More than 100 neighbors gathered at Third Elementary School for the Hancock Park Homeowners Association (HPHA’48) annual meeting on Tuesday evening. City Council District 4 Council Member David Ryu participated in the meeting with remarks at the beginning, and returned to the podium several times throughout the meeting, to answer questions from residents and offer assurances of assistance from his office.
In his opening remarks, Ryu thanked everyone for their support, saying that because of that support he was elected and could be at the meeting on his 111th day in office. Ryu reviewed highlights from his report card on his first 100 days in office, published last week. He specifically pointed to the creation of a Discretionary Funds Task Force, which had its first meeting earlier this month, as an example of delivering on his promise to bring greater transparency to City Hall. HPHA’48 President Cindy Chvatal is a member of the task force, which is charged with advising the council member on the spending of more than $1 million annually in discretionary funds for CD 4.
“I want to refocus on the intended purpose of the community funds,” explained Ryu.
Ryu said he soon would announce a new website that will disclose any meetings that he is having with developers who are building projects in the district. He said he continues to refuse funds from developers, as promised in his campaign. Though he is fully supportive of the Olympic Games, Ryu said he is also steadfast on fiscal accountability. But perhaps most importantly to his audience, Ryu reiterated his commitment to repairing Hancock Park’s concrete streets, which became a contentious issue in the election.
In his presentation, Tim Allyn, HPHA’48 Streets Committee chair, commended Ryu for committing more than $500,000 in funds to create a pilot project to repair the streets. According to Allyn, five intersections have been identified for repair and two nearly identical streets will be identified for comparative bids, one to the city and one to a private contractor. The work will be assessed for cost and quality comparison and produce a better estimate of the cost to repair the streets. Allyn urged residents to exercise their “first amendment right to bitch about your streets” and invited residents to contact him or the HPHA’48 if repairs are needed.
When fielding a range of questions from residents about tree limbs, traffic and overweight trucks traveling on Rossmore Blvd., Ryu urged residents to use the city’s MyLA311 phone app. Ryu said he uses it himself just to check on the response time, and has even driven around the district following up. Ryu also introduced Nikki Ezhari, formerly with Council member Tom LaBonge, now his Field Deputy for this area.
Ryu acknowledged LAPD Wilshire Division Captain Howard Leslie, who attended the meeting along with Senior Lead Officer Dave Cordova. According to Cordova, Hancock Park has experienced a 1% reduction in crime from last year, even though the crime rate in the city is up 12.9%. Cordova credited the proactive efforts of the homeowners association and HPHA’48 Security Committee chair Peter Gorelick’s close work with local security companies SSA and ADT. Cordova and Leslie urged residents to use social media to get updates on crime reports and police actions.
HPHA’48 board member Susan Grossman addressed questions about the Hancock Park HPOZ, and John Vein gave a report on the city’s Mobility Plan 2035, which calls for reducing traffic lanes to accommodate bike lanes. Vein thanked Council member Ryu for his efforts to gather more comments from the neighborhood, a shortcoming in the current plan, according to Vein.
Arborist Linda Eremita, from TreePeople, gave an extensive presentation on how to keep trees alive in a drought. She urged residents to water trees slowly and deeply, remove the lawn around their trees and replace it with mulch. For more information, see www.treepeople.org or treesaregood.org. To find a professional arborist, visit isa-arbor.org or contact HPHA’48 arborist Sabine Hopper through the HPHA’48.
Closing the meeting, HPHA’48 President Cindy Chvatal announced the re-election of board members Ben Thompson, Tim Allyn, Greg Glasser, Peter Gorelick, Susan Grossman, William Newby, Cami Taylor, John Vein, and James Wolf.