For Council District 14 and the City of Los Angeles, much of the work that we did together in 2016 was astonishing, once-in-a generation and ultimately, life-changing.
Happy 2017 friends!
The New Year promises to bring with it a brand new set of challenges and triumphs, new goals to set and new heights to reach. While we move forward with purpose in 2017 with a vow to protect one another and the integrity of this great City, we should take a moment to reflect on how far we've come.
For Council District 14 and the City of Los Angeles, much of the work that we did together in 2016 was astonishing, once-in-a generation and ultimately, life-changing.
With your support, we worked for the better good – addressing homelessness and affordable housing with the adoption of Measure HHH; cleaning up the environment through a new waste and recycling program for commercial and multifamily units, implementing new energy reduction requirements for large buildings, and adopting a groundbreaking green program to address heavy industry use in residential “hot spots.” And we will see a dramatic increase and tens of millions of dollars more annually for new parks and park improvements throughout the City after we overhauled development fees for the first time in 31 years.
Last year we laid the groundwork to protect our City’s immigrants to the fullest extent of the law for any potentially anti-immigrant policies by the incoming federal government by creating an Immigration Affairs committee and establishing a $10 million immigrant legal defense fund.
We also took a huge step forward in bringing our beloved Streetcar back to Downtown Los Angeles with a certified Environmental Impact Report, a dedicated route and $200 million funding from Measure M. See below for our CD14 Top 20 of 2016!
I am honored to serve as your Councilmember and look forward to continue working with you in 2017 and make it a memorable and special year for all our City of Los Angeles residents!
CD14's Top 20 of 2016
1. Tackling Homelessness: Huizar leads on Measure HHH, City’s Unprecedented Homeless Plan & Coordinator, & C3 Program Collaboration with County
After helping establish and serve as Chair of the City’s first permanent Homeless & Poverty committee, in early 2016, Councilmember Huizar proudly led the City Council in drafting and adopting the groundbreaking Homelessness Strategic Plan. The plan focuses on expanding services and access to housing for homeless individuals in the City of L.A., as well as creating a “No Wrong Door” policy in which homeless individuals are referred to the appropriate service, regardless of what City agency they come in contact with.
Later in the year, Huizar co-authored with Councilmember Harris-Dawson the $1.2 billion homeless housing bond, Proposition HHH, which was approved by more than 76% of voters in November.
Councilmember Huizar also teamed up with L.A. County Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Hilda Solis to create the City-County-Community (C3) program in Skid Row. Since its launch, C3 has engaged 1,611 people, assisted 994 people, placed 442 people in interim housing, assigned 326 people to permanent housing, and moved 158 people into permanent housing. Under the C3 program, homeless individuals in the Skid Row area receive direct street-side services from medical, mental health, rehabilitation and housing specialists.
Last year, the City adopted Councilmember Huizar’s plan to name the City’s first Homelessness Coordinator, a position that will serve as the primary point person for all homeless issues, including overseeing the implementation of L.A.’s Comprehensive Homelessness Strategy.
As the current Vice-Chair of the City’s Homelessness & Poverty committee, Councilmember Huizar is committed to working with his colleagues on implementing the homeless and affordable housing called for in Measure HHH, and to prioritize other key provisions of the City’s Homelessness Strategic Plan.
As the Chair of the City’s planning committee (PLUM), Councilmember Huizar spearheaded the adoption of a new ordinance that updates park development fee programs for the first time in 31 years, freeing up millions of additional dollars and relaxing restrictions to allow for more park development in park-poor Los Angeles. Estimates of the new ordinance’s impact show it could add as much as $30 million annually to the City’s new parks and park improvement program, dramatically increasing available park funding currently generated through the old program.
Fees levied on residential developments, collectively known as “Quimby fees,” were established in 1971 as a way to mitigate negative impacts on communities and add park space for residents as new development is built. It was last updated in 1985. Supported by Parks For All, a coalition of 68 community organizations, the Huizar-led ordinance will significantly enhance Recreation and Parks’ ability to build new facilities - including aquatic centers, synthetic soccer fields, recreational facilities, and world-class playground structures - and to acquire parkland to be dedicated in perpetuity for the public’s use. It represents a huge victory for the residents of Los Angeles that will pay green space dividends for years to come!
3. City Council Approves Historic Recycling Program and Large Buildings Energy Conservation Programs Introduced by Huizar
The L.A. City Council approved the game-changing Zero Waste L.A. program, which will implement a complete overhaul of commercial and multi-family waste collection and dramatically increase recycling throughout the city. The program, which Councilmembers Paul Koretz and José Huizar introduced as a motion in 2010 and worked on during Huizar’s time as Chair of the Energy & Environment committee, will also ensure fair pricing, improve service and working conditions and help us meet our zero waste goals for Los Angeles.
With 70% of L.A.'s waste coming from commercial and apartment buildings, this new program aims to reduce landfill disposal by 1 million tons per year by 2025, and reduce waste by 65% in all 11 of the City’s new service zones!
Councilmember Huizar also worked with Councilmember Blumenfield in establishing a robust conservation program for the City’s older large buildings and biggest energy and water consumers in order to better track their usage and increase efficiency.
The Existing Building Energy and Water Efficiency ordinance was implemented with the support of Mayor Garcetti, and will require privately owned buildings 20,000-square-feet or larger, and City buildings 15,000-square-feet or larger to take action to reduce their consumption. This may be done every five years through an energy or water audit and retro-commissioning, proof of Energy Star certification, or a proven reduction in water use by 20 percent and energy use by 15 percent.
“Four percent of the City of Los Angeles’ buildings are responsible for half of the total electricity use in the city. This program is crucial to our goal to reduce energy use by 15 percent by 2020,” said Councilmember Huizar.
Three years after Councilmembers José Huizar and Curren Price introduced a motion to decriminalize street vending and establish a legal framework for the practice, a City plan began to gain traction in late 2016. The proposed program would also ensure that the food the public is eating is safe, and provide the City with the opportunity to regulate a Citywide street vending program.
Although an estimated 20,000 vendors sell food and merchandise on our streets, L.A. is the only city of the country's 10 largest to completely outlaw sidewalk vending. The current proposed framework includes limiting the number of vendors to two per block in commercial industrial areas, requiring permission from adjacent business, and only allowing healthy food sellers to set up shop within 500 feet of schools. The goal is to decriminalize street vending as soon as possible, followed by a full ordinance in the Spring.
Under current City of Los Angeles law, vendors can face misdemeanor charges for the simple act of selling a hot dog. Given the expected shift in federal prosecution of immigrants, the proposed framework for a Citywide ordinance recommends decriminalizing street vending. However, there are currently triggers in the City’s ACE administrative penalty system – which is designed to be less stringent than court-based infractions – that in fact can lead to misdemeanor charges. The ACE program also has a pay-by-date that is much more stringent than civil infraction payment requirements. In December 2016, Councilmembers Price and Huizar introduced a motion to overhaul the City’s ACE program in relation to street vending.
Heeding the calls of Councilmember Huizar, Father John Moretta and the Resurrection Church Neighborhood Watch, L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis, and state legislative leaders, Gov. Jerry Brown earmarked $176.6 million in cleanup funds for residential, school, park and daycare areas contaminated by the Exide battery plant.
There are an estimated 10,000 homes that will require lead contamination cleanup in cities and communities surrounding Vernon’s Exide, including Boyle Heights. These tainted properties are a result of years of contamination from the Exide battery recycling plant and the failure of the state’s Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) to properly permit Exide for a period of more than 30 years. Gov. Brown's proposal brings hope to the thousands of residents seeking assistance and accountability. Councilmember Huizar and others continue to press the issue and stress that our local communities deserve to be informed about the plan of action and timeline for cleanup completion. After the latest news that cleanups could not move forward quickly because of environmental impact review requirements - when in fact, the contamination is an emergency that can and should be expedited - DTSC officials reversed course and are now targeting the most contaminated homes for quicker cleanup.
The L.A. City Council unanimously certified the Downtown Los Angeles Streetcar’s Environmental Impact Report and agreed on a route for the new transit system, which will make a one-way loop through the core of Downtown. Starting at 1st and Broadway, the streetcar will head south to 11th street and then west to Figueroa. From there it’ll head northbound to 7th Street and over to Hill Street where it will complete the 3.8-mile route.
“The Downtown Los Angeles Streetcar will be a vital transportation project linking our regional transit system with destinations throughout downtown,” said Councilmember José Huizar, who has long championed the DTLA streetcar project through his Bringing Back Broadway initiative.
Streetcar ridership is expected to be approximately 6,000 riders per day, and during peak hours, the streetcar will stop at each station along the route every seven minutes. In addition to the $390 million in local funding that’s already been secured for the project, $200 million of the Measure M sales tax has also been earmarked for the streetcar.
Councilmember Huizar said, “This ballot initiative funding completes the financial picture for this important regionally significant circulator project. We will continue to work diligently with Mayor Garcetti, Metro, the City, LASI and all our partners, as we work toward a 2020 opening date for the Los Angeles Streetcar.”
In April, the City Council adopted the forward-thinking “Clean Up Green Up” program first proposed by Councilmember Huizar in 2011. Clean Up Green Up combats adverse health effects related to concentrations of industrial uses and freight traffic where they collide with residential areas in three L.A. pilot communities — Boyle Heights, Pacoima/Sun Valley and Wilmington.
With the help of community advocates, such as Liberty Hill, Union de Vecinos, Pacoima Beautiful, Communities for a Better Environment, and Coalition for a Safe Environment, Wilmington, Huizar worked with his colleagues for five years as Chair of the City’s Planning & Land Use Committee to implement the initiative, which seeks to create incentives and regulate businesses in the program’s boundaries to become cleaner and greener with the goal of saving lives and reducing pollution throughout the city.
“The conflict of residential and heavy industrial zones are too often the burden of low-income communities, “ said Councilmember Huizar. “Clean Up Green Up aims to address that in order to protect our most vulnerable communities from pollution while offering up green solutions for businesses. I am particularly proud of our efforts to improve air filtration systems citywide near freeways.”
The air filtration update is of particular importance: requiring new developments within 1,000’ of a freeway (or existing ones that change their HVAC mechanical systems) to use higher-rated air filtration systems, which can begin to remove the hazardous emissions from freeways.
This represents a major improvement as studies show higher rates of asthma and other adverse health issues for residents living near freeways with 1,000 feet as the distance within which freeway pollution is higher than general background air pollution.
After two years of historic field surveys through SurveyLA, a City Historic Resources’ project identifying and protecting our greatest landmarks and neighborhoods, El Sereno received its first Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ) in 2016!
The El Sereno-Berkshire Craftsman District HPOZ features examples of 20th century Arts and Crafts and Period Revival architectural styles, including Craftsman, Bungalow, Tudor Revival, and American Colonial Revival. The general boundaries for the Berkshire Craftsmen District HPOZ are Kendall Avenue and Moffatt Street to the north, Huntington Drive to the east and south, Sierra Vista Elementary and Newtonia Drive to the south, and homes along the west side of Alpha Avenue to the west.
Working with local community organizations like Eagle Rock’s Take Back the Boulevard initiative and Boyle Heights’ Proyecto Pastoral, Councilmember Huizar teamed up with City departments to secure nearly $18 million in funding for pedestrian and street improvement projects in Boyle Heights and Eagle Rock!
Through multiple grant cycles, Councilmember Huizar and Take Back the Boulevard secured $12 million for Complete Streets renovations on Colorado Blvd including pedestrian lighting, curb extensions, new street furniture, conflict zone striping for bicycles, new medians and traffic signals, and bus stop lighting.
In Boyle Heights, community organization Proyecto Pastoral once again conducted its own traffic study in order to collaborate with Councilmember Huizar and City departments to effect change. In 2016, a new traffic light was added to the intersection of 4th and Pecan streets after a youth from the Boyle Heights Technical Center conducted a traffic study and shared the results with the councilman, LADOT and BOE, which then prioritized the intersection for improvements.
Complete Street improvements have been a staple of Councilmember Huizar’s vision for Council District 14. Previous and current complete street projects include the York Boulevard Vision Plan in Highland Park, Huntington Drive Vision Plan in El Sereno, Eastside Access Project on First Street in Boyle Heights, and the Bringing Back Broadway initiative in Downtown Los Angeles.
Councilmember Huizar stood with his colleague Councilmember Paul Krekorian to create the City's first Jobs And Economic Development Incentive (JEDI) zone supporting Biotech in El Sereno -- a long-time CD14 and City of Los Angeles’ aim that this new legislation will help support to bring industry and good local jobs to our communities.
The City Council action stemmed from report recommendations from a Job Creation Ad Hoc committee, which included more than 20 recommendations and policy initiatives to help foster the creation of jobs in the City and streamline certain processes for small businesses. The report also proposed establishing the new Job & Economic Development Incentive Zones in the City to spur economic and jobs development.
Councilmember Huizar Brings First City Park to the Arts District!
Councilmember José Huizar joined with community members in November to open a $2.1 million, half-acre pocket park that at one time, many thought would never be built. Huizar worked with the Dept. of Recreation and Parks to ensure that CD14 Quimby funds would be directly allocated to the park so that it could be built even after the one-time CRA project was scrapped. It is the first City park in the Arts District and a great addition to Councilmember Huizar’s DTLA Forward initiative, as well as the City’s 50 Parks program!
$3.1 Million Hollenbeck Park Improvements Begin With Playground Renovation
Councilmember Huizar worked with the Hollenbeck Park Advisory Board and the Dept. of Recreation and Parks to deliver a $400,000 renovated playground to Hollenbeck Park in 2016. The new playground features a kid-safe rubber surface, a specially designed three-dimensional climbing apparatus, a “mommy-and-me” swing for toddlers, and play equipment for various age groups, including “lake-themed” structures to complement the park’s man-made lake.
Located in Boyle Heights, the 18.3-acre Hollenbeck Park provides a play area, community center, skate park, and a lake that serves nearly 14,000 residents living within a one-half mile walking distance of the historic park.
The recently completed playground is the first phase of approximately $3.1 million in additional improvements slated for Hollenbeck Park. The larger-scope revitalization project includes a renovation of the existing band shell, restrooms and boathouse; improvements to the lake perimeter, landscape and irrigation infrastructure; and the installation of new site amenities that will bring additional programming and services to the park. A fully renovated playground was the top request from the community-based Hollenbeck Park Advisory Board.
Phase 1 El Sereno Park Improvements Completed
Councilmember Huizar and the El Sereno community celebrated the completion of Phase 1 of more than $1.5 million in El Sereno Park improvements. The new fields and batting cages will benefit thousands of local kids who use the park each year, and coming soon, a new skate plaza, outdoor exercise equipment, and basketball court. Special thanks to the El Sereno Park Advisory Board for advocating for these improvements!
Huizar’s Pershing Square Renew Selects Agence Ter Design
Pershing Square Renew, an effort led by Councilmember Huizar to reimagine Pershing Square, selected Agence Ter to redesign the city’s oldest park in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. The proposal drew the highest scores from the 1,355 members of the public who weighed in on the four finalists and was the unanimous first choice of the Pershing Square Renew jury.
One of the most notable features of the winning proposal was what Agence Ter’s founder and director described as “radical flatness.” While the park currently sits elevated atop a parking garage with stairs and ramps connecting it to the street, the new design would drop to the top level of the garage to street level, establishing views and paths from Fifth Street to Sixth Street, and from Olive to Hill.
“From the very launch of Pershing Square Renew, our goal was to create an open, warm and inviting design that was focused on serving people and not form – one that would allow Pershing Square, the City’s oldest park, to reclaim its place as the true heart of Downtown Los Angeles,” said Councilmember Huizar in praising the design concept.
Read more about the reimagined Pershing Square on KPCC.
Mia Lehrer & Associates to Design First and Broadway Park
Mia Lehrer + Associates (MLA) will design a new $28 million public park at First and Broadway, which will soon be one of the most important civic spaces in the City’s downtown core. The park is part of Councilmember Huizar’s DTLA Forward Initiative and the Dept. of Recreation and Parks' 50 Parks initiatives, both aimed at increasing green and public space.
Councilmember Huizar has led efforts to earmark more than $25 million in City development fees to pay for the majority of the park’s acquisition and construction. The finished product is expected to debut in 2019.
Eagle Rock Gets Its Dog Park
Councilmember Huizar fought for and secured an estimated $800,000 in the 2016-17 city budget under the City’s “Capital Improvement Expenditure Program” to fund a dog park at Eagle Rock Recreation Center, something local residents have requested.
Later in 2016, Councilmember Huizar's office and the Department of Recreation and Parks hosted the first community design meetings for the incoming Eagle Rock Dog Park. Rec & Parks revealed initial renderings and solicited community feedback. We look forward to its completion in late 2017!
Read more about the dog park in the Los Angeles Times.
The City Council approved Councilmember Huizar's plan to simplify the process that creates new neighborhood councils in smaller communities that are already included in existing councils.The old decertification process was an unfair and overbearing process to people who work as volunteers. Our new ordinance allows for up to five new subdivision Neighborhood Councils to be added every two years, while incorporating safeguards to protect the integrity and long-standing goals of our existing Neighborhood Councils. Neighborhood Councils are assets to our communities, as well as key partners with the City.
Councilmember Huizar previously worked with the Neighborhood Councils to remove the so-called “Starbucks Stakeholder” (factual basis stakeholder) designation in voting and running for Neighborhood Council elections, in order to keep special interest groups not directly affiliated with local neighborhoods from adversely affecting elections.
Responding to fears from the City of Los Angeles’ considerable immigrant community amid the anti-immigrant rhetoric taking place on the national stage, the L.A. City Council established an Ad-hoc committee on Immigration Affairs. Councilmember Huizar, a Mexican immigrant and proud American citizen, has been a vocal supporter of immigrant rights and will serve as the committee’s Vice Chair.
The City and County of L.A. took further steps to protect the rights of immigrants by creating a $10 million legal defense fund to assist those facing deportation. This money, pulled from both public and private resources, will help L.A. protect its sizable immigrant community to the fullest extent of the law against any future federal actions.
Councilmember Huizar voted last year to support three motions that call for smarter and stronger consumer protections in the City of Los Angeles. The actions come after Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer filed a civil lawsuit against Wells Fargo on May 4, 2015, which eventually led to a federal investigation into the company's unethical and illegal sales practices.
In 2016, the LA City Council adopted three motions that:
- Include stricter language to the City’s Responsible Investment Monitoring Ordinance that protects consumers
- Add additional whistleblower protections to be added for bank workers who report suspected illegal banking practices to authorities
- Approved eight positions within the City Attorney’s office for civil and criminal enforcement in consumer protections matters
- Look into the City’s portfolio with Wells Fargo to ensure the City did not fall victim to any illegal activity
Councilmember Huizar looks forward to continuing to work with his colleagues to ensure the City and its residents are protected in the future.
Demolition of the historic 6th Street Viaduct began in January 2016 and wrapped up at the end of the year. The bridge, one of Los Angeles' most recognizable landmarks, was built in 1932 and served as the backdrop for many Hollywood films, commercials and music videos. Unfortunately, the bridge had an alkali-silica reaction that seriously threatened the long-term integrity of the structure, which necessitated its demolition. The City of Los Angeles will replace it with a new $482 million bridge, the largest bridge project in the City’s history.
Councilmember Huizar represents both the Arts District and Boyle Heights' communities that are connected by the Sixth Street Bridge. He was also the driving force behind making sure the new bridge was as iconic as the original and requested the international design competition that resulted in the stunning Michael Maltzan-designed bridge, scheduled to be completed by September 2020.
Councilmember Huizar has worked with the Mayor, as well as state and federal leaders, to secure tens of millions of dollars in funding for the new bridge. This will ensure that it not only becomes a destination linking two communities, but creates a dynamic public space below the bridge that connects to the Los Angeles River and includes a recreation area, soccer fields and an arts plaza. Huizar is also committed to ensuring that the bridge’s pedestrian space and bike lanes are as state-of-the-art as the newly designed bridge itself. Public input on the public space below the bridge will occur in 2017.
Watch a time-lapse video of the bridge's dismantling on KPCC.
With the support of Councilmembers Ryu and O’Farrell, a Councilmember Huizar ordinance approved in January 2016 banned smokeless tobacco products (chewing tobacco) at sports venues throughout Los Angeles. The new policy kicked into gear in the Spring, just in time for Los Angeles Dodgers baseball, with the Dodgers organization in full support. With high school athletes emulating their big league heroes by using smokeless tobacco at higher rates than the general high school population, the goal of the ordinance is to send a message to our youth that chewing tobacco and sports do not mix.
“Smokeless tobacco use in the great American pastime is way past its time,” said Councilmember Huizar. “The time to act is now to save others, particularly our young people, from an extremely addictive and potentially deadly product.”
It is the latest victory for the “Knock Tobacco Out of the Park” campaign to promote tobacco-free baseball and reduce smokeless tobacco use among kids. Smokeless tobacco contains at least 28 known carcinogens and can cause multiple forms of cancer in addition to other serious health problems including gum disease and tooth decay.
Last year we continued to prepare the City of LA for a bright “multi-modal future” by adopting a progressive Mobility Plan 2035 that lays the groundwork for a new transportation focus that goes well beyond our automobile-centric approach of the past. Through the plan, which was spearheaded by Councilmember Huizar, as the Planning Committee Chair, and Councilmember Bonin, as the Transportation Committee Chair, gone are the days when cars and freeways were the only priority. This new map for transportation, which will be enacted by 2035, puts a major emphasis on making our streets more pedestrian accessible, bike-friendly and conducive to public transit.
The new plan incorporates the “Complete Streets” principles Councilmember Huizar has fostered in CD14 and throughout the City, and provides a roadmap for achieving a transportation system that balances the needs of all road users. It also prioritizes making streets safer, encouraging more active lifestyles and improving our City’s air quality.
Many crucial details of the plan, such as making protected bike lanes part of a new standard approach to their design, were tested first on our very own streets of CD14. Buffered bike lanes, for example, have proven effective in increasing ridership among women and youth, and making drivers more aware of cyclists. The City’s Planning Department and Department of Transportation worked with the Council Offices to implement and design the plan.
To read more about the Mobility Plan, click here!
As Chair of the Planning and Land Use Management Committee, Councilmember Huizar has overseen the development of this ordinance since its inception. Passed last year, this new policy implements restrictions on mansionization, curbing the increasingly common practice of replacing smaller homes with massive developments built out to property lines.
As part of the effort to address out-of-scale development across CD14 and the rest of the City, this anti-mansionization ordinance will require 200-square-feet of attached front garages be included in the total count of a square footage of a home. Garages were previously exempt from this tally. Homeowners were also previously allowed to build on up to 50 percent of their total property, and this number will drop to 45 percent in R1 residential zones. Hillside construction will also be reduced under this new policy by doing away with provisions that allow homeowners to build larger houses in exchange for using green building materials. The ordinance requires at least one more PLUM meeting and Council vote before being finalized in 2017.
Last year Councilmember Huizar introduced a motion to require all farmers markets in the City of Los Angeles accept Electronic Benefit Transfer cards (EBT) as payment. Approved as an ordinance at the start of 2017, this new policy helps ensure that all residents have access to healthy food. Los Angeles has many neighborhoods that are ‘food deserts,’ where it is difficult for residents to purchase fresh food and produce.
“No child should be denied access to foods that will benefit their health and ensure a strong and healthy life, no matter where they live,” said Councilmember José Huizar.
Many of these food desert communities are also low-income areas, which studies have shown suffer disproportionately from chronic conditions related to obesity and an unhealthy diet. Farmers markets are not only an effective way to bring healthy food to communities that need it, but they can help fight debilitating chronic conditions.
Under the ordinance, EBT acceptance will be a condition of approval for all farmers’ market permits. This comes at no additional cost to the market or the individual vendor. There are currently a total of 58 certified farmers’ markets in the City of Los Angeles, and since this ordinance was proposed in 2016, participation among operators has skyrocketed and there is now a near 100% voluntary compliance rate in accepting EBT as payment.
Huizar’s EBT motion was proposed with the assistance of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council and the Los Angeles Community Action Network (LACAN). It was heard in the Entertainment and Facilities Committee under the leadership of Councilmembers Nury Martinez and Mitch O’Farrell.
3rd Annual Highland Park Tree Lighting
Northeast LA Holiday Parade
El Sereno Winter Jubilee
Honoring our Veterans
El Grito 2016
Kobe Bryant Day
Rock Day LA
4th of July Events
The skies over CD14 were alive with the sights and sounds of fireworks this 4th of July, and thousands of people came out to celebrate!
Spring Street Community Garden Launch
Oingo Boingo Honored by LA City Council