Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell Delivers State of Hollywood Address

Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell delivered the following speech at the annual State of Hollywood luncheon hosted by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. The event was held at the Taglyan Cultural Center.

THANK YOU DONELLE DADIGAN! THANK YOU HOLLYWOOD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, TAGLYAN CENTER, EVENT SPONSORS, GUESTS, NEIGHBORS, AND FRIENDS.

LAST YEAR I SHARED MY HOLLYWOOD STORY, HOPING TO GIVE YOU A GLIMPSE INTO HOW LIFE EXPERIENCES HAVE SHAPED MY APPROACH TO PUBLIC SERVICE.

SINCE TAKING OFFICE, MY TEAM AND I HAVE BEEN VERY PROACTIVE IN HOLLYWOOD - CONSTRUCTING A NARRATIVE FOR A NEW HOLLYWOOD STORY, ONE THAT IS INTERTWINED WITH THE EFFORTS OF EVERYONE IN THIS ROOM. ALTHOUGH WE ARE DEALING WITH A FEW HIGH PROFILE CHALLENGES IN HOLLYWOOD, WE ARE ACCOMPLISHING SO MUCH TOGETHER AND 2014 WAS AN INCREDIBLE YEAR!

HOLLYWOOD IS A PLACE WHERE “EVERYONE WANTS TO BE.” TO SOME, IT MEANS “THE INDUSTRY,” TO OTHERS IT OFFERS THE CHANCE OF MAKING DREAMS COME TRUE, A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN GET A FRESH START IN LIFE. HOLLYWOOD IS BOTH MYTHICAL AND REAL. IT HAS SERVED AS A PROXY FOR ALL THAT IS POSSIBLE - AND - A PROXY FOR ALL THAT IS WRONG. BUT JUST LIKE ANY OTHER PLACE, HOLLYWOOD IS WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT.

AS I MENTIONED LAST YEAR, OVER THE SPAN OF SEVERAL DECADES, HOLLYWOOD LEADERS, THOSE OF YOU IN THIS ROOM, AND MANY THAT AREN’T, HAVE SET THE STAGE FOR THE SUCCESS AND INVESTMENT WE ARE NOW ENJOYING. IDEAS HAVE COALESCED INTO A VISION FOR THIS COMMUNITY THAT RAISE THE STANDARDS FOR EVERYONE, SETTING HOLLYWOOD ON A COURSE TO REACH ITS WORLD-CLASS POTENTIAL. IT IS THAT LOFTY ENVIRONMENT THAT FOSTERS THE UNPRECEDENTED GROWTH WE ARE NOW WITNESSING.

HOLLYWOOD IS SPECIAL, UNLIKE ANYWHERE ELSE. FROM GRIFFITH PARK AND THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN, DOWN TO SANTA MONICA BOULEVARD, MELROSE, AND ALL THE NEIGHBORHOODS IN BETWEEN.

ONE CORRIDOR, RAPIDLY TRANSFORMING AS NEVER BEFORE IS SUNSET BOULEVARD. AS COLUMBIA SQUARE CONTINUES ITS REMARKABLE PROGRESS, NEW, EXCITING TENANTS HAVE BEEN SIGNED THAT WILL FURTHER ENHANCE OUR PRICELESS HOLLYWOOD BRAND. LAST YEAR KILROY ANNOUNCED THE ARRIVAL OF VIACOM AND NEUEHOUSE AS LEASE TENANTS. THEY ARE COMING TO HOLLYWOOD! THIS YEAR WE WILL SEE PROGRESS AT THE SUNSET-GOWER AND SUNSET-BRONSON STUDIOS EXPANSION, WITH MANY MORE PROJECTS ON THE DRAWING BOARDS TO THE NORTH, SOUTH, EAST AND WEST OF THIS HUB, INCLUDING FUTURE GROWTH PLANS FOR THE HOLLYWOOD PALLADIUM, THE NICKELODEON SITE, ACADEMY SQUARE, AND MORE. IN FACT THERE ARE BILLIONS, THAT’S BILLIONS WITH A “B” - OF DOLLARS OF INVESTMENT IN HOLLYWOOD AT THIS VERY MOMENT. THIS WILL BRING GOOD PAYING JOBS, HELP ALLEVIATE THE HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT THAT STILL PLAGUES THE LA ECONOMY, AND HELP LIFT NEIGHBORHOODS OUT POVERTY.

IN FACT, ONE INCREDIBLE PARTNER WE HAVE ON THAT FRONT IS THE YOUTH POLICY INSTITUTE, LED BY DIXON SLINGERLAND. LAST YEAR HOLLYWOOD AND EAST HOLLYOOD WERE FEDERALLY DESIGNATED AS PROMISE ZONE NEIGHBORHOODS.

WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE OF THIS VERY LOCATION, ARE CENSUS TRACTS THAT HAVE AMONG THE LOWEST AVERAGE HOUSEHOLD INCOMES IN THE CITY. YPI, AS THE CHOSEN FIDUCIARY HAS WASTED NO TIME IN ACCESSING TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS ALLOCATED FOR COMMUNITY BUILDING, EDUCATION, AND BADLY NEEDED RESOURCES FOR THESE NEIGHBORHOODS, INCLUDING AFFORDABLE HOUSING, A CHIEF PASSION OF MINE. OVER THE NEXT NINE YEARS, YOU WILL SEE AN INFUSION OF ECONOMIC TOOLS COME OUR WAY THAT WILL PROVIDE LOCAL FAMILIES A WAY UP ON THE SOCIOECONOMIC LADDER. I AM PROUD TO STAND WITH YPI AS THIS WORK BEGINS IN EARNEST.

ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING PROJECTS IN ALL OF LOS ANGELES IS THE HOLLYWOOD CENTRAL PARK. THIS PARK IS THE DEFINITION OF CATALYTIC.

CREATING NEARLY 40 ACRES OF ACTIVE AND PASSIVE RECREATION SPACE ABOVE A ONE-MILE STRETCH OF THE HOLLYWOOD FREEWAY HAS BEEN A DECADES LONG DREAM THAT IS QUICKLY BECOMING TANGIBLE. THE DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REVIEW IS UNDERWAY THANKS TO THE GENEROSITY OF MANY, EXPECIALLY OUR BELOVED AILEEN GETTY.

THERE IS SO MUCH THAT IS GOOD ABOUT THIS PROJECT, INCLUDING THE INDOMITABLE LAURIE GOLDMAN AND HER INCREDIBLE BOARD OF DIRECTORS. I APPLAUD ALL OF YOU! THEY WISELY PARTNERED WITH THE STEM ACADEMY FROM HELEN BERNSTEIN HIGH SCHOOL DURING THE SCOPING SESSIONS, UNDERSCORING A “WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER” ETHOS. THESE ARE BRILLIANT YOUNG ENGINEERING STUDENTS, WHO LIVE LOCAL. BECAUSE OF THE PARTICIPATION OF THESE YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN, THIS PARK WILL HAVE A PARTICULAR AUTHENTICITY, SERVING AS THE MODEL ACROSS THE NATION ON HOW TO DO AMBITIOUS PROJECTS TOTALLY INCLUSIVE OF THOSE CLOSEST TO THE SITE.

EARLY LAST YEAR I JOINED MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI UNDER A SPARKLING NIGHT SKY AS WE CELEBRATED THE OPENING OF EMERSON COLLEGE. EMERSON COLLEGE IS NOT JUST A BREATHTAKING, AWARD WINNING ARCHITECTURAL GEM. IT IS ONE OF SEVERAL EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS FOR ASPIRING ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS IN HOLLYWOOD THAT COLLECTIVELY EDUCATE THOUSANDS OF YOUNG STUDENTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD. THESE SCHOOLS ARE AT THE HEART OF WHERE THE ART OF FILM AND TELEVISION WAS REFINED INTO THE “INDUSTRY” WE KNOW TODAY. IN A WORD, THESE STUDENTS ARE HOME.

TWO OTHER SCHOOLS ARE INVESTING IN AMBITIOUS EXPANSION PLANS, THE MUSICIANS INSTITUTE ALONG HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD, AND THE AMERICAN MUSICAL AND DRAMATIC ACADEMY, OR AMDA, ALONG YUCCA.

THESE INSTITUTIONS, ALONG WITH LA FILM SCHOOL, AND LA RECORDING SCHOOL ON SUNSET BOULEVARD PROVIDE INTERNS, AND AN EMPLOYEE PIPELINE TO THE MAJOR FILM AND RECORDING STUDIOS THAT WE ARE WORKING SO HARD TO SUPPORT. AGAIN, WE MUSN’T FORGET LOCAL HOME GROWN TALENT THAT CAN BE FOUND AT HOLLYWOOD HIGH AND HELEN BERNSTEIN HIGH. IT IS EVERYONE’S RESPONSIBILITY TO NURTURE YOUNG ARTISTS AND IT WOULD BE GREAT TO CONTINUE THE TRADITION OF DEVELOPING LOCAL TALENT IN HOLLYWOOD. ANOTHER CAROL BURNETT MAY BE IN A CLASSROOM AT HOLLYWOOD HIGH THIS VERY MOMENT!

AS I SAID EARLIER, HOLLYWOOD IS WHERE EVERYONE WANTS TO BE. SINCE TAKING OFFICE, I HAVE WORKED TO KEEP HOLLYWOOD (THE INDUSTRY) HERE. ONE CAMPAIGN PROMISE OF MINE WAS TO FORM AN AD HOC COMMITTEE ON RUNAWAY PRODUCTION SO WE COULD SPEAK WITH ONE REGIONAL VOICE AND FOCUS ON INCENTIVES, KEEP MIDDLE CLASS JOBS IN LA AND THE COUNTY, AND GROW THE INDUSTRY. A CITY COUNCIL COMMITTEE WAS FORMED AND I AM ON IT. EARLY LAST YEAR, WE EXTENDED AND EXPANDED CITY TAX BREAKS TO HELP KEEP EPISODIC TELEVISION HERE. LAST MONTH, WE ADOPTED A FEE WAVER TO FILM ON CITY PROPERTY, AND MY COLLEAGUES UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED MY EFFORTS AT CREATING A COMPLETE DATABASE, AN INVENTORY OF ALL CITY OWNED PROPERTY, FOR THE PURPOSE OF MAKING FILMING EASIER ACROSS THE CITY. BELIEVE IT OR NOT, THAT INVENTORY DOES NOT YET EXIST – BUT IT WILL SOON AND THE CITY WILL PARTNER WITH THE INDUSTRY AS NEVER BEFORE. AND LAST SUMMER, AT THE CHINESE THEATRE, GOVERNOR BROWN SIGNED AB 1839, A BILL THAT OFFERS $330 MILLION IN INCENTIVES EVERY YEAR ACROSS THE STATE OVER THE NEXT 5 YEARS, WHICH PUTS US ON PAR WITH NEW YORK, TO KEEP PRODUCTION HERE IN LOS ANGELES. KUDOS TO ASSEMBLYMEMBER MIKE GATTO AND FORMER ASSEMBLYMEMBER RAUL BOCANEGRA FOR LEADING THE CHARGE ON AB 1839. I WILL CONTINUE TO EXPLORE ALL OPTIONS AT THE LOCAL, COUNTY, AND STATE LEVEL TO STRENGTHEN OUR SIGNATURE INDUSTRY. WE MUST DO EVERYTHING IN OUR POWER TO NURTURE THE HOLLYWOOD BRAND.

ANOTHER HISTORICALLY OVERLOOKED SECTOR OF THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY IS LIVE THEATRE. [HEAD SHOT] I CUT MY TEETH ON THE STAGE MANY YEARS AGO ON HOLLYWOOD’S THEATRE ROW ALONG SANTA MONICA BOULEVARD.

THEATRE ROW IS ALIVE AND WELL BUT IT IS UNDER CONSTANT THREAT DUE TO REDEVELOPMENT PRESSURES. I AM HERE TO SUPPORT GROWTH IN THE ARTS IN LA AND IN MY DISTRICT.

I WANT TO SEE EVERY CORNER OF HOLLYWOOD PROSPER AND EVOLVE INTO SAFE, VIBRANT CORRIDORS. THAT MEANS I WILL NEGOTIATE ADDITIONAL LIVE THEATRE SPACE ALONG SANTA MONICA BOULEVARD AND WHEREEVER ELSE IT MAKES SENSE AS NEW PROJECTS ARE PROPOSED. IN THE MEANTIME I AM WORKING TO IMPROVE THE LOOK, WALKABILITY, AND SAFETY OF THE AREA. I AM ACTIVELY WORKING WITH CALTRANS (SANTA MONICA BOULEVARD IS STILL CONSIDERED A STATE HIGHWAY), THE THEATRE COMMUNITY, AND THE MEDIA DISTRICT BID TO MAKE THEATRE ROW MORE PROMINENT AND ENTICING, INCLUDING ADDITIONAL DINING AND ART GALLERY OPTIONS. THAT VISION HAS BEEN A LONG TIME IN THE MAKING. LET’S MAKE IT A REALITY!

IN ADDITION TO THE MEDIA DISTRICT, WE HAVE SEVERAL BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICTS, INCLUDING THE EAST HOLLYWOOD BID, THE LOS FELIZ VILLAGE BID, AND THE MOTHER OF ALL HOLLYWOOD BIDS, THE HOLLYWOOD PROPERTY OWNERS ALLIANCE, WHICH INCLUDES THE H.E.D. AND SUNSET/VINE BID, HEADED BY THE AMAZING KERRY MORRISON. TWO NEW BIDS ARE IN FORMATION; THE HOLLYWOOD-WESTERN BID AND THE ROUTE 66 BID, ALONG TWO OF THE LAST REMAINING, FORLORN CORRIDORS THAT NEED AN INFUSION OF RESOURCES, FOCUS, AND TLC. I COMMEND EVERYONE WHO HAS FOSTERED THE DEVELOPMENT AND SUCCESS OF THESE ORGANIZATIONS. OUR BIDS PROVIDE RESOURCES THE CITY CAN ONLY PROVIDE INTERMITTENTLY. BIDS ADD TO THE VITALITY AND SAFETY OF OUR NEIGHBORHOODS. I URGE EVERYONE TO SUPPORT THE NEW AND EXISTING BIDS. YOU CERTAINLY HAVE MINE.

I LIKE THE IDEA OF A HOLLYWOOD THAT IS KNOWN LESS FOR ITS NIGHTCLUBS AND KNOWN MORE FOR NEIGHBORHOOD SERVING, CULTURALLY ENRICHING BUSINESSES AND INSTITUTIONS.

I ALSO LIKE THE IDEA OF A LOS ANGELES WHERE WE VALUE HISTORIC PRESERVATION WHILE ENCOURAGING QUALITY, WELL CONCEIVED GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT. THIS PAST YEAR A DEMOLITION NOTICE REQUIREMENT THAT I HAD INTRODUCED WAS ADOPTED AS A CITYWIDE ORDINANCE. THIS GIVES US A CHANCE TO WEIGH IN BEFORE A STRUCTURE OLDER THAN 45 YEARS IS TORN DOWN. FAR TOO OFTEN, A HISTORIC OR SIGNIFICANT STRUCTURE IS DEMOLISHED, TAKING EVERYONE, INCLUDING ELECTED OFFICIALS, BY SURPRISE. AS PRESERVATION DISCUSSIONS AROUND MID CENTURY, GOOGIE, AND OTHER UNIQUE LOS ANGELES ARCHITECTURAL STYLES BECOME MORE FREQUENT, WE NEED TO REMEMBER THE VALUE AND CHARACTER THAT HISTORIC STRUCTURES ADD TO OUR COMMUNITIES. A BALANCED APPROACH TO PRESERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT MUST BE HIGHLY VALUED IN OUR MATURING CITY.

ONE GEM I AM PAYING CAREFUL ATTENTION TO IS THE HOLLYWOOD WARNER PACIFIC THEATRE. IT IS VITAL WE DO NOT NEEDLESSLY SACRIFICE WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT HOLLYWOOD IN THE NAME OF PROGRESS. REAL PROGRESS IS WHEN WE DELIBERATE CAREFULLY FOR THE BEST POSSIBLE OUTCOME OF ANY DEVELOPMENT PROJECT, WHICH IN TURN ENRICHES THE LOOK, FEEL, AND VIBRANCY OF WHERE WE LIVE AND WORK. THAT IS THE VALUE I INCORPORATE INTO MY DECISION MAKING.

PLEASE JOIN ME ON FEBRUARY 13TH AS WE DEDICATE THE $4.4 MILLION DOLLAR RENOVATION OF A FRANK LLOYED WRIGHT MASTERPIECE, THE HOLLYHOCK HOUSE AT BARNSDALL ART PARK. THIS RARE HOLLYWOOD “ROMANZA” DESIGN IS A CROWN JEWEL FOR ALL OF LOS ANGELES AND IT HAS BEEN PAINSTAKINGLY RESTORED WITH CAREFUL ATTENTION OVER THE PAST SIX YEARS. A NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK, THE HOLLYHOCK HOUSE WILL ALSO BE MORE ACCESSIBLE TO MORE PEOPLE, AND FULLY ADA COMPLIANT. THE HOUSE IS LISTED AS A POTENTIAL UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE, IN THE FIRST-TIME CATEGORY OF MODERN ARCHITECTURE. LET’S HOPE THE DESIGNATIONS KEEP COMING AS THEY ALLOW US TO APPLY FOR ADDITIONAL HISTORIC RESTORATION FUNDING.

IN ADDITION TO THE HOUSE RENOVATIONS, SINCE TAKING OFFICE, MY TEAM IS VERY INVOLVED IN CLEANING UP THE GROUNDS, SECURING THE PARK, HOPING TO EVENTUALLY RESTORE SCHINDLER’S VIEW AND RESIDENCE A, AND HELPING TO BRING ADDITIONAL VISITORS AND RESOURCES TO THIS INCREDIBLE PLACE.

EVERYTHING I JUST MENTIONED IN RELATION TO THE ARTS AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION IS BUILT UPON THE GREAT WORK AND ADVOCACY OF HOLLYWOOD HERITAGE AND THE HOLLYWOOD ARTS COUNCIL; TWO INSTITUTIONS THAT PROVIDE THE HEART AND SOUL IN OUR DECISION MAKING AS HOLLYWOOD CONTINUES TO EVOLVE.

HOLLYWOOD IS ALSO WHERE TOURISTS WANT TO BE. LAST YEAR LOS ANGELES SET A NEW RECORD AND WELCOMED 43 MILLION VISITORS. MANY OF THEM ARRIVED IN HOLLYWOOD VIA THE NEW FLYAWAY THAT PICKS UP AT HOLLYWOOD AND ARGYLE. SEVERAL NEW HOTELS ARE EITHER UNDER CONSTRUCTION OR ON THE DRAWING BOARDS, OPENING UP MORE OPTIONS AND ACCOMODATING MORE VISITORS TO HOLLYWOOD IN THE COMING YEARS.

I CONTINUE TO WORK ON A MORE ACCOMODATING EXPERIENCE FOR VISITORS AND RESIDENTS, INCLUDING ENFORCEMENT OF TOUR BUS REGULATIONS, CONTINUING RESTORATION OF THE WALK OF FAME, AND THE CONVENIENCE OF PARKING IN A CITY OWNED LOT OR STRUCTURE AT THE SAME COST AS PARKING ON THE STREET. WE RECENTLY INITIATED A PILOT PROJECT AT THE VINE STREET GARAGE THAT DOES JUST THAT. I ALSO JUST RECEIVED THE FIRST DRAFT OF A PARKING STUDY I COMMISSIONED THAT HIGHLIGHTS THE OVER ABUNDANCE OF OFF STREET PARKING THAT IS AVAILABLE IN HOLLYWOOD. IN THE COMING MONTHS, WE WILL SYNTHECIZE THIS INFORMATION AND EMBARK ON A PLAN TO BREAK THROUGH THE WIDESPREAD MISPERCEPTION THAT THERE ISN’T ENOUGH PARKING AT HOLLYWOOD’S HISTORIC CORE. WE NEED TO REMOVE THE PSYCHOLOGICAL BARRIER THAT MAKES VISITS TO HOLLYWOOD MORE DAUNTING THAN SAY, OLD TOWN PASADENA. WE NEED TO CHANGE THAT PARADIGM ONCE AND FOR ALL WHILE ENCOURAGING THE GOOD USES I MENTIONED EARLIER; A SAFER, CLEANER ENVIRONMENT, AND A QUALITY EXPERIENCE SO EVERYONE FEELS SECURE IN VISITING HERE FOR LONGER PERIODS OF TIME, AND THAT INCLUDES FAMILIES.

I KNOW NOTHING COULD BE MORE IMPORTANT TO STARLINE TOURS, WHO WERE THE FIRST TOUR BUS COMPANY IN TOWN MANY YEARS AGO WHEN VAHEED SAPIR AQUIRED A LIMOUSINE TOURING COMPANY AND CREATED WHAT EVERYONE ELSE TRIES TO COPY, - A FULL SERVICE, SPECIALIZED MENU OF TOUR OPTIONS THAT OFFER TOURISTS A UNIQUE VIEW OF HOLLYWOOD IN ALL ITS DIVERSITY. VAHEED IS A PIONEER WHO STUCK IT OUT AND HELPED BUILD THE HOLLYWOOD OF TODAY.

ONE KEY INGREDIENT TO A VIBRANT URBAN NEIGHBORHOOD IS A THRIVING SMALL BUSINESS COMMUNITY. WETHER IT’S THE LOCAL FAMILY OWNED RESTAURANT, A SPECIALTY GIFT SHOP, THE LOCAL DRY CLEANER OR NAIL SALON, A SMALL MEDICAL CLINIC, OR AN AUTO SHOP, OUR NEIGHBORHOOD SERVING BUSINESSES, AND OUR NON-PROFIT SECTOR HELP KEEP OUR NEIGHBORHOODS – AND OUR ECONOMY – GOING.

AS MOST ARE AWARE, THERE ARE PROPOSED AND COMPETING MINIMUM WAGE INCREASES. I HAVE CALLED FOR A PROCESS TO RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE THAT WILL BE MUCH MORE METHODICAL AND EVIDENCE BASED THAN THE ONE ORIGINALLY ANNOUNCED. FOR SUCH AN IMPORTANT, FAR REACHING POLICY DISCUSSION, WE MUST SET ASIDE ARTIFICIAL TIMELINES AND THE CAMPAIGNS FOR SPECIFIC DOLLAR AMOUNTS, ESPECIALLY SINCE NO ACTUAL DATA EXISTS THAT WE CAN BUILD A POLICY AROUND. I HAVE BEEN TALKING TO BUSINESSES, AND THEY ARE TELLING ME ABOUT RAZOR THIN PROFIT MARGINS, AND SOME STRUGGLING JUST TO STAY OPEN. NEARLY ALL BUSINESSES CARRY A CONSIDERABLE DEBT LOAD, AND

COSTS OF GOODS AND RENTS ARE GOING UP. THIS POST RECESSION ECONOMY IS VERY FRAGILE IN LOS ANGELES WHERE UNEMPLOYMENT STILL HOVERS AROUND 7.9%.

THERE IS NO DOUBT POVERTY IS A PROBLEM IN LOS ANGELES AND I AM A SUPPORTER OF RAISING THE WAGE TO A LEVEL THAT ASSISTS MINIMUM WAGE EARNERS. BUT IT MUST NOT BE AT THE EXPENSE OF EMPLOYERS AND THE LOS ANGELES ECONOMY. OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS I ENCOURAGE EVERYONE TO BE INVOLVED IN A SERIES OF COMMUNITY FORUMS I HAVE CALLED FOR THAT WILL FOCUS ON IMPACTS TO SMALL BUSINESSES, NON PROFITS, THE MANUFACTURING SECTOR, ETC. YOUR VOICES NEED TO BE HEARD DURING THIS DISCUSSION.

HOLLYWOOD NEEDS TO THRIVE. THAT MEANS A GOOD QUALITY OF LIFE, SAFE NEIGHBORHOODS, AND OPPORTUNITY FOR A GOOD EDUCATION AND A WAY UP THE ECONOMIC LADDER. GOOD WAGES ARE PART OF THAT EQUATION BUT THE REAL ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM IS THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING CRISIS IN LOS ANGELES. WE ARE NOW THE LEAST AFFORDABLE BIG CITY IN THE UNITED STATES, A DUBIOUS DISTINCTION THAT WE SHOULD BE TAKING MORE SERIOUSLY.

IN 2013 I PROPOSED AN AFFORDABLE HOUSING POLICY FOR THE CITY AND LAST YEAR I CALLED FOR REINVESTING FORMER CRA MONIES, WHICH THE CITY STILL RECEIVES, INTO THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING TRUST FUND - AND - A VALUE CAPTURE ORDINANCE THAT WOULD REQUIRE DEVELOPERS TO BUILD AFFORDABLE UNITS WHEN VARIANCES ARE GRANTED. THESE INITIATIVES ARE PENDING IN THE HOUSING COMMITTEE AND THEY MUST BE HEARD. HOUSING PEOPLE AT THE LOW END OF INCOME EARNERS, OUR VETERANS, OUR SENIORS, AND OUR HOMELESS IS NOT ONLY A MORAL IMPERATIVE, IT’S GOOD FOR THE ECONOMY. EVERY ONE-DOLLAR OF INVESTMENT YIELDS 3 DOLLARS INTO THE ECONOMY, WHILE PROVIDING GOOD CONSTRUCTION JOBS. MIXED INCOME NEIGHBORHOODS ARE A CRITICAL INGREDIENT TO SAFE, VIBRANT NEIGHBORHOODS AND - FOR PEOPLE WHO LIVE AT THE MARGINS, THE SPECTOR OF HOMELESSNESS IS EVER PRESENT. (I’LL SEE MANY OF YOU TONIGHT FOR THE ANNUAL HOMELESS COUNT). IF WE CONTINUE TO IGNORE THE CRISIS, MORE AND MORE PEOPLE WILL BE PRICED OUT OF THEIR OWN NEIGHBORHOODS AT A FASTER RATE. AS THE ECONOMIC PRESSURES COMPOUND WITH NO RELIEF VALVE, WE STIFLE MIDDLE CLASS JOB GROWTH AND DISCOURAGE COMPANIES FROM RELOCATING – OR EVEN WORSE, WE KEEP THEM FROM STAYING HERE JUST AS THEY ARE BEGINNING TO TURN A PROFIT. WE MUST PRIORITIZE AND ACT.

IN THE 13TH DISTRICT, WE HAVE A LONG TRADITION OF CREATING OPPORTUNITIES FOR PEOPLE THAT ARE STRUGGLING. LAST YEAR I DIRECTED $1.5 MILLION TO SUPPORT THE EXPANSION OF HOMELESS SERVICES AT THE CENTER AT BLESSED SACRAMENT. I ALSO SUPPORTED THE “PEOPLE ASSISTING THE HOMELESS” OR (PATH) EXPANSION AND THEY WILL BREAK GROUND LATER THIS YEAR ON NEARLY 200 UNITS OF PERMANENT SUPPORTIVE HOUSING FOR THE HOMELESS. THIS IS IN ADDITION TO HUNDREDS OF UNITS APPROVED ACROSS MY DISTRICT.

FURTHERMORE, LAST YEAR AN RFP WAS PUBLISHED FOR THE WILCOX SHRADER CITY PARKING LOT TO CREATE 60 UNITS OF HOUSING, AT LEAST HALF OF THEM AFFORDABLE UNITS. THE THREE BIDS ARE NOW BEING EVALUATED AND THE PROJECT WILL PRESERVE EXISTING PARKING AND INCLUDE OTHER COMMERCIAL USES THAT BUILD ON HOLLYWOOD AS AN ARTS DESTINATION. THIS IS A GOOD EXAMPLE OF LEVERAGING A CITY ASSET TO CREATE AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND VIBRANT NEIGHBORHOODS.

FAMILIES WANT TO BE IN HOLLYWOOD TOO! TO THAT END I HAVE BEEN INTENTLY FOCUSED ON ENHANCING OUR EXISTING PARKS AND MAKING CIRCULATION AROUND OUR SCHOOLS SAFER. WE RECENTLY REDEDICATED THE WONDERFUL NEW DOROTHY J. & BENJAMIN SMITH PARK AT SYCAMORE AND FRANKLIN. WHAT HAD BEEN AN UNDERPERFORMING, UNINVITING POCKET PARK IS NOW USEFUL TO EVERYONE BECAUSE OF ITS FUN FITNESS EQUIPMENT, NATIVE PLANTS, AND DECOMPOSED GRANITE WALKING PATHS. IT’S ALSO DOG FRIENDLY. WE MUSTN’T FOGET OUR ANIMAL COMPANIONS. THEY ARE PART OF OUR FAMILY TOO!

WE CONTINUE TO WORK ON IMPROVEMENTS FOR LEMON GROVE PARK AND SOON WILL INSTALL A WORKING SECURITY CAMERA THANKS TO A DEPARTMENT OF JUSTCE GRANT. WE WORK VERY CLOSELY WITH THE COMMUNITY, THE LAPD, AND THE CITY TO KEEP THE TUNNEL UNDER THE 101 FREEWAY WELL LIT, CLEAN, AND SAFE.

UPON TAKING OFFICE I CALLED FOR THE REMOVAL OF A BASKETBALL COURT AND INSTALLATION OF NEW FITNESS EQUIPMENT AT SEILY RODRIGUEZ PARK. DON’T GE TME WRONG, I LOVE BASKETBALL! BUT THE COURT AND NET WERE IN CLOSE PROXIMITY TO DOZENS OF APARTMENT BEDROOM WINDOWS, MOSTLY FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN. THE COURT HAD TO GO AND IT HAS MADE THIS PARK MORE ENJOYABLE AND MORE USEFUL FOR THE IMMEDIATE RESIDENTS IT WAS INTENDED TO SERVE.

AND OPENING LATER THIS YEAR WILL BE A NEW POCKET PARK AT CARLTON WAY NEAR BRONSON, BEING CONSTRUCTED BY THE TRUST FOR PUBLIC LAND.

AND WE AREN’T FORGETTING ABOUT OUR SENIORS! NEW WIFI HAS BEEN INSTALLED AND OTHER IMPROVEMENTS ARE COMING TO THE LAS PALMAS SENIOR CENTER NEAR FRANKLIN.

AND LASTLY, WE WILL FINALLY DEDICATE THE AMAZING NEW POOL AND AQUATICS CENTER AT THE HOLLYWOOD RECREATION CENTER, IN TIME FOR SUMMER. AS SOON AS WE HAVE A DATE, WE WILL PREPARE FOR THE BIG CELEBRATION. I HAVE PUBLICLY COMMITTED TO JUMPING IN THE NEW POOL WEARING FULL BUSINESS ATTIRE. WON’T YOU JOIN ME?

THERE IS NOTHING MORE IMPORTANT THAN KEEPING OUR KIDS SAFE. AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SCHOOL YEAR WE INSTALLED NEW TRAFFIC SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS IN FRONT OF LE CONTE MIDDLE SCHOOL. THEY INCLUDE A FLASHING BEACON LIGHT AND A NEW ALL-WAY STOP. SUNSET BRONSON STUDIOS IS SPONSORING A VOLUNTEER CORPS OF PARENTS THAT HAVE BECOME CERTIFIED IN MONITORING THE SAFETY OF SCHOOL KIDS CROSSING LOCAL STREETS. HAVING THE DEDICATED WATCHFUL EYE OF PARENTS MAKING SURE KIDS SAFELY CROSS STREETS AND STAY OUT OF TROUBLE COULD BE A MODEL FOR THE WHOLE CITY.

HOLLYWOOD IS THE PLACE EVERYONE WANTS TO BE. AND THAT INCLUDES MAJOR ENTERTAINMENT EVENTS AND MOVIE PREMIERES THAT INVOLVE THE CLOSURE OR PARTIAL CLOSURE OF HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD. THERE ARE MORE REQUESTS THAN EVER BEFORE. THEREFORE WE ARE REFINING THE STREET CLOSURE GUIDELINES AND PAYING SPECIAL ATTENTION TO SIDEWALK CLOSURES, AS WE CONTINUE TO BALANCE THE FREQUENCY OF THE EVENTS WITH THE IMPACTS TO BUSINESSES AND RESIDENTS.

HOLLYWOOD IS CHANGING. ON FEBRUARY 11TH, THE HOLLYWOOD PROPERTY OWNERS ALLIANCE IS HOLDING A MOBILITY SUMMIT CALLED, “HOLLYWOOD ON THE MOVE”. I AM COMMITTED TO SUPPORTING COMMUNITY DRIVEN EFFORTS MAKING HOLLYWOOD MORE WALKABLE AND ACCESSIBLE TO MULTIPLE MODES OF TRANSIT. I AM EQUALLY COMMITTED TO MAINTAINING A BALANCE OF ALL OUR TRANSIT NEEDS IN THIS GRIDLOCKED CITY. WE DON’T WANT CARS TO SIT IN IDLING TRAFFIC ANY LONGER THAN THEY ALREADY DO.

MY OFFICE HAS BEEN WORKING DILIGENTLY WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION TO PRIORITIZE AND FUND THE INSTALLATION OF APPROVED TRAFFIC SIGNALS AT HOLLYWOOD & MCCADDEN, SUNSET AT LAS PALMAS, AND VINE AT WARING FOR THE SAFETY OF KIDS AT LARCHMONT CHARTER SCHOOL. THESE SIGNALS WILL BE INSTALLED OVER TWO YEARS. WE ALSO HAVE “SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL” IMPROVEMENTS AT HOLLYWOOD HIGH AND SELMA ELEMENTARY.

AND LAST YEAR, IN FRONT OF PACKED BLEACHERS BEFORE THEIR HOMECOMING GAME AT HOLLYWOOD HIGH SCHOOL, COUNCILMAN TOM LABONGE THREW A TOUCHDOWN PASS TO ME (NOT EVEN KIDDING) IN DEDICATING THE NEW ARTIFICIAL TURF FOOTBALL FIELD THERE. NEVER HAVE I FACED SUCH PRESSURE BEFORE IN MY LIFE, BUT I CAUGHT THAT PASS.

TOM, YOU ARE AND ALWAYS HAVE BEEN A GREAT QUARTERBACK. WE MAY BE RETIRING YOUR MARSHALL HIGH SCHOOL JERSEY SOON ON THE LOS ANGELES CITY COUNCIL, BUT THE LOVING ATTENTION YOU HAVE GIVEN ALL THESE YEARS TO THE NEIGHBORHOODS YOU SERVE, HAVE SET THE STANDARD FOR ALL OF US, ESPECIALLY ME. YOUR INFLUENCE WILL CONTINUE TO RESONATE INTO THE FORSEEABLE FUTURE AND YOUR PRESENCE WILL ALWAYS BE HERE EVEN WHEN YOU PHYSICALLY ARE NO LONGER ON THE JOB. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, LET’S SHOW OUR APPRECIATION FOR TOM LABONGE!

SPEAKING OF TOM LABONGE, HE AND I SUPPORT THE CRUCIAL SERVICES OF OUR HOMELESS YOUTH PROVIDERS. LAST SUMMER WE CELEBRATED THE OPENING OF THE NEW LOS ANGELES YOUTH NETWORK FACILITY IN A BEAUTIFUL, RESTORED OLD HOME ON TAFT, HOUSING UP TO 17 FORMERLY HOMELESS YOUTH AT A TIME. ALONG WITH COVENENT HOUSE AND MY FRIENDS PLACE, HOLLYWOOD SHOWS THAT IT HASN’T FORGOTTEN ABOUT THE NEEDS OF HOMELESS YOUTH, AMONG THE MOST VULNERABLE IN ALL OF SOCIETY AND MORE HEAVILY CONCENTRATED IN HOLLYWOOD THAN ANYWHERE ELSE.

LET’S NOT FORGET ABOUT MY DISTRICT’S LARGEST EMPLOYER – THE MEDICAL INDUSTRY AND HOSPITALS IN HOLLYWOOD. CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL CONTINUES AS AN INTERNATIONAL LEADER IN PIONEERING MEDICAL CARE FOR NEWBORNS AND THE VERY YOUNG. CHILDREN’S IS GROWING, ALONG WITH HOLLYWOOD PRESBYTERIAN, AND KAISER PERMANENTE, LOS ANGELES MEDICAL CENTER. LAST YEAR I TOOK PART IN DEDICATING THE AMAZING NEW 96-BED TOWER ALONG SUNSET THAT OFFERS PATIENTS A WHOLE NEW LEVEL OF CARE. IT’S A WORLD CLASS IMPROVEMENT AND KAISER IS SETTING THE STANDARD.     

EVERYONE WANTS IMPROVED CORRIDORS. ACROSS THE DISTRICT, A HANDFUL OF STREETSCAPE IMPROVEMENTS WILL BEGIN WITHIN A FEW MONTHS. NEXT, I HAVE MY SIGHTS SET ON THE STREETSCAPE IMPROVEMENTS COMING TO HOLLYWOOD AND WESTERN, FOR WHICH I HAVE IDENTIFIED THE FUNDING.

EVERYONE WANTS A SAFE HOLLYWOOD! OVER THE PAST TEN YEARS, VIOLENT CRIME IN HOLLYWOOD HAS BEEN REDUCED BY OVER 51 %.

BY STAYING FOCUSED AND VIGILANT, THE LAPD WILL CONTINUE REDUCING CRIME IN HOLLYWOOD AND OUR SUPPORT FOR THEM WILL ENDURE. THE IMPORTANCE OF HOLLYWOOD DIVISION CANNOT BE OVERSTATED, CONSIDERING WE ARE A WORLDWIDE DESTINATION.

SINCE COMING TO HOLLYWOOD, CAPTAIN PETE ZARCONE HAS SET A COURSE WITH A NO-NONSENSE, DOGGED DETERMINATION TO KEEP HOLLYWOOD SAFE FOR ALL OF US AND IT IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE. THANK YOU CAPTAIN ZARCONE.

I ALSO WANT TO THANK PATROL CAPTAIN DAVE STORAKER AND THE 64 OFFICERS ON PATROL IN THE HOLLYWOOD ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT, LED BY SERGEANT OSBALDO RAMOS. THE HOLLYWOOD LAPD WORKING COLLABORATIVELY WITH ANDREWS INTERNATIONAL SECURITY PROVIDES THE SECURE ENVIRONMENT THAT WE NEED TO HAVE.

IN ADDITION TO THE LAPD, WE HAVE A CRITICAL PARTNER IN MAKING HOLLYWOOD SAFER - CITY ATTORNEY MIKE FEUER. OVER THE PAST SIX MONTHS, OUR OUTSTANDING NEIGHBORHOOD PROSECUTOR JACKIE LAWSON, HAS PROSECUTED SEVEN STREET CHARACTERS FOR ASSAULT. THIS LEVEL OF FOCUS FROM THE CA’S OFFICE IS A FIRST AND I AM SO GRATEFUL. THIS LEVEL OF COLLABORATION AND HOLDING CRIMINALS RESPONSIBLE FOR ERODING OUR QUALITY OF LIFE WILL MAKE THE DIFFERENCE. IF YOU’RE GOING TO PUT ON A COSTUME AND POSE FOR PICTURES, BE AN AMBASSADOR FOR HOLLYWOOD, NOT A KNUCKLEHEAD. WE SET A STANDARD OF EXPECTED BEHAVIOR AND PEOPLE CAN EITHER FOLLOW THAT STANDARD OR DEAL WITH THE CONSEQUENCES OF CHOOSING NOT TO. IN HOLLYWOOD WE ARE ALL PULLING ON THE SAME ROPE AND WE HAVE MORE PEOPLE ON OUR TEAM THAN EVER BEFORE.

WE ARE CREATING THE NEW HOLLYWOOD NARRATIVE – TOGETHER. IT IS ONE OF AN UNPRECEDENTED PURPOSE IN UNITY - TO MOVE THIS COMMUNITY FORWARD.

MY OWN TEAM IS A HUGE PART OF THAT. AT THIS TIME, I WOULD LIKE TO RECOGNIZE MY INCREDIBLE STAFF. PLEASE STAND. MY STAFF IS AN EXTENSION OF ME AND THEY WORK SO HARD ON MY BEHALF – FOR YOU.

FRIENDS - WE CAN NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE IMPORTANCE OF A GOOD TEAM. VINCE LOMBARDI SAID IT BEST AND I LIKE TO THINK IT APPLIES TO EVERYONE IN THIS ROOM.

“INDIVIDUAL COMMITMENT TO A GROUP EFFORT – THAT IS WHAT MAKES A GREAT TEAM WORK, A COMPANY WORK, A SOCIETY WORK, A CIVILIZATION WORK.”

WE ARE - ALL OF US IN THIS ROOM - ON THE HOLLYWOOD TEAM. AND WE ARE A GREAT TEAM, PULLING TOGETHER TO MAKE IT ALL WORK. YOU ARE THE REASON HOLLYWOOD WILL REMAIN THE PLACE “WHERE EVERYONE WANTS TO BE.”

I LOVE HOLLYWOOD! I LOVE YOU! THANK YOU AND MAY GOD BLESS!

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