While campaigning to represent the constituents of the great 13th Council District, I made a list of my goals if elected, and called it The Mitch Plan.
I focused intently on what I felt was most important to make our district the very best: improving our quality of life and providing a safe, enjoyable visitor experience to some of the most vibrant neighborhoods in all of Los Angeles, including Hollywood.
My thirty-year history with the 13th District, and my experience working with boots-on-the-ground as a volunteer and public servant, informed my approach. I am proud to say, after only a year and a half, we are seeing much of our plan realized, and are prepared to push ahead in the coming year!
Here’s a list of what we accomplished together in 2014. Moving forward, you can also sign up for my weekly updates that will be sent directly to your inbox.
I want to thank you for your support and with your help, we will accomplish even more in 2015, and I wish you and your family, a happy and healthy New Year!
All the best,
Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell
MAKING IT HAPPEN IN 2014
Here is a snapshot of my activity in the 13th District. This summary of events includes community improvements and policy initiated in 2014.
KEEPING THE DISTRICT CLEAN AND SAFE
One of my top priorities is keeping our communities clean and safe. During my first year in office, I created a clean team with the help of the amazing Los Angeles Conservation Corps. Team Mitch spends five days each week, in every part of the district, sprucing up our neighborhoods, block-by-block. My office also contracted with Central City Action Committee, as well as the Los Angeles Beautification Team, to ensure that the district is monitored for graffiti and bulky items every day of the year.
I directed staff to place the paving of Glendale Boulevard as a top priority. I also worked with the Bureau of Street Services (BSS) Special Projects Division to identify the most appropriate locations for a sidewalk repair project.
I am helping to pave the way for the new Hollywood Central Park to move forward, and I am in full support of the City’s Department of Recreation and Parks (RAP) starting of the environmental review process for the proposed public space.
I sponsored the Ninth Annual Frogtown Art Walk, and joined the community to help celebrate the eclectic Elysian Valley neighborhood that’s now home to a flourishing art scene.
I supported the Farmer’s Market at the Goodwill site on San Fernando Road, and brought snow to the community this holiday season!
I joined U.S. Congressman Xavier Becerra (CA-34), as well as the City's Department of Public Works and Bureau of Street Services, to unveil the latest improvements to Temple Street and the gateway to Historic Filipinotown.
I helped cut the ribbon on the newly re-imagined Smith Park in Hollywood. Thanks to the design team at the Department of Recreation and Parks, as well as funding from the Department of Water and Power, we have a sustainable public space of which the community can be proud.
I allocated funds for a Little Armenia Public Art Project to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, as well as pay tribute to the Armenian community in the City of Los Angeles.
My office worked with the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to improve public safety in Silver Lake in a neighborhood where close to 20 tires were slashed.
***READ MORE NEIGHBORHOOD UPDATES ON CD13.COM***
BRIDGING THE GAP - EDUCATION AND SENIORS
I am committed to improving the quality of life for our most vulnerable populations -- our youth and seniors -- and I am focused on maintaining safe, easy access to institutions and services in our neighborhoods.
This year, my staff collaborated with the City Attorney’s office, the Los Angeles Unified School District, and Youth Policy Institute, to create a “Safe Passage” volunteer pilot program that was so successful at LeConte Middle School and Citizens of the World Elementary Charter School that it will be extended to more schools in the coming year.
On the other end of the spectrum, the much anticipated Echo Park Senior Center at the Sandra Cisneros Learning Center was guaranteed $450,000 in funds in this last fiscal year budget. This was a personal commitment I made years back, and I am overjoyed to finally see it become a reality.
ARTS AND CULTURE -- MAKING LOS ANGELES THE ART CAPITOL OF THE WORLD
I have always felt the City of Angel needs to claim its place as a world-class city. This cannot happen without a robust and vital arts and culture scene. My staff worked from day one to create a path forward to cutting red tape and have a sensible approach to the underutilized Arts Development Fee. As Chair of Arts, Parks, Health, Aging and the Los Angeles River Committee, I am committed to continue this effort and grow the arts even more.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING/PERMANENT AND SUPPORTIVE TRANSITIONAL HOUSING
Affordable and permanent supportive housing are of critical importance to making the City of Los Angeles a liveable city. I introduced policy to start the dialogue of how we create a permanent revenue stream for housing for all income levels. In January, I voted to approve City funding to build new affordable housing projects across the City, including 215 new affordable units in the 13th District.
In September, the Los Angeles Youth Network opened the doors to a new eight bedroom, 10,000 square foot home in Hollywood for foster and homeless youth. Our office provided $25,000 to help them improve their basketball and sports area.
In February, I led my colleagues in voting to spend $1.5 million to renovate the Center at Blessed Sacrament to support its homeless services and transitional housing program. Renovations are expected to begin in Winter 2015.
In November, the City solicited developer proposals for a new affordable housing and parking replacement project at the Wilcox-Schrader public parking lot. The project will include at least 60 housing units, 50% of which will be affordable.
My office contracts directly with People Assisting the Homeless to make sure we have a dedicated resource to help with the many challenges our homeless population faces.
I have always had a soft spot for our animal companions, be they domestic or wild. I worked with my colleagues to ban all traps that maim, kill, or otherwise cause harm to wildlife.
Locally I introduced the first ever Los Angeles Animal Services Adoption and Resource Fair at the annual Echo Park Lotus Festival. It was hugely successful and will be back this coming year with more locally serving resources like microchipping, spay/neuter vouchers, vaccination clinics and more.
My partner George and I adopted a shelter dog this year, the much beloved Speedy. Please join us in making sure our shelter animals find good homes.
-I introduced more than 90 Motions directing City Policy and improving the quality of life for the residents of the 13th District, and I have been engaged with the small business owners in my district as we craft a minimum wage ordinance.
-I was appointed to the ad hoc committee on Film and TV Production Jobs, enabling me to continue my fight on a higher level to keep entertainment and small business jobs in Hollywood and the City.
-Joined Councilmember Felipe Fuentes to introduce multiple motions calling for greater oversight of the DWP Joint Trusts, to ensure that the ratepayer’s funds are being well managed
-Joined Council President Herb Wesson and Budget Chair Paul Krekorian to ensure that fiscally sustainable policies are maintained; from union negotiations to fiscally responsible budgets.
-Joined Council President Herb Wesson and Budget Chair Paul Krekorian in voting for a fiscally responsible budget that set the City on track to erase it’s debt by 2018.
-Fought for, and won funding for, continued service in the Department of Disability’s AIDS coordinator position during the City Budget process.
-Fought for a tool that will give the communities surrounding Dodger stadium increased oversight over congestion issues during game days.
-I led my colleagues on the City Council to approve an ordinance that requires notification to demolish buildings older than 45 years old anywhere in Los Angeles. The ordinance also provides neighbors with an opportunity to know first hand about what is being proposed in their neighborhoods.
-I helped bring a White House initiative called Countering Violent Extremism, to enhance public safety in the City of Los Angeles.
-I helped establish a $750,000 fund to restore and maintain the city’s iconic collection of culturally significant street murals, As chair of the City's Arts, Parks, Health, Aging, and Los Angeles River committee, I initiated the process and worked with the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) on this policy to protect and preserve historic murals across the city that are in need of repair.
-I worked in collaboration with City Attorney Mike Feuer, and Councilmembers O’Farrell, Paul Koretz, and Bernard Parks, to establish e-cigarette regulations in the City of Los Angeles. The new ordinance regulates the usage of electronic smoking devices where smoking is prohibited by law.
-As Chair of the City’s Arts, Parks, Health, Aging and Los Angeles River committee, I oversee all policy that guides the future of the LA River.
-Under the direction of the Council Office, LADOT installed wayfinding signs along the Los Angeles River.
-Initiated a pilot program to address safety for all users along the Los Angeles River bike path.
-Created two LA River recreation zones, one in Elysian Valley and another in the Sepulveda Basin, which will allow more Angelenos to get closer to our precious natural resource.
-Hosted the inaugural LA River Day at City Hall to raise awareness about the community improvement projects taking shape along the river.
-Led the way on the Council’s final authorization of the RIO (River Improvement Overlay) Ordinance, which provides regulations in support of the Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan.
-Introduced a Resolution requesting that the National Park Service designate the Los Angeles River the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail and open the River to further grant opportunities.
-Dedicated the Los Angeles - Glendale Water Treatment Facility’s new open space greenway in North Atwater.
-Introduced a council motion to conduct a feasibility study of the consolidation of the 24.6 acre riverfront property known as the Central Service yard to optimize the use of it’s river frontage.
-I worked with my colleagues to create the first Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District in the City. This can provide a permanent long term revenue source for Los Angeles River improvements, and put our own increased tax revenues to work for the City.
NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
As the first Native American elected to the Los Angeles City Council, it is an honor and a privilege to work on behalf of the community and to further strengthen the country’s largest concentration of urban Native Americans. Working with the Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission, we have partnered with the Obama Administration to help bring the successful White House Listening Tour on Native American and Alaskan Native Education to the Autry National Center of the American West Museum in Los Angeles -- the first ever visit to the region on the subject.
Each year, my office hosts the Native American Heritage Month at City Hall, and this year we honored many community and tribal leaders, including Torres-Martines Desert Cahuila Indians who do amazing work as the administrative agent for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.