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

GWNC Passes Transportation & Land Use Motions; Adjusts Committees

Members of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council during last night’s Zoom meeting.

This month’s meeting of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, held last night via Zoom, opened with remembrances of former GWNC Alternate Board Member Margaret Sowma and former City Council Member Tom LaBonge, both of whom passed away recently.

Guest and Community Speakers

The meeting was also scheduled to include an appearance by U.S. Representative Jimmy Gomez, but due to recent events in Washington, D.C., Gomez was unable to visit, and his field deputy, Joan Lee, spoke instead.  Lee provided a brief overview of the day’s impeachment news, and the recent COVID-19 stimulus package passed by Congress.  She invited stakehoders with other questions to contact her at [email protected]

The next guest speaker was Erin Seinfeld, field deputy for LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who reported on a new 15% increase in CalFresh food assistance benefits, current LA County COVID-19 statistics, and the current vaccine rollout schedule, which is now focusing on front-line health care workers and seniors in congregate living facilities, and will likely open to all residents over the age of 65 sometime in February.

Metro representative Ned Racine reported on Purple Line Subway Extension construction, noting that an underground appendage structure (a utility room for LADWP) is just about complete near the intersection of Wilshire and Orange Drive, and that construction of another such structure, near Wilshire and Sycamore, will begin soon.  Racine also said that westbound tunnel boring machine Elsie, which has been paused near Wilshire and San Vicente since an “anomaly” was discovered a few months ago near Wilshire and La Cienega, will resume its westward progress later this month.  According to Racine, however, there is no new information about the anomaly itself.

Finally, Thao Tran, a member of the LAPD Wilshire Division Community Police Advisory Board, announced that the CPAB, which is open to interested community members, will be launching a new subcommittee on Procedural Justice and Equity, and would like to partner with local neighborhood councils that have committees with a similar focus.  More information is available by contacting the Wilshire Division Community Relations Office at [email protected].

Board and Committee Changes

Next, in administrative business, board member Joseph Suh, who has represented the Wester-Wilton area on the board for the last several months, resigned his seat because he has moved out of that neighborhood.  Suh, who now lives in another part of the GWNC area, will remain a member of the Outreach Committee, and has also registered to run for the board’s At Large seat in the GWNC’s upcoming elections.

For the last few months, the GWNC has been in the process of adjusting its committees and committee officers, a process that continued with a few moves last night.  At this meeting, the board voted to reconstitute and reconvene its Ad Hoc committees on Governance (which will work on new board rules) and Neighborhood Purpose Grants (which will determine how money allocated for community improvement grants will be awarded this year).  The board also ratified the selection of Charles D’Atri as the chair of the newly formed Quality of Life Committee, and Colette Amin as the chair of the Outreach Committee. But the board voted down a proposal to create a new Vice Chair position for the Outreach Committee.

Although not a formal committee, the board also voted, at the request of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment,  to appoint three new Data Liasions — Caroline Labiner Moser, Conrad Starr, and John Winther — who will attend city training on data policies…and a representative (Brian Donahoe) to serve on DONE’s Regional Grievance Panel.

Land Use

Land Use items were dispatched fairly easily in a consent calendar vote by the board last night.  The vote confirmed recommendations from the Land Use Committee to:

  • Oppose the construction of a new 4-story, 16-unit apartment building at 222 N. Manhattan Pl.
  • Oppose a demolition pre-inspection application at 823 N. June St.
  • Oppose an application for a revised tract map at 506 N. Sycamore Ave.
  • Oppose a demolition pre-inspection application at 151 S. Citrus Ave.
  • Oppose a demolition pre-inspection application at 450 S. Manhattan Pl.
  • Oppose a demolition pre-inspection application at 816 N. Manhattan Pl.

Details of the discussions that led to these recommendations are available in our report from the last Land Use meeting, but in general they resulted from the committee’s policy of voting to recommend opposition for items on which project representatives did not respond to the committee’s invitation to present further details to the committee.

After the vote on the application items, Land Use Committee Chair Philip Farha also announced upcoming scoping meetings on the city’s proposed update to the Housing Element of its General Plan, which will be held online on Tuesday, January 26 at 5 p.m., and Thursday, January 28, at 11:15 a.m. (content will be the same at both meetings).  He encouraged everyone who is interested in city housing policy to attend.


Transportation Committee Chair Conrad Starr presented two motions from the committee.  The first motion proposed support for a motion from City Council Members Bob Blumenfield and Mike Bonin to develop new rules for the operation of automated retail and meal delivery robots in the public right of way.  (The little yellow robots are being seen lately on area streets.)  Some board members suggested that it’s too soon yet to develop regulations for such a new and still fairly infrequent phenomenon, but in the end, the board voted to support the motion by a vote of 10 in favor, 4 opposed and one abstention.

The second transportation committee motion proposed support for a motion from City Council Members Paul Krikorian and Mitch O’Farrell to research further ways to regulate the use of modified vehicle mufflers in noise-sensitive areas.  Several board members suggested that existing regulations at the state and local levels should be enough to deal with loud vehicles, and that this particular proposal seems trivial at this particular moment in time…but after further discussion in which several other board members noted that the additional regulations have been proposed to give city officials more tools to help fight the growing problems of street racing and intersection takeovers in our area, the motion pased by a margin of 13 in favor and 2 opposed.


Brian Curran, chair of the Ad Hoc Elections Committee, reported on the distribution of 2,000 “door hanger” flyers to help recruit candidates for the upcoming GWNC board elections, and said another such distribution will be done soon to encourage voter registration and voting.

Curran also noted that this Friday, January 15, is the final deadline for certification of candidates who have applied to run in the election, and that milestone will be followed by the opening of voter registration.  Voting by mail will begin on February 15, and ballots must be postmarked by the March 16 election date.

Further election information is available at (Note:  the Buzz will also run further stories with details about voter eligibility and registration, voting procedures and more.)

Digital Media

Ad Hoc Digital Media Committee Chair Max Kirkham reported that the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners was “moved” by the GWNC’s critical comments on the city’s draft Digital Media policy (the comments recommended starting a new draft policy from scratch)…and now that the committee and the GWNC have weighed in on the issue, the ad hoc committee has fulfilled its mission and will be disbanded.

Upcoming Meetings

The next meeting of the GWNC Board is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, February 10 via Zoom.

Upcoming committee meetings (all also via Zoom)  include:

Transportation – Monday, January 25, 7 p.m.
Land Use – Tuesday, January 26, 7 p.m.

Enviromental & Sustainability – Tuesday, February 2, 7 p.m.
Outreach – Saturday, February 6, 9:30 a.m.
Quality of Life – Wednesday, Feburary 24, 7 p.m.

[Note:  this story was updated after publication to correct the number candidate-recruitment doorhangers distributed by the GWNC.]


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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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