Last night’s meeting of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council was the first of its new fiscal year, and also marked the start of its 2023-2025 iteration, including the seating of all Directors and Alternates elected in the group’s biennial election in April.
Before the formal installation occurred, however, several positions remaining empty after the election were filled by nomination and appointment. This included appointment of Western-Wilton resident Andy Galan to the Board Member seat for Area 12…and appointments to fill four empty Alternate positions:
Area 1 – Brookside – Julie Stromberg
Area 6 – La Brea Hancock – Cathy Roberts
Area 10 – Ridgewood-Wilton/St. Andrews Square – Bob Reeves
Education – Kelly Rielly
Even after these appointments, however, several Alternate seats do remain open after the most recent election, and they, too, can be filled by appointments at future meetings. They include:
Area 2 – Citrus Square
Area 3 – Country Club Heights
Area 4 – Fremont Place
Area 8 – Melrose
Area 9 – Oakwood/Maplewood/St. Andrews
Area 11 – Sycamore Square
Area 13 – Wilshire Park
Also, GWNC board secretary Jen DeVore announced at the meeting that John Winther, who was elected in April to be the Alternate for the Business seat on the board, has resigned, so that Alternate position is open now, too. (Stakeholders who live, work, or own property in one of the geographic areas listed above, or who are associated with a local Business in the GWNC area, and who might be interested in filling one of the vacant positions, should contact GWNC President Conrad Starr at [email protected].)
After the new appointments, Department of Neighborhood Empowerment representative John Darnell administered the city’s ceremonial oath of office to all 21 board members and 13 sitting alternates, formally launching the body that will represent the Greater Wilshire area for the next two years.
After the board members and alternates were sworn in, the Board also had to elect new officers. But as it turned out, the only nominees for those positions were the same people who held them for the 2021-2023 term, and all four were easily re-elected:
President – Conrad Starr (Area 11 – Sycamore Square)
Vice President – Charles D’Atri (Area 7 – Larchmont Village)
Secretary – Jen DeVore (Area 5 – Hancock Park)
Treasurer – Patricia Carroll (Area 10 – Ridgewood-Wilton/St. Andrews Square)
The other major business item on last night’s agenda was the appointment of committee chairs and members for the new board term. The longest of these discussions focused on the GWNC’s Land Use Committee, which has always been the largest and most active of the GWNC’s standing committees.
According to new Board Rules adopted in 2022, standing committees should have a maximum of nine members, with a minimum of two and a maximum of 5 board members serving on each committee (stakeholders may also sit on GWNC committees).
In the last board cycle, however, there were 11 members of the Land Use Committee, so at last month’s meeting of that committee, two members, Tommy Atlee and David Trainer, offered to step down to reach the mandated limit of 9. The committee then recommended to the board at last night’s meeting that the remaining nine members continue in their positions for the new term, with board member Brian Curran again serving as chair. The suggested roster included:
Patricia Carroll (Board Member – Area 10 – Ridgewood-Wilton/St. Andrews Square)
Rory Cunningham (Stakeholder – Ridgewood-Wilton/St. Andrews Square)
Brian Curran (Board Member – Other Non-Profit)
Karen Gilman (Stakeholder – Larchmont Village)
John Gresham (Board Member – Area 13 – Wilshire Park)
Dick Herman (Stakeholder – Ridgewood-Wilton/St. Andrews Square)
Susan O’Connell (Stakeholder – Ridgewood-Wilton/St. Andrews Square)
Daniela Prowizer-Lacayo (Stakeholder – Brookside)
Jane Usher (Stakeholder – Windsor Square)
However, several new members of the GWNC board also expressed interest in joining the Land Use Committee, and because there was no room for new members in the committee’s recommended list, a large chunk of last night’s meeting was spent discussing whether or not to accept the list as presented.
In the end, the motion to appoint Land Use Committee members was amended to accept the recommendation of Curran as president for the coming term, but made no further recommendations for the remaining eight committee seats. The amended motion passed, and thus allows the committee to operate as currently constituted for another month, so it can further discuss how to best organize its membership.
Among other committees, no committee chair was named for the Environmental and Sustainability Committee (previous chair Cathy Roberts has resigned the position), but the following committee members were approved:
Cathy Roberts (Alternate Board Member – Area 6 – La Brea Hancock)
Polly Estabrook (Stakeholder – Windsor Square)
Polly Chu (Stakeholder – Windsor Village)
Julie Kim (Board Member – Area 15 – Windsor Village)
Alex Nava (Board Member – Area 9 – Oakwood/Maplewood/St. Andrews)
Andy Galan (Board Member – Area 12 – Western/Wilton)
Jesseca Harvey (Board Member – Area 8 – Melrose)
For the Transportation Committee, the following committee chair and member recommendations were also approved:
Cindy Chvatal-Keane (Board Member – Area 5 – Hancock Park) – Chair
Julie Stromberg (Board Member Alternate – Area 1 – Brookside)
Frank Moser (Stakeholder – Windsor Square)
Selene Betancourt (Board Member – Area 3 – Country Club Heights)
Owen Smith (Board Member – Area 1 – Brookside)
Sam Uretsky (Stakeholder – Larchmont Village)
Lindsay Sturman (Stakeholder – Windsor Village)
Jeff Carpenter (Board Member – Area 2 – Citrus Square)
Board President Conrad Starr also resigned his previous position on the committee, to make room for at least one more member, while new GWNC board member Romi Cortier (Business) and alternate board member MJ Anderson (Renters) expressed in filling that vacant seat.
Due to lack of time, appointments of members and chairs for the Outreach, Quality of Life, and Resilience Committees were postponed until next month. Those committees will be able to operate as previously constituted until then.
Finally, there were a few other announcements worth passing along at last night’s meeting.
- City Council District 5 Field Deputy Michelle Flores reported that the city has approved an Overnight Parking District (with no parking from 2-6 am) for the Wilshire Park area, and said a community meeting will be held to discuss community concerns and to let people know they can’t deny anyone the opportunity to petition to expand the boundaries of the approved district. Flores also promised to check with Councilmember Katy Yaroslavsky on her positions regarding enforcement of leaf blower and compost regulations, and restoring $10,000 in funding for each of the city’s Neighborhood Councils that was cut during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- LAPD Wilshire Division Senior Lead Officer Hebel Rodriguez provided some updated crime statistics from his and SLO Harry Cho’s Basic Car Areas. These included:
- Cho – Down 36.8%
- Rodriguez – Down 27.3%
- Aggravated Assaults:
- Cho: Up 4.5%
- Rodriguez: Up 16.7%
- Cho: Up 18.7%
- Rodriguez: Up 14.9%
- Stolen Vehicles:
- Cho: Up 6.9%
- Rodriguez: Up 64.7% (though this increase is smaller than in the previous reporting period, said Rodriguez)
- Car Break-ins:
- Cho: Up 30.5%
- Rodriguez: Up 14.7%
- Cho: Up 40.3%
- Rodriguez: Up 8.5% (which is also a smaller increase than in the previous reporting period)
- Metro representative Ned Racine reported that all tunneling is now complete for the Purple Line subway extension project, from Western Ave. to the Veterans’ Administration facility in Westwood. He said crews are now installing third rails to power the trains, and new concrete bus pads have been installed on Wilshire Blvd. east of La Brea, as well as new asphalt, and a new, wider sidewalk in front of the 5200 Wilshire building.
- Finally, board president Conrad Starr announced that SB411, the state-level bill that would amend the Brown Act to allow Neighborhood Councils to resume meeting online if they choose to do so, has passed out of the State Assembly’s Local Government Committee and will now be heard by the full Assembly, which should be able to take a final approval vote.