Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Skirball Bridge Closure Tonight



The Skirball Bridge will be closed tonight, Wednesday, March 30, for another night from 10 pm to 6 am in order to finish the re-striping of traffic lanes on the bridge.  Apologies for the late email notification.


Ron Macias

Community Relations Officer

I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project

(310) 846 - 3564


I-405 Project Hotline 213-922-3665


Friday, March 25, 2011

Skirball Bridge Closures and Full Northbound Freeway Closures



The Skirball Bridge will be closed for two nights on Monday, March 28 and Tuesday, March 29 from 10 pm to 6 am to conduct lane re-striping work and the demolition of the center column of the Skirball Bridge.


In addition, there will be a full directional freeway closure in the northbound direction during the late night hours on Tuesday, March 29, in order to demolish the center column of the Skirball Bridge. The full northbound directional freeway closure will take place from Getty Center Drive to Ventura Bl, where some freeway lanes will begin to close as early as 10:00 pm and the Skirball Center Drive ramps may close as early as 7:00 pm.  The full northbound directional freeway closure will take place thereafter between the hours of 12:00 am to 5:00 am. 


Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.



Ron Macias

Community Relations Officer

I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project

(310) 846 - 3564


I-405 Project Hotline 213-922-3665


Interesting Earthquake Preparedness Article

Slate Magazine

How To Survive an Earthquake

What you need to buy to prepare for the Big One.

By Farhad Manjoo

I've lived in California nearly all my life, and I've never purchased an earthquake survival kit, nor have I done much else to prepare for the Big One. My lack of preparedness isn't unusual; one recent survey found that only 40 percent of my fellow Golden Staters have a family emergency plan. When the massive quake hit Christchurch, New Zealand, last month my wife and I resolved, once more, to finally start preparing for the inevitable. We still haven't gotten around to it.

Friday's earthquake in Japan, though, has stiffened my spine. I'm preparing for a quake, and I'm doing it now. I've spent the morning looking for the best resources to get ready for disaster. Here's what I found.

Buy an all-in-one kit. Getting all your gear in a single package may be more expensive than spending a day at Costco and a hardware store to assemble your own. The advantage is that it requires just a couple clicks, and you can do it right this instant (which is what you should do). You can find several kits at Amazon or the Red Cross. At $42, the Quakehold! Grab-n-Go Emergency Kit appears to be the best value. It's got enough supplies—food bars, water, emergency blankets, first aid supplies, etc.—to sustain two people over three days.

Get extra water and food. From what I gather, you should treat these all-in-one kits as a starting point. Depending on your family and your needs, you'll want to add extra supplies. For instance, many of these kits don't include nearly enough water. An adult needs 1 gallon of water a day. (Older people, nursing mothers, and those in hot climates need more.) Since your plan should cover three days of potential outages, it's a good idea to get loads of H2O. Bottled water is often stamped with a sell-by date, but these dates are mainly for stock-keeping purposes. Unopened bottles of water have an indefinite shelf life, the FDA says; water stored for long periods may taste a bit off, but it's safe to consume.

You should also have enough food to last for three days. You can buy freeze-dried meals or food bars, but these can be expensive. It's much cheaper to stick to canned food—just don't forget the can opener!

Flashlights. Since flashlights, like pens and umbrellas, have a tendency to get lost, buy several; the Red Cross recommends that you keep a flashlight and a pair of sturdy shoes by each person's bedside. Fortunately, LED flashlights are small and cheap (this Neiko Super-Bright sells for $4 on Amazon).

Radios. Most survival guides recommend that you keep a portable radio on hand to keep abreast of the news and emergency updates, but many all-in-one kits don't include this crucial device. One of the most popular is the Etón Microlink, which sells for $30, and runs on solar and hand-crank power—you can turn the crank to power the radio and a built-in flashlight, as well as to charge your phone (the USB port will plug into most phones).

Other cell phone chargers. If you live in a sunny place and have a lot of gadgets you want to keep charged up, consider a solar charger. You put this $30 solar charger in the sun to keep its internal battery charged; plug in your phone, iPod, or other USB device for a quick backup charge. It's also a good idea to get an in-car charger; they sell for as little as $4.

Keep multiple emergency kits. You should keep your emergency supplies in a dedicated place in your house. FEMA recommends that you make your supplies portable; pack all your gear into a backpack so that you can escape with it in a hurry. But because you may not be home when disaster strikes—or your kit may not be accessible even if you are at home—it's a good idea to keep extra supplies in your car and at work. At the very least, keep a stash of bottled water in your trunk.

Back up your data. If you've stored many of your most precious things digitally, it's a good idea to back that stuff up when you're planning for a disaster. This way you won't have to scramble to save your photos, music, financial documents, and other things when you've got to leave. I recommend a two-step backup process: Save your data to an external hard drive, and also back everything up using an online service like Mozy or Carbonite, which will keep your stuff safe even if your hardware is destroyed.

Come up with a survival plan. It's not enough to get supplies. You also need to coordinate with your family. This Red Cross page goes over everything you should discuss—the most important thing is to choose two locations where you should converge to meet one another.

What to do in an earthquake. Drop, get under cover, and hold on. Every kid in earthquake-prone regions learns this in school, but these lessons tend to evaporate during a disaster. Videos from Japan show people standing, running, and trying to keep file cabinets from falling—all major earthquake no-nos. Also, be warned that the Web is littered with misleading advice by Doug Copp, a "rescue expert" who argues that it's dangerous to duck and cover (he suggests lying down next to a large object, like a bed). As the urban-legend-busting site Snopes point out, Copp's theory has been disputed by a number of experts, including the Red Cross. When an earthquake strikes, don't run or try to escape. Search for cover as close to you as possible; if you're in bed, stay curled up and protect your head with a pillow. If you're driving, pull over when it's safe, and stay away from bridges and overpasses.

Farhad Manjoo is Slate's technology columnist and the author of True Enough: Learning To Live in a Post-Fact Society. You can e-mail him at and follow him on Twitter.

Article URL:

FIRST AID KIT: List of items to include

Thank you to one of our great Association members for sending this.

There are many great first aid kit recommendation lists! We hope you can use this and others you've seen to create the best overall kit possible!

First Aid Kit

Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car. A first aid kit* should include:

  • Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
  • 2-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
  • 4-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
  • Hypoallergenic adhesive tape
  • Triangular bandages (3)
  • 2-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
  • 3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Needle
  • Moistened towelettes
  • Antiseptic
  • Thermometer
  • Tongue blades (2)
  • Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
  • Assorted sizes of safety pins
  • Cleansing agent/soap
  • Latex gloves (2 pair) Sunscreen

Non-prescription drugs

  • Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Antacid (for stomach upset)
  • Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center)
  • Laxative
  • Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)

Contact your local American Red Cross chapter to obtain a basic first aid manual.

"Wisdom is oft times nearer when

we stoop than when we soar"

~ William Wadsworth ~

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

INTERESTING VIDEO & ARTICLE: LAFD film on the 1961 Bel-Air 'conflagration'

The below link will take you to the LA Observed website to read the article and view the video.

Remembering Elizabeth Taylor

Our thoughts and prayers go out to our friend Elizabeth Taylor who was so thoughtful and generous to the Bel-Air Association and our community.

We thank her for her efforts in helping us “Keep Bel-Air Beautiful” and making Bel-Air a special place to live every day.

She touched so many lives around the world and especially those of us living in Bel-Air.

We offer our most sincere condolences to her children Michael, Christopher, Liza and Maria.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.

Paulette M. DuBey
Executive Director
Bel-Air Association

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

LA Times: Benedict Canyon neighbors unite against mystery landowner's planned 'megamansion'

Benedict Canyon neighbors unite against mystery landowner's planned 'megamansion'

They say his planned 85,000-square-foot family compound pushes the bounds of common sense and decency.

By Martha Groves and Janet Stobart, Los Angeles Times

March 22, 2011

Reporting from Los Angeles and London

Nobody in wealthy Benedict Canyon can say for sure what his name is or where he's from, but the owner of a pricey 5.2-acre property on Tower Lane is fast becoming persona non grata among an exclusive club of Los Angeles homeowners.

In a neighborhood whose residents include Bruce Springsteen, Jay Leno, Michael Ovitz and David Beckham, this mystery landowner is preparing to build an 85,000-square-foot family compound, fit for royalty.

The proposed complex is an eclectic mix of European architecture in the coveted 90210 ZIP Code. Although the area teems with mansions boasting swimming pools and tennis courts, residents say the scale of this "megamansion" pushes the bounds of common sense and decency.

If the owner gets his way, the real estate will host a 42,681-square-foot main house, a double-winged "son's villa" of more than 27,000 square feet, a 4,400-square-foot guest house, a 5,300-square-foot staff quarters and a 2,700-square-foot gatehouse. Those and other proposed structures would occupy a combined area larger than Griffith Observatory.

"It's commercial-scale construction, like building a Wal-Mart in the heart of a quiet residential neighborhood," said Martha Karsh, who lives with her husband, Bruce, just east of the site.

In an area known more for gated estates than block parties, the controversy has so far united more than 150 residents. Through e-mails, house gatherings and phone calls, opponents have built support for their cause. Next, they plan to mount a door-to-door campaign and launch a website.

They seem to have a worthy adversary, one with deep pockets and expensive lawyers and who may even be a senior Saudi prince. Instead of disclosing his identity, the owner has created a special business, Tower Lane Properties Inc., to purchase three adjoining plots for $12 million. A team of lawyers, architects, intermediaries and sales brokers have been hired to manage the project, and all have signed secrecy agreements.

"We're not trying to be deceptive," said attorney Marc E. Petas, a Tower Lane Properties representative in Los Angeles. "It's just a matter of maintaining privacy."

City planning documents list Mansour Fustok of London as the president of Tower Lane Properties, with Rutter Hobbs & Davidoff Inc., a Century City law firm, as the "in care of" contact.

Fustok, a former brother-in-law to Saudi King Abdullah, is uncle to Prince Abdulaziz ibn Abdullah ibn Abdulaziz al Saud, one of King Abdullah's sons. Rutter Hobbs attorney Olivia Goodkin, who served as the initial registered agent for Tower Lane Properties, has represented companies controlled by Saudi royal family members in the past.

A Tower Lane Properties representative told residents during a project presentation at one of their homes that the owner is a single father of three whose family would occupy the grounds only occasionally. Project opponents point out that Prince Abdulaziz is divorced and has three children.

Reached at his home in London, Fustok said he was prohibited from naming the owner and described the proposed development as "just a normal Mediterranean-style house." He insisted that the owner would comply with all building regulations and environmental reviews.

"All I'm trying to say is a very nice family is going to live over there," Fustok said. "It's a 5-acre lot altogether. It is far from everybody. … You buy a lot of land, you think you have the right to build on it.

"To face something like this, objecting to everything, it is too much," Fustok said. "Mrs. Karsh and Mr. Ovitz are the ones causing this mayhem and delaying things and so on."

Ovitz declined to be interviewed, but an associate who asked to remain anonymous described his position this way: "He just wants his neighbors to obey the law. It isn't personal or project-specific."

Residents of the canyons above Sunset Boulevard have defeated foreign royalty before. In the early 1990s, the sultan of Brunei proposed a 59,000-square-foot estate on Tower Road in Beverly Hills, near the Tower Lane site in Los Angeles. Sidney J. Sheinberg, a former entertainment industry executive, and the late actor Jack Lemmon were among those who complained loudly enough to quash the plan.

Ovitz himself sparked a neighborhood furor when he proposed a 28,000-square-foot megamansion on property straddling the Los Angeles-Beverly Hills border, but he fared better than the sultan after a battle that lasted several years. The former Hollywood agent-turned-investor's sleek, art-filled structure sits a stone's throw from the proposed Tower Lane development.

Royally owned or not, the site in dispute has had a colorful past.

The gates at the top of winding Tower Lane, a private road, open onto what must have seemed a remote wonderland in the late 1920s when movie director King Vidor hired Wallace Neff to design a 17-room, 8,010-square-foot Spanish Colonial hacienda.

In 1996, movie producer Jon Peters bought the Vidor estate for about $6.2 million. He razed the house and submitted plans for a new residence, but he never pulled permits. Instead, he built a 16-car underground garage as well as an unpermitted horse barn and other illegal structures. He also erected a 500-foot-long retaining wall that violates the original permit. Residents call it an eyesore.

The Karshes and the Benedict Canyon Assn. homeowners group have asked the city to conduct an environmental review and to require the owner of 9933-41 Tower Lane to strictly adhere to municipal codes before allowing the project to proceed. The Los Angeles Planning Commission will consider their appeals at its April 14 meeting. (Bruce Karsh is president and co-founder of Oaktree Capital Management, a senior creditor in the bankruptcy case of Tribune Co., which owns the Los Angeles Times.)

The opponents contend that the city ignored "numerous, glaring omissions" in the property owner's application and say the owner has tried to evade rules limiting retaining walls in an area with steep hillsides. Most significant, critics contend that the owner has attempted to "piecemeal" the development to avoid a full-project review under the California Environmental Quality Act. An environmental review would evaluate the potential effects of years of extensive grading, hauling and construction.

The city of Beverly Hills has also taken an interest because trucks will haul thousands of loads of construction debris along its streets.

To residents like Sheinberg, who battled against the sultan of Brunei's proposed estate years ago and who lives in a 7,800-square-foot country-style home, the thought of an even larger complex rising amid the hills is troubling.

"It's hard for us to understand," he said, "why anyone needs an 80,000-square-foot compound."

Times researcher Scott Wilson contributed to this report.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Full Southbound Freeway Closure



Due to the inclement weather this past Friday night, the work crew could not finish the freeway lane re-striping work near the Skirball Bridge.  This work activity is being re-scheduled for Tuesday night, March 22, 2011.  A full directional southbound freeway closure is required for this operation from Ventura Blvd. to Getty Center Dr.  Sepulveda Blvd. will be available as a detour and the Skirball Bridge will remain open throughout the night.  Ramps may close as early 7:00 pm and some freeway lanes will start to close at 10:00 pm.  The full southbound freeway closure will be affect from 12:00 am to 5:00 am.


Also, the full directional freeway closure in the northbound direction that was originally scheduled for this Wednesday night has been postponed.  An update on the new date will be provided once the schedule is set.  Thanks.



Ron Macias

Community Relations Officer

I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project

(310) 846 - 3564


I-405 Project Hotline 213-922-3665


Saturday, March 19, 2011

LA Marathon Street Closures, Sunday, March 20th

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation released a detailed list of streets that will be closed Sunday to make way for the 26th annual Los Angeles Marathon.

Street closures will begin as early at 3:15 a.m. for the early stages of the race, with most Los Angeles streets expected to be reopened by 3 p.m.

Additional street closures are expected in the cities of West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica.

From 4:45 a.m. to 2:04 p.m., the following streets in the Westwood and Century City areas will be closed:

   -- Santa Monica Boulevard (north side of street - westbound direction

only) between Moreno Drive and Sawtelle Blvd.;

   -- Beverly Glen Boulevard between Wilshire Blvd. and Santa Monica Blvd.;

   -- Westwood Boulevard between Wilshire Blvd. and Santa Monica Blvd.;

   -- Veteran Avenue between Wilshire Blvd. and Santa Monica Blvd.;

   -- Sepulveda Boulevard between Wilshire Blvd. and Santa Monica Blvd.

(may be closed to Olympic Blvd., if necessary);

   -- Cotner Avenue between Santa Monica Blvd. and Ohio Ave.; and

   -- Ohio Avenue between Veteran Ave. and Corinth Ave.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Baseline Hillside Ordinance Adopted by the City Council

Greetings All:

This is an email to let you know that the Baseline Hillside Ordinance (CPC-2010-581-CA; Council File No. 10-1001) was adopted by the City Council on Friday, March 18, 2010. The Ordinance received 13 Yes votes and 0 No votes.

For a copy of the adopted Ordinance and other online documents and information, please refer to the online Council File at the following link:

We are currently working a handout for the new hillside regulations that will include diagrams to illustrate some of the language, some of which can already be seen in the Staff Reports prepared for the Ordinance (use the links provided below). We hope to have that ready in the near future.

Where Will This Apply?

Any property zoned R1, RS, RE(9, 11, 15, 20, & 40), or RA which is designated as Hillside Area pursuant to Section 12.03 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) will be subject to the Baseline Hillside Ordinance when it becomes effective. Please use our Zoning & Information Map Access System, or ZIMAS (, to find your "Zone" and "Hillside Area (Zoning Code)" designation; please look under the "Planning and Zoning" tab on the left side of your web browser.

What's Next?

According to Section 250 of the City Charter, the Mayor has 10 days to act on it - meaning he can act on it on the same day, or 10 days later. Assuming the Mayor approves it, the City Clerk's Office will then post the adopted Ordinance for a period of 10 days and a 30-day effective date will begin after that. Simply put, the earliest an Ordinance can realistically go into effect is 40 to 50 days after it is adopted by the City Council.

When we have an effective date, we will email the individuals on this interest list.

Projects in Early Design Stages, Submitted for Discretionary Actions, and/or in Plan Check

For those of individuals working on projects which are currently in the early design stages or is waiting for a discretionary action of some sort, please use the information above to gauge whether you will be able to submit for plan check prior to the effective date of the proposed Baseline Hillside Ordinance.

Pursuant to Section 12.26 A.3 of the LAMC, any project which is accepted by the Department of Building and Safety for plan check with a complete set of plans and for which the fees have been paid prior to the effective date of an Ordinance will be considered to be a Vested Development Plan; meaning that the applicable regulations in place prior to this change will continue to apply. However, there are some limitations to this provision that you should be aware of, but the more relevant ones are that you have 18 months after the fee is paid, and that you cannot make changes to those plans which increase or decrease the height, floor area, or occupant load of the proposed structure by more than 5%. Feel free to reference our online Municipal Code for more details (; go to Chapter 1, Article 2, Section 12.26, Subsection A, Subdivision 3.

The only way to "vest" a typical single-family development project under the current Code is through the Vested Development Plan provision summarized above. Applications for, or approval of discretionary actions (i.e. Zoning Administration Determinations, Adjustments, Variances, etc.) prior to the effective date does not confer vesting rights to a project. If you are not able to submit for plan check to the Department of Building & Safety prior to the effective date of the Baseline Hillside Ordinance, it is recommended that you consider the proposed hillside provision when making design choices or determining a course of action.

Useful Links

April 22, 2010 City Planning Commission Staff Report:

May 27, 2010 City Planning Commission Staff Report:

City Planning Commission Determination Letter:

City Attorney Report:

Online Council File:

Feel free to forward this information to anyone you feel might be interested.

If you received this email via forwarded message from someone other than myself, and you want to obtain updates directly from the Department, please email and ask to be added to the interest list. Please type "Add Me To Hillside Notification List" in the subject line and provide your group/organization/company affiliations and contact information (please include at least your ZIP Code).

Facebook™ Users: Look for the Baseline Hillside Ordinance page; add the page and receive updates in your news feed. You can also view our events calendar and participate in discussion boards.

As always, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact myself or Jennifer Driver at or at (818) 374-9916.


Erick Lopez, City Planner
City of Los Angeles - Department of City Planning
Office of Zoning Administration - Code Studies
200 N. Spring St., Room 701
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 978-1323
(213) 978-0597 - fax

ü Please consider the environment before printing this email.