FHRA's 27th Annual Meeting
 Good Neighbors + Good Info = Good Times 

The highlight of the FHRA’s annual meeting on June 20, 2015, at the Lycee International de Los Angeles (LILA) was a chance to meet and be heard by our new city council member, David Ryu, then councilmember elect, who attended nearly the whole meeting so he could familiarize himself with our little corner of LA. He promised, "I’ll be here again and again…to discuss issues and how my council office can best serve you." Saying "it’s time for us to all unite and move forward."

Later in the meeting he moved forward enthusiastically, almost seeming to take a few dance steps, to greet termed-out council legend Tom Labonge. With just 10 days left in his 12 years of service as CD-4 representative LaBonge concluded, ‘It’s been an honor to serve you and if there are any last questions I’m going to give it to David." LaBonge had long sought the origin of who put the "Shakespeare" in our bridge. He concluded it was a City College English teacher Barbara Benjamin Cohen, a Ronda Vista resident, who first used the term in a 1974 interview with the LA Times.

Northeast LAPD Captain Jeffrey Bert reported to the overflow crowd that our area was "one of my safest neighborhoods" but pointed out there has been "an uptick in residential burglaries… and an increase in burglaries from motor vehicles." Those made up one-third of our area’s nighttime crimes and he noted, "50% of the cars were unlocked." Commenting, "a big chunk of our criminals are not going to take the time to smash the glass or jimmy a lock" Asked about the big explosion and fire on Sunset Dr. earlier this year, where butane cannisters were found up to a ¼ mile from the scene, he explained that the butane was used to "extract honey oil, hashish oil from cannabis plants."


The LA Fire Department was represented by Capt. Scott Souter from station 35 on Hillhurst who urged residents in this extreme drought year not only to quickly remove dead vegetation, but also to take extra precaution when parking their cars on our narrow streets. He asked drivers to park close to the curb and away from corners, explaining their large trucks "need about 100’ clear on each side of turns." He showed a dramatic video of a brush fire noting it’s "like being thrown into a war zone."

The chair of the East Hollywood Los Feliz Homeless Coalition, Dana Cremin, spoke about the need to fund services to help the homeless. Her group is raising $150,000 to provide an outreach van staffed with knowledgeable professionals to meet the homeless where they are and provide them the services that they need explaining, "The theories around homelessness now strongly believe that when we allow encampments to mushroom, when we give money to panhandlers, when we offer food and what not instead of encouraging our homeless neighbors to seek services we are actually enabling them. It's’ like giving an alcoholic a drink."
Councilmember Ryu also spoke about his depth of experience with homeless issues in the past working with one of area’s largest mental health hospitals. He’d give out business cards to homeless on the streets saying, "I’ll get you a meal, housing and a job." He termed it "very frustrating" that in 13 years and 200-300 cards no one called. And said he make the problem a "high priority."

Local historian and realtor Richard Stanley took the crowd on some backward time travel with a presentation of photos from the Los Angeles Public Library's extensive collection. They were taken about 75 years ago by Herman Schultze who lived at 2806 St. George Street. Schultze was a refugee from Nazi Germany who seemed fascinated by his new neighborhood. One of the many pictures  that fascinated the meeting was an image of "Marshall High School when kids took bikes instead of buses."

Representing our host LILA was former student and now campus assistant David Padilla who ably handled all the technical details and introduced the school’s artist in residence Mileece, an environmental designer who described her Bio-Library creation as a "sound sanctuary, a place where the kids can go to get away from urban noises and instead have access to a natural soundscape which is very important to the brain."

In addition to all the interesting guests there was also FHRA business to be dealt with. Before outgoing FHRA President Chris Boutelle inspected the Bio-Library he presided over the FHRA election where five candidates for two years terms on the FHRA board were elected by acclamation.

New to the FHRA Board is contractor Joseph Tannous, a 15 year Hyperion resident who has worked hard to rehabilitate that area. Returning to the board will be retiring president, Chris Boutelle; new FHRA President, Tim Cowell; Secretary, Elizabeth Richardson; wildlife guru, George Grace; and Treasurer, Bruce Carroll who reported that the organization’s finances were on an even keel. 

Vice President, Shirley Mims gave an update on the reconstruction of the garden under the Shakespeare Bridge. Her husband, and fellow board member, Charley Mims gave an update on the status of the Franklin Hills neighborhood identity sign proposed for the corner of Tracy and Talmadge. Shirley also gave away some surplus rose bushes from the garden along with a cornucopia of other raffle prizes which included: Dinner for two donated by Palermo, movie tickets from Laemmle Theatres and Arclight plus Disney themed prizes.

Let’s all get together next year around the same time to celebrate our nifty neighborhood.

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