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
(July 6, 2011: Los Angeles) – City Councilman Tom LaBonge today moved to protect newsstands in the City of Los Angeles. “Newsstands are an important element in the street-life of a neighborhood, bringing people together to explore the news of the world.,” said Councilmember LaBonge, “But these institutions are an endangered species in the information age and we need to update the way we regulate them.” Access to the internet is becoming ubiquitous and many people are getting their news digitally. As a result of this erosion of their customer base, newsstands need to sell more than periodicals to stay afloat. Many Los Angeles newsstands have taken to selling sundry items, such as candy, chips, bottled beverages, lottery tickets and tobacco products to augment their income and stay in business. But Los Angeles Municipal Code prohibits newsstands from selling anything but newspapers, periodicals and magazines. Councilman LaBonge introduced a motion in the Public Works Committee, seconded by Committee Chairman Councilman Jose Huizar, to amend the Los Angeles Municipal Code to allow newsstand vendors to sell additional sundry items, excluding tobacco products. The amended ordinance would be applicable only to newsstands that are erected parallel and adjacent to the wall of a building; and are located within a portion of the the public right-of-way. The issue now goes to the City Council, which will vote on whether to instruct the City Attorney to draft an amended ordinance while reviewing newsstand policies in other municipalities, including San Francisco, San Diego, Boston and New York. “Newsstands are an iconic and historic part of American life – like Norman Rockwell and the Saturday Eveinging Post,” said Councilmember LaBonge, “They create a village-like, pedestrian-friendly atmosphere in a neighborhood. Vendors can give directions, and their presence on the street can help with public safety. We’re going to preserve that while updating the City Code that regulates them.”
Join us for the season's third Tour LaBonge Bike Ride on Wednesday, July 13th, 2011 from 6pm to 8pm. This one takes us through the streets of Toluca Lake and North Hollywood. We'll meet around 5:30 P.M. at Councilman Tom LaBonge's District 4 Field Office on 10116 Riverside Drive. Make sure to bring a helmet. Plan to use street parking. LAPD will provide traffic control. Paty's Diner is offering riders a $5-dollar burger, fries and soft-drink combo after the ride ... and Marie Callenders will be providing free pie.
COUNCILMEMBERS LABONGE AND ALARCON INTRODUCE “EAT LOCAL, BUY CALIFORNIA GROWN DAY” RESOLUTION ENCOURAGING RESIDENT TO BUY LOCALLY GROWN FOOD TO IMPROVE THEIR HEALTH, THE ENVIRONMENT AND OUR ECONOMY
06.24.11 Los Angeles -- Councilmembers Tom LaBonge and Richard Alarcon co-introduced a resolution to the Los Angeles City Council to declare Sundays “Eat Local, Buy California Grown Day” in Los Angeles. This resolution is based on the Assembly Concurrent Resolution 42 (ACR 42) which was authored and spearheaded by Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Fiona Ma and was recently passed by the Senate and the Assembly.
“Every day, residents across Los Angeles purchase fresh produce, meats and grains – but too often, we are not aware of where these foods were grown or their path to the grocery store,” said Councilmember Richard Alarcón. “Our “Eat Local, Buy California Grown Day" resolution aims to call attention to the choice that we make when we go into the grocery store – and remind residents that we can improve the health of our families and our environment, support local job creation and improve our economy by making the choice to buy California-grown.”
Councilmember Tom LaBonge said, "I wholeheartedly support the 'Eat Local, Buy California Grown' movement here in Los Angeles, where it's easy to find a farmers market just about any day of the week and get locally-grown fruits and vegetables. To find a farmers market near you, go to www.farmernet.com. Eat Local -- it's good for Los Angeles and California. It's good for the environment, and the fresher, better-tasting food is definitely good for you and your family."
“California produces over half of the nation’s fruits, nuts and vegetables,” said Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco), author of Assembly Concurrent Resolution 42 . “If we don’t support California agriculture, we risk becoming dependent on foreign food from countries with minimal food safety standards.”
California leads the nation as the country’s largest agricultural producer and exporter, accounting for 12.3 percent of the country’s total agricultural production (equaling $34.8 billion in revenues) and 12.8 percent of the nation’s total agricultural exports, yet many Californians still purchase foods from out of state or out of the country. Purchasing locally-grown foods reduces the environmental impact created by transporting foods long distances, provides for a fresher product and ensures high food safety standards. Additionally, purchasing locally-grown foods ensures that dollars are recycled in the local economy and helps California-based farmers and ranchers, of which more than 90 percent of California farms are family farms or partnerships.
According to Speaker Pro Tempore Fiona Ma’s office, the “Eat Local, Buy California Grown Day” movement celebrates the bounty of California, our country’s most agriculturally-abundant state. California farmers grow and produce almonds, artichokes, dates, figs, grapes, raisins, kiwifruit, olives, peaches, pistachios, plums, pomegranates, sweet rice and walnuts as well as raising poultry and livestock. California produces 400 commodities and a significant amount of food for the rest of the country.
By making a conscious decision to Eat Local, Buy California Grown on Sundays, Californians would create a consumption increase of more than 10 billion pounds and $15.6 billion in sales, supporting California farmers who work hard to raise healthy, high-quality food locally and supporting local businesses, communities and families. The “Eat Local, Buy California Grown Day” resolution supports eating foods that are fresher, taste better and produced in an environmentally responsible manner for the benefit of communities, consumers, farmers, businesses and employees. see more photos of this event
Hundreds of friends and supporters joined us at the top of Mt. Hollywood in Griffith Park to celebrate Councilman LaBonge's third-term in office, which officially begins on July 1st. Tom's wife, Brigid, administered the Oath of Office as their children Charles and Mary-Cate looked on. Several of Tom's Council Colleagues were there, including Eric Garcetti, Paul Krekorian, Paul Koretz and Bill Rosendahl. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich was also there for the ceremony. Councilman LaBonge surprised the crowd with a stirring rendition of Elvis Presley's "If I Can Dream" instead of making a speech. KNX Business Anchor Frank Mottek served as the Master of Ceremonies, NFL Hall of Famer and Tom's high school team-mate, Mike Haynes, told stories about his old friend while Olympian Rafer Johnson looked on from the audience. The event coincided with the 30th anniversary of Tom's Solstice and Equinox hikes up Mt. Hollywood. It also honored the Los Angeles Consul Corps of LA's 23 Sister Cities. LAPD and LAFD helicopters buzzed the mountain-top, one blaring "Congratulations Councilman LaBonge".Click here to see more photos of the event