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Hollywood United Neighborhood Council Board Meeting
Minutes for November 20, 2006
6:30—8:30 PM
Community Room, 6054 Yucca St, Los Angeles, CA 90028
First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood

Agenda Item 1---Welcome & Roll Call.
Present: Robert Abrahamian,  Bechir Blagui, Jordan Birnbaum, Maurece Chesse, Andrew Ettinger, Norma Foster, Viktoria Gaw, Ryan Hass, Scott Larson, Bree Long, Hilary Royce, Erik Sanjurjo, David Schlesinger, Susan Swan, Charles Suhayda. Excused: Susan Polifronio, Gary Slossberg.

Agenda Item 2--- Approval of Minutes from October 16, 2006 Meeting.
Minutes from the October 16, 2006 board meeting were approved after review. Motion:  Jordan Birnbaum, “To approve the October 2006 Board meeting minutes. Second:  Hilary Royce.  VOTE:  Yes – 10       No – 0     Abstain—1

Agenda Item 4: Code of Civility.
A two-page code of civility was provided in the board packets. The purpose for this 17-point code is “…to ensure that our Neighborhood Council’s business is conducted in a respectful and courteous manner, and in a way that will generate respect and credibility for our Neighborhood Council.” Scott Larsen spoke briefly on the need for HUNC to adopt this code.
Motion: Norma Foster, “To approve the Code of Civility.” Second: Jordan Birnbaum. Vote:   Yes---11        No---0             Abstain---0

Agenda Item 5: Police Reports and introduction of Captain Farrell.
1) Senior Lead Officer Paula Davidson (6A37) whose area covers from Highland Blvd to Franklin Ave and from Gower St to Hollywood Blvd, reported:

  • The crime reduction goal for the year is 8%; in Hollywood crime reduction is at 9%.
  • In Beachwood Canyon crime has been reduced by 24%.
  • The murder rate in Hollywood is currently at 8; last year we had 12 murders.
  • There are no major crime trends in her area.
  • They continue to deal with homeless encampments and homeless juveniles.
  • The pay phone booth adjacent to the St. Moritz Hotel will be removed because its being used for illegal activities.

2) Officer Manny Arzoddi is the coordinator for e-policing. The program is very effective, providing nearly real-time information on criminal activity. Only complaint thus far relates to the e-mail blasts that people receive from the City of LA after they’ve logged onto the e-policing website.

  • The Hollywood Christmas Parade—check the LAPD website for street closure information.
  • The Project YIMBY Day will be held on Wednesday, December 6th at the PATH Regional Homeless Center on N. Madison St.

3) Captain Farrell (Hollywood Division of LAPD): He was introduced at the meeting and welcomed by Board members and stakeholders. He spoke on some of the public safety issues in Hollywood. These included:

  • Crime issues related to night clubs that are aggravated by the substantial number of ABC licenses in a concentrated area of Hollywood. There are other problems caused by the over-saturation of clubs.
  • Quality of life issues.
  • Criminal homeless.
  • Persons under the influence of methamphetamine and cocaine.
  • In response to a stakeholder question regarding actions taken against gangs and a 11530 arrest, Captain Farrell responded that a 11530 arrest can place a person in jail for 5-7 days. There are currently injunctions in force against these gangs: MS, 18th St, and White Fence.
  • Regarding crime reduction in Hollywood in recent years: 2004 crime down 16%, 2005 crime down 13%, and 2006 crime down 9.1% (to date).

Agenda Item 6—Puck presentation on proposed alcohol variance and catering concession at Griffith Observatory (For discussion only).

1) Nancy Patterson a representative for Wolfgang Puck (Catering Company) made a brief presentation on the status of the intent to request an alcohol variance. The company will apply for a zone variance to serve alcohol. Following discussion on this proposal at the PROS (Parks, Rivers, Open Space) Committee, the company has decided to eliminate the proposed sale of beer and wine at the Café. Beer and wine will only be on sale at special events. These are City of LA-sponsored special events and Wolfgang Puck is the caterer for such events. At this point a request for an alcohol variance has not been submitted and there is no scheduled hearing on this matter before the City.

Board member comments:
David Schlesinger: This should be tabled until we see the necessary paperwork for a variance.
Maurece Chesse: How can private events be held at Griffith Park?

Public Comment:
Gerry Hans: President of the Oaks HOA provided general comments. This is not just an issue of asking for an alcohol variance. There are other issues:

  • The guidance provided by Board of Commissioners, Department of Recreation and Parks in a Jan 2006 document and the contract between the City of LA and concessionaire Wolfgang Puck are at odds.
  • The dispensing of alcohol should be concluded by 9:00 PM.
  • All uses of the Griffith Observatory should be to fulfill its public educational mission.

Nancy Patterson (Response to Gerry Hans):  The Café hours of operation end at 9:00 PM. The LA City Council approved the concessions agreement without input from neighborhoods. The disparity between the documents (Board of Recreation Commissioners and the City contract with Wolfgang Puck) has not been explained.

Lucinda Phillips: Friends of Fern Dell and PROS Committee. Also noted the discrepancy in guidance from the two documents that were previously mentioned. She also believes that there could be up to 180 special events per year at Griffith Observatory. On rare occasions, the Observatory can remain open until 1:00 AM. The net effect could be that special events will take over areas intended for public use.
Nancy Patterson (Response to Lucinda Phillips): Will take another look at the concessions agreement with regard to the concerns raised by Lucinda.

Agenda Item 8---CRA Negotiating Agreement Letter: Letter from HUNC.
Hilary Royce asked the Board to accommodate Erik Sanjurjo’s request that time be given to the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), A Community of Friends (ACOF), and People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) to give a brief presentation and update on the status of the Gower Street Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) Project. Following their presentation, a draft of letter (prepared by Terri Gerger—member of the Gower St Task Force) from the HUNC Board to John McCoy of CRA will be reviewed and considered for approval.
The Board was also provided with a 14-page draft entitled, “Exclusive Negotiating Agreement By and Between The Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles, California and [name to be determined] L.P.

John McCoy (CRA): Announced that the developers for the Gower St Project are PATH and A Community of Friends. The “Exclusive Negotiating Agreement” has been presented to the Community Police Advisory Board (CPAB) and the Gower St Task Force Committee at its October meeting. This matter will be taken up at the December meeting of the CRA Board at its downtown LA headquarters. The project currently is Permanent Supportive Housing only. There are no on-site services. We are looking at job development for residents of the project. The CRA will help the Teen Canteen relocate to another site.

Board member comments:
Viktoria Gaw: At this point in time we shouldn’t have services for non-residents.
Norma Foster: These should have passed through the Gower St Task Force.
Robert Abrahamian: I believe that the idea was defined at the last meeting. This is housing.

John McCoy (response): This is Permanent Supportive Housing. We started the process of communicating early. Not everything concerning the project is defined. We are employing the current approach to solving homelessness—“Housing First.”

David Schlesinger: This is not the time to issue letters when the project is not yet defined.
Bree Long: I need more information before making a decision.
Jordan Birnbaum: Initially, I thought this would make things worse. But now I think it may make things better. The over-arching issue is security. The project has the potential to make the area better.

Developers Comments:
Dora Gallo (CEO of A Community of Friends): PATH and ACOF will work with the community. The Exclusive Right to Negotiate gives the right to CRA to negotiate with PATH and ACOF for the development of this PSH project.
Natalie Stern (Exective Director, PATHVentures): Expressed the same position as Dora Galllo.

Board member and Stakeholder comments:
Erik Sanjurjo: When the Subcommittee on homelessness of CPAB met, we reviewed the census count for homeless in Hollywood for 2005. The estimate was 2,500 homeless individuals. This PSH development will take a small bite out of a big problem.

Richard MacNaughton: He is a stakeholder and the attorney representing a petitioner who is in litigation with the CRA over the development of the Gower St PSH development. He provided Board members with a one-page advisory giving his opinion on Item #8 CRA Negotiating Agreement.
He has lived in Hollywood for 35 years. He has sued the CRA to obtain documents regarding the Gower St PSH. He read excerpts from some e-mails he has obtained. He said that if the Board votes to approve the Exclusive Right to Negotiate, then the Board is giving the CRA the right to put social services into the project. He believes that this will bring the criminal homeless to the area. He believes that even though the CRA now says it won’t add social services, they will bring it later. In his opinion, HUNC needs to vote “No” on the Exclusive Negotiating Agreement and send a letter to CRA stating why.
KC Schmidt: He’s seen a copy of the e-mails that Richard MacNaughton has regarding the project. If social services are offered here, we could see more homeless influx into the area.
Jim McQuiston: We have a 5th Amendment regarding property. Do we want an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement or do we want multiple contractors bidding on the project?

Hilary Royce: Returned discussion to the draft letter from HUNC and the several concerns HUNC has regarding the Gower St PSH. Motion: Hilary Royce “that we add to the draft letter: We are not in favor of the project unless the concerns of HUNC listed in points 8 A through F are addressed.” Second: Susan Swan.

Richard MacNaughton: Is your motion against the Exclusive Negotiating Agreement?
Hilary Royce: No
Erik Sanjurjo: We are an advisory Board.

Points listed in Agenda Item 8 A through F:
            A) No extra space in the project that could later be turned into a “mini-mall for PATH” or “used for social services for non residents” AND conditions on the legal title that would preclude this from happening in the future.
            B) Security issues to be addressed and agreed to by HUNC.
            C) Tenant mix to be agreed to by HUNC.
            D) Placement of the buildings and the entrance to the site to be agreed to by HUNC.
            E) Teen Canteen will not be part of this project.
            F) The project currently will be a typical permanent supportive housing project (like the ones we saw on the group bus trip) that will have housing units and a few offices for support staff/counselors.

Charles Suhayda: Reminded the Board of the occasion in the spring of 2005 when a Town Hall meeting was held at the Hollywood United Methodist Church to present the idea of permanent supportive housing as a tool to helping solve the problem of homelessness. At that meeting a segment from a 60 Minutes piece on PSH in Times Square NY was screened. Afterwards community leaders and the CRA agreed that PSH was an important tool. CRA’s Helmi Hesserich said that she wanted this to be a state of the art housing development, one which could serve as a model for an outstanding project. He stated that we can drag our anchors on this project, or we can take the CRA’s commitment to an outstanding PSH development and work with them for a win-win situation. There is a need for PSH throughout Los Angeles because the lack of housing and the costs of housing are impacting not just homeless but also others low-income people, like senior citizens. So let’s embrace this concept and hold the CRA to their vision of an outstanding project.
Motion: Charles Suhayda, “That we add this sentence to the beginning of the draft letter—We support the Gower Street Project in concept. However we have concerns which are outlined in points 8 A through F. We request that HUNC be included in discussions with the Community Redevelopment Agency and the developers as the project proceeds into each subsequent phase of development.”
Second: Norma Foster. 
Jordan Birnbaum: Is against the motion on the on the introductory sentence.
Erik Sanjurjo: Not in favor of Terri Gerger drafting the letter on behalf of the Board.
Vote:   Yes---8          No---6             Abstain—0

Motion: Hilary Royce, “To approve the revised letter to CRA.”

Jordan Birnbaum stated that the letter consist of the first paragraph and that points 8 A through F then be listed.
Amendment: Viktoria Gaw, that “extra” be removed from point 8 A.
Second: Jordan Birnbaum.
Vote on amendment:  Yes---13    No---0    Abstain---1

Vote on revised letter:   Yes---13    No---0    Abstain---1

Agenda Item 7---Castle Asset Management request for construction variances at 5898 Lorae Place.

Board Members received three documents concerning this agenda item:

  • Notice of Public Hearing to Property Owners from the Office of Zoning Administration. Case No. ZA2006-2447 (YV)(ZAA)(ZAD) for variances requested by Castle Asset Management.
  • Letter from Maurece Chesse to the Office of Zoning Administration regarding the request for zoning variances by the applicant and notifying the OZA that HUNC has not yet reviewed this matter or collected stakeholder input.
  • Letter (2-pages) from stakeholder Arlene van Breems, property owner adjacent to proposed development, to OZA, stating her 7 concerns about the proposed development. Included are 6-pages from the developers plans and application for the proposed home.

The presentation started with a 3-minute video of the proposed site and the street access to the site. The video was taken by stakeholders. Concerns raised in the video include: the steep terrain on the site, narrow street limiting access to lot and off-site parking, access to area and site by emergency vehicles.

Jose Larco (Representing Castle Asset Management): Made a brief presentation. He indicated that he doesn’t need a variance to build on this lot. He has filed and EAF application, a 100-page soils report, a mud flow report (in soils report), and information on retaining walls and heights. On the question of parking spaces, the new home will be less than 3,400 sq. ft. It requires 3 parking spaces (2 garage and one street side).

Board member comments:

Ryan Hass: On the EAF, page 3 of 5, this indicates that you will build on 62% of the lot.
Jose Larco: (response): This was submitted prior to the variance.

David Schlesinger: Is the old plan now in the waste basket?
Jose Larco (response): This is a new project now.

David Schlesinger: Off-site parking is very difficult. If you park 2 cars on the street, you’ll block a fire truck. The ordinance requires 2 parking stalls for the first 2,400 sq. ft. and an additional stall for each 1,000 sq. ft. Will you ask for a variance in parking?
Jose Larco (response): I won’t need to get a variance.
David Schlesinger: We shouldn’t consider this until we see the final plans.

Public Comment:

Gerry Hans (Oaks HOA): The street frontage is 18’. How can you get 3 parking spaces? Regarding the oak trees, we’re sensitive to the need to protect these trees. The lot you want to develop is an oak/walnut woodlands. We are concerned about native trees. There have been civil and criminal prosecutions for tree cutting on Live Oak East. This should be reviewed by an urban forester.
Jessica Ritz (Locksley Pl resident): She’s a city planner. She’s against granting any variances for this project. She often can’t park in front of her own house. There have been landslide and mudslide issues in this neighborhood. There are also quality of life and environmental issues here.
Stephen Frye (Lorae Pl): He lives adjacent to the proposed development. Even now, he often can’t get out of the cul-de-sac. We need to red stripe an area so that we can get out of the cul-de-sac. Stephen’s house is 2,400 sq. ft. He doesn’t see how a 3,400 sq. ft home fits into this area.
David Schlesinger (response to S. Frye): He has empathy for adjacent homeowners, but if developer stays within the confines of the law the project can proceed. The properties should never have been sub-divided.
Jim McQuiston: This is a “key” lot. If you don’t want a development there, then the guy will want some money from the city. On a city street you can only park on one side. To park on both sides is against the law. The owner has a right to develop his property.
Resident (Brown Holly Dr): Received no notice on this project. All the streets in this area are similar. This is a high fire zone. The roads here are in disrepair.
Steve (Locksley Pl resident): To the best of his knowledge there was no advanced notice given on this project. The main problems are:

  • Access
  • Lack of parking
  • The property to be developed is nearly vertical.
  • There’ll be huge dump trucks running on ruined streets.

Agenda Item 9---DWP Report including HUNC letter asking DWP to maintain and clean up the area around the reservoir.
Andy Ettinger (Board member representative on DWP related matters): He reported that the matter of the condition and environment around Lake Hollywood and Montlake Rd in particular should be of grave concern to HUNC. Last month, he asked Board members to take a first hand look at this area. To date he’s had only one reply and will postpone his report on what steps should be taken until January 2007

Agenda Item 10---Letter opposing cost of shuttle and parking for Griffith Observatory.
David Schlesinger: He will bring a letter on this matter to the December Board meeting.

Agenda Item 11---Motion to support the 2007 budget request for the Planning Department to assign a full-time liaison to Neighborhood Councils.

Motion: Scott Larson, “That HUNC support the 2007 budget request for the Planning Department to assign a full-time liaison to Neighborhood Councils.”
Second: Andy Ettinger
Vote:    Yes---14         No---0        Abs----0

Agenda Item 12B—HSDNC—3rd Annual Holiday Party on December 10th, requesting $150.00 of support for special events and refreshments.
Maurece Chesse: This party will cover stakeholders from 3 NCs.
Norma Foster: Now that HSDNC is certified, let them spend money from their own $50K allotment.
Erik Sanjurjo: There’s a lot of overlap between stakeholders among the 3 NCs. We should support this.
Motion: Erik Sanjurjo, “To allocate the $150.00 to HSDNC for their 3rd Annual Holiday Party on December 10th for the cost of special events and refreshments.
Second: Maurece Chesse
Vote:   Yes---12    No---0    Abs----1

Agenda Item 12C---Spark of Love Toy Drive—Request to place toy donation boxes and donations of toys at $150.00.
The Spark of Love Toy Drive is a project of the LAFD.
Motion: Norma Foster, “To allocate $150.00 to the Spark of Love Toy Drive of LAFD.”
Second: Jordan Birnbaum.
Vote:   Yes---13    No---0    Abs---0

Agenda Item 12E---Purchase of 300 poinsettias at $2.50 each (total $750.00).
Motion: Erik Sanjurjo, “To allocate $750 for the purchase of 300 poinsettias at $2.50 each.”
Second: Andy Ettinger
Vote:   Yes---13    No---0    Abs----0

Agenda Item 13---Committees and Assignments.
Susan Swan: Provided Board members a copy of the HUNC Mission Statement.

  • Representative to LANCC---Bashir Blagui. Alternate is Robert Abrahamian.
  • Hollywood Specific Plan---David Schlesinger.
  • Public Safety Committee—Erik Sanjurjo—Not clear where public works falls. For now will organize this way: DOT---Ryan, Street Services---Erik,   LAFD---Maurece, LAPD---Bashir. Hilary Royce—whatever voice we have on CPAB should come from Transportation & Public Safety Committee.
  • Outreach Committee—Bashir—Need a specific committee with specific goals. It can’t just be that everyone is the outreach committee. Norma—Bashir was appointed to Outreach. Susan Swan—There are co-chairs: Bashir, Susan Swan and Maurece.

Agenda Item 15—CPAB, City Attorney Liaison update on procedure for submittal of questions, PROS, FOLAR/Sierra Club.
Susan Swan: Questions to attorneys on legal issues should come through the President of the NC Board.

Agenda Item 17—Public Comment on items not on the agenda.
Stephen Box: Reported on the great experience he had bicycling through the DWP Christmas Light display in Griffith Park. Also, Glassel Park just completed their NC elections. Thank you to Encee and Norma Foster for helping make the elections a success.
Raymond Yu: The Hollywood Christmas Parade. Starts at 6 PM on the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
Jim McQuiston: Attended the Public Safety Committee of LA City. He was surprised to see how hostile the Council member from CD 5 was toward the NCs. It was implied that the NCS should have been at this meeting. The talk at the meeting was that the police should apprehend the criminals who run the NCs.
Erik Sanjurjo: Lisa Sarno came up with a list of “allegations.” Of conflict of interest with NCs and added discrimination, harassment, and violent confrontation. At the BONC meeting last Thursday she said nothing. At the Alliance of NCs she said nothing about these problems. Why was the 912 Commission not consulted? Why were the NCs not consulted before she released her report?

Agenda Item 18—Old Business.
Alexander von Weckmar: Spoke on behalf of the Oaks HOA. This is a follow-up to the installation of cell phone transmission towers. In addition to the two sites mentioned earlier this fall, there is now a new cell site on Green Oak Dr. this is a brand new pole. Its covered by city ordinances and requires no permits or notification. He is asking HUNC to help him connect to other NCs and HOAs and help the city come up with a solution to this problem.

Agenda Item 19---New Business.
Walter Blackman: He is concerned about a number of issues:

  • Senior Citizen issues
  • Time Warner Cable—this is worse than Adelphia
  • Consumer affairs
  • The Planetarium

Where does he go with these issues? Answer—one on the HUNC committees.



Charles Suhayda
Recording Secretary
Hollywood United Neighborhood Council (HUNC)