Preparing A New Season
September 17th, 2020
As the air outside is still very unhealthy, and we begin to enter into the Fall, 2020 continues to bring on an unimaginable set of challenges, and these last few weeks are no exception. Just as we’re trying to get used to distance-learning regiments, limited opportunities for physical activity, and continuing to mind our latest Stay-At-Home guidelines, the raging wildfires and overall air quality have brought on a whole new set of personal tests for us. The South Coast Air Quality Management District has warned that most of our region will be affected by smoke with high concentrations of fine-particle pollution in areas closest to the Bobcat and El Dorado fires for quite some time. The Air Quality Management District, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have compiled a list of safety tips and advice to stay safe right now. Experts are also advising that we continue to stay indoors if possible, keeping our windows and doors closed, and to be prepared for local public health alerts.
With the High Holy Days approaching, and hopefully clearer air soon, we’re all going to have to remain steadfast in our efforts to avoid getting and spreading the virus in the Valley. Happily we’re making some major progress when it comes to COVID-19 not only here in the Valley, but across the state -- and we’ve got to stay vigilant to keep the progress going.
As always, I appreciate hearing from you, and want to help you however my excellent staff and I can. If you need assistance, have a question, or even have some good news to share, please reach out to me on Facebook and Twitter, or send me an email. Thank you for continuing to connect, to wear your masks and shelter in place when necessary, and to remain committed to our goals together.
Stay safe and be well,
HEALTH AND SAFETY
COVID-19 CASES DROPPING IN THE SAN FERNANDO VALLEY
The LA County Dept. of Public Health indicates there are 39,190 cases of coronavirus in the Valley. There are currently 1,009 additional cases, which shows a steady decline five weeks in a row. The neighborhoods of North Hollywood, Pacoima and Van Nuys continue to have the most cases at the moment.
LA County is also working with SafePass, a free mobile app that anonymously tracks people who may be exposed to coronavirus, and notifies those who have had close contact that they should get tested. If you want to learn more, visit the Public Health website for the latest numbers and guidelines to help minimize the spread of COVID-19.
COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION REQUESTED FOR HEALTH STUDY
Were you or someone you know affected by the the 2015 Aliso Canyon Disaster? As part of a new research study, the LA Dept. of Public Health invites you to join a town hall to help share your experience. The online event is scheduled for Wednesday, 9/30.
To get more info, access the community meeting link. Participants are encouraged get in on the conversation, or submit questions beforehand to AlisoStudy@ph.lacounty.gov.
LA COURTS OFFERING REMOTE APPEARANCES FOR CERTAIN INFRACTIONS
Residents with traffic/non-traffic hearings may now be able to schedule a remote telephone appearance online. Register up to two hours before your hearing, and you should get an email confirmation. Certain restrictions apply. Visit www.lacourt.org/lacc/ for more information.
COMBATING WEST NILE VIRUS IN OUR NEIGHBORHOODS
Several San Fernando Valley neighborhoods are reporting that there are too many mosquitoes which may be infected with West Nile Virus. The Greater Los Angeles Vector Control District has sprayed areas of North Hollywood, Valley Village and Studio City in an effort to control and minimize the spread, but they still need your help. Be sure to dump standing water (even in small containers), and close unscreened doors/windows to prevent mosquitoes from getting inside your home. If you have to be outdoors, it’s also recommended that you use CDC and EPA-approved insect repellent, or oil of lemon eucalyptus, and wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and pants.
FARMERS MARKET GIVES AWAY FREE PRODUCE
Unusual times call for unusual farmers markets, according to CalFresh Healthy Living and the Northeast Valley Health Corporation. On the last Friday of every month, organizers are giving away free produce to those in need. Their recent event at the Vaughn G3 Academy in Pacoima gave away a total of 1,500 pounds of fruits and vegetables. That’s incredible! Their next farmers market will be the last for the season, so get to San Fernando on Friday, 9/25, to take part.
JOBS AND ECONOMY
LET’S MAKE THE VALLEY COUNT FOR THE 2020 CENSUS
There are just a couple weeks left to participate in the 2020 Census! According to the experts, the #SFV has a self-response rate of roughly 62%, which means there's still a lot of folks that need to get counted. Adding your info is easy, confidential, and helps the region get our fair share of critical infrastructure, economic support, and more. Please go to 2020census.gov before 9/30, visit any Los Angeles County Library if you need additional assistance, and I encourage you to engage with local Census counters visiting your neighborhood. Let's make 2020 count!
ADU APPLICATIONS ON THE RISE IN THE SFV
Affordable housing is still a major issue that we continue to work with here in the Valley, and all across California. But one way to increase housing density is by adding on to your existing property. You can learn more when you visit the LA City Planning Commission, which is recently reporting that the San Fernando Valley is currently permitted for about 59% of all the ADU’s in the entire city of LA!
With the Help Homeowners Add New Housing Program, Valley homeowners will be able to get help qualifying for ADU loans to construct additional housing units on their property, including tiny homes and in-law units. Let’s build smarter housing opportunities in spaces that already exist in our neighborhoods.
MORE HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES HAPPENING IN NORTH HOLLYWOOD
Alliant Strategic Investments just recently purchased Farmdale Apartments in North Hollywood, and revealed plans to dedicate the entire complex to affordable housing. This area is part of an Opportunity Zone, a disadvantaged area in which the government incentivizes affordable housing. 26 units will be used for workforce affordable housing, four of which are for extremely low-income residents who earn less than 30% of the area median income.
GET READY FOR WEEKEND ROAD CLOSURES ON EASTBOUND I-210
Coming up this Friday, 9/18, CalTrans is starting a series of weekend closures along I-210 at I-5 in Sylmar. Homes and businesses may want to prepare for more noise and dust in the area than usual. Workers will be repaving lanes and adjacent ramps from Wheatland Ave. to the I-5, thanks in part of the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (SB1). For a full list of the planned closures expected over the next few months, check out the schedule here.
METROLINK ACTIVATING COMMUTER ROUTES, KIDS RIDE FREE ON WEEKENDS
Metrolink has started running two morning trains between Ventura County and the Valley, and say they’re ready to start restoring even more lines for commuters very soon. Community input will play an important role in what will be reopened, and riders concerned about social distancing can use the How Full is My Train? app for live updates.
On Saturdays and Sundays, Metrolink now lets kids to ride free anywhere across six CA counties. Schedules, additional safety measures, and weekend trip ideas are provided on the Metrolink website.
NEW PROGRAM HELPS HOMELESS KIDS IN THE VALLEY
Van Nuys and North Hills will be launching a program to help keep unhoused families with school-aged children off the street. The “Kid’s First” program is set to help over 50 local families get housing and healthcare access, educational support, and more throughout the school year. The program has been made possible through LA Family Housing, North Valley Caring Services, and New Economics for Women. These kinds of organizations are doing important work, and their service is positively changing our community.
LAUSD GRAB AND GO PROGRAM NEW HOURS
The LA Unified School district started new hours for their Grab and Go food centers program to allow students and families more time to get what they need before remote classes start. The new hours of operation will be Mon. – Fri. from 7:00 -10:00 a.m. As a reminder, families are required to bring the student’s barcode card in order to pick up their meals. For a list of all Grab and Go locations in the San Fernando Valley, click here. For updates on the program visit their page on the LAUSD website here.
YMCA’S YOUTH & GOVERNMENT PROGRAM GOES VIRTUAL
Due to the pandemic, the California YMCA is now making their Youth & Government Model Legislature & Court program available online.
The fall program runs from October – December, with a focus on national politics. Their guest speaker for this term is Congressman Adam Schiff, who will be available to participants to talk about leadership and elections. There are also future programs coming in 2021 that feature state and local politics.
It’s always empowering to see young people getting excited about civic engagement. Students that have worked in my own office have said that the program gives them valuable knowledge and practical experience that’s unique to a variety of government agencies. Scholarships are also available for those who qualify. To learn more and get registered, visit the YMCA Y&G website today.
LOCAL SFV COUPLE PUTTING MILLIONS BACK INTO THE COMMUNITY
It takes guts and a lot of heart to give back to the Valley, and I’m happy to learn about local philanthropists Jodi and Greg Perlman, who are making a huge difference through their non-profit organization, The Change Reaction. This outlet connects donors with Valley residents in-need, and the Perlman’s say they’ve already used upwards of $10 million to help provide grants, scholarships, and financial assistance. Thanks to their generosity, recipients have been able to move from shelters to permanent housing and get back on their feet. With a pledge to donate even more, I look forward to seeing what the Perlman’s bring in the new year as their kindness continues to help those in-need.
REMEMBER, WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER
Thanks so much for all you are doing. Just as our air will soon get better, so too will we overcome this pandemic together. I always appreciate hearing from you and any feedback you might wish to share. If you have a specific question or concern, please click here to send me 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.