Thursday, October 11, 2007

Woodman/Ventura to get left turn arrow

Going eastbound on Ventura to northbound Woodman is never a fun turn, even sometimes later at night. My solution has always been to turn left onto a side street, which is much faster.

But not to fear, no longer are those days, a left turn arrow will be born.

More info at my post on LAist.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Rally In The Alley

On Saturday, September 8th from 9 am to 11 am, the Sherman Oaks Beautification Committee is having a “Rally in the Alley.” Volunteers will meet at the northeast corner of Van Nuys and Ventura Blvds., by the California National Bank building. After some food and camaraderie, we will go through the north and south alleys, sweeping up trash and debris, pulling weeds and painting out graffiti.

There will be refreshments, courtesy of The Coffee Roaster, Western Bagel, Whole Foods and Sherman Oaks Hospital . Walk-ins are welcome! At past cleanup events, we have had a great deal of support from the Office of Community Beautification, Council District Offices 2 and 5, the Buckley School, Dixie Canyon Elementary, Riverside Drive Elementary, Boy Scout Troop 139, Sherman Oaks Hospital, the new Best Buy staff, New Directions for Youth, Van Nuys Middle School, Pacoima Graffiti Busters, the LAPD, and many wonderful Sherman Oaks residents.

We are encouraging businesses whose rear entrances face either alley, to come out and meet your neighbors and our wonderful volunteers, and join in for a productive and rewarding morning.

If you have any questions, please email Walk-ins are welcome.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Sherman Oaks Bicycle Committee

I'm tempted to start this up, but I am way over-involved. But for this to happen would be incredible.

With three bicycle shops in Sherman Oaks and other community support, a bicycle committee can really do some good for the neighborhood:
  • Work on sidewalk bicycle parking in business districts not currently served (Van Nuys Blvd., Woodman Blvd, Sepulveda).
  • Work with big box and grocery stores on off-sidewalk bicycle parking.
  • Support and report on status of long-term bicycle projects such as the Fulton Ave. Class II Bike Lane and the LA River Class I Bike Path
  • Education Projects in the community with Sharrows and Signage (as seen in the picture)
  • Identifying Class III routes in the community.
  • Work with Land Use Committee and developers of new apartments and condos to build and design in bicycle parking for tenants and guests.
  • Identify and work with property owners who have trees and bushes that "shed" thorns into sidewalks and streets causing bicycle tires to easily pop.
So who wants to do this?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Shots Fired at Ralphs

It's Britney Spears' Ralphs too:

Los Angeles Times
7:03 PM PDT, June 26, 2007
Man wounded in shooting at Studio City grocery
By Francisco Vara-Orta, Times Staff Writer

A gunman armed with a semiautomatic weapon shot and wounded a man after firing off several rounds this afternoon outside a bustling Ralphs supermarket in Studio City.

Several people ducked when the shots started flying about 3:45 p.m. outside the supermarket in the 12800 block of Ventura Boulevard and Coldwater Canyon Avenue, said Officer Karen Smith, a spokeswoman with the Los Angeles Police Department. The lone victim was shot in the leg, she said.

It appears that the victim and the suspect "have some form of a relationship, but we don't know yet what that could be," Smith said. The suspect was described as a man in his early to mid-20s who was accompanied by another man, she said.

"The suspect shot at the victim from six to 10 times with a semiautomatic weapon," Smith said. "But we don't know if the second man also had a gun or shot at the victim."

The two suspects fled east on Ventura Boulevard in separate vehicles, Smith said. Witnesses described one car as a black Mercedes-Benz and the other as possibly a red BMW, she said.

Smith said the victim, whose name was not released immediately, was transported to a local hospital and is expected to survive.

An investigation of the shooting is continuing.

"It's too early still to determine what happened," Smith said.


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Pizza 'til 2 a.m.

I never knew until I was dropping off a package at FedEx Kinkos tonight that Greco's pizza next door is open to 2 a.m. all week long. This is the same pizza company that serves you on inebriated nights at Hollywood and Las Palmas and Hollywood and Highland.

Greco's New York Pizzeria
4572 Van Nuys Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
818 789-1652
(in the same strip mall as Solley's and Gelsons)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Armed Robbery @ Coldwater/Moorpark

From an E-Policing Alert

It is not very often that we have a armed street robbery in Studio City but on Thursday June 7th we had one. At approximately 3:55am the vict was walking on Moorpark towards Coldwater Canyon to catch the bus for work.

The suspect approached the victim on foot, pulled out a handgun, pointing it at the victim's neck and stated, "Give me your F***** money." The victim complied and the suspect fled on foot southbound Coldwater Canyon.

The victim stated he possibly observed the suspect enter an awaiting brown 4dr possibly '87-'89 Chevy Celebrity that quickly fled in the location. The suspect is described at a male white Brown hair, unk eyes, 505, 160lbs 27-28yrs. He was wearing a white baseball cap, black t-shirt, and plaid shorts.

If anybody has any information regarding this incident please contact me at 818-634-2593.

Officer Lewis
Senior Lead Officer Studio City

Friday, June 08, 2007

Hot Spot Locations for Graffiti

When we were approaching last Wednesday's graffiti meeting, I requested a map of graffiti hot spots in Sherman Oaks so I could target market segments for flyering areas of the community. And with a little touch of Web 2.0 ingenuity, Council District 2 used the My Maps feature on Google Maps to share those locations.

If you are just curious or want to adopt-a-wall, check out the map.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Anti-Graffiti Meeting is Tonight

Some more information has come out in the form of a press release, so I am just posting it here:


Councilwoman Greuel and city agencies to train local residents to fight graffiti

(LOS ANGELES) - As part of her anti-graffiti campaign, Councilwoman Wendy Greuel will sponsor an "Adopt-A-Wall" training session designed to help local residents take action against graffiti in their neighborhoods by adopting a graffiti hotspot on Wednesday, June 6th, at 6:30 PM at Viva Gallery, 13261 Moorpark St, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423.

In 2007, there has been a nearly 300% increase in graffiti removed in Council District 2, when compared with last year. Through the "adopt-a-wall" program, community groups can take responsibility for keeping a local hotspot graffiti-free by:

· Painting out: Volunteer groups will receive supplies and training from City agencies in order to continually paint over graffiti.

· Vining: The City plant vines to cover a targeted wall and the community group commits to caring for the plants.

· Creating Murals: The interested community group sponsors a mural.

The "Adopt-A-Wall" program was introduced by Councilwoman Greuel, at a public safety town hall meeting she hosted to improve public safety by expanding neighborhood empowerment.


WHO: Councilwoman Wendy Greuel

LAPD Community Tagger Task Force

Office of Community Beautification Director Paul Rachs

New Directions for Youth

Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council Public Safety Team

Neighborhood Watches

WHAT: Adopt-A-Wall/graffiti removal training session

WHEN: Wednesday, June 6th, 2007 at 6:30 PM

WHERE: Viva Gallery

13261 Moorpark St

Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Latest 405 Closures

Caltrans will close all lanes of the northbound San Diego Freeway (I-405) from Ventura Boulevard to the Ventura Freeway (U.S. 101) nightly, for four nights beginning Thursday, June 7. The dates and times are as follows:

Thursday, June 7, 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.
Friday, June 8, 2 a.m. to 5 a.m.
Saturday, June 9, 3 a.m. to 5 a.m.
Sunday, June 10, 2 a.m. to 7 a.m.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Graffiti Workshop to keep Sherman Oaks Clean

In lieu of our usual Public Safety Committee meeting, we are teaming up with Councilwoman Wendy Greue'ls office for the "Adopt-a-Wall/Anti-Graffiti Activist Training Session."

Wednesday, June 6 2007 @ 6:30 p.m.

VIVA Gallery
13261 Moorpark St.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
(Intersection of Moorpark & Fulton)
Parking found on Moorpark and side streets

Food will be served.

This training session will provide you with the tips and tools on identifying (tagger vs gang) and eradicating graffiti in your neighborhood. Joining us will be the LAPD Tagger Task Force, New Directions for Youth, Office of Community Beautification and members from Councilwoman Greuel's staff.

Let's make Sherman Oaks Graffiti Clean!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Where to find Thai Basil in Sherman Oaks

While there are talks of a community garden in the neighborhood (more to come soon), there is no produce specialty shop other than Farm Boy at Hazeltine and Riverside abut to Trader Joes.

They don't get too exotic, but it supplements your Trader Joes shopping with more and better choices of fruits and vegetables. They even have a small sushi station!

Check it out.

One Important Traffic Meeting

Caltrans and LADOT Meeting
5/24/07 Skirball Cultural Center
An important transportation meeting with information from both CAL TRANS (405) Widening Project and LADOT (Sepulveda Blvd. Reversible Lane Project) will be held:

Skirball Cultural Center on
Thursday, May 24, 2007
7 to 9 pm.

Many of the Neighborhood Councils and Homeowners Associations have worked hard to get both Caltrans and LADOT to meet the community together and show us how these projects impact our neighborhoods and our region. The transportation impact will be significant for many months or years.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

An interesting look at Sherman Oaks

A lot of people seem to find me as an elected Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council rep through this blog and e-mail me at my Non-NC address.

Brother Zach:

I live in SO with my wife and soon to be baby. Hey, what's up with all the street peddlers man? People selling Spider-Man blow up dolls, corn on the cob from hand-pushed carts, flowers, teddy bears, etc.

I know you are on the SONC and I emailed them about this matter too. Give people an inch and, next thing you know, SO will look like a refugee camp. Sincerity and hard work for an honest buck aside, we gotz laws man! If I wanted to live in Van Nuys, I'd move a few streets over! You want SO to look like Van Nuys?

Time to bring down the hammer of justice.

-[name redacted]

I feel like I live in a different Sherman Oaks than this resident (unless this is all specifically about Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks Park). So I shall hunt down more details.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Westfield Expansion

Debate is going strong on the Westfield Mall expansion. It is inevitable as time changes that upgrades will be needed. If Westfield does not change their ways, the future could hold an abandoned space that will call for change anyway.

What I see missing from all the newspaper articles and what I have read so far about from the critics are mitigations for non-motorized transit. The LA River Plan calls for a Fashion Square Park and a bicycle/recreational trails.

Westfield and the residents should also consider LA River mitigations in addition to roadway/traffic ones.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Bicycle Sidewalk Parking Count: 33

How many sidewalk bicycle racks are there in Sherman Oaks? 33*. These are the LADOT Inverted U bike racks (see picture) that you see on the street that are part of the LADOT Sidewalk Parking Program. The 33 does not include racks at the Library, parks or off the sidewalk at businesses.

Bike Rack Count by Council District:
  • CD2: 3 Racks along Woodman at Moorpark, Riverside & Burbank (that is 6.5% of all bike racks [total, 46] in Wendy Greuel's district)
  • CD5: 30 racks, all along Ventura (that is 17.5% of all bike racks (total, 130) in Jack Weiss' district)
So where are the deficiencies? Are there any? Why are there only 3 racks in CD2 for Sherman Oaks? There must be a need for racks along Van Nuys Blvd and Sepulveda Blvd. And why are there no racks in CD5's "flag" (where CD5 juts out north of Ventura between Fulton and Coldwater)?

These are just initial questions -- a starting of a conversation to make Sherman Oaks more bike friendly.

*Data comes from LADOT Sidewalk Bicycle Parking program.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Sherman Oaks NC on Flickr

At the neighborhood council, we take so many pictures, but never get to share them with the public. Part of that is that we are all volunteers and updating a website with photos mixed with different technical web skills of members, Flickr was an obvious choice. It is also an easy way to be part of a large online community.

Not many pictures up yet, but over time there will be a lot of good stuff.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Sherman Oaks in the LA River Master Plan

So I got a peek at the LA River Master plan today at the Friends of the LA River tour (something I highly recommend) that took a group of about 30 people to 5 locations in LA on the river (Sepulveda Dam being one of them). You can download it from the website, but I'm not a big fan of PDFs that are 100s of pages long.

Above is the Sherman Oaks/Studio City portion of the draft plan (click to enlarge and se it up close). Here are the ideas:
  • The south side of the river (downstream) is a "Proposed River Greenway - Bike Path."
  • The north side of the river (upstream) is a "Proposed River Greenway - Recreation Trail."
  • The dashed turquoise lines mark "Riverside Streets" such as Valleyheart St. between Hazeltine and Woodman
  • The yellow overlay signifies the "Green Corridor" and not City Council Boundries (which are marked by pink lines)
  • The "U" in a pink box means Underpass, but the same marking with a bolded border means "Underpass difficulties." An example would be grading the ground for the path to go under the bridge could prove to be a very difficult project. Maybe a crossing with a light is the solution. The "O" stands for Overcrossing.
  • The diamonds with numbers in them tell us where "Potential Projects" may go. The ones with black numbers on a white background signify "Proposed Projects extending into the community that may require the acquisition of private property." Sounds scary to owners, but here is a list of all land grab those projects:

    1. Number 63 is Castle Park, which the city already owns, so I am not sure what this is all about.
    2. Number 73 says "Acquisition of Property near Hazeltine and the River. I don't know if this means around the Sunkist Building (not going to happen) or the tow yard (could happen).
    3. Number 75 is very interesting - "Fashion Square River Park." Sounds like a nudge nudge wink wink corporate funding request for a park named after the mall.

  • One of the other potential projects caught my eye: Hazeltine River Edge Park which would be between Van Nuys Blvd and Hazeltine between the river and the homes south of Riverside.

Britney Spears, Bald in Sherman Oaks

The story, according to TMZ, is that "Britney Spears, back from less than 24 hours in a Caribbean rehab facility, showed up at a Sherman Oaks, Calif. tattoo parlor Friday night sporting a new hairdo. KABC in Los Angeles caught her as she got a new tattoo of red lips on her wrist."

The new look would have been more fitting if she were caught visiting the Pyschic Eye Book Shop.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Car Break-Ins On the Rise

We don't get that much crime in Sherman Oaks, but there has been a sharp increase in Burglary from Motor Vehicles (BFMVs) lately. There has been so much, I have been flooded my e-mail box with messages about this and the LAPD is pushing hard at meetings to educate people on how to have your car not become a victim to broken windows and lighter loads. We also got our first e-policing e-mail blast (a personalized e-mail about the area of LA you live in - read full blast below).

How to not get broken into

Everything here is so obvious, but we take things for granted (or we're just that lazy):

  1. Lock your doors: Duh! It has been witnessed on Dickens Street that the thieves will walk up and down the streets checking car doors until they find one unlocked.
  2. Don't leave your laptop in the car ever: If you can see it, so can they. Goodbye window, goodbye laptop.
  3. Not just your iPod: iPod Docking Stations are also being targeted.
  4. If empty is not an option: The LAPD will say leave nothing in the car. That is kind of hard to do. I do like to keep a sweater in case it is cold, water for emergencies, etc. However, this is out of sight and always in the trunk. To that I say this: clean the car so it looks like there is nothing in there. Who wants to break into a car that looks like it has nothing? So at the bare minimum, make your car look clean and clutter free inside!
What I Am Asking You To Do
  1. Spread the word to your neighbors
  2. Sign up for e-policing (check the box under Zip Code and a sign-up form will appear)

E-Policing Letter

Here is the first e-policing letter for Sherman Oaks (I am assuming West and North Sherman Oaks got e-mails today too.):


My name is Officer Nate Banry and I'm the Senior Lead Officer for the East Sherman Oaks area, or 9A89. This is called a basic car area and includes everything between Mulholland and the 101, and Van Nuys Blvd and Coldwater Cyn. One of my many duties is neighborhood watch. This is a program to not only help you be safe, but also feel safe in your community.

This newsletter is a part of the neighborhood watch program that keeps you informed about happenings in your area. You may not receive an email every month, but you will receive one when something is happening that you need to be aware of. I may take opportunities to inform you of ways to keep yourself safe from crime, as well as talking about crimes being committed in the area.

Burglary From Motor Vehicle (BFMV) crimes remain the biggest problem in the East Sherman Oaks area. These crimes are easily prevented. Most BMFV's are crimes of opportunity. The badguy's walking down the street, sees something he wants in your car, smashes the window, and takes it. Don't leave anything in your car someone would want to take. Don't leave your laptop in the backseat. Don't leave CD's, cell phones, wallets, or even clothes. If you don't leave them in your car and I can pretty well guarantee no one will break in. Oh, and always, always, lock your cars.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Can we fire someone?

Maybe I'm being picky here, but this happens too much. I was reading a news story about a man who was shot in Sherman Oaks last week and then CBS2 grabbed a quote from a detective from the West Valley Station.

Wait a second, West Valley doesn't cover Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys does. So I look at the address of the block of the incident and lo and behold, it's Encino.

For heaven's sakes, the article is titled "Sherman Oaks Man Shot After Opening Door."

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks Park Update

Straight from Wendy Greuel's office:
The repair and repaving of the parking lots on the South side of the park is beginning. The first lot to be done is Tyrone at Huston, followed by the Huston Lot by the play area and finally, the Hazeltine lot. The Senior Center lot is still under review for short term treatments since it will need to be replaced (and reconfigured) after the new Senior Center is Constructed.
No more bottoming out will be a fashionable thing in Sherman Oaks.

Finally. Ads.

Finally, it looks like the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council will be stepping it up with marketing to the community, at least to homeowners as the Sherman Oaks Sun only gets delivered to homes and not apartments.

Good steps. Good steps.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

I Drove Grid

I was speaking to a field deputy the other week about improving things in a neighborhood and driving grid was a topic that came up. Basically, you get in your car and drive through the area you are representing finding problems and asking questions to yourself to later ask city employees. This sounded way exciting so I drove the majority of my elected area for the Neighborhood Council (normally I would bike, but I've been sick).

Here's some of what I found (besides the normal graffiti and illegal dumping of couches):
  1. Question: Why do some fire hydrants have curbs painted red and some don't?
  2. A property on a corner lot had its sprinklers running, yet spraying the sidewalk making anyone who would bike or walk through soaked.
  3. Murietta & Valleyheart: 6 or 7 Christmas trees dumped on side of the road on the LA River side.
  4. Moorpark/Ventura Cyn SE corner: It is always flooded here and has a pothole developing
  5. Alley behind Max/Maria's Italian Kitchen: Valet illegally parking vehicles
  6. Milibank/Matilija NE Corner: Abandoned Home with fence knocked over, boarded up windows unboarded and furniture dumped on the parkway.
  7. Question: Do we have an RV law?
  8. Dixie Cyn./Moorpark: When on Dixie, taking a left on to Moorpark, the red light is extremely long for 3 am. I've seen people get impatient and run the red because it felt like it was never going to change.
  9. Kling b/w Greenbush & Allott: This is against the 101 Freeway and people like to do drug deals here or once I saw some afternoon fellatio taking place. Well, I didn't see it literally, but from a distance, you knew what was going on.
So after reading that list, you can see that there's nothing shocking or pressing here -- it is Sherman Oaks after all. I can foresee a lot of my future grid drives are going to be about identifying future opportunities for improvements like bad traffic spots, controlled pedestrian cross walks, tree plantings, public art opportunities, etc.

What's needs to be solved in your part of Sherman Oaks?

Friday, January 05, 2007

Sherman Oaks in the CityNerd Awards

Elected Official
Jack Weiss was not nominated, but Wendy was. Vote here.

Elected Official Staff Member
In the North corner we have Pat Davenport fighting for Councilwoman Wendy Greuel and her 2nd District. In the South corner is rookie Joan Pelico fighting in honor of District 5's Jack Weiss. Both women are field deputies for their portions of Sherman Oaks. Vote here.

Neighborhood Council
Silver Lake is kicking butt, someone needs to vote to keep Sherman Oaks in the game! Vote here.

City Nerd Blogger
Whoa! You can vote for yours truly! Vote NOW.

For Your Consideration
Most of my writing is on LAist and you can vote for us too. Vote here.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Sexual Assault Suspect Sought

Los Angeles police are asking for the public’s help in locating a man suspected of sexually assaulting an 85 year-old woman.

On December 31, 2006, at about 11:30 PM, the suspect broke in through the rear window of woman’s home in Van Nuys. The suspect went directly to the bedroom and sexually assaulted the woman.

The suspect was described as a Black man in his 20s, about 5’ 7” to 5’ 10” tall and weighing 175 pounds. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with “USA” written across the front.

The woman was taken to a local hospital where she was treated for a minor laceration and bruises.

Van Nuys Sexual Assault Detectives are handling the investigation and anyone who has any information is asked to call them at (818) 374-0040. On weekends and during off-hours, call the 24-hour toll free number at 1-877-LAWFULL (529-3855).

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Ventura Blvd. Weekend Closures

In the long long long long long list of projects to help fix the 405/101 interchange, here are the latest CalTrans closures:

Ventura Blvd.
From 11:59 p.m. Saturday, January 6 to 8 a.m. Sunday, January 7, Ventura Blvd. will be close from Sepulveda to Sherman Oaks Ave.

Northbound 405
  • Ventura Off-Ramp closed from 11 p.m. Saturday, January 6 to 10 a.m. Sunday, January 7
  • Connector to the eastbound and westbound Ventura Freeway (U.S. 101) will be closed from 11 p.m. Saturday, January 6 to 8 a.m. Sunday, January 7
Access to the Sherman Oaks Galleria from Ventura Boulevard will not be available for the duration of the closure. The closures are for a bridge girder erection on the Ventura Boulevard Bridge as part of a $46 million improvement project at the 101/405 Interchange.

The project involves extending the current auxiliary lane on northbound I-405 past the Greenleaf off-ramp to the U.S. 101 connector, permanently closing the loop on-ramp from eastbound Ventura Boulevard and constructing the Dickens Street bypass. The project is estimated to complete in summer 2007.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

1998 Galleria Suicide

I didn't live here then...

LOS ANGELES–It must have looked like a scene from a movie: On top of a parking garage at the Sherman Oaks Galleria stood an aging former actress, preparing to jump.

Pedestrians below obeyed when the grief-stricken woman ordered them to move off the sidewalk. Conrad Buchanan, a mall security guard at the end of his shift, did not.

In a moment that changed his life forever, he stayed put, looking up, trying to convince the woman not to kill herself, trying to get her to come down peacefully.

Instead, she jumped.

The woman plunged six storeys and fell on top of Buchanan, breaking his neck. She later died. The incident left Buchanan a quadriplegic and, in the minds of those who heard his story, a hero. The former security guard never saw it that way.

Finish the story over at the Toronto Star.