The highlight of this month’s Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council Board Meeting, held last Wednesday via Zoom, was a presentation by StreetsLA representative Stephen Duprey about the city’s new Street Tree Inventory, and how residents can use it to find out about their own neighborhood trees.
To access the report, Duprey said, just go to http://www.streetsla.org , and then click on the “Tree Inventory” link as shown below.
Next, click on “Street Tree Schedule” and then on “Greater Wilshire” in the list of neighborhood council areas:
This brings up a comprehensive report for our general area, including the types of trees that are most common here (London Plane, Jacaranda, Queen Palm, and Southern Magnolia), the number of trees we have, sizes (which can indicate maturity), and other important facts about the trees in our specific neighborhood. (For example, Duprey pointed out that our 64% broadleaf tree count is much higher than most other neighborhoods in LA.)
Next, to see all the trees in the GWNC area, enter “Greater Wilshire” into the search box at the top of the map page that appears:
From here, Duprey said, you can also use the map to identify sites without trees, which might be good candidates for new tree planting.
And then you can also enter a specific address into the search box, to see information about the trees at that location.
From here, you can see images of specific trees…
…and important information about that tree.
Finally, you can also switch to a view that shows the benefits of the specific tree in economic value, energy benefits, and more.
After the brief presentation, Duprey fielded several questions and comments, including a big thank-you from Hancock Park representative Cindy Chvatal, who reported that Hancock Park did a similar inventory of its own trees a number of years ago, and called this larger effort “amazing.”
In administrative business at the meeting, one item that brought up several comments was GWNC President Conrad Starr announcing in his President’s Report that he has received a letter of reprimand from the City Clerk’s Office following a challenge submitted during the GWNC’s recent elections. The challenge claimed that Starr violated established election rules by including the text “vote for Conrad Starr” in the header data of a GWNC Board Rules document that was posted on the GWNC website. Starr submitted a response to the challenge (also available at the challenge link above), shortly after it was submitted, saying the “vote” text was a clerical error, which he corrected by posting a new document as soon as he was notified of the mistake by another candidate. At Wednesday’s meeting, however, Hancock Park Alternate representative David Trainer said the mistake should have been rectified sooner, and stakeholder Jane Usher commented that Starr should have notified board members and the public, at the time that this was going on, and preferably in a public meeting, and called the fact that he did not do that an “abuse of power.”
Also in administrative business, Zubin Davar was elected a new Board Alternate for the Citrus Square neighborhood, and he and several other new board members and alternates who have joined the board since the last elections were formally sworn in to their new positions.
Meanwhile, Brookside representative Owen Smith was elected the GWNC’s new representative to the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment’s Region 5 Grievance Panel…
…and stakeholder Patricia Lombard (also co-publisher of the Buzz) was unanimously recommended to represent CD4 on the city’s new Community Forestry Advisory Committee.
The GWNC’s Ad Hoc Staffing Committee reported that although it has been tasked with reviewing applications for two vacant positions – board administrator and webmaster – it has been unable to do so because no applications have been received. Committee chair Cindy Chvatal said she believes the job descriptions being circulated for the positions are too detailed and are deterring potential applicants. But she said that because the committee was officially assigned only to review applications, and not manage any other part of the hiring process, it has not been able to review, rewrite or publicize the positions and their descriptions to help encourage new applicants. Board member Cathy Roberts suggested creating new “sales pitch”-style descriptions to attract more applicants, but because that action was not formally agendized for this meeting, no further actions were taken.
Acting on recommendations from the Land Use Committee, the board voted unanimously to oppose the construction of a new 4-story, multifamily apartment building at 930 S. Mansfield Ave. (pending design changes and neighborhood outreach) and the demolition of a home at 807 N. Cherokee Ave….and to reassert its prior opposition to the demolition of a duplex, and construction of five new small lot subdivision homes, at 506-508 N. Mansfield Ave.
A fourth land use item, an application for a permit to sell a full line of alcoholic beverages at a new restaurant (Great White) at 242-244 N. Larchmont Blvd., sparked a lengthy discussion. While the Land Use Committee voted at its June meeting to recommend opposition to the application (based on the requested closing time of midnight, and creating a possible precedent for more full-line liquor permits on Larchmont, where there have traditionally been only wine and beer permits), committee chair Philip Farha reported at the board meeting that the applicants have declared their intention to withdraw the original application and return to the LUC with new application details and voluntary conditions of operation.
While Farha and others suggested that the board postpone a vote on the item until after a new presentation by the restaurant, many other board members and members of the public argued that the committee should follow its own established protocol and vote on the matter as currently presented to the Land Use Committee, which still leaves room for the applicants to return with new information for further consideration and, if warranted, another vote at that time. In the end, established protocol won, with the board voting down a motion to postpone the item, and voting by a margin of 13 in favor and 5 abstentions to oppose the application as presented to the LUC in June.
The board also voted, on the recommendation of the committee, to approve the 12 board members and stakeholders the committee has chosen as its current committee members.
In a similar vein, the board also ratified 12 members of the Sustainability Committee, and five members of the new Resilience Committee, including board president Conrad Starr. There had been some question at other recent meetings about whether or not the board president is allowed to serve on or chair committees, but at this meeting, professional parliamentarian Jim Stewart, who has been engaged for a few months by the board to iron out such details, explained that the president can sit on committees, but may not chair them…so Starr’s membership was approved.
Finally, a similar motion to approve eight members of the Transportation Committee, recommended by that Committee, ran into trouble because the list of potential members included a total of four people who live in Hancock Park…while the GWNC’s official Board Rules state that only two people from any one geographic area may belong to a committee at the same time. Because no vote to amend or supersede the Board Rules was agendized for this meeting, a motion to postpone the vote on the Transportation Committee members passed by unanimous consent.
Community Impact Statements
Wrapping up the meeting, the board voted by unanimous consent to file one Community Impact Statement opposing a city council motion to standardize neighborhood council election rules across the city, and another requesting that the full GWNC area be united within a single city council district in the upcoming City Council redistricting process (which we’ll have more information about soon).
The next regular meeting of the GWNC board will take place on Wednesday, August 11, at 6:30 p.m. (note the new regular meeting time!), via Zoom.