For those of you who were unable to attend, here is a report on the highlights of the meeting. We had a big turnout! 64 homes were represented at this year’s meeting compared to 29 last year. This significant increase was largely due the Block Captains heroic efforts to get reminder notices of the event to homeowners by email and on foot. The appearance of Bill Rosendahl, our City Councilman, was another draw. There was a palpable feeling of camaraderie in the crowded room as neighbors greeted one another. The audience was thoroughly engaged throughout the 2 hour meeting, asking questions making comments to the speakers and the Board
We have a new SSMHOA Board: Reelected were Harryot Best; John Conner; Fred Karlsen; Mary-Dorothy Line; John Nagy; Nate Nahmias, Nora Nicosia and Patty Schnegg. Members also elected one new Board member, Michael B. Greenberg. The Officers of the Board are: President, Fred Karlsen; Vice-President and Treasurer, Mary-Dorothy Line and Secretary, Patty Schnegg.
Councilman Rosendahl began by telling us that the City will soon resume work on the path on the west side of Ballona Lagoon. Work had been halted due to the discovery of Orcutt’s Pincushion plant, an endangered species, growing on a portion of lagoon’s bank. This meant that the City and the Coastal Commission had to review and make changes to the original permit in order to protect the plant. The new permit is expected to be granted shortly. This is very good news because the additional path will take pressure off the much used public trail on our side of the lagoon.
The issue of repairing the fence on our side of the lagoon is complex because SSMHOA is responsible for repairs to the east side, while the City of Los Angeles is reponsible for the west side. Currently, the fence on both sides is wood split rail which is aesthetically attractive and enhances the natural beauty of the lagoon. Prior to the meeting, the SSMHOA Board had decided on cedar wood split rail for the fence. Much to the alarm of homeowners, Rosendahl announced that the City Bureau of Engineering was planning to go forward with a “plastic” composite product. This would have resulted in a terrible mismatch. At the request of SSMHOA, Rosendahl promised to halt work on the City side until we can reach an agreement on the fence material. The following day, as a result of Rosendahl’s quick reponse to homeowners’ concerns, Richard Liu of the Bureau of Engineering called a volunteer on the SSMHOA Fence Committee, saying that BOE did not intend to proceed on the fence until an agreement was worked out with the SSMHOA Board. He also said that the “plastic” he was suggesting is a product called “Coal Ash Lumber,” a composite of fly ash and polyurethane. He agreed that the Ballona Lagoon fencing must match and be aesthetically appropriate.
In response to homeowners’ questions, Rosendahl also promised to put in a Stop sign at the Topsail and Via Donte, and a larger No Bicycling sign on the path. He said that he will have someone look at the Lighthouse Bridge to examine what repairs need to be made. A homeowner complained that there has been an increase in graffiti on signs and garages in the Silver Strand. Patty Schnegg advised homeowners to take pictures of same before the Graffiti Removal team arrives. The pictures and a report should be given to the LAPD who may be able determine who the taggers are and take action. Homeowners also asked for increased LAPD patrolling in our neighborhood. Rosendahl came across as a someone who truly wants to hear from his constituents and is ready, willing and able to cut through bureaucratic red-tape in order solve problems. He encouraged us to email him at email@example.com if we have concerns in the future.or his point man, Arturo Penas, at
David Barish and Nancy Vernon Marino, co-directors of We ARE Marina del Rey, gave a presentation on development in Marina del Rey harbor. WAMDR, founded in 2005 by Marino, is a non-profit association of volunteers working to save the Marina from over development by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Barish specifically addressed the Woodfin Hotel and Time Share project because of its potential impact on homes in the Silver Strand. Los Angeles County is proposing to build a 19-story, 228 unit building, 247 feet high, on the vacant lot on Via Marina between Marquesas and Tahiti Way. It will be adjacent to and one block from Via Dolce and the Silver Strand.
If approved, the Woodfin will be the tallest building in the harbor and will loom over our 3 story homes. The project has been approved by the County Regional Planning Commission and will go before the Board of Supervisors early next year. Barish stated that the RPC recommendation is based on flawed studies about the impact that the project will have on traffic (already congested during peak hours) and infrastructure (where will the water supply come from, were will the sewage go?). The County will probably approve it because it views MDR as a cash cow, thus favoring high-rise, high density development in our neighborhood. It has specifically targeted Via Marina as an area conducive to such projects. The Woodfin will then go before the Coastal Commission, where it has vulnerability in key areas including the fact that the site contains a designated wetland and will change the character of the neighborhood. We Are Marina del Rey asked for our help. They need donations to pay their lawyer and hire experts willing to prepare independent environmental, traffic, and infrastructure studies. They need volunteers to help organize grass-root neighborhood groups opposing this project. If you are interested in participating, please visit their website http://www.wearemdr.com or send an email to . Bill Rosendahl said that he agreed that County is being a little too aggressive in its development plans and that he will be meeting with We Are Marina Del Rey next week. He also said that he would try to get County officials to be more responsive to residents’ concerns by arranging for developers to meet with them and get their input.
Ray Garcia, of R&G Landscape Design, who has taken care of our Malls for 14 years, told us that our Alder trees are being attacked by moths and that he plans to inject the affected ones. New annual planting will begin in October and should last through February. The second planting will take place in March and last through December. Landscape Committee head, Harryot Best, head of the Landscaping Committee, reported that because of dog owners allowing their pets to urinate on the grass at the entry ways to the Malls, the Board has authorized her put down artificial grass at the entrance to Privateer Mall. This is an experiment to allow homeowners to see what it looks out and express their opinion to the Board. He said that if homeowners have see something that needs taking care of in our Malls they should contact him at (310) 261-8847 and he will discuss it with Harryot.
Patty Schnegg, the head of the SSMHOA Security Committee reported that, apart from the graffiti mentioned above, there have been no serious crimes in the Silver Strand. She mentioned that Playa Vista, on the other hand, has been plagued with criminal activity including a bank hold-up. Security Service Systems, our 24/7 patrol, has been doing an excellent job. Our street layout is an added protection making it difficult for criminals to make a speedy getaway.
Mary-Dorothy Line, our Treasurer, gave a thorough and detailed financial report stating that SSMHOA is in good shape. The Board was able to reduce homeowners fees last year and will not need to increase them this year.
Bill Cutler, former member of the Board and head of the Fence Committee arrived late but gave his report on the progress so far.
Nora Nicosia, founding chair of the Block Captain Committee, called out the names of each captain and praised them for their hard work with special thanks to Joan Zisler. Reporting on their accomplishments this past year, she began by describing their work in getting homeowners to attend an Emergency Preparedness Course which took place last April at the Westchester Fire Department (with a thank you to Bill Boyd). In connection with this the Block Captains gathered emergency contact information from residents on their Malls. In the event of a catastrophe, the Block Captains will be able to direct as much help as possible to neighbors. The Block Captains also sent out important announcements to homeowners, and organized our annual Block Party. Nora asked for comments from the audience about their preferences on this and a lively discussion ensued about whether to hold the traditional large party or break it up into smaller groups among the Malls. Should the party be catered or pot luck? Nora said that she will consider our comments in planning next year’s party. She also talked about plans for next year, asking Block Captains to find out what residents would be interested in joining clubs devoted to art, books, etc.
Sandra Starr, publisher and editor of The Silver Strand News blog, thanked Nora for persuading her to create, publish and edit it, and asked homeowners to contribute by signing up for email subscriptions and making comments (comments will be posted anonymously).
During the Homeowners Forum, there was a discussion among homeowners about getting their property taxes reduced in light of the Los Angeles County Tax Assessor’s acknowledgement that property values have decreased in the last 2 years. A couple of residents have done this successfully. The deadline is November 30.
Sandra Starr reporting for The Silver Strand News. With thanks to Joan Zisler for taking detailed notes on the meeting, Nora Nicosia for picking up on a couple of things I left out, and Marilee Karlsen for her photographs.