Fifty or more homeowners arrived at the Del Rey Yacht Club, Marina del Rey to attend the annual SSMHOA meeting on October 24. They spent the 30 minutes before the meeting began registering, handing in their ballots for the annual election of Board members and socializing. Adding to the convivial setting, Marilee Karlsen had put together a continuous slide show of photographs, taken by herself and Clarissa Cervantes at homeowner events in 2013, including tours by the Silver Strand Art Group, the mini-Block parties held throughout the year and the big Annual Block Party held last September. Jennifer Manoogian, John Conner and Michael Greenberg assisted her in the technical aspects of the presentation.
Guest Speaker: Councilmember Mike Bonin
Fred Karlsen, President of SSMHOA, opened the meeting by introducing guest speaker Mike Bonin, 11th District City of Los Angeles Councilmember, who represents our community. Mike, like his predecessor Bill Rosendahl, is a major proponent of hands-on and accessible government. He appeared at last year’s annual meeting, spoke at a “meet and greet” event hosted by a homeowner earlier this year and attended our Annual Block Party in September. Mike spoke about his intention of updating and increasing the efficiency of City services by providing the LAPD and the Fire Department with smart phones and iPads. He said that the new generation of police and fire fighters grew up with these devices. Currently, the City provides them with the Thomas Map Guide to Los Angeles which most of them have no experience with. The Thomas Guide was, of course, the go-to source in getting around Los Angeles in the old days. Now, with Bing, Google Maps and GPS, it’s a dinosaur. In addition, an i-Pad would allow police officers to file their reports on-line instead of having to go back to their stations, That means, the police would spend most of their time “on the beat” in their cars instead of wasting hours returning to the station and sitting at a desk. Bonin wants to come up with ways for citizens and businesses to navigate the bureaucratic red tape in terms of permit processes. He has already implemented legislation regarding parking at broken meters. Now you can park at these City meters without getting a ticket. In response to one of the members in the audience, he talked about the traffic problems caused by new development in MDR. He said that while the City has no control over the County, the problem with traffic studies is that when either the City or the County does a traffic study, they never look back at older traffic studies to see how accurate they were [examples are the original traffic studies done on placing the Costco on Washington Boulevard, apartment and condo projects on Lincoln the development of Playa Vista and the projected traffic study on development of Marina del Rey]. In short, he said that he wants to change the way the City of Los Angeles does business and “get government off your back and on your side.”
Reports by SSMHOA Board members and Committee Chairs followed:
Patty Schnegg, Chair of Security reported that crime in our neighborhood is negligible compared to adjacent communities, largely due to the fact that we have 24/7 armed patrol service. The only exception is a rash of bicycle thefts caused by homeowners’ and/or their workmen’s negligence in leaving their garages unattended with the door open. Homeowners are urged to attend to this and not encourage crime in our neighborhood. All thefts should be reported immediately to the LAPD and to Patty. Members of audience commented on graffiti on the Lighthouse Bridge, the spray painting of a car in the Mast Mall parking niche and on the stop sign at Roma Court and Via Dolce. One homeowner reported that someone had been casing his home on Roma Court. Patty urged homeowners to immediately call 911 about any serious crime in our neighborhood and not depend on flagging down a passing Security Systems patrol car. She also asked homeowners to send her photos of any graffiti in the Silver Strand.
Nora Nicosia, Chair of the Landscape Committee was absent due to illness. Sandy Gooch, co-Chair of the Committee, reported in her absence about the work that has been so far in improving the plantings in the Malls and mini-Malls and placing synthetic grass in those entrances to the Malls which have been continuously damaged by people walking their dogs. She also noted that by replacing annuals with more perennials in the Malls and saved money. The audience gave her and the Landscape Committee a big round of applause for their efforts.
Mary-Dorothy Line, Treasurer, reported on the SSSMHOA finances and budget saying that an increase in homeowner dues may be necessary in the near future. Homeowner Harry Lederman suggested that a study be done on SSMHOA reserve funds. Homeowner Michael Greenberg talked about deterioration of the paving in the parking niches due to oil saturation from vehicles parking there, saying that repairing it may be a major extra expense. Homeowner Michael Guerin, brought up the subject of placing speed bumps on Roma Court to prevent people careening down the street and endangering pedestrians and children. The problem here is that none of the homeowners on Roma want to have a speed bump placed in front of their house because of the noise.
Richard Lysle, Chair of the Street Committeee reported on maintenance of the common areas in SSMHOA saying that the most serious problems in terms of Mall sidewalks have been taken care of. He is working with the City on getting the 15mph speed limit painted on Roma Court. Several homeowners brought up questions about poor drainage on Roma which Richard will look into.
Because of the absence of Nora Nicosia, Chair of the Block Captain Committee and Jennifer Manoogian, Block Captain and Chair of the ad Hoc Block Party Committee, Block Captain Cindy Carlin, who assisted both Nora and Jennifer, reported on the success of the mini-Mall parties held over the summer and the amazing Annual SSMHOA Block party sponsored by Peter and Ty Bergman of Bergman Beach Properties which was a hard to beat extravaganza and attracted a record number of homeowners. Marilee Karlsen, Block Captain and co-Chair of the Silver Strand Art Group (along with Clarissa Cervantes and Angela Durrant) reported on the five 2013 tours which included the Adamson House, the Watts Towers, the Getty Villa, the Chen Gallery and Homeboy Industries. The tours have been very successful and remarkable for their diversity.
Fred Karlsen, President of SSMHOA, summarized by thanking the Board members and all volunteer homeowners for their efforts in the past year, including the extraordinary contributions of the Landscape Committee, the ad Hoc Block Party Committee (and especially Jennifer Manoogian), and the Block Captain Committee. He reminded homeowners that there are some things the Board can help them with and other issues where they need to take the initiative in solving themselves. In other words, the Board is not in loco parentis. They can help you with issues affecting all homeowners, i.e. problems with landscaping, security, management contractors, and DWP power outages. They can’t help you with things like your neighbor’s barking dog or what color your neighbor paints his/her house.
The Silver Strand News Blog:
Fred then introduced Sandra Starr, publisher and editor of the Silver Strand News blog. Sandra reported that the blog has now completed its third full year of on-line publication and continues to expand its readership beyond the Silver Strand to adjacent communities and public representatives. The blog now receives 1000 visitors a month.
Every year, the Silver Strand News presents an annual Volunteer of the Year Award to a resident who has made an extraordinary contribution to our community. The 2013 honoree is Harryot Best. She has served as a Board Member since 1993. She also was Chair of the Landscape Committee for many years and still volunteers as a Block Captain. She has also worked as community activist in efforts to slow down the commercial development of Marina del Rey. In presenting the award to Harryot, Sandra noted that she is a “community treasure.”
Bill Boyd presented a report on the discrepancy between the price of single family homes in the Silver Strand and those in Venice, saying that the Silver Strand is very undervalued in terms of price per square foot. As of last week, the average psf in 90292, MDR, was $662, while in 90291, Venice, it was $984. He asked for and received 2 volunteers willing to see ways of improving values by talking to local realtors about how to present the Silver Strand in a way to correct this. If anybody else would like to join this effort, please leave a comment below.
At the end of the meeting, Fred announced that all candidates on the ballot for the 2013-14 Board of Directors had been re-elected. They are: John Conner, Fred Karlsen, Mary-Dorothy Line, Richard Lysle, Nora Nicosia and Patty Schnegg. The three remaining vacancies will be appointed by the Board. If you are interested in running for the SSMHOA Board, please contact Fred (see your Welcome Packet) or leave a comment below which will be forwarded to him.
Thanks to Marilee Karlsen for her photographs of the meeting.