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North Westwood Neighborhood Council recap – April 3

By Sharla Steinman

April 4, 2024 6:40 p.m.

The North Westwood Neighborhood Council heard updates from various public officials and discussed issues surrounding transportation and homelessness Wednesday.

The council, which represents Westwood to the Los Angeles City Council, meets on the first Wednesday of every month in UCLA’s Weyburn Terrace. Meetings are open to the public and also held on Zoom. The next meeting is scheduled for May 1.

Comments by public officials:

  • Janet Turner, outreach deputy district director for Rep. Ted Lieu – who represents UCLA and Westwood – said the congressman was able to help organize the 300th Army Band’s performance at the Westwood Library on June 30 for an Independence Day celebration. She updated the council on a funding package from March, adding that Lieu is accepting requests for the next fiscal year and has already received funding for parks and recreation, as well as Venice Beach bathrooms. She also said Lieu received $500,000 for a project in Santa Monica to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety. Turner said Lieu co-sponsored the Reproductive Data Privacy and Protection Act, which would protect individuals’ reproductive health care data from law enforcement. Lieu also co-sponsored the Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act of 2024, which provides low-income residents with discounted internet service and a one-time discount that may be used to purchase a device.
  • LAPD Senior Lead Officer James Allen said crime overall in Westwood has decreased, but robberies in Westwood are up, with many happening at Ralphs or Target. He added that homicides are down 300%, with zero this year and three last year. Allen added that a Chilean crew is using drones and Teslas to commit home burglaries in West LA, most recently in Holmby Hills.
  • Amanda Laflen, field deputy from District 3 Supervisor Lindsey Horvath’s office, said Horvath responded to the LA Homeless Services Authority’s report on the effectiveness of Municipal Code 41.18 – which makes sitting, lying and sleeping in the public right-of-way illegal – stating that the policy worsened the homelessness crisis.
  • Sherwin Shamoeil, field representative for Assemblymember Rick Zbur, said two of the assembly member’s bills made it out of committee. One of them, Assembly Bill 369: Independent Living Program for Foster Youth, allows foster youth to receive support through the Independent Living Program longer and allows them to also accumulate more cash savings than the $5,000 cap set previously.
  • LA firefighter Mario Garcia said there were 1,500 incidents in January and February that required emergency medical services. He encouraged the council and community members to pull over when emergency vehicles are trying to get to a scene because there has been significant road congestion.
  • Carmen Zambrano, assistant director of UCLA Community & Local Government Relations, said April’s “LA Vibes”-themed First Thursdays event is happening Thursday and will feature performances from the LA Skate Hunnies. LA Metro will share information about the Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project at the event. She added that construction to make updates to UCLA’s electric power system has begun and will commence fall 2025.

Public comment:

  • Steve Sann, chair of the Westwood Community Council and program and events chair of Friends of Westwood Library, said the library had an incident between two individuals during a Saturday program that resulted in a physical confrontation. Sann also thanked the board for the neighborhood purpose grant the library received. The library is hosting a book sale Saturday and a concert April 13, Sann said.
  • Nicole Aniceto, grant and contract associate for Safe Place for Youth, shared that the nonprofit organization provides resources and assistance to young people experiencing homelessness in the area.

Agenda:

  • The council removed Councilmember Bettina O’Mara from the outreach committee and Councilmember Philip Gabriel from the transportation committee to comply with the Brown Act, which only allows up to five council members on each committee.
  • The council approved a Community Impact Statement that would permanently codify LA Mayor Karen Bass’ Executive Directive 1, which streamlines affordable housing, into municipal code. However, in the statement, the council asked the LA City Council to codify the Dec. 16, 2022, version of the directive that did not exempt single-family zoning, citing the negative impacts the exemption has on the quantity of housing.
  • The council approved a CIS against the Westside Regional Alliance of Council’s pending recommended motion to oppose Metro congestion pricing. The Metro Traffic Reduction Study will explore options to reduce traffic congestion in LA, which includes looking into the use of toll roads.
  • The council unanimously approved a CIS in support of council file 24-0055 and a pending WRAC motion that both further enforce the gas leaf blower ban when used within 500 feet of a residence.
  • The council approved a CIS in support of providing e-bike and electric scooter rebates and subsidies to constituents.
  • The council unanimously approved a CIS in support of restoring the FlyAway bus service in Westwood, which provides transportation services to and from LAX. The statement asks the LA City Council and Board of Airport Commissioners to study the potential creation of a stop in Westwood on the Van Nuys FlyAway. The statement also suggests that the service coordinates with the UCLA academic calendar, making it so that transportation services are concentrated during the beginning and end of breaks to maximize ridership.
  • The council approved the April consent calendar.

Announcements:

  • The council announced the resignation of Councilmember Nuha Khalfay. Khalfay resigned because of her residency program in San Francisco, which will begin in June. Many council members shared kind words regarding the work she has done on the council over the past several years.
  • Elizabeth Brady was named the new budget and finance committee chair, a position previously held by Khalfay.
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Sharla Steinman | City and Crime Editor
Steinman is the 2023-2024 city and crime editor. She was previously a city and crime contributor. She is also a fourth-year political science student.
Steinman is the 2023-2024 city and crime editor. She was previously a city and crime contributor. She is also a fourth-year political science student.
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