At our June meeting we discussed one of the main eyesores in Winnetka, the seemingly abandoned building on the westside of Winnetka, north of Vanowen. This building was at one time a local switching station for a phone company and also served as a DWP payment office. Now it is fenced off with weeds growing in the parking lot. The building is covered with graffiti and seems to be a gang magnet. Board members have submitted 311 requests to clean it up to no avail, as it is private property, and the city can’t do anything about it. No one knows who owns it. The WNC has requested that Councilmember Blumenfield’s office assist in identifying the owner. They in turn have contacted Building and Safety. We hope to have news on that soon.

We had a lively discussion about three City of Los Angeles Council Files, which are wending their way through the City Council approval process. On Council File 15-0524 we prepared a Community Impact Statement in support of the council motion, which addresses a list of changes requested regarding the Plan for Neighborhood Councils.  We added a recommendation that issues such as Land Use and Planning related recommendations shall be disclosed in all City determinations in a “standing” section of City Staff Reports and City Determinations called “Neighborhood Council Recommendations.” Along with those recommendations, an explanation is to be provided by the City decision maker if the NC recommendations are NOT followed.

The WNC discussed Council File 13-0936, which includes a motion to change the LADWP’s billing cycle from 60 days to 30 days. Ssome strong feelings were expressed on behalf of some customers whose smart meters are broken, as well as many customers who are receiving estimated bills, which in some cases are higher than expected.  Stakeholders are also concerned that with 60 day billing, it is possible to have a leaky pipe and not realize it for two months. With 30 day billing, they would be able to address the problem more quickly. We also note that for customers with billing problems, the DWP still has a hold time of 30 minutes to speak to a representative. We prepared a Community Impact Statement in support of the motion to change the billing cycle, as well as recommending that the DWP discontinue estimated billing and provide accurate billing within six months.

We prepared a Community Impact Statement in support of the motion in Council File 15-0198, recommending the creation of a “Committee on Cooling and Urban Heat Impacts”, adding a recommendation to the Council urging continued focus on less hardscape, more trees, more tree maintenance, water issues, and increasing consideration of “Livability vs Densification”.

Closer to home was the topic of bike lanes on Winnetka. This has been an ongoing concern since 2012 when the bridge over the LA River was widened. Bike lanes are in place on Winnetka between Nordhoff and Vanowen, but then discontinued on the final stretch to the Orange Line and Pierce College. The Board agreed to send a letter to Councilmember Blumenfield asking for the bike lanes to extend to Ventura Blvd.

Image from Google Streetview