WESTWOOD NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL MINUTES
MARCH 11, 2015
WESTWOOD PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, 10822 WILSHIRE BLVD., LOS ANGELES, CA 90024
- CALL TO ORDER
President Jerry Brown called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. Board members in attendance were Dean Abell, Angus Beverly, Connie Boukidis, Jerry Brown, Sandy Brown, Lisa Chapman, Roozbeh Farahanipour, Jacob Finn, Armen Hadjimanoukian, Mitchell Keiter, Stephen Resnick, Marcello Robinson, Mark Rogo, Scott Whittle, and Laura Winikow. Board members excused were Aurelia Friedman, Eugene Tseng, and Austin Velez. A quorum was present. There were 22 stakeholders and guests present.
Jerry Brown announced that Marjan Jamshidi has resigned from the board. The vacancy will be posted on the website.
- APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Scott Whittle moved to approve the minutes of the February 11, 2015 meeting. Lisa Chapman seconded the motion, which carried unanimously, with the exception of Armen Hadjimanoukian, who was not eligible to vote.
- COMMENTS BY PUBLIC OFFICIALS
A- CD5 Field Deputy Jeff Ebenstein announced upcoming street closures on March 12th and 13th due to President Obama’s visit and on March 15th due to the L.A. Marathon. A Great Streets walk took place on Westwood Blvd. last week with the Mayor, CD5, WWNC, and Westwood Community Council. Jerry Brown announced that he will be submitting a candidate’s name for the Design Review Board to CD5, architect Mike Metcalfe.
B- CD5 Transportation Deputy Jay Greenstein announced that the LA DOT will study possible impacts of the Ryan Snyder bicycle lane plan. On April 6th the Wilshire dedicated bus lane will open. It has been striped but signage is not posted yet.
C- Congressman Ted Lieu’s representative Janet Turner announced that comments on the post office are still being accepted. A meeting with postal supervisors and the postmaster is being scheduled. A town hall meeting on this issue was recommended.
D- West LAPD Senior Lead Officer Chris Ragsdale reported on a current trend of knock-knock burglaries that are happening in the neighborhood.
- PUBLIC COMMENT
Stakeholder Kit Leonard reported that the 10900 block of Rochester Avenue is being used as a drag strip because of the echo created when loud cars drive down it. Residents have been woken up at 3 a.m. by loud cars such as Lamborghinis and Lotuses. He has spoken with CD5 and the Mayor’s office and requested speed bumps as a deterrent.
Three stakeholders from UCLA announced support for a bicycle lane on Westwood Blvd.
Stakeholder Steve Sann announced that the Westwood Branch Library will be having its 10th anniversary on May 9, 2015.
- STANDING COMMITTEE STATUS REPORTS
A. Executive had no report.
Treasurer Laura Winikow listed the March expenditures: $138.10 for copies for tonight’s meeting, and $1.82 in postal expenses. Both were approved unanimously, with the exception of Armen Hadjimanoukian, who was not eligible to vote. Budget snapshots of $32,951 remaining in December 2014 and $31,888 remaining in January 2015 were approved unanimously with the exception of Armen Hadjimanoukian, who was not eligible to vote. $24,900 was available for Neighborhood Purpose Grants (NPG) and Laura moved to allocate $100 from the budget for newsletters to NPG so an even $25,000 could be awarded. Lisa Chapman seconded, and the motion carried unanimously with the exception of Armen Hadjimanoukian, who was not eligible to vote.
C. Land Use
1. Gayley Fraternity Project
Chair Connie Boukidis announced that this item was tabled.
D. Outreach & Communications
Chair Lisa Chapman announced that webmaster Kevin will be updating the website on Wednesday at noon.
E. Public Safety
Chair Angus Beverly said the committee is talking with LA DOT regarding the intersection at Westwood Blvd. and Weyburn Avenue.
The report was the same as Public Safety.
WRAC Representative Sandy Brown had no report but said that WRAC will decide at the next meeting what issues to focus on.
- WESTWOOD TRUNKLINE PROJECT
LADWP Engineer Marvin Hermosillo gave an overview of the project, which involves installing a new pipe on Hilgard Ave. and making connections to existing pipe at the intersections at Sunset Blvd. and at Charing Cross Road. The project will have three phases. The first phase will be on Hilgard Avenue and Charing Cross Road, and will last 50 days from June 15, 2015 to August 21, 2015. Construction hours will be Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., occasionally till 7 p.m. on those days and on Saturdays.
CD5 Transportation Deputy Jay Greenstein reported that during Phases Two and Three, no turns going either way from Hilgard onto Sunset Blvd. will be allowed.
- NEIGHBORHOOD PURPOSE GRANT PRESENTATIONS
A. West Los Angeles Little League requested $5,000 to help pay for security. It will spend $12,000 on full-time security this year due to problems with homeless at Bad News Bears
B. Emerson Arts & Education Foundation requested $5,000 for four laptop computers for Emerson’s STEM academy to use for 3D design. The STEM academy is very popular and there is a waiting list to get in.
C. Friends of Westwood Library requested $5,000 for Hot Off the Press, the most popular program at the library, which purchases new bestsellers that stay at the Westwood Branch
Library and are not subject to holds.
D.Warner Avenue School requested $5,000 to update the computer lab with Macs, upgrade software, and install a new wall-mounted projector.
E. Los Angeles Conservancy requested $5,000 to nominate buildings in Westwood Village for historical monument status, which is a lengthy process.
F. Fairburn Elementary School did not make a request.
Scott Whittle moved to award $5,000 to Emerson, seconded by Connie Boukidis. The motion carried unanimously with the exception of Armen Hadjimanoukian, who was not eligible to vote.
Connie Boukidis moved to award $5,000 to the West Los Angeles Little League, seconded by Lisa Chapman. The motion carried unanimously with the exception of Mitchell Keiter, who recused himself from the vote, and Armen Hadjimanoukian, who was not eligible to vote.
Marcello Robinson moved to award $5,000 to the Friends of the Westwood Library, seconded by Jacob Finn. The motion carried unanimously with the exception of Roozbeh Farahanipour, Mark Rogo, and Laura Winikow, who recused themselves from the vote, and Armen Hadjimanoukian, who was not eligible to vote.
Lisa Chapman moved to award $5,000 to Warner Avenue School, seconded by Dean Abell. The motion carried unanimously with the exception of Armen Hadjimanoukian, who was not eligible to vote.
Angus Beverly moved to award $5,000 to the Los Angeles Conservancy, seconded by Marcello Robinson. The motion carried unanimously with the exception of Armen Hadjimanoukian, who was not eligible to vote.
- EMERSON MIDDLE SCHOOL CO-LOCATION
A. Discussion and Introduction of Motion
Stakeholder and Emerson parent Jeremy Bollinger reported on a possible move by LAUSD to house the 9th grade of the independent City Charter High School on Emerson’s campus because it has space since it’s currently under-enrolled, and why that would be detrimental to Emerson and the neighborhood for many reasons.
Connie Boukidis moved the following motion, seconded by Scott Whittle:
MOTION TO OPPOSE CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL CO-LOCATION AT EMERSON
WHEREAS . . .
LAUSD has proposed to co-locate City Charter High School on Emerson Middle School’s campus at 1650 Selby Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024;
Emerson has served as the neighborhood’s junior high/middle school for over 75 years; Emerson’s enrollment of 600 is projected to increase next year and the year after; City Charter High School is expected to introduce 125 high school-aged students onto Emerson’s campus in its first year;
The introduction of a third school on Selby Avenue will make it difficult to determine which schools should be held accountable for disturbances by students in the neighborhood, will increase the amount of traffic by parent and eventually student drivers, will negatively impact the already limited available parking around the campus, and will increase the number of daytime and evening school events and activities in the
The introduction of high school-aged students will introduce additional safety hazards to neighbors as well as the elementary and middle school students at the existing schools; LAUSD Board Member for District 4, Steve Zimmer, has spent over 18 million of our taxpayer dollars to renovate and upgrade Emerson’s campus with the goal of creating a flagship middle school in our neighborhood;
The residents neighboring Emerson have dealt with the disturbance of living next to a construction site for nearly two years;
City Charter High School, an independent charter operated by a private entity, will reap the benefits of these campus expenditures meant for the benefit of our neighborhood children;
Emerson is a major feeder school to University High School which has LAUSD has spent significant sums to refurbish and upgrade Uni’s campus;
The addition of a charter high school located on Emerson’s campus will severely and negatively impact student attendance at University High School;
BE IT RESOLVED
The Westwood Neighborhood Council adamantly and vociferously opposes any encroachment by City Charter High School, or any other independent charter organization, on Emerson Middle School’s campus; AND, that the Board of the Council send the attached letter to Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines, School Board Member Steve Zimmer and Prop 39 Programs Manager Sean Jernigan expressing the Board’s opposition to City Charter High School’s co-location at Emerson.
PROPOSED LETTER FROM WWNC BOARD TO LAUSD OPPOSING CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL
CO-LOCATION AT EMERSON
March ___, 2015
Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines
School Board Member Steve Zimmer, District 4
Mr. Sean Jernigan, Prop 39 Programs Manager
333 S. Beaudry Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90017
Dear Superintendent Cortines and Board Member Zimmer, and Mr. Jernigan,
The Board of the Westwood Neighborhood Council, as the organization that advocates for the residents and businesses of the Westwood community, strongly urges the District to deny City Charter High School access to Emerson’s middle school campus for co-location of their high school. This Association, representing the area in which Emerson Middle School is located, has long been a supporter of our community’s middle school. We have been informed that LAUSD has proposed Emerson as a site for a co-located high school. We believe this proposed co-location would be detrimental to our neighborhood school and community.
Of major concern is an increase in automobile traffic and the resulting congestion it causes. There is already significant daily congestion around the campus during drop-off and pick-up times due to the two existing schools on Selby Avenue. Many students from the K-8 private school located adjacent to Emerson use the same loading and unloading areas as the Emerson students. The addition of a High School would increase the
congestion and safety risks on our residential streets.
Furthermore, additional teachers, administrators, staff and parents would be parking in and around the school. Parking around Emerson is already at a premium because of the residential density in the area. Most parking is restricted 2-hour parking. If students begin driving to school, they would have to park blocks from school in the unrestricted zones. Student drivers will also add to the safety concerns we already face from parent
Lastly, we are troubled about the issue of accountability. Having two separate schools means two separate administrations, two separate student bodies with twice the number of school events and activities. It will make it difficult to address and resolve our community’s concerns. Questions of who is responsible for the students coming and going from school, disturbances in the neighborhood, scheduling of school or community events, or any number of small matters that come up, would have to be addressed by two separate parties. Our constituents are concerned that the addition of a separate school would result in a lack of accountability.
For the reasons stated above, the Westwood Neighborhood Council asks that LAUSD not impose greater burdens upon our neighborhood by offering City High School space on the Emerson Middle School campus. Please find City High School an alternative location for their school.
The motion carried by a vote of Yes: 11, No: 3 (Lisa Chapman, Mitchell Keiter, & Marcello Robinson), and Abstain: 1 (Armen Hadjimanoukian, who was not eligible to vote).
- I-405 SUNSET OFF-RAMP “NO RIGHT TURN ON RED” POLICY
A. Discussion and Introduction of Motion
Scott Whittle explained that the “no right turn on red” policy makes traffic back up on the freeway. He would like to send a letter out about this problem to the appropriate agency, whether LA DOT or Caltrans.
Jerry Brown moved that Scott Whittle write a letter and send it to Stephen Resnick, who as WWNC Secretary will send it out. Marcello Robinson seconded, and the motion carried unanimously with the exception of Armen Hadjimanoukian, who was not eligible to vote.
- WESTSIDE MOBILITY PLAN
This item was not discussed.
- BICYCLE LANE COMMITTEE
This item was not discussed.
- BYLAW CHANGES
This item was not discussed.
- IMPACT OF NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCILS
This item was not discussed.
President Jerry Brown adjourned the meeting at 9:55 p.m.