Category: Area

Bonin seeks to reverse policy of ticketing motorists at broken meters

The frustration of getting a ticket for parking at a broken meter could soon become a thing of the past in Los Angeles. City Councilman Mike Bonin, who represents communities such as Venice and Westchester in the 11th District, has submitted a motion to rescind the city’s policy of issuing tickets to cars parked at inoperable or broken card and coin meters. “Punishing people because a meter is broken is blatantly unfair,” said Bonin, who submitted the motion during his first day at City Hall. “New technology has made this outdated policy unnecessary and drivers seeking valuable parking spots in congested areas and small business owners who need parking for their customers deserve better from the city of Los Angeles.” In 2010, as part of a new “Pay to Park Policy” for card and coin meters, the city made it an offense punishable by fine and citation for motorists to park at inoperable or broken meters. The City Council reaffirmed the policy by approving a motion in December. But Bonin noted that since the policy was implemented, new meters, equipment and technology have made the policy unnecessary. He said the policy was approved in part to discourage vandalism, but the new card and coin meters are far more resilient than their predecessors, and rendering them inoperable requires disabling both the coin and credit card functions. In addition, new technology alerts...

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New green programs recognize environmentally sustainable businesses in Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation has implemented two new programs as part of the city’s Green Business Certification Program: the Los Angeles Green Business Program and the Los Angeles Green Arts Program, as well as the continuation of the Los Angeles Green Lodging Program. The bureau will partner with the Los Angeles Community College District to implement and run the Los Angeles Green Business Program, a voluntary program that will recognize and promote green businesses within the city, initially focusing on the office/retail, restaurant and auto repair business sectors. The program was created through a motion by Councilman Richard Alarcon. For businesses to become green certified they will have to comply with all environmental laws and regulations and also meet program standards for conserving resources, preventing pollution and minimizing waste. The Community College District will implement and publicize the program, provide green business program training and internship opportunities to interested students, conduct outreach to the community and help motivate businesses to become green. With the Los Angeles Green Arts Program, the sanitation bureau will team up with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Arts: Earth Partnership (AEP). The program, which was created by a motion of former 11th District Councilman Bill Rosendhal, will certify green cultural and arts facilities throughout the city. AEP will certify facilities using its environmental standards for cultural facilities, while Cultural Affairs will promote...

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Bonin motion for firefighter tablets gets support from Fire Commission

Following through on a campaign initiative, Los Angeles Councilman Mike Bonin has proposed to equip Los Angeles Fire Department firefighters with iPads and innovative smart phone apps to assist with their duties. Bonin introduced the motion calling for a Fire Strategic Technology Integration (“FIRST-IN”) Master Plan for Los Angeles during his first week in City Hall. The proposal would allow firefighters using antiquated maps and clunky computers to upgrade to tablet devices, Bonin said. The plan also calls for synchronizing the more than a dozen databases currently operated by the LAFD, helping firefighters to work smarter, safer and more productively, Bonin said. “Lives are on the line and the brave men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department, as well as the people whose lives they protect, deserve access to the best technology available,” said Bonin. “Los Angeles is home to some of the most creative and innovative minds in the world and we have a responsibility to use this home-grown technology to improve the way firefighters and paramedics save lives.” At the Fire Commission meeting July 9, Commissioner Alan Skobin asked Assistant Chief Patrick Butler and Capt. Rich Fields to begin working to achieve the objectives outlined in Bonin’s motion. Butler, author of the LAFD’s Task Force on Information and Data Analysis Report, which made major recommendations for technology upgrades, was specifically asked to gather feedback from...

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A cautious victory: Westsiders celebrate Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage

                      By Michael Aushenker West Hollywood was not the only local community celebrating the U.S. Supreme Court’s defeat of a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on June 26. That evening, spontaneous celebrations broke out all over Los Angeles, including the Westside. One such party took place at the Venice home of photographer Sunny Bak, where about 25 guests, mostly women of both lesbian and heterosexual persuasions, gathered on the fly to drink in the news, which, according to guests, ranged from very positive to cautiously...

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L.A. City Council approves ban on plastic shopping bags

Los Angeles has become the largest city in the nation to prohibit single-use plastic bags after the City Council gave final approval June 25 to a ban on their distribution at grocery stores, convenience stores and pharmacies. Shoppers will soon be required to bring reusable shopping bags or to pay 10 cents per paper bag. The ordinance, which will be phased in, will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014 for large stores and July 1, 2014 for smaller stores. Los Angeles joins a number of other California cities that have enacted similar bans, including Santa Monica. According to the environmental organization Heal the Bay, one in four Californians now live in a city that has enacted curbs against single-use bags. Environmentalists hailed the plastic bag ban by the second largest city in the U.S. “Today, our city became a model for our state and the rest of the nation,” said Kirsten James, Heal the Bay’s science and policy director for water quality. “The vote further emphasizes that the time has come for us to move past the wasteful convenience of a plastic bag to sustainable reusable bags.” Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who represents coastal communities including Venice, said he was “absolutely thrilled” at the ban’s passage, noting that he has fought for such a measure during the eight years he has been in office. But opponents argued that outlawing...

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