While many of us are still unwinding after a long local and national election season, the Greater Wilshire Neigborhood Council has just begun planning for its next round of elections, which will take place in March, 2021.
John Darnell, representing the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE), which oversees the city’s neighborhood council system, announced at last night’s monthly GWNC meeting that candidate registration to run for a seat on the board is now open through December 28. Later in the meeting, the board also passed a motion setting Thursday, December 3 as the date for an informational forum for candidates an others who would like to learn more about the election. (Information is also available at https://greaterwilshire.org/2021-elections/. In general, anyone 18 or older, who lives, works or owns property within GWNC boundaries is eligible to run in and/or vote in the election.)
In other business last night, the GWNC board spent most of its time on various administrative issues, but members also took time early in the meeting to hear from representatives of several local governmental offices and other organizations.
Among those short presentations, Rob Fisher, representing outgoing CD4 City Councilmember David Ryu, reported that Ryu and his staff will continue their work through mid-December, so stakeholders are still welcome to reach out to the office with issues and concerns until then.
Jessica Salans, representing City Councilmember-Elect Nithya Raman, reported that Raman is now in the process of reaching out to various city offices and officials, and should have some of her new staff in place by the end of November. Salans said Raman’s first couple of months in office, after being sworn in in December, will be devoted to planning for the coming term, and she invited constituents to reach out to her with questions and concerns at [email protected].
Jenniefer Harbeck, representing the office of U.S. Congressional Representative Ted Lieu gave a brief summary of the last legislative session, during which the house of Representatives passed more than 600 bills, including the big COVID019 stimulus package. Harbeck welcomed stakeholders to contact her at [email protected] for more information.
California State Assembly Member Richard Bloom attended the meeting himself, and reported that his office has been extremely busy for the last few months with the “ongoing crisis with EDD payments.” Bloom said his staff usually helps constituents with about 200-300 unemployment cases per year…but since the pandemic hit in March, they’ve already dealt with more than 1,900 problematic claims. And in addition to the added number of cases, Bloom said, the claimants are often dealing with various personal crises related to their unemployment, which means staff often wind up providing emotional support as well, which makes their jobs even more difficult. Bloom said the backups at the state Employment Development Department have been so acute because the staff was downsized and technical systems went without needed upgrades due to budget cuts this year before the pandemic.
Finally among the guest presentations, LAPD Wilshire Division Senior Lead Officer Hebel Rodriguez reported that although auto thefts are up about 17% in his Basic Car Area this year, other crimes are down by similar or greater margins, including car break-ins, which have decreased about 20%. Rodriguez noted that with the holiday season coming, however, package thefts will likely rise again…though LAPD is planning several task force operations that might help with this. Even so, however, Rodriguez urged people to keep track of when packages might be arriving, and to make sure that they’re home when deliveries happen, or that someone else can be available to accept a package when it arrives. Rodriguez also noted that the Wilshire Community Police Advisory Board will meet tonight – Thursday, November 18, at 6:30 p.m., via Zoom.
The GWNC’s Land Use Committee forwarded several recommendations to the board this month, all of which were ratifed by board votes last night. Briefly, the board voted to:
- Support an application for the sale and dispensing of a full line of alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption at the Petit Trois restaurant at 716 N. Highland Ave.
- Oppose a demolition pre-inspection application at 932 S. Gramercy Dr., where an existing single-family home would make way for a new four-story, 17-unit apartment building. (When the Land Use Committee reviewed the project on October 28, committee members expressed concerns about the building design, as currently presented, and requested that the developers reserve an additional unit for low income tenants.)
- Support an application for the construction of a 33-unit residential development at 857-863 S. Gramercy Pl.
- Oppose an pre-demolition inspection permit application at 222 N. Manhattan Place, where a single-family home would be replaced by a four-story, 16-unit apartment building. (The Land Use Committee recommended the opposition, per committee policy, because project representatives did not repsond to an invitation to present the project to the committee.)
- Support a pre-demolition inspection permit at 219 N. St. Andrews Place, where the home owners plan to remove an old garage and replace it with a new Accessory Dwelling Unit.
In Outreach Committee business, the Board voted to approve a committee recommendation that the GWNC recommend to LADOT that it print is range of payment relief programs for citation amnesty and penalty waivers on the back of each parking citation it writes, including its $20 discount for specific violations, if paid within 48 hours of citation issuance.
Next, the Board voted to move Environmental and Sustainability Committee meetings to the first Tuesdays of even-numbered months. The next meeting of the comittee will be held on Tuesday, December 1, at 7 p.m.
And finally, GWNC Homelessness Liaison Joy McManus reported that local homeless assistance organizations Alexandria House and the Center at Blessed Sacrament need donations during the holiday season, and that the city’s Project Roomkey program, which moved particularly vulnerable homeless individuals off the streets and into hotel rooms, is now transitioning to Project Homekey – moving those residents out of hotels and into permanent houseing. McManus also reported on a new Safe Parking location at the LA Convention Center, which will provide more than 200 homeless parking spaces and a case manager for those who stay there.
Finally, the Board also voted unanimously to partner with the LA Homeless Services Authority for the 2021 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, and to serve as site coordinator for the event in the GWNC area.
The next meeting of the GWNC Board will be held on Wednesday, December 9, a 7 p.m., via Zoom.