Author Archives: admin

MSMU On The List to Build

Mount Saint Mary’s University, the campus sitting atop Chalon Road via Bundy Drive, is adding their name to the list of school’s desiring to add to their campus facilities. Archer School for Girls and Brentwood School have already signed covenants to expand their campus structures and now MSMU sees a new “Wellness Facility” in their future.

Some nearby homeowners are complaining MSMU alreadyscreen-shot-2016-09-18-at-7-58-51-am generates more than enough traffic on the narrow streets of Bundy Drive and Norman Place, and a new modern facility will only draw more students from MSMU’s other campus, further drowning the canyon streets buses and cars.

 

Residents will be unlikely to stop the project as the City is inclined to approve most institutional requests with only minor concessions. The University is set to do an Environmental Impact report which will present more information about the effects the project will have on the surrounding community and traffic. The report should be released in January.

House Passes Lieu Bill on VA

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 5936, the West Los Angeles Leasing Act of 2016.  The legislation incorporates the full text of H.R. 3484, a prior bill introduced by Congressman Lieu to authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs to use enhanced-use leases at the West LA VA campus. The legislation allows the VA to implement the campus’ Master Plan with enhanced-use leases.

Leiu said, “I am pleased the House of Representatives passed the West Los Angeles Leasing Act of 2016, which authorizes the VA to implement the Master Plan for the West L.A. VA campus.  Today represents a giant leap forward in restoring the property to the Old Soldiers’ Home it was always intended to be.  If enacted, this legislation will enable the VA to construct 1,200 units of housing for homeless veterans at the West L.A. VA and offer new robust services on the campus such as vocational training, recreation and spiritual support.  The legislation also ensures that all leases on the campus principally benefit Veterans and strengthen the partnership between the VA and leaseholders.”

The legislation is a path for certain land leases that will allow UCLA and Brentwood School to continue to use a small portion of the 350 acre property by providing beneficial services to Veterans. For now, Barrington Park will also be available for public use, but the dog park use may soon be in limbo.

Bonin Approves MegaCity

The City Council and westside Councilman Mike Bonin approved by a vote of 12-0 a mega-City at Bundy and Olympic called Martin Expo Town Center. Forget that the intersection is already a choke point for traffic, and forget that this development will add 7,000 car trips PER DAY to the area — our City government and agencies are pushing it through fast and furious. The developer made some very minor concessions, including a paltry donation to homelessness, $200,000, for a project that will cost well north of $250 million. In addition, the Martin family, heirs to the Martin Cadillac legacy, will add some “affordable housing units,” which realistically are a small give for a mega-project that includes

  • Over 500 residential units
  • Near 100,000 square feet of retail
  • 200,000 square feet of office space
  • Ten story building heights

Some residential groups wanted them to eliminate the full scale supermarket, since this draws outside traffic, in exchange for a smaller one that just serves the development, but the Martin family said no, even though there are two full-size Ralphs markets and a Trader Joes within walking distance.

Somehow, Councilman Bonin can’t see what the entire City of Santa Monica saw when they sent the Hines Company packing with their proposal for Bergamont Transit Village. That huge development, also near an Expo Line transit stop, was seen as too big and creating too much traffic for the adjacent streets and intersections to bear.

The approval of this project is courtesy of the same people who thought a ground-level train, which blocks traffic paths while it shepherds commuters was a more reasonable alternative than an elevated system which could have all the benefits and none of the drawbacks.

Welcome to LA! Now stay home.

 

Opinion: The VA Master Plan Politics and Rhetoric Doesn't Help Veterans

Support Our Troops!  Make that battle cry and anyone with the slightest opposition to foreign invasions or policing is sent scurrying to the nearest crevice to hide.

The same hypocrisy is being perpetrated on our heroes at home.  Washington allowed the West LA Veterans campus to lay virtually dormant for decades, without proper funding, administration or an effective plan.  Now, after a veteran-inspired lawsuit by the ACLU, politicians and new VA Secretary Robert McDonald are pushing for a virtual utopia with housing and services for thousands.

The problem is, the government moves slowly, and while the plan is honorable, and housing and services are desperately needed, it does no one any good to expel income producing institutions before you are ready to put the land to good use.

The reality is that institutions and “veteran-centric” use of the land are not mutually exclusive. The campus area is over 350 acres and it will be decades before the majority of that land is put to good use for veterans, even with major dedication and funding.  Fencing off the land just as a show of commitment will not help anyone, especially veterans.  It will just emphasize the lack of activity and punish the neighborhood.  The collateral damage will be felt by UCLA, Brentwood School, Brentwood Village, Brentwood residents, and AYSO.

Be bold, initiate a realistic plan and work with veterans, the community and local government to make it happen.

 

Master Plan For VA Report Is Due In October

After several public listening sessions and a lot of private input from Federal and State officials, the Master Plan will be presented to the public.  The mission, from newly appointed secretary Robert McDonald and from a court settlement between the VA and the ACLU, is to make the West LA campus “veteran-centric,” meaning all land must be available for use by the veteran community.

In 1888, even before the establishment of the Veterans Administration, the formerly private land was donated to the federal government for the specific use by war veterans.  With a deteriorated focus and commitment to veterans, a group sued the VA with the help of the ACLU and a judge ordered a reexamination and/or evacuation of all leaseholders.

The land is now used by several entities under lease from the VA.  They include

  • Parks used by the neighborhood under the management of LA Parks and Recreation;
  • Brentwood School football and baseball fields;
  • UCLA baseball stadium
  • The Brentwood Village public parking lot.

Those uses are all in jeopardy until the Master Plan is established and it can be determined if those uses can benefit veterans.  Brentwood School has programs in place for veterans to use the athletic facilities, and is looking to expand their relationship.

A small group of veterans objects to any government input into the Plan and wants total control over the space, to be run by veteran’s groups.

Brentwood School and Veterans School Hosts Veterans At Sports Facilities

The Brentwood School upper campus on Barrington Place is continuing their long association with the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration with a new program which encourages vets to use the campus sports facilities.

Obesity is prevalent across the nation, leading to many health issues including diabetes, and veterans are not immune. The Brentwood School is hoping to play a part in combating those concerns by getting some vets active on the track, basketball court and tennis courts.  Supplying equipment and supervisory personnel, the School is hoping a growing number of vets housed at the West LA VA campus will take advantage of the program and improve their physical fitness.

Brentwood Opposes Bonin’s Motion Community Against Short-Term Rentals

The Brentwood Community Council, a collection of homeowner organizations, institutions and business representatives, today voted to formally oppose area Councilman Mike Bonin’s motion which would allow certain type of home rentals for under thirty days. The BCC motion to oppose, raised by Brentwood Homeowners Association president Ray Klein, stated:

BCC opposes Motion CF-14-1635-S2, sponsored by Councilpersons Mike Bonin and Herb Wesson. BCC opposes any change in the current zoning laws regarding short-term rentals.

Currently, rental of homes and apartments on a daily or weekly basis is illegal, but the City has been lax in their enforcement. The new proposal was hoping to regulate the renting of homes on a short-term basis (less than thirty days) facilitated in part by web-based services like AirBnB and VRBO.

While some hope to supplement their income by renting out their homes, others felt it threatened the sanctity and security afforded by residential neighborhoods.

BELWOOD BAKERY

11625 Barrington Ct  *  (310) 471-6855

A neighborhood favorite for over a decade, the friendly staff at Belwood Bakery serve up their muffins and coffee with a joke and a smile. Located on the east side of Barrington Court across from Peppones, the baked goods are fresh every day and include regular and bran muffins, croissants, various types of danish and bread of all kinds. The coffee drinks come quick and the boys in back make up sandwiches to order.

Try out the blueberry bran muffin or the delicious raspberry croissant, or keep it light, and gobble down a brioche to go. The variety of cakes are abundant, but the tiramisu and the raspberry cheese are the favorites. Fridays you can pick up a fresh challah (sliced or unsliced, raisans or plain).

Remeber to say hi to John, Anthony, Andy or Charlie when you stop in, and don’t forget to feed the meter or that muffin will cost you $65.