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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 8, 2012 | By David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times
FBI agents probing allegations of bribe-taking at the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety have obtained records and questioned individuals about a soft-spoken building inspector who retired from his post nearly a year ago. Federal investigators have interviewed current and former department employees about Samuel In, a Korean-speaking employee who had been assigned to Koreatown and nearby neighborhoods. Building and Safety officials have responded to a grand jury request for documents on In, who quit his job last May, two days after he was placed on administrative leave amid an internal corruption investigation.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 9, 2014 | By Emily Alpert Reyes
L.A. City Councilman Curren Price is pushing for Los Angeles to shut down “problem properties” more quickly after “destitute conditions” were found at a Hoover Street office building converted into apartments. “It took the involvement of three city departments to close this one property,” Price said in a council motion submitted Wednesday. “These city departments need to be able to better communicate and coordinate their efforts to close these properties in a timely manner, because residents should not be living in these substandard conditions.” Price wants several departments, including the Fire Department, the Housing and Community Investment Department and the Department of Building and Safety, to report back on how they could “do a better job of communicating and coordinating efforts to identify and close problem properties.” Escalating rents, scarce housing and continued financial struggles for Los Angeles families have forced more people into such conditions, Price said in a statement.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 15, 2013 | By Catherine Saillant and Rosanna Xia
Council members Tom LaBonge and Bernard Parks submitted separate motions Tuesday calling on the city to review and make reports on the earthquake safety of the city's older concrete buildings. The motions follow a Times report on concrete buildings that were built before 1976. By the most conservative estimate, as many as 50 of the more than 1,000 old concrete buildings in the city would collapse in a major earthquake, exposing thousands to injury or death. INTERACTIVE: L.A.'s hidden dangers LaBonge's motion asks for the city's Department of Building and Safety to take the "first step" and report on possible ways to conduct "a comprehensive survey of non-ductile concrete buildings (built prior to 1976)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 6, 2014 | By Emily Alpert Reyes and Tim Logan
Dozens of people shared only three showers in the building that Patricia McDowell called home for the last 2 1/2 years. Roaches skittered across the floor, she said, and lights went out and stayed out. In recent months, McDowell said she had to run an extension cord to another room to keep electricity going. But when the Los Angeles Fire Department told McDowell and dozens of other tenants that they had to clear out of the building at 5700 S. Hoover St., citing dangerous conditions, she panicked.
OPINION
December 3, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety will propose a plan for identifying which of the approximately 29,000 apartment buildings constructed in the city before 1978 might be potentially deadly wood frame "soft-story" structures. These buildings, supported by inadequate perimeter walls around open spaces on the ground level - such as carports - run the risk of collapsing during a serious earthquake, causing injury and death. In the 1994 Northridge earthquake, about 200 soft-story buildings were severely damaged or destroyed.
BUSINESS
June 7, 2010 | By Sharon Bernstein, Los Angeles Times
The often-torturous process of opening a restaurant in Los Angeles got a little easier last week, as the city moved to streamline its notoriously cumbersome rules for setting up a food business. Citing cases in which it took up to two years for restaurants to get permission to open — so long that a downtown eatery planned during the economic boom debuted during the bust and failed soon after — city officials said new rules would cut the waiting and wrangling in half.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 6, 2014 | By Emily Alpert Reyes and Tim Logan
Dozens of people shared only three showers in the building that Patricia McDowell called home for the last 2 1/2 years. Roaches skittered across the floor, she said, and lights went out and stayed out. In recent months, McDowell said she had to run an extension cord to another room to keep electricity going. But when the Los Angeles Fire Department told McDowell and dozens of other tenants that they had to clear out of the building at 5700 S. Hoover St., citing dangerous conditions, she panicked.
NEWS
November 21, 1985
The city has formed a Department of Environmental Services by consolidating its departments of planning, building and safety, and transportation. Mark Scott, executive assistant to City Manager Scott Kreins for the last 2 1/2 years, has been named director of the new department, Kreins said. The three departments will retain their independence under Scott's administration.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 14, 2002 | PETER Y. HONG, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina and her husband broke Los Angeles city building laws at their hillside house for more than a decade and have not paid nearly $4,000 in resulting fines and fees, records and interviews show. The city spared Molina and her husband, Ronald L. Martinez, from making costly repairs to a retaining wall that did not meet building and safety codes and was built without a permit in the Mount Washington district northeast of downtown. The case lingered for 12 years.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 14, 2012 | By Jessica Garrison and David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles City Council voted Friday to provide up to $322,000 in relocation money to dozens of low-income tenants who must move from a South Los Angeles apartment building deemed unsafe by city inspectors. Tenants were given eviction notices last month after housing officials concluded that owner John Callaghan had illegally converted what was supposed to have been a three-unit apartment building on 49th Street into as many as 44 separate living spaces — a warren of narrow hallways; tiny, shared bathrooms; and communal kitchens, much of it laced with unpermitted electrical and plumbing work.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 3, 2013 | By Rosanna Xia
A Los Angeles City Council committee agreed Tuesday to push forward a proposal to identify all the apartment buildings in the city that have a certain type of wood frame that is vulnerable to collapse in a major earthquake. Reporting to a City Council planning committee, Ifa Kashefi, chief of the engineering bureau at the Department of Building and Safety, laid out a plan to winnow out these so-called soft story wood-frame buildings among the 29,000 apartment buildings across the city that were built before 1978.
OPINION
December 3, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety will propose a plan for identifying which of the approximately 29,000 apartment buildings constructed in the city before 1978 might be potentially deadly wood frame "soft-story" structures. These buildings, supported by inadequate perimeter walls around open spaces on the ground level - such as carports - run the risk of collapsing during a serious earthquake, causing injury and death. In the 1994 Northridge earthquake, about 200 soft-story buildings were severely damaged or destroyed.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 26, 2013 | By Rosanna Xia and Rong-Gong Lin II
Los Angeles city building officials have concluded that it would take inspectors more than a year to identify all the apartment buildings in the city that have a certain type of wood frame that is vulnerable to collapse in a major earthquake. City staffers developed a plan to winnow out these so-called soft story wood-frame buildings among the 29,000 apartment buildings across the city that were built before 1978, Ifa Kashefi, chief of the engineering bureau at the Department of Building and Safety, wrote in a report submitted to a City Council planning committee.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 19, 2013 | By Rong-Gong Lin II
Scientists who have a list of concrete buildings in Los Angeles that could be at risk of collapsing in a major earthquake will meet with L.A. officials Tuesday to discuss their research. The group is led by UC Berkeley engineering professor Jack Moehle, who has so far not agreed to provide the list to the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety. The agency asked for the list at the direction of Mayor Eric Garcetti. Last month , Moehle wrote that the university was "investigating the legal and ethical constraints " of releasing preliminary research data. Moehle had earlier  rejected  a verbal request by the city for the information.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 8, 2013 | By Rosanna Xia and Catherine Saillant
The Los Angeles City Council Friday unanimously confirmed Mayor Eric Garcetti's decision to keep Raymond Chan as temporary head of the city's Department of Building and Safety for six more months. Chan is one of more than 30 department heads Garcetti is reviewing as part of his months-long effort to build a new administration. Garcetti had promised during this year's election campaign that he would inject new energy into City Hall by having general managers reapply for their jobs.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 26, 2013 | By Rong-Gong Lin II and Rosanna Xia
Los Angeles' top building official said he has been cleared of wrongdoing related to an ethics complaint filed by an opponent of a controversial Hollywood skyscraper project. “I just received good news from the Ethics Commission that they have dismissed the false and baseless allegation that was filed against me,” Raymond Chan, the interim general manager of the Department of Building and Safety, said in an email to undisclosed recipients Thursday and reviewed by The Times. “I am very happy that this dark cloud is removed,” Chan wrote.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 3, 2013 | By Rosanna Xia
A Los Angeles City Council committee agreed Tuesday to push forward a proposal to identify all the apartment buildings in the city that have a certain type of wood frame that is vulnerable to collapse in a major earthquake. Reporting to a City Council planning committee, Ifa Kashefi, chief of the engineering bureau at the Department of Building and Safety, laid out a plan to winnow out these so-called soft story wood-frame buildings among the 29,000 apartment buildings across the city that were built before 1978.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 12, 1993
In response "Westlake Fire: Did It Have to Be So Bad?" editorial, May 6: The Los Angeles Fire Department is superb at fighting fires. It fails at inspections and follow-through. Inspections are incidental jobs. The L.A. Department of Building and Safety is organized to do inspections and assure timely corrective action. From my vantage point the obvious solution is transfer inspections to those who do it best. Building and Safety has the inspectors available and gets my nod. Smoke detectors, as required by the city, have significant false alarm rates.
OPINION
October 18, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
Concrete structures may look sturdy and durable, but the ones built without steel reinforcing bars, known as rebar, are actually brittle and run the risk of collapsing in a strong earthquake. That's a problem Los Angeles cannot continue to ignore. Building codes in the city were changed after the 1971 Sylmar earthquake to require that all concrete buildings be constructed with more steel support. That law went into effect in 1976. Another law requires that owners changing the use of an old building must meet up-to-date seismic standards, including those for concrete.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 18, 2013 | By Michael Finnegan and Rosanna Xia
A team of scientists has declined to give the city a list of older concrete buildings that may collapse during a major earthquake, the mayor's office said. Los Angeles city officials said this week that they requested the data from the researchers, who, as  the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday,   identified about 1,500 potentially vulnerable concrete buildings in L.A. through public records and a walking survey. Advocates said the list would give the city a head start in tackling the concrete-building problem.
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