Hollywood United Neighborhood Council Board Meeting
Minutes for January 16, 2007
Community Room, 6054 Yucca St, Los Angeles, CA 90028
First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood
Agenda Item 1---Welcome & Roll Call.
Present: Robert Abrahamian, Maurece Chesse, Andrew Ettinger, Ryan Hass, Bree Long, Hilary Royce, Erik Sanjurjo, David Schlesinger, Susan Swan, Charles Suhayda, Susan Polifronio, Gary Slossberg, Jordan Birnbaum, Bechir Blagui, Viktoria Gaw, Norma Foster, Scott Larson.
Agenda Item 5---Presentation by Charlie Mims (CM), President of GGPNC (Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council) on LANCC (LA Neighborhood Council Congress) and other issues.
The GGPNC has examined a number of questions regarding their relationship with LANCC: (1) Are we as a NC giving up our authority? Our answer is No. (2) Is there any liability to us as a NC? Our answer is No. LANCC will not take positions for the NCs. Their role is to collect information on city-wide issues and distribute this information to the NCs; then NCs decide what action to take. So far, LANCC has been doing what its charter calls for. If a majority of NCs take a position on an issue, then LANCC can communicate this to the City of LA. He sees LANCC as an effective way to communicate NC opinions to the City. Again with regard to liability, LANCC is not deciding anything, they are simply passing along information. There is no liability in that. To date things with LANCC seem to be working out OK.
Gary Slossberg: How can we get a copy of the LANCC By-Laws? CM: You can send a request by e-mail to the LANCC website. You can also print out the proposed charter.
Maurece Chesse: Is there a fee assessed to NCs that join? CM: This has not been raised in LANCC meetings.
Norma Foster: LANCC is still in formation. The question of fees is not settled. We shouldn’t join LANCC until the City Attorney has approved the by-laws and 50% of NCs join LANCC. There are now 88 Neighborhood Councils (NCs). CM: Whether to join LANCC? I’m not pitching this. We (GGPNC) decided to jump into the pond. Fees? This hasn’t come up in any meetings that he’s participated in. Funds for LANCC will have to come from grants or other sources. Another layer of organization? The benefit comes from a focus on city-wide issues like: re-surfacing streets. It is still up to each NC to make decisions issue by issue. LANCC reports what NCs have done, not LANCC’s decisions.
Susan Polifronio: If LANCC takes a majority position but if that position more significantly impacts one NC, how is that balance addressed? Let’s talk about housing—where do we put housing? On transportation corridors? Yet housing is a city-wide issue. CM: This is a large issue, its city-wide. Its more complex than we can dicuss here. The City hasn’t done planning very well.
Agenda Item 2--- Approval of Minutes from December 18, 2006 Meeting.
Minutes from the December 18, 2006 board meeting were approved after review. Motion: Susan Polifronio, “To approve the October 2006 Board meeting minutes. Second: Gary Slossberg. VOTE: Yes – 14 No – 0 Abstain—0
Agenda Item 3---Police Reports.
No Senior Lead officers were present and a police report was not presented.
Agenda Item 4---Presentation on Dr. Raphael Sonenshein’s book—Los Angeles: Structure of a City Government—to HUNC by the League of Women Voters
Marilyn Johnson (Oaks HOA) gave a brief description of Dr. Sonenshein’s book on LA City Government. She presented new copies of the book to HUNC Board members. The books are available at no cost to government organizations. The League of Women Voters has 14,000 copies. Inquiries about getting a copy can be made through the League’s website: www.lwv.org
Agenda Item 6---Public Comment on items not on the Agenda.
Jim McQuiston: (1) Comment on fire department equipment. If HUNC wants to help with the purchase of rear view video equipment for fire trucks, it needs to find out what part number is for this equipment. Fire Station 82 wants rear view video equipment installed on Fire Engines and Ambulances. (2) Regarding housing density and re-zoning. See the case of Phil Anaya vs City of Los Angeles (Case# BS 099892). He wanted to average two zoning areas on housing density. This resulted in a lawsuit. Now, its been discovered that the Supreme Court has already decided you couldn’t do this. For the LA City Council this is a point of departure. A developer can plead a hardship case.
Agenda Item 7---Council District Updates
A. CD 4: Introduction of Bureau of Sanitation’s S.W.I.R.P. (Solid Waste Management Resources Program) and stakeholders’ interest in focus groups.
Doug Mensman from CD 4. Contact him at: Doug.Mensman@lacity.org
The LA City Council wants to turn LA into a zero waste city. Phase 1—need stakeholder input. Information is needed on logistics for collecting trash, a zero emissions fleet of vehicles. We are looking for names and contact information for interested stakeholders. Contact Doug, then the Bureau of Sanitation will contact you.
B. CD 4: Stakeholder interest in participating with HBT and Council Office in Mayor’s Million Tree Initiative.
Doug Mensman CD 4. Where do these trees need to go? Start the process of identifying grids where the city needs trees (medians, etc). Can HUNC identify its tree needs? We need help from the community because we don’t want 1 million dead trees. The first 2-3 years are a critical time during which the trees get established.
Susan Swan: Have the City Council Districts been allocated a certain number of trees? DM: About ½ of the trees are incentives to private property owners. The others are for public right of ways. There are about 50,000 trees/CD.
Susan Swan: What about watering? When will they be planted? Rainy season? DM: Doesn’t know the schedule but HBT (Hollywood Beautification Team) wants information on placement as soon as possible.
Susan Swan: Is there a contract with HBT to water the trees? DM: To get this to work we really need volunteers who will water the trees.
Norma Foster: The Los Angeles Times did a story, 3-pages, on planting trees. Where you plant is important. Planting on the sunny side of a building will help cool it.
Jennifer Christie: Attended a Million Trees Workshop. The City can’t water the trees. They want people to buy the trees. We need to water the trees.
Teeta Stallings: Its important to replace our trees because global warming is a problem.
Cindy Duhane: How large are the trees? DM: They are 6’ to 8’ saplings.
Teeta Stallings: This should be a project for our school kids.
Agenda Item 8---Red Flag Parking Restrictions update by Chief Craig Fry of LAFD.
Chief Craig Fry’s comments:
(1) We have a new Fire Chief for LAFD. We’re addressing the issues that have been recently raised in the media. In Hollywood you have the best fire fighters.
(2) Brush. We don’t know when the rainy season is coming. The focus is still on brush fires. We just had a 7-acre fire in Griffith Park on a hiking trail. We are very aggressively pursuing brush clearance.
(3) Red Flag Day parking. He created the program. Together with Susan Swan, they surveyed the streets in the Hollywood Hills. On average there are 3-7 RFDs per year. To date, we’ve had 7 RFDs this year. We’ll also be rolling out a new notification system:
- Initially we posted on cars. The City Attorney asked that this stop because we can’t assume that everyone gets the notice.
- We’re going to a phone system. Residents need to sign up for this alert. The system will call 4 numbers until it gets a human voice.
- We’re continually reviewing the streets
- We’re preparing evacuation plans and will be presenting this to the NCs. We have identified primary and secondary routes for evacuation.
(4) We completed 3 successful rescues of lost hikers in the Hollywood Hills. We use an infra-red detection system and work in conjunction with the Park Rangers.
(5) We’ve seen a large increase in fire related calls. We’re also seeing an increase in the homeless.
(6) Fire Station 82. We’ve identified properties for FS 82 and are working with the CD office, the City and a real estate agent to conclude a transaction. The site is within 1,000 ft of the current FS 82 and is located at Van Ness & Hollywood Blvd. There is an offer in for the church. If it’s turned down, they will use the property across the street which is owned by the City.
Susan Swan: We could post red flags at major intersections and the NCs could fund their purchase. LAFD could post the red flags. CF: He would like to see electronic signs that you could program with messages.
Robert Abrahamian: How about using the smaller European trucks for fire emergencies in the hills? CF: These trucks are limited and have limited water capacity. We think that smaller pick-ups are better. Five hundred gallons is enough water to put out a house fire.
Andrew Ettinger: Is there a printed protocol for procedures for RFDs? CF: Yes.
Andrew Ettinger: Is there a way to mark houses to indicate that there is a swimming pool on the premises? CF: This is done by spotters from a small command helicopter. All of our trucks can pump from a pool. We have 1,500 ft of pipe for pumping.
Chief Fry: Look at our website for information on brush clearance and Red Flag Days. www.lafd.org
Chief Fry believes that his best resource is this NC. LAFD sends notices to NCs and they send it to stakeholders. LAFD wants to issue Red Flags only in areas where the wind is blowing (looking at this).
Regarding the towing of vehicles, only Hollywood Tow is authorized to tow vehicles in Hollywood Hills. Random tow trucks entering the hills are not linked to the RFD program. If these tow your car they’re stealing your vehicle.
Regarding the Dumpster Ordinance for the Hollywood Hills (i.e. dumpsters obstructing roadway and passage on roads) Chief Fry is working with Council member Jack Weiss. If you have a concern regarding dumpsters, call Chief Fry. You can also call 311 and ask for Building and Safety—Enforcement section. They will send someone out to look at a problem dumpster.
Gary Slossberg: Allegations of sexual harassment in LAFD were documented in Laura Chick’s audit. Can you comment? Chief Fry: Did it happen: Yes. Is it acceptable? No. Was it dealt with properly? Yes.
CD 4 Council member Tom LaBonge:
He stopped by to see if there were any questions?
His advice to HUNC---There’s 5 things you can do in a year.
- He’s re-igniting the Hollywood Freeway/101 study later this year. One of the main topics will be auxiliary lanes.
- There’s the San Fernando Valley Mobility 21—an MTA project
- In 6 months transportation bond money should be coming in to the City.
- No new freeway.
- Possibility for a Red Line spur—from La Brea to West Hollywood.
- There are new traffic signals at: Highland & Lexington; Odin & Cahuenga
- Ride Mass Transit once a month.
Agenda Item 9---Adoption of Fire Station 82.
Motion: Maurece Chesse, “That HUNC adopt Fire Station 82.” Second: Susan Polifronio. Discussion: Scott Larson: Can someone define what this means? Maurece Chesse: It means to help with the needs that FS 82 has: equipment needs, food & supplies, etc. Scott Larson: Are fire fighters rotated? Jennifer Christie: Rotation is 1 out of 6, not including the driver.
Vote: Yes---15 No---0 Abs---0.
Agenda Item 11 H---Education & Youth Committee.
Erin Dabbs spoke on the Community Beautification Grant that was approved for Cheremoya Elementary School. $2,700 was received through the grant. There will be a training session next week. The project will begin on or after February 15th and has to be completed in 2007. Gary Slossberg: We’ll need volunteers for this project. Erin has done a great job networking with Cheremoya School on this project.
Agenda Item 10---Executive Officer Reports.
President: Susan Swan has sent e-mails to NC presidents in Hollywood to begin dialogue on possible coalition of NCs into a Greater Hollywood Neighborhood Council.
Vice President: Maurece Chesse reported that infrastructure improvements in the Lake Hollyridge area will mean heavy equipment—pile drivers.
Treasurer: Gary Slossberg is asking for input from Board members on what needs they have regarding the committees. Regarding the finance committee he has 2 goals: (1) put in place a precise budgeting system, where the budget meets the needs, (2) more definition of our expenditures, and the development of standards. Our financial standing in the current fiscal year (FY = July through June): We started this FY with $124,900 and we have spent to date $20,290. Please give input on potential projects. Susan Polifronio: Is this all spent money? Is there money set aside for projects? GS: The expenditures here are only what’s been spent. It does not include money earmarked for projects.
Item 10A—Funding Orientation.
Agenda Item 11---Committee and Liaison Reports including from the Board Retreat:
11A—Letter regarding Griffith Park Observatory access.
David Schlesinger: He was preparing a letter to the City regarding public access to Griffith Park Observatory (GPO). To the best of his knowledge bus fare to GPO is $8 for adults and $4.50 for children. While he believes that the City can control how GPO is accessed, he believes that they have no business charging high rates. They should only charge for the actual cost of running the buses to GPO. Motion: David Schlesinger & Ryan Hass, “To approve a letter to the City of Los Angeles, with the necessary updates on current bus fares, on access to Griffith Park with HUNCs concerns.” Second: Maurece Chesse. Vote: Yes—14 No—0 Abs—0.
Norma Foster: HUNC needs to work with other groups who have been working on this over the last 6 months, specifically, Vicki Israel. Norma will supply contact information to David Schlesinger.
11B—PLUM Committee: Update on construction variances at 5898 Lorae Place
Committee reports that there is no movement on this matter. There is no active variance. No one was mailed information on a request for a variance.
11C---PLUM Committee: NC/Planning Pilot Program reps.
Robert Abrahamian: This is a 6-month pilot program. There is an effort to establish an oversight committee. About 50 people turned out for the first meeting and many had questions. The intention here was to create an oversight committee. But it seems that the focus is changing and this committee wants to bring new laws and regulations. The Department of City Planning has no one to work with this group. The NC/Pilot Program now wants to establish 7 committees which would include: zoning, sub-divisions, conditional use, environmental, etc. The next meeting is on February 10, 2007, at that time they hope to have a representative from the Dept. of City Planning. HUNC would like two representatives (one serves as an alternate). Robert Abrahamian is one representative.
11D—PLUM Committee: Development vs Historic Preservation –Conference at USC.
We have no information on this. It’s tabled until the next meeting.
11E---PS&T Committee: Seed money for crosswalks and matching funds.
The committee believes that crosswalks are necessary at certain locations within the HUNC boundaries. Their research indicates that there is a need for “Smart Crosswalks” like the one on Hollywood Blvd at the Toyota of Hollywood Dealership. Smart Crosswalks cost $25,000 to install and the City won’t pay for them. The committee would like to provide “seed money” to community organizations that have a proven the need for Smart Crosswalks at a certain location and are willing to take on the project and raise the necessary funds. The process would be: come and present at the Public Safety & Transportation Committee, talk to the LA DOT, bring the request to the HUNC Board. Erik Sanjurjo proposes that a seed money allocation be $5,000 which is about 20% of the total cost. Motion: Erik Sanjurjo, “That HUNC approve the concept of providing up to $5,000 of seed money for crosswalks to neighborhood organizations that identify needs for crosswalks. Second: Robert Abrahamian. Vote: Yes---13 No---0 Abs---0.
David Schlesinger: Is this $5,000 per project or $5,000 pool from which we give smaller allocations. Ans: Up to $5,000 per project. Cindy Duhane: Things are not working on Hollywood Blvd (at St. Andrews). People (drivers) don’t stop for yellow lights. Robert Abrahamian: Let’s do this on a case-by-case basis. Ryan Hass: The idea is to let the community know we can jump start your project. They have to come to the committee. There are DOT regulations. We want to deal with this on a case-by-case basis.
11F---PS&T Committee: Letter to Gelsons Market regarding beautification, parking and safety issues.
The lease for Gelsons is private land. The City has no input on remodeling. David Schlesinger: The zoning requires plantings and screening. Susan Swan: This should be referred to PLUM. Erik Sanjurjo: This group at Gelsons is very unresponsive. They won’t return phone calls. This is the worst customer service he’s seen. There are concerns from neighbors about the management of the property; they are also upset with the dirt lot. Gelsons could also help with the Valet Parking problem. We should write a letter to Gelsons and include these points: discuss the parking situation, discuss beautification, want to meet with management, and want to have a meeting with the CD 4 office. Scott Larson: The neighbors on Canyon are very upset about trash, booze, and people sleeping in cars on this property. Motion: Susan Swan, “That HUNC write a letter to Gelsons management requesting a meeting with Susan Swan, Scott Larson, and Erik Sanjurjo to discuss beautification, parking and safety on the property.” Second: David Schlesinger. Vote: Yes---13 No---0 Abs---0.
11G---PS&T Committee: CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) Update.
CERT training begins on January 18, 2007. The class is free. It meets on Thursdays from 7 – 9:30 PM. There will be 7 classes. Location is Hollywood United Methodist Church.
11I---Update on NBC Universal project.
Maurece Chesse: The Universal Village (planned community) project is outside of the HUNC boundaries. It is a 25-year project. The main impact will be on land around Universal Studios. The project will start in 3-5 years. The concern for HUNC will be transportation issues.
11J---Rivers’ School Day and clean up on April 27th and FOLAR River Clean up on May 12th.
The LA River School Day is April 27th. Bring students and volunteers. FOLAR (Friends of the LA River) has scheduled its next clean-up for May 12th. Volunteers are needed.
11K---Earth Day Outreach—April 20th.
Earth Day is April 20th.
Agenda Item 12---Participation in LANCC (Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Congress).
This was already discussed at the top of the meeting.
Agenda Item 13---Next HUNC Retreat/Organizational Meeting.
The next HUNC Workshop is on Saturday, March 31st from 10 AM to 2 PM.
Agenda Item 14---Old Business.
Bashir Blagui: The HUNC Newsletter will be legal sized and 2-pages in length. The deadline for short articles is Sunday, January 21, 2007. Need 150 words maximum per story. Maurece Chesse: The mailings are $800. Amber Meshack: DONE will do the printing and pay for the walking man (2 distributions per election cycle).
Agenda Item 15---New Business.
David Schlesinger: Walter Blackman parked his car on Beachwood in front of his home. His car was demolished by a drunk driver. Who should he talk to?
Andrew Ettinger: Distributed a glossy booklet (8-pages) from a local realtor (Prudential California Realty). The title is: Hollywoodland: Five Minutes from Hollywood’s Great White Way. He suggests that this could be a tool for HUNC in promoting Hollywood/our area. How might we get other NCs involved?
Erik Sanjurjo: The Chamber of Commerce is suggesting that the Hollywood Sign be lit up at least once a year. Also that buses be used to transport people up the hill (Beachwood?). The buses would provide free transportation to local residents.
Jim McQuiston: (1) There is a CD available from John Fisher, the Assistant General Manager of LA DOT. It deals with the development of DOT in LA. DOT was a leader in: traffic signals and the Wilshire Blvd buses (double-decker). (2) There was an editorial in the LA Garment & Citizen on Neighborhood Councils. The editor totally misinterpreted the purpose and role of Neighborhood Councils.
Jennifer Christie: (1) March 1 through May 31 is “Keep America Beautiful.” (2) March 3rd from 8 AM to 10 AM at City Hall, the Mayor wants 5,000 people to do local clean-up. LANCC meets afterwards.
Amber Meshack: (1) January 27th is the date for the Mayor’s Budget Process, it meets in City Council Chambers. Proceedings: Budget survey results will be presented, Regional discussions on the budget, selection of 2 regional representatives to meet with the Mayor. Norma Foster and Ryan Hass will attend this meeting. (2) January 17th from 6 to 9 PM at 3376 Motor Ave, there will be a Neighborhood Council Orientation Meeting concerning budgetary guidelines. ((3) January 20th there is a “Strengthening Our Communities” meeting.
Susan Swan: The City Alliance of NCs will meet on Saturday, January 20th from 9:30 AM to 1:00 PM at LACC. City Controller Laura Chick and LAPD Chief Bill Bratton will be in attendance.
Prepared by Charles Suhayda
Recording Secretary, HUNC