The L.A. City Council voted Friday on a proposed contract agreement with workers at the Department of Water and Power projected to save ratepayers nearly $4 billion over three decades.
"Through the leadership of Mayor Eric Garcetti and Council President Herb Wesson, the city has secured a labor agreement by which ratepayers will gain savings of more than $400 million over the next four years, and billions of dollars over the next 30 years, while keeping rates from spiking even higher," said Councilmember Paul Krekorian, who helped broker the proposal.
"At the same time, we ensured that the Council and the Mayor will retain authority to continue implementing much needed and overdue reforms at the DWP."
A 2% cost-of-living raise scheduled for Oct. 1 will be postponed until 2016 under the agreement, saving the city $385 million over four years and $3.9 billion over 30 years. Changes to the pension tier for new employees are expected to save the DWP $41 million over the next four years and $1.87 billion over the next 30 years. The contract also allows the City Council and mayor to weigh in on future changes to the pension tier.
Councilmember Krekorian, who recently led a joint committee hearing with Councilmember Felipe Fuentes to consider the proposed agreement, said the contract represents a step in the right direction on the road to DWP reform.
"This contract certainly is not the end of our continuing efforts to reform the DWP, but it is a very important step in the right direction that achieves significant savings for ratepayers," Councilmember Krekorian said. "In the months and years ahead, I look forward to working with my colleagues and the Mayor as we continue to change the culture of the DWP and institute better practices and oversight to ensure that the people's utility will serve the best interests of the people."
Police Ask for Help in Hit-and-Run Investigations
A recent influx of hit-and-runs in the San Fernando Valley have left two dead and another injured as police look for the suspects and ask for your help.
Just before midnight on Aug. 17, Michael Spencer Bonanomi crossed Ventura Boulevard, near Fairway Avenue in Studio City, when a white Mercedes struck and dragged him nearly 100 yards. The car fled the scene and Bonanomi was pronounced dead at the scene. The suspected hit-and-run driver was last seen heading eastbound on Ventura Boulevard and sustained major front-end damage from the collision.
A few hours later at 1:45 a.m., a 22-year-old resident of Van Nuys was killed after the driver of a gray four-door SUV Hyundai Tucson slammed the victim as he entered his car in front of a Sherman Oaks café. A parking valet was also struck, but did not sustain serious injuries while the victim was transported to a local hospital where he later died.
Anyone with information about these incidents is urged to contact the Los Angeles Police Department, Valley Traffic Detectives, Officer Fredo at (818) 644-8037.
DWP Continues City Trunk Line Replacements
The DWP earlier this month resumed another phase of its trunk line replacement project in Studio City and Valley Village as they continue upgrading the city's water pipeline system.
The City Trunk Line Unit 4 aims to install a new 54-inch water pipeline in Valley Village by March 2014, replacing a deteriorating pipe built in 1914. A new work zone on Magnolia Boulevard, west of Goodland Avenue to west of Beeman Avenue, has been set up to continue work on this phase of the construction.
Traffic lanes on Magnolia Boulevard, between Coldwater Canyon Avenue and Whitsett Avenue, will be restriped with at least one traffic lane open for use in each direction on the boulevard.
Construction of a second replacement project, City Truck Line Unit 5 in Studio City, is taking place on Coldwater Canyon Avenue, between Bloomfield Street and Valleyheart Drive. There, DWP crews are installing 60-inch and 54-inch diameter water pipelines over roughly 1.3 miles.
Work days and hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The new trunk lines aim to improve capacity, reliability, and flexibility in the water system. For more information about the DWP's trunk line replacement project, visit www.ladwp.com and be sure to let us know if you have any issues.
Councilmember Visits with the Neighborhood Council of Van Nuys
Councilmember Krekorian spoke to East Valley stakeholders earlier this month, offering the Van Nuys Neighborhood Council an update on news from his office and answers to local issues.
Neighborhood council board members and more than 40 stakeholders received insight from the councilmember about his role as the chair of the Budget and Finance Committee and member of the MTA board, working with the new Mayor, how the VNNC can continue its working relationship with the district office, what issues the San Fernando Valley Council of Governments is facing and other district updates.
Are there any issues we should know about? Call us at (818) 755-7676 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Valley Glen Mourns Local Artist and Community Activist Steve Porus-Lange
Long-time Valley Glen artist, community activist and resident Steve Porus-Lange passed away last week after suffering complications from pneumonia. He was 60-years-old.
Born in Skokie, Illinois and a graduate of the Harrington Institute of Interior Design in Chicago, he moved West years later where he flexed his love of art and community.
As a graphic designer, Steve was celebrated for his artistry and vision. In addition to designing websites, he authored, drew and published a children's book, one of his proudest accomplishments, friends said. Steve was also an actor, producer and artist whose "Valley Glen" painting was one of the first pieces of art hung in Councilmember Krekorian's new City Council office four years ago.
It was that love of community that made Steve stand out in his community.
Steve was a trusted neighbor, friend and a dedicated member of Valley Glen, serving as a neighborhood watch block captain while also taking a great interest in local issues, including serving as a volunteer on Councilmember Krekorian's 2009 run for the seat he now holds.
"He'll be remembered by all of us who knew him and by his family and many friends for his community engagement, his humor, his kindness, his generosity of spirit, his compassion and his storytelling," Councilmember Paul Krekorian said during a recent City Council meeting, which adjourned in Steve's memory.
"We will miss him."
Steve is survived by his loving husband Phil (he and Steve were one of the state's first gay couples to marry in the state), his father Marcus and two dogs: Oreo and Jocko.
A funeral has not yet been planned, but friends said they will likely plan a "celebration of life" instead.
Back-to-School Safety Tips
Nearly 600,000 students dusted off their backpacks, sharpened their pencils and gathered their books as a new school year for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) began the week of August 11. To help parents and students get off to a safe start, here are a few back-to-school safety tips.
- Learn school rules. Read the 2013-14 LAUSD Parent/Student Handbook, available in multiple languages at schools or online;
- Learn about the emergency plan at your school. School staff and students receive annual training on emergency procedures such as earthquake and fire drills. Know what you as a parent/guardian can do in case there is an emergency at your child's school;
- Update your child's emergency contact card whenever home, work or cell phone numbers change so that school personnel can contact you or another appropriate person when an emergency occurs;
- Know your child's schedule every day. What time does school begin and end? What time do after-school activities end?;
- Obey traffic rules around campus and whenever you are dropping off or picking up your children from school.
Students can do their part to stay safe by knowing the school's rules and code of conduct, avoid talking to strangers, and reporting any dangerous or suspicious activity to a parent, teacher, school official or police officer.
For more information on the Safe School Plan visit:
Mayor Seeks Volunteers for Crisis Response Team
Angelenos now have an opportunity to volunteer their service and become members of the Crisis Response Team.
The Crisis Response Team program is managed by the Mayor's Office of Homeland Security and Public Safety and is operated in collaboration with the city's fire and police departments. Composed of community civilian volunteers, members of the team respond to traumatic incidents at the request of the LAPD and/or LAFD to serve as on-scene resources and support for the public as emergency personnel do their work at the incident.
The teams of volunteers provide immediate on-scene crisis intervention, attend to survival and basic support needs, act as a liaison between the victim & emergency personnel, or provide referrals to victims and their families affected by a death, injury, violent crime, or other traumatic incidents. This year alone, the CRT has responded to more than 205 calls.
To volunteer, residents must be at least 21-years-old and in good physical condition. CRT volunteers participate in 48 hours of intensive training designed to help them develop the skills, knowledge and relationships necessary to function effectively in the field.
The seven-week training session is slated to begin September 9 and run until October 23 on Monday and Wednesday evenings at the LAPD headquarters in Downtown Los Angeles. Residents interested in learning more about volunteering for the Crisis Response Team should email LACRT@lacity.org.