Crime was at the top of the agenda for the Windsor Square Association’s annual meeting last month. A recent spate of high profile robberies prompted LAPD to put out a community bulletin warning residents to be aware of these crimes. Senior Lead Officer Joe Pelayo advised residents to be conscious of what is going on around us and to look out for someone who may be following you home. If you suspect something, drive to the police station, advised Pelayo. And if you find yourself confronted, “surrender the items don’t get into an altercation.” He also commended residents for being community-minded and urged them to be vigilant.
CD4 Councilmember Nithya Raman opened the meeting, noting this was the first neighborhood she addressed after she took office last December and it was now be her last opportunity to speak to the group as its city council member since the boundaries of her district will soon be changing, and Windsor Square will now be in CD13. Raman said she was inspired by the level of involvement among residents in Windsor Square.
“The work you do for the your neighborhood is inspiring for our office,” said Raman. “It serves as a model for how we can help all neighborhoods achieve the level of community and organization that you have. Kudos to all of you.”
Raman also spoke about the accomplishments of her office over the past year, noting that she has invested in sanitation services for the entire district and there are now trash bins for homeless encampments.
“Fortunately that doesn’t impact this neighborhood, because there are no encampments,” said Raman. But soon, she said, “the Bureau of Sanitation will be rolling out a different container.”
“There are fewer encampments in the district than when I started. The encampment at the Wilshire Branch Library has been completely removed. We have added an outreach team from Assentia, and a mental health team,” said Raman, adding that more work needs to be done to speed up construction and make it much easier to develop multi-family units with 100% affordable housing which the city so desperately needs.
In closing, Raman said “it was a pleasure to get serve wonderful people like you. Thank you and we wish you the best.”
Next,WSA President Larry Guzin introduced the WSA board to the 51 participants who attended the Zoom meeting. In his remarks, Guzin noted the passing of Mike Cornwell, who moved into the neighborhood in 1963 lived there until 2003.
“Mike was my next door neighbor,” said Guzin, who currently lives in Cornwall’s former home. “Mike served as president of the association for 15 years. He gave a huge amount of his effort for civic involvement. Mike was one of the good guys, he was my mentor in terms of civic involvement. He will be missed.”
Board member Steve Tator, chair of the association’s hospitality committee, reported on efforts to welcome new neighbors and encourage their involvement in the association, which he said is very important in protecting and preserving the neighborhood.
Guzin also reported that the association is making emergency preparedness a priority in the coming year. Five years ago, the group made water barrels available to residents. This year, Gary Gilbert is working on a pilot program following the city’s RYLAN — Ready Your LA Neighborhood — recommendations. Gilbert also reported on the work he has done with the Larchmont 2021 project to develop ideas to create a vibrant and fully occupied Larchmont Blvd. that serves the local neighborhood. Gilbert said the organizing committee was developing a survey to gather data on a wide range of topics that were raised in Larchmont2021’s three recent community conversations.
John Welborne, the WSA’s Vice President of Land Use, reported on the recent passage of SB9 and SB10, as well as the local and state redistricting efforts currently underway.
Helen Hartung, Tree Canopy Chair, reported on her efforts to replace a tree on Larchmont that was removed nearly four years ago, in time for the centennial celebration. Hartung thanked Todd Warner, owner of Tailwaggers pet supplies, for his agreement to adopt the tree, which enabled the process to move forward.
Jason Greenman, who is heading up the association’s communications efforts, reported on the publication of the WSA’s first newsletter to more than 550 residents. Interested residents can subscribe on the group’s website. Greenman is asking block captains to tell their neighbors to subscribe.
The association also bestowed its prestigious neighborhood award, known as the “Squeaky Wheel,” which is given to residents who make an outstanding contribution to the quality of life in the neighborhood. This year, it went to Dimitri and Nora Houndalas, owners of Le Petit Greek restaurant, and residents of Windsor Square. The association applauded the Houndalases for “staying the course” and continuing to serve their famous Greek food during the worst of the pandemic. Last year’s recipient was Scott Goldstein, for his leadership in establishing the neighborhood’s master plan for street trees.
Finally the association announced the election of its new board of directors, in addition to the following officers. Officers: John Welborne, VP for Land Use; Hope Heaney, Secretary; Mike Genowick, Treasurer. Directors include: June Bilgore, Gerald Bowers, Gary Duff, Amy Forbes, Gary Gilbert, Jason Greenman, Helen Hartung, Caroline Moser, Angie Szentgyorgyi, Steve Tator and Jane Usher.