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

Redistricting updates, LAPD donations, and a new star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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 12/7/21

Tuesday’s meeting was rather short, but a lot happened in that short amount of time.

One item that seems good on the surface is suspected to be yet another sneaky move by Buscaino. The motion would show the city’s support for Medicaid to begin covering mental healthcare. In a vacuum, that’s great! But some callers are concerned Buscaino will use it to put unhoused people in 5150 holds — a way to get them off the streets without actually having to house them.

Many callers were in favor of the redistricting motion, but a few pushed back. The callers who were in favor primarily called to thank the council for unifying Koreatown in one district. The callers who were against the motion mainly said that CD8 should include the Exposition Park area. This motion passed. All that is left on redistricting is a meeting on 12/23 to finalize everything. (For more information on redistricting, we recommend following Unrig LA on Twitter.)

One item put some work into allowing restaurants that have Al Fresco dining to more quickly obtain permits for permanent sidewalk dining. Again, theoretically a good thing: more outdoor dining is probably good for public health, and a more enjoyable experience for patrons. However, in a city where many sidewalks are already poorly maintained, reducing usable sidewalk space is maybe a bad idea. There are also many places where sidewalk dining creates ADA violations — odd considering the way the city often treats unhoused people under the guise of ADA compliance. This item passed with 12 ayes, so we will have to keep track to make sure it is implemented properly.

Christine Diaz-Herrera was reappointed to the Employee Relations Board, and Martina P. Diaz was reappointed to the North Valley Planning Commission. These are the kinds of decisions that fly under a lot of people’s radars but can make a big difference in how certain things — in these cases labor rights and land use — are handled. This is definitely something to keep an eye on going forward. 

Another item was asking for a report about how the city can reduce organic waste by 75% by 2025. This is a state regulation put in place by SB 1383 and managed by CalRecycle. This was passed in 2016, although the regulations don’t go into effect until 2022. This is something the city council should have been working on long before now, but now they’re rushing to catch up.

LA City Council Meeting 12/8/21

On Wednesday most callers were CEOs thanking the city council. They appreciated the handout for concessioners at LAX, which they received in the form of reduced rent.

Last year, airport restaurant company HMSHost had unsuccessfully attempted to receive such a handout, while refusing to pay their workers a living wage as required by the city. By violating the city’s living wage ordinance, they effectively stole $100,000 from workers.

This past Thanksgiving, workers at HMSHost-owned restaurants in Phoenix and LA airports went on strike in response to the company’s racial discrimination and aggressive anti-union tactics.

This time HMSHost was actually excluded from the rent relief by a motion from Cedillo and Bonin. The council members didn’t specifically say why, but Bonin has previously stated that the company shouldn’t get handouts when they ignore LA’s living wage laws. Other businesses got significant rent forgiveness.

In Canoga Park, across the street from a rocket and missile manufacturer, an enormous condo project is moving forward despite community concerns about affordability and environmental contamination. Three callers, including Gina Thornburg of the Coalition for Valley Neighborhoods, said the contamination and carcinogens at this project will kill people, and they urged the city council to stop giving in to big developers.

The council also voted to give DJ Khaled a star on the Walk of Fame, and to accept a “donation” from the Los Angeles Police Foundation of a $1.6 million virtual reality game for cops.

For a recap of last week’s City Council meetings, check out this link.