TUNA CANYON DETENTION STATION Important Update

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The following is from Glendale-Crescenta V.O.I.C.E. 
Volunteers Organized in Conserving the Environment

 

As many of you already know, on June 25th approximately one acre of the Verdugo Hills Golf Course was designated as a City of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument to acknowledge and commemorate the Tuna Canyon Detention Station, a long forgotten World War II temporary detention facility that held Japanese, German, and Italian immigrants, Japanese-Peruvians, and others who were taken from their families after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. 

Since the historic designation was granted, there have been a number of developments that are important for you to know about. 

When the City Council unanimously passed the Tuna Canyon Detention Station motion, it also directed the Department of City Planning to convene a Working Group to explore appropriate ways to commemorate the site and to present recommendations to the Council. Ken Bernstein from the City’s Planning Department convened a group made up of representatives of the Japanese-American community, local community stakeholders and historians, the property owner/developer, and staff from Council District 7. This group met four times during the last two months. 

At the first meeting, representatives of the developer, Snowball West Investments, LP, revealed there would be no public access to the designated monument site. The proposed residential development was planned as a gated community and the general public would not be permitted inside. We were told that relatives of those interned at Tuna Canyon might be given permission to visit the site if they telephoned ahead of time and arranged a visit. Otherwise the area designated in the City Council motion would be available only to those who lived within the development. 

This came as a shock to all those who felt public access was absolutely essential to a meaningful commemorative site and that the monument should be placed where the Camp had actually existed. Being shut out was a surprise because during the series of hearings at City Hall, the developer’s representative repeatedly said that the designated area had already been set aside by the owner and there was no need for the City to grant Historic-Cultural Monument status. The representative never mentioned that the site would be closed to the public. 

Ironically lack of public access reminds us that some seventy years ago the Tuna Canyon Detention Station was fenced and gated, its prisoners locked inside. Now the developer was proposing to fence a portion of the site, this time with people locked out.

In early July, a Coalition of community members, including many from the Japanese-American, Italian-American, and German-American communities, Little Landers Historical Society, Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council, Crescenta-Glendale V.O.I.C.E. [Volunteers Organized in Conserving the Environment], Save the Golf Course Committee, Sunland-Tujunga Alliance, and other local community members met to work on developing a vision for the memorial that included public access. 

Members of V.O.I.C.E., who were serving as part of the Coalition, came to believe that if the proposed housing development would not provide public access to the monument, then the 2008 Regional Park Plan developed by V.O.I.C.E. President, Richard Toyon, certainly could. That plan featured a 58-acre regional park that included the golf course and driving range, and added such amenities as tennis courts, a banquet hall, stormwater infrastructure, and recognition of the site’s historic significance including the Tongva village of Wiqanga and the Tuna Canyon Detention Station. V.O.I.C.E. also understood that such a project would require purchasing the property from the owner. We were told at the time, and on several occasions since then, that the owner is a willing seller. 

In 2011, the city’s Bureau of Sanitation/Watershed Protection Division adapted Toyon’s original regional park design by enhancing the infrastructure for storm water capture, recharge, and storage, including a state-of-the-art Aqua Driving Range. The Verdugo Hills Storm Water Project was approved in 2012 and added to the queue for Prop. O funding. For those unfamiliar with Proposition O, it is a water bond measure approved by City of Los Angeles voters in 2004. Projects approved for implementation address water quality issues, provide flood protection, and increase water conservation, habitat protection, and open space. 

Earlier this summer after reviewing the Tuna Canyon Detention Station Coalition’s Vision & Mission Statement, Toyon revised and updated his original design, including an expanded and publicly accessible Historic-Cultural Monument. Toyon’s 2013 Tuna Canyon Regional Park focuses on a variety of the possibilities that could be achieved if sufficient funding could be identified. The new plan provided for parking, public access,a commemorative wall, and even a reproduction of the historic barracks and guard tower, as well as the infrastructure that had been proposed in the Proposition O Verdugo Hills Storm Water Project.

The Vision & Mission Statement and the revised Regional Park Plan were shared with the Working Group on July 24. Two weeks later, on August 7, the Working Group met for what was to be their final meeting. The TCDS Coalition was pleasantly surprised when the developer’s representative indicated public access would be available and that some parking would be provided, along with a trail and interpretive signage. It appeared that the developer was demonstrating a genuine willingness to work with the Coalition group to achieve something positive and long-lasting. 

However, before the meeting concluded, the developer’s attorney announced that he had filed a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles claiming that the City Council’s designation of Historic-Cultural Monument status for Tuna Canyon was illegal. Members of the Working Group and other community members were taken aback by this announcement after so much work had been done in good faith. 

“We were stunned,” said Lloyd Hitt, a local historian who, along with Paul Tsuneishi, Asian-American researchers and others, have spent years researching and documenting the history of the TCDS. “Everything had been going so well. It was a sad moment.”

V.O.I.C.E. is disappointed that the developer would resort to such an action and calls upon him to drop the lawsuit and continue to meet with members of the Working Group to ensure that a meaningful commemoration is achieved. Rest assured the Coalition is continuing to work on behalf of the Tuna Canyon Detention Station. Thank you for your past support – and we ask that you bring that same furor as we move forward. Your participation will make the difference. 

 

Visit Little Landers Historical Society’s
“Tuna Canyon Detention Station” Facebook page

which provides a gathering place for all things related to
Tuna Canyon Detention Station, including photos, articles, and video clips. Stop by and ‘LIKE’ Little Landers’ Tuna Canyon Detention Station page on Facebook.

 

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Glendale-Crescenta V.O.I.C.E. 
Volunteers Organized in Conserving the Environment
gcvoice@gcvoice.org
P.O. Box 273
Montrose, CA 91021

Let’s Ride!

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We had so much fun last Tuesday at City Hall, we’re going to do it all over again on Friday, June 21!
This time, the full LA City Council will be voting on the Cultural-Historic designation for Tuna Canyon Detention Station, so this is a huge day for all of us!

The bus has been secured (thanks to VOICE) and we are now accepting reservations. Just like last time, the best way to secure a seat on the bus is to send an email to sunlandtujungaalliance@gmail.com .
Include your name and the number in your group.

The bus will depart Friday morning at 8:45 am from NVCH, pick up passengers  at the Lowell Avenue Park & Ride at 9 am, and then head downtown

 This bus is super comfortable and really is the best way to get to the Council meeting. We’ll be dropped off right at the steps to City Hall and picked up at the same spot.

This is an important and historic vote and we need a full bus of supporters to join us on Friday!

And of course, Don’t Forget To Wear Red!
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This Is One Bus You Don’t Want to Miss!

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If you are attending the very important PLUM hearing regarding Tuna Canyon Detention Station on Tuesday, don’t forget to wear RED! This request to wear red was made by a Japanese-American member of the Tuna Canyon Historical Designation Coalition. The color red is considered good luck by the Japanese and wearing it will show unity among our group.

Of course, I don’t own anything red, so I spent some time at the thrift shop behind Ralphs today, and I think I hit a goldmine of all things Red. That place is teeming with items in all shades of red, so if you’re redless, you’ll need to look no further than Sun Thrift!
The bus that is transporting us to the hearing is starting to fill up! If you want to reserve a seat, the best way to do that is to send an email to sunlandtujungaalliance@gmail.com with your name and the number of seats that you would like. The bus begins boarding at 12:45pm on Tuesday at North Valley City Hall (7747 Foothill, Tujunga). The bus will depart right around 1pm.
And this just in! Haru Kuromiya, the woman who’s father was incarcerated at TCDS and is featured in this video, will be joining us on the bus for the ride to City Hall! Wow!

Sunland-Tujunga Action Alert!

Let’s Ride!

At today’s meeting of the Tuna Canyon Historical Designation Coalition, it became clear that we need to pack the house at the PLUM meeting on Tuesday. The PLUM committee members need to see how important Cultural Historic Designation is to our community for the site of the former Tuna Canyon Detention Station.

To that end, a comfortable, air conditioned, 58 passenger bus has been secured to transport community members from Tujunga to LA City Hall and back on Tuesday, June 11th. The bus will be boarding at North Valley City Hall beginning at 12:45 pm and will depart soon after 1pm. There is no charge to ride the bus, it is free, but a reservation is requested to secure a seat.

We urge you to join us on the bus for this historic trip to LA City Hall to fight for Historic Recognition of TCDS!

Please share this invite with your friends, neighbors, and social media sites! We need a big presence on Tuesday afternoon!

If you can join us, please let us know by sending an email to sunlandtujungaalliance@gmail.com with your name and the number of seats to reserve for you.

This is what we do best folks! Let’s show up in force on Tuesday afternoon!

PLUM Hearing for TCDS set for Tuesday, June 11

PLUM Hearing for TCDS set for Tuesday, June 11

Public Info Meeting for the Big Tujunga Reservoir Sediment Removal Project

ImageThe County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works (DPW), on behalf of the Los Angeles County Flood Control District, will soon complete the environmental document, an Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration for the Big Tujunga Reservoir Sediment Removal Project. The project involves removing sediment from the Big Tujunga Reservoir and placing it in the adjacent Maple Sediment Placement Site. The sediment will be transported via a conveyor belt or low-emission equipment and trucks. The project is expected to begin in spring of 2015.

 

Please join us for an open house on this important flood management and water conservation project. The purpose of the open house is to provide information on the project and answer any questions you may have.

Monday, May 20, 2013

6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Elk’s Lodge (Upstairs Meeting Room)

Sunland-Tujunga, CA No. 2098

10137 Commerce Ave

Tujunga, CA 91042

What Next for Tuna Canyon Detention Station?

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Nope, She’s Not Singing!
 
Although the Cultural Heritage Commission  voted to deny  Historic Cultural Monument status to the Tuna Canyon Detention Station at today’s hearing, the fight is far from over

The commissioners at today’s hearing have made a terrible mistake. Witnesses described some of the commissioners as “confused”, and  “not understanding the scope of their responsibilities”. Another attendee said that they felt the decision had been made before the hearing ever began. Another attendee said they felt 2 of the commissioners were actually hostile towards the community.

I am told that about 15-20 members of our community were able to attend today’s hearing and that around 20 members of the Japanese-American community, many with ties to the camp, were also in attendance  I am also told many had traveled great distances to attend today’s hearing.

So instead of analyzing the failure of the commission, the real question is “What do we do next“?
The matter now will go before the full LA City Council at a yet TBD date. This is where a 2/3 majority will be needed to approve the historical status of the site.

The various groups and activists involved in this effort will meet in the coming days to plan strategy and work to get more people to attend the City Council hearing. I am sure a major letter writing campaign will be initiated in the next week or so. Maybe chartering a bus, like we did for the No Home Depothearings, would help increase turnout. There’s a lot of planning and community organizing to be done in a very short time. 

And never forget, no one is better than Sunland-Tujunga at making some noise and making things happen! Stay tuned! 

 

 

Tuna Detention Station Action Alert!


Photo used with the permission of the Little Landers Historical Society

                                                                                                                April 14, 2013

Support
Historic-Cultural Monument Status
For Tuna Canyon Detention Station

(Current site of the Verdugo Hills Golf Course)
On Thursday, April 18, the commission will discuss whether or not Tuna Canyon Detention Station should be granted Historic-Cultural Monumentstatus.

city staff report has recommended AGAINST the Historic-Cultural Monument designation. You can help by attending the meeting and/or sending your comments to the Commission in support of the Historic-Cultural Monument status for Tuna Canyon Detention Station.

CULTURAL HERITAGE COMMISSION
10:00 A.M., THURSDAY, APRIL 18, 2013
200 North Spring Street
City Hall, Room 1010
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Share your comments with the Cultural Heritage Committee:

Richard Barron, President
Cultural Heritage Commission
City of Los Angeles
200 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Subject Line:  “Historic-Cultural Monument Application for Site of the Tuna Canyon Detention Station”

Email comments to:  edgar.garcia@lacity.org
Please also copy the Council Office: gerald.gubatan@lacity.org

Please let us know if you plan to attend the meeting:  info@savethegolfcourse.org.

If you will be driving to the meeting and would like parking access be sure to include the make/color of your car, license plate information, and your phone number.

PRESERVE TUJUNGA’S HISTORY!
History neglected, is history lost. 


The V.O.I.C.E. Board & the Save The Golf Course Committee
Volunteers Organized in Conserving the Environment
gcvoice@gcvoice.org
info@savethegolfcourse.org
P.O. Box 273
Montrose, CA 91021

Visit Us on the Web:

If you are on our eBlast mailing list please add gcvoice@gcvoice.org to your Safe Sender list to avoid the message being diverted to your Spam folder.

To unsubscribe/change profile:click here

To subscribe:click here

 

Los Angeles River Recreational Zone Pilot Program for Glendale Narrows

 The City of Los Angeles will host TWO ADDITIONAL public meetings to present the Proposed 2013 Los Angeles River Recreational Zone Pilot Program for Glendale Narrows.  You are invited to attend and offer your comments. 
 
 
The next meeting will be Saturday, February 23, 2013
 
9:30AM – 11AM
 
Dickerson Employee Benefits Conference Room
 
1918 Riverside Drive, Los Angeles 90039
 
 
 
An additional presentation will be held Monday, February 25, 2013 
 
during the 3:00PM Ad Hoc River Committee Meeting
 
 Los Angeles City Hall, 10th Floor
 
200 North Spring Street, Los Angeles 90012
 
For courtesy City Hall parking call 213-473-7001
 

Download a PDF of the 38-page DRAFT PILOT PROGRAM REPORT
 
Download the Pilot Rec Zone Program Powerpoint Presentation
 
Friends of the Los Angeles River
570 West Avenue 26, Suite 250
Los Angeles, CA 90065

This Is An Action Alert!

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On Tuesday, the LA City Council will take up a motion by Councilman Alarcon that calls for beginning the application process to designate the La Tuna Detention Center a Historic Cultural Monument. Due to Councilman Englander‘s recent misunderstanding of the motion, the City Council Planning & Land Use Management Committee split their vote and were unable to make any recommendation on this proposal.

We think the good folks of the Foothills Communities understand the motion very well, and are able and willing to make a recommendation to the full LA City Council. 

Below is a list of the City Council members that need to hear from you, and they need to hear from you by Monday evening.! Simply write something like…  “We support and urge you to vote to approve Councilman Alarcon’s motion to prepare an application to include the Tuna Canyon Detention Station Site in the City’s list of Historic-Cultural Monuments”.

That’s all you have to do. 

Here is the list of Councilmembers that need to hear from you;


councilmember.reyes@lacity.org
councilmember.krekorian@lacity.org
councilmember.labonge@lacity.org
paul.koretz@lacity.org
councilmember.parks@lacity.org
jan.perry@lacity.org
councilmember.wesson@lacity.org
councilman.rosendahl@lacity.org
councilmember.englander@lacity.org
councilmember.garcetti@lacity.org
councilmember.huizar@lacity.org
councildistrict15@lacity.org
councilmember.zine@lacity.org

Also include;

Clerk.LSadmin@lacity.org

THANKS!

—–Original Message—–
From: Gerald Gubatan [mailto:gerald.gubatan@lacity.org]
Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2013 4:42 PM
To: Gerald Gubatan
Subject: TUNA DETENTION STATION ON COUNCIL AGENDA NEXT TUESDAY – 02/12/2013
10:00 AM – Los Angeles City Council Agenda

Dear Friends:

Item No. 7 on next Tuesday’s City Council Agenda is a communication from the
Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee related to a Motion
sponsored by Council Member Richard Alarcon to nominate the former Tuna
Detention Station site as a City Historic-Cultural Monument.  Attached is a
copy of the Council Agenda.

Community stakeholders are invited to attend the Council meeting at L.A.
City Hall and provide testimony.  You are invited to disseminate information
on the upcoming Council meeting on this matter.

Please contact our office at 213.473.7007 for more details.


Gerald G. Gubatan
Chief Planning Deputy
Office of Council Member Richard Alarcón Council District 7 City Hall, Room
470 Los Angeles, CA  90012

Tel: 213.473.7007  Fax: 213.847.0707

12-1625 – Motion Required
CD 7
PLANNING AND LAND USE MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE REPORT relative to an instruction to
prepare an application to include the Tuna Canyon Detention Station Site in the City’s  list of
Historic-Cultural Monuments.
SUBMITS WITHOUT RECOMMENDATION the following recommendations of Motion (Alarcón  -
Garcetti):TUESDAY 2-12-13 PAGE 7
1. INSTRUCT the Cultural Affairs Department to prepare the application relative to the inclusion of
the Tuna Canyon Detention Station Site in the list of Historical-Cultural Monuments and to
submit the application to the Cultural Heritage Commission for review and consideration.
2. DIRECT the Cultural Heritage Commission, after reviewing the application, to submit a report to
the City Council regarding the inclusion of the Tuna Canyon Detention Station Site in the City’s
list of Historic-Cultural Monuments.
Fiscal Impact Statement:  Neither the City Administrative Officer nor the Chief Legislative Analyst
has completed a financial analysis on this report.
Community Impact Statement:  Yes
For Proposal:  Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council

VHGC Action Alert!

 

b40620b893461cc83a40356c72d63ca8

This Tuesday, Jan 29th at 2:30 pm, the  Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM) will consider a motion made by Councilman Alarcon to designate the Tuna Canyon Detention Center a Historic Cultural Monument. The Tuna Canyon Detention Center is known these days as the Verdugo Hills Golf Course, and this vote on Tuesday is an important step in protecting that area from being turned into 229 homes! 

If there is a vote to approve an application for Historic Cultural Monument at PLUM, then the next and final step should be to bring the matter before the Cultural Heritage Commission.
Here’s where you come in! We need you to send a brief note via email to Sharon.Gin@lacity.org and state your support  for theTuna Canyon Detention Center being designated a Historic Cultural Monument. This community knows how to do email actions better than anyone, so let’s get busy, folks!
PLANNING AND LAND USE MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE
TUESDAY, JANUARY 29, 2013
BOARD OF PUBLIC WORKS EDWARD R. ROYBAL HEARING ROOM 350 - 2:30 PM
200 NORTH SPRING STREET, LOS ANGELES, CA  90012
MEMBERS: COUNCILMEMBER ED P. REYES, CHAIR
COUNCILMEMBER JOSE HUIZAR
COUNCILMEMBER MITCHELL ENGLANDER
(Sharon Gin – Legislative Assistant – (213)-978-1074 or Sharon.Gin@lacity.org)
FILE NO.                                                       SUBJECT
12-1625
CD 7                Motion (Alarcón – Garcetti) relative
                        to an instruction to prepare an application to 
                        include the Tuna Canyon Detention Station Site
                        in the City’s list of Historic Cultural Monuments.
 

This CD7 Candidate Forum is Not To Be Missed!

This CD7 Candidate Forum is Not To Be Missed!

S-T Homeless Survey Still Needs Volunteers

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The first ever Sunland-Tujunga Homeless Survey and Count is coming up at the end of this month and we are still short on volunteers. This is a wonderful opportunity to participate in an important and historic undertaking. Data gathered from the survey will go a long way in acquiring needed services in our area. Please sign up and be a part of the S-T Homeless Survey and Count and please share this info with others. Thanks! You can sign up at the following link; http://sunlandtujungaregistrycount.info.wufoo.com/forms/sunlandtujunga-surveycount-volunteer-sign-up/

Happy Holidays from the STA!

Happy Holidays from the STA!

VHGC Community Meeting on Oct 10th

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S-T Homeless Working Group Meets

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The S-T Homeless Working Group met this afternoon at North Valley City Hall. This is a new group created by Councilman Richard Alarcon and coordinated by his Deputy, Jose Rodriguez .
There were over 30 participants at today’s meeting representing numerous City and County agencies, shelters, and homeless advocates. Also participating today was STNC president, Mark Seigel, LUC Chair, Tomi Bowling, and Joe Barrett, of the Sunland-Tujunga Alliance.

One thing we learned today that I was unaware of is that LAHSA (Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority) and DPM (Dept of Mental Health) are now conducting weekly visits to Sunland Park and other gathering places of the homeless to offer assistance.

We can also look forward to an accurate count of the homeless being made in the near future, which will be a big first step towards qualifying people for housing at the Day Street Apartments.

Councilman Alarcon has really made a commitment to step up and address the Homeless issues in our community and it is truly impressive to see so many agencies now turning their attention towards Sunland-Tujunga.

There is still a long ways to go and progress is not always apparent on a day to day basis,  but there is definitely real progress being made.

The Soccer Field that Couldn’t

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The Soccer Field that Couldn’t is slowly becoming the Eyesore that Can. We’re not sure if the wood is being stolen or slowly salvaged, but our predictions, long ago, that this site would never amount to anything more than an abandoned eyesore have, unfortunately, come true.
For the back story, go here.

A Walk Through The Wash and Sunland Park

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I had the opportunity today to take Jose Rodriguez, Councilman Alarcon’s Deputy, on a tour of the Tujunga Wash and Sunland Park. I wanted to familiarize Mr. Rodriguez with our ongoing homeless and transient problems with a focus on the camps in the Wash and the transient issues in the Park.

Mr. Rodriguez was attentive, and is eager to help us work to find ways to manage the problems and get help to those that will accept it. Today, we took a hike through the Wash near Riverwood Ranch.The Tujunga Wash still has camps, but nowhere near the number it did before the clean-outs started 2 years ago. We are now planning a 3rd Wash Clean-Out to take place in another month or two. The Clean-Outs are working but they’ll need to be done on a regular basis to prevent the wash from returning to its previous state. I’m also hoping that the next clean out can take place on a weekend, as many of you have expressed an interest in helping out if it can be done on any day but a weekday.

We also toured Sunland Park and discussed the issues of overnight camping, drinking, etc. The recent increased police presence at the park has improved the situation somewhat, but I think a long term program of stepped up patrols needs to happen before we’ll see a possibility of turning the park around so that families feel safe to enjoy the grounds again.

It’s a slow, methodical, process, and it often feels like 2 steps forward and 3 steps back, but we all need to work together and work to take back the park by holding events there ( movies in the park? food trucks? art camps?).

I would like to thank Mr. Rodriguez for his time and interest today! I look forward to working closely with him and Councilman Alarcon in getting our homeless citizens into safe housing, and protecting our Wash and Sunland Park from further degradation.

STA Meets With Councilman Alarcon

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LUC Chair Tomi Bowling, STA Co-Founder Abby Diamond, and CD7 Planning Deputy Gerald Gubatan discuss the K-Mart site during a tour last month.

Members of the STA met with Councilman Alarcon and his Planning Deputy, Gerald Gubatan, this afternoon to discuss the K-Mart site and other issues of concern in the community.  The almost hour long meeting was part  history of the Home Depot fight and mostly a look forward at the possibilities for the location. We greatly appreciated Mr. Alarcon’s ideas and suggestions and were impressed with his familiarity with the history of the Home Depot battle. We are encouraging the councilman to tour the site so that he can see the significance of the location, and the potential for this property! Additionally, we conveyed the importance of the Council Office being the clearinghouse for all information regarding the site.

We also discussed an upcoming vote at LA City Council regarding a ban on the sale of puppies at pet stores. We conveyed the desire of many in the community who had asked us to request that Mr. Alarcon support the ban. And then, a really neat thing happened. Mr. Alarcon picked up the phone and called his animal expert to get the latest updates on the motion and to let him know we would be contacting him. By the time we left the meeting, I had a voicemail from that gentleman with a breakdown on the motion, it’s current status, and an offer to call his cell for more info. That was pretty impressive!

 

Hello Planning Deputies!

 

The LUC meets Councilman Alarcon’s Planning Deputies, Gerald Gubatan and Dan Rosales on Monday night.
This was the first LUC meeting attended by Mr. Gubatan and Mr. Rosales since Councilman Alarcon became our City Council Rep, last month.

STA, STNC Meet With Our New Planning Deputy, Gerald Gubatan

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Abby Diamond and Tomi Bowling discuss the K-Mart site and the Home Depot battle with Gerald Gubatan.

This morning, members of the STA and the STNC met with our new Planning Deputy, Gerald Gubatan. Mr. Gubatan serves as Councilman Alarcon’s Chief Planning Deputy. We met over breakfast at the Agave Restaurant at Angeles National Golf Course and sat outside so we could show Mr.Gubatan that million dollar view of the Angeles National Forrest. Meeting with Mr.Gubatan, was Cindy Cleghorn, and Tomi Bowling from the STNC, Dean Sherer from the Land Use Committee, and Joe Barrett and Abby Diamond from the STA.

This was basically a get-to-know-us meeting and we mostly discussed the history of the area with a particular focus on the Home Depot battle and the future possibilities for the K-Mart site. Mr. Gubatan was very engaging and personable and took notes throughout the almost 2 hour meeting.

After breakfast, we all drove over to the K-Mart site and took a little tour there as well. We’ll have more to share later!

Update; After our meeting this morning, Tomi & Abby took Gerald on an extensive tour of Sunland-Tujunga. McGroarty, Bolton Hall, the old Coffee Stop, the soccer field, VHGC, the I-Hop shopping center, and many more points of interest were visited and discussed.

What If They Built A Soccer Field and No One Came?

To be an Indoor Soccer Field, you need 4 walls and a roof.

 

And, you should probably be in a dense urban area where soccer fields are hard to find.

 

Or this is what may happen to to your business.

Many of you may remember this soccer field, on TCB, that received approval by City Planning in spite of not having adequate parking, restroom facilities, or even any structural evaluation.

The idea of the business owner was to bring the indoor version of soccer, that is popular in dense urban areas of Europe, to the foothills of Tujunga. There was, of course, at least two problems with this idea. First, this was an outdoor soccer field built on a wood deck, and, this was Tujunga, not a dense urban area in the least. In fact, we enjoy more open space than anywhere else in the City of Los Angeles, (and aim to keep it that way).

The STA and the STNC went round & round with the owner and City Planning over this project, trying to improve it so that it would not be a burden on the area for the lack of parking and bathrooms, and also because of what appeared to be sub standard construction on the soccer field deck. We also wanted to help the owner make this a business that would be inviting, and meet the needs of the possible clientele who would patronize this facility.

In the end, the business owner and City Planning ignored us and the city planner even cited the failure of the Specific Plan to address a business of this type, (there’s that damn Specific Plan again, woefully outdated and doing little to protect our community).

During the time this business was open, we don’t recall ever seeing the field utilized by soccer playing customers, not one single time. Now, we can watch the weeds grow, the paint fade, and the soccer field slowly crumble and become an eyesore in our neighborhood.

The Rebirth of Old Town Newhall

We just wanted to share these photos of the beautiful transformation of Newhall from a few blocks of blighted buildings into this new, well thought out (on so many levels)  pedestrian inviting retail street!  Note the detail in the pedestrian walkways and the abundance of vegetation. Great Job, Newhall! If only Commerce Ave., could look this nice!

S-T Parade Makes Front Page of Daily News

Mayberry meets Doo Dah in Sunland-Tujunga Fourth of July parade

Posted:   07/04/2012 05:28:54 PM PDT
Updated:   07/04/2012 06:29:59 PM PDT

 

Participants make their way down Foothill Blvd in Sunland during the annual Fourth of July parade, sponsored by Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer)Neighborhood Council. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer) (Hans Gutknecht)
Maggie makes her way down Foothill Blvd in Sunland during the annual Fourth of July parade, sponsored by Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer) (Hans Gutknecht)

» PHOTOS

Loud, proud and wet.

Can’t ask for much more from a Fourth of July parade, and that’s exactly what the 30th annual march down Foothill Boulevard in Sunland-Tujunga delivered Wednesday morning.

Well, maybe you could also request some sweetness. There was that, too.

“I liked when we got wet and got the candy, and saw the horses and the donkey,” 6-year-old spectator Madison Sullivan said after she was doused by a truckload of Little Leaguers with super water guns and tossed butterscotch and bonbon candies from a passing `30s roadster.

“And I liked the

Participants make their way down Foothill Blvd in Sunland during the annual Fourth of July parade, sponsored by Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer) (Hans Gutknecht)

cheerleaders (from Verdugo Hills High) because I want to cheerlead but I haven’t yet.”

On the loud front, fire engines wailed their sirens, motorcycle clubs revved their engines and a guy on a unicycle played bagpipes along the parade route from Mt. Gleason Avenue to Sunland Park.

“We always explain our parade as Andy of Mayberry meets the Doo Dah Parade,” said Parade Chairman Ellis Robertson, past president of the Sunland-Tujunga-Shadow Hills Rotary Club, sponsor the free-to-enter event that this year had about 60 participants in groups ranging from two to 60.

Tradition was represented by a six-horse contingent from the Lakeview Terrace-based War Horse Foundation. They’re re-enactors who use horses to teach history.


On Wednesday, four of them were decked-out in minuteman uniforms while two sidesaddle-riding ladies wore tartans, which at the time of our revolution the English forbade Scots to wear in their homeland.

“We wear this on Veterans Day and at various civic functions,” explained the foundation’s director, Fritz Bronner. “We present many famous cavalry regiments from around the world; we have about 80 different uniforms.”

On the more Doo Dah end of the spectrum, singer Super T honchoed a borrowed tractor that hauled a giant lemon sculpture on a flatbed trailer.

“I’m a rock star but I’m also a heavy equipment operator,” laughed T (real name: Tracy Underwood), a superheroic vision in thigh-high black boots, red minidress and blue – well, electric aqua – wig and opera gloves. “This all represents a whole lot of fun in a patriotic spirit. The lemon is just a conversation piece.”

Of course, it’s not an Independence Day parade without local politicians waving from the backs of classic convertibles. Thanks to redistricting, Sunland-Tujunga had an abundance of those this year: former district representative City Councilman Paul Krekorian and his family on a bright blue Ford Mustang, new district Councilman Richard

The annual Fourth of July parade along Foothill Blvd in Sunland sponsored by Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer) (Hans Gutknecht)

Alarcon with his wife and daughter on a classic `60s Chevy Malibu.

Plus Congressman Adam Schiff, just redistricted back into the area after a 10-year hiatus, atop a horse.

“It’s nice to be back in the parade, it’s a real slice of Americana,” Schiff said. “Though my wife is really the horse rider in the family.”

National pride was evident, of course, all along the flag-festooned parade route. But love of community was the more palpable emotion, referenced often by both spectators and participants.

“I’ve lived in Sunland for 17 years,” said writer Pat Kramer, who’s seen every Fourth parade in that time and participated in one as part of the local business and professional women’s organization. “It’s a pride thing; I love this community. I used to live in another part of the Valley, and since I moved here I’ve been a lot happier. You know your neighbors, you know the local businesspeople, even though we’re part of the city of L.A., it feels more like a small town. And we have the best air in the Valley!”

After riding on the local American Legion float, Korean War veteran Max McAdams spoke of his ties to the area.

“I practically grew up here,” he said. “I started high school at Verdugo in 1945 and I’ve been here most of my life. I taught school and I still work for Slater Realty, right here on the boulevard.”

And since he was born on the Fourth of July, McAdams definitely appreciates the party his neighbors throw for him every year.

“I keep trying to tell people that’s what all of those firecrackers are for,” he joked. “They’re celebrating my birthday!”

4th of July Fireworks Show Entertainment Schedule

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It’s that time again!

It’s All Semantics

Recently, we ran a story about an illegal pawn shop trying to open on Foothill. Evidently, the Pawn Shop must have read our story, and as of Friday,  presto;

We’ve seen the name switch trick before, so this may not be the end of the story.

Now You See It…..

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This is what happens when a business doesn’t take the time to review the Specific Plan before proceeding. Pawnshops are specifically prohibited in the FBCSP (see Section 8) and this one will likely be shut down by Building & Safety within a few months.

Tujunga Wash Clean Out on Thursday Morning (5/24)

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This picture of the elaborate tree house was taken Wednesday during a hike into the Tujunga Wash by LAPD, General Services  Police, LA Mental Health, LAHSA, and STA. The purpose was to make sure everyone that is camping in the wash knows that their camps will be removed tomorrow morning at 8am. There will be multiple agencies present tomorrow morning to offer alternative housing and medical services. Skip Loaders and trash trucks will be on location to haul away the rubbish. People in Progress will be providing manpower to cart the trash out, and SLO Rich Wall will be coordinating the entire event along with staff from Councilman Krekorian‘s office. Volunteers wishing to assist tomorrow should see Officer Wall at the Oro Vista parking lot (near the Riverwood Ranch entrance). Call me if you need directions or further info; Joe @ 818 438-7076.
Unfortunately, I cannot be there tomorrow due to an unchangeable work schedule but I commend Councilman Krekorian and Officer Wall for being so proactive on this matter. Good luck to all!

Tujunga Wash Clean Out to Occur on May 24th

Heavy Equipment arrives for Tujunga Wash Clean Out in 2011

-On Thursday(5/24) of next week, beginning at 8am, the 2nd clean-out of the Tujunga Wash will take place. LAPD, General Services Police, DWP, LA Family Housing, LA County Health, People in Progress, and numerous other agencies will work the area between Mt. Gleason to Oro Vista. There will be services offered to the homeless who camp in the wash, including possible alternative housing, assistance for Vets, and drug/alcohol addiction treatment,  and the camps will be removed. If you would like to volunteer and help with the effort, please feel free to contact me at joebarrett@gmx.com .This clean out is being coordinated by Senior Lead Officer Rich Wall and Councilman Krekorian and his staff. At the last clean out we were able to get several people help with alternative housing, and the hope is that even more will accept the services being offered this time around.

-Speaking of alternative housing, Stephanie Klasky -Gramer, the director of LA Family Housing Services, will be speaking  Monday, May 21 at the Land Use Committee meeting at 7pm at North Valley City Hall. We expect to hear updates on the Day Street Project and maybe even more!

Living With Mountain Lions

Our thanks to Zara McDonald of the Felidae Foundation for her superb presentation last night at NVCH! We hope you enjoy this information packed video.

Living With Mountain Lions

 

California-based and globally-working wild cat conservationist Zara McDonald, Founder and Executive Director of the Felidae Conservation Fund, gives an engaging and inspiring presentation about mountain lions and the work currently underway to study and protect them. These keystone predators (also called pumas and cougars) play a critical role in maintaining the health and biodiversity of our ecosystems. However, expansion of human populations is causing increasing encounters and conflicts between humans and pumas, and growing tensions in our local communities. Zara shares stories from her extensive field research work and provides a compelling view of the natural grace and beauty of these animals, delves into the biological and ecological science that is working for their preservation, and offers essential tips for living and recreating without fear in puma habitat. Zara will also discuss steps being taken in other regions to improve response protocols to mountain lion incidents in residential neighborhoods, communities and towns.
This presentation is sponsored by the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council, The Sunland-Tujunga Alliance, Inc., The Foothill Trails Distict Neighborhood Council, Teranga Ranch, and the Lake View Terrace Improvement Association.

It’s All About the Mountain Lions…


There is a very informative presentation this Tuesday evening (at 6pm) at North Valley City Hall. Robin Parks, an investigator from the Mountain Lion Foundation will present a 1.5 hr training session on mountain lions. This training is primarily geared toward law enforcement personnel who are so often the first responders to a cougar incident. Cougar biology and behavior will be covered, but his presentation mostly addresses the myths & misconceptions, and the politics & passion that so often surround these animals. Also addressed are general safety do’s & don’ts, aggressive vs non-aggressive lion behavior, shoot/don’t shoot decision factors, and some very interesting and thought provoking facts and statistics about “America’s lion”. Although the briefing is geared towards law enforcement and first responders, the meeting is open to the public and you are invited to attend.
Mr. Parks will be traveling up from San Diego to present this briefing. The STA and the STNC are sponsoring the event. Then, on the following Monday, May 14th, Zara McDonald the director of the Felidae Conservation Fund will be coming to North Valley City Hall to present “Living With Mountain Lions”. This will be another information packed presentation from a leading authority on mountain lions.
The recent killing of the mountain lion in Sunland has certainly caught the attention of both of these high profile groups (The Mountain Lion Foundation, and The Felidae Conservation Fund), and we strongly urge you to attend both of these presentations if you are able. The presentation on May 14th is sponsored by the STNC, the STA, the Foothills Trails District Neighborhood Council, the Lake View Terrace Improvement Association, and Teranga Ranch!

In other news; In the next couple of weeks, representatives from several City agencies that deal with the homeless, will begin to visit the Tujunga Wash to make contact with the numerous camps that have sprung up since the last Wash Clean-Out in May of 2010. They will be making services available to the homeless in the goal of relocating them into appropriate housing. Then near the end of the month, the LAPD along with General Services Police, People in Progress, DWP, and others including staff from Councilman Krekorians’s office, and members of the STA, will work to remove the camps and mounds of accumulated trash. The Tujunga Wash Clean-Out will hopefully be done on a regular basis going forward.  Senior Lead Officer Rich Wall along with Jackie Keene from CD2are coordinating this much needed effort and we hope you will thank them for their work on this problem the next time you see them.

Posted 4 minutes ago by Joe B.

Felidae Conservation Fund is Coming to S-T

When the Ribbons are Cut on Opening Day

We would love to save your golf course. If and when we ever have any money.

The Prop O Citizens Oversight Committee met Wednesday afternoon at City Hall East to discuss and possibly take action on both the Verdugo Hills Stormwater Project (VHSP) concept and the LA River Natural Park Project (LARNPP) concept.If the Verdugo Hills Stormwater Project can be approved and funded, then the VHGC would be saved from being turned into 229 homes,  and water would be reclaimed, cleaned, and recharged in an aquifer that would lie beneath the golf course.

The “If” in this case appears to be a big one.

The source of funds for both the VHSP and the LARNPP lies in the return of unused money from other already approved projects. Some projects may be coming in under budget or may be canceled altogether, thus freeing funds to be used for a few new projects. This is where the problem lies and was the source of some frustration at today’s meeting. The chairman of the Prop O Committee, Mark Gold (former head of Heal the Bay), tried several times to get an estimate from the project managers as to the amount of funds that may be returned and to when they might be returned. The project managers made it clear that they are not willing to commit to any set figure of funds being returned (if any funds are returned) until their projects are complete. They contend that there are too many variables and that unforeseen costs could arise. Mark Gold asked,  “So when will we have a dollar amount on the Prop O surplus funds from your projects…when the ribbons are cut on opening day?” The project managers nodded their heads. From what I understand, it could be 2015 before some of the projects are completed.

 

Councilman Krekorian and Councilman Alarcon both attended the meeting and both spoke very passionately in favor of the two projects. And that’s the kicker in all this….There is support for these projects coming from all over the state, from elected officials, from many neighborhood councils, community groups, and residents. It seems like everyone wants to see this move ahead. There just isn’t any Prop O money yet, if ever, to fund the purchase of this property much less convert the sites into water reclamation sites.

A telling moment in today’s meeting was when Mark Gold asked Councilman Alarcon if he had any friends in Sacramento that might help us out.

Another part of today’s meeting that was disappointing not to mention irritating; The Prop O committee did not have a quorum , so they could not even vote to support the projects. A room full of people who came down to City Hall for a 2pm meeting, and a decision can’t be made on anything due to no quorum being met.

Uh-Oh………

Impatient with the Pace of Community Plan Updates, Mayor Proposes to Upzone Whole City in One Fell Swoop

• All Existing Single-Family, Multifamily, Commercial and Industrial Zone Regulations would be Rewritten

• Code Proposed to be More Flexible, Allowing Wider Uses and Bigger Buildings

The Mayor’s Planning Department has proposed a $5-million, five-year work plan to upsize Los Angeles, replacing the current, generally static zoning code with a “dynamic” system that would expand the array of uses allowable in different zones and dictate the general form of buildings, while only lightly regulating the inside of buildings (including residential density) and the growth impacts of more building, including traffic and parking.

The proposed changes would be the most sweeping overhaul of the zoning code since Prop U essentially locked in much of LA’s low-rise building culture in the mid-1980s.

“We are going to remake what the city looks like,” Mayor Villaraigosa recently told the New York Times for an article about the Hollywood Community Plan.

In a March 27 memo to the Los Angeles City Council, Department of City Planning Director Michael LoGrande calls the proposed citywide project “a wholesale revision of the regulations that guide [LA’s] built form.” LoGrande describes the intent to create a “dynamic Web-based zoning code” that will offer “a wider variety of zoning options to more effectively implement the goals and objectives of the General Plan and accommodate the city’s future needs and development opportunities.” LoGrande’s memo is posted on the homepage of the LA Neighbors United website.

The project envisions creating a new menu of zones, and then converting existing zones to either comparable new zones or different ones. By LA Neighbors’ analysis, here are two examples of how this might work: Read the full post »

The VHGC Needs Our Help! Like, Right Now!

Don't let the golf course....

become this..

There is a way to Save the the Golf Course! It’s called the Verdugo Hills Storm Water Project.

If approved, the Verdugo Hills Storm Water Project could provide funds to buy the Verdugo Hills Golf Course and its surrounding property. It would maintain the golf course as a public recreational facility, and implement methods to capture, cleanse and store storm water, provide flood protection, increase water conservation, enhance habitat protection, and preserve open space.
How can I help?
Email Paul Krekorian and Richard Alarcon.  Emails can be brief.  You just need to let them know you want to see the storm water project move ahead with Prop O funding and the VHGC preserved.  A few samples:
  • Verdugo Hills Golf Course is a good fit for Prop O funding.  The storm water plan would clean storm water and protect our ocean.  Plus we can’t afford to keep losing recreation.  Please do what you can to help move this along.
  • I like what I’ve read about Prop O and the storm water project.  In L.A. we need to make the most of every rain drop.  But we need your help to make this happen.
  • We want to save the golf course and Prop O offers a great way to do it.  Please support the Verdugo Hills Storm Water Project.  It’s good for the environment and the golf course.
  • We need to get Prop O funding.  We want to save the golf course AND improve storm water capture.   This is important to me and to my family, but we need your help.  Thank you!

Where do I send my email?
To: councilmember.krekorian@lacity.orgcouncilmember.alarcon@lacity.org
cc: shahram.kharaghani@lacity.org; wing.tam@lacity.org; damian.carroll@lacity.org; ana.grande@lacity.org; info@savethegolfcourse.org

What happens if we don’t save the Verdugo Hills Golf Course?
A developer plans to build 229 houses on the property.  That means hundreds of additional cars & trucks using Tujunga Canyon Blvd., La Tuna Canyon Road, Honolulu Avenue, and the 210 Freeway.  Plus the loss of recreation, open space, wildlife, and watershed protection.
If you’d like to know more about the storm water project and efforts to save the VHGC, visit:

Tell your friends and neighbors about the Verdugo Hills Storm Water Project and how it could help the VHGC.

Samoa Ave SB1818 Project Presentation

Here is Monday night’s presentation before the Samoa Sub Committee by the Milare Investment Group regarding the proposed sb1818 affordable housing project on Samoa Ave in Tujunga.

Fresh & Easy Grand Opening Debrief

An Opening Day to Remember.

Fresh & Easy’s Grand Opening sales & attendance yesterday far exceeded the stores expectations according to Ray Ortiz, the store manager. We (Cindy Cleghorn & I) paid a visit to the store earlier this morning to meet with Ray and get a status report.

According to Ray;

Wednesday’s Grand Opening came within $100 of breaking the all time record for Southern California F&E opening day bakery sales.

The peak attendance occurred between 6 to 8 pm Wednesday night. The line of customers waiting to check out extended south to the back wall of the store, west to the far wall, and north back towards the store entrance.

Store employees distributed water bottles to customers waiting in line.

The average amount of money spent per customer was $29.00, which is high according to Ray.

90% of the employees hired at this F&E live less than a mile from the store.

2 other Fresh & Easy stores opened yesterday in SoCal and did not do as well as the Tujunga store.

Opening day sales and attendance is usually a good indicator of the long term prospects for the store. Ray was very pleased with yesterday’s Grand Opening.

Ray also explained that he actually received phone calls from the community yesterday praising the level of service and the quality of store items.
A lot of the callers just said,”We’re so glad you are here”, according to Ray.

Fresh & Easy Opens in S-T

Fresh & Easy opened for business today at 6350 Foothill Blvd in Tujunga. This morning’s Grand Opening was complete with a ribbon cutting and a line of people waiting to get in. The store has remain packed throughout the day and the customers seem to be loving this new addition to the community! We would like to send a special thanks out to Cindy Cleghorn, who has worked for over 3 years to bring this business to town. Great job, Cindy, you did good!

Cindy made these comments about the store opening today;

“F&E coming to our community took some time. I have “courted” them for over three years! The F&E folks have changed in that time and when they finally decided to move forward they met with the community and made sure their plans for the store were all approved by the City prior to the start of any work on the store. None of this would be possible without the support and help of key leaders in S-T: Sonia Tatulian, Joe Barrett, Abby Diamond, Nina Royal and (me) Cindy Cleghorn. Thanks to Paul Krekorian and Mayor Villaraigosa too for sending reps to the hearings! This is everyone’s store now. Enjoy and be healthy!”

Cindy Cleghorn cuts the ribbon

Samoa Project Developers to Make Presentation on March 26 at NVCH

Beautiful Samoan House. No Relation to the Samoa Ave. Project.

The Development Team for the proposed Samoa Ave Affordable Housing Project has agreed to make a presentation before the Samoa Sub-Committee on Monday, March 26, 7pm at North Valley City Hall. The developers are seeking a compromise with the community in light of two pending Appeals over their massive project. One Appeal is regarding the Site Plan and was filed by the STA. The other is an Appeal to the Density Bonus and was filed by neighbors that live adjacent to the  Samoa site. In this presentation, the developers are expected to offer a scaled down version of the project that includes design changes, lower building height, a decrease in number of units, increased parking, greater setbacks, and increased open space, among other things.
Our thanks to Councilman Krekorian and his Planning Director, Karo Torossian, for arranging this presentation.

Prop O Time for the VHGC


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We just learned the Verdugo Hills Storm Water Project Report could be presented to the Prop O Citizens Oversight Advisory Committee [COAC] as early as next week. The COAC Meeting Agenda may not be published until later this week and we wanted to give you a quick head�s up. Rest assured, if you are an eBlast subscriber, you will be among the first to know once we have the information.

In the meantime, we need your help!

Immediately contact Councilmember Paul Krekorian and Councilmember Richard Alarcon letting them know you support the Verdugo Hills Golf Course and believe Prop O funding of the Verdugo Hills Storm Water Project would be a good investment for our city by enhancing the environmental benefits of the property and promoting local recreation for all ages.

 

City Councilmember Paul Krekorian
councilmember.krekorian@lacity.org
City Councilmember Richard Alarcon
councilmember.alarcon@lacity.org


Please copy the following in your email:

 

Mr. Shahram Kharaghani, City of L.A. Bureau of Sanitation
Watershed Protection Division Manager
shahram.kharaghani@lacity.orgMr. Wing Tam, City of L.A. Bureau of Sanitation
Watershed Protection Division Assistant Manager
wing.tam@lacity.org

Mr. Damien Carroll, District Director CD2
damian.carroll@lacity.org

Ms. Ana Grande, District Director CD7
ana.grande@lacity.org

Save the Golf Course/V.O.I.C.E.
info@savethegolfcourse.org

 

 

Why the Verdugo Hills Storm Water Project is a Win-Win for Angelenos & the Environment

Read the full post »

FBCSP Workshop #2; What Happens When the Specific Plan Fails?

Abby Diamond and Dean Sherer presenting case studies of Specific Plan failures at Monday night’s workshop.

Specific Plan Workshop #2

On Monday night, the Foothill Blvd Corridor Specific Plan Workshops Committee presents Workshop #2 “What’s Wrong With Foothill Blvd (and how do we fix it)”. This workshop will examine the failures of our current woefully outdated Specific Plan and discuss how even minor adjustments to the current language and terms used in the plan could make a world of difference in improving the Sunland-Tujunga community. The presentations at this workshop will be made by 3 people that are very knowledgeable and have years of experience in dealing with the Specific Plan; Abby Diamond, a co-founder of the STA, Dean Sherer, a LUC  and a STA member, and Tomi Lyn Bowling, the chairperson of the LUC .
Another new development that brings even greater significance to these workshops, and why your participation is vital; LA City Planning has recently applied for a $1 million dollar grant from the state of California to specifically  be used to update the Community Plans of Sunland-Tujunga, Pacoima, and Sun Valley. We’re not certain as to how our Specific Plan may play into all this if they grant is approved, but there is talk that the city would like to integrate Specific Plans with Community Plans. If this were to happen, these workshops could become a valuable tool to guiding the update of the Community Plan.
We hope to see you on Monday Night at 7pm at North Valley City Hall for what will certainly be a highly informative event!

Bam! Goes the Wrecking Ball

Well That Was Fast!

The LA Times states the obvious; There’s no way 15 City Council members can adequately represent a city of 4 million people. The 15 number was established early in the last century and was designed so that each council member represented about 35,000 constituents. Today, each council member represents around a quarter of a million people. We need more representation and smaller districts, or it’s never going to work.

The STA, along with several community leaders, met with the developers of the proposed Samoa Project on Monday afternoon to discuss their new scaled -down proposal. The meeting was cordial and productive, and we appreciate the developers taking the time to meet with us. They are working on specific reductions in both the number of units, the height of the building, and attempting to provide 2 parking spots per unit, among other things. We are hoping to see an actual site plan and rendering of this “new and improved” project in the coming days. The developers are now setting up meetings to present before the Samoa Committee, the LUC, and the STNC . Our special thanks to Councilman Paul Krekorian and his Planning Director, Karo Torossian, for coordinating  and facilitating this meeting.

Goodbye Old Bonner’s Building…

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The old Bonner’s building at 6477 Foothill is about to face the wrecking ball. Permits have been pulled to demolish every structure on the property. Local neighbors will be pleased, as the site has been operating as an illegal auto repair facility in recent years. Due to the efforts by the STNC, several California regulatory agencies, and (believe it or not), the LA Dept of  Building & Safety, the illegal auto shops were shut down and now comes the wrecking ball. No word on what will be going in at this location, but we’ll keep our hopes up.

Months ago, local blogger Terre Ashmore walked away from her Brock Bajer blog while she dealt with some personal challenges.  Her blog has sat silent for some time, but that may be about to change. Terre began her blog as a big critic of the STA and our efforts to improve the Specific Plan, but, over time,  she began to see that “The Sky is Falling Gang” was yanking her chain and just using her to promote their fear-mongering. We look forward to her renewed efforts at writing about this wonderful community.

We want to say goodbye to an old friend. After 7 years of loyal and devoted service, the No2HomeDepot.com website is no more. Home Depot was stopped from invading our community in early 2009, and we left the web site up as a historical record and reference source for all to view since that time. The site continued to have numerous visits even up until today. Our #1 visitor over the last 3 years? The Home Depot Corporation themselves. Maybe we were being utilized in some sort of training class for Home Depot real estate directors? Who knows. The site got our community national and even international attention, and was integral to our defeat of this Goliath who thought they could just have their way with Sunland-Tujunga.
Goodbye old friend, thanks for the memories!

What’s Wrong With Foothill Blvd?

Workshop #2 is next Monday, March 12th! This workshop will be hosted by Abby Diamond and Dean Sherer and will take a serious look at the problems with our current Specific Plan and the Foothill Blvd in general. This is the one you don’t want to miss!

Hello Council District 7

Is it just me, or does our new district sorta look like Bart Simpson with a broken nose?

The Los Angeles Redistricting Commission has released it’s final report and recommendations. Here’s an excerpt from page 20 of the report concerning the Foothills Communities;

The Foothill communities of the Northeast San Fernando Valley
A final difficult regional issue of the Commission was where to place the Foothill
communities of Sunland, Tujunga, Shadow Hills, and Lake View Terrace. Under the current Council District boundaries, this region of the City had been in District 2 for the last ten years as a result of the creation of District 6 in 2002, in order to meet the requirements of the federal Voting Rights Act due to a historical pattern of racially
polarized voting in the previous ten years. During the pre-draft map public hearings, residents of the Foothill communities expressed their desire to remain whole in District 2 or District 7, and wanted to include the entire community of Lake View Terrace which had been split under the current boundaries.

When the initial Draft Map was released on January 25, the Commission split the Foothill communities along the I-210 Freeway in order to keep Lake View Terrace, Sunland and Tujunga whole in District 7, as well as keep Shadow Hills and Sun Valley whole in District 6. This split along the natural boundary of the I-210 Freeway was unacceptable to most of the residents within the Foothill communities, and mistakenly did not recognize the split to Lake View Terrace.

As a result, the public testimony during the pre-final map public hearings centered around keeping all four of these communities whole within one Council District. Most of the testimony did not state a preference as to which District, just that the community be kept intact due to rural nature of this part of the City, truly an anomaly within the urban and suburban expanses of the City of Los Angeles.
With adjustments to be made at the February 15 Commission meeting, five Commissioners proposed adjustments to make the Foothill communities whole in District 7, the most out of any area in the City. The final decision by the Commission, reflecting the above adjustment, is in conformance with Section 204(d) of the Los Angeles City Charter and in keeping with the policy decision to keep at least two-thirds of the Neighborhood Councils whole and to minimize splits between Council Districts to the extent possible. The current configuration of District 7 keeps the Foothill Trails Neighborhood Council and the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council whole and together within one Council District.

 

Now, the map goes to the full Los Angeles City Council where we expect a few minor changes may be made, but barring something completely unforeseen, we’ll be in CD7 for the next 10 years (and that could be a very good thing. More on that later).

STA Meets with Councilman Krekorian Regarding Samoa Project

(L-R) Jackie Keene, Dean Sherer, Tomi Lyn Bowling, Lydia Grant, Cindy Cleghorn, Councilman Paul Krekorian, Joe Barrett, Mary Benson, Ed Novy, Adrin Nazarian

As many of you know, the STA has an Appeal filed against the proposed SB1818 Affordable Housing Project on Samoa Ave. As we usually do when preparing for hearings, we try to meet with Councilman Krekorian to discuss the situation and talk about our options. As always, Councilman Krekorian and his staff were most accommodating and met with us and members of the community earlier today to talk about the Samoa Project. Councilman Krekorian expressed to us how frustrated he is with this developer and wants to be clear that he does not support this project in the least. Paul believes the developer has not listened to the community and he encouraged us to proceed with our Appeals. In fact, Councilman Krekorian has never met with the developer personally, all contact has been through his staff. We did receive the news that likely due to the work of the Samoa Committee, the Appeals written by Dean Sherer and filed by the STA, the developer may be considering downsizing the project significantly . We’ll have more on that later.

We talked about how redistricting changes may mean that this would be the last meeting the STA would be having with Paul and how we all felt pretty sad about that. Paul said he felt like a family was being torn apart and how much of a bond he had developed with our community.  All in all, it was a productive and reassuring meeting and we certainly appreciate the Councilman’s continual support of Sunland-Tujunga.

Theodore Payne Foundation Event at NVCH this Saturday

Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers and Native Plants invites you and other interested community members to view plans for improvements to our educational facilities.

Date: February 25th, 2012
Time: 10a-12p
Place: North Valley City Hall
7747 Foothill Blvd.
Tujunga, Ca. 91042

Our Foundation received a $930,000.00 educational facilities grant from the State of California in 2011. As planning proceeds, we seek your input to the improvements that will be made to our property at 10459 Tuxford St., Sun Valley.

We hope to include you in our discussion. Refreshments will be served.

Please contact TPF Executive Director Lynnette Kampe at 818-768-1802 for further information.

FBCSP Workshop #1

On Saturday, the FBCSP Workshop #1 was held, “The History, Intent, and Problems Encountered”. This workshop looked at the origins of the Specific Plan, the intent of the Plan, and the problems encountered in implementing the plan. This workshop was a wealth of information due to the participation by LA Zoning Administrator R. Nicholas Brown. What an absolutely fascinating workshop! Thank you R. Nicholas Brown for your insights, historical references, and advice on improving our Specific Plan. Great job everyone!

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