City Hall- Downtown Los Angeles (CH)
200 N. Spring Street, Suite 440
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Joan Pelico | Chief of Staff | CH
Joan Pelico is the Chief of Staff of Council District Five and has been with the Council office for 14 years. Joan is the Councilmember’s main advisor on community and policy matters and oversees all operations of the City Hall, West Los Angeles, and Encino Council district offices providing direction and strategic assistance to all staff. She works closely with David Hersch, Deputy Chief of Staff, and Debbie Dyner-Harris, District Director, by handling the district's time-sensitive and long-term projects. Joan also works closely with the city departments and is involved in every aspect of community outreach.
Joan grew up in New York and moved to Los Angeles in 1978. She has been a Valley resident since 1987 and is the proud mother of a beautiful grown-up daughter. Joan also has two rescue dogs, Tyler and Candy. She has experience and an extensive background in problem-solving, creating solutions, motivational speaking, mass communication, event and workshop production, marketing, sales, fundraising, management, innovation, and education. The Council District Five office discovered her in 2005 when she was the Director of Development for the Sherman Oaks Elementary School. Joan is driven by her desire to help people in their time of need.
David Hersch | Deputy Chief of Staff | CH
David Hersch is the Fifth Council District’s Deputy Chief of Staff. A devoted public servant and accomplished veteran of several elected offices, David is particularly well-respected in City Hall for his polished expertise regarding the technical and procedural aspects of the legislation. With twenty-five years of experience in municipal and state government, he works closely with the Councilmember and the Chief of Staff concerning both far-reaching goals and the day-to-day operations of the Council Office.
As a longtime Aide to Councilmember Koretz, David advises the Councilmember on a myriad of issues affecting the communities of the 5th District and the city as a whole. His many diverse responsibilities include overseeing the annual budgetary deliberations for the Council Office, staffing the Councilmember on both the Personal and Animal Welfare (PAW) Committee and the Executive Employee Relations Committee (EERC), and assisting community organizations and individual constituents with local efforts and needs.
David is a native Angeleno who graduated from UCLA with a degree in Political Science, then got his law degree from Loyola Law School. When not at work, he can be found working out at the gym, reading, or communing with his cat, Callie.
Jeff Ebenstein | Director of Policy & Legislation | CH
Jeff Ebenstein is a Director of Policy and Legislation for Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz, representing the Fifth Council District. In this role, Jeff provides assistance to residents, businesses, and community organizations, engaging residents in policy decisions, and cultivating community leadership. He is passionate about providing excellent constituent services and making sure the city puts neighborhoods first. He’s developed a reputation as a passionate advocate of the environment and is a lifetime member of the Sierra Club.
A third-generation Los Angeles native, Jeff is proud of his roots. While majoring in History and Political Science at CSUN, Jeff developed his passion for public service. He served as Vice President of his Neighborhood Council. Currently, Jeff serves as an elected member of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party Central Committee and the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley. A classic film buff, he enjoys Charlie Chaplin, Frederico Fellini, Billy Wilder, and Frank Capra. When not busy with community issues, Jeff enjoys hiking, going to the beach, playing golf, spending time with his wife Heather, and min pin, Madison.
Alison Simard | Director of Communications |CH
Alison Simard is the Communications Director for Councilmember Paul Koretz and Council District 5. She is the point person for television, radio and print media. Alison is responsible for press releases, press advisories, newsletters and other media relations. For more than 25 years, she has worked as a public relations/ corporate communications professional and marketing strategist. During that time, she represented a variety of thought leaders, entrepreneurs, small businesses and large corporations including Merrill Lynch, where she worked at their global headquarters in New York City as a communications consultant. Prior to joining CD5, Alison was a co-founder and Chairperson for Citizens for Los Angeles Wildlife (CLAW), an environmental non-profit organization committed to the protection of wildlife and open space in LA.
Alison earned a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and English Literature from the University of Montana. She began her career in Sacramento as a PR representative for the Mountain Lion Foundation at the State Capitol and has participated in a variety of wildlife, environment, and alternative energy campaigns throughout her career. Whether exploring Los Angeles’ beautiful mountains and beaches or camping with her family in Yosemite National Park, Alison is passionate about animal protection, wilderness conservation, and environmental education. She lives in Laurel Canyon with her husband and two children.
Andy Shrader | Director of Environmental Affairs, Water Policy & Sustainability | CH
Andy advises the Councilmember on issues related to the environment, climate change, water policy, technology, and sustainability, working to ensure the city can meet its present economic, environmental, and sociopolitical needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. He staffs the Councilmember on the Energy and Environment Committee.
Andy was elected in 2003 as one of the founding members of the Mar Vista Community Council where his most notable motion instituted the popular Mar Vista Farmers Market. He earned a Master’s Degree in Screenwriting and a Certificate in Global Sustainability from UCLA, wrote the celebrity speeches for 10 years for the EIF Revlon Run/Walk for Women (in support of cancer research, treatment and support) and was awarded Heal the Bay’s 2011 “Super Healer Award” for his work on marine debris plastic waste issues.
Gregory Martayan | Director of Public Safety & Special Assignments | CH
Mr. Gregory Martayan is Director of Public Safety and Special Assignments for Councilmember Paul Koretz. Based out of LA City Hall, Mr. Martayan acts as the Councilmember's liaison to the command staff, relative Commissions, Stations and Divisions of the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles Fire Department, the Los Angeles Emergency Management Department and related public safety agencies. He assists business, non-profit and community members who would like to start safety initiatives and addresses concerns related to crime and criminal behavior. He provides collaborative support for major events, infrastructure protection, as well as special projects which call for lengthy street closures and public safety mitigations. In his work establishing safe communities, Martayan places an emphasis on prevention rather than reaction.
Martayan was honored with distinction for his humanitarian efforts by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel, for his efforts in protecting children with the Leadership Award by Hillsides Home for Children, and by numerous agencies for his service to the State of California and the City of Los Angeles. Martayan is a native of Los Angeles, born and raised in the Hancock Park area of West Los Angeles. Martayan lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three children. He is a strong advocate for pet adoption and rescue. He is a member of several local organizations. He and his wife had rescued a German Shepherd named Dakota, who lived to the age of 16 under their care.
Jim Bickhart | Policy and Legislative Consultant | CH
Jim consults on a variety of policy and legislative matters, including housing, homelessness, land use, airports, infrastructure, environment and animal welfare, amongst others. Additionally he provides support in the area of communications.
Jim is a veteran of city and state government, having worked for former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, council districts 3, 6 and 14, and state Assembly district 45. He’s also worked in the nonprofit sector, serving as policy director for the Transportation and Land Use Collaborative of Southern California and as a founding board member of PVJOBS. Prior to his career in public policy, Jim was a journalist and a writer in the music business, as well as a community activist in Venice. He has a degree in sociology from UCLA.
Maria Aguiniga | Director of Office Operations | CH
Maria Aguiniga manages all office operations at our City Hall, West Los Angeles, and Encino offices. Maria provides support for the Councilman’s legislative and district office teams, handles personnel issues, coordinates the Councilman’s youth and senior bus program, administers the Councilmember’s discretionary funds program and oversees all of Council District Five’s special events at City Hall.
A veteran staffer at City Hall, Maria joined the office of Councilmember Paul Koretz on July 1, 2013. She held the same position previously for Councilmember Dennis Zine of the Third Council District for 12 years. This is not her first time serving the Fifth Council District, as she was formally a Council Aide for Mike Feuer during his service as a Councilman. Maria also served as a Council Aide to Mayor Richard Riordan and began her City career in 1994 working in the Department of Recreation and Parks.
Elaine De Leon | Scheduler & Executive Assistant | CH
Elaine manages the Councilmember’s time, prioritizes all incoming information for his review and ensures that he is prepared for all his meetings and events. She performed similar duties for over 11 years for Controller/Councilmember Wendy Greuel. Before joining the City, she helped promote Los Angeles domestically and internationally at the LA Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Elaine also worked in the hospitality industry in the westside and downtown areas where she handled sales, catering, human resources and assisted with engineering operations.
Ana Barranco | Scheduling Assistant | CH
Ana is the Scheduling Assistant for Councilmember Koretz and helps manage his busy calendar. Before joining Council District 5, she was a Professional Student Worker at the City’s Department of Building and Safety (LADBS) and also served as Secretary for the California State University Los Angeles’ Hispanic Business Society where she recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration.
Monica Molina | Communications Deputy & School Liaison | CH
Monica serves as a Communications Deputy working closely with our Communications Director as an integral part of our legislative team. She assists with day-to-day briefings, social media outreach, press conferences, Council presentations, and multimedia initiatives to connect with our community. In addition, she is CD5s School Liaison, working collaboratively between the schools in the District and non-profit organizations as well as corporate companies to connect valuable resources to our students.
Monica was born and raised in the City of Los Angeles, attended Palisades Charter High School, graduated from California State University Northridge, becoming the first member of her family to graduate from college, earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies
Emely Candray | Council Aide | CH
Emely is a recent graduate of Cal Poly Pomona obtaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and is the Councilmember’s Council Aide handling front-desk duties, graciously managing phone calls, assisting constituents, processing parking requests, commendation and resolution requests. Before joining Council District 5, Emely worked for the Office of LA City Controller, Ron Galperin as a Community Engagement Specialist. Emely is a first generation American, who is passionate about accessibility to government resources and community development. Also an aspiring professional donut connoisseur.
Western District Office (WDO)
6380 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 800
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Debbie Dyner Harris | District Director | WDO
Debbie Dyner Harris serves as CD5’s District Director, spending time in both our Wilshire and Valley offices. She oversees all District operations, supervising field activities, and generally making sure that the Councilmember’s constituents are well taken care of. Debbie is a veteran of multiple Los Angeles City Council offices. During her more than 15 years with the City of Los Angeles, she has overseen field operations and land use for four City Councilmembers in three different parts of the City.
In addition to working with the City of Los Angeles, Debbie was previously the Director of Programs and Government Relations for The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, where she directed government relations programming, planned community outreach strategies, and oversaw the coordination and implementation of special programs.
Debbie is a product of local universities, with a BA from UCLA in History and a Masters Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from USC.
Jay Greenstein | Chief Field & Transportation Deputy | WDO
Jay Greenstein is Councilmember Paul Koretz’s Chief Field and Transportation Deputy stationed at the Western District Office. Jay is responsible for tracking, briefing, and staffing the Councilmember on district transportation issues such as the Westside Subway Extension currently under construction and the study for the future Sepulveda Blvd. corridor project. Jay is also involved in tracking bike lane and bikeway projects in the district. He has served as the district liaison for the Westside Cities Coalition of Governments (COG) and the San Fernando Valley (COG). He works on a variety of other issues impacting the district.
Jay first met Councilmember Koretz in 1986 when he interned for then-West Hollywood Councilmember Alan Viterbi, while a young Paul Koretz was serving as Councilman Viterbi’s Field Deputy. Jay later spent six years as a Field Representative to then-Assemblymember Paul Koretz before joining the staff of Council District Five. Jay earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from California State University, Northridge, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California. He lives in the Fifth Council District.
Elizabeth Garcia | Palms, Beverlywood, Mar Vista and Pico-Robertson Field Deputy | WDO
Elizabeth Garcia serves as a Field Deputy for the Palms, Beverlywood, Mar Vista, and Pico-Robertson communities. In her role, Elizabeth assists residents with a wide range of issues, represents the Councilmember at neighborhood and community events and meetings, and helps manage projects. Elizabeth received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from UCLA, where she was involved in student government, hosted a radio show, wrote and edited for the school's Latino/a newsmagazine, and advocated for animal welfare issues. Prior to joining the Fifth Council District, Elizabeth was an intern for Mayor Garcetti's Census 2020 Initiative. Throughout college, she interned for Gavin Newsom's campaign for governor and Mayor Garcetti's Communications office, and she was also a 2017 Ready for Women fellow for Councilwoman Nury Martinez.
Jasmine Shamolian | Westwood Field Deputy and Policy Deputy| WDO
Jasmine is the Westwood Field Deputy and Policy Deputy of Council District 5. Jasmine Shamolian received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2011. She is a recent graduate of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and holds a Master of Social Welfare. Jasmine has experience serving a diverse population in Los Angeles on both micro and macro levels. As part of her graduate program, she interned at the LA Centers of Alcohol and Drug Abuse where she provided therapy sessions for at-risk homeless males on Skid Row. She also spent a year at Saving Innocence, a nonprofit that provides services to sex trafficked youth in Los Angeles. Jasmine has a passion for serving underprivileged individuals in the community; through her work, she strives to make the community a better place for its constituents. She is a native Angeleno, born and raised in Tarzana. Jasmine is fluent in Farsi.
Kevin Nahai | Beverly Grove and Carthay Circle Field Deputy| WDO
Kevin Nahai is Councilmember Koretz' Field Deputy for Beverly Grove and Carthay Circle, including the Melrose, 3rd Street, Beverly, Robertson, Fairfax, and La Brea areas. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Kevin holds a Masters of Science in Social Entrepreneurship from USC's Marshall School of Business and a Bachelors of Arts in Communication from USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Kevin has worked in a variety of industries including nonprofits, education, self-help, hospitality, and business. With a keen focus on customer service and problem-solving, Kevin's greatest passion is improving the quality of people's lives by discovering new and innovative solutions to persistent, intractable issues.
Kevin is also a musician, personal trainer, and avid dog lover. He lives in District 5 with his two dogs, Gus and Vinny.
Greg Erlich | Council Aide | WDO
Greg Erlich (pronounced “Er-Lich”) is Councilmember Paul Koretz’s Council Aide for the Western District Office. His duties include filing parking relaxations for various events, helping with speech writing, and consulting with troubled constituents. Greg grew up on the Westside and attended Hamilton High School before graduating from Cal State University, Northridge, with a Bachelors of Arts in Speech Communications.
Greg currently resides in the San Fernando Valley where he has lived since 1978. In his free time, Greg enjoys working out, playing a variety of sports, learning foreign languages, writing and performing stand-up comedy, music, and his time with the fork and knife.
Valley District Office (VDO)
15760 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 600
Encino, CA 91436
Aviv Kleinman | Planning Deputy| VDO
Aviv Kleinman is the Planning Deputy for Council District Five. He is responsible for planning projects in Encino and neighborhoods south of Pico Boulevard in Council District Five. Aviv is a native Angeleno, born and raised in both the Pico/Robertson and Melrose Village.
Aviv earned a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the State University of New York at Binghamton.
Christopher Givens | Encino Field Deputy, VD | WDO
Christopher Givens joined the office of Councilmember Paul Koretz as a caseworker for the West Los Angeles district office in 2017. He recently has taken on a new role in the office as Field Deputy for Encino, which is the valley portion of the council district. Chris is a firm believer in community development and feels that a community cannot grow with a single person. He also wants to help empower constituents by providing the tools to ease navigating the City process.
Christopher grew up in Southern California and is a native to the San Fernando Valley. He attended the University of San Diego where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration and minored in Journalism. During his college tenure, Christopher participated in several campus activities centered on politics, race, and society. Shortly after college, Chris interned with the Los Angeles Department of Public Works which sparked his interest in the public sector. When Christopher is not at work you can find him playing with Duke his Boston Terrier and working out.
Jarrett Thompson | Bel Air Field Deputy | VDO
Jarrett Thompson joined the office of Councilmember Paul Koretz as a Field Deputy in January of 2019. Jarrett grew up in Grinnell, Iowa, received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Grinnell College in 2014, and relocated to Los Angeles in 2018. Jarrett strongly believes in strengthening active citizen participation in government at all levels.
Jarrett has a background in community organizing, campaign management, development, and construction estimation. Prior to working with the Office of Councilmember Koretz, Jarrett worked as the Midwest Community Organizer for Common Cause in Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois. Jarrett also worked as the Campaign Manager for the Minnesota State House District 61B Seat. In his free time, Jarrett can be found coaching youth baseball, rock climbing, and playing with this Labrador Leo.
Cara Goldman | Case Manager | VDO
Cara Goldman is Councilman Paul Koretz’s Case Manager for the Encino community of Council District Five. Cara grew up in New York City and attended the United Nations School until she moved to Los Angeles with her family. From there she went to Oakwood School in North Hollywood and Beverly Hills High School and earned her Bachelor’s Degree from UC Santa Barbara. Cara lives in West Hills with her husband of 19 years and their teenage son. For most of her life, she has worked for the entertainment industry in Paramount Studios for 25 years and MTM Studios (now CBS on Radford) as a production and script coordinator on such shows such as "Newhart", "Sister, Sister", and "Seinfeld". For 5 1/2 years, she worked for former Councilmember Dennis P. Zine as a Case Manager for Tarzana, Woodland Hills, Winnetka, Canoga Park and Reseda area’s until his term ended in June 2013.
For two years, as the Case Manager in the Valley District Office for the Encino and Bel Air communities, Cara has assisted constituents with their DWP issues, Street Repair requests, Urban Forestry issues, Sanitation issues, Relaxed Parking and Parking Enforcement requests, Tables and Chair requests, LAPD issues, Filming issues, and other quality of life concerns.