The City Council voted unanimously on Wednesday to implement the Los Angeles County Department of Health grading system to the thousands of food trucks, carts and trailers in the City of Los Angeles. The ordinance consideration was continued from Tuesday after Councilmember LaBonge introduced an amending motion requiring careful consideration of the Countyâ€™s regulatory authority over the motion picture catering trucks. Testimony from the Motion Picture and Television Mobile Catering Association (MPTMCA) stipulated that catering trucks for the film industry operate and prepare food differently than the gourmet food trucks and carts popping up all over the City.
â€œThe City wants to continue the partnership weâ€™ve had with the film industry for over 100 years,â€ Councilmember LaBonge said. â€œThese trucks donâ€™t sell to the public. Theyâ€™re hired by a production company to serve food to the workers on set. That means they donâ€™t get to dictate where the nearest washroom is, where the nearest trashcan is, etc. etc.â€”things that the County considers during the health inspections.â€
If approved by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, all lunch trucks within the City boundaries must post their health gradesâ€”a system to which traditional restaurants have been subjected to since 1998. Supporters for the entertainment industryâ€™s catering services do not oppose the health grades, but want to carefully execute all requirements of the health grade system without any hindrance to film production companies who might consider hiring them. Also, the MPTMCA posits that further regulation might require checklist items contracted caterers cannot provide.
The working group will report back to the Transportation Committee on the effect of health grades for film industry catering in 90 days.
For more information on the new ordinance, visit the Los Angeles County Department of Health's website at www.publichealth.LACounty.gov.
Santa Claus is coming to Tinsel Town for the 2010 Hollywood Christmas Parade Benefiting Marine Toys for Tots, and departments within the City of Los Angeles anticipate thousands of visitors will join the Christmas festivities on Sunday, November 28. Los Angeles Department of Transportation and the Los Angeles Police Department stated that street closures and no parking zones will be strictly enforced the day of the parade, including a couple of streets that will qualify as a "no parking area" up until Monday, November 29.
Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards, on the parade route, will be affected as well as parts of DeLongpre Avenue and McCadden Place. Northbound and southbound off-ramps of Cahuenga Boulevard and Highland Avenue will be closed at 3 p.m. and reopen at 10 p.m.
Parade-watchers are encouraged to take public transportation. To map your route, visit www.metro.net. For further information about DASH Hollywood or other LADOT transit services affected, call (213, 310, 323, 818) 808-2273 or visit www.LADOTtransit.com.
For a full list of no parking or tow-away areas, please read PAGE ONE and PAGE TWO of the LADOT, LAPD and City of Los Angeles joint press release.
Operation Walk celebrates the holiday season by opening its services to U.S. patients this year who suffer from debilitating bone and joint conditions.
Founded in 1994 by Dr. Lawrence Dorr, also founder of The Dorr Arthritis Institute at Good Samaritan Hospital, Operation Walk has provided orthopedic surgery and treatment to underprivileged populations around the world free of cost. Because of the economic downturn and the need seen by Dr. Dorr, nine teams of surgeons will perform some 80 free surgeries across the nation for the first time.
"These patients have inescapable pain and these surgeries can cost thousands of dollars," Councilmember LaBonge said, after he stopped by The Good Samaritan Hospital to wish the team of doctors good luck. "Giving back to the community is so important--not only in the holiday season but every day. To these patients, Dr. Dorr is performing Angels' work in the City of Angels."
Operation Walk supports physician teams that raise money for treating underprivileged populations in the United States and globally. Operation Walk makes at least 10 trips per year to underprivileged populations in 12 countries each year to provide training and consultation.
For more information, please visit www.OperationWalk.org.
On Monday, Council President Eric Garcetti and Councilmember Tom LaBonge announced that Santa Claus will tour Hollywood at 6 p.m. on the Sunday after Thanksgiving Day, before his around-the-world Christmas flight. The 2010 Hollywood Christmas Parade Benefiting Marine Toys for Tots, an annual tradition for over 80 years, will culminate in a ride up Hollywood Boulevard for Jolly Old St. Nick. Over 70 celebrities are expected to join the festivities for this very special parade, with legendary talk show host Larry King serving as the Grand Marshal. King will retire from his show the following month.
"The Hollywood Christmas Parade is an American tradition," Councilmember LaBonge said. "It's been part of our hearts and part of the season for over 80 years. We're glad to continue the tradition, and what a super way to celebrate the legacy of Larry King!"
"The holidays are about good times and dreams coming true, and that's what you get when you bring Hollywood and Santa together," Garcetti said. "Hollywood's dramatic turnaround means this is the year to bring the kids to see the lights, the stars and Santa in Hollywood."
Other celebrity guests will include Susan Sullivan and Molly Quinn from ABC's Castle, Sarah Drew and Sara Ramirez from ABC's Grey's Anatomy, Noland Gould and Rico Rodriguez from the Emmy Award-winning show, Modern FamilyCorky Ballas from Dancing With The Stars, and many more. Actors Laura McKenzie and Erik Estrada will host the November 27 parade, which will be telecast throughout the nation on December 10 on the Hallmark Channel and the Hallmark Movie Network. It is also schedule to air on December 17 on KTLA.
Proceeds from the sale of grandstand seating will benefit Marine Toys for Tots, a 63-year-old national charitable program run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. The Toys for Tots program provides happiness and hope to disadvantaged children during each Christmas holiday season.
For more information and to buy tickets, please visit www.TheHollywoodChristmasParade.com or call 866-PARADE1.
Councilmember Tom LaBonge joined Dodger fans and other on-lookers at the Union Rescue Mission to proclaim that the Bacon Wrapped Hot Dog is the â€œOfficial Dog of Los Angelesâ€ on Thursday after 50,000-plus Angelenos voted for the Los Angeles favorite. Farmer John celebrated the occasion with a donation of over 50,000 pounds of food to local food banksâ€”one pound for every vote received.
2010 MLB All-Star Dodger Andre Ethier joined Farmer John in the campaign which aimed to give Angelenos some respite after the stressful mid-term elections and provide one more bragging right to residents of Los Angeles. Ethier was also thrilled about Farmer Johnâ€™s philanthropic take on the campaign.
"This campaign was a natural fit for me to help make the Bacon Wrapped Hot Dog, a personal favorite, an official part of Los Angeles history, and also to really be able to give back to those in need," said Ethier. "Food banks, including Union Rescue Mission, often serve more than 3,000 people daily, and because of the votes of Angelenos in support of this campaign this food is going right where it is needed most during this holiday season."
â€œThereâ€™s nothing like giving back to the community,â€ Councilmember LaBonge said. â€œThe good people at Farmer John have created a movement around giving back. Letâ€™s keep the needy in our hearts and on our gift lists as we head into the holiday season.
From September 2 to Election Day on November 2, Bacon Wrapped Hot Dog fans logged onto voteLAhotdog.org to cast their votes for the popular take on Americaâ€™s favorite baseball food. Farmer John pledged to donate one pound of food for every vote received and has launched the season of giving by sending their large donation to Union Rescue Mission and Angel Harvest Food Bank.
Cast members from Cinderella: A Traditional London Panto and Councilmember Labonge performed on stage with children from the Lankershim Elementary School to promote a very special opening night with proceeds benefiting the City's after school enrichment program. Opening night for the world-renowned version of the classic children's play is November 27th.
"I've never seen a group of more spirited performers," Councilmember LaBonge said of the pint-sized troupe from the local school. "The Historic El Portal Theatre decided to donate 100 percent of the proceeds from opening night so these kids and kids across Los Angeles can continue to be safe, learn and grow after school."
The theatre is located in the heart of the flourishing NoHo Arts District on Lankershim Boulevard. Proceeds from the star-studded, red-carpet opening night will benefit LA's BEST. The mission of LA's BEST is to provide a safe and supervised after school education, enrichment and recreation program for elementary school children ages 5 to 12 in the City of Los Angeles.
For more information, or to buy tickets, please visit LAsBEST.org or call the El Portal Theatre at 818-508-4200.
The Los Angeles City Council heard testimony from the City Librarian about a March ballot measure, introduced by Councilmember Tom LaBonge, to increase the Library Department's share of the City's general fund.
"This is a no-tax solution to save our libraries," Councilmember LaBonge said. "Let's present this ballot measure to the people of Los Angeles."
City Librarian Martin Gomez testified that the City Charter has allocated the same percentage of general funds since 1925, when the City had 30 libraries. The climbing cost of operating today's 73 libraries as well as citywide budget cuts have forced the library department to reduce hours.
The March 2011 ballot item will change City Charter Section 531 to appropriate a 0.0300 percent of the assessed value of all property taxes. Currently, the charter allows for only 0.0175 percent. The increase will allow the libraries to operate seven days per week as they did in the 2009/2010 fiscal year.
The City Council voted unanimously in favor of placing the measure on the March 8, 2011 ballot.
The Cahuenga Boulevard area of Studio City/North Hollywood was named the safest big city neighborhood in the United States this week. Research combining crime and neighborhood statistics on the personal finance blog WalletSpot found that Cahuenga Boulevard area residents have a 1 in 1,042 chance of being a victim of a crime in that neighborhood.
That makes it safer than 98% of all neighborhoods across the nation--from the smallest towns to the biggest cities.
"Los Angeles is full of great neighborhoods and some of the best neighborhoods are right here in District Four," Councilmember LaBonge said. "I'm proud of our neighborhoods and it's clear that efforts of my office, the LAPD and the Studio City and Hollywood Hills West neighborhood councils have maintained a stable, safe community for so many people."
To see more statistics about the nation's safest big city neighborhood, please click here.