Meet Our Staff

City Hall- Downtown Los Angeles (CH)

200 N. Spring Street, Suite 440
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 473-7005


JoanPelico

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 10 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 John Darnell, 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 21-year old daughter. Joan also has two rescue dogs, Tyler and Candy and a cat named Bunny who was born on Easter. 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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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Jeff Ebenstein | Director of Policy & Legislation | CH

Jeff Ebenstein is a legislative deputy to Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz, representing the Fifth Council District in the Western District Office. In this role, Jeff provides assistance to residents, businesses, and community organizations, engaging residents in policy decisions, and cultivating community leadership. He’s developed a reputation as a passionate advocate of affordable education, access to healthcare and senior services, animal welfare, and the environment.

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 is a proud community activist serving as Vice President of his Neighborhood Council and a member of the Executives at the Jewish Home for the Aging. Jeff has served as an elected member of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party Central Committee—and he’s a member of the Sierra Club. A classic film buff, he admires Chaplin, Fellini, David Lynch and Stanley Kubrick. When not busy with community issues, Jeff enjoys hiking, going to the beach, playing golf, spending time with his better half, Heather, and min pin, Madison.


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Gregory Martayan | Chief Deputy of Public Safety | CH

Gregory Martayan is the Chief Deputy of Public Safety for Council District Five. He is responsible for coordinating and planning with the Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Fire Department, Emergency Services Department and advising the Councilmember on related policy and legislation. Martayan has served with the Los Angeles Police Department for nearly ten years and has a great deal of knowledge related to community, school and neighborhood safety. In his work establishing safe communities, Martayan places an emphasis on prevention rather than reaction.

Greg 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 served as a Commissioner on the City of Los Angeles Commission for Children, Youth, and their Families, as an Ambassador with the National Crime Prevention Council. 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, including the Sierra Club. He and his wife had rescued a German Shepherd named Dakota, who lived to the age of 16 under their care.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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Monica Molina | Council Aide | CH

Monica is responsible for front-desk duties and assisting the Director of Communications. That includes answering phone calls, reviewing and distributing correspondence, assisting constituents, handling parking requests, and assisting with the newsletter, letter and commendation requests. Monica recently graduated from California State University Northridge, becoming the first member of her family to be a college graduate, having earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies.

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Western District Office (WDO)

6380 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 800
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 866-1828


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Faisal Alserri | Senior Planning Deputy | WDO

Faisal Alserri is a Senior Planning Deputy for Councilmember Koretz. Mr. Alserri is responsible for coordinating planning projects in West Los Angeles as well as advising the Councilmember on legislative and policy matters regarding housing, transportation, economic development, and planning issues.

Mr. Alserri earned a Master’s degree in Planning, a Bachelor’s degree in Economics, and a minor in Policy, Planning & Development from the University of Southern California.


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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, the Expo light rail, the Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit, and the I-405 Sepulveda Pass HOV lane projects. Jay is also involved in tracking bike lane and bikeway projects in the district. He is the district liaison for the Westside Cities Coalition of Governments (COG) and to the West LA Traffic Committee. He works on a variety of other issues impacting the district and the Jewish community.

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 and is married with two children, both of whom attend local public schools. Jay and his family are all big musical theater fans. He particularly enjoys watching his two talented children when they are performing on stage.


Jack

Jack Sripoona | Field Deputy | WDO

Jack Sripoona is Councilmember Paul Koretz’s Field Deputy serving the neighborhoods of Century City, West Los Angeles, Rancho Park, and Cheviot Hills. Jack’s duties include communicating with constituents, navigating them through the city’s many departments and services, and managing the many requests made by constituents. Jack developed experience working for Councilmember Bob Blumenfield and Congressman Tony Cárdenas prior to his role on the Council District Five staff. Jack received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with an emphasis in International Affairs from the University of California, Riverside in 2010. Jack also holds a Master of Public Policy and Administration from California Lutheran University. In his spare time, Jack enjoys Olympic weightlifting, exploring the City’s many diverse neighborhoods, and reading.


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Joseph Galloway | Field Deputy | WDO

Joseph Galloway is Councilmember Paul Koretz’s Field Deputy serving the Palms, Beverlywood, Mar Vista, and South Robertson communities. Mr. Galloway provides assistance for residents, small businesses, and community organizations by helping them navigate the City's system of government. Joseph also represents the Councilman during various meetings such as neighborhood councils, homeowners associations, neighborhood watch, and community events. Joseph Galloway is a native of South Los Angeles, California, and is currently a transfer student from Morehouse College earning his Bachelor’s at Arizona State University.


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Jasmine Shamolian | Field Deputy | WDO

Jasmine is the Westwood Field 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.


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Christopher Givens | Caseworker | WDO

Christopher Givens joins the office of Councilmember Paul Koretz as a Case Worker. Prior to joining the team, he worked in the private sector to ensure the overall successful adherence within various company policies to meet customer expectations. He is passionate about developing low-income neighborhoods and education reform.

Christopher grew up in Southern California. He attended the University of San Diego where he received a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Public Administration and minored in Journalism. During his college tenure, Christopher participated in several campus activities centered on politics, race, and society. He earned an internship with the Los Angeles Department of Public Works, which sparked his interest in working within the public sector. When Christopher is not at work you can find him playing with his Boston Terrier Duke and working out.


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Robert Oliver | Field Deputy| WDO

Robert Oliver is Councilmember Paul Koretz’s Field Deputy for the Robertson, Melrose, Beverly Grove, Fairfax, and Carthay areas. Robert represents the Councilmember in the District and at neighborhood councils, homeowners associations, neighborhood watch meetings, and community events. His many duties include helping residents, businesses, and community organizations navigate the many services and departments of the City of Los Angeles.

Robert grew up in and around the District. He attended CSUN and UCSB, where he earned his BA in Political Science. His prior experience includes working for U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Pacific Pride Foundation, and the 2008 “No on Proposition 8” Campaign. Robert currently serves as a member of the West Hollywood Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board, and he previously served on the Los Angeles County West Vector Abatement Control District Board of Trustees. He speaks fluent Spanish, and he is passionate about human rights, animal welfare, and the environment.


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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.


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Valley District Office (VDO)

15760 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 600
Encino, CA 91436
(818) 971-3088


Gurmet

Gurmet K. Khara | Valley Director | VDO

Gurmet joined our staff as an intern at both City Hall and our Valley District Office. Soon after, she came on board as Council Deputy, Field Deputy and now is our Valley Director for the areas of Encino, Beverly Crest, and Bel Air. Gurmet is responsible in assisting residents and community organizations by being a liaison to City Departments. She also represents our Council Office at local Neighborhood Councils, Homeowners Associations, and neighborhood watch meetings. Gurmet was born and raised in the heart of the San Fernando Valley. She graduated from Cal State Northridge with a major in Political Science and minor in Economics. She is currently continuing her education and pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Administration. Outside of council responsibilities, Gurmet enjoys dining out, spending time with her family, sleeping and soaking in the sun.


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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.



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