Tammy Rosato was sworn in Wednesday night at the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council Board meeting as the alternate board member for Area 6, La Brea-Hancock. Rosato has been active in the neighborhood serving on the LAPD Wilshire Division Community Police Advisory Board, and serves with her husband, Frank, as chair of her neighborhood’s Neighborhood Watch Crime & Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee. Rosato is replacing Bradley Jewett, who is now filling the board seat of Barbara Savage who resigned earlier this year.
The GWNC board also unanimously approved Tess Paige as GWNC Board Alternate for Area 9, Oakwood-Maplewood-St. Andrews, to chair the GWNC Outreach Committee. Paige is replacing Joe Hoffman, board member representing Renters and GWNC Board Vice President, who is stepping down after serving as chair for two years.
The GWNC’s Environmental and Sustainability Committee recommended that the board support the City of Los Angeles’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gasses. Dan Kegel, Sustainability Committee member, told the group that transportation is one of the largest components of greenhouse gas emissions and that citizens can actually play a part in reducing those emissions by choosing to drive an electric vehicle. The motion he presented supports this shift to electric vehicles by making sure that all new parking spaces are pre-wired fro electric charging. Currently the City only requires six percent of new parking spaces to be dedicated for electric vehicle charging.
Kegel presented the following motion which was approved unanimously:
“The AQMD says plug-in cars are essential if clean air standards are to be realized. Plug-ins now make up 5% of new vehicle sales in California, and are increasingly popular in GWNC, but adoption is hindered by lack of easy home and workplace charging. Several California cities have already adopted sensible building code changes to make adding electric vehicle chargers much less expensive. For instance, the study in the City of Oakland’s Council File 16-0359 says preparing for EV chargers ahead of time adds about $140 per parking space, and makes later EV charger installation $500 to $5000 cheaper. Therefore, the GWNC requests that the Los Angeles City Council follow the example of these cities, and pass sensible, cost-effective building code changes to require most new parking spaces in the city to be ready for future installation of EV chargers.”
The board also approved the Sustainability Committee’s recommendation to draft two Community Impact Statements. The first supports City Council File No. 18-0002-S7, the resolution proposed on January 26, 2018 by Councilmembers Blumenfeld and Huizar, asking that the City of Los Angeles include in its 2017-18 Federal Legislative Program OPPOSITION to California Public Utilities Commission Resolution G-3536, and any other similar legislative or administrative provisions that would impose an unplanned moratorium on new gas service connections to customers in the City of Los Angeles. The second Community Impact Statement supports Councilmembers Koretz and Blumenfeld’s Motion 18-0054 that the City of Los Angeles explore the establishment of a Climate Energy Mobilization Department, direct the Planning Department to report back on opportunities for radical greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and carbon drawdown and removal opportunities, through the City’s General Plan and Community Plan updates, etc.
Sustainability Committee Chair Julie Stromberg reported that the committee is organizing its first Green Fair, scheduled for March 24, 2018 at the Memorial Branch Library Park. The purpose of the fair is to reach out to residents to offer information about how residents can reduce waste and save energy.
“This is an outreach and public education event,” explained Stromberg. “It will be very family friendly, with a bounce house and crafts for kids. There will be tables with information from various groups including Koreatown Youth Center, LADWP and the LA Bureau of Sanitation.”
The committee is also currently organizing a second drought tolerant garden tour to be held sometime in early June. The committee met earlier this week and heard a presentation from Climate Resolve, a local nonprofit organization, founded in 2010, which focuses on local solutions to global climate change. A video of their presentation is below:
In other business at the meeting, it was announced that the GWNC will be awarding up to two Neighborhood Purpose Grants this year, with a maximum award of $1,000 each. Applications are due on Friday, March 23, 2018, at 5:00 p.m. (PST). Applicant requirements are detailed at http://www.greaterwilshire.org. The finalists will be voted on at the GWNC April 2018 Board meeting. See http://www.greaterwilshire.org for applicant requirements, application, and to learn more…or email NPG@greaterwilshire.org.
Later, a heated discussion erupted when Bylaws Committee chair Caroline Moser, Area 14, Windsor Square, asked for reaction to the recommendation being discussed by the committee to change the current voting procedure by dropping the requirement that stakeholders provide an affirmative factual basis that they are affiliated with a local Education, Religious or Other Non-Profit organization to be able to for the any of those three special interest seats in GWNC elections. Currently, those who want to cast a ballot for the Education, Religious, and Other Non-Profit seats have to declare a stake in the neighborhood and produce some form of documentation of their connection to an organization of that type in the area. This requirement would be eliminated. There would be no change to the voting requirements for any of the Geographic Area, Renters, or Business Representatives’ seats. Currently, most stakeholders can vote for their geographic representative and the “at large” special interest category, if they do not provide proof of a connection to an Education, Religious or Other Non-Profit organization.
Board member Tucker Carney, who holds the Other Non-Profit seat, said the change would encourage more people to vote. He said residents should be entitled to vote because even if you are not a member of a church, you are affected by its presence in the neighborhood. John Gresham, board member from Area 13, Wilshire Park, disagreed, saying it is important for people to have a legitimate and verifiable claim to the neighborhood to vote in the election, and that should apply to the special interest board seats as well. Gresham, who served as the first organizing president of the neighborhood council, recalled how the first election drew over 2,000 voters and that residents tend to vote when it matters. Gresham faulted the operation of the election, the narrow time frame and the lack of training of election staff for the low turn out and strongly opposed any changed to the bylaws.
“These bylaws have resulted in one of the best neighborhood councils in the city,” said John Welborne, a stakeholder from Windsor Square who also participated in drafting the original GWNC documents and the subsequent revisions to reflect what he described as the primary focus on the neighborhood residents, some businesses, renters, churches and schools. “Do not make changes to the bylaws,” Welborne urged the board.
After further discussion, a vote was called to table the matter for further discussion by the Bylaws committee.
Turning to Land Use issues, board member Frances McFall, Area 3 Country Club Heights, read a letter of opposition to the construction of an eldercare facility with Alzheimer’s memory care, professional medical office, restaurant and retail at 3377 W. Olympic Blvd., because the proposed building is too tall for the neighborhood. The GWNC board had already submitted a letter of opposition to the this project.
The Board voted to oppose the project at 250 N. Wilton Place because the applicant’s decision not to return to discuss Land Use Committee concerns. They also voted to oppose the request for a zone variance for a proposed office use on first floor and residential at 545 S. Gramercy Place, and to oppose a project at 4827 W. Oakwood Ave. until the applicant returns with additional information requested by the Land Use Committee.
The Board voted to the support the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for sale and dispensing of alcoholic beverages on-site in conjunction with the operation of proposed restaurant facility at 6703 -6709 W. Melrose Ave and 701 N. Citrus Ave.. It also voted to support a CUP to allow the sale and dispensing of beer and wine for on-site consumption in conjunction with an existing restaurant with proposed hours of operation from 11a.m. to 11p.m., daily at 5040 Wilshire Blvd.
Finally, before adjourning, and at the request of board member McFall, the board observed a moment of silence for the victims of the tragic shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, which occurred earlier in the day.
The next GWNC board meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at 7 pm at the Ebell of Los Angeles. All are welcome to attend.