Heart of the Valley: Arts, Assistance and Activities

May 13, 2022

May 13, 2022

Last week, we featured an event, Burbank Opera Talk, which is near and dear to me. My eldest son David is a Julliard-trained, award winning opera composer. As you can imagine, it swelled this father’s heart when David was hailed as “opulently gifted” by Opera News and “utterly original” by The New York Times. David’s interest and success reminded me of the role the Valley has played in performing arts and music.

While we are all familiar with the numerous movie and television production studios in the Valley, few recall that our community was once home to a legitimate theater and music venue. On a portion of Ventura Blvd., between Winnetka and De Soto, once stood the Valley Music Theatre . The cement-domed facility opened in July of 1964 with a performance of The Sound of Music. That was less than five years after the musical opened on Broadway and nearly a year before the film premiered. It was a major triumph that Valley residents could attend theater and music performances without venturing downtown.

PHOTO CREDIT: San Fernando Valley Blog

Over time, the nearly 3000-seat venue hosted numerous musicals, concerts, sporting events and even a closed-circuit appeal from Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir during the Yom Kippur war of 1973.  While hopes were high that this Valley venue would enable our community to attend cultural events close to home, the Valley Music Theatre hit hard times, due to lack of parking, among other factors. It closed, was bought by a religious institution, and ultimately demolished.  This former gem is now the site of multi-family housing.

While the Valley Music Theater is long gone, our community has proved to be a fertile ground for renowned musicians, such as Ritchie Valens, Frank Zappa, Tom Petty, HAIM, and Lucas Richman, among many others. A few of the Valley-based musicians, even wrote well-known songs about our region. Who can forget Zappa’s Valley Girl or Petty’s Free Fallin’?

Music and the arts enrich our lives. Fortunately, we have other performance venues in the Valley – big and small – including Cal State University, Northridge’s The Soraya, where I recently attended the venue’s tenth anniversary celebration.

Scroll down for news you can use about water conservation, transit, literacy, potentially free broadband, assistance to first time home buyers, and more.

Tell me what is on your mind. Reach out via FacebookTwitter, Instagram and my email, or call my office at 818-901-5588.

Stay safe and be well,

Bob Hertzberg




With the continuing severe drought conditions, and to ensure an adequate water supply, customers of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) will need to cut back on outdoor watering. On June 1, pending City Council approval, LADWP will move to Phase 3 of its emergency water conservation plan – requiring all LADWP customers to cut the number of outdoor watering days from three to two.

If City Council adopts the proposal, street addresses ending in odd numbers, may water their lawns on Mondays and Fridays. Those with addresses ending in even numbers, may water on Thursdays and Sundays. The changes come on top of existing watering restrictions, which stipulate that customers watering with sprinklers are limited to eight minutes per use; watering with sprinklers using water conserving nozzles are limited to 15 minutes; and watering between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. is prohibited, regardless of the watering day.

Additionally, to help consumers conserve even more water, LADWP offers various rebates, such as for energy efficient appliances and sustainable landscaping. LADWP also offers some water conserving items at no cost, such as low flow showerheads. Click here here for additional information.


The U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) Federal Transit Administration (FTA) earlier this week issued a Letter of Intent (LOI) to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (METRO) announcing DOT’s intention to obligate funds for the first phase of the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor light rail line.

This project will help connect residents to local and regional destinations and activity centers. The 6.7-mile line would add a north-south connection between Pacoima and Van Nuys and improve mobility. The project will include 11 stations and link to Metro’s G (Orange) BRT line and the Metrolink Ventura County line.

As the latest light rail line in METRO’s growing transit network, the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality, and lessen congestion. It will also help those who do not have personal vehicles to easily get to school, work, stores and medical appointments.



With food prices at an all-time high, the Los Angeles County departments of Public Social Services and Public Health just launched the county's annual CalFresh Awareness Month (CFAM) campaign. CalFresh is California's version of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and its goal is to increase purchasing power and reduce hunger. This year's CFAM theme — CalFresh + Healthy foods and more — focuses on the additional benefits of CalFresh, including free entry to local museums, discounts on utility bills, and reduced fares on local transit. For more information on the program including eligibility, please click here or call 1-866-613-7777. The call center is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.


The California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) has officially launched the Forgivable Equity Builder Loan program, an initiative that will provide first-time homeowners with forgivable loans for up to 10% of the purchase price with 0% interest. Borrowers do not have to repay these loans if they stay in their new home for five years. Loans can be used for down payment or closing costs, including rate reductions. Eligible individuals must have an income less than 80% of the area median income in the county where the property is located, be a first-time home buyer, and obtain a certificate of completion of homebuyer education counseling from an eligible organization; the property in question must be the primary residence. To apply for assistance, please click here.


Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) will provide all students, regardless of income, with high-speed broadband internet in their homes. This free service will end June 2023. LAUSD has also committed to buying an additional 100,000 tablets and laptops for their students. Families of LAUSD students can apply on LAUSD’s website by clicking here.

For families who already have broadband, but have trouble affording the cost, or who do not have a student enrolled in LAUSD, the federal government offers an Affordable Connectivity Program that picks up $30 per month of broadband internet fees ($75 per month if on tribal land). Several broadband internet providers recently agreed to offer high-speed internet for $30 a month.  Therefore, with the federal government contribution, service may be free to qualifying households.  Eligibility is based on income, or on participation in MediCal, WIC, CalFresh, among other assistance programs. Those in the Spectrum service area can apply here.




Lake Balboa Chabad, in conjunction with the Chabads of Encino, Lake Encino, North Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, Tampa and Tarzana is hosting a Lag B’omer barbeque and celebration on May 19 at Woodley Park Section 2 starting at 5:30 p.m. Admission is free, and includes an acrobatic show. Food is available for purchase. Enter the event on Woodley Ave.


On May 19 from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm the Buena Vista Burbank Library branch will host its monthly Community Circles meeting. The Burbank Public Library, in collaboration with the Burbank Human Relations Council and the Burbank YMCA, sponsors the monthly discussions to highlight underrepresented voices, and examine ways the city of Burbank can foster a welcoming Burbank community. This month’s theme is Burbank history. If interested in attending, make sure to register online, or click here.


The Celebrating Words Festival (CWF) provides an accessible, brave, and dynamic space that encourages creativity and supports intellectual growth and healing, in the vital and unique way that arts and literacy can. The free 17th annual Celebrating Words Festival is outdoors and in person and will be held on May 21 from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Vaughn G3 Academy campus. 

The CWF book giveaway fosters participants to become active readers and owners of personal libraries. A thousand books, for all ages, in English and Spanish, will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis. Access the Book Giveaway Catalog here, for book selections. 

The event will also feature no cost art posters, bookmarksand a Second Edition CWF coloring book featuring local Northeast San Fernando Valley artists. Additional offerings include outdoor public art workshops, for all ages, and a diverse range of arts and literacy activities. Workshops will run during the festival and are located throughout the festival space.

This event is family-friendly and for all ages. Visit the event Website for additional details.


ONEgeneration is hosting its annual Senior Symposium on May 14 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 17400 Victory Blvd. The event will feature spokespeople in the aging and healthcare fields that will provide information on local health resources. Other features of the event include raffles and giveaways. To register, click this link. For more information, email event@onegeneration.org.


I appreciate hearing from you. If you have a specific question or concern, or a story about the Valley to share, please click here to send me an email or call my office at (818) 901-5588. You can also connect with me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.