The Los Angeles City Council on Friday, July 29th, held a public hearing on Anschutz Entertainment Group's (AEG's) proposal to build a football stadium where the West Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center currently stands. Councilmember LaBonge serves on the AD-HOC Committee formed to go through the stadium proposal with a fine-tooth comb. The Stadium Committee held two evening public meetings this weeek. One at LA City Hall, the other in Van Nuys. The Committee also released the Draft Memorandum of Understanding on July 25 during a news conference at City Hall. The Draft MOU demands that the Stadium and Convention Center hall be financed with NO PUBLIC FUNDS, no COST TO THE TAXPAYERS. The terms of the draft MOU are as follows:
No public funds would be used to finance the stadium and event center. AEG would pay a fair market value to leas the City-owned site -- adjusted annually -- for 55 years; and the project would not proceed until an NFL team has signed a contract to use the Stadiu/Event Center and that financing is in place for the Stadium/Event Center.
The new Convention Center Hall would be comparable in size to the LACC West Hall that would be demolished to make way for the stadium, with improved functionality. Approximately $275-million dollars in tax-exempt bonds would provide funding for the new hall. 73% of the bond payments would be covered by AEG, and 27% of net new tax revenues generated by the stadium would cover the remainder. $195-million in Series-A bonds would be backed by the Stadium/Event Center lease payment, new possessory interest tax revenues and limited parking tax revenues. A Mello-Roos Tax District would cover $80-million dollars in Series-B bonds.
Councilmember Tom LaBonge joined members of the NoHo community and officials from the Department of Recreation and Parks and the Department of Public Works, Bureau of Engineering to break ground on a new multi-purpose center in North Hollywood. The project scope consists of construction of a new, ADA accessible 2,200 square foot, one-story wood framed building with a multi-purpose room, lobby area, storage and equipment rooms, restrooms, and staff office and break room. Landscaping and outdoor amenities include a children’s play area with rubberized surfacing, decomposed granite walking paths, new turf areas, a trellis, gaming tables, concrete benches, solar powered lighting, outdoor fitness exercise equipment stations, picnic tables, landscaping, irrigation, perimeter fencing, and a new parking lot. Construction begins now and the project should be ready to open by next fall. click here to see more photos
Councilman LaBonge will hold the final Tour LaBonge ride of the 2011 Summer Series. This one takes us to the streets of HOLLYWOOD on July 27th, 2011 at 6pm. Meet at the Hollywood City Hall, 6501 Fountain Avenue, between Wilcox and Seward around 530pm. Non-metered street parking is available around the facility. We'll gather in the parking-lot behind the Hollywood City Hall building, get a safety briefing and a few words from the Councilman before hitting the road for an approximately two hour ride. Wear a helmet. Riders must be at least 12 years old. All riders must sign a waiver to participate. LAPD and General Services Bicycle Officers will provide an escort throughout the ride. Join us!
The Los Angeles City Council July 20th approved a
landmark ordinance aimed at giving bicyclists greater protection from harassment and assault by drivers and others.
Councilman Tom LaBonge voted for the ordinance, calling bicycling "a developing way to move around the city..." He said, "Education and respect are key elements in making the roads safer for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians alike."
Prohibition Against Harassment of Bicyclists'' bans physical assaults on bike riders and goes so far as to ban any threat against cyclists or attempts to distract them based solely on the victim's status as a bike rider.
The law also gives bike riders greater legal protection and recourse when harassed, by allowing cyclists to file civil lawsuits and to recover
attorney fees in favorable cases.
This is a historic day,'' said Councilman Bill Rosendahl, the motion's sponsor, calling it a
first in the nation'' ordinance.
Rosendahl, who chairs the Transportation Committee, said attorneys are often reticent to take on bike harassment cases because they often cost more in attorney fees than the judgments allotted.
The new law gives harassed riders the ability to recover triple their injury claims or $1,000, whichever is greater.
There have been anti-harassment laws by other communities, but what's special about this is the civil nature, the ability to recover attorney's fees, and the fact that it's happening in the nation's self-proclaimed car capital,''
said Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists.
I would put money on the fact that ordinances like this will be popping up in cities all around the country in coming weeks and months,'' he said.
A dozen bike activists and members of the city's Bicycle Advisory Committee applauded the ordinance.
It makes it safer for us, and we will get more people cycling,'' said
Jay Slater, chair of the bicycle advisory committee. ``We will get more cars off the street. We will improve our air. We will make this a better city, a safer city, for all of us.''
City News Service contributed to this report.
On the fourth ride of the five-ride Tour LaBonge Summer Bike-Ride series, riders enjoyed a tour along the Los Angeles River Bikeway and through Griffith Park. The bicycles gathered at the Mulholland Fountain in Los Feliz, across the street from Griffith Park. Councilmember LaBonge lead the way as the two-wheelers pedaled their way over the Alex Baum bridge, named after Los Angeles' pioneering bike advocate, whose vision is in no small way responsible for the Los Angeles Bike Master Plan, City Bike-Paths and Bikeways and a new city ordinance banning harassment of cyclists. The ride includes a rest stop for ice cream at the beautiful Autry National Center.
Join us July 20th for the Tour LaBonge Bike Ride along the Los Angeles River. We'll meet at the Mulholland Fountain at the southwest corner of Riverside Drive and Los Feliz Boulevard at 6:00 PM. Allow a little extra time to get there because of all the construction going on in that area to upgrade critical infrastructure. Look for Council District 4 staffers, who will direct you on how to park and unload your bicycle. We'll be riding on the newly renovated and expanded Los Angeles River Bikeway. The LAPD and General Services will provide a police escort for the riders. Wear a helmet. All riders must sign a waiver. Children must be at least 12 years old to participate.
Councilmember LaBonge joined the Mayor of Los Angeles, a few of his City Council colleagues and officials from the Los Angeles Public Library system to announce the return of Monday hours for all Los Angeles city libraries. The increase in hours is made possible by the passage of Measure L, which guarantees libraries a larger percentage of General Fund money the city of Los Angeles is required to allocate to the library system. Councilman LaBonge was not only a staunch supporter of Measure L and actively campaigned for its passage during his own bid for re-election this year, he also introduced the City Council motion that put Measure L on the municipal ballot. "L is for libraries and L is for love. The passage of Measure L proves that we in Los Angeles love our libraries," said Councilmember LaBonge, who applauds the voters of Los Angeles for passing Measure L, and reaffirming the LA Founders' commitment to a strong and viable city library system. Go visit your local library branch.
(July 15, 2011: Los Angeles) – As we enter the teeth of the fire-season in southern California, City Councilman Tom LaBonge and Los Angeles Fire Officials discussed the importance of proper Brush Clearance during a news conference at the Hollywood Bowl Overlook on Mulholland Drive in the Hollywood Hills. With Hollywood and the Downtown Los Angeles Skyline as a backdrop, Councilman LaBonge called on hillside residents and business owners to take responsibility for their and their neighbors’ fire safety during the hot, dry, windy months of the fire season.
“Defensible space is so important to firefighters’ ability to save lives and property during an out-of-control wildfire,” said Councilman LaBonge. “It’s up to us to make sure we clear our land properly to give firefighters a fighting chance.”
Captain Robert Knight heads up the Los Angeles Fire Department Brush Clearance Unit, which was established 30 years ago to coordinate and conduct inspection sweeps of what was then called the Mountain Fire District. After inspection and notice, the LAFD contracts non-compliant properties to be cleared of hazardous brush at the owner’s expense. Current Fire Department policy requires hazardous vegetation to be cleared from within 200 feet of structures.
“We all need to be ready in case of emergency,” said Councilmember LaBonge. “Properly clearing brush from our property in the High Fire Hazard Areas of the City of Los Angeles is a simple way to keep our families and properties safer from the threat of wildfire. And, it’s the responsible thing to do to help keep our neighbors safer, too.”
Here’s a bit of historical perspective, courtesy of the Los Angeles Fire Department. The Mountain Fire District was established in January 1963 as a direct result of the November 1961 Bel Air Fire. A total of 484 homes were lost during that conflagration.
In April of 1972, The Fire Buffer Zones were established as a direct result of the wind driven Chatsworth Fire in September of 1971 where 198 homes were destroyed or damaged.
In April of 1981 the Los Angeles Fire Department established the Brush Clearance Unit.
In February of 1986, as a result of the 1985 Baldwin Hills Fire that destroyed 53 homes and killed three people, section 57.21.07 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code was amended to include Mount Washington, El Sereno and Baldwin Hills in the Brush Clearance Inspection Program.
In 1993, as a result of the Oakland Hills Fire in which 3,403 homes were lost, 780 in the first hour of the fire, the Bates Bill No.337 was enacted requiring local jurisdictions to identify and establish Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones.
The Los Angeles Fire Department’s Bureau of Fire Prevention and Public Safety joined with the Planning Section to conduct a survey utilizing the criteria established by the State Fire Marshal. The Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone lies mostly within the boundaries of the Mountain Fire District and The Buffer Zone. Subsequent to Assembly Bill No. 337, Assembly Bill Nos. 3819 and 747, which are more restrictive, have been enacted reinforcing the provisions of Assembly Bill No. 337. In April of 1997, section 57.21.07 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code was amended to increase the clearance of hazardous vegetation to a total distance of 200 feet from any structure unless otherwise specified by the Chief. The Amendment further added criteria for maintenance of landscape vegetation in such a condition as not to provide an available fuel supply to augment the spread or intensity of a fire. These criteria included, but were not limited to eucalyptus, acacia, palm, pampas grass, and conifers such as cedar, cypress, fir, juniper, and pine. In February of 1999 section 57.21.07 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code was again amended, this time establishing a fee for inspections of properties in the City of Los Angeles to determine if a violation of this section exists. When the fee was first introduced, it raised several other issues. The Fire Department was directed to re-evaluate the current Mountain Fire District and Buffer Zone to see if the boundaries drawn in 1961 and 1971 respectively were still valid. It was as a result of that assignment that the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone was established. click here to see more photos