More than 1,000 revelers celebrated the holiday season on Friday night at Council District 4's Annual open house. Pink's Hot Dogs dished up free franks for hours from the parking lot of Councilmember LaBonge's field office on Riverside Drive in Toluca Lake.
"This event gets bigger and bigger each year," Councilmember LaBonge said. "It's a beautiful community event for Toluca Lake, and draws folks from all over the Valley into this great shopping village." In keeping with tradition, Channel 4 weathercaster Fritz Coleman broadcast the lighting of the neighborhood Christmas tree live. The Chamber of Commerce choir sang Christmas carols and Santa - flanked by his elves - rode up and down the streets in a horse-drawn sleigh. There was even a little bit of snow, even in Southern California.
Councilmember Tom LaBonge, actor Ed Begley, Jr. and city parks and police officials switched on the first solar-powered lights in a Los Angeles public park last night, illuminating the way to a more energy-efficient, cost-effective future in park management here.
Twenty-eight new lights shined over an exercise station and jogging path in the interior of North Hollywood Park, 11455 Magnolia Blvd in North Hollywood. Scores of fitness buffs worked out and jogged by during the ceremony.
“It’s very gratifying to see so many people out exercising and enjoying the park tonight,” said Councilmember LaBonge. “These new lights will allow people to exercise here safely late into the evening without adding energy costs that, frankly, the city can’t afford right now.”
Added Mr. Begley, an ardent environmental activist whose nickname is the King of Green, “The city demonstrated real fiscal prudence by waiting until the solar power industry came up with lights that were both energy-efficient and affordable. Congratulations to Councilmember LaBonge and the management at the parks department for their environmental leadership.”
Jon Kirk Mukri, General Manager of the city’s Department of Recreation and Parks said the North Hollywood lights are a pilot project that his department will expand upon quickly. Solar lights are planned for two more parks, with three other parks planned for the near future.
“I’m particularly proud of this project because when we put it out to bid, the estimate came back at $500,000. Our own city crews installed it instead and the cost was $263,000, about half as much,” Mr. Mukri said. The cost of the project was covered by Quimby funds, which are amassed through fees from condominium developers in the area, Mr. Mukri added.
In an effort to determine the cause of the burst water lines over the past ten days, Councilmember LaBonge contacted earthquake expert Dr. Lucy Jones to ask if seismic activity could be to blame.
“We have to do everything we can to determine how these ruptures happened to prevent another surprise,” Councilmember LaBonge said. “We had two extreme incidents over the weekend, but smaller leaks are occurring all over the city, several in my district alone. If one of those leaks is going to cause a flood, I want to know so that we can take precautionary measures now.”
Two separate water lines burst within two miles and three days of each other in the San Fernando Valley. The first break occurred on Sept. 4th and sent mud and water into the streets, homes and businesses of Studio City. The second break in Valley Village on Tuesday morning caused a sink hole large enough to engulf a fire truck.
Dr. Lucy Jones, Chief Scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey, told Councilmember LaBonge that seismic activity cannot be blamed for the ruptures.
"There has been no unusual seismic activity anywhere in Los Angeles that could explain the water main breaks," Dr. Jones said. "The earthquakes are monitored jointly by Caltech and the U.S. Geological Survey. We distribute all our data openly on the Internet. You can see all the earthquakes recorded in the last week by clicking here."
On Wednesday, the City Council had an in-depth briefing from top-level officials from the Department of Water of Power on the causes of and response to the ruptures.
August 6, 2009--Councilmember LaBonge and LADWP unlock the gate to the eastern side of Lake Hollywood.
An enthusiastic group of residents, media, and representatives of the LADWP joined Tom in a power- walk around the scenic route. They were treated to a view of one of the turtles that has made a home at the Lake. This was the first time the eastern side of the recreational path has been open since record rainfall closed the facility in 2005.
"Lake Hollywood is one of those much-loved, hidden treasures of Los Angeles and so this day is particularly welcome to people who love coming here and getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city," said Councilmember LaBonge.
The hours of operation of the East Perimeter Road have returned to the original seasonal schedule: 6:30 am-7:30 pm through the month of August. The West Perimeter Road will remain closed due to landslide repair work. The western slope repairs are scheduled to be completed by Spring 2011.
Councilmember LaBonge filled pot holes in Toluca Lake with a city crew on Thursday to mark National Public Works Week. The councilman was clearly delighted to pull on work gloves, a hard hat and safety vest to spread and compact hot asphalt in potholes on Forman Avenue.
"This takes me back to my days in Mayor Tom Bradley’s Youth Council, when I worked on a street clean-up crew in Hollywood," the councilmember said, referring to a summer job he held while in college. "Maintaining the infrastructure is one of the most important - and visible - jobs that the City does."
Municipal public works departments across the country were demonstrating their commitment to economic recovery by publicizing their work this week.
Meet Tom, staff and NoHo community leaders on Saturday, February 21, 2009, 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM. at the NoHo Business Improvement District office at 5026 Lankershim Blvd. We will beautify the area between Magnolia Blvd. and Camarillo St.; Tujunga Ave. and Vineland Ave. Please wear sunscreen and appropriate clothing for outdoor work. This clean-up will not take place if there is heavy rain on Saturday morning. For more information, please contact Alice Roth at (818) 755-7630.
Visit our Toluca Lake Office on Friday, Dec. 5 from 5-8 p.m. for the annual Council District 4 Holiday Open House, 10116 Riverside Drive, Suite 200, Toluca Lake, CA 91602. The event coincides with the Toluca Lake Merchants' Open House, so shops and restaurants will be open for business. We'll have Pink's Hot Dogs and plenty of refreshments, so join Tom and the CD4 staff for this fun holiday event. (See the flier below.)
Councilmember Tom LaBonge called on Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, as chairman of the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, to scale back the Metro Universal development project that is proposed for Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood.
“I’m calling on the Mayor and the Metro board to do the right thing and reduce the density of this project planned for my district,” the Councilmember told reporters at a press conference near the proposed development site this morning. “The MTA’s mission is provide public transit, not to develop overly dense speculative projects.”
The Councilmember presented a letter to the Mayor that outlines his objections to the proposed 1.5-million-square-foot commercial development. The Councilman has received an overwhelmingly negative reaction from the public on this proposal, which would include taking land from neighboring Weddington Park South by eminent domain. Phase I of the project would include a 22-story office tower, studios and parking lots.
The Draft Environmental Impact Report for this project is available online by clicking here. The Councilmember urged residents to respond to the Draft EIR before the Nov. 24 deadline. He called on the Mayor and the MTA board to renegotiate the development deal, reduce the size of the project and limit it to the parcel already owned by the MTA.
Joining the Councilmember were community activists from several area neighborhoods, including Roy Disney and Richard Bogy of the Toluca Lake Chamber of Commerce; and Terry Davis, president of the Greater Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council.