Westwood community leaders expressed mixed reactions about UCLA’s proposal to rename a Westwood Village intersection after David Geffen.
The Westwood Neighborhood Council, an advisory board for Westwood to the Los Angeles City Council, and the Westwood Community Council, which meets several times a year to discuss Westwood issues, both discussed the proposition to install the sign at their most recent meetings this month.
The Westwood Neighborhood Council voted not to support installing a sign designating the Le Conte and Tiverton avenues’ intersection as “David Geffen Square” at its monthly meeting May 8. The Westwood Community Council voted Tuesday to endorse renaming Tiverton Drive, which is on university property, to honor Geffen instead of supporting the square.
Keith Parker, assistant vice chancellor for the UCLA Government and Community Relations, said the university first presented the idea for the sign to the Westwood Village Improvement Association and the Los Angeles City Council in March.
Andrew Thomas, executive director of the Westwood Village Improvement Association, said the organization has not officially voted collectively to take a position regarding the sign or discussed it. However, he said he thinks the proposition could be on the organization’s agenda in the future, because several members have expressed support for the proposition.
Parker said the sign is intended as a gift to Geffen, a philanthropist who donated $100 million to open a middle and high school in the Kinross Recreation Center in Westwood and provided millions of dollars in scholarships to medical students.
“The idea is to simply recognize and acknowledge Mr. Geffen as a supporter of the University and Westwood,” Parker said.
Stephen Resnick, secretary for the Westwood Neighborhood Council, said he voted against the motion to support the sign at its last meeting because he thinks Geffen’s recognition would be more appropriate on campus rather than on city property.
“While Mr. Geffen has generously donated to UCLA, he doesn’t have quite the same connection to Westwood Village itself,” Resnick said.
Lisa Chapman, vice president for the Westwood Neighborhood Council, said she voted to support the motion, with a few reservations, but agreed it should be placed on UCLA property.
Chapman said if the sign were to be placed on the north side of the intersection on UCLA campus property, it would require the University of California seal rather than State of California seal.
Parker said the sign, which would be 30-by-30 inches in size, would not present any cost to the Village or the businesses around the Le Conte Avenue and Tiverton Avenue intersection. He added the sign would look similar to the Persian Square sign on the Wilkins Avenue and Westwood Boulevard intersection.
Chapman said she thinks commemorative squares are typically reserved for individuals who contributed acts of service rather than monetary donations to their communities.
“These are not given to people who write big donor checks,” Chapman said. “They’re given to people who have spent their entire lives serving the city of Los Angeles.”
Parker said UCLA submitted a request for the sign to the Los Angeles City Council. The council will have the final say in deciding whether or not to support the implementation of the sign, but Parker added it has not yet been determined when the council will officially vote on the issue.