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The Oaks Newsletter Fall 2007
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The Oaks Newsletter Spring 2007
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In this issue:

Notes from the President
Neighborhood Watch
Oaks Annual Meeting 2007
Thanks Mike

Are Your Dollars Going Down the Drain?
Oaks Night at Vermont
Large Houses on smaller lots...
Autry Taketh from Mt. Washington?
A HOT TOPIC: Fire in the Hollywood Hills
HOWARD CREMIN, 1922-2007

Spring 2007

Gerry Hans

In April, The Oaks said good-bye to a longtime friend in the neighborhood, Howard Cremin, with his passing. Howard was solidly rooted in the Oaks, raising his large family here, practicing medicine, and then, in retirement, devoting precious time to his other passion, history.What better subject matter than the history of his own “back yard” which he loved! After many wellresearched articles on early homes in the Oaks were featured in our newsletter, it became clear that Howard had produced plenty of material for a book. Over 900 books have been acquired by readers, many of them Oaks residents, so the memory of this remarkable man’s good work and deeds will live on.

Looking into another aspect of history of our own “back yard,” Griffith Park’s natural history is not well-documented, with only casual surveys done long ago. This became clear when theWorking Group first started its re-write of the Park’s Master Plan. Whereas the City felt compelled to spend over $400,000 for a Master Plan filled with exploitive ideas for structures and theme-park concepts, it spent no money for baseline ecology work for this vast natural area. For that matter, it spent no money on any surveys, user studies, or needs studies, at all!

So we wonder about the disappearance of various wildlife species.We wonder about the health of the Park’s distinct eco-systems, comprised of native plants, as they are infringed upon by introduced species. And we wonder what greenhouse gas induced climate warming will mean to Griffith Park’s ecology.

There is an urgent need to document the flora and fauna of the Park, and now private funds are being raised to fund a study. The Franklin Hills Residents Association stepped forward with seed money and has retained an ecological research firm to facilitate a flora/fauna survey of Griffith Park. Only by doing periodic scientific surveys can we follow the changes that take place over the decades and over the centuries. If you are interested in finding out more information on the importance, scope, timetable, or donations for this project, please see our website or contact any board member.

We are concerned about climate warming. Although the long term effects of temperature increases may be so gradual they are virtually imperceptible, it seems we can perceive its more obvious characteristic, its volatility. More aberrant weather patterns and temperatures are clearly in store for us. With a record wet season in 2004-5, record dry seasons in 2001-2 and 2006-7, living in the hills presents new challenges both due to heavy rains and due to brush fires. Fire season came to us early, with noisy helicopters and dense smoke. That was a bit of reality shock and hopefully everyone got the message.

The good news - the new undergrowth of weeds and brush is not significant, so brush clearance requirements are fairly easy to accomplish this year. What this means is we all should do an extra special job prepping our properties. And make sure the neighbors get all their brush cleared out, because uncleared brush next door presents a risk to you, too. If you have any questions, feel free to ask LA Fire Department for an inspection, or ask for assistance from a board member.  

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Spring 2007
Neighborhood Watch
Jeff Copans

For those of you who were not able to attend the Oaks Annual Meeting on March 12 and would like to sign up to participate in the Oaks Neighborhood Watch, THERE IS STILL TIME! I would like to thank all those who have already expressed an interest in trying to get our Neighborhood Watch off the ground, however we are still in need of more volunteers.

In order to make ourselves safer and more secure in our homes and lovely neighborhood, we need your help. A willingness on the part of those of us living in The Oaks to get involved will deter crime and deterioration in the surroundings that we all hold dear.

The crime in our neighborhood over the last few months has me concerned that our special enclave is becoming a target of those who seek to do harm. Since the beginning of this year crime is up 300% from last year. Besides stealing mail and breaking into cars we have had one home intrusion with a resident held at knife point. Trespassers have been reported on several properties between the hours of 1 and 4 am.

We are looking for Block Captains and volunteers who can monitor the Neighborhood Watch web site by posting alerts and warnings of suspicious activity. Also volunteers to call a phone chain and act as liaison with the Hollywood Police Department, which provides us with a Senior Lead Officer (Michael Shea) who is committed to assisting us in organizing our group and to keeping us informed of current trends and the latest preventive measures we can take. He has been very helpful to many of you who have already experienced a problem. All of us need to be aware and alert and willing to report suspicious behavior.

Many of our longtime residents participated in the Neighborhood Watch that was formed by my predecessors, Messrs. Swan and Dilkes, back in the early 90’s.We are hopeful that those earlier participants will once again help us, and give us the benefit of their experiences. 

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Spring 2007

Oaks Annual Meeting 2007
Rainer Standke

The Oaks Annual Meeting was held on Monday, March 12th at the Immaculate Heart High School Cafeteria. About fifty Oaks neighbors attended and were greeted by a selection of very tasty food donated by the new Little Dom's restaurant which is set to open soon at 2128 Hillhurst Ave, where La Belle Epoque used to be.

Oaks President Gerry Hans opened the meeting with a brief overview of issues the Oaks Board has worked on during the past year, particularly the Griffith ParkMaster Plan, the liquor license application for the Griffith Observatory, and the proposal to make the Annual Festival of Lights in Griffith Park a pedestrian-friendly event. The Board of Directors of the Oaks Homeowners Association was introduced and then reconfirmed for the upcoming year.

Neighbor and friend of the Oaks, Wayne Schlock next gave background on the proposed Interim Control Ordinance (ICO) that could limit new out-of-scale construction in the Oaks. See the article “Large Houses on smaller lots...” on page 4.

Patty Malone and Doug Mensman then spoke for Councilman Tom LaBonge who was unable to attend the meeting due to other commitments. Patty and Doug told us that a hearing in front of the Board of Public Works should be scheduled soon to deal with the illegal destruction of native oak trees from lots on Live Oaks East last year. They confirmed that Council District 4 favors the maximum possible punishment under the Oak Tree Ordinance. The hearing represents only the civil side of any prosecution and it is up to the City Attorney to decide if there will be a criminal prosecution.

The last major item on the agenda was the upgrade to our electrical power system that had been promised by DWP to Oaks residents last fall. Winifred Yancy from the DWP introduced Andrew Sparks, the Electrical Service Manager, who’s overseeing the upgrades in and around The Oaks. There are several crews working in our neighborhood currently and to date the work is slightly ahead of schedule. The electrical overhaul actually consists of a number of smaller projects, some of which are temporary in nature and only necessary to keep the juice flowing while infrastructure is rebuilt. To that end, underground lines will be put above ground temporarily. Mrs. Yancy and Mr. Sparks apologized for power outages The Oaks has experienced over the last few years and were hopeful that things will run much more smoothly this coming summer. They pointed out that last summer, over-heated transformers had no chance to cool off over night, because the nights were so hot. The major point of failure was an underground facility near Franklin and Western. Oaks residents will be kept up to date with information about the power upgrades from Mr. Sparks through The Oaks website and occasional email notifications from DWP through our homeowners association. (To sign up for email notification, please send an email to announcements@oakshome.org.) Since the meeting Mr. Sparks has followed up with an email to the Oaks HOA.

The meeting concluded as Board Member Jeff Copans handed out copies of the new Neighborhood Watch Manual. Jeff announced there will be a meeting to set up a Neighborhood Watch. Stay tuned for announcements.

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Spring 2007
Thanks Mike
Peter Ellis

With the recent fires in Griffith Park, it’s worth remembering the efforts of Mike Lyons, a previous president of the Oaks Homeowners Association. In the mid-1990’s, Mike learned that in the City plans to eventually upgrade the rusted sprinklers and refurbish water tanks, we were slated to be in a later, possibly much, much later phase. Mike, as representative of The Oaks successfully lobbied Council Member John Ferraro and his deputy Ron Deaton to make sure that we were given top priority. The project took several years and cost millions of dollars, but resulted in a big improvement in our neighborhood’s protection from fires in Griffith Park. A special thanks to Mike, and an ongoing note of appreciation from all of us.

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Spring 2007

Are Your Dollars Going Down the Drain?
Rene Dake Wilson  

The Oaks drew us in with a house that we liked, and got us to stay with its fabulous neighborhood and landscape. We relish having Griffith Park as our back yard, with natural vistas, animals roaming, and the native landscape.

 But what a different landscape it is from last year, our first year! Where’s the rain?! The hills around our house are brown, the mustard grass and California Poppies aren’t blooming on the hill behind our fence yet, the owl that loudly hooted outside our window last spring has only been heard once so far, and our LADWP bill is up – way up.

So we decided to perform a water audit. The results were shocking! With the irrigation on, our household was consuming over a thousand gallons per day! With the irrigation off, our household water consumption was down to 177 gallons per day! 843 gallons per day were going into the ground, that’s 83% of our water usage!

As a result, we started working with a Landscape Architect to design our yard with native and drought tolerant plants. By saving water, we also save the costs of the water, sewer (which is billed off of the water consumption rate), and the gardener, as native plants require much less maintenance.

Reducing irrigation and outdoor water consumption is not the only factor affecting water usage. During the remodel of our house, we installed dual flush toilets, low flow shower heads, and water efficient appliances. We have not removed our evapotranspiring pool and have no plans to do so – the draw of a cool dip in our back yard is the epiphany of the California dream to me and I look forward to swimming in it on a hot day this summer, watching our back yard transition gracefully into the surrounding hills.


1. LADWP bills are complicated, check your meter for relevant information. www.ladwp.com/ladwp/cms/ladwp000584.jsp tells you exactly how to read your meter.

2. The meter measures in cubic ft. 1 cubic ft = 7.48 gallons of water

3. Check your irrigation system regularly to be sure the heads aren't broken and there are no leaks, which are huge water wasters. To check for leaks, turn off all fixtures and faucets and check the meter to see if it changes over an hour.  

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Spring 2007

Oaks Night at Vermont
Caroline Schweich

Board members don their aprons once again.

Only one thing is as consistent as the fabulous food at Vermont Restaurant: the extremely friendly (if somewhat inexperienced) service on Oaks Night.

March 20th marked the fourth year in a row that this lovely neighborhood restaurant opens its doors to the community by allowing Oaks board members to wait on tables and donate all tips to the Homeowners Association. And boy, did Oaks residents step up to the plate (pardon the pun): the Association raised more than $1,300 in tips!

A special Oaks menu at just $29 (plus $5 for dessert) was created by the Chef and included such Vermont classics as Braised Short Ribs. It was a great evening and everyone—even unsuspecting “regular” patrons who knew nothing of our event—had a wonderful time.

Most importantly, this is a great way for the community to get to know each other, have some fun, AND raise some money for future events. Kudos to the Ponet Drive table: six residents from Ponet Drive decided to get together for drinks and dinner and they’d never even met! And a very special thank you to all you big tippers out there!

But don’t wait till next year’s fundraiser to have dinner at Vermont. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and is located at 1714 N Vermont Ave, telephone: 323-661-6163.

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Spring 2007
Large Houses on smaller lots... - Planning Department Holds Workshop for Oaks Residents
Bob Young

On Tuesday night, April 10th, representatives of the City’s Planning Department welcomed Oaks residents to a workshop at Immaculate Heart High School Auditorium to discuss the shape and scope of a proposed Interim Control Ordinance (ICO) aimed at reining in the outof- scale development that’s compromised both the character of our neighborhood and the quality of residents’ lives over the last several years.

Nearly fifty residents of The Oaks, Los Feliz and Hollywoodland attended the workshop at which City planner Blake Kendrick narrated a power point presentation with assistance from fellow city planner Kevin Keller.

Ms. Kendrick described the recent history of development here in The Oaks, a history of uncharacteristically large structures being built on relatively small plots of land - structures out of scale with the existing neighborhood. The result has been disruption of the neighborhood’s character, loss of privacy, loss of greenscape accompanied by increased runoff of water, loss of plant and animal habitat, a perceived increase in density, and further aggravation of an already difficult parking situation. The proposed ICO would, for a period of a year, restrict the construction of over-size structures by instituting a maximum Floor Area Ratio (FAR) for homes built or added-to in The Oaks. (Floor area ratio is simply the interior floor area of a home in square footage divided by the area of the lot in square footage; thus a 2,500 s.f. home on a 10,000 s.f. lot has an FAR of .25.)

The regulations proposed are based on a comprehensive survey of the existing house to lot ratios in The Oaks today, and are designed to ensure that new homes generally conform to the scale and character of the neighborhood relative to each individual lot size. The larger the lot size, the larger the size of the home that can be built on it. (Restrictions would be placed only on new construction and additions, and would have no impact on existing homes).

But rather than a single maximum FAR applied to all development, the ICO proposed by Kendrick and Keller envisions a variable range of allowable development and takes into account the specific needs of owners of very small lots. That is, owners of smaller lots would be able to build at a somewhat higher FAR than would owners of larger lots. For instance, the owner of a 4,000 square foot lot would be able to build a house as large as 1,500 square feet (.37 FAR), whereas the owner of a 10,500 square foot lot would be able to build up to a 3,000 square foot house (.29 FAR).

In calculating the area of a proposed new home or addition, the Plan would exempt up to 500 square feet of garage space (enough for a generous two-car garage). It would also allow for modest additions of up to 250 square feet for any existing home, even when the home already exceeds the mandated FAR.

The ICO is designed to bridge the next year or two, the time required for the Planning Department to research and formulate permanent regulations for development in The Oaks, and eventually for other hillside areas of Los Angeles.

After Ms. Kendrick’s presentation, residents asked a number of questions about the specifics of the FAR and how it would proceed from proposal to law. A number of people asked how it was that the Planning Department selected The Oaks for this pilot ICO. Members of The Oaks Board replied that, in fact, the Planning Department had not selected The Oaks; residents of The Oaks had approached the Planning Department, asking for help in controlling out-of-scale development.

The next stage for the ICO is a public hearing sometime in June at which residents of The Oaks can comment on the ordinance. After that, the Planning Department will issue a Staff Report and Recommendation on the ordinance which will go to the City Planning Commission and then to the Planning and Land Use Management Committee. Once both those bodies have vetted the ordinance it will go before City Council, probably in August or September, for consideration. Stay tuned.  

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Spring 2007

Autry Taketh from Mt. Washington?
Gerry Hans

Many of us remember how quickly the Autry Museum sprang into existence back in the late 80’s. In a not-so-public process, the City gave the private Autry foundation a long-term lease on ten prime acres in Griffith Park at the rate of $1 per year. It all happened so fast that many Park users had no knowledge about it until ground was broken. Now, another fast-track project in Griffith Park is in the making.

In 2003, the City’s oldest museum, the iconic Southwest Museum, merged with the Autry. The Southwest’s main building had some unfortunate, but fixable, structural problems because of the Northridge earthquake. Those problems combined with other short-term financial woes led it to the merger table. Initial promises were made to keep and revitalize the Southwest at its current scenic location on Mt. Washington.What seemed to be obvious when the merger was struck — that the two museums would be administered separately at separate locations — is now severely compromised.

A 150-200 million dollar fund-raising campaign is silently underway to fund an expansion of the Autry Museum in Griffith Park in order to relocate the Southwest Museum. According to preliminary sketches seen by some, there are plans to nearly double the size of the Autry. Then, in a second phase, a private “Institute for Study of the American West” is planned that would include an underground parking structure reaching all the way across the current lawn area to the golf course at the south. Yet, no master plan has been publicly made available to this date as one might expect, given that the property is solidly within the boundaries of a public City park.

A few weeks ago the LA TIMES reported, “…the building footprint will be maintained, but plans call for doubling the exhibition space.” Well, in fact, not true. In fact, Autry CEO John Gray uses the word “footprint” to refer to the ten acres of land, not the actual building. The Times reporter (like other intelligent persons) assumed “footprint” referred to the building when she got her information. Don’t be fooled. The Autry wants to almost double the size of the building itself And they’d like to break ground next year.

First, let’s look at the implications for Griffith Park. The Zoo/Autry area of the Park is already on the “slippery slope”. One might be tempted to say, “There’s already development here, so what’s the problem with adding to it?” Everyone wants a chunk of Griffith Park! Indeed, now that the Zoo and the Autry have their stakes in the ground, it appears hard to control their growth. However, if we continue to open the door to private institutions, such as museums, schools, and foundations, we have opened the door to commercialism, corporate partnerships, and all the other things that a park (our “Urban Wilderness”) is not about.

Furthermore, the expansion will be costly. No doubt, there will be expanded opportunities for the museum to charge the public for enhanced services, such as a nicer restaurant, additional meeting and facility rentals, and more feature exhibits and programs. But this leaves fewer opportunities in the Park that are truly “free to the masses”, which is what Colonel Griffith specified when the City accepted his gift of the land the Park now occupies.

Also, if equestrians, hikers and runners weren’t already displaced by the current Autry structure, they most certainly would be displaced when the rest of the ten acre plot is developed. There will be more traffic and an increased danger for bicyclists and pedestrians using the park for recreational activities. Mr. Gray stated on KPCC radio that the expansion will attract another 600,000 visitors a year!

Just as important, let’s look at the consequent impact on the Mt. Washington / Arroyo Seco area. To many, the loss of their treasured Museum, as the landmark white adobe structure boldly towering over the Arroyo Seco, is a sad and shameful outcome. This area is the heart and soul of the early history of Los Angeles. The distinction and legacy of hosting LA’s first and oldest museum in the Arroyo is an important consideration for all Angelinos.

The Southwest’s founder, Charles Lummis, put together a vast collection of fine artifacts of the Southwest and raised funds for the museum. Not far from the Museum is El Alisal, Lummis’s home in the Arroyo, built by him at the turn of the century. Certainly for any of us today, planning a tour of significant sites for out-of-town guests, a favorite choice is a visit to both locations on the same day — first to El Alisal, and then the Southwest. These two sites are so historically integrated that one must question the logic of separating them geographically.

The City brought the Metro Gold Line to the Southwest, and dedicated a light rail passenger station in its honor, an easy walk from the Museum. This development allowed over 100,000 students, as well as far-away residents to reach the Mt. Washington campus easily, and in an environmentally-friendly manner. Griffith Park’s access, on the other hand, is mainly vehicular, with no nearby Metro connection.

The Southwest Museum operated continuously since 1907. Last year, a funeral procession was staged in protest, as the doors closed.

Friends of the Southwest Museum Coalition has a vision for rehabilitating the Southwest Museum, using some of the funds that are currently being raised for the Griffith expansion for the Mt. Washington venue instead. Their plan helps us protect Griffith Park by significantly reducing the Autry’s expansion and negating the severe impacts to the park of such an expansion, particularly increased traffic.

Many organizations are joining to support The Friends of the Southwest Museum, both financially and in spirit. Without an outcry by the public, it seems that the writing is on the wall: the new home for the Southwest will be in Griffith Park. Please let our board members know how you feel about this issue.

For more information about the Friends of the Southwest Museum, you may go to their website at: www.FriendsOfTheSouthwestMuseum.com.

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Spring 2007
A HOT TOPIC: Fire in the Hollywood Hills
Alexander von Wechmar

When a major brush fire broke out on March 30 near the Oakwood apartment complex on Barham Boulevard, it could have been a very unlucky day for The Oaks and other residential neighborhoods in the Hills east of the Cahuenga Pass. But thanks to the quick response of hundreds of fire fighters, led by Battalion Chief Chris Kawai from Fire Station 27, the blaze was prevented from spreading to the east and up to the Hollywood sign. “Fortunately, there were no Santa Ana winds that day,” Fire Battalion Chief Craig Fry said. “Otherwise, the fire could have spewed embers over the ridge of Mount Lee and endangered homes in The Oaks.”

The event has heightened our awareness of the great fire threat we are exposed to, in particular now, after a winter with below-average rain fall.

The fire was also a powerful reminder that we need to keep our mostly narrow, winding streets clear of parked cars and dumpsters which could be in the way of emergency vehicles or impede the evacuation of residents if that ever became necessary.

In recognition of this problem the Fire Department has surveyed our streets and identified a number of “choke points” where it would like to see no parking permitted, at least on those critical “Red Flag” days when a combination of low humidity (under 15%) and high winds (speeds of more than 20mph) creates an exceptionally high fire risk. Per request of the Fire Department the City will soon place “No Parking” signs around those “choke points.” They will allow any vehicle that is parked there on a “Red Flag” day to be towed away at the owner’s expense.

The battalion chiefs at Fire Station 27 are also working on a detailed evacuation plan for The Oaks and on a phone system that in case of a major emergency would allow them to alert every Oaks resident by leaving an automated voice or text message, all within a matter of minutes. To increase the presence of emergency response personnel and equipment in our area the City plans to build a new fire station on an empty lot at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Van Ness Avenue (the site of a former ARCO gas station). The two-story building will house one fire engine and two ambulances. Our old fire station on Bronson Avenue will be torn down and replaced by a new structure which will store additional equipment and serve as a training facility for fire fighters.

The efforts of the Fire Department to be prepared for any possible emergency in our neighborhood should prompt us to do our share by having all brush and other combustible materials cleared away from our properties and by making sure that our streets remain accessible for fire trucks and ambulances at all times. 

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Spring 2007

HOWARD CREMIN, 1922-2007
Bob Young

One of the loveliest people ever to live in the Oaks has died. On Monday, April 2nd, long-time resident Howard Cremin passed away. Howard was a very well-liked neighbor known as the foremost expert on the history of the Oaks. In 2004 The Oaks Homeowners Association published his book “Los Feliz Oaks, A Place of Rare and Ineffable Charm,” a collection of articles that had previously appeared
in our newsletter. Mr. Cremin was a man of ineffable charm. He will be missed.

As soon as we moved into the Oaks in 1986, I started seeing Howard Cremin on his daily walks along Canyon Oak and Park Oak and Live Oak. Over the last twenty years Howard’s pace slowed some, and his hair got whiter, but his face never failed to light up the moment a friend approached. He was always delighted to talk about who might’ve just moved into one of the neighborhood’s homes or who might be renovating an old house. And in the course of a conversation right there in the middle of the street, you’d usually find that Howard knew how old the house in question was, whether it had been built by a industrial robber baron or a Hollywood starlet, who the architect was, who’d owned it in the 50s, and whether the sun porch was a much later add-on that didn’t really fit. Howard moved very comfortably from decade to decade in the course of a single conversation – the 40s and the 90s were all part of the same very interesting continuum.

From his attention to detail and his interest in the residents of The Oaks going all the way back to the 20s, Howard would have made a splendid archaeologist. He chose medicine instead and was the celebrated Chief Pathologist at Queen of Angels Medical Center for many years. He and Eleanore settled in The Oaks in the 1950s and reared five children on Canyon Oak Drive. After retiring from medicine Howard had the time to indulge his long-standing interest in the history of Los Angeles and in particular his own neighborhood. His research into the histories of dozens of homes in The Oaks, done initially as part of a larger historical survey by the Los Feliz Improvement Association, eventually led to a series of essays for the Oaks newsletter on the notable homes of the area. In 2004, those essays were compiled into a volume, Los Feliz Oaks: A Place of Rare and Ineffable Charm, which drew its title from the promotional brochure used to entice buyers to build homes in what was called Ponet Terrace in the 1920s.

Howard enjoyed the quiet charm of the neighborhood and treasured its wooded undisturbed character. But of course he was still fascinated anytime anyone started tearing into a house because, well, it was a good occasion to remember when was the last time the house had been torn into, and by whom, and what happened to those folks after that. Howard Cremin left us on April 2nd and is now himself a part of the rich history of The Oaks that he loved to remember. We are richer for his having lived here. And we are happy to remember him striding down the street, looking about, taking it all in. 

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Spring 2006
John Purcell

If you don’t want to waste some time on the Internet, then just stop reading now.

I mean it. Stop reading unless you are willing to waste at least a couple hours.

Okay, now that the unfun people have moved on, I am going to share several invaluable websites that will enhance your Oaks living experience. The first is Oakshome.org. It’s the official website of the Oaks and my wife Holly, the VP of the Oaks board says I have to put this site first. Log on and enjoy. (You are enyoing it now. - The webmaster)

Now, I can get to my real favorites. First is the LAPD’s Crime Map site, http://www. lapdcrimemaps.org/. It allows you to put in any address and see what crimes were committed recently in your area.When I did a search for all crimes within a mile of our house in the last week, the only crime that came up was stolen car near Normandie and Los Feliz Boulevard. The week before there were a couple of burglaries on Hollyridge. If you keep in mind that we live in the middle of a huge urban area, our neighborhood is remarkably safe.

There is another map my niece Susy told me about that encourages crimes of a sort. Specifically, fruit-napping. http://www.fallenfruit.org/mapping.html. This site provides the locations of fruit trees in different public places in LA. Should you wish to scoop up some lemon or kumquats, this is the site for you. Wannabe cartographers take note: Silverlake and Echo Park have maps on this site, but no one has yet stepped up from the Oaks. Don’t go stealing fruit from your neighbors’ trees, though, or you’ll end up on the crime map above.

There are several websites that will impress/ shock you with respect to the type of information available to the general public in the heyday of the Information Age. There is actually a website where you can see every single political donation made by the residents in any zip code: http://opensecrets.org/indivs/index.asp. It allows you to search by date of donation, or amount of donation. This site will erase any doubts you might have had about any of your neighbor’s political leanings. Put in 90068 and the political landscape of the Oaks is there for you to see.

Fascinating, but creepy in a Big Brother kind of way.

Speaking of Big Brother, check out google.com and go to “map.” If you click the “satellite” button, you can enter your address and see your house from space. If you want to see what your house looks like from the County Clerk’s perspective, all of the real estate transactions in the Oaks (and in LA County), are on display at http://maps.assessor.lacounty.gov/mapping/viewer.asp.

Finally, if you’d like to review Bronson Canyon’s long and distinguished film career, log on to http://employees.oxy.edu/jerry/bronson.htm, which lists all the movies that were filmed there. They range from Lightning Bryce in 1919 to the Scorpion King in 2002. In between there were Pirates of Monterey, Mark of the Gorilla, Teenagers from Outer Space and Earth vs. the Spider.

Nothing but the best comes from the Oaks. 

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