Sunday, September 30, 2007

West Gate Repairs In-Progress

Thank you to Bel~Air Beautiful and the Bel~Air Association for beautifying and renovating our beloved, historic (and aging) Bel~Air Gates!

Forgive the quality of the following pictures.
They were taken from a moving car with my mobile phone camera. . .

The overhangs were painted Sunday and they had traffic control/flaggers out to manage any lane closures. We do not anticipate any more lane closures or limited access. The painting of the gates will be done next week, by Friday October 12 if not sooner.

There may be a brief traffic control at the West Gate to replace the broken piece of glass in the light on top of the overhang, but such should not have a major impact on traffic.

Once the painting is completed, the Bel-Air Garden Club will begin the landscape project.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Bel~Air Association Security Committee - Alert Postcard Blast!

ALERT Postcards were mailed Friday by the Bel~Air Association to all known Bel~Air Residents (regardless of membership in the Association) in an ongoing effort to increase security and awareness across our great community. The postcard highlights photos of the Hillside Burglar suspects along with other pertinent Bel~Air information.

The security of our home and family will always be our greatest concern. In light of the recent upswing in burglaries and home invasions in Bel-Air this past year, the Bel-Air Association Security Committee was formed to help combat this problem and formulate ways to better protect our beloved community.

An important first step in increasing our security came with the installation and monitoring of the video cameras and warning signage at various locations about Bel-Air. But this is only a start as far more cameras are needed to properly monitor all significant vehicular access points to and from our community. We need your help and respectfully ask that every Bel-Air household contribute and invest in this project by clicking here to open a printable form for your donation.

This BLOG is also a significant advancement in area security – as it allows us to disseminate important information that will help to keep our community safe and strong.

In the future, we anticipate postings to include project progress reports, area security alerts, significant security announcements and the like.

We ask for your continued support and vigilance - and membership in our fine Association - for the betterment of all our homes and the Bel~Air Community as a whole.

Bel-Air Association Security Committee

Harvey Saferstein
Jeffrey A. Kaplan
Colleen Hanlon
Christopher Hameetman

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Bomb Threat in Westwood

A suspicious bag was dropped off at the Wells Fargo Bank in the UCLA Wilshire Center at about 11:22 yesterday morning, resulting in an evacuation of the building lasting several hours.

Officer Kate Lopez, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Police Department, said the LAPD bomb squad responded and the bag turned out not to be a bomb. She added that the police have a suspect in custody.

Several blocks in the area were cordoned off, resulting in increased traffic.

The affected areas were Wilshire Boulevard between Glendon and Veteran avenues, Lindbrook Drive north of Wilshire, and Ashton Avenue south of Wilshire.

By 2:35 p.m. the streets, the UCLA building and the bank were reopened without incident.

Monday, September 24, 2007

New Zagat Ratings: Congratulations Hotel Bel~Air!

The new 2008 ZAGAT Restaurant Guide is here.

Congratulations to the Hotel Bel-Air for topping the Best Service &
Top D├ęcor categories!

But we knew that already, didn't we.

Westwood Branch Library Programs

Of course, there is no Bel~Air public library, but Westwood's new branch is both new and very close-by.

Here are three upcoming programs in October at the Westwood Branch Library, and all free.

1. Thursday, October 4, 2007 at 6:30 p.m.: "AN EVENING WITH GEORGE BERNARD SHAW"--Featuring members of The Coop Theatre Company and guest artists in readings of the great playwright’s best-known works and more than a few surprises.

2. Saturday, October 13, 2007 at 2:00 p.m.: ELDERHOSTEL TRAVEL: Educational Travel for Seniors--An Elderhostel Ambassador will explain how this nonprofit, teacher-founded organization works & teach us how to maximize our travel dollars and take advantage of educational lectures and experiences.

3. Wednesday, October 24, 2007 at 6:30 p.m.: AUTHOR TALK WITH KATHERINE WEBER--You are invited to hear Katherine Weber speak about her novel "Triangle," based on the tragic New York City shirtwaist factory fire in 1911. Julie Robinson, popular book group leader from "Literary Affairs," will present the program. Books will be available for sale. RSVPs requested for this program at 310-474-1739.

Westwood Library, 1246 Glendon Ave., Los Angeles, 90024, Just south of Wilshire. Validated parking in library garage.

Please call 310-474-1739 for questions.

BABC Neighborhood Council September Meeting

The September meeting of the BABC Neighborhood Council will be on the 26th at 7 p.m. at the Community Magnet School.

New west area Police Captain Matthew Blake will be our guest speaker. Please join us!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Power Out and Back On

There was a transformer that went out in the Bel-Air area causing a power failure for many Bel~Air Residents. The power went out at approximately 1AM this morning and was restored by approximately 10:30 AM. Next up? Watch out for locust!

Bel~Air Afloat!

Did anyone else see animals walking by their homes two-by-two? Bel~Air got blasted last night just before 11 PM as the center of the storm passed directly overhead. As they say, all things in moderation, and that is exactly what we did NOT get last night. About a months worth of rain in 30 minutes. I would be in my backyard right now building an Ark if ABC's live doppler did not inform me that the worst was over.

LINK to ABC Live Doppler 7

After jumping to the LINK, click on "Animate" at the bottom right corner of the weather picture to see the current pattern pass overhead.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Bel-Air Gates Beautification

Bel-Air is one of, if not the most, beautiful community in Los Angeles. The Bel-Air Association, Keep Bel-Air Beautiful, works very hard to do just that -- keep Bel-Air beautiful.

The latest effort is the Bel-Air Gates Beautification project. The Gates, Bellagio Road on the west and Bel-Air Road on the east, are the most recognizable symbol of Bel-Air.

Keep Bel-Air Beautiful is funding the refurbishment of the gates and the Bel-Air Garden Club is funding the re-landscaping of the area in front of the gates.

The gate work began on September 19th and will continue through October 12th. The painters will power wash, repair and prep the stucco area for painting. They will also be cleaning, prepping and painting the wrought iron work and overhang.

The east gate work will be done September 20th through September 30th. The west gate work will be done October 1st through October 12th.

During this time period, PLEASE be careful as you drive in-and-out of the gates. The painters will be closing sections of the street where they will be working on the overhang.

Once the painting has been completed, the Bel-Air Garden Club will begin the landscaping.

A BIG thanks to the Bel-Air Garden Club for their participation and thank you to all of you who have contributed to Keep Bel-Air Beautiful. Your support has made this beautification project possible.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call the Bel-Air Association at 310-474-3527.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Bel~Air Association Alert Postcard

In an effort to enhance the security of our entire community, the Bel~Air Association Security Committee is sending the below ALERT Postcard to all known Bel~Air Residents.

Please support the Bel~Air Association and it efforts!

Click on the
Images Below to Enlarge

Sunday, September 16, 2007

VA Site Preservation: Email request from Congressman Waxman

There have been attempts by other Congressmen to eliminate the amendment by Congressman Waxman and Senator Feinstein made to an appropriations bill that requires the VA site to be used only for Veteran uses. Please act on the following message sent from Congressman Waxman's office.

Dear Friends,

Congressman Waxman and Senator Feinstein are working hard to ensure their legislation remains in the Military Construction-VA appropriations bill for fiscal year 2008. I am keeping a list of supporters of the legislation, which will be very important as the bill proceeds through the conference committee. I would appreciate your sending me your name if you support the legislation. If you have previously sent me a letter in support, can I trouble you to please send it again? If you are a veteran or a member of a veteran service organization, please indicate that as well. If you like, please feel free to complete the petition above in support of the legislation. Organization names are great, but individual names will show what a broad and enormous number of people support the legislation.

For those of you welcoming the New Year, please accept my wishes for a happy and healthy year.

Lisa Pinto
District Director
Congressman Henry A. Waxman
8436 West Third Street #600
Los Angeles, California 90048
t: 323.651.1040
f: 323.655.0502

Send your email comments via
For more information as to Congressman Waxman's actions, please visit

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Raw Video of Suspected Bel~Air Burglars: Part Two (Ringing Bell)


Friday, September 14, 2007

Raw Video of Suspected Bel~Air Burglars: Part One (Jumping Gate)


LA Times Housing Map - Bel~Air Still Rockin'

Click on Map to Enlarge

Map of Biggest Gainers / Losers Year-over-Year (August 2007 / 2006) . Bel~Air shows a 97% increase in median price.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Subway Tunneling in Parts of Los Angeles

Senate-Approved FY 2008 Transportation-HUD Appropriations Bill Includes Feinstein-Boxer Measure to Permit Subway Tunneling in Parts of Los Angeles

Washington, DC
– The Fiscal Year 2008 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development bill approved today by the Senate includes a provision sponsored by U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer (both D-Calif.) that would allow for subway tunneling in parts of Los Angeles. This could allow construction to move forward on the expansion of the City’s Metro Red Line, providing a public transit link between downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica.

“Today’s vote by the Senate brings us one step closer to bringing the long-awaited expansion of the Metro Red Line closer to reality,”
Senator Feinstein said. “It’s time to give the commuters of Los Angeles relief from the severe gridlock they face every day.”

Senator Boxer said, “This subway project is so important to helping reduce the terrible congestion in Los Angeles. We’ve been told this project can be done safely, so it’s time to move forward.”

Specifically, the spending bill includes a provision to overturn a 1985 law that prohibited tunneling because of the potential for methane gas explosions. After the Los Angeles City Council passed a motion in support of reversing the laws banning tunneling in 2004 and the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority board voted to begin discussions of subway expansion in 2005, an independent scientific safety review determined that subway tunneling could move forward safely.

The Feinstein-Boxer provision was added to the spending bill during consideration by the Senate Appropriations Committee in July. Before the bill can be sent to the President for his signature, it will need to be reconciled with the House in conference, and approved by an up-or-down vote by both Chambers.

Plans for VA Army Reserve property get public viewing

Residents express concerns that all three construction options would increase traffic in an already congested area.
The property, now the West Los Angeles U.S. Army Reserve Center, is on the southeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Federal Avenue. JSM Capital on Tuesday evening unveiled the three proposals.

The first proposal, called the "full development scenario," would include construction of 300 hotel rooms with 500 parking spaces, and 500 residential units with 1,000 parking spaces. The second proposal calls for a 3-acre county park and a Metro subway station that would connect to a hoped-for "subway to the sea," along with 300 hotel rooms with 500 parking spaces, and 300 residential units with 660 parking spaces. (A Metro representative said JSM was "misleading the public" by suggesting that the transit agency would put a subway station there, given that any subway on the Westside was years away at best.)

Under the third option, JSM would construct 1.5 million square feet of space devoted to medical uses, possibly including a clinic and/or medical offices, with 7,500 parking spaces. Last year, JSM emerged as the only bidder for the property in what the Army Reserve called a "real property exchange."

LINK to the Full LA Times Article

Despite Real Estate Slowdown and Massive Foreclosures, Bel~Air Homes are Increasing in Value

SoCal home sales at 15-year low, prices edge down

September 12, 2007

La Jolla,CA----Home sales in Southern California dropped to their lowest level since 1992 as buyers, sellers and lenders held back in an environment of market uncertainty. Prices are off their peak, markedly so in lower cost neighborhoods, a real estate information service reported.

County/City/Area # Sold July 2007 July 2006 % Change

Los Angeles County 5,544 $550,000 $524,000 4.96%
BEL AIR 8 $1,487,000 $1,150,000 29.30%
BEVERLY HILLS 27 $2,250,000 $1,500,000 50.00%
BRENTWOOD 44 $1,067,500 $1,255,000 -14.94%

Here are the August Los Angeles County numbers from DataQuick.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Chalon Road: DWP Street Closure through Oct. 31

Chalon Road will be closed until approximately October 31st for work by the DWP. The closure runs from just East of where Chalon meets Chantilly and runs eastward to about Sarbonne Road.

When driving South down Roscomare towards Sunset Blvd., please turn Right (West) on Chalon and proceed to Sunset via Bellagio Road.

Likewise, when driving South down Stradella Road, please proceed Right down Sarbonne Road, make a Left (East) onto Chalon and continue (making a Right) onto Stone Canyon Road to ultimately reach Sunset Blvd.

Of course, the reverse applies when heading North up the Bel-Air Hillsides.

LINK to MAP of Closure

Hidden Treasure in Bel~Air: UCLA Hannah Carter Japanese Garden

Garden Teahouse overlooking the Five-Tiered Pagoda and Koi Pond

The UCLA Hannah Carter Japanese Garden covers just over one acre and is located in the community of Bel Air.

The garden was inspired by the gardens of Kyoto. Many structures in the garden - the main gate, garden house, bridges, and shrine - were built in Japan and reassembled here. Antique stone carvings, water basins and lanterns, as well as the five-tiered pagoda, and key symbolic rocks are also from Japan. Several hundred tons of local stones came from the quarries in Ventura County and the foot of Mt. Baldy, northeast of Los Angeles.

The garden is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. by reservation only.

Due to limited parking, reservations are required and are available on the hour for a 50-minute duration. To make a reservation, please provide the following information: name, address, telephone number, preferred date and time, number of people, and number of cars in your party. It is recommended you make your reservations at least ten days in advance and provide an alternate date and time in case of limited availability.

A map with the garden location and directions will be sent to confirm your reservation.

Phone: (310) 794-0320

The administrative office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

A self-guided tour brochure is available at the entrance to the garden. To preview the garden’s highlights, check out the online tour and video.

Docent-guided tours may be requested for groups of 10 or more, but are subject to availability.

Monday, September 10, 2007


The Army is moving forward to sell 10 acres at Wilshire and Federal. The hearing is a "scoping hearing" on the anticipated adverse environmental impacts that should be addressed in the Environmental Impact Statement being prepared by the Army.

Beyond the massive traffic from this project, a very dangerous precedent would be set for the remaining 388 acres of the VA if this sale is permitted.

Army Reserve Public Hearings:

(1) Tuesday, September 11, 2007, 6 -- 8 PM OR

(2) Wednesday, September 12, 2007, 1 – 3 PM

(3) Wednesday, September 12, 2007, 6 – 8 PM

Army Reserve, 1250 Federal Avenue, LA 90025

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Sept. 6th VA Site Meeting: Panel's opposition to VA site plan is restated

Heeding veterans and Westside residents, a panel advising the Department of Veterans Affairs on the future of the VA campus in West L.A. has forcefully restated its opposition to any commercial development.

At a meeting Thursday night, panel members by a 10-0 vote reiterated opposition to any commercialization or sale of the 388-acre campus.

The panel's opinions are nonbinding, but community members said they hoped the strong response would have an effect.

Friday, September 7, 2007

JUST RELEASED: World Trade Center Final Designs

Not exactly a Bel~Air issue, but certainly a big deal nonetheless.

[rendering courtesy dbox]


The above renderings show the Freedom Tower, along with Tower 2 (by Norman Foster), Tower 3 (by Richard Rogers), and Tower 4 (by Fumihiko Maki).

For details of the towers, link the the following:
· WTC Final Designs: Tower 2's 'Glazed Crystalline Form' [Curbed]
· WTC Final Designs: Tower 3 Will Step All Over You [Curbed]
· WTC Final Designs: Tower 4's 'Abstract Sculptural Presence' [Curbed]

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Reminder: Tonight - Public Hearing on future development proposals for the Westwood VA property

WHAT: Public Hearing on future development proposals for the Westwood VA property (the "CARES" process)
DATE: Thursday, September 6, 2007
TIME: 5 PM - 9 PM
PLACE: Wadsworth Theater on the VA campus

LINK to LA TIMES Article on Meeting

Veterans, elected officials and Brentwood and Westwood residents are bracing for a potentially contentious meeting today that could help decide whether parts of the sprawling West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs campus eventually end up under the long-term control of private entities.

Counselmember Jack Weiss' September Newsletter

LINK to FULL ARTICLE addressing the following topics

weiss, rosendahl announce major investment in Westside traffic improvements

council supports wilshire traffic planning bill

weiss, mayor, lapd, community condemn anti-semitic attack

weiss fights rush hour construction work

weiss, adl host security briefing workshop

relaxed parking scheduled for high holidays

weiss restores westwood village’s distinctive sidewalks

weiss speaks on caltrans 405 hov lane sepulveda pass project

have a say in the future of the va

what you need to know about lahsa homeless services

recycling news and notes

upcoming events in council district five

staff profile: kellee o’rourke, leading legislation

VA Property Saga Continues

Veterans Park Conservancy announced on September 4th that it has signed a long-term agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs authorizing the development of a 16-acre memorial park to honor the nation's veterans behind the big fancy gate at San Vicente and Wilshire Boulevards .

LINK to Full Article


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Get Automatic Alerts when the Bel~Air Association BLOG is Updated!

One of our residents asked how they could be alerted when new information is posted on this BLOG. Terrific Question!

The Bel~Air Association BLOG is enabled so that our residents can receive updates through RSS Feed Readers.

Simply click on the following link: Posts (Atom)
A page should then pop-up that allows you to "Subscribe Now".

All RSS Readers work slightly differently, but once you subscribe, a box may briefly appear on your computer screen every time this BLOG is updated with an excerpt from our latest posting. Click on the excerpt to be directed to this BLOG and such posting. A new TAB may also appear on your browser toolbar that, when clicked on, will show a current and updated list of our most recent postings for direct linking.

NOTE that the subscription link
"Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)"
Also appears at the very bottom of this BLOG.

**If you are having difficulty subscribing to the feed, your browser is most likely outdated. My favorite FREE browser is Mozilla's Firefox, and can be downloaded here:

Firefox has all the latest bells and whistles and supports our BLOG and our RSS Feed.

Public Hearing on future development proposals for the Westwood VA property

Congressman Waxman has asked the community and veterans to turn out in force for this upcoming hearing to protect this land for veterans.
WHAT: Public Hearing on future development proposals for the Westwood VA property (the "CARES" process)
DATE: Thursday, September 6, 2007
TIME: 5 PM - 9 PM
PLACE: Wadsworth Theater on the VA campus

The VA's proposed plans will be presented first, followed by public testimony.

Among its most recent iteration of proposals for the VA property, before the public testimony period at this hearing, the VA will review some proposed projects for veterans' medical services and for homeless vets. But the VA has never disavowed its previously expressed intent for commercial development, sale, lease or other commercial exploitation for this property.

For more information and to send a form comment letter, go to

Sunday, September 2, 2007

How to avoid break-ins without breaking the bank

Expensive security systems can cover every inch of a property, but even they are not foolproof. Some simple steps can discourage burglars.

LINK to FULL LA Times Article

Presidential Contribution Tracker: Who is Getting the Most $ from your Neighbors?

Breakdown by candidate »
4.7% Giuliani
13.5% McCain
12.5% Romney
28.8% Clinton
4.5% Edwards
22.9% Obama
13% Others**
Itemized contributions* from Jan. 1-June 30, 2007.
Source: Federal Election Commission.
Total contributions from this ZIP code:

LINK to Search by ZIP CODE

Saturday, September 1, 2007