Councilmember Nithya Raman, Neighborhood Prosecutor Naderi, and Captain Shannon Paulson speak, Scott Goldstein Awarded Squeaky Wheel, Board Elected
Unable to conduct its usual annual meeting at the Ebell of Los Angeles because of the pandemic, Windsor Square Association President Larry Guzin welcomed more than 75 residents to an online meeting held last week on Thursday, November 12, 2020.
After introducing the Association’s board of directors, which meets every month, Guzin welcomed City Councilmember-elect Nithya Raman. Raman said she was grateful to be at the meeting and that she was just getting her bearings since she has just been declared the winner of the election a few days earlier. She said is now getting her office organized and starting the process of reaching out to all the neighborhoods she now represents.
Raman said she ran for office because she was very frustrated with the city’s response on homelessness and was eager to interact with councilmembers who felt the same sense of urgency on the issue that she does. But while it was homelessness that drew her to the race, Raman said her conversations with various neighborhoods during the primary election allowed her to get to know each neighborhood and see some of the challenges that neighborhoods are facing. She said she looks forward to getting to know about the challenges in Windsor Square, and introducing her staff as she puts together her team in the coming weeks.
“I am very thankful to be able to say hello and show my face,” Raman said to Guzin, who offered his wishes for her success. “Your success will be our success,” he said.
Wilshire Neighborhood Prosecutor Mehrnoosh Naderi followed Raman. Naderi explained how her office, a criminal branch of the City Attorney’s office, works with neighborhoods on cases where they have received community complaints like vacant properties or individuals who are continuously causing criminal activity in a neighborhood. Many of her cases come from the community or through LAPD or the council office. Naderi welcome residents to contact her with issues of concern, noting that she likes to work with residents to address problems before filing criminal cases. She can be reached by email at [email protected]
Next, LAPD Wilshire Division Captain Shannon Paulson spoke to the neighborhood about the challenging year for the Wilshire Division. She reported on the criminal stats that she tracks daily. Overall, she said, crime has been down about 20 percent this year, if you factor out the property crimes committed during the two days of protests in late May. But even including that crime, she said, stats show crime is still down this year….which is a huge improvement over the increase in car thefts that plagued neighborhoods last year, a reduction achieved by targeting criminal theft rings.
Paulson explained that the stats indicate that 1,100 fewer people affected by crime this year. “That’s the real life impact of those stats,” she said. And she said her goal is to continue to chip away at crime rates.
Paulson also said the department is committed to protecting the right of the public to demonstrate. PShe said investigations are continuing into the way LAPD handled the protests. She said her department has become a political football, and that her department has seen large amounts of funding taken away, but there has no movement of the responsibilities yet, and LAPD is still the only agency that answers calls 24 hours a day on issues of homelessness and mental health. She said she looks forward to the discussion about appropriate non-law-enforcement responses for those calls. In closing, Paulson said she welcomes residents to contact her, saying she is always willing to answer hard questions. She can be reached by email at [email protected]. In addition, residents can contact Senior Lead Officer (SLO) Joe Pelayo at 213 793-0709 or by email at [email protected] and SLO Dave Cordova 213-793-0650 or by email [email protected].
Next on the agenda, Scott Goldstein was presented with the Squeaky Wheel, the association’s annual award to a resident whose efforts leads to the betterment of the neighborhood. Goldstein was recognized on the trophy as the “Tree Canopy Master Planner and Median Maintainer,” and commended for his efforts on the tree canopy and the creation of Norton Triangle.
We reached out later to Goldstein, who was the subject of a series of articles in the Buzz on our neighborhood street trees in 2015. He sent us this comment on receiving this well-deserved recognition:
“Ten years ago almost to the day, WS Canopy planted its 1,000th tree on the parkways of Windsor Square. In November of that year, at the Ebell Theater’s WSA annual meeting, Tom Labonge, then councilman for our district CD4, made a surprise announcement by awarding me and WS Canopy’s achievement in restoring the WS parkway forest. When a sitting member of the L.A. City Council takes an active interest in our parkway trees, that in itself is a major achievement.
The award was a railroad-track spike from the public railway system on Larchmont Blvd. that he personally dug up when WS Canopy broke ground and was preparing for the installation of the Larchmont median Jacarandas. I’d like to thank Tom Labonge a second time for his sensitivity to the twenty-year-plus effort initiated in 1998 by then Canopy chairman Norman Murdoch. It was Norman’s leadership and passion for our city trees that I shared.
Every time I plant another tree or meet with our maintenance crew at the Larchmont medians, I think of him and remember his directive to me: “Think Ansel Adams!”
Last, and certainly not least, I also want to thank the WSA for its never-ending support of the parkway tree project and the two WS medians (on Larchmont and on Sixth Street). It gives me great satisfaction, as I walk the sidewalks of Windsor Square to see the trees thriving along the parkways. But the work is not done; with climate change and new diseases affecting the lesser equipped species, there is still much to be done to prepare our parkways for drier winters and hotter summers. And so Canopy’s projects continue to this day and could not have been done without the WSA’s full understanding that a healthy parkway tree forest is not only good for the visual landscape, but good for our neighborhood’s environment.”
In other WSA business on Thursday, board member John Welborne updated residents on Land Use issues, including an update on the diminishing number of vacant lots on Wilshire Blvd. under the jurisdiction of the Park Mile. There are just a handful left, according to Welborne. He also spoke about the association’s participation in the Wilshire Homeowners Alliance, which was established in 1978, and invited Raman to learn more about local issues including the preservation of local governance on land use and single family neighborhoods.
Caroline Moser, Block Captain Coordinator, reported that almost all of the neighborhood blocks are covered by block captains now, but there are still some where volunteers are needed. She said she hopes they can focus on earthquake preparedness next year.
Helen Hartung, chair of Windsor Square Canopy, reported that local neighborhood Magnolia trees are being attacked by a giant tulip tree scale. It’s a roundish bug that causes black soot to form on the leaves, sucks sap out of the trees and gradually kills the trees. Infestations on Arden Blvd. are being treated by Marlborough School. Hartung asked homeowners to check their Magnolia trees and get in touch with her for more information on how to treat the trees. Even though the trees are property of the city, it’s up to the homeowners to water and care for the trees, since the city won’t treat the trees. Fortunately, though, Hartung says the pest seems to only be affecting young trees.
Next, Jason Greenman introduced the association’s new website, which updates the old website with more information and new photos. The site has information about filming, safety and security, police contacts, street lighting and the HPOZ.
Finally, the following directors were elected for the coming year: June Bilgore, Jeryl Bowers, Gary Duff, Amy Forbes, Micke Genewick, Gary Gillig, Jason Greenman, Larry Guzin, Helen Hartung, Hope Heaney, Katie Jones, Caroline Moser, Angie Szentgyorgyi, Steve Tator and John Welborne.