Tuesday, April 28, 2009

LADOT's Proposed Widening of Sunset Blvd. -- Major Impact Potential for Bel~Air

"In an effort to relieve eastbound traffic congestion on Sunset Boulevard, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation has proposed widening Sunset from west of Barrington Avenue to Gunston Drive.

Brentwood Hills Homeowners Association, Brentwood Park Property Owners Association, Brentwood Glen Association, Bel-Air Skycrest Property Owners Association, Mandeville Canyon Association and Upper Mandeville Canyon Property Owners Association have sent letters of opposition to City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, representing District 11.

The LADOT goal is to have three eastbound lanes to the 405 from Beverly Court (west of Barrington Avenue) and two westbound lanes into Brentwood from the freeway. Because of right-of-way issues, Sunset will be widened by 10 feet on the south side between Beverly Court and Barrington Avenue and expanded between two to 10 feet on the north side of Sunset between Barrington Avenue and Barrington Place. From Barrington Place to Gunston Drive, Sunset will then be expanded by about seven feet in both directions.

The project will also tie into California Department of Transportation's (Caltrans) efforts to widen the Sunset overpass, Hunt said. Caltrans has already obtained funding and completed an environmental impact review for the project. The northbound 405 off-ramp to eastbound Sunset will be widened to include one more lane, according to Caltrans spokeswoman Judy Gish.

Two left-turn lanes will be added on westbound Sunset, so that drivers can merge onto the 405 northbound from Sunset. Right now, drivers must take Sepulveda Boulevard to Moraga Drive to merge onto the freeway."    [Excerpted from the Palisades Post - CLICK HERE]

OK - Let me share a few major concerns for our community as Sunset Blvd. fronts practically all of Bel~Air (and many of us live on Sunset Blvd. as well):

(1) This proposal is "step one" in an effort to widen and turn all of Sunset Blvd. into a major traffic artery (more than it already is. . .)  Sunset Blvd. should NEVER be made into a highway!  It is primarily a residential street all the way from the Ocean to the Eastside of Beverly Hills.

(2) The two (2) proposed left turn (cross traffic) lanes on Westbound Sunset to the Northbound 405 onramp could turn Sunset Blvd. into a virtual parking lot.  Have you ever seen Sunset Blvd. West of the 405 at rush hour?  It is absolutely gridlocked from cars waiting to get on the 405 onramp.  Right now, such traffic is diverted from Westbound Sunset onto Sepulveda.  But if these new turn lanes are built - like bees to honey the cars will come - and we will have dramatically increased traffic and congestion on Sunset for miles.     

There is a lively discussion going on at CURBED LA on topic.

Monday, April 27, 2009

REMINDER - “Early comment period” for the Proposed Hilside Ordinance ends on April 30th

As you may recall, we posted basic information and a request for comments as to the City of Los Angeles' Proposed Hillside Ordinance that, if passed, will govern ALL Bel~Air properties.  CLICK HERE to review such POST.  To reiterate briefly: "The changes ultimately formulated may have a major impact on future development in the hillsides, including the manner in which existing houses may be remodeled or redeveloped by current home owners."

The following are the comments received to such post, and we urge you to become informed and let the City know your opinions, concerns and/or issues prior to expiration of the early comment period on the 30th (send comments via email to Erick Lopez at Erick.lopez@lacity.org).  


Jeffrey A. Kaplan said...

Dear Bel-Air Neighbor:
I am spearheading a group of Concerned Hillside Property Owners, who are greatly concerned about the proposed hillside property restrictions currently under consideration by the City.

Immediate action is needed to let the City know about our concerns since the City is collecting comments thru April 30, 2009.

A brief history is as follows

A. Last year, in response to a small group of activists, the City adopted a "flat-lands" restrictive ordinance that basically down-zoned 300,000 properties in the flat-lands of L.A. We have heard that some properties in the flat lands have decreased building areas of 25-50% and some property values have decreased by 25% solely as a result of the Ordinance. Basically, the only way out of the restrictions is for entire communities to "opt-out" with a super-majority vote.

B. Now the City, also in response to a relatively small group of activists, wants to adopt a similar very restrictive ordinance for all of the 100,000+ hillside properties (basically all of Bel-Air and any property north of Sunset and south of Ventura Blvd.), with very technical and difficult to calculate provisions that will require, at the least, a topographical map and expert advice as to what can be built on any hillside property and with potential huge value reductions. For example, it took almost two days for an architectural firm with a detailed topo map (which cost thousands of dollars to prepare) to "estimate" the impact of the proposals as to one large Bel-Air property and the value reduction to that property alone could well be in the Millions of Dollars!

C. Our group is not against restrictions in communities which desire such restrictions; we are against blanket restrictions for all hillside properties and we are against any restrictions without full and objective disclosure to homeowners as to the potential reduction in value of their properties.

So, we suggest you take the following immediate action:

1. Email Erick Lopez of the City at erick.lopez@lacity.org and let him know where you live and that you are against any hillside restriction ordinance unless it contains an "opt-in" not "opt-out" provision and that any restrictions can only be adopted on an opt-in basis only after full and objective disclosure of the likely reduction in value of such restrictions on the community involved.

2. Forward a link of this Blog to anyone who you believe may also be concerned and ask them to join in with our group of Concerned Hillside Property Owners.
The only way the City will listen is if they think many, many people are concerned about their proposed actions. 

Thank you for your immediate attention to this important matter. 
Concerned Hillside Property Owners

Jeffrey A. Kaplan 
Attorney at Law (inactive) 
924 Westwood Blvd. #910 
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Tel. (310)208-0075 x 109 
Fax (310)208-0571

APRIL 21, 2009 12:45 PM

M. Scott Cooper said...

I have sent this to Mr. Lopez 4/21/09:
WE MUST PRESERVE -- NOT HURT -- HOME VALUES WHEN PEOPLE ARE LOSING THEIR JOBS AND SUFFERING SEVERE LOSSES IN THEIR RETIREMENT FUNDS. It would be harmful and irresponsible to enact restrictions on home remodeling and rebuilding without knowing what the impact will be on costs and home values. Realtors have told me that the restrictions that were enacted on the flat lands areas substantially aggravated the downward slide in home values. Has the city done a study of the financial impact of the proposed ordinance? May I have a copy please? If not, will you please insist on getting a study done before proceeding? 

Thank you very much. 

Scott Cooper

APRIL 21, 2009 2:36 PM

Anonymous said...

I am very concerned with this ordinance as I have heard from those under the "Northeast Los Angeles Hillside Ordinance" that it dramatically impacted the value of many homes and home site to the point of rendering some properties "unbuildable" and therefore valueless. Is this the same thing the City is trying to do to Bel~Air? How can I find out the impact on my home without spending thousands of dollars on a survey and an architect?

APRIL 21, 2009 3:16 PM

Anonymous said...

I just reviewed the City's presentation and it seems to be full of extreme pictures but short on actual details. And we all know the devil is in the details. The presentation says there will be restrictions based on slope / topography -- but to what degree? It says the City wants to prevent ridgeline grading, but this ordinance will apply to my Bel~Air home that is mostly flat, a few seconds North of Sunset Blvd. and is NO WHERE NEAR a ridge. So I have to be subject to the same restrictions as a mountain top? This is just crazy.

APRIL 21, 2009 3:41 PM

Jeffrey A. Kaplan said...

In addition to my earlier comments and in response to the anonymous comments, please note the following: 

1. Check out the City's Summary of Comments--it is a JOKE; the City intends to (essentially) DOWNZONE AND SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE ALL HILLSIDE PROPERTY VALUES for perhaps 100,000 properties and it has survey results from (on the high side) 150 people! So a very small number of people are helping to decide a major issue for all hillside properties. And, nowhere in any of the questions is there any mention of potential property value reductions!

2. Why is this? Why doesn't the City care about property values and property rights? In my judgment (as a lawyer, CPA, member of the Board of Directors of the Bel-Air Assn. and hillside property owner of several homes), it is likely because the City is responding to those citizens who are most vocal--who also happen to be on homeonwer assns. and neighborhood councils; people who have extra time to devote to causes--many of which causes are laudable; but many of these people either know nothing about financial matters or don't care about the value of their homes or are too blinded by their commitment to the "cause" to put into perspective the importance of property rights and property values. And, it is my experience that one of their favorite refrains is that "only developers or investors or speculators care about property values to make money"; as though somehow ordinary homeowners don't care about reduced home values!
3. In response to the "anonymous" comments above; YES, the proposed Hillside Ordinance will likely be as bad, if not worse, than the Northeast Ordinance and it will affect all hillside properties; not just those near a ridge.

And the only way to STOP IT IS TO MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD--so everyone should email Erick Lopez, their Councilperson and their homeowner assns. and neighborhood councils (all of which can be found on google)--AND TELL THEM YOU OBJECT TO ANY RESTRICTIONS THAT MIGHT LOWER YOUR PROPERTY VALUES!

Concerned Hillside Property Owners (an ad hoc group of concerned property owners)

APRIL 22, 2009 9:38 PM

Tom said...

Restricting the potential destruction of more of Bel Air through over-building can only help property prices. Furthermore, claiming that some flat land property values have decreased 25-50% due to the ordinance and not to the broader economic environment is dubious at best and perhaps specious. Bel-Air property owners should certainly support measures to preserve what is left of the area.

APRIL 23, 2009 9:38 AM

Anonymous said...

To those who think that more restrictions, cumbersome building hurdles, and dubious codes that have no real value other than to serve those that already have there American Dream are living in a fish tank. People like Tom who already are in the priveleged sector perched on top looking down on those of us Young 40-ish Professionals who also want to have the American Dream in Bel Air Hills. Ask yourself, why would you impact my emply lot when I haven't yet gotten enough money to build a comprable home befitting the Bel Air Environment? My Father and Mother sacrificed greatly 30 years ago just to acquire the lot only to have all the rights taken away. I know personally two friends that owned lots in South Pasadena Area that sold their lots for 75% less than they bought it for - not because of the economy - it was because these same restrictions prevented her from actually buiding a home for her and Her Elderly Parents and the other lot for her Military Son and his Family - once he gets back from Afghanistan. That was her gift to him for surving the insanity over there. That was to be his American Dream. Now what does he have to come home to? Sadly, Now she lives in Riverside where they don't get penalized for having the good sense to own prime real estate with great views. Where is this City going to?

APRIL 24, 2009 5:06 PM




Bel~Air should be VERY concerned -- as should all hillside areas that will fall under the new proposed ordinance. The City is trying to swat a fly with a shotgun and the result WILL BE dramatic reductions in property values and the destruction of the grandeur of Bel~Air itself. Many of the most impressive and beautiful homes in Bel~Air would violate the new proposed restrictions (as it is currently being described) and thus could have NEVER BEEN BUILT under the new ordinance. For example, one of the proposed restrictions is that only 1,000 cubic yard of dirt can be MOVED / GRADED (not REMOVED from the site -- but just MOVED about the site). A large swimming pool requires over 100 cubic yards of dirt to be excavated. Say goodbye to basements, structurally important foundations and subterranean garages -- all of which HELP the appearance of homes from the neighborhood and add real value and utility to homes. And as an aside, I reviewed the presentation materials from the City. The pictures and examples are so biased and inflammatory it is a joke. Do you remember the "cat juggling" scene from Steve Martin's movie "The Jerk"? Same thing. . . Shame on the City for attempting to destroy one of the most iconic communities in Los Angeles for reasons that are overblown and no longer relevant.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

May 19th Election - Be Informed! This Election is CRITICAL!

Although the May 19th Vote is still a few weeks away -- many of us have already received our absentee ballots.  This election covers both very critical measures and heated local battles, all of which will have significant and longstanding implications for Bel~Air and the entire State of California.

 Locally, you will be voting on the following pitched battles:

City Attorney; City of Los AngelesClick here for more info on this contest including known links to other sites

Council Member; City of Los Angeles; District 5Click here for more info on this contest including known links to other sites

You will also be voting on Propositions 1A through F -- which many argue is full of deceptive language and double-talk, but ultimately is all about increased and redistributed taxes:

PLEASE READ & COMMENT on this post to see and contribute to our community debate on these very important issues and elections.

405 Widening Contninues EVEN WITHOUT FULL FUNDING

Can you image what will happen if this project stalls in mid-construction due to lack of funds?  What a potential disaster!



2009.04.405.jpgThe Daily News is reporting that yesterday the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority board agreed to start construction on that new 10-mile northbound car-pool lane on the San Diego Freeway (it'd go from the Santa Monica Freeway to the Ventura Freeway) despite the fact that funding for completion isn't yet available. Via the paper: "Metro has just $372 million, including $190 million in federal stimulus money, to build the project. Ultimately, it needs to raise $614 million — money originally approved by voters in a bond measure but withheld by the state as it grappled with its massive budget deficit. Still, Metro officials are optimistic about getting the money through future bond sales." Doug Failing, Caltrans District 7 director tells the paper that the job growth (18,000 construction jobs will come out of it) is an important part of the project. It was just a few weeks ago that the controversial project (six homes will be destroyed eminent domain proceedings) was being called dead in the water because of funding issues. [Daily News]

Friday, April 24, 2009

LA Times Festival of Books this Weekend @ UCLA

Live Music • Eric Carle • Curtis Stone • Comic Books • 300+ Exhibitors & Publishers • Arianna Huffington • Author Panels • Kid Zones • Giada De Laurentiis • Kate Dicamillo • Cooking Shows • David Baldacci • Tori Spelling • Tom Bergeron • 400+ Authors & Speakers • Arts & Crafts • Danica Mckellar • Marlee Matlin • Hispanic Cultural Area • Mary Higgins Clark • Michael J. Fox • Larry Wilmore • T.C. Boyle • Poetry Readings • Yo Gabba Gabba! • And Much More

Friday Linkage: Interesting Local Stories

Century Plaza Hotel Face Demolition

From: JAN 1 1990   To: DEC 31 2008
Airport: LOS ANGELES INTL  Operator: All    Aircraft: All
Species: All
Number of Reports Found: 940

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thank you Curbed LA for helping us get the word out - Proposed Hillside Ordinance

Curbed LA has posted a link and reference to our recent
Proposed Hillside Ordinance Post on its very widely read Los Angeles real estate BLOG.

CLICK HERE to see the Curbed LA POST and Comments thereto

Thank you to Curbed LA for helping us get the word out!

UPDATE:  Below is one of the comments to the Curbed LA Post:

Bel~Air should be VERY concerned -- as should all hillside areas that will fall under the new proposed ordinance. The City is trying to swat a fly with a shotgun and the result WILL BE dramatic reductions in property values and the destruction of the grandeur of Bel~Air itself. Many of the most impressive and beautiful homes in Bel~Air would violate the new proposed restrictions (as it is currently being described) and thus could have NEVER BEEN BUILT under the new ordinance. For example, one of the proposed restrictions is that only 1,000 cubic yard of dirt can be MOVED / GRADED (not REMOVED from the site -- but just MOVED about the site). A large swimming pool requires over 100 cubic yards of dirt to be excavated. Say goodbye to basements, structurally important foundations and subterranean garages -- all of which HELP the appearance of homes from the neighborhood and add real value and utility to homes. And as an aside, I reviewed the presentation materials from the City. The pictures and examples are so biased and inflammatory it is a joke. Do you remember the "cat juggling" scene from Steve Martin's movie "The Jerk"? Same thing. . . Shame on the City for attempting to destroy one of the most iconic communities in Los Angeles for reasons that are overblown and no longer relevant.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

City restricts lawn watering to Mondays and Thursdays

The Associated Press is reporting new restrictions on lawn watering in Los Angeles. Here's the story:

A new water conservation plan in Los Angeles will restrict lawn watering to Mondays and Thursdays.
The City Council approved the plan Tuesday amid a statewide water shortage that enters its third summer.

The new rule goes into effect June 1 and adds to restrictions of no watering between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. The council has already revised water rates to penalize Angelenos who use too much water.

The Metropolitan Water District predicts regional water supplies will drop about 20% this year, and it voted last week to reduce water deliveries to its member agencies for the first time since 1991.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

*ALERT - Hillside Ordinance WILL Impact All Bel~Air Properties - Early Comment Period to Expire April 30th

Date:     April 21, 2009

 To:          Bel-Air Residents

 From:    Bel-Air Association Board

 Re:         Planned Hillside Ordinance 

Dear Bel-Air Residents:

 As you know, the Bel-Air Association has been following the Los Angeles Planning Department’s efforts to create a hillside counterpart to the ordinance passed last year imposing size-limitations on new homes and additions in the flats, known as the Baseline (Anti-Mansionization) Ordinance.  Representatives from the Association attended “Hillside Kick-off Meetings” in February, at which those in attendance expressed any concerns about development in the hillsides and saw a presentation by the Planning Department of the concepts that it intends to employ to limit such development.  Those concepts, as summarized on March 12 on the Bel-Air Blog (CLICK HERE for the March 12th Post and Summary) include limiting square footage based on lot size and slope, capping grading, reducing allowable retaining wall length and height, and reducing allowable building height, perhaps significantly below currently rules.  The changes ultimately formulated may have a major impact on future development in the hillsides, including the manner in which existing houses may be remodeled or redeveloped by current home owners.        

At this time, the Planning Department is seeking comments from residents to help identify any concerns about hillside development – or about limitations of it -- in order to address them in a draft proposal to be circulated in a few months.  The last day of this “early comment period” is April 30. Please go to the Bel~Air BLOG by CLICKING HERE (and scroll to the bottom of the post) to link to the email from Erick Lopez, City Planner, as well as the Planning Department’s PDFs entitled “Summary of Hillside Kick-off Meeting Comments” and “Hillside Kick-Off Meeting Presentation.”  After you have reviewed these materials, please feel free to email Erick Lopez at Erick.lopez@lacity.org with any comments you may have.     

We are informed by the City that, after its receipt of the early comments, it will draft a proposed ordinance to address the concerns raised, which it will circulate.  The City will then hold public workshops to help explain the proposed draft and to obtain public comments on the draft.  Your Association will, of course, keep you well informed of all developments on this important matter.  Once a draft proposal is circulated by the City, we intend to hold a forum for Bel-Air residents featuring experts to help analyze its potential impacts and to seek residents’ comments.  In addition, be sure to check the Bel-Air Blog regularly for varying opinions on hillside development and the planned ordinance.  All residents are welcomed to post their opinions on the Bel-Air Blog (see or click on "comments" below).

CLICK HERE to View the City's Hillside Ordinance Meeting Presentation, Comments Summary & Email Solicitation for Comments

Please note that it may take a minute or two to load the files -- they are large. . .

PLEASE also view (and partake in) the comments and discussion to this POST.  It is critically important that we all listen to each other's thoughts and concerns as this matter will dramatically effect our entire community.

LAPD Community Crime Update



NON EMERGENCY: 1-877-275-5273

Christopher Ragsdale, Senior Lead Officer

West Los Angeles Community Police Station

Office: 310-444-0741/Cell: 213-305-5895

Email: 26690@lapd.lacity.org Website: www.lapdonline.org

Home Invasion Robbery:

Date/Time: 04/02/09, at 0330 hours. Location: 10500 block Wilshire Blvd. RD: 834. MO: The victim received a knock on his door. When he went to answer it, the person on the other side identified herself as an acquaintance (Suspect 3). The victim opened the door, and S-3 entered with S-1 and S-2. S-1 had a gun and demanded money. S-1 and S-2 pushed the victim to the ground. The suspects ransacked the location and took the victim's cash. Detectives responded to the scene. Suspect 1 & 2: M, Blk, Blk, Blk, 508, 150-170, 25 yrs. Suspect 3: F, Blk, Blk, Bro, 510, 170-180, 35-40, known to victim. Weapon: Revolver

Street Robbery:
4/4/09, at 1800 hours. Santa Monica Bl & Westholme (RD 836). MO: The victim was approached by a male black suspect who pointed a blue steel hand gun at the victim's face and demanded money. An additional suspect came from behind, grabbed the victim and threw her to the ground. Suspect #2 was armed with a sawed off shotgun. Suspect #2 demanded money. The victim attempted to take the money out of her purse, but suspect #1 took the purse from her. Both suspects ran eastbound towards Beverly Glen. The victim observed a black SUV leave at a high rate of speed, but was unsure if the suspects were inside. Suspect #1: Male Black Blk unk 5-8 180 15-20 yrs, wearing a white T-shirt, blue jeans, and blk shoes. Suspect #2: Male Black Blk unk 5-9 180-200 15-20 yrs, wearing a black shirt, blk shorts, and white shoes. Weapons: Blue steel handgun and sawed off shotgun. Vehicle: Possible black SUV. Property Taken: Purse containing ID, C redit Cards, and cash.
Residential Burglary:
10800 block Wilshire Blvd. RD: 0828. MO: Between 04/14/09 at 2000 and 04/15/09 at 0800, suspect(s) entered the condo by unknown means, removed cash.
10500 block Wilshire Blvd. RD 0834. MO: Between 04/09/09 at 2315 and 04/10/09 at 0700, suspect(s) entered the condo by unknown means, removed a TV, laptop, and guitar.
10700 block Rochester Ave. RD 0834. MO: Between 04/10/09 at 2000 and 04/11/09 at 0930, suspect(s) smashed the SFR front window, removed computers and televisions.
10500 block Wilshire Blvd. RD 828. MO: Between 03/09/09 2000 hours and 04/09/09 1500 hours, unknown suspect(s) entered victim's residence through the front door with a key. Once inside the unknown suspect(s) took rugs, fur coats and silverware.
10400 block Sunset Blvd. RD 0819. MO: On 03/31/09, between 1230 and 1325, suspect(s) smashed the window, removed property .
1200 block Westwood Blvd. RD 0833. MO: On 03/28/09, between 1900 and 2300, suspect(s) forced a window, removed cash.
Grand Theft Auto:
04-18-09, 0800 hours. RD: 0855 1500 block Bentley Ave. Dealer 08 GMC Yokon
04-14-9 2100-0700. RD: 0805 100 block Ashdale Ave. street 06 Austin-Martin DB-9
Burglary Theft from Motor Vehicle:
04-17-09, 1030/1315 RD: 0828 10700 block Wilshire Blvd. Street Smash Tools
04-09-09, 1930-0900 RD: 0834 10600 block Holman Ave parking lot pried handbag
04-14-09, 1930-0845 RD: 0834 10700 block Ohio Ave street smashed GPS, golf clubs
04-16-09, 1200-1300 RD: 0829 1300 block Club View Drive. street (unlocked vehicle) tools
04-12-09, 2100-0900 RD: 0833 10800 block Ashton Ave. carport smash
04-12-09, 2130-0830 RD: 0829 10400 block Eastborne Ave. pkg garage turntable
04-12-09, 1600-0800 RD: 0829 10400 block Eastborne Ave. carport I-Pod GPS
04-10-09, 1300-1700 RD: 0838 Levering Ave-Strathmore Ave pkg garage I-Pod
04-10-09, 1715-1745 RD: 0805 1400 block N. Sepulveda Blvd. parking lot purse
04-04-09, 1200-1315 RD: 0817 10900 block WilshireBlvd. parking garage purse
04-07-09, 2015-2230 RD: 0805 11300 block Chalon Rd. Street Pried I-Pod
04-03-09, 0800/1300 RD: 0816 400 block Veteran Ave. Street Smash
04-03-09, 2000/1000 RD: 0807 10200 block Autumn Leaf . Street
04-03-09, 1700/2200 RD: 0816 600 block Veteran Ave. Street
03-30-09, 1900/0900 RD: 0833 1400 block Kelton Ave. Street 

Monday, April 20, 2009

LA TIMES / UCLA Festival of Books this Weekend


Saturday, April 25
10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Sunday, April 26
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024
Google Map...                          Event Map...

Tickets are free!
Tickets will be available on April 19 through ticketmaster.com.
They are needed for indoor panels and speaker sessions.

Parking on the UCLA campus is $9.
Free shuttle bus services will connect the outlying UCLA parking lots with the main festival entrances.

'Jumbo' Mortgages Still Costly—And Harder to Get

By: Mark Koba, Senior Editor | 24 Mar 2009 | 09:20 AM ET

While most mortgage rates are heading lower, people looking to buy or refinance a more expensive house may be out of luck.

Beazer Home
Source: beazer.com
Beazer Home

That's because the market for so-called jumbo loans—mortgages of more than $417,000 in some areas but over $729,750 in others—is still feeling the worst of the credit crisis. In some cases, the spread between conventional mortgages and jumbo rates is a full point or more.

"I don't see the situation for jumbo rates improving for more than a year or two," says Bob Walters, chief economist for QuickenLoans. "What you need is for the housing market to stabilize. Until that happens, jumbo rates will be high."

Recent government efforts to free up the mortgage market are aimed primarily at conventional loans, not jumbo mortgages. As a result, banks have little incentive to either offer or refinance jumbos.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Beat the Heat - Annenberg Community Beach House at Santa Monica State Beach OPENS this Friday


Everyone's invited to an open house celebration to mark the opening of the Annenberg Community Beach House at Santa Monica State Beach, an event over a decade in the making.

When.10 am - 4 pm.

First Splash performance by "O™” from Cirque du Soleil at 11.

Or stop by on April 24 from 10 am - 4 pm for a sneak preview docent tour. No reservations of rsvps required. Ride your bike and use our free bike valet service.


A day of free family-friendly beach fun, including:

Power volleyball exhibition match, followed by volleyball and beach tennis clinics. / Kite flying, including an opportunity to make your own. / Majestic sand sculpture and demonstration. / Ballroom dance competition. / Special beachy session of Downbeat 720, followed by Lahula Polynesian dancing. / Synchronized siwmming. / Storytelling. / Santa Monica Conservancydocents.

Make a great day better - pre-order a picnic from Fred Deni's Back on Broadway cafe. Menu

Where.415 Pacific Coast Highway, Santa Monica, California. Map

Walk along the bike path or take one of many footbridges from Palisades Park. 

Bike to the Beach House and enjoy free bike valet service on site. (Don't have a bike? Rent one from Perry's.)

Shuttle from the Civic Center Parking Structure, running throughout the day from 10 am - 4:30 pm. It's free and easy!

Note: There will be no public parking on site on April 25.

LA 5th District City Council Debate - Tomorrow, Monday April 20th @ UCLA

LA 5th District City Council Debate

Monday, April 20, 2009
6:30pm - 8:30pm
Charles E Young Grand Salon, Kerckhoff Hall, UCLA
501 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA


Please join us for the 5th District City Council Run-Off Debate between Paul Koretz and David Vahedi. 

The event is co-sponsored by Bruins for Traffic Relief, USAC, GSA, LA County Young Democrats, and Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, LLP. 

The 5th district is large in Los Angeles, and it encompasses parts of the valley and West LA, along with UCLA itself. It is vital to us as UCLA students and citizens of the district that we choose a candidate who represents our needs and views on traffic, land use, energy policy, etc. 

This event will be televised by LA 36, and will be preceded by a reception with food including pizza, hors d'oeuvres, and drinks. 

The moderator is Adrienne Alpert - KABC TV. 

Reception at 6:30, debate at 7:30. 

Use transit! 15 lines come to Westwood:
BBB 1,2,3,5,12; Culver City 6; MTA 2,302, 305, 720, 761. LADOT Commuter Express, Santa Clarita Transit, and Antelope Valley Transit run rush-hour service to Westwood and/or UCLA. And there's bicycle parking too.

If you drive, please park in lot 6 and pay for parking at the kiosk on Westwood Blvd.