some of them have been detained and deported already. While a panic is spreading across the nation, Sean Spicer reassured that: “everybody who is here illegally is subject to removal at any time.” The new immigration guidelines open the door for mass deportations in accordance with “expedited removal” procedures. “Expedited removal” vastly reduces court proceedings, meaning the undocumented immigrants will be either deprived of access to the justice system entirely or have access to appeal or otherwise defend themselves severely limited.

To have the new immigration regulations enforced efficiently, the President is increasing the budget of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, etc. There will be thousands more immigration officers and judges and many more detention centers to expedite deportations.

As far as we know, for now at least, DACA and the protections it provides for illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children will remain in effect as the sole exception to the wide-reaching immigration sweep.

When we think of undocumented immigrants, we usually imagine people illegally sneaking into our Country and compromising our safety. We think of these people as “them”, not “us”. As much as this image and reference is true in a small percentage of cases, in the vast majority of cases, it isn’t “them”, it’s very much “us” and about “us”. Why? Because the undocumented immigrants have legally-American and / or American-born families. The new immigration guidelines and enforcement are not just a punishment to undocumented immigrants but a huge disruption to all Americans: American families torn apart, American children not being sent to school, taken to a doctor or vaccinated, crimes not being reported, no eyewitnesses to accidents, significant changes in economy, etc. Many are terrified of a sudden separation of their family. The fear affects the “illegals”, traumatizes their legal families including children and negatively affects normal functioning of the community.

This is only the beginning, what to expect? Increase in psychological problems, crises in several industries, crime, diseases, homelessness, an urgent need for orphanages for American children separated from their parents, not to mention high anxiety in ethnic American citizen communities that anticipate being targeted based on profiling.

Significant and negative impact on local economy will lower our standard of living. High anxiety and fear of authorities will not only disrupt normal functioning of communities but diminish our safety and wellness. If you think about it, the consequences of the new immigration guidelines and enforcement will reverberate throughout the society at large and affect us nearly as much as the illegal immigrants.

Perhaps we should secure our borders first and then deal with the undocumented immigrants already here humanely, in a fashion befitting a nation of immigrants? This way future immigration problems would be prevented, current immigration problems would be solved while the rest of the nation would continue functioning without fear, increase in disease and crime or economic instability. Such a gentler and more diplomatic approach would also strengthen relationships with our neighbors and help preserve the international image of America as compassionate, fair and respectful of human rights. Just a thought.

Anything L.A. Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich

 

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Jan 302017
 

Los Angeles Against Travel Ban

President Trump’s executive order on immigration which bans the entrance to the United States by travelers from majority-Muslim countries of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen for 120 days has caused a wave of unrests throughout the country. Protests have erupted at all major airports. Americans are outraged. A Federal Judge in New York blocked a part of the executive order. Several city mayors addressed the crowds in support of fair treatment of Muslims. Thousands of attorneys are exploring the executive order’s compliance with the law (and the Constitution!). American actors during last night’s SAG Awards have spoken against the discriminatory travel ban.

Shockingly the countries from which the 9/11 terrorists have come (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon) are NOT on the banned, Muslim countries’ list.

A few glimpses we gathered from TV news:

  • An older Jewish gentleman said: “Every time I hear Muslim, I hear Jew” (a reference to the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany).
  • A 5 year old boy from Iran was detained at a Houston airport for 4 hours before being reunited with his mother. Clearly, a story of successful extreme vetting of “Islamic terrorist”.
  • A Muslim immigrant from the Middle East waiting at the airport for 24 hours for the arrival of his aunt who has been detained put it best, in spite of his poor English. Having explained that he came to America as a refugee, received political asylum and became a citizen since, said: “I came here for freedom. I EXPECT FREEDOM.”

Los Angeles city leaders have taken a position on the travel ban and religious discrimination, too.

 

MAYOR GARCETTI: “Los Angeles Will Always Be a Place of Refuge”

“Los Angeles will always be a place of refuge, where the most vulnerable people fleeing war, or religious or political oppression, can find a safe and welcoming home. Congress outlawed the banning of immigrants by nationality more than 50 years ago, because we have long known that it does not make us safer. It only fans the flames of hatred that those who wish us harm seek to spread.

I am closely monitoring the situation at LAX and staying in close touch with locally based officials in the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and other partner agencies.

I understand that some Angelenos are planning to express their support for immigrants by demonstrating at the airport. There is power in standing strong for our values — but we must remain calm, and act lawfully and peacefully so LAX can continue to operate smoothly and our passengers stay safe. My commitment is to do everything in my power to make certain that any travelers entering our city have the resources and support they need to feel secure and accepted in L.A.”

 

Statement from Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer on the Detainee Situation at LAX

“I went to LAX last night because I wanted to secure the release of the detainees. I also wanted very direct answers to basic questions:

  • Was the federal government complying with a court order that prevented it from deporting people in this situation?
  • How many people were being detained?

It was a very frustrating and complex night because federal officials were unable and unwilling to provide any information. I was there for hours last night. Since that time, I’ve been working with lawyers, not only in my office but throughout the country to get a focus on what’s happening, and to determine how best to stand up for the values on which this country is based.

This is an extraordinary thing. It’s at a US airport. It’s an airport in our city. There’s been a lot of action since last night. Courts around the country have issued orders. The question last night was could the federal authorities remove someone who had landed. The answer from one court was no. Today, two more courts said no. And another court said you can’t detain people in this situation either. So today we’ve been focused on assuring those that have been detained at LAX, I believe unlawfully, are released. And more to come as we try to figure out in this country, at this key moment, do we stand up for the basic liberties that make this country distinctive.

On the one hand, the sweep of this order is outrageous. Secondly, it was timed to be released right before the weekend. Third, officials at the airport were clearly confused and lacking direction from the federal government in Washington on what to do. So for those who are saying this is a minor inconvenience don’t understand the facts on the ground

The order itself is far too sweeping and the implementation has been unconstitutional, in my view. People in this country – we’re talking about lawful permanent residents who are returning to this country or coming here for the first time to be united with family. They have rights! They were lawfully granted authority to come to this country and now that authority has been blocked. Here in Los Angeles, we stand up for uniting families. We stand up for giving people their basic rights. We need to prevent this from having a further negative effect on our community.

I believe this order will not stand. I believe this implementation will not be allowed to move forward. There are courts around the country poised to handle

There are some very serious concerns to be taken into account:

  • Are people of each religion being treated equally? Members of the Muslim community are being treated differently than people that are Christian or Jewish or others. And that’s not appropriate in my view.
  • Second, people have basic due process rights to have their causes heard. They aren’t able to be detained for no reason.

There are multiple reasons based on equal protection clause of the Constitution, the First Amendment, the due process clause that I think call into serious question the legality of this order.”

*

LATEST UPDATE: On Monday 01/30/17 an attack on a mosque in Quebec killed 6 and injured 20, five are in critical condition. Clearly, extremists approve of President Trump’s treatment of Muslims and the travel ban. Terrorists are likely to retaliate.

Americans are urging President Trump to study American history and the American Constitution. Most of his actions so far threaten the founding principles of our Country….

Vatican issued an appeal asking Christians and Muslims to unite in prayer.

 

 

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Dec 302016
 

New Los Angeles Renters’ Protections

Mayor Eric Garcetti took another step toward curbing L.A.’s housing affordability crisis, signing into law the Tenant Buyout Ordinance — a key addition to the City’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO), which is designed to protect Angelenos from runaway rents and displacement from their neighborhoods.

Half of L.A. families live in an apartment covered by the RSO. The ordinance will strengthen renters’ rights by ensuring that landlords inform residents of their relocation rights in the event of a tenant buyout. Previously, tenants could be offered a lump sum to vacate units, without a formal process to educate them about additional sums for relocation assistance to which they may have been entitled.

The new ordinance requires landlords to file buyout agreements with the City, so that staff can better monitor the process. It also permits renters to withdraw from the buyout agreement within 30 days.

“Every tenant in Los Angeles should understand their rights, especially in a tight housing market, and landlords should know their responsibilities,” said Mayor Garcetti. “The RSO is the most powerful tool we have to keep families and neighborhoods together, and this ordinance will help protect vulnerable populations — like senior citizens and immigrants — from displacement. As we work to build new affordable housing, we also must make sure that residents know about protections that are already in place.”

“As Chair of the Housing Committee, I am proud to add another layer of protection for tenants with the Tenant Buyout Notification Program amendment to the City’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance,” said Housing Committee Chair Councilmember Gil Cedillo, who was key in ensuring the ordinance’s passage. “This program requires landlords to inform tenants of their RSO rights before executing a buyout agreement, giving them full disclosure of their rights and protections under the RSO.”

“As I’ve been dealing with a crisis in my district where more than 150 seniors are threatened with evictions, it is clear that it is more important than ever that all tenants fully understand their rights when their landlord wants to move them out of their apartments,” said Housing Committee Vice-Chair Councilmember Paul Koretz.

“The newly adopted Tenant Buyout Ordinance is an important new tool in our efforts to ensure that tenants in Rent-Stabilized (RSO) buildings are fully informed of their rights to remain in their homes and are not coerced into accepting buy-out or ‘cash for keys’ offers,” said Rushmore Cervantes, General Manager of the Housing and Community Investment Development of the City of Los Angeles. “In a time when affordable housing units are scarce, the new ordinance is designed to ensure that tenants can make informed decisions and have the opportunity to seek advice before voluntarily relinquishing their rent-stabilized unit.”

The new ordinance builds upon Mayor Garcetti’s comprehensive plan to strengthen the RSO, which includes strategies to increase awareness of renters’ rights and better enforce existing regulations. Earlier this year, Mayor Garcetti launched an RSO awareness campaign, “Home for Renters.” The campaign reaches out to L.A.’s most vulnerable neighborhoods with thousands of public transit advertisements, door-hangers, informational pamphlets, and online resources that make detailed information about the RSO accessible to both tenants and landlords. The effort was developed by the Housing and Community Investment Department of Los Angeles (HCIDLA) in partnership with Mayor Garcetti’s Innovation Team, which focuses on data-driven projects, and is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Last year, Mayor Garcetti also announced a new online property database, which helps the public easily identify properties that are subject to the RSO. The City Council and HCIDLA are also advancing a new city-wide rent registry, which will help the City proactively enforce regulations on allowable rent increases. To stem the loss of RSO units as the City expands its housing stock, the City is also implementing new State law that requires the replacement of affordable RSO units in new developments.

While the City remains on track to meet Mayor Garcetti’s goal to build 100,000 new housing units by 2021, the Mayor is advancing additional policies to ensure equitable growth in the City’s housing supply, and is doubling down on the production and preservation of affordable housing developments dedicated to low-income Angelenos.

 

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Dec 272016
 
Happy Holidays Los Angeles From L.A. Mayor

This gorgeous photo is the property of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti

L.A. Mayor, Eric Garcetti wishes Angelenos of ALL cultural backgrounds Happy Holidays:

Merry Christmas:
“Everywhere in our City of Angels — whether exchanging presents and singing carols, making tamales and sipping eggnog, going to a posada, or worshiping at Midnight Mass — we unite on Christmas by embracing all that is good in our world. The most meaningful gift we can give today, and every day, is sharing our joy and light with others. My wish is that we will always live in the spirit of kindness, compassion, generosity, and hope that this holiday brings into our hearts.”

Happy Hanukkah:
“During Hanukkah, we remember a story about the triumph of hope against all odds, and celebrate the beauty and resilience of light. And even after generations of telling our children about the miracle of the oil that lit the temple in Jerusalem for eight days, the message of Hanukkah endures like that flickering flame. May this time of year always remind us that nothing is brighter or warmer than the light we find within ourselves — and nothing is stronger than the hope we give to each other in our times of greatest need.”

Happy Kwanzaa:
“Kwanzaa is anchored in ancient traditions and timeless values that have given people of African descent the power to build great civilizations and thrive after extraordinary hardship. We take these seven days to contemplate principles of self-determination, shared responsibility, creativity, unity, purpose, and faith — and rejoice in the great power they possess in our lives. May the kinara fill homes with light, and our hearts with the joy, warmth, and peace that this holiday brings to people all over the world.”

 

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Sep 222016
 

Mayor Garcetti 2016 Great Streets Challenge To Remake Los Angeles

Mayor Garcetti invites Angelenos to reimagine public spaces with 2016 Great Streets Challenge

 

Everyone has ideas for how to improve their local community, and Angelenos are being invited to turn vision into action.

On September 21st 2016 Mayor Eric Garcetti launched a $2 million grant program that gives L.A. residents a unique opportunity to reimagine public spaces in their own neighborhoods. The Great Streets Challenge, now in its second year, empowers Angelenos to transform streets and urban corridors across Los Angeles into vibrant, walkable spaces that reflect the unique character of their communities.

“Neighborhood character is the environment we create on our streets — the places where families and neighbors spend time together, where people take their dogs out for a walk or just do their shopping,” said Mayor Garcetti. “These public spaces should celebrate the people and culture that define them. That’s what the Great Streets Challenge is about.”

Angelenos can now apply for Great Streets Challenge funding to complete an improvement project along any street or corridor in L.A.. The City will award up to $13,000 to each winning applicant for community outreach, project implementation, and six to 12 months of technical assistance. Mayor Garcetti has set aside $2 million in total funding for the program this year, a $1.8 million increase over 2015.

“The Great Streets Challenge funds great grass-roots projects, helping to build the foundation for successful partnerships in communities,” said Councilmember Mike Bonin, who chairs the City Council’s Transportation Committee. “When we work together on a shared vision for our streets, we have a tremendous opportunity to create the types of positive changes that have lasting impacts on our neighborhoods.”

Last year’s Great Streets Challenge funded eight community projects with a total of $180,000 in City funds. Ninety-four individuals and organizations participated in the 2015 application process. The eight funded projects represented more than 40 community groups — including Neighborhood Councils, business improvement districts, and community-based organizations.

“The Great Streets Challenge will empower our neighborhoods to shape the future of Los Angeles,” said Councilmember David Ryu. “We want to engage the expertise and institutional knowledge of our residents to transform our streets into public spaces.”

The 2016 Great Streets Challenge builds on a series of successful neighborhood enhancement programs launched in recent months by Mayor Garcetti’s Great Streets Initiative. In August, Mayor Garcetti announced Great Streets Great Business — a program that offers businesses located along Great Streets corridors access to a $4 million loan fund, and one-on-one guidance to help them meet difficult challenges.

Applications for the Great Streets Challenge are available through Nov. 20 at LAGreatStreets.org/2016-challenge. Winning applicants will be selected based on the strength of their community outreach strategy, and the project’s alignment with the City’s health, mobility, and economic development goals.

About Great Streets
Mayor Eric Garcetti launched the Great Streets Initiative in October 2013 to transform streets across the city into more vibrant public spaces. A Great Street is a street that serves as the center of a neighborhood, where people can walk, meet, learn, and play on a daily basis. The Great Streets Initiative’s goals include improving safety and access, increasing economic activity, and encouraging community engagement. For more information, including a full list of the first 15 Great Streets corridors, visit www.LAGreatStreets.org.