NWWNC general resident stakeholder – Ashraf Beshay and Grayson Peters
(Amy Dixon/Daily Bruin Photo editor)
May 16, 2019 2:29 a.m.
Ashraf Beshay has the know-how of the North Westwood Neighborhood Council and the passion to serve the community. Consequently, this board endorses him for the position of general resident stakeholder.
Beshay, while not a part of the council itself last year, served on the NWWNC’s homelessness and budget committees. As part of the homelessness committee, he was involved in the council’s homelessness count. Beshay said he would want to help lead the count next year, as well as continue to build relationships with other neighborhood councils.
He also wants to focus on housing affordability and said he will not support housing projects that rent rooms for over $1,200 per bed. That’s slightly different from the pro-development tune of the council as a whole, and it’s important in ensuring balance at the council table.
However, Beshay did not mention a lot of specific goals in mind other than continuing the initiatives the council has already pursued. For example, he mentioned town halls as a tool to reach out to the public, even though such meetings could potentially be a violation of the Brown Act.
Since the role would be representing the general resident population of Westwood, the board would like to see more specifics from Beshay on how the council can pursue outreach and new goals other than the ones it’s already undertaking.
Specifics notwithstanding, Beshay’s determination to be proactive at the council table and stay focused on the council’s goals makes him worthy of a spot at the table.
To create change at any level of government, the devil is truly in the details. And Grayson Peters knows the details.
Peters, a second-year political science student, is passionate about tackling the biggest issues facing the community. He hopes to fight rising housing costs, promote business development, improve safe access for bikers and grow the council’s outreach.
These are lofty goals. But what sets Peters apart and earns him this board’s endorsement is his actionable and well thought-out strategies.
He has a multifaceted approach to ensuring housing affordability, including loosening parking requirements on new developments since many students don’t have cars, preventing landlord discrimination against section 8 housing choice voucher holders, and relaxing enforcement of vehicle dwelling restrictions, which antagonize homeless students seeking to reside in their cars.
Peters’ experience on the North Westwood Neighborhood Council’s transportation and safety committee and the land use committee also shines through. He highlighted his ongoing work to get a protected bike lane installed on Gayley Avenue between Le Conte Avenue and Strathmore Drive. His plan for increasing businesses in the Village similarly hinges on small actionable steps, like removing the distinction between fast food establishments and restaurants in the Westwood Village Specific Plan.
Yes, Peters may not make any grand promises. But he’s the wonkish, practical councilmember the NWWNC could use.