Monthly Archives: October 2020

Agenda Set for Meeting with Councilmember Koretz

 

 Westwood Community Council Special Meeting* 

A G E N D A 

Thursday, October 29, 2020 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time (U.S. and Canada) 

Zoom Teleconference Meeting** 

Call in: (669) 900-9128 Meeting ID: 748 234 5507 Passcode: Westwood 

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(Note: To join the Zoom video, you must download the Zoom App prior to the meeting.) 

AGENDA

1. Call to Order and Reading of WCC Mission Statement: John Heidt, Westwood Village Improvement Association Board member and Westwood Homeowners Association Board member 

2. Welcome and Introductions of Board members, guests, and members of the public 

3. Certification of Quorum 

4. Consideration of the Agenda (Note: items may not be heard in the order listed below.) 

5. Special Conversation with Fifth District Councilmember Paul Koretz: a discussion and Q&A on a range of issues affecting the Westwood community and the City of Los Angeles. (See pages following this agenda for questions submitted to Councilmember Koretz for him to address.) – Councilmember Paul Koretz 

6. Reports from Government and Public Agency Liaisons (subject to availability) (3-5 minutes per report) 

B. Office of Congressman Ted Lieu: Janet Turner, Senior Field Representative & Constituent Services 

C. Office of Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager: Jamie Kennerk, Field Representative 

D. Office of County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl: Zachary Gaidzik, West/Metro L.A. Field Deputy 

E. Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti: Kevin Taylor, West Area Representative 

F. Office of Councilmember Paul Koretz: Jasmine Shamolian, Westwood Field & Policy Deputy 

G. UCLA Government and Community Relations: Carmen Healey Zambrano, Assistant Director 

7. Announcements and Concerns from Board Members 

A. Upcoming public hearings, meetings, and other events of interest (Information only, no action). 

8. Reports from Standing and Ad-Hoc Committees/Liaisons 

9. Old Business 

10. New Business 

A. Westside Regional Alliance of Councils (WRAC) Board of Directors motion (recommended for consideration by each WRAC-member Council, by a vote of the WRAC Board of Directors, which includes voting representatives of each of the 14 Community and Neighborhood Councils on the Westside located in Council Districts 5 and 11) – Steve Sann 

Community Plan Update Process – Requests to the Los Angeles Department of City Planning 

“Motion to support, and to include for official input, to the Los Angeles Department of City Planning in reference to the WRAC-member Community Plan updates, an addition of six (6) months’ time in the community outreach and public input process, due to the delays and impacts arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting restrictions related to public access, meetings, and participation; and further request the following: An appropriate assessment of how the COVID-19 pandemic, and future pandemics, will impact current and future mobility, housing, design, environmental, and public health and safety needs and concerns; Current and future data projections relevant to the task of updating all WRAC member Community Plans; Incorporation of an additional step in the Community Plan update timeline that allows for presentation of the Planning Department Staff Draft Plan and an associated public comment period, or a second and revised concept plan phase; Allocation of time for Planning Staff to review public comments and incorporate changes to reflect input prior to issuing any Notice of Preparation (NOP) for the start of the Environmental Review process. It is improper for the City to issue an NOP and conduct a DEIR for a Draft Plan that the community has had neither the chance to see or review. Thorough public outreach is a must, and should include all stakeholders. The Planning Department has not allocated proper time or resources, and City Council must do so moving forward so that no stakeholders are left uninformed about the Community Plan Update process.” 

11. General Public Comment (on non-agendized topics of interest to the public, within the subject matter and jurisdiction of the WCC) (10 minutes maximum, 2 minutes per speaker) 

12. Next Regular WCC Meeting: Tuesday, November 17, 7:00 p.m., Zoom Teleconference Meeting (Note: this meeting will feature a special presentation and report on Westwood Village and the particular role that historic preservation can play in the economic, physical, and social revitalization of the Village, presented by UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs Master’s graduate Samuel Siegel.) 

NOTE: Councilmember Koretz has been invited to address some or all of the following issues:

1. Westwood Planning Issues Update: Please update us on where you and the Council Office, as well as the Planning Department, are on various Planning issues, including timetables. This includes your Council Motion to amend the Westwood Village Specific Plan related to food uses and definitions, limitations on number of food uses, and changes in parking requirements. Also, please update us on any other current Planning issues in Westwood, including the recently introduced Council motion on “Local Emergency Temporary Regulations” due to COVID-19. 

2. Westwood Village Specific Plan: The Westwood BID and the North Westwood Neighborhood Council recently passed motions calling for the “indefinite suspension” of the Westwood Village Specific Plan, with the exception of historic preservation. The BID’s founding Chairman publicly stated, “I don’t want to amend the Specific Plan. I want to abolish the Specific Plan. I want to see 22-story high rises all throughout Westwood.” What is your position on the Specific Plan and this request, and how will you protect the scale and character of the Village, maintain a balanced mix of uses for Westwood’s neighbors and the UCLA community, ensure historic preservation, protect signage standards, and maintain the Westwood Design Review Board? 

3. Transit Oriented Communities (TOC) Projects: What can be done to rein-in and/or mitigate the impacts from massive TOC projects in Westwood? Westwood is being inundated with these projects. Several Westwood Design Review Board members have expressed frustration over these projects, and the DRB’s limited ability to mitigate the significant negative impacts of these oversized and severely under-parked projects. One project recently reviewed by the DRB (Veteran & Ohio) is proposed to have 18 apartments, 59 bedrooms, and only 16 parking spaces (nine 5-bedroom apartments, one 4-bedroom apartment, and eight units of three bedrooms or less), all with one small kitchen and no other common area. TOC projects also have the potential to completely obliterate the scale and historic character of Westwood Village. Half of the Village falls within Tier 3 (which allows a 22-foot height bonus on top of base allowable height, for two additional stories) and the other half of the Village falls in Tier 4 (which allows a 33-foot height bonus, for three additional stories.). Please share your thoughts with us. 

State Housing Bills – Usurpation of Local Planning and Zoning Control: 

4. State Usurpation of Local Planning and Zoning Control: What will you and the City Council do to fight the repeated efforts by Senator Scott Weiner and other Sacramento politicians to usurp and destroy the ability of cities to exercise local control on planning and zoning? How will you and the Council protect single family homes and “legacy neighborhoods” from this continued onslaught? We fully expect Scott Weiner and his cohorts to reintroduce more of these State power grabs, which are giveaways to real estate speculators and developers of costly “market rate” apartments, and do nothing to increase the supply of affordable housing or create much needed workforce housing, moderately priced housing, and affordable housing. 

Homelessness in Westwood and Citywide: 

5. Court Ordered Relocation of Homeless near Freeways: Please give us an update on the latest news and plans regarding Judge Carter’s order to the City to relocate an estimated 6,700 homeless individuals living within 500 feet of freeways and under freeway overpasses. How will this impact Westwood? Will temporary homeless housing be built in Westwood Park or Cheviot Hills Recreation Center? Where will these homeless individuals be relocated? What if these homeless individuals refuse to go? And how will the City prevent new homeless people from simply reoccupying freeway overpasses, putting the City right back where it started? 

6. Homeless in Westwood Park: Families, parents, and children are very grateful that within the past few weeks Westwood Park has FINALLY been partially reopened. (The Rec Center building is still closed to the public.) However, during the 7 months of COVID, the entire east side of Westwood Park (near Veteran) has been taken over by dozens of homeless individuals camping in large tents and homeless encampments (even though overnight camping in City parks is illegal under the LAMC). This area is filled with a huge amount of trash, junk, mattresses, abandoned furniture, drug needles, human waste, etc. Parents call this area of the park “no man’s land.” It poses a public health hazard to the homeless camping there and to neighbors, families, and children using the park. What is the plan to address this public health threat and to return this part of the park for use by Westwood families, children, seniors, and the general public? After the pandemic ends, what is your long-term vision and plan for Westwood Park? 

7. Homeless in Westwood Village: In the 7 months since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a visible and significant increase in the permanent homeless population in Westwood Village. Police have told us this is due, in part, to the City’s policy of not moving homeless encampments during the pandemic, coupled with a Court-ordered early release of 3,500 incarcerated convicts due to jail overcrowding during the pandemic. What is the City’s plan to address and reduce this very significant and growing permanent homeless population in the Village, and citywide? 

8. More Housing for the Homeless: Please give us the latest update on the City’s and County’s plans to develop more homeless housing including Bridge Housing, permanent supportive housing, Pallet Shelter Villages, Safe Parking, Project Roomkey, and any other interim and long-term housing solutions to address the City’s growing homeless population? 

Public Safety and Security: 

9. “Defund the Police” Demands: The student-controlled North Westwood Neighborhood Council continues to demonstrate it is completely out of step with Westwood’s residential and business communities by adopting motions demanding the City “Defund the Police” and “Defund LAPD in Public Libraries,” demanding the Regents support “No UCPD,” condemning the National Guardsmen who protected Westwood Village from looting and rioting during the civil unrest in May, and other radical proposals that would expose the public to serious crime. What is your position on LAPD funding, promoting police reform and officer accountability as needed and appropriate, and advancing public safety in Westwood and citywide? 

10. Multi-million dollar reduction in LAPD budget: Given the reduction in the LAPD budget approved by the Council, neighbors are wondering, “What is going to be the substitute for fewer police?” Some say, “social workers” and “mental health counselors,” but many folks wonder how that will work in situations where an incident can quickly escalate into violence? 

11. Habibi Café Shooting (Saturday, August 22) Update: Please update us on the current status and investigation of the nearly fatal shooting across from the Habibi Café on Broxton Avenue in the Village, at 3:50 a.m. Saturday, August 22nd. As you know, there was a previous fatal shooting at the Habibi Café early Christmas morning (1:30 a.m.), on December 25, 2005. There also were shots fired in Westwood Village, on Tiverton Avenue a few weeks ago, just a few blocks from Habibi Café, mid-day (12:10 p.m.), on Sunday, October 11. Habibi Café has long been a serious “trouble spot” and crime magnet in the Village for nearly 20 years, with repeated City and LAPD violations and citations. The owner of Habibi Café recently took over the operation of the rival Gypsy Café across the street on Broxton. What is being done to address this chronic crime magnet, and location of multiple fatal or near fatal shootings in the Village? 

Alcohol Delivery to Students and Public Safety in Westwood: 

12. CUB Request for “10-minute guaranteed” alcohol delivery to UCLA students via Bird scooters: As you may have heard, this past Saturday, October 24, at 4:35 a.m., a UCLA student (reportedly a male freshman) tragically fell to his death while climbing on the roof of a four-story apartment at 433 Midvale Avenue in the North Village. This occurred very early on the morning of the Bruin Family Virtual Experience (held in lieu of Bruin Family Weekend, due to COVID-19). It appears that this was an accident, not a suicide. Reportedly, alcohol may have been involved in this student fatality, which has left his parents, family, and friends reeling from this tragedy. Meanwhile, a new student-run delivery service, Duffl, which uses students riding Bird scooters to deliver food, snacks, and other “college essentials” to other students, with “guaranteed delivery in 10 minutes or less,” is now seeking a Conditional Use Beverage (CUB) permit from the City to sell and deliver a full-line of alcoholic beverages (hard liquor, beer, and wine) directly to UCLA students living in the apartments and fraternities in the North Village, to the sororities, to the dorms and the rest of the UCLA campus, and elsewhere in Westwood all “guaranteed in 10 minutes or less.” This raises numerous public health and safety issues, including the issue of students delivering alcohol in a 10-minute rush, on very dangerous scooters, to other students, with no way to guarantee that the alcohol will not end up being consumed by minors. Further, delivering alcohol on public property is illegal, as it encourages public consumption of alcohol. Due to the existing overconcentration of alcohol licenses in Westwood, this additional off-site CUB request will require a mandatory State law “Caldera finding” by you and the City Council to allow for further overconcentration of alcohol in Westwood. The Westwood census tract is supposed to have only 2 off-site alcohol permits, but there are 6 – Ralphs, Target, Rite Aid, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Stop Market. This new off-site request would make 7. Duffl will be asking you and the City Council to make a finding that, “for reasons of public convenience or necessity,” there must be more alcohol sold in Westwood. There are already many delivery services that will deliver alcohol, including Postmates, but they do not use Bird scooters and do not create a danger by guaranteeing delivery “in 10 minutes or less.” Domino’s used to guarantee pizza delivery “in 30 minutes or less,” which led to scores of accidents, injuries, and lawsuits caused by Domino’s staff driving dangerously to meet their 30 minute deadline. This will be even worse with Duffl using students on Bird scooters, which are inherently dangerous, coupled with a “guaranteed delivery of 10 minute or less.” When you supported the highly controversial additional off-site CUB permit for Target, you told us that CUB would be the LAST off-site alcohol permit you would support in the Village. The idea of students ferrying bottles of booze, zipping around on Bird scooters, to deliver liquor to students “in 10 minutes or less” is highly dangerous and irresponsible. Can we count on you to keep your promise, and say “no” to this extremely short sighted, ill advised, and unsafe request for an additional off-site CUB, so as not to further oversaturate Westwood with liquor, just to allow “10-minute guaranteed alcohol delivery” to students via Bird scooters?