Before I entered office, our District had experienced six consecutive years of increases in unsheltered homelessness in the annual Homeless Count. The suffering on our streets was growing. But with concerted effort and a range of new approaches, we were able to show a decrease in unsheltered homelessness in our first year.
Since then, so much of our work has been about continuing that progress — and I’m so excited to have a truly committed partner in Mayor Bass.
What are the elements of a successful strategy to address unsheltered homelessness? You need consistent outreach to build trust with people, and you need decent shelter to offer them - ideally beds or units that offer individuals some privacy.
At the Cahuenga/101 underpass in our district, our team had been working for months in partnership with The People Concern and Ascencia to get people ready to move indoors. But we simply did not have shelter to offer: over and over, we were told by the city that nothing more was available for our district.
Luckily, when the new Mayor took office in December and immediately declared a state of emergency on homelessness, I saw a new commitment to investments in shelter in the city. The result: the first implementation of the Mayor’s Inside Safe initiative was at the Cahuenga underpass. By combining the Mayor’s command over funding and city departments with the work of our staff Homelessness Team and our office’s case management partners, together we were able to bring 29 people experiencing homelessness at the Cahuenga underpass indoors in just four days.
Click the image to learn about our work to bring people indoors at the Cahuenga/101 underpass
Our work at the Cahuenga/101 underpass replicated our team’s person-centered approach to homelessness, which has successfully brought hundreds of people indoors at encampments across the district. We have done that by finding new resources for our district - from winning statewide grants from the Governor, to advocating for more Congressional appropriations, to creatively using our own discretionary funds - and building a system that really works for Council District 4.
My goal is to make sure that we keep building off of this progress and bring it to every neighborhood, creating a long-term, institutionalized approach that can move us out of this crisis for good.
Wishing you all a restful Presidents’ Day, and to a wonderful week ahead!
I. Updates From City Hall — Enforcing The Home-Sharing Ordinance, Establishing A Right To Counsel, Increasing The Use Of Housing Vouchers, Creating A Zero-Emissions Griffith Park, Building Affordable Housing In CD4, Sepulveda Basin Vision Plan,
ENFORCING HOME-SHARING RULES ACROSS THE CITY
Earlier this month, I issued a joint letter alongside my colleague Councilmember Katy Yaroslavsky urging our City departments, especially the Planning Department, to find ways to improve the enforcement of the Home Sharing Ordinance (HSO).
While the city has made significant progress in cracking down on short-term rental listings that violate the Ordinance, the process of actually removing listings and enforcing fines can be lengthy and cumbersome. That’s why I (along with many of my colleagues) submitted a motion asking for improved enforcement, which passed the full Council in April of last year. However, to date, the departments have still not responded to our motion.
The consequences of insufficient enforcement are significant. On January 28, 2023, three people were killed and four wounded outside of a short-term rental in Benedict Canyon. Last year, a shooting occurred outside a short-term rental in Studio City after what was described in news reports as an out-of-control party, and another individual was shot and killed at a short-term rental in Encino, to name a few.
Short-term rentals also have destabilizing effects in communities by removing units from the long term rental housing market (especially rent stabilized units), and creating quality-of-life issues for neighbors related to noise and parking. I believe that the city can and should take much faster action on this issue, and I will continue to be at the forefront of pushing for urgent change.
ESTABLISHING A RIGHT TO COUNSEL
Click the headline to read more about Right To Counsel
On Tuesday, I hosted a press conference to announce that along with my partners on the City Council: Councilmembers Blumenfield, Hutt, Hernandez, Soto-Martinez, and Yaroslavsky, we are introducing legislation to lay the groundwork for the implementation of a Right to Counsel ordinance and program for renters in the City of LA!
When we talk about what it’s like to live in LA, so often we are talking about a feeling of precariousness. And in particular, precariousness in housing. The feeling that at any time, with just a few bad breaks, you could lose your home.
An estimated 30,000 eviction notices are filed annually in LA. When tenants are unable to afford a lawyer, they are often subject to a default judgment against them for being unable to make successful arguments in court. We can reverse this trend with a Right to Counsel.
What Right to Counsel is trying to do is end our era of precarity and move into one of stability. We are trying to build a city where, if you end up in a situation where you could lose your housing, someone will be there to support you.
We could not have done this work without the LA Right To Counsel Coalition, as well as all of you, the voters, who supported Measure ULA which allocates funding for a Right to Counsel for lower income tenants threatened with eviction. Thank you for championing this cause!
INCREASING THE USE OF HOUSING VOUCHERS
Last week, I introduced a motion to significantly increase the rate at which housing vouchers are utilized to navigate voucher-holders into permanent housing. For years, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA), the State-chartered public agency responsible for the distribution of these vouchers, has experienced difficulties and delays in matching voucher-holders to apartments, resulting in the loss of critical federal funds for the program and the under-utilization of available housing.
The discrepancy we are seeing in terms of vouchers awarded and vouchers utilized to navigate people off the street and into permanent housing is unacceptable. If the City of Los Angeles is ever to end its homelessness crisis, we need to fundamentally re-work the system to swiftly and effectively distribute and put these vouchers into place. My motion seeks to remove these barriers by addressing the inefficiencies in the voucher allocation and leasing process.
After discussing the motion in Housing & Homelessness Committee on Wednesday, it is now ready to be heard by the full Council. To stay up to date, sign up for alerts on the City Clerk’s website HERE!
CREATING A ZERO-EMISSIONS GRIFFITH PARK
At our Griffith Park summer soiree last year to celebrate the permanent closure of Griffith Park Dr.
Last summer, I was so excited to announce the permanent closure of a stretch of Griffith Park to personal vehicle use, and now I am thrilled to build upon that work by creating a fully zero-emissions Griffith Park! I introduced a motion last week to fully decarbonize City maintenance and transportation operations in Griffith Park, establishing the largest zero-emissions operated park in the City of Los Angeles.
A regional hub for outdoor recreation, wildlife, and families from all over the City, creating a zero-emissions Griffith Park will simultaneously improve Angelenos’ collective enjoyment of this shared space and restore its natural habitat. Not only will this improve air quality in one of the nation’s largest urban parks, it will serve as a symbol of our City’s values and a model for decarbonizing the rest of the City’s parks and outdoor spaces.
I want to especially thank CD4 resident Avo Babian, who first brought this idea to our office!
Touring Avo Babian's fully zero-emissions home in Sherman Oaks!
BUILDING AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN CD4
In June 2021, I introduced a motion to look into the feasibility of using a vacant City-owned property in Hollywood for 100% affordable housing or permanent supportive housing to help address the City's housing and homelessness crisis. After many months of going through the report back process and working with the CAO's Office to consider all options on how to maximize public land for public good, we finally have a Request for Information (RFI) for 1905 Highland!
With this RFI, the City will seek to ascertain interest in two scenarios that would use City-owned land to spur new housing development in Council District 4. Under Scenario 1, the City would lease the site for $1/year to an affordable housing developer who can build deed-restricted low-income units on the site. Under Scenario 2, the City is open to swapping the site for a comparable identified parcel that could support a minimum of 50 permanent affordable housing units (more than what can be built at 1905 Highland).
Interested parties can find out more by visiting the City's RAMP LA procurement website. Proposers may submit questions regarding this RFI by emailing [email protected] All questions and answers will be made available to all proposers on RAMP – the submission deadline is March 17, 2023.
CENTERING COMMUNITY ACCESS & RIVER RESTORATION IN SEPULVEDA BASIN VISION PLAN
Encompassing over 2,000 acres and nearly eight miles of the Los Angeles River and its tributaries, the Sepulveda Basin is the second largest open space in the City of Los Angeles and serves as a regional asset for the entire San Fernando Valley.
Currently under development, the Sepulveda Basin Vision Plan aims to establish a long-term strategic plan for the future of the Basin. Along with my colleague Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, we introduced a motion to update the scope of work for the Sepulveda Basin Vision Plan Project to focus on accessibility and environmental conservation. Our motion instructs the City’s Bureau of Engineering to ensure that the Vision Plan employs nature-based solutions in the redevelopment of the Sepulveda Basin, focusing on floodplain reclamation, watershed restoration, and revitalizing the ecosystem functions of the river, while at the same time expanding access to the parkland and its amenities for surrounding communities.
Through this Vision Plan, we have the opportunity to create a vibrant central park for the entire San Fernando Valley, which can then serve as a blueprint for upgrading the City’s many other open spaces to ensure equitable community access while mitigating climate change and restoring our precious natural ecosystems.The Bureau of Engineering is also seeking to understand how the community currently uses the Sepulveda Basin and how the space might be reimagined. You can complete a brief questionnaire HERE!
FREE ORGANICS RECYCLING PAIL PICKUP + WEBINAR | FEBRUARY 18, 26 & 27 | MORE INFO
To make the transition to organics recycling easier, LA Sanitation and LA City Council District 4 are providing FREE dishwasher-safe countertop pails! For more information and to RSVP, visit cd4.lacity.gov/events and to reserve a pail in advance click HERE!
Sherman Oaks (Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks Park)
We will also be hosting our second virtual Town Hall – “Beyond The Pail” – on Monday, February 27th! Learn more about the organics recycling process, and what the new requirements for food scraps and food-soiled paper are. Hear from local climate organizations and experts from LA Sanitation and the California Climate Action Corps about helpful recycling tips, with the opportunity to answer your questions. To RSVP, click HERE.
JOIN US FOR CD4’S BLACK BUSINESS MIXER | FEBRUARY 23 | MORE INFO
In honor of Black History Month, we invite you to join our office and Black in the Valley for a Black Business Mixer at Mardi Gras Tuesday in Sherman Oaks! Black business owners are invited to join a discussion on Economic Development in the Black community, in the Valley, and across Los Angeles. Small plates and tasty appetizers will be served to guests!
Sonya Blake, CEO of The Valley Economic Alliance and former Director of Community Business in the office of Mayor Eric Garcetti will be delivering the keynote address. She is thrilled to bring her passion for businesses in this intimate conversation amongst economic leaders! We will also be joined by members of the Economic Workforce Development Department, and Mayor Bass's Economic Policy team. Hope to see you there!
WHERE: Mardi Gras Tuesday, 14543 Ventura Blvd
WHEN: Thursday, February 23, 2023, 4:00PM - 6:00PM
For more info and to RSVP, click HERE!
EXPLORE THE LA ZOO WITH FAMILY NATURE CLUB | FEBRUARY 25 | MORE INFO
Family Nature Club is back – and, in partnership with L.A. Department of Recreation & Parks, we’re exploring beyond the Zoo! Join the Los Angeles Zoo for FREE nature play on the last Saturday of every month, from 9AM to 10:30AM.
Family Nature Club participants will spend the morning enjoying loosely structured outdoor play – exploring nature through art and building, observation and imagination. Families, caregivers, and children of all ages are welcome. No registration is required. Family Nature Club is facilitated by L.A. Zoo Learning & Engagement staff.
RIDE TO CICLAVIA WITH COUNCIL DISTRICT 4 | FEBRUARY 26 @ 9AM | MORE INFO
Ride to CicLAvia The Valley on Sunday, February 26th with Councilmember Nithya Raman, Bike LA and LADOT! We'll ride along the Victory Blvd path to White Oak Ave where we will share updates on the extension of the LA RiverWay biking and walking path. From there we will ride on bike lanes and neighborhood streets with safe crossings to the CicLAvia The Valley Reseda Hub!
DATE: Sunday, February 26
MEETING POINT: Balboa (G) Orange Line station - 6338 Balboa Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 91316 (near the bike parking near the westbound platform)
Once there, we’ll join CicLAvia for a 5-mile stretch of open streets along Sherman Way, connecting Canoga Park, Winnetka, and Reseda. Jog, ride, bike, skate, run, walk, skateboard, spectate, and enjoy the route however you want. The routes are welcoming to people of all ages and abilities, rain or shine! Click HERE for more information.
LEARN MORE ABOUT RUNNING FOR A SEAT ON YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL! | NOW - MARCH 18 | MORE INFO
Neighborhood Councils are the grassroots level of the City of LA’s government, and elections are taking place on twelve regional timelines now through June 2023! Newly elected members take office on July 1.
Learn more about representing your community at an upcoming Candidate Info Session with Empower LA and LA City Clerk! RSVP HERE.
You'll learn outreach strategies for a successful campaign, how to connect with voters, how to advocate for issues you care about, tips for talking points, and how to file your application
Look up your Neighborhood Council HERE!
Check your NC’s election dates HERE!
YOUNG ADULT TAX PREPARATION WORKSHOP | FEBRUARY 23 @ 4PM | MORE INFO
Join LAHSA, the City of Los Angeles and the Koreatown Youth + Community Center for an informational tax preparation workshop designed with and for young adults. This inclusive workshop will provide information on a number of tax credits that young adults may be able to take advantage of, identify numerous FREE ways for young folks to file their taxes, and review community resources to improve financial literacy.
DATE: Wednesday, February 23
Register to attend HERE!
VAN NUYS AIRPORT VISION STUDY OPEN HOUSE | FEBRUARY 27 @ 6PM| MORE INFO
Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) invites you to attend a special virtual open house to learn more about the Van Nuys Airport (VNY) Vision Study. The Los Angeles City Planning Department (LACP) will also be joining LAWA to provide information on the Southwest Valley Area Community Plans Update.
This special virtual open house is one of several opportunities for you to learn more and ask questions. Your involvement in this process is essential to achieve a balanced land use vision for VNY Airport.
DATE: February 27
TIME: 6PM - 7:30PM
Register to attend HERE.
To stay up to date on the latest closures, follow @LADOTofficial on Twitter, and check out their updates page.
STUDIO CITY & HOLLYWOOD HILLS
Mulholland Drive Storm Repairs Update!
New bulkhead installed on Bowmont!
This week, we’re shouting out the incredible team at the Bureau of Engineering (BOE) who worked to quickly fix the Bowmont erosion hole that emerged during the January storms!
Representatives from the BOE Geotechnical Engineering Division evaluated the geologic conditions, made accurate observations, collected data and took measurements to facilitate implementation of temporary recommendations for stabilizing the situation and to facilitate the development of an emergency repair plan. The repair at this location was substantially completed on February 3 when this portion of Mulholland Drive was reopened to traffic.
Extending a huge thank you to Walter Carrera, who was the project and construction manager for the emergency repairs on Mulholland Drive, and to the entire BOEH Geotechnical Engineering Division for prioritizing this location and working to make sure the road could be safely re-opened in record time!
Services + Resources
Nithya Raman CD4 · 200 N Spring St, CA 91423, United States