Last year was unique, exhilarating and challenging. Some of the marquee highlights of 2017 were in the world of sports. Not only did the Dodgers make their first World Series appearance in 30 years, the City Council made history by authorizing Los Angeles to host the 2028 Summer Olympic Games. In my role as Budget and Finance Chair and as a member of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Olympics, I worked to protect taxpayers’ interests now and in the future.
If I had to distill 2017’s flurry of activity into one theme, I would call it “the year of standing up for neighborhoods.” Locally, we did this by working with community members and business leaders to build our local economy, shore up the city budget, tackle homelessness, upgrade parks and increase public and traffic safety in our communities.
In 2017, the economy grew in Council District 2 with wages rising nearly five percent and economic activity up 10 percent. My office brought L.A.’s first Costco Business Center to North Hollywood and broke ground on NoHo West, the commercial-residential project at the old Laurel Plaza site that will reinvigorate the area and bring hundreds of good jobs to the East Valley. The City Council’s Jobs Committee, which I chair, rolled out our citywide job creation plan and studied the possibility of creating a municipal bank in Los Angeles.
These economic successes informed our positive budget movement, as the $9.2 billion city budget reinvested in services and included a reserve fund far larger than it was a decade ago. The budget put more firefighters and police officers on our streets and expanded funding to stop domestic violence, prevent homelessness and eliminate traffic fatalities.
On the issue of homelessness, I worked to ensure that voter-approved funding was used to alleviate the problem, opened permanent supportive housing units in the Valley, hosted more Homeless Connect days than anywhere else in the city, and launched L.A.’s first pilot program to pair job training with shelter and get people off the streets.
Street and sidewalk safety also commanded my attention. Safe Sidewalks LA, the city’s sidewalk repair program, got off to a smooth start, granting home and business owners a rebate for repairing walkways, while more sidewalks got fixed at parks, libraries and recreation centers. I launched the Safer Streets initiative to fix dangerous roadway conditions and protect cyclists and pedestrians.
My office also organized some of the largest cultural events in the region. The new NoHo Summer Nights concert series invigorated North Hollywood Park with live music, art and movies and I partnered with neighborhood and business groups to organize street fairs, block parties, art festivals and film screenings throughout Council District 2.
More than ever before, I am proud to be an Angeleno, a Valley resident and your representative at City Hall. In 2018, I will continue fighting to make Los Angeles an even better place for all of us to live, work and thrive.
Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian, chair of the Budget and Finance Committee and the Ad Hoc Committee on Job Creation, represents Council District 2, which includes North Hollywood, Studio City, Valley Village and other communities in the East Valley.