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

GWNC Remembers Administrator, Adds Board Member, Votes on Land Use Items…and More


At last night’s monthly meeting of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, there were no big presentations or hotly debated topics, but a lot of business got done, attendees were updated on a wide variety of topics, and board members fondly remembered a recently deceased colleague.


Lauding a Beloved Co-Worker


Former GWNC Administrator Shirlee Fuqua, who passed away on Saturday, December 10. (Photo courtesy of Conrad Starr.)

The meeting opened with the remembrance…of Shirlee Fuqua, who joined the GWNC as its administrator at the beginning of 2016 and worked with the board until 2021.  She passed away this past Saturday, December 10.

During her time with the Council, GWNC President Conrad Starr said Fuqua – who had a long history of service with her Carthay Circle neighborhood and other community organizations, as well as professional mediation experience and a long career as a business consultant for Los Angeles International Airport, Hilton Hotels and other companies – served the neighborhood council with “grace and charm.”  Fuqua worked closely with several GWNC presidents, treasurers, and Land Use Committee leaders during her tenure, and became good friends with many of those she worked with most closely.  During last night’s sometimes tearful remembrances, several current and former board members spoke with great fondness and admiration for Fuqua, who didn’t join the group until she was in her 80s.  Among the speakers, GWNC minutes writer David Leveine called Fuqua “one of the nicest people” he’s ever worked with, and said she was definitely “someone I want to emulate.”  And treasurer Patricia Carroll said  “she made the best onion soup I’ve ever had.”   “I loved the woman,” Carroll continued.  “She was fantastic and she will be so incredibly missed.”  Fuqua’s daughter and granddaughter also attended the meeting, and expressed their thanks for the board members’ caring words.


GWNC Elections


Moving on to more business-like matters, the lengthiest discussion of the night focused on the next round of GWNC board elections.  According to the city’s election coordinator, Lanee Basulto, candidate registration for all 21 GWNC board seats will be open from December 31, 2022 through February 14, 2023.  This year’s election will have a hybrid voting format, with voting by U.S. mail open from March 1 through April 11, and in-person voting open on the official election day, Sunday, April 30, 2023.  (There will not be any online voting options, nor any ballot drop boxes for this election, though paper ballots can be dropped off at the official polling place – The Barking Lot, 336 N. Larchmont Blvd. – on election day.)  More information about candidate registration and voting procedures will be available as the registration window approaches.


Return to In-Person Meetings


Another big announcement at last night’s meeting was that, according to Department of Neighborhood Empowerment representative John Darnell, the City of Los Angeles has decided that neighborhood councils (and their various committees), which have been meeting exclusively online via Zoom since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, will return to in-person meetings in February.  “Hybrid” meetings will be still allowed, Darnell said, but only in the sense that both board members and members of the public may still watch and comment via Zoom…but board members attending virtually will not count toward a quorum for the meetings, and will not be able to vote virtually. Darnell said all city groups will be returning to in-person meetings in the new year, so neighborhood councils are simply being included in that shift. 

While Darnell made it sound like the decisions have already been made, however, and the city isn’t likely to change its mind or schedule, several GWNC board members expressed their discomfort with returning to in-person meetings so soon, especially since LA County is currently experiencing a fairly severe flu season, in addition to another surge in COVID-19, which is still very much with us.  Board secretary Jen DeVore called the move back to required in-person meetings “incredibly foolhardy,” given the current public health situation…and board member John Gresham agreed, saying the decision seems more political than medical.  DeVore, Gresham and others asked where they could write letters of protest about the move, and Darnell said he would report back with that information.


New Board Member and Remaining Vacancies


Filling one of its three current board vacancies, the GWNC board last night elected Tess Paige to fill the seat representing the Council’s Area 9 – the Oakwood-Maplewood-St. Andrews neighborhood.  The board still has vacancies for its Area 3 (Country Club Heights) and Area 12 (Western-Wilton) seats (see map here), as well as openings for eight alternate board members.    Several committees, including the Outreach Committee and the Transportation Committee also have vacancies for board members and/or stakeholder participants.


Land Use Items


At last night’s meeting, the board accepted the recommendations of its Land Use Committee and voted to:

  • Oppose an application for a Conditional Use Permit to serve a full line of alcoholic beverages for a new restaurant at 5750 Melrose Ave. (former home of The Larchmont and Fin Asian Tapas), saying the requested hours of alcohol sales from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily are incompatible with the adjacent single family neighborhood.
  • Support an application for a reduced setback to allow a 72-foot kitchen addition to a sinlgle family home at 200 S. Gramercy Pl., since the applicant provided written proof that the request is supported by their next door neighbor.
  • Oppose an application to replace a single family home at 833-835 N. Las Palmas with four small-lot-subdivision homes, because the developer has not yet done any neighborhood outreach about the project.

Also, in a separate discussion, the GWNC board voted to approve and send a letter to the city’s Cultural Heritage Commission, and the City Council, decrying the illegal removal of all historic features from a protected Historic Cultural Monument home at 215 S. Wilton Pl., in the Wilton National Historic District.  The letter urges the city:

  • “Require the property owners to provide the City of Los Angeles with a Construction Performance and Payment Bond, from a AAA-rated insurance company, in the amount of the historic rehabilitation and restoration costs, representing a financial guarantee by the contractor and the issuing surety company to the City of Los Angeles that all contracted work will be completed on time and the property will be restored to its original, historic condition.
  • That the architect and contractor who presented the restoration proposal at the May 19, 2022 hearing of the Cultural Heritage Commission now submit:
    • A current timeline for all project work
    • Complete set of current drawings for the Commission, its staff and the Ridgewood Wilton Neighborhood Association to review, and for the Commission and staff to correct or approve
    • Descriptive schedule of values, room by room, for all of the trades and materials, including all finish materials and fixtures, prior to the issuance of any Commission approvals
  • That all applicable Mills Act penalties be imposed, regardless of the cost of the promised restoration, including cancellation of the Mills Act contract if any as appropriate.
  • That any default in the rehabilitation and restoration obligations and/or timeline result in the referral of this matter to the Office of the City Attorney for possible prosecution under the Los Angeles Municipal Code.”


Transportation Committee


GWNC Transportation Committee Chair Cindy Chvatal reported that the city has approved a new painted crosswalk for the intersection at 8th and Highland, which will at some point later be replaced with a more robust version with flashing yellow lights.  Chvatal also said crosswalk studies (which determine whether or not intersections are eligible for new crosswalks) have been approved for 3rd and Beverly, and 3rd and Highland.  And, finally, another painted crosswalk has been approved for the intersection of Lucerne Blvd. and Rosewood Ave., but installation has not been scheduled yet.


Resilience Committee


Resilience Committee chair Gary Gilbert reported that residents from the Windsor Square Association will be attending Ready Your Los Angeles Neighborhood (RYLAN) program meetings in January, as part of a small pilot version of the emergency readiness program, which could later be expanded to other neighborhoods in the GWNC area and – potentially – throughout the city.  Gilbert said the effort is part of an “audacious attempt” to create “the most prepared neighborhood in Los Angeles,” and to then share the techniques used with the rest of the city.

Gilbert said the Resilience Committee has also been looking for potential locations for neighborhood council meetings after a disaster, in case the group’s usual meeting location – the Ebell of Los Angeles – is damaged or otherwise unavailable.  Possible meeting locations mentioned so far include the LA Tennis Club, the Fremont and/or Memorial Branch libraries, and several schools, including Marlborough, Third Street Elementary, Yavneh Academy, and St. Brendan’s.  There was some brief discussion of the pluses and minuses of various locations, or general types of locations, but no decisions were made or votes taken.


New Business


At the suggestion of Board President Conrad Starr, the board voted to appoint a new ad hoc Neighborhood Purpose Grant committee, chaired by board alternate Julie Stromberg, and with initial members Patti Carroll and Cathy Roberts (though more members may be added later).  The board also approved $4,000 in funding for this year’s grants, and an application window that will open on January 1 and close on March 1.


Homeless Count


Finally in major business this month, board member Raphie Cantor announced that organizing has begun for the GWNC to once again coordinate the city’s annual homeless count within the GWNC’s borders.  As it has for several years, Hope Lutheran Church will once again serve as the staging hub for the event, which will take place on January 26, 2023.  Cantor said 50 volunteers will be needed on that night, and volunteer signups are now open.  Registration and other information can be found at


The next meeting of the GWNC board will be held on Wednesday, January 11, 2023, at 6:30 p.m., via Zoom.


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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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  1. That is so very sad about Shirlee’s passing. Thanks for writing about our dearly loved neighbor. Shirlee lived in Carthay Circle for more than 50 years. Shirlee was a great community activist and organizer and strongly supported establishing our Carthay Circle HPOZ and putting our neighborhood on the National Register of Historic Places last year. I can picture sitting in Shirlee’s living room with Jay Greenstein from Councilman Koretz office and neighbors on a Sunday afternoon — strategizing on how to deal with bad cut-through traffic. Shirlee was a super listener, wise counsel, deeply caring, and delightful company — a truly special woman. Heartfelt condolences and love to her adored and devoted children and grandchildren.

    Ann Rubin


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