By Edwin Folven, 5/24/2012
Panel is Reformulated After Being Disbanded Last March
The Mid-City West Community Council (MCWCC) reformulated its Planning and Land Use Committee (PLUC) Monday, electing eight members to serve on the panel that considers proposals for new developments in the local area.
MCWCC chair Sheryl Turner dissolved the PLUC on March 6 because “disagreements” between some members had caused it to “deteriorate as a committee”. One of the main issues was a workplace violence complaint logged with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office by one member of the former PLUC against another, claiming intimidation. The City Attorney’s Office later found that the incident did not rise to the level of workplace violence. Jenaro Batiz, a spokesperson for the City Attorney’s Office, said his office is no longer specifically monitoring the council’s proceedings, but would investigate any future complaints.
Turner said she had received confirmation from the City Attorney’s Office that it was within her authority as chair to dissolve the PLUC, although the City Attorney’s Office declined to comment, citing the confidentiality of discussions between the office and entities it represents.
The MCWCC’s executive council voted Monday on 15 candidates who had expressed interest in being on the new PLUC. Six of the eight members elected were on the previous PLUC, according to Turner. The new members are Cary Brazeman and Liza Gerberding. The returning members include Michael Barba, Michael Darner, Steve Kramer, Yudy Machado, Patrick Seamans and Rosalie Wayne. Stan Brent, who led the previous PLUC, will remain as chair. Jeff Jacobberger, a member of the former PLUC, opted not to run for the new panel.
The candidates who were not elected included Paulette Caswell, Robert Cherno, Allan Goldstein, Ken King, Charles Lindenblatt, Keith Nakata and Chuck Tarlow.
Brazeman said he does not think the original committee needed to be disbanded, but added that he is excited about getting down to the business of considering land use issues in the local community.
“I believe the committee was dissolved inappropriately. It was no more or no less dysfunctional than any other committee,” Brazeman said. “But that said, I am happy to be part of the solution. The planning and land use issues heard by this committee are critical in ensuring the quality of life in our community, and I look forward to being a part of that discussion.”
Gerberding said she has been a resident of the Miracle Mile area for 28 years, and a Los Angeles native.
“I have an appreciation for the classic architecture of the area and a keen interest in future development in the community,” Gerberding said in her statement of qualification as a candidate. “I love the combination of intimate residential neighborhoods and the city feel of the all business and cultural establishments in the area.”
Kramer said he was also pleased that the PLUC was reformed, and added that he would like to see more participation at meetings by members of the community who are not on the MCWCC.
“I am very much looking forward to getting past recent events and am looking forward to a collegial atmosphere that will benefit the whole community,” Kramer said. “I would like to see broader participation by all the stakeholders, including the business folks who work in the area. Stakeholders are not limited to the residents.”
Cherno, a longtime local resident, added that he questions the executive committee’s motives in electing the new PLUC, and said he plans to bring up the whole process at a future full meeting of the MCWCC.
“Obviously I am more than a little disappointed that the process wasn’t fair,” Cherno said. “These people who got elected are very pro-business, so the residents in the community will continue to not have a say on these issues.”
Turner said the new PLUC will gather for an informal meeting on May 31 where the members will get to know one another, and the first official meeting will be held on June 5.
“I am really looking forward to getting back to business,” Turner added. “I think everybody is going to deal with the issues fairly.”