Earlier this month, residents heard from LAPD Lead Officer George Taff about stepped-up police presence in the neighborhood, and suggestions on how to avoid being a victim of property theft, at the Brookside Neighborhood Association’s quarterly meeting at Memorial Branch Library. Thanks to Loren Dunsworth of the HOA board for sharing these notes from the meeting with the Buzz.
According to Dunsworth, Brookside residents were advised that when more police resources are in place, criminals move into to other areas in the city. Taft reported that there have been some arrests of burglary crews. Once police catch a couple of crews, he said, the crews often communicate with each other, and the extra police cars in the are have helped reduce the criminal activity. According to Taft, there was one vehicle break-in the first week in November, and several burglaries in the last month. He warned residents to watch for criminals casing the neighborhoods. It’s always a good idea to beware of individuals following cars home, he said, and always empty your car of any valuables or anything that might appear to be valuable.
Mario Escobar, from ADT, added that even a gym bag left in a car can trigger a potential theft. He added that $3200 in revenue has been raised toward funding a dedicated patrol car for the neighborhood, but only 8 residents have signed up for the service. Currently there are efforts to combine with another neighborhood, possibly Miracle Mile, to cover the cost of providing a dedicated car.
Nicholas Greif, City Council Member David Ryu’s new Chief of Staff, and CD4 Field Deputy Rob Fisher also attended the meeting. They reported that the City Department of Transportation will be installing 4-way stops on Kenniston Ave., at 8th and 9th Streets, by the beginning of the year. Greif and Fisher also talked about Ryu’s three recent tree-related motions, which will help to preserve the tree canopy and address the replanting of trees targeted for removal as part of the city’s sidewalk repair program. They also reported that another recent motion by the Council Member will require utility companies to pay fees to repair streets when they tear up pavement for utility repairs, and the repairs to concrete streets (like most in our neighborhoods) would have to include the entire slab that was disturbed, not just a small section. Finally, Greif and Fisher also reported on the recent groundbreaking at the former Gardner Street Library, which is being renovated to create women’s crisis housing.
Brooksiders had many questions for CD 4 staff, ranging from better management of traffic apps to tree removals, sewer work, trash pick up, and removal of street trees. Fisher said that many of these service requests can be made using the City’s 311 app or residents can contact him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In other news, Wafa Hoballah spoke about the renovation of the House of Lebanon, which will be completed in time for a March opening, when the neighborhood will be invited for a tour. The Lebanese American Foundation was founded 19 years ago as a cultural center to provide services to the Lebanese community. In 2014 , the foundation purchased the building at 4800 Wilshire Boulevard and it was designated as the House of Lebanon, the first Lebanese American Cultural Center in the United States of America. Hoballah explained the plan and approval process to residents. The current landscaping has died, Hoballah explained, but he said a new landscape plan has been approved and they are working with their security company and their contractor to clean graffiti.
Finally, it was also reported that CIM, owner of the former Farmers Insurance Building, is planning some landscaping upgrades at 4750 Wilshire Blvd., including the possible installation a roof deck and upgrade of an existing patio. No new square footage will be added. The company is also considering a screen for the cars in the parking lot and shade structures on the plaza. A new entrance is planned and the existing roof deck will be landscaped on the perimeter to soften the look of the office. They are also proposing to install a new handicap ramp. The ficus will remain and new drought tolerant planting will be added along with new lighting and pathway lighting to address the dark areas of the property. The work is expected start in April when Farmers vacates the building and the project is expected to take 6-8 months to complete.