People throughout Los Angeles are urged to avoid driving during that time, particularly close to the 405, and instead walk, take public transportation or ride a bicycle. Please read our July 14 “Hi 5” newsletter which shares a lot of useful information related to the closure as well as ideas concerning shopping locally in the 5thCouncil District – we have a choice of a lot of tremendous businesses and other attractions, providing a great way to have some fun without driving close to the 405.
Here are some key facts, phone numbers and links regarding “Carmageddon.”
WHAT – A planned 10-mile, 53-hour closure of the I-405 freeway between
the U.S. 101 and I-10 on the weekend of July 16-17 for demolition work
on the Mulholland Bridge, part of a major I-405 improvement project.
WHEN – On Friday, July 15, ramps along the 10 mile closure will begin
to be shut down as early as 7 p.m., and closure of freeway lanes will
begin at 10 p.m. to ensure full freeway closure by midnight. The
closure will continue until 5 a.m. Monday, July 18. Ramps and
connectors will be reopened by 6 a.m.
WHERE – The specific freeway closure boundaries are as follows:
• Northbound I-405: 10-mile closure between I-10 and U.S. 101
• Southbound I-405: 4-mile closure between U.S. 101 and Getty Center Drive Ramps
WHO – The Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Fire Department,
California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles Department of Transportation,
Metro and Caltrans are all involved in a coordinated effort to inform
the public and keep everyone safe.
WHY – This weekend will begin the process of replacement of the
Mulholland bridge, the third of three bridges spanning the 405 to be
replaced as part of this project. The Mulholland bridge needs to be
demolished and reconstructed one side at a time to allow for an
additional northbound lane to be constructed under it. Once the first
half is demolished and the abutments are removed the reconstruction
process will begin. This will take approximately one year at which
time the traffic flow will be relocated to the new half of the bridge
and the remaining half will be demolished and reconstructed. During
this process traffic flow on the bridge will be constricted due to a
reduction of carrying capacity on the east end of the bridge.
PUBLIC TRANSIT – Special Carmageddon Weekend Services:
Extra buses on major Westside & Valley streets
Free Fare on Red, Purple, Orange and selected bus lines
Added Metrolink trains
$3 one way fares from Amtrak: Downtown LA to Burbank Airport
KEY PHONE NUMBERS - Whom to call:
405 Project Hotline - (213) 922-3665 for non-emergency concerns
911 - For emergencies only
511 - For real time traffic conditions
311 - For City related issues
For more information on detour maps, closure boundaries, tweets, and
after midnight, time lapse photography of the actual demolition,
please click HERE .
One hundred years ago, in what is now known as the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, life was lost needlessly, in monumental numbers under ghastly working condition, in circumstances lacking the most rudimentary safety conditions and barren of respect for life and its safety.
The fire took place on March 25, 1911 – and so 100 years later to the day, commemorative events were held around the world, including throughout L.A. (under the auspices of LA Laborfest) and in City Hall itself, where the Jewish Labor Committee held a memorial bell dedication, ringing the huge bell one time apiece for each of the victims.
That one fire, in a sweat shop factory occupying several upper floors of a Greenwich Village building in New York City, stole 146 lives, and though those people were treated then as anonymous commodities to be used and abused and placed perpetually at risk, these were hardworking decent people, who could have been our immediate past family, and maybe were.
Workers then, in many places such as the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory where women's blouses were made, were treated by many businesses as sub-humans, perhaps because they were immigrants, many of them Jewish, women, young and poor. But their only crime was wanting, indeed needing, a better life.
These workers, including many teenage girls, labored in senselessly abhorrent, grueling and grim conditions six days a week, stuffed into rooms with minimal light and ventilation, with few if any safety precautions such as fire escapes despite the clear danger of fire in such settings. Indeed, at the Triangle Factory, stairway and exit doors were kept locked by ownership that didn't want workers to take breaks or to take a few scraps of fabric home. The owners of the Triangle Factory were leaders in trying to suppress any effort by workers to gain rights and improve work place conditions, and refused to settle two strikes in the years just prior to the fire.
When the fire started, perhaps from a smoldering cigarette or perhaps because of malfunctioning equipment, there were no audible alarms to sound the alert. Some doors remained locked. Stairways, when used, collapsed. Inevitably, terror occurred as skin and garments turned to flame and lungs filled with smoke. People were burned, trampled, asphyxiated or, no where else to go, jumped or fell from many stories high. There was no escape for those 146 poor souls.
There's no way to rationalize or justify the terribleness of it all, Yet it's amazing to see, now, how much that is positive has occurred due significantly to that one fire one hundred years ago today. The modern labor movement, and in particular the growth of the International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union, was spurred on by the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. In the aftermath of the fire, serious investigations occurred, state labor laws were modernized, and the American Society of Safety Engineers was founded.
At the 100th Anniversary Memorial Bell dedication in City Hall, Councilmember Koretz (pictured above with a great friend of CD 5 and of workers, CD 15 Councilwoman Janice Hahn) noted that, “it is incredibly touching that today, in so many places, people have gathered to commemorate lives lost so tragically a century ago – at the same time, we celebrate how, since then, so many have joined together to improve and overcome oppressive and dangerous work places and unfair wages imposed on people who deserve and have earned far better.”
The amazing beauty of our city crucially includes the hillsides and their open spaces that provide respite from the urban bustle. But those same open spaces have long been under increasing threat, for they have been pushed further out and up by the pressures of development. As a result, the need to preserve the character and integrity of our hillsides and their communities has become ever more vital.
That’s why Councilmember Koretz joined and helped further Baseline Hillside Ordinance, the effort started years ago by Councilmember Tom LaBonge and approved by the Council weeks ago, and now signed into law by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at a signing ceremony to which many community leaders were invited.
Without a doubt, the Baseline Hillside Ordinance will be of immense value, now and for generations to come, in protecting our hillsides from the ravages of mansionization and overdevelopment. Accomplishing this Ordinance has taken years and has involved the steadfast activism of many key community organizations and determined neighborhood leaders.
As always with any major legislation, the devil can be in the details, and that’s why so much is owed to those homeowners and hillside organizations who in the past year and a half have partnered with the 5th Council District Office and others in City Hall to include much needed additional protections while finalizing the already invaluable draft ordinance.
To make sure an up-slope neighbor doesn't end up in someone else’s backyard, the City will now require that the most severe hillside developments undertake the most stringent Geo-Technical & Reporting Analysis in order to build, and will mandate that Deputy Grading Inspectors be on-site, monitoring the grading of extreme hillsides. These additional protections will help ensure the safety of our remaining hillsides as well as the safety of those Angelenos that call them home, while preserving a sense of spaciousness amid the natural vistas that make Los Angeles a city of great environmental treasures.
At the signing event, Councilmember Koretz saluted all the community leaders who were there as well as those who couldn’t make this ceremony but who participated so gallantly in meeting after meeting during the past years, showing extraordinary fortitude and wisdom. The Councilmember also thanked Mayor Villaraigosa and Councilmembers LaBonge and Ed Reyes for their efforts – the latter for his invaluable leadership as Chair of the City’s Planning and Land Use Committee. Councilmember Koretz also made a special point of applauding the devoted city planners who were crucial to the shaping and passage of the Ordinance, and honored City Planner Erick Lopez, “who has embodied the boundless energy, sharp intelligence and community-friendly attitude that has made all this possible. The truth is that this Ordinance has been a wonderful case of people in City Hall and outside of City Hall, in our communities, working together harmoniously, hand-in-hand. This is indeed a great day for all of Los Angeles.”
What’s way, way, WAY bigger than a breadbasket? Well, the answer might have been the proposed 85,000-square-foot residential compound in Benedict Canyon -- only that huge Tower Lane development, which would have had an overwhelming impact on the rest of the neighborhood, is not happening! Significant community opposition and the tough stance of Council Member Koretz made the difference – the owner has scuttled his crucial request for a lot line adjustment, and is now said to be conceiving a smaller and more appropriate project.
Councilmember Koretz said, “I am very pleased that the applicant, Tower Lane Properties, Inc., has withdrawn its request for a lot line adjustment. While this is only one aspect of a very large project, I do not believe that the applicant can proceed with the initial development without this lot line adjustment. So I believe that the applicant will be going back to square one.
“I hope in re-thinking this site, the applicant works with the neighbors to develop a project we all can support. The current proposal is simply inappropriate for the site, and for that reason, I very much appreciate, respect and applaud the neighbors and many members of the community who spoke up and shared their concerns about the potentially resultant and severe negative impacts.
“I also want to reiterate that I will not allow a big compound to be built through piecemeal approvals. This was clearly one big project with multiple structures, and its environmental impacts needed to be reviewed in toto as one big project, a point I have emphasized in writing to City of Los Angeles Planning Director Michael LoGrande.
“I am going to work with our development agencies to make certain that this will not happen in the future.”
In Century City, 10000 Santa Monica Blvd (off of Moreno Drive) – now a huge empty hole which is a blight on any community – will soon house a worthy project that can enrich Los Angeles not just aesthetically but economically. This project has been free of the kind of controversy and negativity that happens when a community is left out of the process, its concerns ignored or overridden. Instead, we have what could be a case study of how such efforts SHOULD be handled, with community engagement prioritized and achieved from start to finish.
Councilmember Koretz recently held a press briefing to help share information about the project but also to celebrate the spirit in which it has been undertaken. He invited the developer (10000 Santa Monica Development Partnership) as well as representatives of key community organizations, saying, “The 10000 Santa Monica condominium project represents the best kind of planning process -- one that, throughout, has been full of community input and collaborative decision-making. The benefits have been enormous. The design of 10000 Santa Monica promises to be a magnificent architectural achievement. It's a green project using LEED certification. It is estimated that 10000 Santa Monica will generate more than $300 million in regional economic activity and that it will create close to 2,000 construction jobs. But most of all, there has been vast community engagement, with many neighborhood organizations and community leaders sharing their ideas and their concerns in order to best shape a project so that is fully appropriate and responsive to the area and people most immediately effected.”
Jan Reichmann, President of the Comstock Hills Homeowners Association said, “The proposed project at 10000 Santa Monica Boulevard is a breath of fresh air. It is graceful and elegant, yet addresses environmental concerns. Although zoning allows for a larger structure, this developer did not go for the limits of entitlement. He sensitively designed what was the most appropriate for this beautiful site.”
Mike Eveloff, President of the Tract 7260 Association and also representing seven other homeowner associations in and around Century City, said, “10000 Santa Monica will be an excellent addition to the Century City skyline and looks to be a special place for people to live, work, shop and do business in Century City. We are excited that the developer intends to price the units in a range that will actually allow for people who work in Century City to live in Century City… it is exceptionally rare for a developer to get the process right the way this developer got it right. They reached out to us as soon as they decided they were moving forward and sought our input. They didn’t try to see how far they could push us and didn’t come in with a clearly oversized project. Instead, they were and are genuinely interested in making sure that this project is the right project for our community.”
Councilmember Koretz commended the 10000 Santa Monica team and especially every single community organization and activist who has taken part in this process because together they are demonstrating how to make a planning process work to everyone's benefit, taking the community's concerns into account while also offering the city and region a green project of aesthetic splendor that will bring many jobs and an enduring economic boost.
Seung-Hui Cho, the shooter responsible for the killing spree at Virginia Tech, was not reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS - the system that determine legal ineligibility for gun purchase) - despite his having been previously refused gun ownership because of a mental illness. Nor was Jared Lee Loughner, the gunman responsible for the attack on Representative Gabrielle Giffords and the deaths of six innocents in Tucson, Arizona, despite having been rejected by the Army for habitual drug use.
It is in this dangerous climate that the LA City Council voted to support the Fix Gun Checks Act of 2011, a federal bill recently introduced by United States Senator Chuck Schumer of New York. On Friday, April 8, the City Council approved a resolution, presented by Councilmember Paul Koretz and Council President Eric Garcetti, in support of the Fix Gun Checks Act of 2011.
The Schumer bill aims to correct flaws in the current NICS, which is now missing millions of records due to lax recording by states and in some cases, federal agencies. If made law, the Fix Gun Checks Act will toughen penalties on states that fail to comply with NICS requirements, with the hopes of preventing tragedies like that in Tucson and Virginia Tech from reoccurring.
Councilmember Koretz and Council President Garcetti’s Resolution supporting the Schumer bill was applauded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is also co-chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a coalition of more than 550 U.S. mayors. Mayor Bloomberg notes that, “Every day 34 people in the United States are murdered with guns – that’s more than 3,000 people killed since the Tucson shooting. If we are going to prevent the next mass shooting we need to fix the gaps in our national gun background check system that allows criminals, drug abusers, and the mentally ill to pass background checks and obtain guns. On behalf of all of the members of our coalition, I thank Councilman Koretz and Councilman Garcetti for their leadership in introducing the resolution calling on Congress to take action to fix the national gun background check system.”
The Koretz-Garcetti Resolution followed on the heels of the Council’s April 6th gun violence related actions supporting a statewide open-carry ban as well as an ordinance banning the open carrying of guns on Los Angeles city property such as city parks.
The Council’s determinations are only part of its greater commitment to gun violence related issues. On April 6th, the Council also held extensive discussions concerning the city’s overall current and potential legislative and policy understandings related to gun violence: participants included the City Attorney, the Chief Legislative Analyst, and representatives from Women Against Gun Violence and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
Coucilmember Paul Koretz met with business leaders from across the City to gather their ideas for bringing jobs and business activity back to the City. Topics ranged from the City’s often complicated and contradictory tax and regulatory schemes to opportunities to do business with the City and the relationship between business and the DWP. All the participants agreed that even in a tough fiscal environment, the City can do more to reform policies and practices to benefit residents and businesses alike.
A member of the City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee, Koretz noted, “I went into this meeting ready to listen because I know the livelihood of the City and its residents is linked to our ability to attract, grow and retain business in this City.” The group discussed changes to City policies but also leveraging and enhancing existing programs. As just one example, the City Council previously adopted a 3-year business tax holiday to attract new business to the City. The business leaders applauded the tax holiday but complained that the City – and the business community itself – needed to do more to promote the program and actually reach out to businesses. Koretz promised to partner with business associations and commercial real estate brokers to better inform entrepreneurs about the programs the City offers to new businesses, which in turn can translate into more jobs for Angelenos as well as more revenues to support crucial city services.
The breakfast meeting included representatives of LA’s film and television industry, major grocers, homebuilders, telecommunications providers, retail leaders and major business associations. (Pictured above with Councilmember Koretz is Valley Industry and Commerce Association President Stuart Waldman who was among the attendees). Councilman Koretz noted, “I have worked to attract businesses to the 5th District and am particularly pleased that even during this prolonged downturn we have been able to welcome national brands such as BevMo and Target to the district; we have a landmark hotel approved adjacent to the future subway stop at Wilshire and Gayley; we are seeing new development in Century City; and we have both Ralphs and Vons making major reinvestments in their properties in Sherman Oaks. We have accomplished this without throwing zoning or neighborhood protections out but rather by pushing forward with shared solutions and cutting through bureaucratic barriers. I am proud of the work we have done but I am the first to admit that it has not been enough and I look forward to continuing to work with our business partners on making LA work.”
A repeat offender has threatened the quality of life and natural glories of Franklin Canyon, not once but twice. That person is major developer Mohamed Hadid, who has recently conducted massive grading with expired permits regarding two different hillside projects in Franklin Canyon. This activity was quickly noticed and reported by nearby residents, hikers, etc.
In both cases, the Office of Councilmember Koretz was able to get a Stop Work Order.
Unfortunately, the developer continued grading on both properties after receiving those Orders, but the Councilmember quickly called in Building and Safety to get the work stopped again.
Councilmember Koretz thanks everyone who has spoken up out of concern about the recent transgressions: such activism has been valiant and productive. The Councilmember particularly applauds the proactive coalition-building efforts of “Save Franklin Canyon.” The 5th Council District Office will continue to make partnering with Save Franklin Canyon a major priority.
No constituent issue is too small and no task too big to take on and the recent cleanups at 10234 National prove just that. This parcel of land had, until recently, been the historical location for Station 43 in the Los Angeles Fire Department, servicing Palms, Mar Vista and Venice Blvds. The location has shown some wear and tear of late, but a short drive by the old station will show what a little creativity, hard work and, most especially, community involvement can do!
The Los Angeles Conservation Corps, pictured above, has been called out to work at this land for the next 6 months, and will remove graffiti and clean up the landscaping on a rotating, bi-monthly basis: in these tough economic times, we often look to our friends in the non-profit world to help the City family keep neighborhoods clean, safe and livable. A special thanks goes to the Palms Neighborhood Council for their dedication in making sure cleanups like these continue as we work together towards the goal of a permanent solution for the residents and business owners of Palms.
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