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City Hall Crisis Prompts Neighborhood Council Votes

Wildlife Ordinance Revised Draft Available Online
Council Ad Hoc Committee To Study Plan
Metro Looking at Stone Canyon for Subway

The History of the Brown Act

Council Supports Legislation to Study Personal Delivery Devices
How To Be Involved With Your Neighborhood Council
SCRAPBOOK: The Rise And Fall Of William Mulholland 

Pet Adoption Opportunities

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On Wednesday October 26, the Bel Air Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council voted to support four LA City Council files in reaction to the revelation of an illicit recording of racist remarks during a secret meeting by City Council members Nury Martnez, Gil Cedillo, Kevin de Leon and Los Angeles Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera as widely reported.
The BABCNC voted to support Council file 22-1189, which demands that City Council persons Martinez, Cedillo and de Leon be censured for their contact and statements made during the referenced meeting of October 2021. The Council joins with the community in demanding their immediate resignation from the City Council.
The BABCNC voted to support Council file 22-1195 which also demands a censure of Martinez, Cedillo and de Leon for their racially insensitive and divisive statements, as reported in the media, which constitutes a gross failure to conform with and meet the highest standards of personal and professional conduct, even if their actions do not constitute grounds for removal from office under the Charter.
In supporting Council file 22-1197, the BABCNC joins the call for the City Council to convene a new Ad Hoc Committee on City Government Reform, which will be charged with implementing reforms to increase transparency, limit corruption and make City leadership more representative of our communities with the aim of restoring the faith of the people of Los Angeles to their City government.
The BABCNC also voted to support Council file 22-1196 instructing the City Attorney to report on the steps needed to place a charter reform ballot initiative before the voters of Los Angeles in 2024, with recommendations that ensure representation is fixed to population growth, in order to increase the number of City Council seats.
The Los Angeles Department of Planning has released a revised version of the Wildlife Ordinance.  You can read the draft here:
Here  is a summary by the City of changes that have been made to the ordinance since the last draft was released in April, 2022.
Resources and Ridgelines
Wildlife Resources: The prohibition on development activity within Wildlife Resources and their buffers has been removed. The revised standard is that Projects proposed within Wildlife Resources or their buffers would require a Biological Assessment and would be subject to Site Plan Review.
Ridgelines: Specific regulations tied to presence of a ridgeline removed. Other District-Wide Regulations regulations have been added or modified to help achieve objectives of previous ridgeline-specific regulations.
Setbacks: Added setback regulations have been removed. Current code standards will continue to apply.
Fences and Walls: Locational and opacity standards for fencing and walls have been removed. Material and design prohibitions have been retained.
Height: Height regulations are no longer tied to the presence of ridgelines. The 25 foot envelope height limitation is no longer proposed, while the overall height restriction has been retained as a district-wide standard, but increased from 35 to 45 feet.
Grading: No significant changes have been made to the Wildlife Ordinance grading regulations.
Residential Floor Area: The proposed Ordinance no longer removes the required covered parking exemption that is used for the calculation of residential floor area (RFA). The proposed Ordinance also no longer limits the allocation of RFA for slope bands exceeding 60% grade.
Lot Coverage: R1 and R2 zones have been exempted from the Wildlife Ordinance lot coverage standards. Additionally, refinements have been made to the list of features that are now proposed to be included in Wildlife District lot coverage calculations.
Trees: No significant changes have been made to the Wildlife Ordinance tree regulations.

Vegetation and Landscaping: Planting zones were relabeled to align with brush management zones, and the preferred plant list was modified to prohibit five plant species from being planted in Zone 1.
Lighting: No significant changes have been made to lighting regulations.
Windows: The minimum size for a window to require bird-safe treatments has been increased, from 25 square feet to 40 square feet.
Trash Enclosures: No significant changes. The proposal requires trash to be enclosed Other Changes to the Wildlife Ordinance
Application: The ordinance specifies which project activities trigger each regulation to help make it clearer when regulations will apply. Language was also added to clarify that reconstruction of a building that is damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster does not count as a new construction or major remodel project.
Non-Conformance/Rebuild: Applicability of some standards has been limited to be applicable to new construction or major remodel projects, and language has been added to clarify that reconstruction of a building that is damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster does not count as a new construction or major remodel project.
Additionally, a provision has been added to the Height regulations section stating that the overall height requirement shall not apply to the restoration or rebuilding of non-conforming buildings that are damaged or destroyed by natural disasters.
Your Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council has established an ad hoc subcommittee to evaluate the draft and provide input to the City.


The Neighborhood Council voted to study and offer input to City regulations regarding personal delivery devices, “robots,” allowing the Department of Transportation to establish rules for the operation of delivery robots as a “pilot program.”                               

 In a letter to the manager of Bel Air Ridge, LA Metro has requested a meeting overlooking Stone Canyon, at Nicada and Mulholland, to discuss its plans to “assess and gather information about underground soil and rock conditions to support ongoing efforts for the Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project.”
The letter from Matthew S. Marquez, Principal Community Relations Officer continued, “Metro is evaluating high-capacity rail alternatives to connect
the San Fernando Valley and the Westside. The project is still in the early planning stages, with environmental review and early design efforts underway.”
The following links were provided:
Project Fact Sheet:
Project Video:
Project Website:
                                         California State Capitol
                        HOW THE  "BROWN ACT” WAS CREATED
California political shenanigans ran rampant before 1953 – sometimes it seemed as if the politicians were hiding the business of government from the people they governed. In San Francisco, the public was kept out of policy setting sessions by City and County governments, school boards and irrigation districts.
                      Michael Harris - San Francisco Chronicle Reporter

This was noted by a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, Michael Harris, who was “physically expelled from sessions that were supposedly open, sometimes under threat of violence and refused entrance to meetings whose doors were closed to all but local lobbyists.”
While the law required meetings to be open to the public, officials didn’t have to say where and when they were meeting.
The treatment of the public by the political establishment caused Harris to write a 10=part newspaper series for the Chronicle he titled, “ Your Secret Government”. The stories became an embarrassment to the many of the political establishment.
                               California Assemblyman Ralph Brown

Legal Council of the League of California Cities Richard (Bud) Carpenter and assemblyman Ralph M. Brown decided to join forces and create a new law that barred closed meetings. It was a “Sunshine Law” designed to bring new light to the workings of government.
They asked Harris to write the preamble of the new law – but not in legalese – it was to be written in plain simple words that are easily understood by the public. Harris wrote:
In enacting this chapter, the Legislature finds and declares that the public commissions, boards and councils and the other public agencies in this State exist to aid in the conduct of the people's business.
It is the intent of the law that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly. The people of this State do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them.
The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know.

The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.

The new law was named the Brown Act, honoring Ralph M. Brown who helped make it law.

The Brown Act requires that government legislative meetings be open to the pubic, that the public be given advanced notice of the meeting and the issues to be voted upon. It is a statewide law that applies to State Government, Los Angeles government including all Neighborhood Councils, including the Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council and the Los Angeles City Council.

The Los Angeles City Department of Neighborhood Empowerment has outlined the rules for Neighborhood Councils. Here's a link:

If you are interested in performing public service by serving on your Neighborhood Council, you will be welcome.
Members of the Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council are seated in three ways: 

The Boards of Residential Stakeholder Groups (homeowners and resident associations) in our area appoint their representative on the Council according to their own appointment or election process. These representatives are responsible for the interests of their constituents and report to the Board that elected them.

There are also Neighborhood Council Board seats “at large” to represent stakeholders who are not represented by Residential Stakeholder Groups.

A third group of representatives are selected by the Board to represent Non-residential Groups.
All Neighborhood Council meetings are open to the public. Meetings are currently held by Zoom so you can attend meetings from your home. To get started, you should attend the meetings and acquaint yourself with the Council.
Here is information produced by the Los Angeles Department of Neighborhood Empowerment which will provide more information.

Application period opens November 26 and closes January 10, 2023
      SCRAPBOOK: The history of our Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood
                 Council Communities and those communities around us


The Northern border of the Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council is Mulholland Drive, the famous mountain street with incredible views. It is named for William Mulholland – a man whose inventiveness and leadership gave Los Angeles a generous supply of water. He also made decisions that created one of the world’s worst disasters that ruined his career and life.
                                                 William Mulholland

Mulholland was an Irish immigrant who had lived a rough life (his father beat him) and was eventually hired as a ditch digger laborer for the City of Los Angeles Water Company. He became interested in water engineering, read textbooks and studied hydrology, slowly rising through the ranks where his opinions became respected and sought out.
                            Fred Eaton, former Mayor of Los Angeles

After 1900, through a former Los Angele mayor, Fred Eaton, Los Angelinos became concerned with the possibility of drought and lack of water for future growth. This resulted in the controversial acquisition of land in the Owens Valley, where snowfall runoff from the High Sierra Mountains filled the Owens River with water each year.
An aqueduct from Owens valley reaching 233 miles into Los Angeles was proposed. It was designed by Mulholland to move water by gravity flow, without electric pumps and in fact produced electricity for the city of Los Angeles. The project was completed on time and on budget in 1913.  The lake in our Franklin Canyon Park was one of the first reservoirs, part of the original system.
                            Sticks of dynamite to blowup the acquaduct

After the aqueduct was built, angry farmers and ranchers from Owens valley who believed they were not fairly compensated for the land and whose farming future was ended by draining the water out of their area to provide water for Los Angeles, dynamited the aqueduct. Even more violence was threatened. 
Mulholland had constructed a series of reservoirs to store the water and believed a new dam, near the path of the aqueduct but far enough from the Owens Valley would insure a consistent water supply should other acts of violence impede the flow of water to Los Angeles.
                              St. Francis Dam just after it was filled

The site he chose was in San Francisquito Canyon near Santa Clarita. Between 1924 and 1926 a new dam was constructed named the St. Francis Dam.  The first phase involved digging exploratory tunnels and shafts to determine the characteristics of the earth and to estimate the effect water would have.  
Years earlier, in 1911, Mulholland had noted the unstable earth on the East side of the Canyon but Stanley Durham, the construction supervisor felt the tests he ordered showed the rock to be hard and more than suitable for the construction of the dam.
Later analysis determined the area to be of “Heavy Ground” -  earth that is weak and is high geostress ground that causes repeated failures. No one knew of this when the dam was being built.

The St. Francis Dam was built as a gravity dam, made of concrete. In this type of dam, the huge weight of the water it was holding back is matched by the weight of the material used in the dam. The resistance by the foundation opposes the horizontal pressure of the water pushing against it. Part of the foundation is the integrity of the rock and earth against which the dam is constructed

The St. Francis dam was completed and filled with water from the aqueduct. It was huge, rising 207 feet above its foundation. It stretched back 3 miles with 182 feet depth of water. The dam held back approximately 12.5 billion gallons of water.
Just before midnight on March 12, 1928, there was a sudden roaring sound in the night from the dam. A woman living in employee housing asked her husband if it was the wind. According to the book “Heavy Ground” another woman looked out her window at the dam and saw a mist rising into the air.
In the next moment the great 207 foot tall dam fell apart and 12.5 billion gallons of water spilled down San Francisquito Canyon. It was a wall of water 180 feet high, racing down the Santa Clara River, below the dam, toward the towns of Santa Paula, Fillmore, Piru, Castaic Junction, Bardsdale, orange groves and people asleep in the night. It destroyed everything in its path, washing across Highway 1 and spilling into the Pacific Ocean, 54 miles from the reservoir.

Approximately 411 people were killed. Bodies washed to sea were recovered from as far south as the Mexican border.
   Section of St. Francis Dam carried by the force of water a quarter mile away.
                                                 It is still there.

The St. Francis Dam catastrophe is considered to be one of the worst American civil engineering disasters of the 20th Century and the second greatest loss of life in California history after the San Francisco earthquake and fire.
Mulholland, shocked and sickened, took full responsibility for the disaster, “don't blame anyone else, you just fasten it on me. If there was an error in human judgment, I was the human, I won't try to fasten it on anyone else.”
The coroner’s jury found no evidence of criminal act on the part of  Mulholland, the Board of Water Works or any employee or engineer but the legal liability of the City of Los Angeles was huge. Mullholland’s daughter wrote in her biography of her father that the St Francis dam disaster was caused by soil concepts that were not known in her father’s day.

Crushed and now very much abandoned, Mulholland resigned and retired into relative obscurity. His future was over. He died 7 years later of a stroke. – a sad ending for a man who more than any other person brought life giving water to the Los Angeles desert that allowed Los Angeles to grow. It was a true tragedy, for the hundreds of people who lost their lives and their families that were shattered and for an incredible man who unknowingly caused the catastrophe and bore the weight of responsibility

Andre Stojka

             Adopt, Don’t Shop! Visit West Los Angeles Animal Shelter
Consider adopting one of the wonderful animals at our local animal shelter!
Below are just a few stars from among the many who need a loving home.
If you can’t adopt, consider volunteering, fostering an animal for a period of time, or providing items from the shelter’s Wish Lists. Every bit helps!
Visit the shelter
Tuesdays and Thursdays  8am—5pm
Saturdays and Sundays  11am—5pm
West Los Angeles Animal Shelter
11361 W Pico Blvd (just west of the 405)
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Phone (310) 207-3156
Because of the size of Los Angeles, each Los Angeles City Council member represents around 250,000 people. To keep City officials in closer touch with the neighborhoods of the City, in 1999 Los Angeles adopted a Neighborhood Council system to advise the City Council members of local issues.
There are 99 separate Neighborhood Councils in the City of Los Angeles. Members of the Neighborhood Council are considered City employees without compensation of any kind. They are formally elected by the public or communities and must live, work or own property in the area they represent.
The Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council represents approximately 28,000 people in a beautiful mountain and canyon area of the City of Los Angeles bounded on the West by Sepulveda Boulevard, on the North, Mulholland Drive, on the South by Sunset Boulevard and the East by Laurel Canyon.


Santa Monica Mountains
home to our Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council communities


The Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council Community News is published by the Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council Outreach Committee:
Robin Greenberg, Mindy Mann, Nickie Miner,
Robert Schlesinger, Maureen Smith, Patricia Templeton
Andre Stojka, Outreach Chairperson and Newsletter Editor
BABCNC President: Travis Longcore
Newsletter (c) 2022 Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council
Scrapbook (c) 2022 Andre Stojka
Photo Credits: Shutterstock, MRSC, LA Metro, Wickapedia,, Wikidata, Water and Power Associates, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy

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Bel Air/Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council · PO Box 252007 · Los Angeles, CA 90025 · USA

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