Westwood Homeowners Assoication WVRC on August 10th
TERRY R. WHITE led the Pledge to the Flag. LENNY FRIEDMAN and RICK CULLEN led us in “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” and we sang with gusto after only one false start.
PP RON LYSTER, subbing for Jim Collins, gave the Invocation, a wonderful limerick about “The Guy in the Glass.”
The head table was introduced and included MARK ROGO and our speakers Sandy Brown and Lori Fontanes.
Announcements included one from SEAN MCMILLAN reminding us of the upcoming Combined Family Fun Day & Picnic on August 20th. President MIKE shared an announcement for SHANE WAARBROEK who was not able to be present. We were encouraged to participate in “Light the Night” that will take place at UCLA on September. This is a fundraiser to support the Leukemia Foundation.
Guests were introduced. PP PETER MORE was with SHIRLEY and MAX LICHTENBERGER was with ANITA. Special Guest (soon to be a member), Curt Smith was introduced once again.
It was noted that SANDY SANDERSON fell and broke a rib. He is at home recuperating and would appreciate all our good thoughts. LENNY FRIEDMAN was happy to report that SUNNY’S cancer is in remission.
P MIKE’S story (some would call it a joke) was submitted by ELLIOTT TURNER. The moral was that “Surely goodness and mercy” be with you today and always. If you were there, just substitute “Shirley” and “Marcie.”
MARK ROGO came forward to introduce our speakers, Sandy Brown, President of the Holmby-Westwood Property Owners Assn., and Lori Fontanes, Westwood Hills Property Owners Assn. Both Brown and Fontanes have a long history of service to the community, fighting the battles of congestion, traffic and crime.
Sandy Brown began by noting that Westwood has been in the news all the time lately. Transportation and infrastructure issues seem to be a highlight. The future holds more housing projects in the pipeline extending through the next five to ten years. The Veterans Administration has ten acres of land on the market for sale to developers and another 300-acre parcel is waiting in the wings to experience the same fate. The FBI Building may become a tear down/rebuild project soon. UCLA is always changing the campus. Moving down Wilshire Blvd., she told us that the Century Wilshire Hotel will be replaced with a 25-story luxury condominium building. Nearby another 70 units will be build. The Doubletree is to become the “Palimar Hotel,” a 3 or 4 star hotel with larger rooms. At the corner of Comstock and Wilshire (remember, the pumpkin patch?!) another 21-story building will be built. Further down the avenue, the Robinson/May Co. site will be turned into two 21-story towers. Over by the Westfield Shopping Center they are tearing down and Avenue of the Stars building, and it will be replaced adding office space. Besides all of these construction projects there are likely to be “in-fill” projects, usually 6-12 units in size, in other locations. The result of all of this???
The Westwood Village infrastructure is really a problem. Streets cannot be widened, and the congestion on Wilshire is likely to be compounded by a proposed bus-only lane for the boulevard. Then there is the question of space in the schools to accommodate all of the children that will be coming to live in all the new condos. Of course, it is always a question of money....
Lori Fontanes continued with a discussion of the freeway situation. She said she was never a very political person until CAL Trans decided to place a freeway off-ramp at the end of her street. Since then she has become involved, and three years ago she ran for governor. She urged us all to be active and to become part of the dialogue. She described the Holmby-Westwood Property Owners Assn. and the Westwood Hills Property Owners Assn. as organizations of volunteers. To join Westwood Hills you can pay one membership fee for life.
She followed up by saying that the CAL Trans story is not over yet and that adding one lane on the 405 freeway will not solve all its problems. Crime is also a problem now, and she reported that there has been a mini-crime wave in Westwood burglaries and such attributed to construction bringing outsiders into our neighborhoods. Graffiti is also on the increase. If you see it you should report it the LAPD.
A lively question and answer session followed their talks. It focused on the Wilshire bus lane, the Belmont Project to build an assisted living facility on the Westwood Village Methodist Church parking lot, the glut of proposed condos and what their construction will do to property values (not much apparently as a lot of what is being built is upscale), and the Casden Project that is likely to generate a lot of foot traffic. Our thanks to both Sandi and Lori!
P MIKE closed by reminding us that next week the club will be visited by Japanese exchange students. He also told us the story of “Wonder Kid,” the 23-year-old founder of the United Bank Card. With people like this under 30 years of age, the future is in good hands.
Susan M. Allen, for YOE, Ernie Wolfe