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North Westwood Neighborhood Council special board meeting recap – June 15

By Benjamin Apsley

June 21, 2022 2:46 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 are open to the public via Zoom. The next meeting will be held virtually July 6.

The council held a special board meeting Wednesday to discuss the approval of six community impact statements in favor of state bills and LA City Council motions.

There were no comments by public officials.

There were no board announcements.

Public comments:

  • Jacob Wasserman, a member of the public and part of three NWWNC committees, said he hoped agenda items like the community impact statements would be discussed at regular council meetings instead of special board meetings.

  • Kevin Crummy, a business stakeholder, said he was frustrated that the special board meeting was organized due to a complaint instead of through official dialogue with council leadership.

  • Andrew Lewis, the NWWNC vice president, said he was frustrated that the special board meeting was necessary but is looking forward to progress.

Agenda:

The council approved a Community Impact Statement supporting California Assembly Bill 1685, which would forgive $1,500 in parking fines every year for individuals experiencing homelessness.

  • Wasserman said he hopes this bill will be a pipeline to housing and other services.
  • Nolan Gray, the NWWNC secretary and an at-large stakeholder, said he was concerned about eligibility for students experiencing homelessness or individuals living out of their cars.
  • Furkan Yalcin, the NWWNC president, said he believes the bill is too broad. He added he doesn’t like the council weighing in on state bills unless they are specific to the Westwood community.

The council voted to strike an item from the agenda regarding discussion of a Community Impact Statement in favor of California Senate Bill 972, which would reduce regulations and streamline permit approval processes for street vendors.

The council approved a Community Impact Statement in favor of California Assembly Bill 1909, which would encourage cycling by allowing electric bikes on bike paths and adopting more advantageous traffic laws for cyclists.

  • Wasserman said the bill would address the dangers of biking in Westwood by requiring a complete lane change when a car passes a cyclist.
  • The council unanimously approved a Community Impact Statement in favor of a California Senate Bill 922, which would streamline the approval of active transportation projects.

  • The council failed to pass a Community Impact Statement in favor of a city council motion, which would prohibit criminal background checks and questions about criminal history in rental applications.

    • Yalcin said he believes landlords should have the right to know if a tenant has a criminal history.

    • Josh Trifunovic, a business stakeholder, said tenants might feel unsafe if they don’t know whether they’re living with individuals with criminal histories, especially those with previous violent offenses.

    • John Sischo, an at-large stakeholder, said he does not think this motion would be effective because landlords could still perform their own background checks on tenants regardless of changes to the renter application.

  • The council failed to pass a Community Impact Statement in favor of a city council motion that would mandate data reporting from rideshare and other transportation companies operating on airport grounds.

    • Yalcin said he doesn’t think this motion is relevant to Westwood because it doesn’t directly impact the community.

    • Evan Farrar, an organizational stakeholder, said he doesn’t find this motion relevant to the community and that the council should draw a clear line for which transportation projects are worth discussing.

    • Catherine Sarkisian, a professor of medicine, said the motion is relevant to Westwood because students and faculty members frequently require transportation from Westwood to LA International Airport.

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