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1  Hotel in Benedict Canyon Update
2  2022 Election Year
3. Bel Air Glen Panel formed by Neighborhood Council
4. Where to be tested for Covid
5. The Undertaker of the Murder Capital of the United States
6.  Composting
 7. 'Tis The Season To Trim Your Trees

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Despite the overwhelming opposition of the community, Councilmember Paul Koretz, every major environmental organization and the Bel Air Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council, the developer of the proposed commercial hotel in Benedict Canyon persists in his effort to move forward with this wholly inappropriate project. 

The so called “Retreat” is now branded as The Bulgari Resort. This project would expose the canyon to the risk of a catastrophic fire, and the noise and disruption of a 24 hour a day hotel operation with thousands of cars and trucks and guests who know and care nothing about protecting our fragile environment.

The hotel would take years to build, require the destruction of hundreds of mature and protected trees, destroy the quiet residential character of Benedict Canyon forever. It would also create a dangerous precedent for future uncontrolled commercial exploitation of the Santa Monica Mountains and confer no benefit to the community.

The fact that this project was allowed to proceed through the planning process is difficult to understand given the tremendous waste of community and taxpayer resources.  It is even stranger in view of the current efforts of the City and State to preserve open space, to expand the tree canopy, to protect biodiversity, and to curb further development in high fire hazard severity areas like Benedict Canyon. 

City Planning has recently released for public comment the Ridgeline Ordinance and Wildlife Ordinance and it is expected that some version of these ordinances will become law later this year.  At the same time the California Fish & Game Commission is considering listing the Southern and Central Coast California Mountain Lion as a threatened species, in large part due to loss of habitat. All of these efforts are completely antithetical to the development of a commercial hotel in the midst of a 33-acre wildlife corridor in the Santa Monica Mountains with the danger of fires, destruction of habitat and removal of native woodlands. 

The developer has expended millions of dollars in lobbying and in efforts to sway public opinion. Our elected officials should stand up and put good zoning practice and the environment first.  A hotel can be built anywhere, but our local mountain lions and other wildlife can’t choose to live elsewhere. This developer may try to “sell” the project to the community as environmentally sensitive, but the project is simply wrong for the community, it’s wrong for wildlife, and it’s wrong for the Santa Monica Mountains.

A community non-profit organization, Save Our Canyon, has been formed to oppose this project and protect the Santa Monica Mountains.  Save Our Canyon has obtained more than 11,000 signatures on a petition opposing the project and has taken the lead to bring this project to a halt.  Your Neighborhood Council strongly opposes this project. The Save Our Canyon website ( links to the petition to oppose the project.

Mindy Rothstein Mann
An extensive public hearing regarding a proposal to gate the Bel Air Glen community was held, Tuesday January 11. Testimony regarding dangerous traffic was presented with many questions unanswered. Accordingly, the Planning and Land Use Committee established an Ad Hoc Committee to study the issue and make a report in two months. BABCNC has an advisory role to the City Council on this matter.
2022 is a major election year for the City of Los Angeles with, City Council members, and Mayor and City attorney. There will be a primary election June 7 and the top two candidates will have a runoff November 8, 2022
Current District 5 council member Paul Koretz is termed out and has decided to run for City Controller. At the moment there are 6 people interested in the office:
Molly Basler, Community Organizer, Climate Reality Leader
Jimmy Biblarz, LGBTQ advisor, Law instructor UCLA
Scott Epstein, pubic policy professional and community leader
Kristina Irwin, community member
Sam Yebri, community leader, attorney and former City Commissioner
Katy Young Yaroslavsky, worked for LA County supervisor Sheila Kuehl

All candidates are currently raising money for their campaigns aiming at the primary election.

Your Neighborhood Council will try to provide opportunities for you to learn more about the candidates.


On January 1, a state law went into effect that requires Californians to separate all organic material from their other garbage. This includes unused food, coffee grounds, egg shells, banana peels and other leftovers which should be placed into bins for other “green” waste, such as garden trimmings, lawn clippings and leaves. The State’s goal is to reduce organic waste disposal by 75% by 2025.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, organic waste accounts for a significant portion of California’s waste stream. Left to decompose in landfills, the organic waste releases methane, a gas that traps the sun’s heat, warms the atmosphere and contributes to global warming.

To address this issue, then-Governor Jerry Brown, signed Senate Bill 1383 into law which targets the reduction of pollutants, including methane. Cities throughout California must meet the new reduction limits through organic waste reduction.



An important part of promoting the health of your trees is ensuring that your trees are trimmed properly and at the correct time of the year. In Los Angeles, late fall through winter is the best time of the year to trim most of your trees. Don’t be tempted to trim in the spring or summer; it might seem convenient to trim your trees late spring together with your annual hillside clearance but you will pay the price in the long run. Trimming trees during the warm months can weaken trees, attract unwanted pests, and even lead to the eventual loss of trees.

Before you hire a tree trimmer, it is a good idea to walk around your property and observe the health and condition of all the trees on your property. If you have any doubts, you might consider hiring a certified tree arborist to assess your trees and give you advice on how to take care of them. Your trees add a lot of value to your property and this is money well spent.

Here are some additional pieces of information to keep in mind when trimming your trees:
  1. Only hire a professional tree trimming company with a licensed arborist on staff who has a deep knowledge of trees and their best practices.When you get a bad haircut, your hair grows back; when trees are trimmed improperly, they can go into shock and can even die.
  2. Not all trees are created equal. Different species vary in their growth habits, water needs, susceptibility to pests and disease, and more.As a result, they have different trimming requirements to keep them healthy.
  3. Spring and summer are nesting season for most birds in Southern California and trimming trees during this time of the year poses a serious threat to nesting birds and their offspring. This is another reason to trim your trees between the months of October through February.
  4. Pine trees, in particular, should only be trimmed during cold weather months when the sap is not running to avoid attracting bark beetles.
  5. Never trim more than 20-25% of a tree at any given time. It poses too great of a stress for a tree and makes it difficult for a tree to recover.
  6. It is best to trim deciduous trees while they are dormant before they put their energy into leafing out.
Finally, before you trim your trees or consider removing a tree, it is important to note that Los Angeles now has six types of protected trees. It is illegal to fatally harm or remove any of these trees unless you obtain a permit from Urban Forestry.  The six types are – all native Oak species, Western Sycamore, Southern California Black Walnut, California Bay, Toyon, and Mexican Elderberry.

Mindy Rothstein Mann


According to the Government website, every home in the US is eligible to order 4 free at-home Covid tests.  The tests are completely free. Orders will usually ship in 7-12 days.  To order tests go to:

Here is a list of Covid testing sites in Los Angeles and Los Angeles County as well as useful resources to help keep you informed about Covid.

According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the Omicron variant is now
raging in Los Angeles County with hospitalizations rising.

Please wear a mask, stay 6 feet away from others and follow all local, state and federal Covid guidelines.

1383 Sepulveda Boulevard
Los Angeles 90049
Drive Through Testing






Compiled by Maureen Smith

Los Angeles Plaza 1865

The History of our Bel Air-Beverly Crest
Neighborhood Council Communities
Our beloved city of the angels, Los Angeles, once had the distinction of being the murder capital of the United States.  According to Horace Bell, who was there and wrote a memoir of the time: "Reminiscences of a Ranger.” The year of 1853 showed an average mortality rate from fights and assassinations over one per day.
 The first question people asked in the morning was “Who got killed last night” and then the next question was “Who Killed Him?”
A few years later, into this murderous environment came a French speaking Belgian émigré named Victor Ponet. He had trained as a cabinetmaker but was endowed with entrepreneurial skills. When he found that his cabinet shop had more demand for caskets than furniture, Ponet became the principal casket maker of Los Angleles.  He also became an undertaker, providing citizens with full service.
Eventually, Mr. Ponet became wealthy and, like many families of this era, invested heavily in land. According to the Los Angeles Herald, Mr. Ponet became one of the six heaviest taxpayers in Los Angeles. “Among his holdings are several blocks of Spring and Main Streets. He owns the entire block between Pico and Grand Avenue and Hope Street. This block incudes Fiesta Park and the Ponet Square apartments hotel."
Victor married an Irish immigrant named Ellen Manning who shared her husband's business acuity and sold French millinery. They had two children: a son who became a Catholic priest; and a daughter, Gertrude Mary Ponet
The couple led a successful life, with Victor founding the German-American Savings Bank, which became Security Pacific, was President of Evergreen Cemetery. King Leopold of Belgium bestowed on Victor the title of Chevalier de L’Ordre de Leopold – essentially knighthood for Victor's service to Belgium.
Harper Ranch, next door neighbor to Victor and Ellen Ponet

Victor and Ellen retired to an estate on the Southern slope of the Santa Monica Mountains next to the town of Sherman (today West Hollywood) where avocado groves, casaba melons and poinsettia fields filled their 240 acre estate.  All  of this was  inherited by their descendants, their daughter and her husband Francis Montgomery after Ponet passed away in 1914 and his wife passed away in 1919.
In 1904, Moses Sherman developed a new residential neighborhood called Hacienda Park and obtained permission to build a road across their property to the new development.
The road was named Sunset Boulevard and the descendants of Ponet, his daughter and son in law, found themselves with property on both sides of Sunset.  They decided to create a commercial development they named “Sunset Plaza” which is still a vital commercial development and is owned and managed by the descendants of Victor and Ellen Ponet to this day.
Andre Stojka
Ponet Drive, named after Victor Ponet


Because of the size of Los Angeles, each Los Angeles City Council member represents around 260,000 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 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.

This newsletter is for residents, stakeholders and friends of the Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council,

Please forward this newsletter to neighbors who you feel will be interested and might be interested in subscribing to our mailing list.
The Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council Community News is produced by the Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council Outreach Committee: Robin Greenberg, Chair, Andre Stojka, Editor, with committee members Nickie Miner, Robert Schlesinger, Mindy Rothstein Mann, Heather Roy, Maureen Smith and Travis Longcore.

Photo Credits: Wikipedia, Shutterstock, Oregon
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Bel Air/Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council · PO Box 252007 · Los Angeles, CA 90025 · USA

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