Happy 4th of July!
I want to wish you all the very best 4th of July.
During this holiday, many of us join together, often under a sky replete with fireworks, in a special, joyous effort to celebrate freedom and honor our nation’s remarkable history and commitment to liberty and justice for all.
We justly take pleasure and pride in our country, from its tumultuous birth through the two hundred and thirty-five subsequent years of growth, change, struggle, sacrifice, extraordinary accomplishment and continued hope. We also salute our troops who have served or are serving now, for they truly soldier on under our flag and in our name.
I know that for many people, here and throughout our country, these are too often times of anxiety, loss and retrenchment, with an economy that is having trouble regaining its footing and a place in the world that seems uncertain. We yearn for a future that offers promise and not debt or doubt, and we do so not just for ourselves but for our children and others who will follow.
In that spirit, I want to say how much faith I have that by working together we will succeed in making that future a bright and caring one. Every week, every day, I see and hear from many people throughout the 5th District who work with the utmost devotion, not just to improve their own situation and that of their family and loved ones, but who show incredible dedication in helping neighbors, their community and the city as a whole. They speak up loud and clear. They serve the cause of progress and champion equality and the health and happiness of our home lives and neighborhoods, and they are indomitable. Our nation has so many heroes, and many of them live, work and serve right here in the 5th District.
Have a happy and safe Independence Day!
People are being urged to try to avoid using the 405 freeway during the period of its significant closure, scheduled to start the evening of Friday, July 15 and last through Monday morning, July 18. In the meantime, Councilmember Koretz has called upon various City, County and State agencies to maximize their communications, planning and public outreach to ensure that things go as smoothly as possible and that the impact on the community is minimized. At the Councilmember’s direction, a major briefing occurred in front of City Council recently and many key details were discussed.
Councilmember Koretz questions representatives of LADOT, Metro, LAFD and LAPD about protecting nearby neighborhoods and the impact of the closure on emergency response.
Microsoft grand opening
June 30th was a landmark day for the Los Angeles, marking the first time ever that a Microsoft store opened in this city – and it happened in the 5th Council District. Festivities welcomed the arrival of one of the leading businesses of our time, or any time, into our midst. (The new store is at Westfield Century City.)
Quite simply, Microsoft has changed the world. By developing and supplying new technologies for more than three decades, Microsoft has embodied innovation, exemplified business acumen and revolutionized global communications, transforming how we share and use information for the betterment of ourselves and each other.
Microsoft products are everywhere, ubiquitous, though often sold via the Internet or from the shelves of other stores. Now, though, here in Los Angeles, Microsoft will be available face-to-face – able, in person, to influence, assist and inspire the personal, educational and entrepreneurial progress of countless Angelinos. Councilmember Koretz noted at the ribbon cutting that “this is a true breakthrough for our local economy and the daily life of our City. Microsoft is one of the transcendent brands of our world, and that brand will now make its mark here on the storefront level, and that sends a glorious message about the business vitality and prospects for growth of Los Angeles.”
The Councilmember called the new store “a crucial coup for our city and of course for the Century City community and the 5th Council District. I am incredibly proud of this district and Century City, where each day positive steps are being taken to ensure the best possible future. I am especially pleased to congratulate and salute Westfield Century City for being the new home to a Microsoft store. We are truly blessed to have wonderfully enlightened community leaders, civic organizations and business organizations, working together with tremendous resolve as Century City evolves into a new era of greatness.”
He also thanked Microsoft for its monumental activism in supporting and promoting essential humanitarian and civic efforts, on a day when Microsoft provided more than a million dollars in support of Los Angeles-based non-profit endeavors including the California Science Center, the Fulfillment Fund and Great Minds in STEM.
Jewish Federation of LA turns 100
From left to right: Councilmember Paul Krekorian; Richard Sandler, Chairman of the Board of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles; Councilmember Paul Koretz; Jay Sanderson, President of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles; and Catherine Schneider, Senior Vice President of Community Engagement of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles is currently celebrating its 100th year serving the people throughout the City and County of Los Angeles. Councilmember Paul Koretz took this opportunity to thank and salute this remarkable organization for its tremendous work over the past century. Countless people in need and crucial community and educational causes have been helped thanks to the generosity of spirit and compassionate dedication of The Federation.
A special thank you goes to Caron Berkley of The Federation and Barri Worth of the Mayor's Office who helped put this event together.
Councilmembers Paul Koretz, Tom LaBonge, Bill Rosendahl and Bernard Parks (not pictured here) were among the roughly 400,000 participants in 2011’s Annual PRIDE Parade celebrating the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community and its accomplishments. Carrying the City of Los Angeles banner were Council District 5 staffers Christopher Koontz and Sheila Kouhkan.
What the world needs now, is love, sweet love...
Councilmember Koretz was delighted to salute a remarkable 5th Council District resident, Hal David, who recently celebrated his 90th birthday and was joined in Council Chambers by his wife, Eunice and son, Jim.
Hal David is a distinguished member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame. His words have graced the American music scene and cinema for decades, and an incredible array of songs that he helped create have brightened people’s lives. He got his start in New York, experimenting in lyrics as he made a living from journalism. After he wrote his first hit, for bandleader Sammy Kaye in the 1940’s, he came out with a number of successful pieces, putting him on the map in what was a very competitive but wonderfully creative New York music scene centered in the famous Brill Building, which is where, in the late-1950s, Hal met another up-and-comer, composer Burt Bacharach.
The two teamed up and would go on to craft some of the most beloved pieces in American musical history. Their separate styles complimented each other perfectly, giving their work a memorable and elegant dimension. Together, they wrote hits for many renowned artists, such as Dionne Warwick, The Carpenters, Dusty Springfield, Gene Pitney, Jackie DeShannon, B.J. Thomas, and Tom Jones. Countless people have been enthralled, transfixed and even transformed by songs like “This Guy’s in Love with You,” “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again, “Do You Know the Way to San Jose,” “What the World Needs Now is Love,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” One Less Bell to Answer” and “Anyone Who Had A Heart, " just to name a few of the many, many hits by the duo.
Their work was nominated for the Oscar numerous times, including such songs as “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on my Head,”What’s New Pussycat?,” “Alfie,” “The Look of Love,” and, Councilmember Koretz’ personal favorite, “What’s New, Pussycat.” They also created a crucial musical, “Promises, Promises.” Many of their songs have been recognized in the Grammy Hall of Fame. Put simply, they are titans of music.
Hal David has also done amazing work with other composers, including Albert Hammond, Sherman Edwards, John Barry and Paul Hampton. He’s written for jazz greats and has penned country standards. In 1984, Hal was selected to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. And yet his achievements go beyond extraordinary song writing. He was president of The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) in the 1980’s, and is currently its legislative committee chairman. He is also a founder of the Los Angeles Music Center and serves as Chairman of the Board of the National Academy of Popular Music and its own Hall of Fame.He is a member of the Board of Governors of Cedars-Sinai Medical. Quite recently, he received the very first Visionary Leadership Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
For all those reasons, Councilmember Koretz was thrilled to honor Hal David, who has given the world so much pleasure and beauty through his tremendous contributions to American cultural history. Singing a brief medley of Bacharach-David tunes at the City Hall ceremony was LAPD Officer Rosalind Curry. For those of you who want to enjoy a whole evening of Hal David’s works, check this out – he will be celebrated by many of his peers in honor of his 90th year at a special benefit concert at The Music Center on October 17th.
Welcoming a new Councilmember!
A new Los Angeles City Councilmember, Mitchell Englander, served his first day in office on Friday, July 1. We welcome him and wish him, his wife Jayne and their daughters Lindsey and Lauren the very best.
Councilmember Englander represents the 12th Council District: Granada Hills, Northridge, Porter Ranch, Chatsworth, North Hills, Lake Balboa, West Hills, Winnetka, Encino, Canoga Park and Reseda. He was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, and attended valley public schools. Before his election to the City Council, he served as the Chief of Staff to Los Angeles City Councilman Greig Smith from 2003 to 2011, and helped lead many key efforts regarding the community’s quality of life, including important environmental and educational endeavors.
He is also a sworn Reserve LAPD Officer and works in uniform patrolling the community. The immediate past Chair of the North Valley Family YMCA, he serves on the boards of numerous community organizations including the American Diabetes Association, San Fernando Valley Jaycees, Providence Holy Cross Hospital, West Valley Boys and Girls Club, The Jewish Home for the Aging, Winnetka Community Foundation, Valley Leadership Institute, Devonshire Police Activities League (PALS), New Directions For Youth, New Horizons, Supporters of Law Enforcement in Devonshire (SOLID), and is a member of the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter Wildlife and Endangered Species Committee and many other groups.
Congratulations and best wishes, Councilmember Englander and the 12th District!
Saying goodbye to some of Canter's greats
The 5th Council District is truly blessed to have restaurants which for many people are just like home – where you can go and know other customers and staff, and can have fun and a good meal in very familiar settings that resonate with character and memories. Canter’s Deli is a magnificent example of that kind of place that means so much to so many people.
But Canter’s and everyone who loves the place suffered a blow with the passing from cancer of Jean Cocchiaro, a longtime presence at Canter’s. Councilmember Koretz was saddened but honored to be a part of a memorial service for Jean that was held at Canter’s Deli: family and friends, owners, customers and staff and even her landlord gathered, praised her dedication and skill, shared stories and laughed and wept.
As one son told those present, “We were her family, but Canter’s was her home.”
Since 1956, Jean was a waitress at Canter’s; she became a manager while continuing to serve as a waitress. She was treasured by regulars and workers there for her passion and pride in what she did and how she did it, knowing her customers like the back of her hand and having their customary food and coffee ready without needing to take an order. She had an incredible memory and caring way, but also had character, wit and spunk, making that tasty meal or simple cup of coffee even more memorable and worth cherishing. She had a celebrity status at the deli and was featured in Los Angeles Magazine and in episodes of Roseanne and Geraldo, and even appeared in Playboy – albeit fully clothed! She served the famous and the unknown with equal flair and respect.
At the memorial service, Councilmember Koretz told those present, "When people speak of who represents a community, they usually mean elected officials such as myself or Zev Yaroslavsky. But the truth is that each of you represents your community, with your words and actions and how you conduct your lives and how you treat your fellow human beings, and I can't imagine any of us doing a finer job at representing, standing up and serving her community than Jean, for she did so with class, toughness, dignity, verve, humor, grace and love.”
Sadly, Jean was not the only person recently lost to Canter’s: this became clear after the memorial, when a customer at the deli asked about a missing face – that of Gallo Ulloa, a deli manager and night manager who had worked at Canter’s for 25 year. It was explained to the customer that Mr. Ulloa lost his life last December, at age 67. Riding his motorcycle to work, he was waiting at an intersection when he was struck by a big truck: the driver had simply not seen him.
But to others, he was always a vivid presence and an inspiration. This was clear as the discussion ensued at Canter’s: it was said that he embodied ethics, honor, character, honestly and loyalty. He had been a street orphan in Ecuador at the age of 10: living with a cousin on houseboats, they had raised themselves. Clearly, he appreciated the opportunity that this nation afforded him, for he had never missed a day of work at Canter’s – in fact, a worried Jacqueline Canter had called his family when he hadn’t shown up, for she was thinking something must be wrong, so unlike him was it to be late. In fact, he worked 16 hours a day, also holding down a job at Label’s Table Deli. He did this to support his wife and kids (a son and two daughters). One of the Canter’s regulars mentioned that Gallo had instilled both a solid work ethic and modesty in his kids. He had also remembered his roots and had given something back to those in need, by helping an orphanage in Ecuador.
Life goes on for the rest of us, and Canter’s continues in its importance to Los Angeles, and there will be many great moments to come, day by day, but the losses of both Jean Cocchiaro and Gallo Ulloa to Canter’s and its community are immeasurable, and they will each be dearly missed here in the 5th District.