Wednesday, February 24, 2010

RELEASE: CA Senate STALLS CEQA Litigation Protection & Home Buyer Tax Credit

February 24, 2010
Tracy Rafter, 818.429.0862
LOS ANGELES, CA – The Los Angeles County Business Federation is appalled and disheartened by Senate panel inaction today that essentially quashed a key piece of legislation that would have established the CEQA Litigation Protection Pilot Program of 2010 and provided a vital boost for California's struggling economy.
With the state's soaring jobless rate, it's time to get Californians back to work now. The legislation that was essentially killed today by the Senate panel's failure to take a vote – specifically SB 8X 42 Correa/Cogdill – was a vital step in the right direction.
While opponents called it a CEQA "exemption," it was not. The legislation allowed only a limited scope of public and private projects a "safe haven" from costly time delays resulting from further legal challenges after already completing the CEQA review process. It also was set to sunset after five years and had other safeguards including public hearings.
"This flies in the face of common sense," said Tom Flintoft, BizFed Chair. "This package would have put thousands of Californians back to work in the construction industry on already CEQA-reviewed projects in a time of desperate need. It's time to stop playing politics and think about the future of this state."
The Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee also failed to act today on SBx64 Ashburn/Calderon - legislation that would have extended and expanded the successful homebuyer tax credit for Californians by $200 million.
"Californians need help with creating and findings jobs. Partisan politics shot down two Republican-sponsored bills that would have helped," said David Fleming, BizFed Founding Chair. "It's no wonder the state legislature's approval rating is the lowest in recorded history."
The Los Angeles County Business Federation is a grassroots alliance of more than 70 existing business organizations with well over 100,000 businesses whose goal is to effectively mobilize the collective voice of the Los Angeles County business community.  For more information, please visit

The Mayor's 30/10 Initiative

Good afternoon--

I wanted to share some excited developments in our efforts to transform LA's transportation network.

This week I've traveled to Washington DC to advocate for my 30/10 plan, which calls for federal assistance to help get our top 12 measure R funded transportation projects built in the next 10 years, instead of 30. My plan would not only get LA the transportation system it deserves sooner, it would create 166,000 jobs and get thousands of cars of the road.

We are building momentum for the plan, and I believe our message is being heard in Washington.

Earlier this week, Congressmen Peter DeFazio (D-OR), a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Comittee, toured LA. He called the 30/10 plan a "visionary," "big bang approach" to tranforming city transportation.  

And last Friday I testified before Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) about our region's transportation needs.  They came to L.A. as part of a series of listening meetings around the country on the reauthorization of the surface transportation bill. I took the opportunity to testify to the readiness of our 12 measure R-funded projects, and to the need for federal assistance to help us finish them in the next decade.

You can read more about that testimony and my 30/10 plan on my blog.

With the right support from Washington, I believe we're on our way to delivering Angelenos a transportation system worthy of our great city.

Thank you,
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

HPOZ Board Openings - The Mayor's Appointee

Dear AIA|LA member:

The Office of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has contacted AIA Los Angeles with four immediate openings on boards of Historic Preservation Overlay Zones.  The Mayor's appointee needs to live in the City, but does not need to live in the HPOZ or in the associated Council District; however, he or she should be able to comfortably attend the meetings without "distance hardship."

The board meets, generally, on an as needed basis in a private business location within the HPOZ and in the evening.  They can meet up to twice a month, although I understand that does not happen often.

If you think you, or someone from your firm, would have interest in serving the City on an HPOZ Board, please contact Will Wright at with the following information:

1.  Your letter of interest
a.  residential and work address
b.  the council district you reside in
c.  which HPOZ you have interest in serving
2.  an updated resume, C.V. and/or a link to your portfolio of work 

Additional details can be found below:

While many outsiders may view Los Angeles as an imposing megalopolis, it is truly a city of great neighborhoods. Just slightly off the beaten path, in communities throughout the city, are remarkably intact historic neighborhoods. Recognizing the need to identify and protect neighborhoods with distinct architectural and cultural resources, the City has developed an expansive program of Historic Preservation Overlay Zones (HPOZs). HPOZs, commonly known as historic districts, provide for review of proposed exterior alterations and additions to historic properties within designated districts. 

The City Council adopted the ordinance enabling the creation of HPOZs in 1979; Angelino Heights became Los Angeles' first HPOZ in 1983. Today, the City of Los Angeles has 24 designated HPOZs, with many more under consideration. HPOZ areas range in size from neighborhoods of approximately 50 parcels to more than 3,000 properties. While most districts are primarily residential, many have a mix of single-family and multi-family housing, and some include commercial and industrial properties. HPOZs are established and administered by the Los Angeles City Planning Department (in concert with the City Council). Individual buildings in an HPOZ need not be of landmark quality on their own: it is the collection of a cohesive, unique, and intact collection of historic resources that qualifies a neighborhood for HPOZ status. 

More information about HPOZs can be found at 
The board is comprised of five volunteer members who serve four year terms.  Meeting up to twice a month, but generally on an "as needed" basis and in the evening, the board is charged with the duty of ensuring the recognition, preservation, enhancement, and best use of buildings, structures, Landscaping, Natural Features, and areas within the City of Los Angeles having Historic, architectural, cultural or aesthetic significance .  The 
Mayor's appointee to the HPOZ board must have experience in construction or real estate. 

Board Power and Duties   
When considering any matter under its jurisdiction, the Board shall have the following power and duties: 

Evaluate any proposed changes to the boundaries of the Preservation Zone it administers and makes recommendations to the City Planning Commission, Cultural Heritage Commission and City Council. 
Evaluate any Historic resources survey, resurvey, partial resurvey, or modification undertaken within the Preservation Zone it administers and make recommendations to the City Planning Commission, Cultural Heritage Commission and City Council. 
Study, review and evaluate any proposals for the designation of Historic- Cultural Monuments within the Preservation Zone it administers and make recommendations to the Cultural Heritage Commission and City Council, and to request that other City departments develop procedures to provide notice to the Boards of actions relating to Historic-Cultural Monuments. 
Evaluate applications for Certificates of Appropriateness or Certificates of Compatibility and make recommendations to the Director or the Area Planning Commission. 
Encourage understanding of and participation in historic preservation by residents, visitors, private businesses, private organizations and governmental agencies. 
Render guidance and advice to any Owner or occupant on construction, demolition, Alteration, removal or relocation of any Monument or any building, structure, Landscaping, Natural Feature or lot within the Preservation Zone it administers.   
Tour the Preservation Zone it represents on a regular basis and to report to appropriate City agencies matters which may require enforcement action. 
  Assist in the updating of the Historic Resources Survey for the Preservation Zone. 
  Make recommendations to decision makers concerning façade easements, covenants, and the imposition of other conditions for the purposes of historic preservation. 
Make recommendations to the City Council concerning the utilization of grants and budget appropriations to promote historic preservation. 
Accept donations from outside sources to be utilized for historic preservation efforts. 

HPOZ Neighborhood Open Seats
Adams-Normandie CD 8
Pico-Union CD 1
Spaulding Square CD 4
Balboa Highlands     CD 12 (new, Granada Hills area)
For more information, please contact the Office of Historic Preservation: 
Office of Historic Resources, Department of City Planning 
200 N. Spring Street, Room 620 
Los Angeles, CA 90012 
Phone: (213) 978-1200 
Fax: (213) 978-0017 

Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit program for Historic Buildings proposed in the Community Restoration and Revitalization Act of 2009 (CRRA 2009).

Please register your support for some important legislative amendments proposed for the Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit program for Historic Buildings proposed in the Community Restoration and Revitalization Act of 2009 (CRRA 2009).


The National Trust for Historic Preservation summarizes the bill here:


A full legislative summary is available here:


Congressmembers Grace Napolitano and Bob Filner are leading the California effort.  Please let YOUR representatives know that you want them to support this legislation because it is important to Los Angeles and the revitalization of the Broadway Theater and Commercial National Register Historic District. 


Thank you to Tara Jones Hamacher for bringing this to our attention - we will be advocating as well!


WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?  Broadway is a National Register Historic District and the buildings inside this district are entitled to take advantage of a 20% or 10% Federal Tax Credit if substantial rehabilitation occurs. This tax credit program is one of the most financially beneficial incentives created for historic building rehabilitation and can result in millions of dollars of subsidy coming to a project to offset the costs of construction. However, the legislation that governs the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits (HTC) has not been update since 1986 and needs to be revised in order to maximize the benefits, make the program easier to use and bring more capital to the projects.


Thank you!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Need Your Support -Weds. Feb. 18 -METRO Regional Connector Meeting

Dear Broadway Committee Members,
As you know from our discussions the past year, the Regional Connector is a VERY important piece of proposed transportation at METRO which would connect the region's light rail lines, allowing riders to go from Long Beach to Pasadena (and vice versa) without changing trains, and providing connectivity between numerous other light and heavy rail. It would also add several important stations to Downtown.
The originally proposed design for the overall underground route, included an above-ground section through Little Tokyo, and a "Historic Core" station which would have been as far east as Los Angeles Street.  As you'll recall, we were not supportive of this proposal, and advocated for better Broadway connectivity with the Regional Connector all last summer.
The good news is, we are now we are on the verge of a victory –IF Metro adopts the proposed NEW proposal, for an underground Little Tokyo section and the Historic Core station at 2nd & Broadway and sends it through environmental review. 
WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT ON WEDNESDAY FEB. 18 to advocate for this new option when the decisions are being made.
If this proposal is adopted and implemented, it would mean an inter-modal station AT BROADWAY to directly connect with the streetcar and bring thousands of people to our historic corridor everyday.
Thursday Feb. 18
Metro Planning & Programming Committee
The committee meeting is important, because the committee recommendations will be what the board acts on at their meeting the following week at the Metro Board of Director meeting Thursday Feb. 25. 
Some speaking points are attached about the overall project and it's Broadway connectivity.
Ginny Brideau with the Robert Group (whom many of you met during the Metro workshops) has offered to help by preparing speakers cards for the Broadway folks who can come.  Please reply to Ginny and me (Ginny is cc'd here) to let us know if you can attend.
Thank you in advance - and wish us luck!
Jessica Wethington McLean
Executive Director
Bringing Back Broadway


Office of Councilmember José Huizar
200 N. Spring Street Room 465
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 473-7014

Thursday, February 4, 2010

High Speed Rail for Downtown LA - February 19 (8am)

On Friday, February 19 (8am) we invite architects and urban planners passionate about High Speed Rail coming to Downtown LA to attend a working group session.

We intend to initiate a working group that will coordinate a series of roundtable discussions (and advocacy positions) on how we can best capitalize on the opportunities of high-speed rail transit investment for Los Angeles, which will ensure greater connectivity and delight with an infrastructure that brings us closer together and enables a more verdant/vibrant and economically/environmentally/socially sustainable urban core.

AIA|LA and APA - a collaborative effort
High Speed Rail for Downtown LA
(a working group meeting)
Friday, February 19 (8am)
AECOM Design
515 South Flower Street, 8th Floor
Los Angeles, CA, 90071


Ideally, this working-group meeting will initiate a plan-of-action on how to coordinate a series of advanced discussions that will engage a wider audience of key decision-makers.

We look forward to the opportunity for the AIA|LA and the American Planning Association to collaborate on a series of discussions about the impacts and opportunities for High Speed Rail in Downtown LA.

For more information, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

ACTION ALERT | City of L.A. eliminating Environmental Affairs Dept | TESTIFY AT COUNCIL on Wed, 2/3 at 10am

DT:         February 2, 2010
TO:         GREEN LA participating organizations
FR:          Stephanie Taylor
RE:          City of Los Angeles eliminating Environmental Affairs Department

Preserve LA City's climate and sustainability programs

Yesterday the Budget & Finance Committee heard the city's Chief Administrative Officer recommending the elimination of the Environmental Affairs Department (EAD) in their

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The committee response to the CAO's recommendation was mixed.  Rosendahl and Koretz stood up for the Environment Affairs Department, expressing strong concerns about the City's ability to stay focused on their environmental agenda.  


The meeting went well past midnight.  EAD staff testified around 9 pm.  Green LA staff and  members as well as the Environmental Affairs Commissioners testified in the afternoon.



What you can do:


1) Testify at Council TOMORROW, Wednesday, February 3rd

City Council Chambers, Room 340, LA City Hall at 10 am.


City Council will hear the report tomorrow Wednesday, FEBRUARY 3 at 10:00 am, and vote on this matter.


2) Send a letter and/or email voicing your concerns.

  • We have attached a sample letter.
  • Some suggested talking points:  
    • Stop the brain drain. Preserve key staff involved in climate and sustainability planning by keeping them together.
    • Keep the environmental affairs commissioners to serve as green panel advisors.


3) Circulate this action alert to your members and other interested parties.



The report recommends complete dissolution of the Department; staff cuts will immediately terminate a quarter of the department's staff -- while those remaining would be transferred to other departments including Transportation, Planning and the Community Development Department.

GREEN LA is not seeking to preserve the Environmental Affairs Department as it currently exists. We understand the profoundly dire economic crisis facing the city.

We are aghast at the likely dissolution of key staff performing essential environmental functions. The City may soon lose the personnel that:

  • Perform LA's greenhouse gas inventory
  • Organize the City's climate action plan
  • Develop the City's Sustain LA plan
  • Oversee the Energy Efficiency Community Block Grant to the city ($37 million in stimulus funds are in jeopardy)
  • Administer the city's Green Business Certification program
  • Engage in regional  and statewide climate modeling and planning
  • Respond to environmental emergencies
  • Advise city departments on toxic cleanup
  • Enforce cleanup standards at Sunshine Canyon Landfill and other polluted sites


We fear a terrible brain drain, dispersing staff to various departments, will result in abandoning crucial projects. America's second largest city may soon be without staff-skilled in climate and sustainability planning.

The lack of transparency of this significant restructuring of environmental programs is also troubling. No environmental groups were consulted in the development of this policy, nor has ample time given to evaluate the CAO's proposal.

There may be a way to salvage this devastating setback. GREEN LA believes this may be an opportunity to make the City's environmental programs stronger.

GREEN LA staff believes the that the remaining EAD staff should move en masse to the Planning Department. THIS PROPOSAL HAS THE SUPPORT OF BOTH EAD AND PLANNING LEADERSHIP.


Then climate and sustainability goals could be integrated into all city planning; a fitting home for environmental activities as plans need to be created to comply with AB32 and SB375.

In addition, Environmental Affairs commissioners could be asked to spearhead a Green Ribbon panel on the environment. We should continue to take advantage of the leadership on the commission.

Stephanie Taylor
Interim Managing Project Director
Green LA Coalition
(213) 346-3284 – ph
(323) 898-7785 – cell


Monday, February 1, 2010

Crisis! Call to Action to Support the Arts in Los Angeles!

Dear Arts Supporters, 

The City of Los Angeles Budget and Finance Committee has put forward a motion to eliminate the Department of Cultural Affairs' dedicated source of revenue, 1% of the Transit Occupancy Tax (TOT).This means the immediate elimination of the Department of Cultural Affairs' grants program, and much of the administration funding for 18 of the city's arts centers, including the Watts Towers. 

As you know, arts and culture are important economic drivers for Los Angeles, and are an important part of our economic recovery.  Arts mean jobs, arts bring cultural tourists, arts lower youth crime rates, and arts create economic development. With no plan for reinstituting this dedicated source of revenue, this motion could mean the end of public investment for arts and culture for generations to come. 

Please take two minutes of your time to contact your councilmembers, or the sponsors of the motion, to voice your support for the arts and your opposition to this motion: 

Eric Garcetti, the City Council President

Jan Perry, the City Councilmember for Downtown Los Angeles- 

Join Arts for LA at the Los Angeles City Council meeting on February 3rd, 2010, to give public testimony regarding the value of the Department of Cultural Affairs. 

Check the Arts for LA for updates: 

Forward this email to your friends and family, or cut and paste this message on your facebook status.