The work of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council is done almost entirely by volunteers who live in the neighborhoods they represent. Much of the work is concentrated in several council committees, and the Land Use Committee is one of the busiest, tasked with the critical job of making official recommendations on land use projects to the GWNC Board. Later, after the board votes on those projects, the Land Use secretary is often the person responsible for reporting out those votes to the appropriate city agencies, so they become part of the official record.
Max Kirkham, who represents Area 9 – known as Oakwood/Maplewood/Saint Andrews – on the GWNC board, was recently appointed Land Use secretary, taking over for Philip Farha, who resigned after serving for more than a year. Farha represents Area 8 (Melrose) on the GWNC board.
Kirkham is relatively new to both the neighborhood council and the city of LA. He got involved in the GWNC last year, when he saw a flyer inviting neighbors to run for a seat on the board.
“I always wanted to get involved,” Kirkham told the Buzz. “I come from a family of service; my parents were federal employees. I lived overseas for a year while my stepmom worked at the Embassy in Rome. I really appreciate the importance of working for the civic good.”
Kirkham moved to LA three years ago and moved into an apartment on Rosewood, north of Beverly, where he still lives. He described his neighborhood as changing. (The neighborhood is currently almost all residential, with a majority of small apartment buildings and some single family homes.)
“It’s changing, getting more dense. We are getting our first five story apartment building next year.” said Kirkham. He explained that he joined the Land Use Committee because he’s “not completely opposed to density, but my concern is making sure the building that is going to go up conforms to the neighborhood, that developers reach out the neighborhood and try to make the building better.”
“It’s already dense,” said Kirkham of his neighborhood, “and it’s getting more dense as the new buildings get bigger and the few single family homes are being demolished.”
Kirkham also joined the GWNC Outreach Committee to help increase awareness of the work of the council and encourage more people to get involved in time for the next cycle of neighborhood council elections next year.
When he is not volunteering, Kirkham works in production at CBS, in the accounting department for two sitcoms. Kirkham wants to be a producer some day. Right now, he co-produces two podcasts with a woman friend from college, which focus on the accomplishments of women. The podcasts The Bitchery of History and Bitch with Me grew out of their collaboration on a film.