Beware Solar City in Los Angeles!

Here is a Facebook exchange regarding the VERY recent shenanigans with a company called Solar City. Fair Warning!

This is from my husband:
Earlier this week a representative from Solar City knocked on our door wanting to show us how going solar would save us a lot of money over the years. (We already have solar which they could see on top of our room from the street!) We weren’t interested and sent him on his way. Today a Facebook friend (who lives in Orange County!) posted the following:

“I am on the phone with Solar City. We met with them to hear their pitch and said no thank you. Yesterday, we got a letter from the city saying the building permit had expired and they needed to inspect it or there would be problems. Turns out Solar City pulled a permit. We also got a letter from Solar City saying we needed to sign a notice of cancellation. WTF? Sounds like a scam to me. Talked to the city – told them what happened. I have to send a letter and they will remove it from the books. On the phone with Solar City. They are moving me up their management chain. DON’T DEAL WITH SOLAR CITY FOLKS!”

A friend of his posted the following nightmare:

“On April 29, 2014 in the evening, I had two Solar City salesmen come walking up to me in my front yard. Me being a pretty environmental guy, has always thought about solar for my house and because several of my neighbors already use Solar City I figure I would start asking questions and seeing if it would work for me.

I have a very high end roof so I was not interested in having the system put on the roof of the house. We started talking about alternatives and looked at an out building on the property which is an un-permitted building that has been on the property since the 50′s. The salesmen informed me that the structure has to be permitted and that Solar City could possibly cover the costs to permit the structure so they could get the system in. I informed them I would have to think about it as it would significantly change my property taxes if it were permitted and I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that.

The other alternative was for Solar City to rebuild the covered RV parking on the side of the house and put the system on top of that or just place the system on racks in the back yard (which I wasn’t interested in as they would have been right next to my pool), all of which the Solar City salesmen said would need to be assessed by a Solar City technician before anything could be decided.

So the Solar City salesmen and I were talking for a little over an hour and in that process I asked for more information to be sent and I gave them my name and e-mail address. Later the Solar City salesman tells me he will enter my information preliminarily into an account so after the assessment by their Solar City technician, if we decide to move forward, it will already be done. All of this is being done over the hour long discussion on an IPad the Solar City salesman is holding.

At the end of the conversation the Solar City salesman says we really need a Solar City technician to come out and evaluate if we can even set up a system with these unique issues. I agree and decide to set up an appointment for a Solar City technician to come out and assess. The Solar City salesman calls the Solar City appointment scheduler, verifies my name, address and e-mail and that the Solar City technician will come out the next day to see if we can move forward. The Solar City salesman says I have to sign a box on his IPad to give authorization for the Solar City technician to come out and assess. Once I sign I will get a confirmation e-mail. So I sign on the IPad – nothing on the screen except a signature box.

The next day the Solar City technician doesn’t show up in the time identified. He comes an hour later. The Solar City technician tells my wife he didn’t know what time he was suppose to be there. I left before he got there because he was late and I had stuff to do. So later that day I go to the confirmation e-mail from Solar City to see what time it said.

It wasn’t a confirmation e-mail – it was an executed 20 year service contract with my signature on it!

It was completely binding with a three day cancellation clause that I wouldn’t have even opened if the Solar City technician wasn’t late.

Now I’m upset! I immediately email “Customer Care” demanding that the contract be cancelled immediately because it was done under false pretenses and the Solar City salesman lied to me to get my signature. I receive no immediate response.

After reading the 17 page contract I discover there is a formal cancellation procedure. So I have to print the contract, sign all the cancellation documents and overnight the documents by certified mail to the Solar City offices in northern California to make sure it is within the 3 day cancellation window identified in the contract I didn’t know I was signing. Now my interaction with Solar City has taken up several hours of time and has cost me $20 to certify mail the cancellation, again on a contract I didn’t know I was signing.

Your company, Solar City, is dishonest, Solar City salesmen lie to people and are implementing bait and switch tactics to make sales. I was never told anything about a service agreement, it wasn’t mentioned at all!

Finally, 24 hours after my e-mail to Solar City “Customer Care” I receive this response:

Dear *,
I am sorry to hear that you would like to cancel your contract with us at this time. I have alerted your sales representative to this request. You will hear from them shortly.
Regards,
Christina

So “Customer Care” attempts to send me back to the Solar City salesmen that lied to me in the first place.

Here is my immediate reply back to Solar City “Customer Care”.

Please do not have the sales account people contact me, I have no desire to continue to work with sales people that use illegal tactics to attempt to lock in customers. I simply demand that the contract be cancelled immediately.

I have also followed through with the 3 day cancellation procedures identified in the contract, which you should be receiving by certified mail by 3:00 p.m. today. I am now completely irritated and angry by the amount of time and money I have had to put out to fix this.

Your sales people were 100% dishonest, immoral and did something straight up illegal. They should be terminated from your organization.

I have filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and added this illegal activity to Yelp so others are not duped into a 20 year agreement unknowingly with an extremely short 3 day cancellation clause and I sent it to the local consumer advocate in television media. I am also looking into filing a complaint with the Contractor’s License Board. I plan to send a letter directly to the CEO to let him know the illegal behavior his employees are implementing to lock in customers.

We never discussed an agreement, I never saw an agreement and I would have never signed an agreement – but I got an electronic one with my signature on it that the salesman obtained through lies and dishonesty.

I have also sought legal council in preparation that this matter does not get resolved immediately.

I hope you are understanding the severity of this situation. Now cancel the contract!

Thank you,
*********

Friday evening, almost 27 more hours, I received a follow up from Solar City “Customer Care” that said this:

Dear *,
Thank you for your email. This is Christina, with Solar City Customer Account Management. I hope that you are having a wonderful day.

Your contract has already been cancelled.

I hope this information helps. If you have any further questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reply to this email for further assistance. Thank you and have a good day!
Regards,
Christina

I appreciated getting the confirmation of cancellation but there was nothing from “Customer Care” about how sorry Solar City is regarding my experience or that Solar City doesn’t normally do business this way or that Solar City would investigate the situation. The reality is that Solar City’s “Customer Care” could care less about the situation nor did it seem to worry them that Solar City sales representatives were acting illegally or dishonestly to obtain customers.

Since the May 2, 2014 contract cancellation confirmation, I have gone back to Yelp to review more comments about Solar City. I have discovered many other similar complaints. As a person that runs a business I felt compelled to express my utter disgust and shock at the tactics of the Solar City sales representatives and the sheer disregard for customer value and customer care. Shame on you and your company, Solar City!
Completely irritated.
******”

The general rule is, NEVER do business with anyone soliciting door-to-door. Never do business with anyone soliciting on the phone for home improvements. NEVER! NEVER! NEVER!

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Upcoming Events – April 2015

Here are some events coming up for April 2015

Lunch with Paul Kerkorian
April 2, 2015
12:30pm to 1:30pm
Hayat’s Kitchen
11009 Burbank Blvd.
RSVP to geoffrey.yazzetta@lacity.org
Download Flyer

Fundraiser for LAPD Officers
North Hollywood LAPD will be hosting a fundraiser for two North Hollywood Area officers who are both home and unable to work due to a serious illness.
Date: April 2, 2015
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Where: Pinz Bowling Center (12655 Ventura Blvd, Studio City)
There will be bowling, food, and raffles throughout the entire event.
Download Flyer


Spring Carnival, Sunland Park
easter-festival-2015


Earth Day Cleanup
Sponsored by CD2 & NoHo East NC
Saturday April 11th, 8am – Noon
Location: Fire Station 89
7063 Laurel Canyon Blvd, North Hollywood 91605
Tools & Refreshments will be provided
Download Flyer


Citrus Sunday
Vitamin C is a crucial element in maintaining good health, and is especially important for our homeless clients and families living below the poverty​ ​line. Since fruit is an expensive food
item, our clients often go without. However, we are​ fortunate here in Los Angeles County, to have an abundance​ ​of citrus fruit trees as a natural resource.

That’s where Food Forward steps in.​ ​www.foodforward.org Food Forward is a non-profit,​ ​grass-roots organization, which sends picking teams into​ ​residential gardens to harvest citrus fruit for the homeless and working poor. They have created an event to​ benefit the North Hollywood Interfaith Food Pantry called​ ​Citrus Sunday.

Citrus Sunday is an exciting​ ​occasion which enables the community to share citrus fruit​ ​from their yards with families in need. This year we will be holding it on TWO consecutive Sundays, April 12th and April 19th.

People register their local trees at Food Forward then we go pick and distribute to our clients. The intention is to expand this network so that we have more volunteer opportunities and more food. If you have a fruit tree that produces more than you can eat, you can register your tree with Food Forward here. You can also call Samantha at 818-764-1022 ext. 0#.

Please Download the Citrus Sunday​ Flyer ​containing all the pertinent information for participation.​ ​It would be incredibly appreciative if you could distribute these among your school communities, and​ ​encourage them to donate their unused citrus fruits to the​ ​Food Pantry on April 12th and April 19th.

The North Hollywood Interfaith Food Pantry has their own pick team. We will do fruit picks once a month. If you want to participate in a fruit pick with our team please contact the pick leader Steve Cabrillos: steve@anthologychurch.com.

Cyber Security Info for your home & business
Join us as one of the area’s top cyber security experts describes the challenges of keeping the data on your home and business computers safe from prying eyes. Alexander “Sam” Moreno, a 27-year veteran of the LAPD retired from the department’s Computer Crimes Unit and is now Director of Security Incidents and Investigations at Fox Entertainment Group. This former street cop turned computer nerd turned corporate security expert will offer tips on Internet safety, discuss the evolution and devolution of information sharing and share practical ideas for keeping your private stuff private.
DOWNLOAD FLYER!
April 15 at 6:00PM
East Valley PALS
North Hollywood Christian Church
4390 Colfax Ave (at Moorpark Street) Google Map
For more information, contact PALS at 818.754.8477

COMING UP FOR MAY!

American Cancer Society – Relay for LifeAm-Cancer-Relay-For-Life
May 2nd
Relay for Life of South Valley
10am to 10pm @ Walter Reed Middle School
4525 Irvine Ave, North Hollywood/Studio City
A 12 hour team walk and fundraiser with teams of 10-25 members. It’s a community event for all ages that focuses on joining together to Finish the Fight Against Cancer.

“Discover Recycling” Open House
11050 Pendleton Street, Sun Valley, CA (Google Map)
May 2, 2015
9:00 AM – 2:30 PM

LA Sanitation holds “Discover Recycling”​ Open Houses every year. Each of our six wasteshed district yards will open to the public in a series of free ​Saturday events.​ The Open House​ ​program​ showcases ​LA Sanitation’s ​residential curbside collection programs with an emphasis on proper recycling practices​ ​and bulky item collection​ ​while​ strengthening partnerships​ ​with​ ​City​ ​residents. ​The Open House will ​​​feature trash trucks​ and equipment demonstrations in addition to facility tours, information booths, recycling games,​ and refreshments. Last year, nearly 7,000 residents attended​ the Open House events​ with ​290​ city employees ​who ​volunteered their time to “give back” to the neighborhoods they serve throughout the year.​ ​ There is no charge for admission and all ages are welcome, but we do request that pets be left at home for safety.

LA Sanitation’s Lopez Canyon Environmental & Education Center will host an information booth about the city’s green bin recycling program and give away small vegetable plants with mulch and compost made from yard trimmings. Visitors will learn about the benefits of green recycling, pot new plants and experience the recycling loop. More than 2,200 plants were potted and given away to residents last year. LA Sanitation will also partner with “City Plants” to provide 50 fruit and 50 shade five-gallon trees for adoption by city residents, on a first-come-served basis at each yard, while supplies last. (City residents must present valid identification with their city address or a current DWP bill to adopt a tree. Note: the limit is one tree per property address.) “Used Tires” from city residents will be collected, which is provided by a grant from CalRecycle. (City residents must present valid identification and a current DWP bill. Note: a maximum of nine passenger and/or light truck tires will be accepted but tires on rims and tires from businesses will not be accepted.)

https://www.facebook.com/events/1032067336821804/

http://www.lacitysan.org/openhouse.htm

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Upcoming Events – March 2015

Here are some events coming up for March 2015

Small Business of the Year
Nominations due March 23, 2015

From Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian, District 46

I am thrilled to announce the start of nominations for “Small Business of the Year” in the 46th Assembly District and I need your help. Please think of an exceptional small business that also helps anchor our community.

Small business owners are the backbone of our economy. Nationally, over 50% of the working population (120 million individuals) is employed by a small business and 65% of the net new jobs since 1995 were created by small businesses.

In order to qualify;
The business must have a physical location within the 46th Assembly District;
Been in business for at least two years, and meet the SBA Small Business Size Standards.

A business may be nominated by municipal and chamber of commerce staff, and/or by any business owner or resident within the 46th Assembly District (no self-nominations). One small business will be selected and recognized in Sacramento on Wednesday, June 10, 2015 at the California Small Business Association Luncheon.

Please complete and submit the nomination form by March 23, 2015.

For more information contact Steven Butcher (818) 376-4246 or steven.butcher@asm.ca.gov


Community Clean-Up
From: Councilmember Paul Krekorian, District 2
NoHo West Neighborhood Council & Strathern Neighborhood Watch
Saturday, March 21
9:00am – 12:00 noon
Whitsett Slope
Tools and refreshments will be provided
Contact Lorraine Diaz for further information: 818-755-7676


Stop Senior Scams Awareness Program
ONEgeneration Senior Enrichment Center
March 16
1:30 pm – 3:30 pm
18255 Victory Blvd.
LA, CA 91335
Multipurpose Room


The 5th Annual Los Angeles Student Film Festival
Submit Your Film Today!
Submissioin Deadline: March 27
For further information, visit the official website: lasmf.lacity.org


#LACookout

LAPD/GRYD Community Event
Free Hotdogs
Events scheduled from 11:00am – 3:00 pm

March 7, 2015
Toberman Rec/ Center (hosted by LAPD Rampart Station)
1725 Toberman St. LA, CA 90015

LAPD 77th Street Station
7600 S. Broadway, LA, CA 90003

Sepulveda Rec. Center (hosted by LAPD Mission Station)
8801 Kester Ave. Panorama City, CA 91402

Lanark Rec. Center (Hosted by LAPD Topanga Station)
21816 Lanark St., Canoga Park, CA 91304

March 14, 2015
LAPD Holenbeck Station
2111 E. 1st St. LA, CA 90033

LAPD Southeast Station
145 W. 208th St. LA, CA 90061

LAPD North Hollywood Station
11640 Burbank Blvd. North Hollywood, CA 91601

LAPD Van Nuys Station
6240 Sylmar Ave, Van Nuys, CA91401

March 21, 2015
LAPD Harbor Police Station
2175 John S. Gibson Blvd., San Pedro, CA 90731

LAPD Hollywood Police Station

6501 Fountain Ave, Hollywood, CA 90028

Rio de Los Angeles State Park (hosted by LAPD Northeast Station)
1900 N. San Fernando Rd., LA, CA 90065

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From S.A.F.E. – High-Speed Rail: Dead in its Tracks?

It’s bigger than a freeway construction project. Bigger than an airport construction project. Bigger than a Metro line construction project. Bigger than a pipeline construction project. Bigger than a bridge construction project. Bigger than all of them combined. But, not better, according to California stakeholders from the Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley, Antelope Valley, Santa Clarita Valley and, now, San Fernando Valley, who are uniting and fighting to stop damaging high speed rail plans “dead in their tracks.”

After a series of negative experiences with the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA), San Fernando Valley stakeholders will know soon if high speed rail officials learned from their mistakes. Gone is the Authority’s free ride and sense of entitlement as they face Southern California’s sophisticated, organized and populous communities that demand better work and greater accountability. “Re-engineered” routes are due to be presented by CHSRA to community groups in the near future and represent the latest, if not the last, opportunity for high speed rail to salvage its credibility and tenuous future.

Is CHSRA listening?
The righteous tone of CHSRA Chairman Dan Richard’s recent Op-Ed, entitled, “Rail critique early and short-sighted” was off-track. It was CHSRA that sputtered out of the station in the Palmdale to Burbank project section, creating unwarranted levels of fear and panic among affected communities through misjudgments, miscommunications and insensitivity to language barriers.

Mr. Richard’s posturing about “minimizing the impacts to communities, the environment and our precious natural wildlife,” ignored candid feedback to CHSRA by tens of thousands of stakeholders in the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and Antelope Valleys, namely, that present routes (East and West Corridor) irreparably alter the character of communities and will forever damage sensitive environmental areas, threaten dwindling water supplies, destroy local businesses and economies, and fall far short of legislative mandates related to the project’s cost, speed and location. Mr. Richard’s rhetoric is misleading when he claims tunneling “brings down costs, shortens trip times and reduces impacts on communities along the route.”

Mr. Richard again ignores common sense, facts and community feedback when he states that tunneling through both the National Monument and Angeles National Forest “would not disturb the pristine natural forest area or damage the flora and fauna of one of California’s greatest urban habitats.” It’s evident to everyone but Mr. Richard, it seems, that a 30-40 foot diameter tunnel boring machine, which would create approximately 1.5 million truck trips removing excavated dirt, while also threatening local water supplies, would be pretty disturbing.

CHSRA has not listened as communities along the San Fernando Road, already severely impacted by Metrolink and freight rail lines, oppose the bigger, faster, wider, noisier and more frequent high speed rail trains coming through their communities. Residents refer to the combination of track, train, wires and sound walls as “Death Walls” that would further divide communities, increase gang threats and promote graffiti. CHSRA is ignoring the voices of these lower-income, bilingual communities about the economic destruction, aesthetic and cultural degradation, and environmental injustice high speed rail would impose.

The Authority’s poor “track record” is supported by the fact that since mid-August 2014, communities in the Palmdale to Burbank project section have received zero response from CHSRA to:

  • more than 6,000 written comments following EIR/EIS scoping meetings
  • thousands of comments at informational meetings in English and Spanish speaking communities along proposed routes (including more than 2,000 attendees at a single meeting in Lake View)
  • a 19-page position paper submitted two months ago by S.A.F.E. Coalition
  • more than one hundred letters from horses and one mule
  • testimony from 40+ residents at CHSRA’s September 2014 board meeting.

Is CHSRA Transparent and Above the Law?
The most obvious illegal maneuver by CHSRA and example of what voters did NOT approve are the proposed East Corridor alternatives which are NOT in an existing transportation and utility corridor as required by legislation. CHSRA further acted with arrogance by offering no apology for blindsiding communities, with no advance notice, of route alternatives in the middle of summer in 2014, repeating that offense during the 2014 holiday season, and then mailing threatening “permit to enter” letters dated Christmas Eve.

There is both a lack of transparency and a conflict of interest when County, City and State elected officials agreed with CHRSA to embargo and withhold information on several occasions from the public about the above announcements for weeks at a time. Similar transparency concerns were recently revealed on a Sunday night in Burbank, which held its first “emergency” City Council meeting in several decades to begin the process of shining light on land deals potentially involving the Airport Authority and CHSRA. Burbank residents, long affected by airport and freeway construction impacts, have just begun to join the chorus of stakeholders statewide opposing the secretive, behind closed doors schemes of CHSRA. As CHSRA belatedly embarks on a “community advisory” process, we wonder why such a basic technique had to be demanded by community leaders and not offered from the outset.

Mr. Richard’s rationalization that study of the infeasible East Corridor alternatives resulted from international best practices and input from communities is simply “spinning” the Authority’s capitulation to political interference. We will not ignore what led to the pursuit of stations in both Palmdale and Burbank, as well as the joint powers authority of the High Desert Corridor project. The record is very clear that years of lobbying and advocacy by Supervisor Mike Antonovich, a county supervisor for more than 30 years and past chair of Metro, unchecked by our LA City Council, is what led the Authority to create all of the damaging routes which jeopardize the future of the northeast San Fernando Valley while providing little, if any, benefit.

It’s time that a premature LA City Council Motion, introduced by Councilman Tom LaBonge in June 2014, endorsing CHSRA, is replaced with a Motion protecting the interests of the City’s San Fernando Valley residents. We are watchful that nearly half of the present LA City Council voted for high speed rail while serving in the legislature. Given the overwhelming community opposition to high speed rail, we call for all City Council members to act independently and responsibly to fight present plans which would seriously damage the City’s residents, eviscerate the spirit and tranquility of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and Angeles National Forest, and destroy the character and economies of our northeast San Fernando Valley communities. These communities should not be held hostage by unjust inclusion in endless environmental studies and lawsuits as is the case in the nearby 710 freeway debacle.

We seek the facts and a response to our Public Records request about all routes that have been studied to date to ensure equitable treatment of alternatives and communities. And, we want it noted that the Authority recently admitted to violating the Endangered Species Act in northern California.

Last, we want to know how voters have been left out of deciding if a project approved at a $9.95 billion level of bonding, is entitled to expenditures in excess of $68 billion by its own reports, and in excess of $100 billion by others. We challenge the Governor, who stated, “Don’t worry about the money” at the Authority’s staged “groundbreaking” event in January in Fresno and demand state funding be halted to CHSRA if it does not meet legislated requirements related to costs, travel times, fares, ridership projections and other performance indicators. How ironic it is that the Governor reduced the amount of the recently approved Water Bond (which benefits all Californians) but supports high speed rail which will not be affordable or accessible to many Californians!

Is CHSRA “Working Backwards?”
Recently, Congressman Adam Schiff, himself a high speed rail supporter, called for elimination of routes that go through the National Monument and National Forest and, ultimately, tunnel or proceed at-grade or on elevated platforms into the communities of Shadow Hills, Lake View Terrace, La Tuna Canyon, Kagel Canyon, Sylmar, San Fernando, Pacoima, Sun Valley and Burbank.

In interviews, Congressman Schiff asked if high speed rail, like other large transportation projects, was starting with its conclusion and “working backwards.” We ask that same question of our local elected officials, some of who publicly state that high speed rail will happen or has to happen and that we should make the best of it. We believe it has to happen per the law or not at all. We demand CHSRA open its books and ensure that only “feasible” alternatives, as defined by state and federal legislation, be included in environmental studies.

To conclude, we say to CAHSR: “Go back to the drawing board; stand on common sense and sound financial principles; separate yourself from political influence; and present alternatives that are lawful and just. Legislators, city officials, residents, businesses and the press must rein in this project, create clean-up legislation or kill it. Growing public support exists for redirecting the funds to projects that really benefit the San Fernando Valley and our State such as local transit alternatives, water supply projects, public safety, emergency response, and education and healthcare.

We again call for elimination of infeasible, ill-conceived and money-wasting alternatives from further consideration before the long and costly environmental study phase begins.

If not, we will unite with opponents statewide in a manner the State has not witnessed before. High speed rail will no longer be referred to as “the train to nowhere.” Instead, it will be the train that gets stopped, dead in its tracks, right here in the San Fernando Valley.

In unity, we say “Don’t railroad our communities!”

S.A.F.E. Coalition (www.dontrailroad.us)
Dave DePinto, President; Shadow Hills Property Owners Association
Josie Zarate, President; Lake View Terrace Improvement Association
Kelly Decker, Vice President; Kagel Canyon Civic Association
Cindy Cleghorn, Vice President; Sunland/Tujunga Neighborhood Council
Sylvia Ballin, Mayor; City of San Fernando
Mike Gonzales (as an individual); President, Pacoima Neighborhood Council

Written by David DePinto
Dave DePinto is the president of the Shadow Hills Property Owners Association and a member of the “working group” that is part of S.A.F.E. (Save Angeles Forest for Everyone).

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LA City Council District 6 Debate

Debate In Van Nuys for LA City Council District 6

This would be a valuable event to attend. There are many important issues facing our LA City Council and the selection of each and every Council Member is crucial. Above all:

Vote on March 3rd!

(posted from Van Nuys Neighborhood Council press release)

City Council District #6 Debate
Nury Martinez Vs. Cindy Montanez

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015 (7pm)
Van Nuys Neighborhood Council Chambers
6262 Van Nuys Blvd.
Van Nuys, CA 91404

VAN NUYS, CA — In the highly touted rematch for the coveted Los Angeles City Council District #6 seat, incumbent City Councilwoman Nury Martinez faces former Assemblywoman Cindy Montanez on the March 3rd ballot. This coming Wednesday night, the Van Nuys Neighborhood Council will host and moderate the debate between these two ladies.

“The council meetings in Van Nuys have become the place for political debates, because we hear everyone out fairly and equally, and address the complex issues facing our community. We successfully hosted the LA County Sheriff’s Debate last year, and were thanked by all the candidates for our professionalism and class during the forum,” said Honorary Mayor of Van Nuys & Council President George Christopher Thomas.

“The Van Nuys Neighborhood Council is really looking forward to hosting this debate, and asking the tough questions relevant to the 6th District of Los Angeles. We are soliciting questions from the general public, and are inviting community leaders and the local media to participate as well,” said Honorary Mayor of Van Nuys & Council President George Christopher Thomas.

The debate is set to begin shortly after 7pm, and both candidates are confirmed to attend. If you would like to submit a question, please email it to info@vnnc.org. Van Nuys will also be celebrating its 104th Birthday at the council meeting, and cake will be served. For more information on the Van Nuys Neighborhood Council, please visit www.empowerla.org or www.vnnc.org.

All print and broadcast media are invited to attend. Press can access the council chambers anytime after 5:30pm on Wednesday night. For special media requests or equipment related inquiries, please direct questions to Council Vice President Howard Benjamin at howard.benjamin@vnnc.org or Council President George Thomas at george.thomas@vnnc.org. (https://www.facebook.com/VanNuysNeighborhoodCouncil)

Opening Statements by each candidate. (3 minutes) Discussion & Debate — Each candidate will be given 2 minutes to answer the questions. Closing Statements will be 3 minutes as well, and the debate is scheduled for 90 minutes. Multi-purpose room 1B (adjacent to the council chambers) will be available after the debate for the candidates, the press, and the public to follow up on questions and make statements. The questions below are in no particular order, and are just a sample of what may be asked of both candidates.

Question #1
Do you support passage of the Habitat Linkage Zone Ordinance? How would you vote on this as a council member?

Question #2
What are your plans for pension reform?

Question #3
Since passing in 2006(AB32) and 2008(SB375), outreach to educate Californians about our climate change laws has been dismal statewide and in the Valley. The Sepulveda Basin and areas within D6 are vital climate resiliency corridors. How would you allocate funds to create public outreach informing our community about climate change laws that mandate greenhouse gas emission reduction so average residents understand city ordinances regulating residential composting to remove organic matter from the landfill and community plan updates to conform to SB375 Sustainable Communities Strategy?

Question #4
Do you believe that the City’s pension plans should be fully funded within 20 years?

Question #5
Do you support light rail along the Northeast San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor? There is a big discrepancy between money set aside for the project and the money light rail would require, so Metro is trying to manage expectations and sell us on a busway. Considering that the Crenshaw Transit Corridor got light rail, is it fair that the Valley is being shut out again? How will you help bring home the money for doing this project the right way instead of the field-expedient way?

Question #6
Do you support increased funding for the Neighborhood Council system? Should DONE have more staff?

Question #7
An improved economy in Van Nuys would mean an improved quality of life for all residents. What specifically would you do to bolster the Van Nuys economy?

Question #8
Do you support the proposal that would allow the City to amend future benefits for existing workers as was supported by San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed?

Question #9
Research indicates that 1 in 4 foster youth end up homeless after the first three years of emancipation. What would you do as a Council member to help to improve the lives of transition age youth in CD6?

Question #10
Do you support the recent lowering of the investment rate assumption by the City’s two pension plans to 7½% even though it increased the City’s annual required contribution?

Question #11
What is your vision for City Council District 6?

Question #12
Under what conditions would you support the lowering of the investment rate assumption to 6½%, a benchmark recommended by Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway fame and fortune?

Question #13
North Hollywood has undergone a major face-lift, with many beautiful places built. What specifically can you do to help us, for the betterment of Van Nuys? This used to be the jewel of the valley, we have the government center here and we look downtrodden, how do we attract better businesses and polish our jewel for all to want to come here to Van Nuys?

Question #14
How do you propose to finance the Mayor Garcetti’s plans for the Los Angeles River, Great Streets, and Sustainability?

Question #15
Do you support the El Super Boycott? Do you support all three facets?
a. $15 wage minimum
b. wage theft consequences
c. 5 days paid vacation

Question #16
Mayor Garcetti pledged to phase out the $470 million gross receipts business tax? How would you replace the lost revenue?

Question #17
What is your position on the bullet train designed corridors? East Corridor? SR 14 alternative? Do you support the underground design?

Question #18
Do you support the “benchmarking” of City services to determine their effectiveness and efficiency? And under what conditions would you support the contracting out of City services?

Question #19
How will you assure your constituents that you and your staff will be more available, and more responsive, with greater resolution to concerns?

Question #20
Do you support transparent labor negotiations where all proposals and offers must be disclosed within 24 hours and that any proposed agreement be reviewed and analyzed by an independent third party prior to being approved by the City Council?

Question #21
Do you support the Los Angeles proposed ban on the use of GMO seeds and plants within the City’s border?

Question #22
Under what conditions would you support a half cent increase in our sales tax to fund the restoration of City services?

Question #23
Do you support mixed-use development? If so, where do you think would be good locations for such projects? From where would funding come?

Question #24
Do you support placing a measure on the ballot where voters would have the opportunity to accept or reject an amendment to reform our charter that would require the City to develop and adhere to a long term financial plan, pass two year balanced budgets based on Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, and, over the next twenty years, fully fund the City’s two pension plans and repair and maintain our streets, sidewalks, and the rest of our infrastructure?

Question #25
What is your position on fracking and clean-energy campaigns (including the FIT Program, solar, wind, etc.)?

Question #26
What is your opinion of changing the LA City Charter for the City Council and LAUSD Board of Education elections?

Question #27
(I have one question for each candidate,… from a Neighborhood Councilmember in CD #6 — question emailed into info@vnnc.org.)
Cindy Montanez: “Why does you think that being a DWP lobbyist makes you a good candidate for City Council member?”
Nury Martinez: “How do we know who is influencing you, Councilwoman Martinez, when direct payments to your husband, vis-à-vis G7 Strategy, are not required to be reported to the public? How do we know that an unscrupulous developer or special interest group isn’t circumventing campaign laws and the City’s Code of Ethics by making direct payments to G7 Strategy in exchange for special treatment by you in your position as councilwoman?”

Question #28
How do you intend to eliminate next year’s projected budget deficit of $165 million and the $425 million cumulative deficit over the next three years?

Question #29
The City Administrative Officer is projecting a budget surplus of $24 million for the 2018-19 fiscal year. It assumes that there will be no raises or cost of living adjustments for City employees and that civilian workers will contribute 10% towards the cost of the City sponsored health plan. Do you support these assumptions?

Question #30
Do you support the unanimous recommendation of the LA 2020 Commission to establish an Office of Transparency and Accountability to oversee the City’s finances?

Question #31
How do you propose to pay for the repair and maintenance of our streets and sidewalks?

Question #32
Do you support the LA 2020 Commission’s proposal to form a Committee on Retirement Security that will report its recommendations on how to “achieve equilibrium on retirement costs by 2020″ within 120 days?

Question #33
Do you support the City’s creation of the new tier of pension benefits for new civilian employees even though the Employee Relations Board questioned its legality?

Question #34
When are you going to LOWER taxes?

Question #35
When are you going to do something about the traffic jams. One suggestion would be to stop encouraging building in already too dense areas.

Question #36
Do something about the police. When we call dispatch we are put on hold TOO long. I respect the police and think they are doing a great job and we need more of them. When are you going to stop putting money into welfare programs (homeless shelters, A/C for seniors on hot days, etc.) and use it to hire more police.

Question #37
In 2012, when Nury Martinez was on the board of the Los Angeles Unified School District, she and the other board members voted to eliminate the school district’s adult education program. Due to protests by students, teachers, and other community members, including a unanimous vote in opposition by the city council, the board decided to keep one-third of the adult schools open, but two-thirds were closed. Van Nuys Community Adult School, in the council district, remained open, but only as a small branch campus. Numerous teachers were laid off, programs were eliminated (including Citizenship), and classes were closed. Now there are long waiting lists for students, and a once-vibrant part of the community is now an empty shell. What do the candidates think about the role of adult education in the Van Nuys community?

Question #38
I am a long time resident of Van Nuys, own a home and founded a 501 c 3 nonprofit that has been operating out of Van Nuys since 2009. We have a pilot program – Autism Works Now! that we will be a start-up small business. This program will act as a temporary employment agency for individuals with autism and related disabilities and will work with employers in Van Nuys and the surrounding areas to provide employees for businesses on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. What kind of support in the way of office space and business outreach can we expect from you and the Van Nuys council office in our first year phase of assisting individuals with disabilities find meaningful employment and be a part of their communities? Thank you.

Question #39
If elected or reelected to the Los Angeles City Council what measures will you take to inform the residents of city services that provide for the removal of bulky items? On that same topic in the case of the available city services, what will you do to insure that these items dumped on our city parkways are picked up in a timely manner? In addition what can be done to encourage property owners to maintain their property so that it is their responsibility to insure that our streets do not become a dumping ground for unwanted items by their tenants?

Question #40
My question for Nury and Cindy is this. The stakeholders of Lake Balboa want a definitive answer to the proposed development by the Moss Group on the corner of Balboa Blvd. and Victory Blvd. Will they let the rezoning happen. Yes or no. Thank you.

Question #41
Topic for discussion: City Council District #6 — 17100 Victory Blvd development.

Question #42
Please ask the candidates what they can do with the Sun Valley landfill, how to stop global warming, and alcohol drinking in public at our community gardens.

Question #43
What can be done about the sex trafficking and prostitution along Sepulveda Boulevard in Van Nuys? Why does Van Nuys have so many mental care facilities, our community is the most saturated in all of Los Angeles? What can be done about the murder rate and gang problem in the mid valley, Van Nuys was the murder capital of Los Angeles in 2014. Do you support required after school programs and sports, would this alleviate the boredom of our at risk youth?

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The Danger to Our Mountains and Valley

I went to what turned out was a Realtor’s meeting for imparting information regarding the East Corridor of the California High Speed Railroad on Sat., Jan. 11th. I was horrified to learn that one of the proposed routes that this HSR would take would be under my home. I volunteered immediately to help where I can, and that effort turned out to be designing their informational website. Who are THEY? It is a coalition that has been at this for a very long time trying to fight the East Corridor proposal of the HSR. This group, primarily of residents from Sunland-Tujunga, Shadow Hills, Kagel Canyon is called S.A.F.E. – Save Angeles Forest for Everyone. I urge you to visit the website to learn all problems that will occur if this HSR rail goes though.

If you are not familiar with what is happening with the High Speed Rail, I encourage you to “come up to speed” as quickly as you can, because all of us, wherever we live in this valley will be affected no matter if it is the SR14 corridor OR the East Corridor. The increased traffic, the pollution and the severe damage to our environment, especially if it is the East Corridor which goes through the Angeles National Forest, would be incredibly impactful.

hsr-SR14-East-corridors-mapDownload the High Speed Rail, Palmdale to Burbank Map

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LAFD Scam Alert

Scammers representing themselves as bill collectors. No billing agency will ask you to do this, that is buy a pre-paid debit card (you need a paper trail to show you did pay your bill), so if someone calls with this ruse, hang up.
lapd-scam-alert

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American Legion Christmas Boutique & Bake Sale

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD THE PDF FLYER!

What a great event to support our veterans while getting ready for the holidays!

American Legion Auxiliary Unit 520 of Sun Valley

Christmas Boutique and Bake Sale
Saturday, December 13th
9:00am to 4:00pm
9026 Sunland
Sun Valley, CA 91352

See flyer for contacting individuals for further information.

Lunch of Hot Dogs, chips, soda/water just $3.00

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2014 LA Congress of Neighborhoods-Sept 20

Sorry about the late notice, but you can still sign up for Saturday, Sept, 20, 2014 “Keys to Success” 2014 LA Congress of Neighborhoods: SIGN UP HERE

What it is:
Almost 500 people have registered for the Congress of Neighborhoods! If you haven’t done so, please register.
_______________________________________

Dear Neighborhood Council leaders (and stakeholders),
Neighborhood Council leaders from throughout the city have partnered with the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (EmpowerLA) in bringing the 2014 LA Congress of Neighborhoods to City Hall on Saturday,
September 20, from 7:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Register Now

Los Angeles has 95 certified neighborhood councils and the Congress of Neighborhoods is designed by council leaders so that there is something for everybody, from curious stakeholders to new board members to seasoned veterans of the civic engagement process to city hall insiders.

The event is free, it includes breakfast and lunch, workshops, networking and more.

This is an exciting time for us, plans are underway and the energy is building for the Congress of Neighborhoods which will take place in City Hall on September 20, 2014. The theme this year is “Keys to Success” and this will be your opportunity to network with elected and appointed City officials, City department managers, staff and Neighborhood Council leaders from across the City. This is our Congress of Neighborhoods at City Hall.

Whether you’re brand new to your Neighborhood Council or have been around for a few years, there’s something for you at the Congress. Resources and networking great ideas, real life experiences and opportunities where Neighborhood Councils have made a difference and where they would like to make a difference in their communities, for themselves and beyond.

The Congress is designed so you can take something (or many things) back immediately and put them to use for yourself and your community. Below is a sample of the workshop topics to be included at the 2014 Keys to Success event:

  • Meet Your City Officials
  • Developing Leadership Skills
  • Outreach and Technology Guidelines
  • Ethics Training
  • Finance Training
  • Interactive Problem Solving
  • Disaster Preparedness events
  • Neighborhood Purpose Grants
  • Public Works Roundtable
  • Committees — where the work gets done
  • Working with non profits for community improvement
  • Land Use 101 and 102
  • Animal Welfare
  • What’s Important to your neighborhood?
  • Opening the Door
  • and more


Thomas Soong
Project Coordinator – Community Strategist

*CONGRESS OF NEIGHBORHOODS 2014 September 20th
Neighborhood Council leaders from throughout the city have partnered with the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (EmpowerLA) in bringing the 2014 LA Congress of Neighborhoods to City Hall on Saturday,September 20, from 7:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Register Now

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CAL Fire’s – Are You Ready

We know that the fire season is now pretty much 12 months long. If you live in the foothills you need to be aware that a fire storm can approach so quickly that sometimes you can barely escape with the clothes on your back. Here is some great information from CAL FIRE to help you prepare.
Wildfire is Coming. Is Your Home Protected?

These folks are serious. The more we do to make defensible space around our own property, it will in turn make it easier for them to not only do their jobs, but PROTECT YOUR PROPERTY.

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