Sunday, October 28, 2007

Westside Transit Corridor Extension: Westwood/UCLA Station

The Westside Extension Transit Corridor Study will look at various modes, including at-grade, below-grade, and above-grade rail options, and at least two alignments respectively along Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards.

The closest station to Bel-Air would be a Westwood Station along Wilshire Blvd.

LINK to Video re. Early Scoping Process

Saturday, October 27, 2007

California foreclosures set a record: Creep into Westside

There were seven foreclosures in Bel-Air, and none a year ago.

"It's definitely increasing," said Joyce Essex, a Coldwell Banker real estate agent based in Beverly Hills who specializes in selling foreclosed homes.

Essex said most of her properties were in the San Fernando Valley and South Los Angeles, but about 10% of her listings are now in a more affluent part of town.

"It's working its way to the Westside. The Westside is always last to get hit," Essex said of the foreclosure wave, based on her experience in the 1990s downturn.

LINK to full LA Times Article

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Noah of Bel~Air

This week, Bel~Air resident Bob Daly became known by his friends as "Noah."

Daly, who retired from show business eight years ago, earned the nickname when the Malibu fires forced him to evacuate the large menagerie of animals from his 25-acre ranch on the Malibu-Calabasas border.

At 6 a.m. Sunday, after being warned by a neighbor that everyone in the area had to clear out, Daly rang up his daughter in Brentwood to give him a hand loading up the "ark." Some friends hauled the hay and feed in pickup trucks.

Three hours later, the animals were safely encamped at Daly's 5-acre mansion in Bel-Air, which sits across the street from the Bel-Air Country Club.

"I brought 50 chickens, 10 ducks, 150 pigeons, 10 sheep, 10 goats, plus another one who just had two babies, two donkeys and one miniature horse," said Daly, who drove a sport utility vehicle filled with pigeon cages. His daughter Linda took the wheel of a horse trailer full of sheep, goats, donkeys and the little horse.

LINK to Full LA TIMES Article

Historic Reflection: Bel~Air Fire of November 6-7, 1961

LINK to KTLA Historical News Coverage of Bel~Air Fire

During the week of November 6, 1961, the City of Los Angeles was visited by the most disastrous brush fire in the history of Southern California. Lashing out from a point of origin high on the north slope of the Santa Monica Mountains, the fire raced through tinder-dry vegetation to the summit, leaped across Mulholland Drive and raged down the south slope into Stone Canyon on a rapidly widening front. Driven savagely before fifty-mile-per-hour winds, the flames sped on south and westward. The canyons and ridges of the coastal slope became engulfed in a veritable hurricane of fire. Thermal air currents, created by the intense heat, coupled with the high velocity winds swirled countless thousands of burning brands aloft to deposit them far in advance of the main fire front. Natural and manmade barriers were utterly incapable of interrupting the progress of the fire under such adverse conditions. Before the wild rush of this roaring destruction was finally subdued, 6,090 acres of valuable watershed had been consumed. Infinitely more tragic was the incineration of 484 costly residences and 21 other buildings.

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This aerial view of Chantilly Road, Stradella and Stone Canyon looking north, shows some of the devastation of the Bel Air fire.

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This spot fire is an example of the more than 70 which started and immediately developed into separate major fires. This situation was rampant soon after the fire was blown out of Stone Canyon by the terrifying winds.

LINK to Full Story from LAFD Archives

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Red Flag Conditions Continue for Los Angeles


Red Flag conditions will be in effect 36-48 hours longer than originally anticipated. Conditions should last through Thursday or as late as Friday. As a result the Department of Transportation Parking Enforcement has been requested by the City's Emergency Operations Center to IMMEDIATELY CITE AND TOW any parking violators for the Red-Flag Parking Restrictions in the hill-sides of the City.

Please be sure to adhere to all posted parking restrictions.

Governor's Update on Southern California Wildfires

Sunday, October 21, 2007

High Winds Bring Down Tree, Power Lines In Bel Air

High winds caused a tree and power lines to fall over a road in the Bel Air Estates area Saturday night, prompting authorities to shut down the road, a city fire official said.

The wind apparently blew a tree onto the 900 block of North Beverly Glen Boulevard at Montline Lane at 6:41 p.m., said Los Angeles city fire spokesman Brian Humphrey.

"There was a report of arcing of wires, meaning the wires slapping together, in that area," said MaryAnne Pierson, spokesperson for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. "There were no outages reported, though."

Friday, October 19, 2007

Approved: Reversible Lane for the Sepulveda Boulevard tunnel near the Sepulveda Pass

The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday approved a reversible lane for the Sepulveda Boulevard tunnel near the Sepulveda Pass.

The project is expected to cost $11 million and be completed in 2009. The city also plans to add a lane to southbound Sepulveda between Skirball Center Drive and Bergreen Place to help traffic flow at the chronically clogged intersection of Skirball Center and Sepulveda.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

TONIGHT! Public Metro Westside Extension Transit Corridor Study Meeting

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) will be conducting several meetings in October to obtain public comment on the agency’s Westside Transit Corridor Study, which will analyze various transit alternatives and environmental impacts for the possible extension of the Metro Red Line or Metro Purple Line to West Los Angeles.

Agency consultants will evaluate potential environmental impacts for several transit modes, including Bus Rapid Transit on dedicated lanes, at-grade or aerial Light Rail Transit, subway or aerial heavy rail.

All meetings are from 6-8 p.m. and will be held at the following locations:

    Wednesday, October 17, Beverly Hills Public Library Auditorium, 444 N. Rexford Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

    Thursday, October 18, Santa Monica Public Library, 601 Santa Monica Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Metro’s Alternatives Analysis Study is the first step in the environmental clearance process. The Metro Board of Directors will determine whether to move the project forward to subsequent environmental review stages based in part on the results of this study.

Possible destinations along the Westside Extension Transit Corridor include the Fairfax District, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Century City, Westwood/UCLA, West Los Angeles and Santa Monica.

L.A. City Council places phone tax on ballot

Voters in February will decide whether to preserve a decades-old levy now facing a court challenge.

Hoping to keep up with changing telephone technology while salvaging the city's budget, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to put a $243-million telephone utility users tax on the Feb. 15 presidential primary ballot.

Worried that a pending court ruling could eliminate the 40-year-old tax, the council agreed to ask voters to preserve it and, to ward off future lawsuits, grant the city the power to tax telephone services that have not yet been invented.

LINK to full LA Times Article

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

'Lights Out' event this Saturday - city and county of Los Angeles

The idea of the event is to persuade residents to turn off nonessential lighting from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday to save energy and teach folks that many lights are left on needlessly. That means more fossil fuels are burned to create electricity and that means more global warming.

Campaign to recall Weiss won't go on

A six-month effort to recall Los Angeles City Councilman Jack Weiss collapsed Monday, as organizers told the city clerk they could not muster enough signatures to force an election within the time required by law.

With traffic having grown steadily worse over the years on the city's Westside, the recall campaign had been viewed as a referendum of sorts on the hot-button issues of growth and development.

Homeowner activists had argued that the councilman had been too eager to approve large projects in his mostly Westside district, which stretches from Westwood and Century City to Hollywood and Sherman Oaks. But with little money or political clout, the group failed to gather the nearly 23,000 valid signatures needed to force the recall election.

LINK to full LA Times Article

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Bel~Air Burglars Make America's Most Wanted

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

LA City Phone Tax

Hoping to avoid huge budget cuts and the slashing of city services, the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday took the first step toward asking voters to continue paying a telephone utility users tax that might be struck down by the courts.

On an 11-2 vote, the council authorized ballot language to be drawn up for a measure that would be placed before voters Feb. 5, the same day as the California presidential primary.

Link to LA Times Article

Proposal for a $455,000 animal path over the 405 Freeway

405's wildlife lane
Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times

405'S ANIMAL LANE: The replacement bridge at the Skirball exit normally would have included a five-foot-wide sidewalk on each side for pedestrians. Now, one side will have an extra five feet for wildlife.

But in a letter to Caltrans, a coalition of 19 neighborhood groups, schools and community organizations said there's no proof that if you build it, the animals will come. The group opposes the bridge project and a related plan to move the on- and offramps about 800 feet from where they are now.


Monday, October 8, 2007

Westwood Library - Programs & Events

There are some wonderful events occurring this month at the Westwood branch library, located at 1246 Glendon Avenue. Among the events listed below are the details of the Halloween celebration for teens on Oct. 25th and for children on Oct. 23rd.

Adult Programs

Oct 13 - Book Club
11:00 AM
Discuss the title of the month. Call 310-474-1739 for details.

Oct 22 - French Discussion Group 6:00 PM
Come practice your French, with the Alliance Francaise. Call Wendy at 310-474-1739 for details.

Oct 24 - Author Talk 6:30 PM
Author Katherine Weber signs and discusses her new book "Triangle." Cosponsored with Temple Sinai. Call Wendy at 310-474-1739 for details.

Oct 27 - Mystery Book Club 11:00 AM
Discuss "The Breaker" by Minette Walters.

Teen Programs

Oct 11 - Teen Program 3:30 PM
Come hang out with other teens at a program planned by our Teen Council.

Oct 11 - Brian Brightcloud 4:00 PM
Come learn about Apache culture and the Early Native American way of life, including legends, artifacts, and traditional games. Canned food donations are gratefully accepted.

Oct 18 - Teen Program 3:30 PM
Come hang out with other teens at a program planned by our Teen Council.

Oct 25 – Halloween Party 3:00 PM
Come listen to chilling tales of horror. Tasty Halloween-themed treats will be provided.

Children's Programs

Volunteers read to children. Call 310-474-1739 for days and times.

Library Orientations
Available for teacher's classes and parents. Call the children's librarian to schedule visits at 310-474-1739.

Oct 23- Halloween Party 3:30 PM
Join in a Halloween celebration featuring the Bat Lady.

Computer Resources

Don't forget that the library has excellent computer resources. In addition to free beginner's computer classes, there are workstations hooked up to the Internet where patrons can not only surf the web, but also access the Los Angeles Public Library's electronic resources. There is also free public Wi-Fi Internet access in the library.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Tug-O-War Continues: VA asks Army Reserve to return Westside parcel

Healthcare official seeks to regain disputed 10-acre site on Wilshire Blvd. rather than have it sold to a developer.

The head of the Department of Veterans Affairs' sprawling complex in West Los Angeles has asked the Army to return a prime parcel of land the VA gave away decades ago, rather than sell it to a developer.

LINK to Full LA Times Article

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Mike Feuer Letter to Caltrans: 405 Widening Project

September 28, 2007

Ron Kosinski, Deputy Director
Dept. of Transportation, Dist. 7
100 South Main Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Dear Mr. Kosinski,

I write to express my support for Alternative 2 in the DEIR for the 405 Sepulveda Pass HOV Lane Project, and to urge you to accomplish the following objectives in the design and construction of the project:

· eliminate takings of homes in the Sherman Oaks Valley Vista neighborhood;
· avoid re-alignment of Sepulveda Blvd;
· preserve the LADOT right-of-way along Sepulveda Blvd;
· ensure that the median down the center of the 405 is of sufficient width to allow for the provision of public transit;
· provide a means of protecting the wildlife that utilizes corridors on both sides of the 405 freeway; and,
· provide for adequate ingress and egress for the schools on Mulholland, and for the communities in Bel Air Crest, Roscomare Valley and Mountaingate during reconstruction of the Mulholland, Skirball Center Drive and Getty Center Drive bridges across the 405, and for the communities of Brentwood, Brentwood Glen, Bel Air and Westwood Hills during reconstruction of the Sunset Blvd. bridge.

As you know, I fought very hard to obtain the funding for this project - funding that otherwise would have gone to a project elsewhere in the state. I continue to believe that adding an HOV lane to the existing northbound 405 between National Blvd. and the 101 Freeway would provide measurable relief from the untenable congestion on the Westside of Los Angeles County.

I want to thank Caltrans administration and staff for their efforts to listen to the communities that would be affected by the alternatives set forth in the DEIR, and for making corresponding changes to address community concerns. This is a complex undertaking, but I am optimistic that, by working together with all the stakeholders, Caltrans can complete it in a manner that is sensitive to surrounding communities, timely and cost effective.


Mike Feuer

Assemblymember, 42nd District

LA Dept. of Transportation Letter to Caltrans: 405 Widening Project

Click on Each Page to View the Full Sized Image

Councilmember Weiss Letter to Caltrans: 405 Widening Project

Click on Each Page to View the Full Sized Image

Outdoor Diners Banned from Smoking in Beverly Hills

For those not fortunate enough to live or dine in Bel~Air, there is always Beverly Hills.

Outdoor smoking at Beverly Hills restaurants was officially banned on Monday, October 1st under a city law aimed at promoting a healthier environment for diners.

Smokers who light up on outdoor restaurant and bar patios face fines ranging from $100 for a first offense to $500 for persistent offenders.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Metro Community Meeting: Westside Extension - October 9th

Tuesday, October 9th @ 6PM - 9PM
For Westside (Westwood, Century City, Bel~Air)
Emerson Middle School
1650 Selby Avenue
Los Angeles

LINK HERE to Proposed Extension Map

What do you think about traffic and congestion on the Westside?
Metro wants to hear from you!
Metro has just started work on the Westside Extension Transit Corridor Study which will look at ways to improve mobility on the Westside of Los Angeles. The study, which is in its first “Alternatives Analysis” phase, will examine potential alignments, modes and station locations throughout the 38 square mile study area. Please attend an October public meeting for the Westside Extension Transit Corridor Study.

• Does transit need to be improved on the Westside?
• Do you prefer subway, light rail, more buses or another mode?
• Do you like a Wilshire or a Santa Monica Boulevard alignment better?
• Do you want a station in your neighborhood?
• What is important to you in evaluating these alternatives?

Comments about the study may be received at the public workshops, or by filling out the comment form on the project website, leaving a message on the information line or by writing Mr. David Mieger, AICP, Project Manager and Deputy Executive Officer, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (METRO), One Gateway Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90012.
Your comments must be received by November 1, 2007.

For more information about the project study, please visit our website at
or contact the project information line at 213.922.6932.

Bellagio Road Street Light Update

DWP was able to restore some of the lights on Bellagio Rd on 9/24/07, the western section, by cutting out four lights down Bellagio Terrace. The Bellagio Terrace lights are to be on as of now. The other issue on the eastern section of Bellagio Rd still exists with the problems in the DWP vault. DWP-Water crews have blocked the roadway, due to the nature of their work for a water main being installed up Chalon Rd to Sarbonne Rd and the DWP-Power crews do not have access to the underground vault in the street on Chalon Rd because of the water system work. We await a timeline for total project completion.