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Here’s What You Missed Last Week at LA City Council

In two short meetings, LA City Council tackles gun safety laws, sidewalk conditions, and granting a gas pipeline franchise to the company responsible for the Aliso Canyon gas leak.

Description: A collage of current LA City Councilmembers along the LA skyline.
Art by Sandra Markarian for Knock.LA

Every week, Knock LA provides live coverage of Los Angeles City Council meetings from our Twitter account. While you can follow along live, we’ve also put together this breakdown of what’s happening at the highest levels of power in our city for those who don’t have 12 hours a week to spend on city council meetings (including regularly absent city councilmembers).

LA City Council Meeting 1/18/22

This was an extremely short meeting and the vast majority of the items were fairly perfunctory. There were several items about street lighting and one item about election-related matters, essentially confirming that, yes, an election will be held this year. Another item was related to approving street signs that Chinatown BID wanted to put up, encouraging people to shop at local Chinatown businesses. 

One item that was slightly more interesting was related to funding for some sidewalk improvements. The city desperately needs to repair its sidewalks if they want people to stop using cars as much. Poor conditions also create accessibility issues (which, fair enough, but councilmembers love to cite this in bad faith to excuse displacing unhoused people, many of whom are disabled themselves). I hope we see more money used for things like sidewalk improvements — which directly improve people’s lives — rather than “solutions” such as increased funding for law enforcement. 

During public comment, there was some typical grumbling about vaccine mandates from self-declared libertarians, with one commenter going as far as to insinuate MLK would oppose mandates. Other than that, public comment was largely uneventful. 

Another interesting item was to establish support for AB-452. This bill would require “a school district, county office of education, and charter school” to inform parents and guardians about California’s access prevention laws and laws relating to the safe storage of firearms. In his comments supporting the item, Councilmember Koretz said the bill would help prevent accidental shootings, suicides, and school shootings, stating that many school shootings happen when children have access to improperly stored firearms. Many of our gun laws are written by people who don’t know the first thing about guns, so this seems like a generally good law.

LA City Council Meeting 1/19/22

It was another short meeting for the LA City Council on Thursday. Items 2–11, which concerned reports from the Budget and Finance Committee, and 14, which authorized continued contracts for library services, all received swift ayes from the 13 present councilmembers. Item 13, which approved the appointment of Ms. Lisa Salazar as the permanent executive director of the Youth Development Department, also received a unanimous yes vote. 

“I’m ready, I’m excited, and I’m determined to make a difference. And with your help, I know the new youth development department will be successful,” Salazar said.

One issue that seemed to only get a bit of airtime despite its gravity was Item 12, a second consideration relative to the grant of a gas pipeline franchise to Southern California Gas Company (the company responsible for the 2015 Aliso Canyon gas leak). Councilmember Raman called the item for a separate vote. Initially only she and Councilmember Bonin opposed the motion, but Councilmember Koretz corrected his vote from a ‘no’ to a ‘yes.’ The item passed, 10 ayes and 3 against. 

Item 17 took up the bulk of the meeting. This motion adds an amendment to the Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) to “allow for the immediate suspension of a City of Los Angeles Home-Sharing Registration when criminal activity is found to have taken place at a residence while being used as a short term rental.” The motion put forth by Councilmembers Koretz, Raman, Blumenfield, and Krekorian was available for public comment, and those who called in did so in support of the motion. The item passed with a unanimous vote. 

Councilmember Koretz cited crimes like “shootings at short-term rentals” as a reason to pass the motion, but it is important to note that it is not just party house rentals that are impacting Los Angeles — more and more renters are learning that they have Airbnb units as neighbors, and it is only driving the already astronomical rent in Los Angeles higher.