CHARLOTTE LAWS - DREAM AND ACHIEVE TOGETHER 


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Charlotte Laws 
Member of the
 Greater Valley Glen Council
21781 Ventura Blvd., Suite 633
WH, CA 91364
Tel.  818.346.5280
Fax.  818.985.1690
drlaws@adelphia.net
 

Dr. Charlotte Laws - Councilperson Valley Glen

Relating to Government in Greater Valley Glen

By Charlotte Laws Chair of the Government Relations Committee


(Submitted to Greater Valley Glen Quarterly as an update on Charlotte's committee's work.)

The Government Relations Committee has been productive since its inception last Spring. We have dealt with issues regarding inclusionary zoning, renewable energy, public animal shelters, financial disclosure for local councils, and community participation in infrastructure repairs.

First, we reviewed the city's plan for inclusionary zoning. We determined there were difficulties with this proposal, such as increased traffic in already congested areas, fewer parking spaces for cars, and "up-zoning" problems, i.e. destroying residential homes in order to cram people into taller, high density structures. So our committee created our own proposal from scratch to present to the city, which emphasized the use of multi-use dwellings and the conversion of commercially zoned properties into living quarters for those who fall into the low income bracket.  We felt this move towards "down-zoning" would be more widely accepted by the community, and at the same time, solve the serious housing shortage that L.A. faces in coming years.

Renewable energy is another issue that faces our city. Some parts of California obtain 17% - 18%  of their energy from renewables, while Los Angeles' DWP is at a dismal 3%. Government Relations wrote a letter to Mayor Hahn congratulating him on halting the Intermountain Power Plant 3 (IPP3) project, but adding that we would like for him and the L.A. City Council to support a 20% renewable energy supply for Los Angeles by 2010, in lieu of the present target date of 2017. We added that the renewable energy should come from wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, fuel cells and small hydro as defined by state law, rather than from the Hoover Dam.

At least 30,000 of our dogs and cats are killed every year in Los Angeles animal shelters, costing the taxpayers $17 million dollars annually. The taxpayer costs and animal deaths are entirely unnecessary, as evidenced by success in other parts of the country in moving towards "no kill" alternatives. Our committee wrote a proposal, detailing how to accomplish this "no kill" goal in Los Angeles; we then presented our findings to the L.A. Animal Commission, the City Council, the Mayor, and all Mayoral candidates. The 86 neighborhood councils were alerted to this proposal by e-mail and asked to appoint a Director of Animal Welfare to educate their community on animal issues. The proposal also suggested that L.A. consider setting up a nonprofit, obtaining the $20 million of free money available from Maddie's Fund, and using the soon-to-be-empty animal shelters for the transition. The proposal concludes with potential legislation that could be enacted in ten years if the problem has not been solved by then.

The Government Relations Committee researched financial disclosure laws for elected, local officials and concluded that the city attorney was correct in allowing an exemption for Neighborhood council members. We authored a letter stating that each council should be able to decide whether they wish to impose more stringent disclosure requirements upon their members.

The final, major issue that our committee tackled involved the "Eyes on the Neighborhood" program," in which we suggested that neighborhood council representatives, as well as city employees, be permitted to fill out service requests identifying repairs that need to be made in the community. We also suggested that the city might want to launch a website in order to facilitate the process: this could aid with reporting issues and alerting the public as to whether a problem has been previously reported.

If there is any issue that you would like to see the Government Relations Committee address, please contact Charlotte Laws at (818) 781-5280 or drlaws@greatervalleyglencouncil.org


Host of television show Critter Crusades Missy Woodward, Charlotte Laws and Candidate for County Supervisor David Hernandez. Photo taken on March 29, 2006 after Missy interviewed Charlotte and David on her TV show.