Phone: 310-729-6573
Email: martin@martinfeinberg.com

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Tis the Season…to pay your Property Taxes

Image is of a tax calculator.The Los Angeles assessor’s office reminded Los Angeles County property owners on Monday that the deadline for the first installment of their 2017-2018 property taxes is quickly approaching. Culver City property owners have a 1.5% tax rate, the least of any city in the County.

Taxpayers technically have an extra day this year to make their payment because the due date—December 10—falls on a Sunday, but Los Angeles County Treasurer and Tax Collector Joseph Kelly said that is no reason to procrastinate.

Kelly stated, “to avoid late penalties, property owners should not wait until the last day to make payment; please pay early.”

Martin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, understands that like most taxes, property taxes are not especially fun to pay. It is good to remember though that they help provide for many of the services that the Culver City Real Estate area relies on. Public schools, police, and fire departments are some such services that are partially or fully funded by property taxes.

All payments must be postmarked no later than the end of day December 11 or property owners will receive a 10% late payment penalty. For those who can’t pay the total amount due though, partial payments can be made, which will reduce the amount of delinquency penalties they will be charged.

Property owners can find the amount due on any piece of land, and also find answers to most other related questions, by visiting lacountypropertytax.com, or by calling the Property Tax Information Line at (888) 807-2111.

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, reminds owners that there are multiple ways to pay taxes this year. They can pay online here (select “Pay Online” under “Payment Options”), by mail, or in person at 225 N. Hill St., downtown, in the first-floor lobby. The office is open on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Owners can also pay by credit or debit card over the phone by calling (888) 473-0835.

Image is of a seal with the words "Tax Office" inside, flanked by two outstretched hands.

Culver City Tackles Mansionization at Tuesday’s City Council Meeting

Image is of a large home under construction.Tuesday at 7 p.m. the Culver City City Council will be considering whether or not to award a contract for studies on creating municipal standards for new home building codes. These codes would regulate mansionization in city neighborhoods and would likely affect all of Culver City Real Estate.

Large-scale homes that are typically out of character with the rest of the neighborhood’s other residences, known as McMansions or mansionization, became a topic of interest three years ago. Martin Feinberg, Realtor, remembers the debates during Culver City’s 2014 municipal races that focused on how the city was going to handle these new building trends.

The topic made headlines again in late 2016 and early 2017 when a group of Culver Crest homeowners asked the city to intervene after they discovered a neighbor was planning major improvements to his hillside residence.

In response to the Culver Crest concerns, the council implemented a 45-day moratorium, which ended on May 4. This put a hold on the issuance of land use permits, variances, building permits or land use determinations or entitlement requirements. The council is still working on a more permanent solution however.

The concern in the Culver Crest community was mostly focused on safety and the likelihood of landslides following extensive excavation on hillside properties. In other Culver City neighborhoods, the issue is more about esthetics and neighborhood continuity. Both concerns could be resolved with improved building codes for large-scale homes.

On December 14, the city council introduced new guidelines to amend current municipal codes on development standards for residential zoning districts, but more still needs to be done.

Image is of a row of neighborhood houses.So far, city planners have chosen ten neighborhoods to be designated as ‘unique’. These are Carlson Park, Blair Hills, Culver Crest, Culver West, Studio Village, Blanco Park, Park West, Park East, Sunkist Park and Washington-Culver.

Councilwoman Meghan Sahli-Wells, who lives near Carlson Park, is hoping that the city will eventually expand the ‘unique’ designation to other neighborhoods as well.

“After we go through the process with R-1, I’d like to look at R-2 as well, as there are similar issues in those neighborhoods,” she said.

The city council meeting tonight will take place in the Mike Balkman Council Chambers at 9770 Culver Blvd. Among other things the council will consider hiring John Kaloski Architects as the contractor to handle the studies.

Martin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, hopes many will take this chance to support their community and make their voices heard.

Culver City Resident Gears up for the Great Cycle Challenge

Image is of a cyclist on a road with green trees in the background.The Great Cycle Challenge USA is taking place for the third time this June and Culver City resident Joel Falter plans on leading the pack again this year in both miles cycled and donations collected.

The Great Cycle Challenge USA (GCC) is a nationwide event that will see approximately 30,000 riders attempting to raise more than $4 million for the Children’s Cancer Research Fund. Riders raise money by setting up a page on the GCC website and pledging a specific number of miles they promise to ride. Riders also set up a funding goal, which is mutually exclusive to the mileage.

In 2016, Falter managed to ride 632 miles and raised almost $14,000, which made him the third highest fundraiser in the country. He has set a 700-mile goal this year. He also hopes to exceed his previous fundraising efforts, though he has set a modest monetary goal of $12,000.

Falter, who will be 60 in July, is the chief operating officer at a transportation, planning, engineering, and consulting firm. He has lived in Culver City for 15 years. He became interested in GCC last year after reading an article about it.

“A lot of fundraisers are walkathons or running,” Falter said. “This was cycling and I’m passionate about riding my bike. When I read the details of establishing my own goals to raise as much as I can, I thought it was great. I generally ride before work anyway, so I just set out to do it. It’s probably the most rewarding and exciting thing I’ve ever done.”

So far, Falter has raised $8,701 of his goal, with $3,299 more to go.

“Unlike other events, anyone can state any number of miles they want,” Falter said. “You’re on the honor system, but there’s an app on your phone so every time you ride, it logs and updates your ride and the miles. So people will be able to see that I lived up to my commitment. A lot of people were following last year to see how I was doing. They’d egg me on, just to keep me motivated and honest.”

In order for Falter to reach his 700-mile goal he must ride an average of 23.3 miles every day of the month of June. This means Falter is usually up before 5 a.m. plotting his course.

“Weekends are a little easier because I can ride longer,” he said. “But getting up in the morning, it’s about getting out early enough and beating traffic. In the morning, you’re contending with rush hour traffic. I like to try to be out of people’s way.”

Culver City Real Estate offers access to many excellent bike trails as well as bike lanes. Martin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, hopes everyone takes advantage of the community’s resources.

Image is of a word cloud with the words helping, volunteering, community, and donations as the focus.According to greatcyclechallenge.com, “People of all ages, abilities and from every state across the country set themselves a personal riding goal and challenge themselves to pedal throughout June to fight kids’ cancer. In 2 years, our community of 39,284 riders from all 50 states has ridden a total of 3,397,199 miles, and together we’ve raised $4,717,515 in support of research to develop better treatments and find a cure for childhood cancer. Why? Because over 15,700 American children are diagnosed with cancer every year, and sadly, 38 children die every week.”

Sammy Steinlight, the public relations officer for GCC, states, “During the past two years, nearly 40,000 riders in all 50 states, pedaled three million miles throughout June, raising more than $4.7 million to fund vital childhood cancer research.”

Martin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, reminds everyone that anyone can get involved in the Great Cycle Challenge, regardless of his or her personal riding level. Visit greatcyclechallenge.com for more information.Great

Culver City Enters Agreement to help Improve Issues with LAX Airport

Image is of two air jet planes taking off and landing with the setting sun behind themCulver City has often had a love/hate relationship with its close proximity to LAX Airport. While there are benefits to being the airport’s neighbor, there have also been drawbacks, which Martin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, has experienced firsthand.

There is hope on the horizon though. Three groups—the Culver City City Council, the Los Angeles City Council, and Los Angeles World Airports—are entering an agreement that will allow for greater cooperation between LAX, Los Angeles, and Culver City.

Culver City Mayor Jeff Cooper is very excited about the prospect of the agreement and how it will help keep a positive relationship between all three parties.

Cooper went on to say, “We hope that this memorandum of understanding will ensure that traffic and other environmental concerns are addressed to protect Culver City residents, businesses, and surrounding communities.”

The agreement reached between all parties puts Culver City into the information and communication loop in regards to LAX future developments and also makes the city a stakeholder in any transportation advisory groups that Los Angeles may decide to create later. This will hopefully improve the airport region’s transportation system.

The memorandum also provides Culver City with significant funds for traffic improvement measures to help ease traffic congestion related to LAX projects.

$2.71 million dollars will go towards signal timing, data sharing, emergency response plans, and message signs that will provide important information to the public, especially concerning traffic interruptions. It will also provide Culver City funds that can be used toward the construction of an Intelligent Transportation System to coordinate with improvements made in Los Angeles.Image is of a jet liner taking off reflecting in a vehicle's side mirror.

This agreement between the three parties resolves Culver City’s legal challenge, which was based in part on the effects of a planned LAX specific project on the community.

The complaints by the city included issues with air quality, aircraft noise, and traffic.   Many Culver City streets serve as thoroughfares to and from LAX and parts of the community, including parts of Culver City Real Estate, were negatively affected.

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, is excited to see how the new memorandum will improve the relationship between the Culver City Community and its neighbors.

Latest Culver City Council Meeting Sees Disagreement over Centennial Celebration Funds

Image is of two hands, forming a bowl, held out asking for a donationAs most people should be aware by now, Culver City is excitedly celebrating its 100-year anniversary in 2017. Like everyone else, Martin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, has been enjoying all of the festivities. The City Council has especially made a concerted effort to make the city’s Centennial Celebration “one of the most important civic events in the city’s history,” according to Vice Mayor Thomas Small.

Though most agree on the importance of the celebration, figuring out where the money will come from for it has not been without drama, as the most recent City Council meeting illustrated.

The latest Culver City City Council meeting, which began with the council moving to improve its environmental credentials, got more heated when Culver City Centennial Committee member Paul Jacobs asked for $25,000 to help with the committee’s ongoing fundraising efforts. This began a lively discussion on fiscal responsibility and a need for more communication.

The committee had already raised almost $250,000 for the celebration and requests for more money caught councilmembers, especially former Mayor Jim Clarke, by surprise.

Clarke quoted a letter from Jacobs—sent on April 24th—which made it appear as if current fundraising activities would be enough to finance the yearlong event. It said in part, “(The committee) is confident that fundraising efforts connected with the proposed Centennial Garden and Tribute Wall will engage the residential and business community and be productive.”

Current Mayor Jeffery Cooper was also confused by the request for more funds. According to him, Jacobs had stated months earlier that the committee would not need any financial help from the city. Cooper and other councilmembers wanted to know what had changed.

Jacobs, who is a former Culver City Mayor himself, explained that the committee wanted $25,000 for closing ceremonies. He also did not understand why Cooper and Clarke were questioning the allocation. “It seems to me that there needs to be more communication between the council and the committee,” Jacobs told the council.

Vice Mayor Small was in support of honoring the committee’s request as a way to “register a vote of confidence with the committee in order to have a successful centennial.”   Clarke was not convinced.

After learning that the committee was having trouble with their fundraising efforts, Clarke countered, “You say that you have these lists and that you’re going to go out and execute? Well then go out and do it.”

Cooper backed Clarke, adding, “We have a fiduciary responsibility to the city to watch how we spend our funds.”

In an attempt to find some common ground, Councilman Goran Erikksson asked the committee for a guarantee pending approval of the $25,000. Committee Marketing Chair Judy Scott was not impressed by the request.

Scott, who is a longtime volunteer stated, “I’m definitely disappointed in Councilmen Eriksson and Clarke, and I will never volunteer again if you don’t give us this money.”

Eventually the council approved the allocation in a 3-2 vote, with Cooper and Clarke voting against.

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, believes that though everyone does not always agree on how to accomplish it, the Centennial Celebration will benefit the entire community, including Culver City Real Estate. Celebrating Culver City is always a good thing.

Image is of the Culver City sign on a hillside with trees in the background

The Culver City Patch Partners with the Red Cross to Improve Summer Safety

Most of us look forward to summer for a large part of the year and Martin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, is no exception. There is something magical about those summer months when the weather makes late nights, early mornings, and full days outside possible. Summer can also bring dangers with it though. For that reason, the Culver City Patch is partnering with the Red Cross to provide videos and guidelines on summer safety so that everyone can enjoy summer safely.

The Summer Safety Series is focusing on five different areas of care: Dealing with heat, safety while in or near the water, burn care and safety around snakes. This week the Patch is also providing a video link to teach about CPR.

Being Safe in the Heat

Combating the heat is one of the most important safety tips for both people and pets during the summer months. Heat can seem like merely a nuisance but it can quickly turn deadly.

Take extra precautions if you are working or spending time outside. You should only conduct strenuous activity in the early morning or late evenings and know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Remember to wear lightweight, loose fitting clothing and always drink plenty of water.

Summer heat is especially dangerous when combined with small, enclosed spaces like a vehicle. Always remember to “look before you lock” and never leave children or pets inside your vehicle. If you spot a child or pet left alone in a vehicle immediately call 911 and don’t’ be afraid to break a window if necessary to help a person need.

Water Safety

There are also safety tips to remember while enjoying the water. Swim in designated areas with a lifeguard present and never swim alone. Never leave a child unattended near water. It is always a good idea to enroll children and others in Red Cross sponsored swim classes to improve their ability to enjoy water safely.   Be prepared to respond to emergencies if needed.

Care for Burns

The number one thing to remember in burn care is to stop the burning as quickly as possible. This obviously means putting out any flames and removing the victim from the source of the burn. However, most people aren’t aware that burned skin will continue to be damaged until the skin itself is cooled. For this reason, cool burns with large amounts of cool water. Never use ice or ice water as this can actually cause more damage.

For minor burns cover the area with a clean, dry sterile bandage or cloth. Covering the burn will help with pain and also help decrease the chance of infection. For significant burns, or burns on children or the elderly, immediately seek medical treatment.

Do not forget that sunburns can also be dangerous.   Always wear sun protection and try to avoid sun exposure between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun’s rays are the strongest. Drink plenty of water to help keep skin healthy and avoid heatstroke. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine though.

Snakebites

Many people don’t realize that snakebites can just as easily happen on a hiking trail as they can in someone’s backyard. In California, and in every area of Culver City Real Estate, rattlesnakes are an ever-present danger. Always been aware of your surroundings. Teach children to keep an eye out for snakes when they are playing outside and to never touch or attempt to pick them up.

To lessen the chances of having a close encounter with a snake, be aware of the temperature and remember that in hot weather, snakes will seek out cool places to hide. In cold weather, snakes will seek out sun and heat. Watch where you step and where you put your hands when hiking.   It’s also a good idea to wear hiking books that go above the ankle and long pants to protect the lower extremities.

If you see a snake, do not try to scare it away or approach it. Give it plenty of room and either back away slowly or make a wide detour.

Image is of a a young girl in a sundress and sun hat walking away from the camera holding a stick in her hand that she is running against a wooden fenceGo to https://patch.com/california/culvercity/s/fsg9m/2017-summer-safety-survival-guide to see video guides–this week it is on when and how to perform CPR—and get more in-depth instruction on each of the categories above. Martin Feinberg, Realtor, hopes that everyone will take their safety and the safety of those around them seriously this summer so that all can enjoy the months ahead.

 

Smarter Water Town Hall Meeting held in Culver City in Response to Proposed Ocean Desalination Project

Image is of a leaf covered in water droplets.One of California’s most important natural resources is water. Martin Feinberg, Realtor, has been through two major droughts in the last 30 years and knows that water conservation and availability is an important issue for both the state as well as local communities.  Because of that concern, Culver City residents and other community members gathered last week at the Veterans Memorial Building to discuss the possibility of an ocean desalination plant along the coast. The plant was part of a proposal by the West Basin Municipal Water District.

The gathering, labeled as a “Smarter Water Town Hall,” was organized by a coalition of environmental groups and took over a scheduled meeting of the West LA Group of the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter.   Los Angeles Waterkeeper (LAW), Heal the Bay, Surfrider Foundation (South Bay Chapter), and Desal Response Group were some of the area organizations in attendance. The goal of the coalition is for cities to prioritize environmentally friendly, cost-effective water solutions over ocean desalination.

The Chair of the Water Committee for the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter, Charming Evelyn, led the meeting by welcoming nearly 100 community members to the Town Hall. She then emphasized the Sierra Club’s opposition to the state’s desalination plans. Following her remarks panel members discussed the potential environmental and economic impacts of the desalination project. They also highlighted more sustainable water alternatives.

According to LAW Executive Director Bruce Reznik, “Ocean desalination, simply put, is the most expensive, energy-intensive and environmentally harmful option to enhance our local water supplies. The energy required to power West Basin’s proposed 20 million gallon a day desalination plant would contribute tens of thousands of metric tons of carbon to the atmosphere every year, at a time when we have to be doing everything in our power to reduce our carbon footprint.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Water Policy Advisor, Liz Crosson, and Chief Hydro-geologist at the Water Replenishment District (WRD), Ted Johnson, also discussed some of the more environmentally friendly options that might make an ocean desalination plant unnecessary.  Water conservation and efficiency measures, storm water capture and reuse, wastewater reclamation, and groundwater remediation are all viable measures that can enhance local water supplies. Such options, as argued by panel members, are not only much better for the environment but are also more cost-effective.

The panel closed with remarks by Heal the Bay’s James Alamillo, a long-time Culver City resident. He urged community members to stay involved in water-use conversations and to look towards an ocean desalination plant as a last resort.

Following the presentations, a Q&A session was moderated by Culver City councilmember Meghan Sahli-Wells. Culver City—including all areas of Culver City Real Estate—is one of 17 cities in the area that purchase water from West Basin.

West Basin expects to release its Draft Environmental Impact Report on the proposed desalination plant sometime in the next couple of months. The meeting ended with all environmental groups encouraging attendees to express their opposition to the project directly to the West Basin Board of Directors. They also requested that Culver City formally oppose the project.

Martin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, encourages all Culver City residents to get involved in the conversation, regardless of views. Water use and conservation affects everyone and all voices should be heard.

Image is of two benches on the beach facing the ocean.

Ralphs Grocery Company Holds Hiring Event in Culver City

Image is a close up bananas with grocery store patron in the backgroundThis Saturday, May 20th, Ralphs Grocery Company will be holding hiring events at locations all across southern California. The event will take place between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. at over 50 different locales.

For Culver City area residents and others interested in working in the community, there are two locations to choose from: the Westside Walk store at 3827 Culver Ctr., 90232 and the Raintree Plaza store at 10772 Jefferson Blvd., 90230. Martin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, is always happy to bring attention to job opportunities within the city.

To find other store locations holding the hiring event check out the Ralphs Grocery Co. Store Locator at https://www.ralphs.com/stores/storeLocator

Ralphs is looking to fill 800 open part-time positions. According to Kendra Doyel, Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Ralphs Grocery Company, the company has “a wide variety of part-time positions that we need to fill in every Ralphs store in Southern California. Positions are available to friendly and engaging people in most every department including front end, deli, meat, bakery and grocery.”

George Albert Ralphs opened the first Ralphs Grocery in 1873. It was located at Sixth and Spring Streets in Los Angeles. The company was independently owned until 1994 when it was bought by Yucaipa Companies. Eventually Yucaipa sold Ralphs to Fred Meyer, which eventually merged with The Kroger Company in 1998. Ralphs is currently a subsidiary of Kroger’s, one of the largest grocery store chains in the U.S.

The first Ralphs Grocery store to open within the Culver City Real Estate area is located in the Culver City Center, which was built in the 1950s.

Ralphs currently has more than 20,000 employees in 193 stores in towns and cities all over southern California. These include stores in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

Anyone interested in becoming an associate with Ralphs should go to jobs.ralphs.com to fill out an application prior to May 20th. They should then make sure to visit their local Ralphs supermarket this Saturday between 11-4 for a job interview.

According to the company, all positions offer competitive wages, flexible schedules, benefits, and opportunities for advancement. Martin Feinberg, Realtor, hopes that many will take advantage of this job opportunity.

Image is of a cartoon man in the shadows holding open a paper with the words "We're Hiring" hovering over him in a bubble

The Grammy Museum Awards Culver City High School its Signature Schools Enterprise Award

Image is of a red, white, and blue ribbon with a gold number one in the centerFor those parents and students interested in access to one of the best high school music programs, Culver City High School is the place to be. The GRAMMY Museum recently announced that Culver City High School has earned the GRAMMY Signature Schools Enterprise Award for 2017.

Martin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor is not surprised that Culver City High School was honored.   Culver City Real Estate encompasses some of the best schools in California.

The GRAMMY Museum is a non-profit organization that was established in 2008. According to its website, it is “dedicated to cultivating a greater understanding of the history and significance of music.” In 2017 the Museum integrated its sister organization, The GRAMMY Foundation, in order to broaden its reach in music education and preservation initiatives.

The GRAMMY Museum’s mission is to “explore and celebrate the enduring legacies of all forms of music; the creative process; the art and technology of the recording process; and the history of the GRAMMY Awards, the premier recognition of recorded music accomplishment.”

The GRAMMY Signature Schools Enterprise Award will give $5,000 per year for three years to the Culver City High School music program.   This money will go to support those professional teaching artists who work with music students in the Academy of Visual and Performing Arts. On top of that, the program will get an additional $2,500 per year for three years to go towards field trips and other program needs.

Culver City High School music teacher Tony Spano said, “We are honored to receive this special recognition by the Grammy Foundation. In order to provide the opportunities our students deserve, it takes a variety of support – from grants, fundraising and donations. It takes the school, district, Culver City Education Foundation and partnerships to help us sustain an active music program. With this grant, we can continue to be an innovative and challenging arts education program.”

Image is of a line of musicians with a saxophone player in focus in the frontAlong with the monetary award that goes to the school program, the GRAMMY Museum also provides a full-tuition scholarship for one student to attend GRAMMY Camp this summer, a $2,500 value. Freshman Rowan Adams Waters was chosen to represent Culver City at the camp this year.

Waters expressed gratitude for the chance to attend the camp and said, “I am very excited and looking forward to everything that I will learn this summer. We’re very grateful to have the support of the Grammy Foundation to help continue what we’re doing in the music program.”

Martin Feinberg, Realtor, would like to offer congratulations to other area high schools also honored by the GRAMMY Museum. These include Huntington Park High, Manual Arts High and Robert Fulton College Preparatory School, all of which are in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

L.A. Reid leaves Epic Records, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment

One of the benefits of Culver City Real Estate is the community’s connection to the entertainment industry. Martin Feinberg, Realtor, has always appreciated the way the association benefits the area and its residents.

Culver City is known as “The Heart of Screenland” thanks in part to its relationship with Sony Pictures. However, it’s not just television and film that the area is known for. Sony Music Entertainment also has a large presence in the community, and a division of Sony Music—Epic Records—is going through some changes this month.

Music producer L.A. Reid is no longer head of Epic Records according to multiple media reports. Reid had been with the label since 2011. He had previously made a name for himself as a drummer in an R&B band in the 1980s.

During Reid’s time at Epic Records he signed many acts including Meghan Trainor and Fifth Harmony. He was also instrumental in bringing Mariah Carey back to Sony.   Besides that, Reid strengthened Epic Record’s presence in the Hip Hop world by signing Scott, Future, Khaled, Tribe, Busta Rhymes, Rick Ross and French Montana.

The news that Reid had left Epic was first reported by Variety and came just weeks after Rob Stringer became Sony Music Entertainment’s new CEO. Before joining Sony Music Stringer was chief of Columbia Records.

Image is black and white picture of headphones hanging on a microphone on its standThere is no news on where L.A. Reid is headed after leaving Epic, nor is it clear who will be handling the transition or replacing him. Typically Reid’s job changes have come with announcements of new positions, according to Billboard Magazine.

Martin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, wishes L.A. Reid much success on his future endeavors.