Enduring “The Perfect Storm”
As we confront record breaking temperatures and exploding wildfires across our beautiful state, it feels like we’re living through “the perfect storm” - all while we’re still doing what we can to manage our day-to-day during this pandemic.
Governor Newsom recently reported that California has already had to fight over 6700 fires since the beginning of this year – which is roughly 2000 more than what we were dealing with at the same time last year. There are currently at least 23 major incidents, with 367 known fires burning statewide. It’s hot, smoky, and people are in need of relief.
These extraordinary events also put pressure on our energy supply throughout the Valley, which is leaving thousands of residents in the dark. For more than 20 years, I have been a non-stop advocate for clean energy, conservation, and finding better alternatives to keep our homes, schools and businesses thriving. Should you wish to stay on top of the latest electricity developments in the Valley, I recommend you check out Flex Alerts, as well as the CA- ISO, LA Dept. of Water & Power, Edison, PG&E, and other related agencies.
It is good to know that there are resources during this chaotic time. If you were ever to need to evacuate due to fire, get food for your family, or find a local cooling center, my staff stands ready to do all we can to assist you. If need help with EDD or other state agencies, my team is ready to try to provide assistance. One thing sure stands out from all the ongoing challenges we are being forced to confront right now - we truly are in this together. But even with all of these problems, I remain confident, and am committed to working 24/7 here and in Sacramento to find the right solutions to keep our communities connected.
Stay safe and be well,
HEALTH AND SAFETY
CURRENT COUNTS OF COVID-19 CASES
The LA County Department of Public Health reports that in just one week, there are 2,005 additional cases of Coronavirus in the San Fernando Valley. That brings our regional total of 33,639 active cases throughout the course of this pandemic. The neighborhoods of North Hollywood, Van Nuys and Sylmar continue to have the most cases.
Governor Newsom says our overall numbers are starting to go down, but it’s still too early to make any sudden moves to reopen. We learned a lot from that process the last time, and we don’t want to have to take any steps back in order to move forward. Some counties are already on their way to coming off the Monitoring List, and it’s up to all of us, along with help from local health officials, to help get us there. If you want to learn more, or check the latest numbers as they’re updated, please go to COVID19.ca.gov.
BEWARE OF SCAMMERS MAKING CONTACT TRACING CALLS
Authorities are warning about a recent scam that involves calls from anonymous sources that are pretending to be coronavirus contact tracers. While there is a professional team that has been trained by the state’s Department of Public Health to reach out, identify and assist with the COVID-19 quarantine process, these professionals would never ask for your social security number, immigrations status, banking information or other personal details. If you or someone you know has gotten a call like this, please report it to local authorities.
METRO NEEDS YOUR HELP FOR NEXTGEN BUS PLAN
Are you concerned about public transportation in your neighborhood? Officials with the Metro are holding a series of forums so you can share your thoughts on plans to improve the LA transit system. With their new NextGen Bus Line, the Metro team says it will double the number of bus lines, provide 81% of riders with pickup times of 10 minutes or less, and ensure 99% of riders are within a quarter mile of the nearest bus stop. These are some major goals, and they need your help to achieve them. Once approved, these new ideas could be implemented as soon as December 2020.
These discussions are getting started this week, and you’re invited to get in on the conversation or submit your comment by email or regular mail from now until the last online presentation, which will be held on August 27th. I have worked with LA Metro for many years to develop ways that improve how we get around in our Valley, and I can say from experience that your participation counts. Check out their Public Events page to learn more, and contact my office if you need further assistance.
LOCAL UNIONS HOST FREE TENANTS’ RIGHTS TRAINING
I have been working hard at trying to help find solutions for getting relief to our neighbors who are renters struggling to keep up with their rent obligations. If you are having to worry about possible eviction from your home, the Canoga Park chapter of the Los Angeles Tenants Union (LATU), along with the West Valley People’s Alliance (WVPA), are holding a “Tenant’s Rights and Eviction Defense Training” for local residents. The workshop teaches attendees about current rental laws and how to work with your landlord. For more information, the LATU typically meets online every 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month from 3:00-5:00pm. Please visit here for more details. To get connected with the WVPA, you can visit here.
JOBS AND ECONOMY
SIGN UP FOR FREE SEMINARS ABOUT OPENING/MAINTAINING YOUR LOCAL BUSINESS
Do you own a small business, and need affordable legal help? I am pleased to note that the LA County Dept. of Consumer & Business Affairs is hosting free web seminars that can help you follow the latest guidelines to reopen safely.
There is also a federally-based web series available to assist women-owned businesses. The U.S. Dept. of Transportation, Small Business Administration, and the Dept. of Housing &Urban Development are all taking part. Please register by August 24th. The online discussion is scheduled for August 28th. For more information, please click here.
MORE “BRIDGE HOMES” PROVIDING SHELTER IN THE SAN FERNANDO VALLEY
Two more “A Bridge Home” shelters are ready to provide temporary beds to individuals experiencing homelessness in Van Nuys. People are already moving into the first facility located in an Orange Line Metro parking lot. With 70 available beds, the shelter has showers, restrooms, laundry service, and a space for pets. The second facility is at the Hope of Valley Rescue Mission, and holds 100 beds. Organizers expect over 200 new units to be built over the next two years. For more information about these Bridge Homes as well as answers to frequently asked questions, please visit this website.
NUTRITIONAL RESOURCES STILL AVAILABLE
We’re incredibly lucky to have so many organizations that are jumping in to help individuals and families struggling with food security in the SFV. ONEgeneration has a drive-thru food pantry for seniors, children and families on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.. Receiving food is a contactless process, and they offer options for CalFresh, too. For more information, you can call ONEgeneration at (818)705-2345.
Meanwhile, Market Match helps you find ways to double your CalFresh benefits for the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables at participating Farmers’ Markets, including the North Hollywood Farmers Market on Saturdays. Additional food delivery services are available for those with disabilities and compromised immunities. To know more, you can send an email to Market Match or call (510) 548-2220 ext.236..
ADULTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS ARE HELPING TO BEAUTIFY VALLEY VILLAGE
The Valley Village Neighborhood Council has approved their Utility Box Artwork Project, and participants are excited to be getting to work. This is being done with the help of Muralism, a local nonprofit that brings professional artists and adults with special needs together to paint vivid artwork on utility boxes across Los Angeles. Participants of the program gain work experience and everyone gets to appreciate the extra color these murals bring to our streets. Have you come across one of these updated pieces of art? If so, please snap a picture, and share it with #TeamHertzberg today.
REMEMBER, WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER, AND WILL GET THROUGH THIS TOGETHER
As you know, we have revised these updates to focus on issues important to the San Fernando Valley during the COVID-19 outbreak, but we also want to keep you informed on legislative news, and about the places and people that matter in the San Fernando Valley. We appreciate your feedback. If you have a specific question or concern, please click here to send an email or call my office at (818) 901-5588. You’re also invited to share your own stories and experiences, so please feel free to connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.