We invited the newly elected members of the Mid City West Community Council Board to submit a short video and personal statement as they begin their two year terms as volunteers representing their neighbors. Below is a 3 minute video compilation of their selfie videos and following are their statements. (Not everyone serving sent us a video. We get it, everyone is busy.)
The next Council meeting is on Tuesday, May 11 at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom. All are invited to attend. Click here for more information on the next meeting.
Melissa Algaze, At Large Representative
Most mornings you will find Melissa walking her Beverly Grove (West) neighborhood before she starts her day as a professional content, communications & project manager in the legal field. Melissa is honored to be elected by her neighbors and vows to represent their interests as an advocate on issues like homelessness, housing, land use, emergency preparedness, public safety, mobility, sustainability, and civic engagement.
Shem Bittermen, Homeowner Representative
My name is Shem Bitterman, I’m a playwright and screenwriter, and this is my third term in the Mid-City west community council. I’ve lived with my wife, Cindy, in Mid-City for over 30 years. We raised our kids, Annabelle and Ezra, here. They both went to Hancock Park elementary and to LACES. We love the area for its walkability, its centrality, its quiet streets and nice neighbors. We love the neighborhood’s traditions, its cultural life, and its nightlife. I’m also an avid biker and walker, and believe the future can’t and won’t look like the past. We need to reduce significantly our car dependence and increase housing opportunity for residents at all earnings levels. Our neighborhood will be even better because of it.
Lyndsey Bonomolo, Nonprofit Representative
As a first time board member on the Mid City West Community Council, I am excited to learn from those that have already been doing the work. I look forward to supporting all of our stakeholders, raising their voices and concerns, and working to create a mid-city west community together
Isack Fadlon, Business Representative
I have lived in the Mid City West neighborhood since childhood, and attended our local public schools. After graduating from UCLA, I earned a J.D. at UC Hastings Law School and then a Masters at Northwestern University. My family business, which opened three decades ago, is ongoing on Melrose. Along with serving on the board of MCWCC, I serve on the boards of the Melrose Business District and the Friends of Hancock Park School. Our community is vibrant, diverse and one that I will strive, in working with others, to help make an even more incredible place to live for all.
Andrea “Dre” Guttag, Zone 5 Representative
As a first time officeholder I’m excited to get to work serving my community. After spending years behind the scenes promoting Democratic causes I care about, I am looking forward to advocating for them in an official capacity. I hope that my transition from layperson to Councilperson inspires my neighbors and that I can use my time in office to better educate and activate other Angelenos in regards to local politics. ( Andrea sent us a statement and we are tracking down the video.)
Will Hackner, Business Representative
As a 19 year resident of Mid City West, there is no greater privilege than to serve the community on an elevated level. My focuses are with small businesses, rent stabilization, social & racial equity and arts and recreation, with a focus on creating new opportunities to connect with each other. I like to bring small town vibes to 10 million person County. It’s my honor to start my second term as the 2nd vice chair and continuing an mission to help.
Nasim Kablan, Zone 2 Representative
As the new Zone 2 Representative, I am focused on making this neighborhood safer and more pedestrian friendly for residents as well as visitors. We have been hit hard by a multitude of events in the past year and need to come together to make Melrose Village what we all can imagine it to be.
Christian La Mont, At-Large Representative
If this last year has shown us anything, it’s that our community cares about each other and that we are stronger together as we work toward just and compassionate solutions to the issues that affect us all, from racial and social justice causes, to dignity for neighbors experiencing homelessness, equitable access to green spaces, reliable public transportation, and affordable living. Change has to happen and we have to make it happen.
Lynda La Rose, Renters Representative
“My name is Lynda La Rose and I just got re-elected to the Mid City West Neighborhood Council as a Renters Representative board member. I’ve lived in Mid City West since 1995 and look forward to being of service to my neighborhood. I’m happy being a board member and love what I do!”
Maria Malbas, Business Representative
My name is Maria Malbas and I am so excited to have been voted in to work with the Mid City West Community Council! As a new member and Business Representative, I look forward to helping promote and support local businesses in our community. The last year has been so hard for all of our local businesses, and I am excited to apply my business experience to help assist them with issues that help increase their exposure, operational functions, and access to local government and community support.
Jenny Morataya, Business Representative
Jenny Morataya is a Business Representative and will also serve as Secretary. As a young woman of color, she brings a unique perspective to the Board and adds representation of the diverse people in Mid City West. She is interested in the different types of people who make up our neighborhood and how they move around the city. She thinks it’s important to understand the nexus between transportation, sustainability, and equity so we can make our streets safer for everyone.
Lauren Nichols, Business Representative and Board Chair
Lauren Nichols is the current Chair of MCWCC. She is interested in creating opportunities for everyone to participate in making MCW a more vibrant community with a focus on equity, inclusion and justice. We are moving out of a crisis and into a period of recovery and healing. I’m excited about the opportunity to help MCW become an even better place to live, work, pray or play in the post-COVID era.
Arnali Ray, Nonprofit Representative
I am thrilled to be elected to the Mid-City West Neighborhood Council (NC) again. There are a lot of pressing issues (i.e. homelessness, social justice, housing affordability) in our neighborhood that will require dialogue, openness, and creativity to solve. It will be important for our NC to create a space that allows people to feel comfortable sharing, regardless of their viewpoints. I truly believe that change occurs when we talk things through and work together.
Daniel Schoorl, Nonprofit Representative
Daniel Schoorl first joined the MCWCC in late 2020 as a Renters Rep. For his day job,
Daniel works as a librarian at UCLA. He is passionate about organizing to advance social
equity through labor unions and community organizations. He’s excited to participate on
the board as a Non-Profits Rep and continue the work of making Mid City West a more
Michael Schneider, Business Representative
“I’m very excited to continue the progressive values of Mid City West, this time as Vice Chair of our board. This term I want to make our slow streets permanent, help drive more customers to businesses on Melrose by redesigning the street, and work to make it easier and safer to walk and bike in various locations around Mid City West.”
Thao Tran, Zone 7 Representative
I’m thrilled to be one of the diverse voices represented on the neighborhood council. As a returning board member, the focus I would like to bring to the board is reimagining public safety however the time I enjoy most is collaborating with the my fellow board members to tackle the broad array of issues impacting the community.
Valerie Jaffee Washburn, Homeowner Representative
As a former attorney, I believe in considering all perspectives and ensuring that everyone has a voice. As a lifelong progressive, I’m committed to building an inclusive city that allows people to live in ways that are healthy for themselves and the planet. As the mother of two kids, I’m particularly focused on helping LA families thrive in these difficult times. Above all, I’m passionate about serving the neighborhood that I love and the people who make it great.
Ryan Weisert, Zone 6 Representative
My zone is 100% comprised of apartment dwellers and is bordered by some of the best restaurants and retail shops in Mid City West. As such my top priorities are affordable housing and helping our neighborhood businesses rebound from COVID successfully. I intend to work with potential developers to ensure they build affordable housing. I intend to work with each and every business in my zone to better understand how we as a council can better support them.
Andrew Werner, Nonprofit Representative
I believe that LA is a vibrant metropolis but because of bad legacy policies, it’s stuck with mid-20th century infrastructure that impairs our quality of life and limits our future. We need an LA that is healthy, inclusive, and safe for all. I live and breathe sustainability and am always a champion of progressive transportation initiatives. While on the Council, I will advocate for Complete Streets for the community and all Angelenos. I will advocate for the unhoused including basic services for safety, hygiene, health, and housing.
Xander Wikstrom, Renters Representative
I’m Xander Wikstrom, and I’ve been a Mid-City West resident since 2017. I was inspired to run because I want more people to have the luck I’ve had in calling this area home. I want to be a strong advocate for renters and the environment, and want my time on the board focused on making Mid-City West a better place for all.
About Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the co-editor and publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.
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