Posted on:
Aug 15, 2011

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Seeking partners to operate the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens


The Los Angeles City Council voted 9-2 on August 12th to seek proposals from potential partners to operate the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Councilman LaBonge says the City has to plan for the future to keep the zoo open and to maintain its mission of promoting education and conservation. "We're going to go out there and see who in the world could be a partner with the City of Los Angeles to operate out zoo, to expand our zoo, to continue the great care for the animals," said Councilman LaBonge, whose district includes the zoo. "We'll have an opportunity in seven or eight months to see if we want to reject this or not. We'll see who's out there." The city would save about $20-million dollars over five years under the partnership proposal, according to a study by city-hired consultant KPMG. Potential partners will have 90 to 120 days to submit their proposals, which the city will begin to weigh early next year.


Posted on:
Aug 09, 2011

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1st and Goal for a Downtown Los Angeles NFL Stadium

nfl stadium

A non-binding agreement with developer Anschutz Entertainment Group to build a $1.2 billion NFL stadium, a new city convention hall and two parking structures on municipal land downtown easily won the backing of the Los Angeles City Council. The stadium project includes the demolition and replacement of the 40-year-old West Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center. AEG hopes to have the project adjacent to L.A. Live and Staples Center completed by the start of the 2016 football season.

The vote clears the way for AEG to begin arranging financing to pay for the stadium and to conclude an ongoing environmental impact report, which the developer hopes to have approved by May 2012. It also allows AEG to advance negotiations with the NFL to bring a football team or two to Los Angeles. An announcement is unlikely until after the Super Bowl in early 2012. The approval marks a shift from a conversation about how the project will be funded to a debate over the finer points of the proposal, which could mean more or less cost to taxpayers. Those include how the city will mitigate traffic and whether or not AEG will share advertising revenue from an estimated 50,000 square feet of new billboard space. Credit City News Service for this report


Posted on:
Aug 05, 2011

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Remembering Annette Cardona

ht_annette_cha_cha_charles_ss_mw_110804_ssh Annette Cardona passed away August 4 of complications of a non-smokers lung cancer at the age of 63. At right, Cardona as "Cha Cha DiGregorio" in the iconic film GREASE.

Annette Cardona (aka Annette Charles) actress, teacher and mentor to many young students, passed away peacefully, surrounded by loved ones, right before 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at USC University Hospital. She was 63 years old, and of Mexican, Italian, and Native Indian descent. The cause was non-smokers lung cancer. She was best known for her role as Cha Cha di Gregorio in Grease the Film, a part that was specifically created for her. She had an amazing life and career both on and off the screen.

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Posted on:
Aug 04, 2011

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Living in the Coyote Zone


Sightings and brushes with Coyotes seem to have risen this summer in Los Angeles. We've been getting reports of more coyotes who are not afraid of humans. It's important to know the do's and don'ts of dealing with these wild animals, who are fast, smart and opportunistic.

Tips: (applies to many wildlife issues) Take pet food in at night. Never leave food outside for strays or attempt to feed wildlife. Pick up fallen fruit, remove ripened fruit from trees. Clear dense vegetation; create a 1 foot clearance of space beneath hedges and bushes to reduce rodent hiding places. Make sure crawl space screens are secured and well maintained. (use 16 gauge welded wire mesh sandwiched between 2 frames and use screws not staples) Trim tree branches away from the roof (fire department requires a 5 foot vertical clearance from the eaves.) Do not put out trash until morning of pick-up and secure trash can lids if need be. Cap chimneys Keep barbecue grills clean and properly stored. Avoid composting human food items in an open compost pile. Avoid having brush and wood piles which attract rodents that in turn attracts the larger wildlife. Neighbors that feed squirrels and birds may have wayward seed that also attract larger wild animals so you may wish to encourage them to use feeders that are less likely to drop seed, etc. It is a good idea to block access to a roof by tree banding nearby trees and cutting away branches touching the roof, Baffling/Tree banding can be done by placing a piece of sheet metal or galvanized aluminum around the tree trunk that attaches to itself at starting at about 4 feet height off the ground and the piece itself should be about 2 feet wide, This will allow the animal to drop down off the tree but block access back up. In order for this to work tree branches from other trees must not touch other trees.

The City of Los Angeles Department of Animal Services is not providing traps or issuing trapping permits for the public to use their own, rented or borrowed traps to remove nuisance wildlife. The trapping or relocation of wildlife by the public is prohibited. The Department of Animal Services suggests trying property alteration, deterrents & exclusionary methods. The option exists for L.A. City residents to contract with a Nuisance or Pest Control company that has permits to trap and remove some types of mammals. Wildlife trapped by these agencies would be released on site or immediately euthanized. California State law prohibits the relocation of predatory mammals. (CCR Title 14 sec. 465.5)

So residents can in fact contract with trappers who have permits, but you many people call back later on again and say they spent a lot of money trapping and the problem returned. Once people switch to exclusion, scare tactics and property alteration instead, the wildlife issues in most cases are reduced and what neighbors are doing can be a factor as well. This department prior to 1994 did in fact trap wildlife and it never really solved anyone's problem and the same people called year after year. Trapping laws changed, the direction of the department changed and the goal has become "No Kill" on animals. Truly we have found that people who made the adjustments have done better with their wildlife issues. It is though a community effort and we need everyone to be on board. Should your community wish to go with a trapping agency there are many and not all have the experience that is successful so calling and comparing companies is best.

It is encouraged to put together a wildlife scare kit which should be kept by the door for larger predatory animals. An 18 or 20 gallon container would suffice to hold an air horn, police whistle, baseballs or golf balls to throw, an umbrella to open and waive around, disposable camera w/flash (the flash scares them in many cases) When it comes to your pets make sure you check around your yard for anything that may be harmful and have something handy from the items I mentioned when out walking. Just as you would be cautious on a walk for human predators, look back often while on a walk, and Carry that umbrella and a whistle. In almost all of these cases when incidents happen, there will be no official from our agency or the police nearby so each person should be prepared for any given situation. see the flyer pictured above

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Posted on:
Jul 29, 2011

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Putting together a Playbook on an NFL Stadium in downtown Los Angeles

LA 166975.ME.0725.stadium-memo.1.BRV.jpg Photo by Brian Van Der Brug, Los Angeles Times JULY 25 2011: Los Angeles City councilman Tom LaBonge, right, flanked by chief legislative analyst Gerry Miller, left, councilman Bill Rosendahl and council president pro tempore Jan Perry, throws a football to an aide during a press conference Monday afternoon July 25 2011 to announce the release of a draft MOU of the Farmers Field and the Convention Center Modernization project. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times)

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.


Posted on:
Jul 28, 2011

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Breaking ground on new Park facilities in North Hollywood

072211 noho multi purpose groundbreaking Councilman LaBonge, Recreation and Parks Board President Barry Sanders and Rec and Park Dept. General Manager Jon Kirk Mukri turn the ceremonial shovel.

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


Posted on:
Jul 26, 2011

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Get on your bikes and ride!

070611 tom leads the bikers

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!


Posted on:
Jul 21, 2011

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New ordinance makes it a crime to harass or threaten Los Angeles Bike Riders

072011 griffith park meeting and bike harassment ordinance 021 Councilman LaBonge speaks at a news conference after the City Council approved the new Ordinance banning harassment of Bicyclists

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." The 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.