Minutes September 17, 2013

 MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE 

WESTWOOD COMMUNITY COUNCIL, INC. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 7:00 p.m. 

Held at Belmont Village Westwood ▪ Town Hall Community Room

10475 Wilshire Boulevard ▪ Westwood ▪ Los Angeles, CA 90024

1. Call to Order: Chair Steve Sann called the meeting to order at 7:08 p.m.

2. Reading of the Westwood Community Council Mission Statement from the Bylaws: by David Hekmat, Mary & Robb’s Westwood Café

3. Welcome and Introductions: The Chair welcomed everyone, and members of the Council present introduced themselves and identified their representative capacity, followed by guests and members of the public in attendance.

Present: 

Voting Representatives: Steve Sann, Chair; John Heidt, Vice Chair; Dr. Jerry Brown, Treasurer; Wolfgang Veith, Corporate Secretary; Linda Blank, Gail Friedman, David Hekmat, Donna Hermann, Nathan Khakshouri, Carole Magnuson, Mike Metcalfe, Jason Somers, Adam Swart, Carol Spencer

Alternate Representatives: Sandy Brown, Rick Chancellor, Philip Gabriel, Alvin Milder, Debbie Nussbaum, Stephen Resnick

Non-Voting Members: Robert E. “Reg” Gipson, Legal Advisor; Charles Magnuson, Legal Counsel

Absent: 

Voting Representatives: Joyce Foster, Jackie Freedman, Cyrus Hekmat, Laura Lake, Clinton Schudy, Laura Winikow, Joseph Yoshitomi

Alternate Representatives: David Crew, Michelle Heilpern, Shannon Montoya, Jan Reichmann, Mark Rogo,

Terry Tegnazian

Guests Present: 

Angus Beverly, Westwood Neighborhood Council

David Friedman, President, Sarah Leonard Fine Jewelers

Katherine Hennigan, Economic Development Director, Office of Councilmember Paul Koretz

Ryan Krebs, Renter Representative, Westwood Neighborhood Council

Chris Ragsdale, Senior Lead Officer, LAPD West Los Angeles Community Police Station

Melody Simnegar, Westwood Homeowner

Daniel Tamm, Westside Area Representative/Chief Service Officer, Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti

4. Certification of Quorum: The Chair certified that a quorum was present.

5. Consideration of the Agenda: The Chair reported that Agenda item 11.C, the WRAC Mural Resolution, would be withdrawn from the agenda because WRAC is still determining their position on that issue. The agenda was approved as amended.

6. Adoption of the Minutes of previous meetings: there were none.

7. Reports from Government and Public Agency Liaisons: 

A. Office of Councilmember Paul Koretz: Katherine Hennigan, Economic Development Director invited questions from the WCC Board. A question was raised about the present CD5 personnel changes. She explained that CD5 is in transition, and Joan Pelico is now the CD5 Chief of Staff. David Hirsch will be the Assistant Chief of Staff. It was noted that Joan Pelico is expected to be running for CD4 Council Office in 2015. In the West Los Angeles District Office there will be Katherine Hennigan, John Darnell, Sheila Koukhan, Jay Greenstein, Rachel Koretz, and Shawn Bayliss (splitting time with the City Hall office). Other staff people will remain unchanged. On the 405 Construction project she suggested that stakeholders contact her with any observations, suggestions, and/or complaints. Several Board members noted their past favorable experiences of working with her when she worked for Councilmember Jack Weiss. “Reversible Lanes” on Sepulveda Boulevard were brought up. She suggested that those questions be referred directly to Transportation Deputy Jay Greenstein at CD5. The possible formation of a business improvement district on Westwood DRAFT – for approval at January 21, 2014 WCC Board Meeting 

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Boulevard south of Wilshire section was discussed. She also reported that the CD5 West Los Angeles office is expected to be relocated from Robertson Boulevard to Wilshire Boulevard in future.

B. Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti: Daniel Tamm, Westside Area Representative/Chief Service Officer, reported on his past personal connections with Westwood. His territory will be all of the greater West Los Angeles largely the CD11 and CD5 areas. He sees his responsibility as listening to the community and reporting back to the Mayor. He emphasized that the Mayor is a huge believer in public transportation, and his top priority will be economic development. Board members raised concerns of past lack of communication with the Mayor’s office, and asked what would be the best way to approach the Mayor with Westwood community concerns. Daniel suggested contacting him, or the Council Office. It was suggested that in the future there will not be any “surprise positions” by the Mayor on Westwood community issues before City agencies such as the Area Planning Commission. Daniel assured that this would not happen in the future. The issue of the length of time and cost it takes to open businesses in Westwood and traffic in Westwood. He assured the Board that the Mayor is committed to outreach and communication, and he is also. The Chair urged the Mayor’s office to recognize that, contrary to frequently stated opinions, in fact Westwood is on the upswing, and that numerous new projects are planned or under construction that prove Westwood’s ongoing renewal process. The Chair provided Daniel with copies of a detailed color map and guide that enumerated these major projects, and asked that this information be shared widely in the Mayor’s office.

C. LAPD West Los Angeles Community Police Station: Senior Lead Officer Chris Ragsdale reported a 50% crime reduction from last year. However, there were still seven to ten vehicle break-in crimes committed in the Westwood Hills area and surrounding neighborhood. Items taken were small electronic devices, valets, purses and other items of value. Usually those crimes were committed by two or three people going from car to car in the middle of the night. Officer Ragsdale strongly suggested not to leave any items of value in a vehicle, and not visible. The worst area for auto crime lately has been Brentwood. Home burglaries have been trending recently from the Cheviot Hills area, moving west towards the Westwood area. Security cameras were discussed. Copper wire theft has not been a problem in the West Los Angeles area recently.

D. UCLA Community & Local Government Relations: The Chair reported that Carmen Healey, Assistant Director, has been assigned as the new UCLA liaison to the Westwood Community Council, replacing our previous liaison, Rachel Brashier. Carmen was not able to attend the meeting, but will attend the next WCC meeting, along with Felicia Brannon. John Heidt reported on a UCLA Westwood meeting with Felicia Brannon informing them on various building projects and other UCLA developments and preparations for the upcoming student move-in weekend. Recently awarded Nobel Prizes to UCLA faculty were discussed and the 50-project student volunteer programs. Steve Sann reported on the ACLU lawsuit against the Veteran’s Administration over the alleged misuse of the VA West Los Angeles property, including the site of UCLXA’s Jackie Robinson Baseball Stadium. The judge sided strongly with the ACLU and issued a six-month stay on his order. UCLA has issued a statement of “grave concern”. By the next meeting it is expected that UCLA will have an update on the situation. The lawsuit against UCLA regarding its planned sale of the Hannah Carter Japanese Garden in Bel-Air was decided against UCLA and affirmed by the California Court of Appeal.

8. Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer’s Report: Treasurer Jerry Brown circulated the most current financial statement for the WCC.

9. Announcements and Concerns from Board Members: Adam Swart announced that ASUCLA will soon open its new Wolfgang Puck Express location with beer and wine offered on the first floor of Ackerman Union. He also announced the grand opening of the office for his new business venture, Crowds on Demand, in the Oppenheimer Tower, 10880 Wilshire Boulevard, on the 11th floor. The Chair announced the WRAC Board meeting on September 18 which will feature a presentation by the DWP rate payer advocate, as well as a report on the Mayor’s Office proposed consolidation of the Planning and Building and Safety Departments. He also reported on the progress of the Hammer Museum’s Arts ReSTORE L.A.: Westwood, a $200.000 initiative that will launch on Friday, November 1. Members of the public are welcome to attend the Opening Night festivities. The Chair recommended that all Westwood businesses stay open during evening hours on the 16 nights of the project, to capitalize on the expected attendance. He also thanked Belmont Village and Donna Hermann for graciously hosting the WWC meetings. Steve Resnick reported on a conversation with a DMV investigator regarding the misuse of handicap permits parking in certain locations and invited complaints to be forwarded to him. The Chair announced that the Westwood BID was renewed for another three-year term, beginning January 1, 2014, following a very difficult petition campaign. Tracy Thayer, longtime GM at Napa Valley Grille, has taken a new position as GM at Palomino. She has pledged that Palomino will be as DRAFT – for approval at January 21, 2014 WCC Board Meeting 

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involved in the Westwood community as Napa Valley Grille has been. The Chair distributed $10 gift cards valid at Palomino through October 31, 2014, which were provided by Tracy to WCC members.

10. Reports from Standing and Ad-Hoc Committees/Liaisons: 

A. Planning and Land Use Committee: Chair Mike Metcalfe reported on a very productive meeting with Director of Planning Michael LoGrande, other Planning Staff, CD 5 staff, and a cross-section of the Westwood community. It was noted that this was not a meeting of the Westwood Community Council, but was a broad-based group that included members of the Westwood Neighborhood Council, Village commercial property owners, Village merchants, homeowner leaders, and others. The director was presented with a color graphic map and written narrative that outlined the many new projects that are planned or in progress in Westwood proving how Westwood is being upgraded at a rapid rate and not “in decline” as reported by various entities. Michael LoGrande listened very carefully and volunteered to meet again with the community. One important big issue was the complete lack of enforcement of code violations in Westwood, especially in regard to the ever increasing proliferation of fast food and other low grade business establishments in large numbers more than the Westwood Village can support economically. The result is a never ending cycle of redundant fast food/fast casual establishments and other repetitive businesses, trying to survive in Westwood and ultimately failing after one or two years. A discussion between WCC Board members ensued about the reasons for the continuing problem of vacant store spaces in the Westwood Village and how to improve the situation. Rick Chancellor noted that Larchmont is an ideal model, but is much smaller than the Village. The Chair noted the significant progress on such major projects including Kam Hekmat’s Plaza La Reina, the iPic Theater project, the Simm’s project at Gayley and Lindbrook, Topa’s planned restoration of the 1930 Shepard Mitchell Building, and Rael Merson’s planned redevelopment of the Elysee building.

11. Old Business: 

A. Motion to support the WRAC resolution on Digital Billboards, the Summit Media Case and proposed Sign Districts: On a motion made by the Chair, seconded by Mike Metcalfe, and following discussion, the following Resolution was adopted by unanimous consent:

Resolved, that the Westwood Community Council moves to advise elected officials that any potential settlement agreement by and between the City of Los Angeles and any and all outdoor media companies with regard to any type of billboard (including, but not limited to, Digital Billboards) should be vetted for a minimum of 90 days to all Neighborhood Councils, Community Councils, Regional Alliances, and Homeowner Associations prior to the City Council taking action. 

B. Motion to support the WRAC resolution on Written Notice of Public Hearings and Proposed Change in Conditions of Approval: On a motion made by Sandy Brown, seconded by John Heidt, and following discussion, the following Resolution was adopted by unanimous consent:

Resolved, that the Westwood Community Council calls upon the City of Los Angeles and other public agencies to provide ample advance public notice to all Neighborhood Councils, Community Councils, and residents within 1,000 feet of regional planning issues, including major projects and revisions to Conditions of Approval. 

12. New Business: there was none.

13. General Public Comment: there was none.

14. Next WCC Meeting: The Chair announced the next WCC meeting would be Tuesday, November 19, 2013, 7 p.m., Belmont Village Westwood, Town Hall community room, 10475 Wilshire Boulevard.

15. Motion to Adjourn: There being no further business to discuss, it was moved by David Hekmat, seconded by Adam Swart, and approved by unanimous consent to adjourn at 9:07 p.m.

Minutes respectively submitted by Wolfgang Veith, WCC Corporate Secretary.

By my hand below, I certify that on ____________________, 2014, these Minutes of the WCC Meeting of Tuesday, September 17, 2013 were approved by the Westwood Community Council.

_______________________________________________________________________

Wolfgang Veith, Corporate Secretary Date

Westwood Community Council, Inc.

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