By Councilman Bob Blumenfield
As we welcome in 2023, I am incredibly grateful to the residents of the West Valley for entrusting me and my team with a third, and final, term on the Los Angeles City Council. Our region faces unprecedented challenges, but every day we will continue to tackle the big issues and grow the many community partnerships we’ve fostered over the years.
This recent election has brought a lot of change to our city government. For the first time there are six women on the City Council, all three citywide elected officials are new to City Hall and with the historic victory of Karen Bass, Los Angeles has its first woman serving as Mayor.
One of the biggest changes for me personally is that I’ll no longer be the chair of the Public Works Committee, but instead will now lead the Budget, Finance and Innovation Committee. From vastly increasing resources for various bureaus within the Public Works department, to embracing technology to improve efficiency and decrease costs of street maintenance, and so much more,.
I’ve loved every second of chairing the Public Works committee. I will continue to serve as the Vice-Chair of this important committee, so I will still be in a position to make good things happen. And, I will certainly have my work cut out for me as the new Chair of the Budget Committee at a time when a potential recession looms and when fundamental decisions about city spending priorities must be addressed.
Mayor Bass is someone who I’ve been proud to call a friend for many years. I served alongside her when she was Speaker of the State Assembly. It will be wonderful to continue our longtime partnership and our shared goals and history will be critical to bringing more progress to LA.
Some of the changes we are bringing to LA are new streamlined efforts to address homelessness. Just before the new year, I proudly voted to support Mayor Bass’ emergency declaration on homelessness and recently she rolled out her ‘Inside Safe’ initiative. The goals of this effort include eliminating street encampments, increasing access to mental health and substance abuse and getting people inside as fast as possible.
The Mayor has assembled a Cabinet of city departments and LAHSA to implement the Inside Safe Action Plan to coordinate outreach, housing and services, and to bring more resources from the County. Inside Safe sets a citywide united front to cut down on bureaucracy and tasks city departments and LAHSA to focus strategically on delivering homeless services and programming to get folks onto a pathway to housing for good. Some of the specific tasks include identifying interim and permanent housing resources for each person in encampments, creating a unit acquisition strategy (including master leasing) and ensuring that data collection is centralized on all relevant matters, including where encampments are, what specific services people need, housing availability, housing placements and retention. Many of these policies are already in place in the district that I represent and it is encouraging to see similar policies consistently launched throughout the city.
My goal is to serve you and help make the West Valley an even better place to live, work, and enjoy. I will continue to update you in Valley News Group publications, on social media, and on my newsletter (sign up at Blumenfield.LACity.org). As always, if you have any city-related issues, please reach out to my team and I at firstname.lastname@example.org.