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North Westwood Neighborhood Council recap – April 7

By Ishani Desai

April 9, 2021 3:02 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 May 5.

Comments by public officials:

  • Pete Ojeda, LAPD senior lead officer for West LA, said Westwood reported several vehicle thefts over the past four weeks. Ojeda said some thieves strike when owners leave their keys in the car. Westwood also experienced an increase in bike thefts, Ojeda added.
  • Ojeda said there was an attempted robbery at Comerica Bank at 1021 Glendon Avenue on March 30. A suspect entered the bank with a pistol, which was later identified as a replica gun, and said he was going to rob the bank, Ojeda said. The perpetrator surrendered his weapon and was arrested by LAPD without incident.
  • Zachary Gaidzik, West LA field deputy from LA District 3 Supervisor Sheila Kuehl’s office, said the LA County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs launched the LA Regional COVID-19 Recovery Fund to distribute $10,000 in relief funds for nonprofits, small businesses and other entities. Business owners can apply for funds until April 11.
  • Gaidzik said the county only received 500,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses this past week, even though the county has the capacity to administer up to 700,000 vaccinations per week. Kuehl aims to vaccinate one million people per week by the end of April, Gaidzik added.
  • Brad Fingard, west area representative from LA Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office, said Westwood had the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in LA last week. There were 27 new COVID-19 cases, a 145% increase from the week beginning March 22 to the week beginning March 29, Fingard said. He added he is unsure if UCLA students’ disregard for COVID-19 protocols following the NCAA Final Four game contributed to the uptick.
  • Fingard said a new vaccination site at LA Southwest College opened Tuesday. Another vaccination location at California State University, Los Angeles, will transition out of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s jurisdiction and will be under the city of LA’s jurisdiction next week. The opening of new sites does not mean more vaccination doses are available, Fingard said.
  • Fingard said two-thirds of vaccine doses have gone to people of color and LA County administered a total of 866,000 shots as of Wednesday.
  • The City of Los Angeles Emergency Renters Assistance Program opened last week, Fingard said. The program is for renters and landlords, but renters need to make less than 50% of the median area income to qualify, Fingard said. The application is open until April 30.
  • The State of the City address from Garcetti will be on April 19 and can be viewed on Facebook Live, Fingard said. The mayor will outline the proposed budget during his speech; the office will release the budget’s specific components April 20, Fingard added.
  • Carmen Healey Zambrano, the UCLA Government and Community Relations assistant director, said UCLA’s larger undergraduate lectures in the fall will be remote, but corresponding labs and discussion sections will be held in-person. UCLA will also only offer double-occupancy housing instead of triple occupancy housing, Zambrano added.

Agenda:

  • The council approved the meeting minutes from its March board meeting.
  • The board approved the February and March expenditure reports. In February, the council spent $19,890.02 from its monthly budget of $39,125.87. In March, the council spent $15,601.52 from its monthly budget of $58,944.89.
  • The board approved a $135 payment to UCLA Student Media for print advertising during the 2019 North Westwood Neighborhood Council election. The LA City Clerk did not correctly process the payment prior to this time.
  • The board tabled a motion to grant $5,000 to LA World Harvest Food Bank. The charity sought two electric pallet jacks to help move donated food boxes more efficiently. Glen Curado, the CEO of LA World Harvest Food Bank, said the charity received an influx of donations because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The board tabled the motion until Joseph Russel, the treasurer of the NWWNC, can file the correct paperwork with the LA City Clerk.
  • The board tabled a motion to award $5,000 to the Westwood Village Improvement Association. The WVIA would distribute the money to people experiencing homelessness in the form of hygiene kits and restaurant gift cards. The council tabled the motion pending advice from the city attorney because business owners on the council may have a conflict of interest when awarding restaurant gift cards.
  • The board unanimously approved the Friends of Westwood Library’s $5,000 grant request to buy physical books for the Westwood Branch Library.
  • The board unanimously passed a motion to spend $1,000 on Facebook, Instagram and UCLA Student Media advertisements that encourage potential voters to vote via mail-in ballots in the local neighborhood elections on May 11.
  • The board approved $500 to create signs posted alongside streets that display messages promoting voting in local elections.
  • The board unanimously approved a motion to spend $500 on Twitter ads promoting voting in the local election through mail-in ballots for Westwood constituents.
  • The board denied District 5 Councilmember Paul Koretz’s request for the NWWNC to file a community impact statement opposing California Senate Bill 9, which would allow for duplexes to be sold as single-housing units. Instead, the board filed a community impact statement opposing Koretz’s resolution to oppose SB 9.
  • The board unanimously passed a community impact statement supporting social housing. The statement calls for the city government to create housing for low-income individuals.
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