From Memo sent to Commission Presidents and General Managers from the Mayor’s Office:
Until further notice, the City of Los Angeles will transition from public boards and commission meetings with in-person public attendance to accessible telephonic or video conferencing meetings with enabled comments, questions and engagement opportunities by the community through interactive technology.
The City of Los Angeles Information Technology Agency (ITA) is directed to develop technology solutions to support community interface and engagement for telephonic or video conferencing of board and commission meetings.
All City Boards and Commissions are authorized to cancel public meetings until ITA has enabled public telephonic or video conferencing meetings, to not exceed more than 2 consecutive monthly meetings.
Management of the Department of Animal Services
Pursuant to the Los Angeles City Charter and the Los Angeles Administrative Code, the Board of Animal Services Commissioners serves as the head of the Department of Animal Services. The Board is authorized to supervise, control, regulate, and manage the Department; make and enforce all rules and regulations necessary to exercise the powers conferred upon the Department by the Los Angeles City Charter; and provide instructions to the Department’s General Manager. The Board also must review and approve contracts with a duration exceeding one year and a value greater than $20,000.
As provided in the City Charter, the Board’s ability to direct staff is limited to providing direction to the General Manager. Commissioners only have authority when they act as a Board and not when they act individually. Accordingly, the Board is primarily concerned with making policy decisions, and the General Manager, as the chief administrative officer of the Department, manages the day-to-day department activities and makes and enforces rules and regulations necessary to exercise the powers conferred upon the Department.
Executive Director, Coalition for Economic Survival
Larry Gross is the Executive Director of the Coalition for Economic Survival (CES), a leading Los Angeles tenants’ rights organization. With Mr. Gross at the helm, CES, in its over 47 years, has led efforts to secure significant numbers of laws in the City of Los Angeles, including the Rent Stabilization Ordinance, and other tenant protections related to evictions and housing code enforcement. CES provides assistance to tenants regarding their rights, including those who may be faced with demands by their landlords to get rid of their animals. Mr. Gross has served on the ACLU Southern California Board of Directors, the California Public Utilities Commission Low Income Oversight Board, which oversees energy efficient and rate discount programs provided by the state privately owned utility companies to low income rate payers, and numerous other positions with community-based organizations and government advisory committees. Mr. Gross has served on the Board of Animal Services Commissioners since February 2014.
Attorney, AVjustice Law Firm
Olivia E. Garcia is a partner at AVjustice Law Firm in downtown Los Angeles where she focuses on employment and family law matters. Ms. Garcia’s pro bono work includes representing unaccompanied minors in immigration court for Kids In Need of Defense. In addition, Ms. Garcia sits on the Board of Directors for Eastmont Community Center located in the heart of East Los Angeles. Ms. Garcia has been an animal welfare advocate working with underserved communities where the need for access to services for people and pets is considerable. Her work has involved volunteering with animal advocacy organizations at pet adoptions events, community fairs, spay & neuter events, and door to door canvasing.
Senior Vice President of Community Engagement, Jewish Federation of Los Angeles
Alisa Finsten is the Senior Vice President of Community Engagement for the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles. Previously, Alisa served as the Director of Grants and Finance in the Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security and Public Safety during the administrations of both Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Mayor Eric Garcetti. In that role, Alisa facilitated inter-agency governing bodies, while developing and maintaining relationships with grantors, and managed projects for federal Homeland Security and Public Safety grants totaling upwards of $300 million. Alisa also served in the Mayor’s Office of Budget and Innovation.
Prior to coming to the Mayor’s Office in 2008, Alisa spent 10 years working for educational nonprofits in her native Boston, in New York and in Los Angeles, focusing on program administration and fundraising. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at Brandeis University and a Master’s in Public Administration at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
Commissioner, Board of Animal Services, City of Los Angeles
Jill Ornitz Cohen is currently a business manager for Los Angeles-based companies. She recently served as a Commissioner with the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Commission for four years. Appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti, she worked as part of the Commission team to approve designs to be built on or over City property; accepted works of art to be acquired by the City collection; and represented the City at cultural events throughout Los Angeles. Jill also worked in the Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti as an Assistant to the Mayor and Deputy Director of Protocol, in which she was a liaison for dignitaries and foreign Consul Generals.
A dedicated animal welfare advocate, Jill has actively placed rescue animals in homes and volunteered with animal advocacy organizations such as Pet Orphans of Van Nuys, and has assisted in the development and fundraising for several organizations. As Manager of Women/Girl’s & Companion Animal programs for The Giving Spirit, Jill spearheads the health and safety campaign benefitting our homeless population and their support animals.
Commissioner, Board of Animal Services, City of Los Angeles
Jose Sandoval is known as a proponent on issues of health, safety, and animal care serving in public service roles in the San Fernando Valley. He is past chairman and board member of the Panorama City Neighborhood Council (2007-2013) where he organized the first Panorama City Health and Safety Fair. During his time on the Panorama City NC, Jose also served as the chairperson of the Safety Committee, acting as a liaison to the Los Angeles Police Department and the community as he organized different events promoting public safety. In 2012, Jose founded the Latino Alliance for Animal Care Foundation to educate the Latino community about animal welfare. He has also served as Animal Issues liaison for Council District 7, where he promoted legislation that protected and served animal issues.
Jose attended California State University, Northridge where he studied political science. This field of study has prepared him for the work he does today as a leader in the community.
The Board of Animal Services Commission meets regularly every second (2nd) and fourth (4th) Tuesday of each month at 9:00 A.M. Regular meetings are held at City Hall, 200 North Spring Street, Room 1060, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Meetings are open to the public. The meeting schedule may vary due to holidays. Occasionally meetings may be held in the field in the early evening.
View the Board Meeting Schedule for the Calendar Year of 2022.
The agendas for Board meetings, copies of the Board Calendar, as well as electronic copies of approved minutes are available online.
The Board of Animal Services Commissioners meetings are archived and available to review.