Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

GWNC Hears from 507 Larchmont Owner; Honors Local Citizens

GWNC board members at the April 10 GWNC board meeting at the Ebell of Los Angeles

The April meeting of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, held on Wednesday, April 10, included an update on a problematic vacant property at 507 N. Larchmont Blvd., a discussion about amending the board’s previously-stated position on the City’s proposed ED1 affordable housing ordinance, the presentation of several Citizen Recognition Awards, awards of three Neighborhood Purpose Grants, and a variety of other news and updates.

Land Use Issues

Google Maps view of 507 N. Larchmont Blvd., where the current owners have proposed building a new 52-unit, 100% affordable apartment building.

In land-use-related issues at the meeting, the board heard from both neighbors and the owner of a vacant single-family home at 507 N. Larchmont Blvd. According to the residents who spoke on Wednesday, a squatter at the property had been “terrorizing” nearby neighbors on both Larchmont Blvd. and Arden Blvd. to the west since last October. Several neighbors provided photos, videos, and descriptions of the man peeking into windows of nearby buildings, prowling neighbors’ yards, and even entering homes when neighbors were present. He also apparently started at least one fire inside the vacant home.

Several people said the problem was so severe, they were forced into the role of “neighborhood vigilantes” to protect themselves and their families until the man was captured (with neighbors’ help) and arrested a few weeks ago.

In response to similar reports from stakeholders at last month’s GWNC Land Use Committee meeting, where the matter was not agendized for a vote, committee members urged the neighbors to bring the issue to this month’s board meeting and suggested that it might be possible for the board to ask the Department of City Planning to suspend any project approvals or permits for the property (where the owner has applied to build a 7-story, 52-unit, 100% affordable project under the city’s ED1 guidelines) until the property is fully secured.

A motion that the board request such a suspension of approvals or permits for 120 days, or until the property is fully secured, was then placed on the agenda for last week’s meeting. There, several neighbors further reported that during the time the squatter, Manuel Funes (aka Lucifer Rothschild) was present, they contacted the building’s owner, Sean Tabibian, several times, but were told Tabibian had given Funes permssion to stay at the house, and/or that Tabibian would secure the building, which he never did.

Sean Tabibian, co-owner of the vacant property at 507 N. Larchmont Blvd.

Tabibian, however, also attended the meeting and assured the board members that he did not give Funes permission to enter or stay at the building, though he does have a trusted maintenance man, Manuel Reyes, who visits. Tabibian, asserting that he and his co-owner “are the victims here,” urged the board not to try to stall the approvals for his pending construction project, saying Funes could just return and break in again unless the building is torn down…and Tabibian can’t get a demolition permit until the apartment project is approved.

Board members noted that the requested delay is only for 120 days, however, and Tabibian could get things moving again much sooner than that by boarding up the property and registering a “no trespassing” order with LAPD, allowing police to make arrests there even if the owner isn’t present.

But Tabibian said that while he’s happy to apply for the LAPD authorization, he doesn’t want to post a “No Trespassing” sign on the house, or board it up, because that would only signal to other vagrants that it’s vacant, which could make things even worse. Board members then asked if Tabibian could install an alarm system at the property, or get someone to live in the house to discourage further break-ins, but he said it currently has no water or electric service, so neither of those would be possible.

But the board members remained unswayed, and after the discussion voted by a margin of 12 in favor and three abstentions to request that the Department of City Planning suspend for 120 days, or until the building is fully secured, the approval of any projects being planned for the property, and/or the issuance of any permits.

Next, on another issue relating to Mayor Karen Bass’ Executive Directive 1, which allows 100% affordable housing projects that meet certain criteria to be approved with only administrative review instead of the usual public review process, the GWNC board considered a motion recommended by the Land Use Committee to modify recommendations for a permanent ED1 ordinance that it voted to support last month. Those recommendations, developed by the United Neighbors coalition, are designed to support the city’s affordable housing goals while also protecting existing single-family and historic neighborhoods from over-development.

Since last month, however, the GWNC has heard from several Larchmont-area neighbors who suggested an additional request be made to further limit new buildings permitted under ED1 – specifically those located on Neighborhood Commercial streets adjacent to areas zoned for single family housing, like much of Larchmont Blvd. – to four stories instead of the six that would be allowed under ED1’s current language. The measure, said its advocates, would help to protect the character of smaller commercial streets such as Larchmont Blvd.

At this meeting, however, while several stakeholders spoke strongly in favor of the amendment and its potential to protect the historic character of Larchmont Blvd., several board and Land Use Committee members also spoke out against it, noting that the language of both ED1 and the previously-approved recommendations were carefully crafted by people across the city, not just our own neighborhood, and saying that promoting additional restrictions, which could potentially affect 455 miles of streets in all parts of Los Angeles, would likely be both difficult at this point and unpopular with other neighborhoods.

After hearing arguments both pro and con, the board voted down the motion to amend its previous ED1 recommendations by a margin of four votes in favor, 10 opposed, and one abstention.

Citizen Recognition Awards

GWNC President Conrad Starr presents a Citizen Recognition Award to former GWNC board secretary and longtime volunteer Max Kirkham.

The GWNC periodically grants Citizen Recognition Awards to recognize stakeholders for their service, dedication and commitment to enhancing or improving the Greater Wilshire area. This month, after a long period without making any awards, the GWNC presented certificates to four individuals for their above-and-beyond efforts on behalf of the neighborhood. The awardees were:

Max Kirkham, former board member, secretary, and vice president of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council who has also chaired several annual homeless count events for the GWNC. According to GWNC president Conrad Starr, who presented Kirkham’s award, Kirkham stepped into the secretary role under difficult circumstances after the previous board secretary, Joe Hoffman, passed away, and provided outstanding and wide-ranging service during his tenure.

Shirlee Fuqua, who served the GWNC as its administrator during and after Kirkham’s term as board secretary. Fuqua was also a longtime and wide-ranging community volunteer in her own right, who logged decades of volunteer service with a number of city and community organizations before her death in December, 2022. According to Kirkham, who presented Fuqua’s award to her daughter Dayle Fuqua-Caballero and granddaughter Allyson Caballero, Fuqua also went above and beyond the official scope of her job with the GWNC, putting in many additional hours and efforts at both meetings and special events.

Kirkham presents the late Shirlee Fuqua’s Citizen Recogition Award certificate to her daughter, Dayle Fuqua-Caballero, and granddaughter Allyson Caballero.

Deborah King, a resident of the Ridgewood-Wilton neighborhood, who, over the course of many years, helped with a number of neighborhood improvement projects, including a highly detailed sidewalk survey and the installation of “No Right Turn after 10 pm” signs on Western Ave. (The signs help prevent prostitution-related traffic from entering the neighborhood at night). King, who passed away in January, 2023, also worked tirelessly with Ridgewood-Wilton resident Mary Rajswing (a former GWNC board member who presented King’s award) on monitoring and reporting on traffic flow at the intersection of 2nd and Wilton after the city downgraded nighttime traffic control there from a flashing red light to flashing yellow. (The flashing red light was finally restored, thanks to King and Rajswing’s efforts, in 2019.) King’s husband, Dick Herman (a member of the GWNC Land Use Committee), her daughter-in-law Joanna, and grandchildren Grace, Julia, and Michael accepted the award on her behalf.

Ridgewood-Wilton resident Mary Rajswing (in green sweater) presents Deborah King’s award to her husband Dick Herman, King’s daughter-in-law Joanna, and grandchildren Grace, Julia, and Michael.
GWNC Treasurer Patti Carroll presents a Citizen Recognition Award to local preservation advocate James Dastoli.

James Dastoli, a volunteer who, according to GWNC board member Patti Carroll, who represents the St. Andrews Square neighborhood and presented Dastoli’s award, has been both proactive and supportive in helping local neighbors identify both individual properties and larger neighborhoods, including St. Andrews Square and Citrus Square, that might be eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places…and then helping neighbors lobby for those designations.

To learn more about the GWNC’s Citizen Recognition Awards, and how to nominate deserving candidates, see

Neighborhood Purpose Grants

Also this month, the GWNC voted to award three Neighborhood Purpose Grants, which each year provide funding to local schools and non-profit organizations for a wide variety of neighborhood improvement projects. This year’s grant recipeints and their awards included:

HopeNet – $875 for the purchase of food to stock several local food pantries within the GWNC’s boundaries.

LAUNCH LA – $250 to cover artist fees for the annual TarFest community arts festival at the La Brea Tar Pits.

Foodcycle LA – $875 for supplies needed to transport and distribute free food from monthly gleaning events at the Larchmont Farmers Market.

Other News

Finally, in other business on Wednesday, GWNC meeting attendees learned:

  • Installation of previously-approved speed humps on the 800 block of Norton Ave. has been delayed until the end of the month.
  • Overall, crime is down in LAPD’s Wilshire division this month (compared to the same period last year), with burglaries falling 8%, stolen vehicles down 20%, and robberies down 7.7%. Car break-ins, though, are up by 12%.
  • Residents are urged to report all suspicious activity at abandoned buildings (residential or commercial) to LAPD right away, to help prevent vandalism and other damage, which can escalate quickly. (For example, according to LAPD Senior Lead Officer Hebel Rodriguez, the vacant former Rite Aid store at Olympic and Crenshaw has sustained more than $1 million in vandalism damage since it closed last October.)
  • Owners can register their properties for “no trespassing” arrest authorization with LAPD. The authorization, which needs to be posted at a property, allows police to make arrests on site even if the owners are not present. The authorization lasts for 12 months once it’s established.
  • Metro D (Purple) Line construction is continuing to wind down, with emergency exits being installed near the La Brea station, and concrete bus pad installation happening on Wilshire Blvd. near Fairfax. Exterior entrance canopies are also being installed now at each station, and the line is still scheduled to open in the spring of 2025, though construction will be completed several months earlier, and there will be a 7-month testing period before trains open to the public.

Next Meetings

The next meeting of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council board will be held on Wednesday, May 8, at 6:30 pm, via Zoom.

The next meeting of the GWNC Land Use Committee will be held on Tuesday, April 23, also at 6:30 pm and also via Zoom.

Note: This story was updated after its initial publication to reflect that the GWNC Land Use Committee did not vote on the 507 N. Larchmont issue at its last meeting, because it was not agendized for action, and committee members suggested that neighbors bring it to the full board for discussion instead.

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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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