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North Westwood Neighborhood Council recap – Feb. 3

By Mirabai Venkatesh

Feb. 6, 2021 1:19 p.m.

The North Westwood Neighborhood Council is the official neighborhood council representing Westwood Village and UCLA to the Los Angeles City Council. Council meetings are held each month and open to the public via Zoom. The next meeting will be held virtually March 3.

Comments by public officials:

  • Chris Baker, senior lead officer from LAPD West Los Angeles Division, said there has been a recent rise of auto theft in the Westwood area. Baker added that there has also been a recent rise in break-ins and mail theft. Baker said Westwood residents should be mindful of who they give building passcodes to and check where their passcodes are written down.

  • Zachary Gaidzik, field deputy for LA County District 3 Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, said the county has been able to expand vaccinations to people over 65, but that it is only receiving around 100,000 doses per week while there are 1.4 million people eligible. The county is hopeful that it will be able to vaccinate more people once new vaccines are approved for use, Gaidzik said. Gaidzik also said that second doses can be administered after their scheduled date if necessary.

  • Carmen Healey Zambrano, the UCLA Government and Community Relations assistant director, said UCLA will keep summer sessions online but projects classes to be in person by fall. Healey Zambrano also said UCLA is close to completely vaccinating all of its health care workers and is vaccinating people above 65, but has given priority to those with preexisting health conditions for the latter group because of vaccine shortages.

  • Brad Fingard, west area representative of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office, said he is excited about Gov. Gavin Newsom and President Joe Biden’s commitment to expanding vaccine capacity in hard-hit communities of color, starting with East LA. Fingard said that the county is in a better position in terms of the pandemic now than it has been before, but still urged people to be cautious.

  • Fingard also recapped Garcetti’s launching of the first ever Climate Emergency Mobilization Office last week and his dedication to meet the standards of LA’s Green New Deal. Marta Segura, long time environmental justice advocate and nonprofit advisor, will lead the division.

  • Fingard said Garcetti reached a tentative agreement with the LAPD to protect officers’ jobs and save the city millions of dollars. The agreement still requires ratification by full union membership.

  • Deanna Stevenson, project coordinator at the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, said Mario Hernandez would be taking her place as representative for the council. Hernandez said he was looking forward to putting his years of experience with the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment to use, and that council members should look out for scam emails being sent requesting gift cards and money.

No general public comment

Agenda:

  • The board unanimously approved the minutes from their meeting in January.
  • The board unanimously approved its December monthly expenditure report. The council spent approximately $300 on posters and Twitter advertisements for the Budget Town Hall event, and $59,000 remains.
  • The board unanimously approved the reservation and purchase of a P.O. box of up to $250 annually so the council can formally send and receive mail.
  • The council unanimously approved a Neighborhood Purpose Grant of $5,000 for UniCamp, a student-run nonprofit that provides educational camp experiences to underprivileged youth. Jason Liou, the executive director of UCLA UniCamp, said this money will be spent on background checks for volunteers and T-shirts.
  • The council unanimously approved a Neighborhood Purpose Grant of $4,819 for Eayikes, a local nonprofit organization that delivers meals to people experiencing homelessness.
  • The council unanimously approved the Friends of Westwood Library’s request to repurpose the Neighborhood Purpose Grant of $5,000 awarded to it last fiscal year. Cat Lukaszewski, board member of Friends of Westwood Library, said they did not get a chance to use these funds because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but they now plan to use the grant for their library to-go initiative.
  • The council unanimously approved a Neighborhood Purpose Grant of $5,000 for Village for Vets, a nonprofit organization that delivers meals to unhoused veterans. Since the start of the pandemic, unhoused veterans have taken refuge at the Westwood Veterans Affairs, but are not provided meals. Village for Vets will use the grant to provide meals to these unhoused veterans, and continue their food deliveries to veterans around LA experiencing food insecurity.
  • The council approved a motion to table the discussion of a Neighborhood Purpose Grant for World Harvest Food Bank. The council will discuss the grant for World Harvest Food Bank during its full board meeting in March, pending World Harvest Food Bank’s connection to a local organization that can distribute meals within the Westwood area.
  • The council unanimously approved a motion that recommends the Westwood VA open a second entrance to its COVID-19 testing site.
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Mirabai Venkatesh
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