City Council Member David Ryu spoke to forty volunteer block captains gathered at the Wilshire Country Club for the annual meeting of the Hancock Park Homeowners Association Block Captains. Ryu, who was warmly welcomed by the group, noted that this July will mark four years in office. He thanked all the block captains and the HOA for their commitment to the neighborhood and their work in helping him develop solutions to problems in the neighborhood.
Ryu said he was pleased to report that he has been able to keep all his campaign promises to the neighborhood, particularly his promise to repair the neighborhood’s concrete streets.
“I think by next year, I can safely say that half of the worst streets are probably going to be done,” said Ryu to the applause of the group. He said he was pleasantly surprised that they found the simple solution of doing large sections rather than whole streets. He also said the demonstration project he proposed for Hancock Park has been taken over by the Bureau of Street Services, which is now looking at using the same approach in other neighborhoods around the city.
Ethics reform was the other major campaign promise Ryu made, which he said should be completed by the end of year, or possibly earlier, depending on when the City Attorney’s office finishes drafting the new ordinance, and the scheduling of the final approval vote by the full City Council.
Ryu said his effort to introduce a reform motion during his first year in office failed because he couldn’t get a single fellow city council member to second his motion. He told the story of how he persisted and his proposal to prohibit contributions, to both candidates and elected officials, from property owners whose properties are involved in a land use project requiring discretionary approval. And that proposal gained the unanimous support of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission earlier this year. Ryu said he expects the City Council to vote on the draft in the next several weeks. Its passage, he said is a huge step forward to reforming the culture at City Hall.
In conclusion, Ryu thanked everyone for their support and noted he would be starting his re-election campaign next year.
Next, Hancock Park Homeowners Association President Cindy Chvatal-Keane and Jen Devore, chair of the Block Captains Committee, welcomed everyone, thanking them for their service to neighborhood and their efforts to serve as the front line of communication for their neighbors.
Many block captains have done the job for years, and there was a lively exchange about various ways to get neighbors involved in an annual meeting on the block. Devore asked each captain to try to reach out to new neighbors to make them feel welcome, noting that the association is working on developing a gift bag for new neighbors. She also asked block captains to maintain a list of all their block’s residents, and share that list with neighbors so everyone can work together in the event an emergency. On her block, Devore has added notes about residents with special skills, such a physicians or resources, like pools, in case they are needed in an emergency.
Devore asked the block captains for help in encouraging residents to pay the $25 annual HOA dues. Currently, only one third of residents pay the dues, but Devore said the dues are used to plant trees, remove graffiti, and make other improvements…as well as to maintain the extensive communication system keeping residents informed. Residents can now go online to pay their dues.
For the remainder of the meeting, block captains heard reports and updates from board members and committee chairs: Erik Storey, Neighborhood Filming; DeborahTrainer, Parkway Tree Program; Susan Grossman, HPOZ; Cindy Chvatal, Land Use and Zoning; Bill Newby, Infrastructure Repair Highland Median; Peter Gorelick and Marty Beck, Security/Neighborhood Watch and Traffic Mitigations; Dave Gajda, Hancock Park New Neighbor Gift Bags and Liaison with John Burroughs Middle School.