Comments by public officials
- Jasmine Shamolian, a field representative for Councilmember Paul Koretz, said Los Angeles City Council resumed session this week after adjourning for the holidays. She added the city opened a new dog park at the Westwood Recreation Center in December.
- Marco Perez, a representative from UCLA Government and Community Relations, said UCLA will be hosting California governor’s race forums in January and May. He added individuals can register to attend online.
- Chris Ragsdale, Los Angeles Police Department officer for Westwood, said the department saw around 11 percent decrease in crime in the Westwood area. He added burglaries still occur in neighborhoods and recommended individuals purchase surveillance systems to protect their homes and not leave anything visible in their cars.
- Gibson Nyambura, a neighborhood council advocate from the Los Angeles Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, said the department received Westwood Forward’s subdivision application to create a new neighborhood council containing UCLA, Westwood Village and the North Village. He added he will seek input from the council and other members of the Westwood community as staff in the department review the application.
- Lisa Chapman, council president and head of the council’s Homeless Task Force, said the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority will conduct its annual homeless count Jan. 24. Volunteers will arrive in the Westwood Presbyterian Church where they will receive training before heading into Westwood for the count.
- Councilmember Marcello Robinson announced his resignation as public safety chair. He said he would like to devote more of his time to the land-use and planning committee, which he is more passionate about. Chapman said the council would need to select a new public safety chair at the next council meeting.
- The council debated electing a new council secretary following Councilmember Stephen Resnick’s resignation from the position. Councilmember David Lorango declined a nomination for the position and the council did not make any further nominations. Chapman said she will take over the secretary’s duties until the board can elect a new secretary.
- Sandy Brown, council vice president, said she thinks recent resignations on the council were a sign that council members were not respecting one another. She also said she was upset some agenda items went before the council during the December meeting despite 75 percent of the council’s homeowner seatholders asking to postpone it to the January meeting because homeowners would not be available to vote.
- Councilmember Philip Gabriel interrupted Brown’s discussion because he felt he was being lectured at. Other council members were upset by the disruption, and Resnick stood up and told Gabriel to leave the room. Resnick then walked away from the council table.
- Councilmember Trent Jolly said he thinks the council’s vote at the previous meeting was still legitimate even without a majority of the homeowner seatholders because 15 people voted, which is four more than is required for the council’s quorum.
- Councilmember Mitchell Keitler suggested the council became more divisive and frustrated with one another after the announcement of Westwood Forward’s plans to create a new neighborhood council. However, Chapman said she thinks divisions among board members regarding policy, like whether to be strict with incoming businesses, have existed before the announcement.
- Lorango, who brought forward an agenda item to change how restaurants are defined in the Westwood Village Specific Plan at the previous meeting, said it was not his intention to disrespect the other council members. He added he thinks divisiveness and dissent are important on the council because it shows that it cares about Westwood issues.
- Resnick returned to the area where the board was seated and apologized for getting upset with Gabriel.
- The council selected Robinson as the council’s new land-use and planning committee chair following Connie Boukidis’ resignation. The council initially considered Councilmembers Angus Beverly and Lorango as possible co-chairs of the committee, but Lorango was not eligible because he does not currently serve on the committee.
- The council voted to remove its 32 sample alcohol conditions for businesses and replace them with the state-imposed conditions from the Alcoholic Beverage Control. In addition, the council will require businesses to apply for a conditional use for alcohol and entertainment permit if they want to serve alcohol and require businesses to not employ topless entertainment.
- The council approved a recommendation from the land-use and planning committee that the Janss Dome building on Broxton Avenue receive a conditional use permit to have a microbrewery. The business is working to restore a historical window that was once present in the building.