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Oaks News Archive 2004

Book Signing Party (12/17/04)
Tree Planting - Volunteers needed Saturday, Nov 13 (11/10/04)
Major Changes are Planned for our Park Rangers..... Extinction?
(10/11/04)
Planned Parking Restrictions in the Oaks (10/6/04)
West Nile Virus
(8/31/04)
Fire Station to move to Hollywood Blvd
(8/18/04)
Good Neighbor Award 2004 (8/3/04)
Oaks Picnic 2004 (7/17/04)
T'ai Chi in Bronson Park
(7/17/04)
The trees are coming (7/17/04)

Oaks letter regarding a proposed restaurant at Griffith Park Observatory (5/15/04)

Book Signing Party

Reported by Gerry Hans

A popular book signing was held on Tuesday evening, December 14th, at the home of Holly and John Purcell honoring our acclaimed resident author, Howard Cremin, who has been a serious student of our area.  His book, "Los Feliz Oaks: A Place of Rare and Ineffable Charm" was produced by the Oaks HomeownersAssociation.  A rather sizable group attended the book signing intending to buy the book if they already hadn't, and then wanting autographs so that Dr.Cremins had only a few minutes to pause and say a few words to his audience.  It was a lively holiday-spirited evening, and a good time was had by all.

Complete with history of our neighborhood and anecdotes, the book is a treasure for all of us to enjoy.  The book contains a collection of stories about various special homes in the Oaks.  Residents may have read some of the articles when they were first published, one by one, in the Oaks Newsletter between 1987 and 2000.


Oaks president Peter Ellis, author Howard Cremins and Mike Lyons (left to right) at the party.

Many people are owed our most sincere thanks for their hard work on this book project.  Graphics credits go to Mike Lyons, Dick Sharpe, and Howard Cremins.  Mike pulled an image off the original “Ponet Terrace” real estate brochure, the perfect image for the front cover of the book.  Dick Sharpe and Howard shot photos and also collected photos from most-cooperative residents.

The beautiful, artistic layout is all the work of Dana Levy and Tish O'Connor of Perpetua Press.  Dana and Tish have been dedicated in handling all the printing details of the book, and the Oaks Homeowners Association could not have handled this job without them.

Credit also goes to Jan Weiss who transcribed several of Howard's taped interviews.  Our ad sponsors are greatly appreciated.  Gary Bergovin and Tess Nelson subscribed to a sponsor ad, and should be thanked for being so gracious when their ad got accidentally dropped from the first printing.

And finally, Dr Howard Cremins, thank you!

If you don't have your own copy, you can order yours right here on this website, or pick one up at Tailwaggers in Victor's Square.  There is a discount available to paid Oaks Homeowner members, by ordering online, emailing or calling an Oaks board member.

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Tree Planting - Volunteers needed Saturday, Nov 13

The second of 2 Tree Planting Days is here. Here is an email sent out by the organizers:

Hello Tree Friends and Lovers!

The Second Tree Planting Day is here – AND WHAT A DAY IT WILL BE!

(Please make sure you read this whole e-mail so you have all the information you need for this coming Saturday.)

This time we're going to give Franklin, Bette, Miguel, LaQuisha, Martha, etc. neighbors across the street so they can wave at each other all the time.  (In case you missed our first planting, our trees have names to go with their great personalities.)

The fun will begin this Saturday, November 13 at 8:45 a.m.  We will be planting 30 trees on the North side of Franklin; with that we will bring completion to Phase I of the Franklin Beautification Project.  With that in mind, please know that we will need as many volunteers as we can get.  (Since we want you to continue loving trees after we're done planting them.  Lawd -- last time we were overworked!)

Please look forward to a super fun celebration after we're done planting the trees.  Here is what you should expect:

·        There will be lots of food donated by neighbors and local business as a "thank you" to all the participating volunteers.  This will include our favorite coffee donated by Starbucks, freshly baked bagels and cream cheese donated by Rick Levy at Victors Wine/Deli, and Two types of quiche (spinach and lorraine) donated by Bill Gotti at Victors Restaurant.  The invitation is open for you all to donate other goodies, the more the better.

·        A raffle of a HUGE basket with lots of good stuff in it donated by Hollywood United Neighborhood Council. So make sure to be there.

The gathering will take place at:

 Immaculate Heart High School

5515 Franklin Avenue (at Garfield Place).

Some of us will be there at 7:30 a.m. to start the preparations for the day.  You may feel free to come and help with some of that stuff, including moving the trees to their new planting spots as we can use a lot of help.  As for the actual planting of trees, it will begin at 9:00 a.m.  We expect to be finished by 1:00p.m. just in time enjoy, rap, play, scream, and shake it, shake it shake it to the anticipated performance of:

KRS-ONE!

How’s that for entertainment!

So, get up and come play with us…

Please know that all of your efforts are highly appreciated, and all your hard work is already paying off.  We can see that everyday when we drive on Franklin and see all those beautiful happy trees!  (Except for the ones taken down by the tree-hater neighbor, which I just don't get.  I mean, do you?  Honestly!)

We look forward to seeing you all there on Saturday morning.  In the meantime, please feel free to contact me (Herson) at 323-394-7927 or Adam Kear at 323-466-5828.

Herson Mojica

P.S. Don't forget to invite your neighbors, family and friends to come join us to plant trees.  The cat can stay home this time.

Also, there is an older Oaks News item about the tree planting further below.

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Major Changes are Planned for our Park Rangers..... Extinction?

Around Griffith Park - By Gerry Hans

 Will Park Rangers Become Extinct?

In August, the City announced a plan whereby most of the Park Rangers would be transferred to General Services.  General Services is a large City department which is responsible for many tasks, including City building security/maintenance, parking facilities, City fleets, etc.  The plan was rushed forth with intentions of a swift implementation (January 2005), without appropriate input from the public.  The Recreation & Parks Commission themselves openly represented the process as a "bad process".  Even our City-sanctioned neighborhood councils received only "inside" information regarding the proposal.

 Under the plan, we are told that a handful of Park Rangers would remain as "interpretive" Rangers, and would not have "peace officer" status.  The ones transferred would be armed and would need to have appropriate uniforms distinguishing them from the unarmed Rangers.  The normal General Service Security Division uniforms are similar to that of LAPD.

 Issues of concern include at least these: 1) Our Park Rangers currently are specialist in their particular assigned area.  It is questionable whether GS Officers will be extremely knowledgeable of the territory they patrol.  2) We are concerned about the complete bifurcation of the "security" function from the "interpretive" function.  Our Rangers do both functions quite well, currently.  3) A police-like uniform is less friendly than a Ranger uniform, and does not encourage the environmental responsibility theme that Rangers exude.  Also, police-looking personnel are seen by citizens as "passing through", whereas Rangers are "in situ".

 Oaks Homeowners has asked Councilmember LaBonge for a townhall meeting on this subject, allowing homeowners living next to Griffith Park to ask about the implications of this significant consolidation proposal.  This meeting is now scheduled for Wednesday, October 27, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Friendship Auditorium at 3201 Riverside Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90027. RSVP at (213) 978-2616. Please attend so Council District 4 hears your voice.

Coyotes Trick or Treat The Oaks

Recently the City's Wildlife Officer Program was salvaged, thanks to activism by a group of Griffith Park users and the support they received by Council District 4.  The timing could not be better, as our urban wildlife continue to overlap our own habitat.

 Wildlife officers give this advise on dealing with Coyotes in our neighborhood.  First, never feed them and never leave out pet food or food scraps.  A significant fine may be accessed to anyone feeding any species of wildlife.  Second, "stand your ground" and "put the fear back into them".  Do not be friendly; be aggressive and talk harshly to them.  Behavior can be changed quite effectively.  Third, eliminate any possible denning areas, such as overgrown vacant lots.  Eliminating denning areas is also helpful in keeping the skunk population in the Park, and less in our neighborhood.

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Planned Parking Restrictions in the Oaks

Los Angeles Fire Department officials have determined that weather
conditions in recent years have significantly increased the brush fire
threat in Griffith Park. As a result, they say, the fire danger to our
homes is greater today than ever before.

To improve the access for fire trucks and other emergency vehicles to
our neighborhood, the City plans to severely restrict parking on some
of the narrow and winding streets in The Oaks.

An official map provided to us by the LAFD shows the "red zones"
which our Fire Department has identified as "choke points" and where parking will be prohibited. To see the map, click here.

See our upcoming newsletter for more information about the City's
proposed parking restrictions in The Oaks.

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West Nile Virus

Reportedly, a crow found dead in Beachwood Canyon on August 12 tested positive for West Nile virus. For more information on the virus you can visit www.wipeoutwestnile.com

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New and expanded fire station to go on Hollywood Blvd

At a townhall meeting on August 17, 2004, Allan T. Kawaguchi, the Fire Bond Program Manager of the City, announced that a new and expanded fire station will be built on the north side of Hollywood Boulevard (west of Bronson Avenue), at or near the current location of the Florentine Gardens nightclub.

The new facility will eventually replace our current fire station at 1800 N. Bronson Avenue.

Before making their final decision, city officials had looked at a number of other potential sites for the new fire station but had found none of them to be as suitable and perfectly located as the property on Hollywood Boulevard.

Alexander von Wechmar, one of the boardmembers of The Oaks HOA, praised the decision and thanked city officials at the meeting, in particular Councilmember Tom LaBonge, for granting our community a voice in the lengthy process of finding the best possible location for the new fire station.

 

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Good Neighbor award to Renee Weitzer

On August 2, we presented our Good Neighbor award to Renee Weitzer. We were thanking Renee for her years of service to our community and to Los Angeles in general. Our Councilman, Tom LaBonge, also attended the ceremony.

Here are some photos:

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Oaks Summer Picnic 2004


Our annual neighborhood get together on July 10th was a big hit!!  In case you missed it, there was grilled meats and sides from Earle's Grill, kids games and a jumper, neigborhood chit-chat, and the first perfect weekend of summer weather. The Oaks HOA wants to thank Prizzi Trattoria, Tailwaggers, and Johnathan Corob for donating raffle items for the drawing. Here are some pictures of all the fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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T'ai Chi in Bronson Park Saturday mornings at 10:30 a.m

Right in our neighborhood, there is a Tai Chi class open for everyone interested. Leader Kenneth Klimak describes what is going on:

I started studying Tai Chi Chuan in Bronson Park in 1972, and as far as I know, people were studying there for 3 or 4 years before that. I studied from '72 to around 1980. Then I came back to the park in 1995 to find that people were still doing Tai Chi there every Saturday morning. I started teaching there around 1997 and have been doing so since. The main reason I teach there is to give back what was so freely given to me back in the seventies.

We start warm-up exercises at approximately 10:30 am to around 11:00. At 11:00 we do the entire 108 yang style Tai Chi Chuan. That takes around 20 min. Then after about a 5-10 min. break, we split up into classes. 1st section for beginners, 2nd section (intermediate) and 3rd section (advanced).

It's basically free. We ask for a suggested donation of $3.00, but its not mandatory. This goes towards bringing a guest master from a local Tai Chi Chuan school on occasion, or a dinner, or things like this.

Everyone, and all ages are welcome.We are in the park every Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. Bronson Park is reached by going north on Canyon Drive from Franklin. Once you enter the gate to the park, look to the far end of the meadow to your right. Park and join us.

More info at http://taichila.com/information.html

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The Trees are Coming! Volunteers Needed!

At the Oaks Picnic on July 10th, activist Adam Kear was inviting people help planting trees in our neighborhood. Here is the (slightly abreviated) text of the leaflet he passed out:

Did you know there is a beautification project happening on Franklin Avenue?

Your neighbors are working with the City and TreePeople to beautify our neighborhood. The Franklin Beautification Project is a City-assisted volunteer project to plant new trees along Franklin Avenue, uniting the entire community in neighborhood improvement. The first phase will take place soon, with the planting of 50 new trees over two weekends this fall. While the City is providing funds for the trees, neighbors are needed to help organize our tree planting and help plant and care for our new trees!

There are many ways you can help:

  • Talk to neighbors, spread the word and gain interest.
  • Solicit food and beverage donations from local businesses to provide snacks, lunch for volunteers on planting day.
  • Select and help order trees and supplies from local nurseries.
  • Help unload trees from the nursery truck on the morning of delivery.
  • Create and post flyers; send notices to local papers and elected officials.
  • Track our tree planting permitting process with the City.
  • Teach others how to plant trees by becoming a trained Planting Supervisor!
  • Be an example to your children and neighbors. Come to the planting days and show them how together we can change our neighborhood!

Find out more and become involved.

The Franklin Beautification Project is an opportunity for involvement of the entire community, from input on tree selection, planting, watering, or helping feed hungry volunteers.

For more info or to volunteer, contact Adam Kear, 323 466-5828, akear@earthlink.net

UPDATE (8/4/04)

Oaks volunteers can also contact Susan Swan 323 463-2463 or SSwanLA@aol.com. More updated info will be posted here as it becomes available.

UPDATE (8/14/04)

Save the dates:

The initial phase of Franklin Avenue tree plantings will be on two Saturday mornings in October and November:

Saturday, October 2:  Planting of the south side of Franklin between Western and Canyon.

Saturday, November 13:  Planting of the north side of Franklin between Western and Canyon.

 

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Letter by boardmember Gerry Hans

The following is the full text of a letter written by Oaks boardmember Gerry Hans on behalf of the association. Gerry is our representative on the Griffith Park Resource Board. The letter concerns a proposed restaurant next to the Griffith Observatory. In March, The Recreation and Parks Commissioners surprised much of the public when they announced the results of a feasibility study for a "Landmark Destination Restaurant" proposed at the location of the previous "snack bar" at the Observatory. The study presented both a 220 seat and 440 seat version, the latter having a full-fledged banquet facility. There has been almost unanimous opposition to this plan by nearby homeowners associations and neighborhood councils.  

 

The Oaks Homeowners Association
P O Box 29155
Los Angeles, CA 90029-0155

April 26, 2004

Mr. Mike Roos, President
Board of Commissioners
Department of Recreation & Parks
City of Los Angeles
200 N. Main St. Room 1330
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Re: Proposed "Landmark Destination Restaurant"

Board of Commissioners:

The Oaks Homeowners Association, representing approximately 600 homeowners just to the west of FernDell Drive and Western Canyon Road, has given careful consideration to the possibility of a restaurant as described in the "Feasibility Study" initiated by the Recreation & Parks Department.  Based upon this material and the discussion at the March RAP Commissioners meeting, we suggest that the project be dropped from RAP's agenda.  We urge that no further City money be spent, and we are against presenting this project for the RFP process.

We believe the Commissioners should consider the inherent conflicts that a Landmark Restaurant may present to a Master Plan already in force, specifically the Griffith Observatory Master Plan, and the 25 Year Griffith Park Master Plan which is in the late stages of completion.

The Master Plan process for the renewed Griffith Observatory is quite complete, quite specific, and has been previously accepted by the City.  In it, the Observatory specifies the plan for an in-house café.  The plan calls for a small café with no frying and no grilling to avoid particulates from going into the air.  To propose a large nearby restaurant is not only putting the Observatory's own business opportunity in jeopardy, cooking discharge may actually interfere with their telescopes.  The added ambient lighting from the evening parking and valet of cars also may present an issue for the telescopes.  None of these issues have even been mentioned in the study, let alone analyzed.  In fact, the Observatory was not even contacted by the study group for their expertise on these matters.

Although the Master Plan process for Griffith Park is still continuing, none of the public outreach meetings made mention of the possibility of a restaurant in Griffith Park.  More importantly, there was an adamant and unanimous consensus against any building and any commercial enterprising in Griffith Park at all of the outreach workshops.  At this point, it is too late to add such a substantial project to the Master Plan without scheduling further public outreach workshops.

The feasibility study appears incomplete.  For example, it does not address parking.  The study suggests the lack of parking be remedied with valet from other parking lots, presumably the Greeks Theatre's.  It is questionable that diners would be willing to endure the time delays that can occur when shuttling cars that distance.  Wherein the study acknowledges that the Observatory itself needs 200 parking spaces for its operation, it ignores the fact that competition for parking spaces may become fierce, sometimes negatively affecting the Observatory patron's experience.  It also ignores the fact that the Observatory was counting on an additional 30 spaces to be reclaimed with the removal of the previous snack bar.  Nor does the study discuss the space requirements for the large amount of garbage that is created with a restaurant of this size.

Western Canyon Road currently closes at sunset, as does the Vermont route.  The opening of one or both of these roads into the night may allow problems, previously experienced, to once again evolve.  With the limited ranger staff under which the Park is presently operating, it is not time to take this risk.

We do not challenge the financial credibility of the study.  It is well known that the restaurant business is competitive such that 90 % fail within a few years.  However, with the exploitation of the spectacular views that this venue provides, it is totally conceivable that the enterprise may generate revenue for the City.  However, the objectives set forth in both the Observatory and Griffith Park Master Plans are incongruent with the mandate to "find revenue" for the City.

In summary, we feel that the feasibility study has been floated with little merit and it ignores the understanding of what the public wants for their Griffith Park.  Furthermore, it has not adequately addressed the consequent problems that the restaurant would cause.   We respectfully encourage abandonment of the quest for a "Landmark Restaurant" at the Observatory location.

 Sincerely,

Gerry Hans
Oaks Homeowners Association

cc: Councilmember Eric Garcetti, Councilmember Tom LaBonge, Michelle Fleenor, Linda Barth,

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