CD5 Councilmember Paul Koretz brought most of his staff to meet with residents at an online meeting hosted by the Hancock Park Homeowners Association earlier this month. Though the area is new to Koretz’s district, he said he was very familiar with the neighborhood and its issues, and looks forward to working the neighborhood. Now serving out his last term on the LA City Council due to term limits, Koretz said he regretted that he only has one year to serve the neighborhood that has been adjacent to his district for the past 12 years. His comments and willingness to discuss public safety and city services were a sharp contrast from the neighborhood’s first meeting with newly elected CD4 Councilmember Nithya Raman just over a year ago. The Los Angeles City Council redistricting process changed the council office boundaries placing Hancock Park, along with nine other neighborhoods in the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council in CD5.
“Wow, what a difference,” Hancock Park Homeowners Association President Cindy Chvatal-Keane told the Buzz. “What a pleasure it was to meet with CM Koretz. He brought his staff, he brought LADOT officials who could provide answers on the spot. What a difference it makes to have someone who has experience and knows how to hire good people.”
Koretz outlined the priorities for his office, including homelessness, public safety, environmental protection and neighborhood preservation, adding that public safety has recently become a higher priority with increased criminal activity in the Melrose area. Koretz said his office has provided security grants to faith groups and LGBT institutions in the district. He urged residents to report all crimes to LAPD, since it deploys police resources based on crime statistics that include reports from citizens and residents.
Koretz also said he supports making repairs to the neighborhood’s concrete streets, starting with the worst intersections identified by the neighborhood association. And he also he’s committed to watering the palm trees in the historic Highland median.
Koretz said he is proud of his recent effort to oppose legislation proposed by State Senator Scott Weiner that would reduce local control over planning and land use. He said he is currently working on a city ordinance that would reduce the harm and potential damage that could be caused by SB 9 and SB 10, which call for increased density but no affordable housing. He asked residents to help support his motion that would allow city officials to place a a hold on any AirBNB rental while it goes through the appeals process. (Currently, non-compliant units are allowed to keep operating.) Koretz said his office has been working closely with LAPD try to close down some of the worse offenders where large gatherings and parties are occurring, violating COVID protocols. Koretz said he aspires to be “their worst nightmare on the City Council,” stopping illegal operators and criminally prosecuting the owners. He urged residents to contact Greg Martayan, his Deputy for Public Safety at (213) 505-8420 or [email protected] to report any violations.
Regarding homelessness, Koretz said he is advocating for removing all encampments as the pandemic continues, but is concentrating on the most problematic ones.
Koretz introduced his district deputy, Rob Fisher, a friendly, familiar face to residents from his work on former CD4 Councilmember David Ryu’s staff. Koretz said Fisher can be reached at (323) 866-1828 or by email at [email protected]. In addition, Koretz introduced the following other members of his staff participating in the meeting: Justin Orenstein, Senior Policy Advisor; Jay Greenstein, Chief Field & Transportation Deputy; Greg Martayan, CD5 Director of Public Safety and Special Assignments; Joan Pelico, CD5 Chief of Staff; James Ingram, Field Deputy; Daniel Skolnick, Senior Planning Deputy; Angel Izard, Homelessness Policy and Strategies Liaison; and Jill Kline, Field Deputy for the Beverly Grove, Carthay, Fairfax and Melrose areas.
Bhuvan Bajaj, LADOT District Engineer and Brian Gallagher, also from LADOT, joined the meeting to discuss reducing traffic accidents on 6th Street.
Bajaj reported that LA DOT would like to install speed tables on 6th Street, between Highland Avenue and La Brea Avenue, in response to repeated requests for action to reduce accidents over the past several years. Koretz said his office supports the plan and is currently working with the police and fire departments to alert them and get their support before the plan is implemented. Koretz called on Brian Gallagher to explain proposed changes to the signals at Beverly Blvd. and Highland Avenue that would restrict left turns. Gallagher said they are also proposing a “resting red” light at Third Street and Rimpau to reduce speeding on Third Street as drivers speed up to catch a green light. If implemented, a speed sensor in the intersection would keep the light resting on red. As cars approach that are traveling the speed limit, the light would change to green. However, if they are speeding, the light wouldn’t change until the cars get to the intersection, forcing them to slow down. Gallagher said this would also allow for a quicker pedestrian signal. In many cases, the walk signal would come on within a few seconds of the button being pressed, depending on traffic conditions. The hope is that it may provide pedestrians with a higher degree of safety, especially at night, since they are not standing around in the dark waiting for the light to change.
Lastly, Chief of Staff Joan Pelico said she would work with the neighborhood to get non-compliant sidewalk ramps fixed, as the neighborhood has requested.
Click here to listen to a recording of the meeting.
A few days after the meeting, on Sunday, January 16, 2022, Chvatal-Keane sent the following message out to residents:
“A big THANK YOU to our new Council District 5 staff!
Yesterday morning a resident alerted the Hancock Park Association about huge pile of broken glass covering the intersection of 4th and Las Palmas Ave. We were able to contact our new Chief of Staff Joan Pelico and our Field Deputy Rob Fisher. LAStreet Services was contacted and the glass was cleaned up within an hour of our request – on a Saturday!
We sincerely appreciate the great response!
Your Hancock Park HOA