Council Adopts Motion To Create A Jobs And Economic Development Incentive Zone In Reseda
For Immediate Release: November 4, 2022
LOS ANGELES -- Today, the Los Angeles City Council voted to establish a Jobs and Economic Development Incentive (JEDI) Zone in a commercial area of the Reseda neighborhood of Council District 4, as proposed by Councilmember Nithya Raman. JEDI Zones are intended to lift up small, locally-owned businesses in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods of Los Angeles through technical assistance, case management, permit fee reductions, and grants for façade improvements.
“I recently welcomed parts of Reseda to my district and have so enjoyed getting to know the diverse array of businesses that make this neighborhood so unique,” said Councilmember Raman. “By establishing a JEDI Zone here, we’ll be able to step up our support for the small businesses that define this community, many of which are immigrant-owned and support neighboring low-income communities.”
Following the redistricting process that took place in 2021, Council District 4 now includes the commercial avenues of Reseda Boulevard and Vanowen Street, which are home to several child care businesses, a diversity of family-owned restaurants, and unique small enterprises that contribute to neighborhood vitality and community, ranging from a boxing studio to a bar serving LGBTQ Angelenos.
Councilmember Raman’s motion designates the area bounded by Gault Street to the north and Vanowen Street to the south, as a City of Los Angeles JEDI Zone – the Reseda JEDI Zone – for a period of five years. The Economic and Workforce Development Department (EWDD) will implement a Business Incentive Plan for the area (as detailed in the EWDD report) including providing permit subsidies of up to $10,000 for up to 20 businesses within the Reseda JEDI Zone, with a total allocation of up to $200,000 from previously appropriated JEDI Program funds.
Councilmember Nithya Raman Introduces Motion to Reduce Vending Permit Fees
For Immediate Release: June 16, 2022
COUNCILMEMBERS RAMAN AND PRICE INTRODUCE MOTION TO EXPLORE EXTENDING REDUCED PERMIT FEES FOR STREET VENDORS
LOS ANGELES -- Yesterday, Councilmembers Nithya Raman and Curren Price co-presented a motion to explore extending reduced permit fees for street vendors – currently set to expire on July 1, 2022 – for an additional year. The motion further asks the City Administrative Officer to conduct a new fee study to determine the appropriate annual sidewalk and park vending fee, that does not include enforcement of permitted sidewalk activities in the assessment, and which takes into account the average annual income of street vendors.
“We’ve taken major steps to bring street vendors into the formal economy by removing barriers to obtaining permits, particularly with the recent passage of SB972. However, the financial costs alone are often enough to prevent vendors from operating legally,” said Councilmember Raman. “We also need to recognize that our current economic climate is drastically different from that of 2018, when the City first adopted the Sidewalk Vending ordinance. After two years of economic upheaval, we need to adjust the costs associated with street vending to meet people where they are – too many livelihoods are on the line.”
In September of 2020, the City implemented a reduced cost permit fee of $291 in response to the economic impacts the COVID-19 pandemic had on street vendors. The reduced cost fee is set to expire on July 1, 2022, at which time the normal $541 fee will resume. This increased fee will create a further financial burden for vendors whose average income is approximately $11,300 a year, according to a report by the Economic Roundtable.
“We worked so hard to bring our sidewalk vendors out of the shadows only to have the pandemic pose a new threat to their livelihoods," said Councilmember Curren Price. "Today's effort is yet another way we here at the City level are supporting people of color, including our undocumented workers, women, and the elderly, giving them the respect they deserve along with a fighting chance to provide for their families during this time of uncertainty.”
"Street vendors continue to be left out of our systems - the City of LA street vendor program was introduced at the beginning of 2020, 3 months before the pandemic. They, like all small businesses, were deeply impacted by a decline in sales,” stated Lyric Kelkar, Policy Director at Inclusive Action for the City. “Affordable permits are a vital part of ensuring they are included as we shift gears in this next phase of the pandemic."
The motion presented by Raman and Price instructs the City Administrative Officer (CAO) to conduct a new fee study that takes into account the average income of street vendors and ensures vendors are not responsible for paying the costs of the City’s permitted sidewalk activity enforcement. Additionally, the motion instructs Streets LA, with the assistance of the CAO, the Department of Recreation and Parks and the Economic and Workforce Development Department, to report back in 60 days on financial assistance programs and the feasibility of creating a payment installment plan.
LA City Council Adopts Councilmember Nithya Raman's Resolution In Support of the Restaurant Beverage Program
For Immediate Release: May 25, 2022
LA CITY COUNCIL ADOPTS COUNCILMEMBER RAMAN’S RESOLUTION TO BRING RESTAURANT BEVERAGE PROGRAM TO COUNCIL DISTRICT 4
LOS ANGELES -- Today, the Los Angeles City Council adopted Councilmember Nithya Raman’s resolution to bring the City’s new Restaurant Beverage Program (RBP) to Council District 4 in order to permit eligible sit-down restaurants to serve alcohol through an expedited administrative clearance process. Councilmember Raman’s resolution seeks to alleviate the unprecedented financial challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, rising commercial rents and other difficulties faced by sit-down restaurants in Council District 4 by allowing them to go through a simpler, less costly process to serve alcoholic beverages, which accounts for a substantial portion of many restaurants’ revenue.
“Part of what makes Los Angeles so unique is our diversity of small enterprises that serve our neighborhoods and represent the aspirations of people who have come here from all over the country and world,” said Councilmember Raman. “By activating the Restaurant Beverage Program in my district, we are making it easier to run a viable independent restaurant and ensuring that the vibrant culinary culture that enriches our neighborhoods survives the pandemic and thrives into the future.”
For restaurants, one of the most expensive start-up costs is the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for the sale of alcoholic beverages. Not only does the permit alone cost about $13,000, businesses often wait months or even up to a year to secure these permits. This makes it very difficult for small, independent and family-run restaurants to access a source of revenue that would help them remain viable.
The Restaurant Beverage Program offers these businesses an alternative: if they agree to follow an extensive set of health and safety guidelines, they can be permitted to sell alcohol at a fraction of the cost and through a swift, administrative clearance process. While the exact cost of the RBP has not yet been determined, it is expected to cost no more than $4,000 and would take only a matter of weeks to secure, enabling new eligible restaurants to open their doors more quickly. Eligible restaurant owners would still be subject to operational standards, robust neighborhood protection measures as well as mandatory monitoring and inspections to ensure compliance. The program would also be limited to restaurants with on-site food consumption and bars, nightclubs and liquor stores would be ineligible.
The restaurant and hospitality industry is an important part of the City's economy, employing more than 380,000 people and generating more than $200 million in tax revenue to the City during pre-pandemic levels. Councilmember Raman’s resolution to bring the Restaurant Beverage Program to Council District 4 will reduce the regulatory burden for the district’s small businesses while revitalizing neighborhoods and ensuring alcohol is served under conditions that promote safety.
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