The Winnetka Neighborhood Council discussed stakeholder concerns about homeless encampments during the August 2015 meeting. Residents are concerned about homeless people living along the western edge of the Winnetka Park as well as under the playground equipment. Of further concern is the safety of residents who have experienced break-ins along Chase and Penfield. It is suspected that homeless people who are eating at the soup kitchen at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church at the corner of Winnetka and Chase, may be lingering in the area and breaking into houses seeking shelter. Jenny Portillo, of Councilmember Blumenfield’s office reported that they are exploring the need for improving fencing along the west side of Winnetka Park as the beginning of a solution to the problem of homeless people in the park.

On the topic of pedestrian safety, LAPD Senior Lead Officer Maldonado, who covers Basic Car 21A29, Winnetka, recommended enhanced crosswalks with bold markings and flashing overhead lights, at the Winnetka and Sherman Way intersection. Similar crosswalks were discussed for the intersection of Winnetka and Roscoe. This item will be referred to the Winnetka Public Works and Transportation Committee for consideration and recommendation to the full Board. At that time the LA Department of Transportation would evaluate the need and identify a recommended solution.

Coyotes have become a recent surprising issue, here in the middle of the valley, with coyotes having been spotted in Winnetka. There will be a Coyote Town Hall at the Mason Recreation Center on Tuesday, August 18, 6pm with information on how residents can protect themselves and their pets from Coyotes.

The WNC reworked the budget which had been developed in July at a level of $42,000 as it was believed that a $5,000 increase had been approved. Unfortunately, it was discovered between meetings that while the increase may be coming, it was not final yet. To reduce the budget back to the $37,000 level, the Board removed the spring 2016 newsletter, delayed the purchase of a computer for the treasurer’s use, and trimmed miscellaneous items.

The highlight of the meeting was celebrating the completion of the Zine Funds project. Board Member Bettie Ross-Blumer diligently worked with the Bureau of Street Services to identify uses for $50,000 in funds set aside for small street repairs and tree trimming in Winnetka.

$28,400 was used for small asphalt repairs to sidewalks and streets. This includes the sidewalks and streets along Winnetka Ave., Mason Ave, Saticoy St. and Vanowen St. which had about 2,072 total repairs covering approximately 7,437 square feet. All this work was performed by pothole crews from the Street Maintenance Division, BOSS, mainly coordinated by Bill Candlish.

$21,000 was used for tree trimming along Winnetka Ave. This was handled beautifully by the Urban Forestry Division, BOSS, coordinated by Timothy Tyson.

WNC thanks: C. Bob Blumenfield and Jenny Portillo for extending the Zine fund deadlines [more than once!]; all of the crews that worked in Winnetka from the Bureau of Street Services’ Street Maintenance Div. – headed by Bill Candlish and Ron Lorenzen, and crews from the Urban Forestry Division – headed by Timothy Tyson; and our own members of the Public Works & Transportation Committee, namely David Uebersax and Bettie Ross-Blumer, and Eric Lewis, for all they have done to use the $50,000 Zine funds to benefit Winnetka.

Finally, the Beautification team reported that they are looking at finishing the Winnetka median plantings with drought tolerant plants, rather than iceberg roses. They noted concerns about the Winnetka signs on Sherman Way at Corbin and De Soto that were installed in the 70s. The signs have aged, have stickers stuck to them and the De Soto sign in particular is obscured by the overgrown plants in front of it. The Public Works committee will explore how to clean up and restore the signs, possibly elevating them or replacing plantings in front of them.

If you are interested in any of these issues, please consider coming to a committee meeting and joining in the effort for Winnetka.