Chatsworth Neighborhood Council
The Chatsworth Roundup
Breaking News from your Chatsworth Neighborhood Council
Ho, Ho, Holiday Edition   |   |   Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009

Election Postcard

Eleven Neighborhood Councils will elect members on March 2, 2010. Click image for details.

Also In This Issue
  • You Can Be a Candidate
  • Neighborhood Council Video
  • Sprinkling Restricted
  • Live City Hall Video
  • Free Rain Barrel
  • Dealing With Foreclosure
  • Candidate filing Begins
  • Video: Top Cop
  • Free CPR, First Aid Classes
  • New Bank
  • Bicycle Plan
  • Clean Tech Corridor
  • Scouts Clean Up
  • DWP Inspector General
  • Looting the Neighborhood
  • Dot... Dot... Dot...
  • Chatsworth-Area News
  • Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
  • Action Calendar


    Council Meets
    7 p.m., Wednesday

    Join us for light refreshments and a discussion of neighborhood issues, 7 p.m., Wednesday, at Lawrence Middle School, 10100 Variel Ave.  Questions? Write to us at


    We Get E-Mails

    We love to hear from our stakeholders. If you have a comment, news release or story idea, send it to
    E-mails can be edited for content and length.

  •  Graffiti Point

    Just this holiday weekend I had the opportunity to go to Stoney Point to do a little bit of walking around.  I was very pleased with the lower regions of the rock formations, but as I got to the upper sections I became very disgusted with the place. 
    This was due to the amount of trash, broken glass and graffiti. I know that it is not feasible to have a police unit or some type of security team present 24-hours 7-days a week.  But with community awareness and education we can prevent this from becoming any worse than it is and possibly make an improvement to the area. (As my companion and I did pack out some trash.)
    This is an historical place for climbing and a resource we should be proud to have here in Chatsworth.

    William J. Fryer

  • Pot Pleas

    I have arthritis and depression due to my inactivity caused by my arthritis. I also have asthma and psoriasis.
    The use of cannabis as therapy has enabled me to have a great quality of life again. The dispensary that I obtain my medication from is compassionate and responsible.
    What will I do if my safe access is taken away? Will I be forced to get my medicine off the streets from gang members? 
    Will my councilman empower the criminals of Los Angeles or stand up for his citizens and keep our access to medical alternatives open and available?
    Please, save my life. If you can change the life of one person for the better, then your life is one of fulfillment. Mr. Smith has a responsibility to get my voice heard -- a voice that is so small that noone will listen to on its own. I need Mr Smith to continue to be this voice and keep safe access open.
    Name Withheld

    I am a medical marijuana patient.  I have been trying to e-mail Greg Smith's office. 
    I need the medication that works as good and sometimes better than the prescriptions that my doctor prescribes for me.  I suffer 24/7 from fybromyalgia, asthma, COPD, anxiety, depression, and  bi-polar.  I will do anything that I have to to find relief.   I have found relief with marijuana and the edibles.  I need the edibles because, sometimes I cannot smoke.  The brownies and chocolate help me breathe.  They work better than my prescriptions. 
    Please have compassion for those, of whom, are suffering 24/7, so bad that they cannot attend your meetings.  I wish we could put a face on all of the medical marijuana patients that really do need this  medicine.

    Name Withheld

  • Drive-by Spies

    I drive down Plummer every day between the times posted on the "No Left Turn Signs." I constantly see people making left turns. No one pays attention to the signs. Is this law enforced?  I think we need some "spies" to help stop these turns.

    Cindy Paolini

  • Another CERT Fan

    I would like to personally say THANK YOU!!! to all the kind hearted volunteers who 
    responded to the call to action during the Station Fire.

    Over 300 volunteers put in over 5,000 hours working support operations for the command post at Hansen Dam for a community of over 5,000 responders from all over the country. Volunteers provided much needed traffic control and
    arson watch patrol operations, and food and refreshments runs to personnel out on fixed posts.

    Comments from the CAL Fire, the LASD Command Staff and members of the LASD
    Incident Management Teams that worked during that week were highly impressed and grateful for all the support and professional attitude of all the

    I was extremely proud to have worked with such an outstanding group of people, dedicated to service of others. That week also brought a loss to all of us, and Sheriff Volunteers, CERT Volunteers from LAFD, Burbank and Glendale stood in Honor of our fallen brothers from the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

    A Special Thank You to Los Angeles City Fire Department CERT Program, Burbank Fire Department CERT, Glendale Fire Department CERT, Claremont Police
    Department CERT, and the El Monte Police Department Volunteer Citizens On
    Patrol, without everyone coming together we would not have accomplished our
    mission. Our partnerships, networking was a testament to volunteer mutual aid efforts for others to follow.

    Wilson Lee, Deputy
    CERT Coordinator


    Write to Us

    Have a story idea or news release? How about a question for the Neighborhood Council? Want to write a letter to the editor? Write to us at

    Join Our Mailing List!

    Click here for the archive of previous Roundup newsletters.


    Diamond Cancer Foundation Opens Chatsworth Center

    The Jennifer Diamond Cancer Foundation has opened a new cancer support center with programs free to the public.

    For more information about the free programs for cancer patients and their families, call (818) 700-6900 and make an appointment. The center is located at 9410 Owensmouth Ave. 

    The website


    CNC Video

    Click image for VIDEO.

    About the Council

    The mission of the Chatsworth Neighborhood Council is to provide an open forum for public discussion of issues concerning the Chatsworth community and to facilitate communication between the City of Los Angeles and Community Stakeholders.

    Map of Chatsworth Neighborhood Council boundaries.  Click here.

    When We Meet

    All volunteer committees meet monthly.  Meetings begin at 7 p.m. at the Chatsworth Train Depot at  10038 Old Depot Plaza Road, Chatsworth, unless otherwise noted. Check the website for holiday schedules.

  • 1st Wednesday:
  • CNC Board at Lawrence Middle  School, 10100 Variel Ave.

  • 2nd Tuesday:
  • Beautification.

  •  2nd Wednesday:
  • Equestrian.

  •  3rd Tuesday:
  • Public Safety & Transportation.

  • 3rd Wednesday:
  • Enhancements.

  • 3rd Thursday:
  • Land Use.

  • 4th Tuesday:
  • Outreach

    Check the CNC website for last-minute changes.


    DWP Water Conservation Measures in Effect

    DWP water conservation measures are now in effect, restricting lawn watering with automatic sprinklers to Mondays and Thursdays, before 9 a.m. and after 4 p.m.

    Watering by hand with a flow-control nozzle is allowed on any day, before 9 a.m. and after 4 p.m.

    Here are several links with detailed information on the water conservation measures:

    Shortage Year Rates Fact Sheet

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Sprinkler Use Ordinance

    Prohibited Uses of Water

    DWP Phone: (800) Dial DWP
    DWP Website: 

    To report water waste call   (800) Dial DWP.

    For information on the DWP's Residential Drought Resistant Landscape Incentive Program, call (888) 376-3314. For information on any of the Department's other rebates and incentives visit
    and click on "Rebates and Programs" or (800) dial DWP.


    Here's Where You
    Can Recycle Locally

    Vons Shopping Center,
    20440 Devonshire St. (behind Rite-Aid)

    RecycleValley Recycling Center,
    20220 Plummer St.,

    Budget Recycling,
    21250 Nordhoff St.,

    New Live and On-Demand Video

    The Office of the City Clerk is offering new live and on-demand video and audio services of City Council meetings.  For more information, please see their flyer.


    Waiting List Opens for Senior Housing

    Low income senior housing is now available in the San Fernando Valley. Menorah House at 19206 Sherman Way, Reseda, has opened a waiting list for new residents. Request an application by calling (310) 477-1476 or (818) 972-4410. The deadline is Feb. 12, 2010. For more information, click here


    When It Rains, It Pours, And You Save

    You may qualify for a free rain barrel installation that can save you money, help conserve water, and reduce urban runoff that pollutes the ocean.

    With a rainwater harvesting system you can capture rainwater on your property that can be saved and used for outdoor plant irrigation. This will reduce your water bill, reduce water waste at a time when we are experiencing a severe water shortage, and reduce urban water runoff that brings debris and chemicals into the storm drain system and pollutes the ocean.

    Under this program, the installation and equipment for a rainwater harvesting system, which cost up to $250, are offered for free to L.A. residents.

    The pilot program is now available in West Los Angeles, but it will soon become available citywide on a first-come first-served basis, so sign up now at


    Volunteers Available for Day of Service

    L.A. Works is a nonprofit volunteer action center that creates and implements hands-on community service opportunities throughout the greater Los Angeles area.  They are currently looking for ideas for a Day of Service that would revitalize community centers, transitional living facilities, schools, parks, beaches, and more.  All services including supply costs are free.  Please contact Gil Gonzales at for more information. 


    You Can Donate
    a Park Bench

    Donate-A-Bench program has been officially launched by the L.A. Parks Foundation. Each bench has a personalized bronze plaque and is placed in a park of choice. This fundraising campaign not only beautifies the city's facilities, it provides a way for community members to enhance their neighborhood parks. For more information, please see the Foundation's Donate Page or contact


    Homeland Security Wants to Know

    You can participate in an online review of the priorities of the Department of Homeland Security.  Public study groups have been working to refine the thinking that formed this survey.  What you will see is the product of their work and not final DHS policy.

    Issues include: counterterrorism, employers that violate labor laws, disaster responses, immigration laws, and airport security, according to the CityWatch newsletter.

    There is also a place for you to post your comments.


    Facing Foreclosure? Pick Up the Phone

    Need help with your mortgage? Call (888) 89-LA NHS, email or see

    County Offers Foreclosure Aid: The County's Department of Consumer Affairs is offering a variety of information and assistance for homeowners and property owners at risk of foreclosure, trying to refinance, or otherwise navigating through today's economic turbulence. 

    For more detailed information on the range of homeowner-related programs and services the department offers, visit the Homes page.

    Beware of Property-Tax Scams: Beware of firms charging a hefty fee to "assist" area homeowners in filing property assessment reduction forms. You can download them free, here: Change in Assessment form, and visit the County's Assessment Appeals page for full details on all aspects of property assessment, including proposed reductions. Property owners can also call toll-free (888) 807-2111 for assistance.

    Gas Co. Has Energy Aid: For information on the Gas Company's bill assistance programs, visit, or call toll-free at (800) 427-2200. For energy saving tips, click HERE.
     Disaster Links

    City Services

    Zero Waste
    The City has a Zero Waste team soliciting opinions on how to reduce solid waste. Find out how you can participate. Zero waste brochure.

    Bureau of Sanitation
    The BOS is working to convert our solid waste into renewable energy. Read the brochure.

    Be Prepared
    for the 'Big One'

    This is the 150th anniversary of the last great San Andreas Earthquake. Dare to Prepare is a campaign to prepare for the next big quake. Find out what you can do at the Dare to Prepare site. Read the LAFD letter.

    Free Shade Trees
    You can get free shade trees through DWP. Read about the Trees for a Green LA program

    DWP Residential Energy and Water Saving Programs
    The DWP offers incentives to recycle your old refrigerator and buy an energy efficient one. Other appliance incentives are available too. Receive $100 toward an ultra low flush toilet. Read about DWP rebates.
    Online Service Requests
    You can place service requests for street repair, tree trimming, downed trees or palm fronds in the street online.
    This is a service provided by the  Bureau of Street Services.

    Property Activity Reports
    Did you know that you can view all permit requests for a property online? Click here to access the City's online reporting system. Enter in the address and view the permits.
    This is a service provided by the Department of Building and Safety.
    --Adapted from the PRNC newsletter.

    Quick Links
    Quick Phones

    Neighborhood Council

    (818) 464-3511

    West Valley Alliance (graffiti removal)
    (818) 885-8885

    Police Tipoff Line
    (818) 832-0563

    L.A. City Infoline

    CNC Contact

    Chatsworth Neighborhood Council
    Post Office Box 3395
    Chatsworth, CA 91313-3395

    Ph:  (818) 464-3511
    Fax: (818) 464-3585


    Complete CNC activities calendar:

    Complete community events calendar:

    311 logo

    211 logo


    The Los Angeles City Clerk's office now has responsibility to organize elections formerly run by Neighborhood Councils.

    Potential candidates should call (213) 978-0444 to register to run or attend one of the City Clerk's two information meetings.  Filing begins Wednesday, Dec. 2. Eleven councils will have elections on March 2.  In addition to the Chatsworth Neighborhood Council, the others are Canoga Park, Granada Hills North, Granada Hills South, North Hills West, Northridge East, Northridge West, Porter RanElection Logoch, West Hills, Winnetka and Woodland Hills-Warner Center neighborhood councils. Click here for the City Clerk's election information page.

    The City Clerk is hosting a Candidate Information Meeting at the Winnetka Recreation Center, 8401 Winnetka Ave., Winnetka, on Monday, Dec. 7, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 12, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.  Click here for the flyer. There will be candidate packets for stakeholders interested in running as a candidate. 

    Back in 2008 when the City Council authorized the City Clerk to take over the 2010 elections, that office was to take full responsibility for organizing and conducting the balloting and relieve the neighborhood councils of all responsibility. But as city finances declined, the expense of outreach to potential candidates and voters was pushed back upon the councils. The City Council had previous chopped neighborhood budgets to $45,000.

    The expense of election outreach has further limited the ability of local councils to finance improvement projects in their neighborhoods.

    The Chatsworth Neighborhood Council voted to spend no more than the $2,000 it has spent to run previous elections, reserving the balance of its limited budget for community projects. Other neighborhood councils are spending as much as $11,000 of their $45,000 allotment on elections which were originally supposed to be financed by the City Clerk.

    The Department of Neighborhood Empowerment is still embroiled in an audit by Controller Wendy Greuel which has resulted in the freezing and thawing of the funds for the 89-council neighborhood council system. There have been allegations of embezzlement, first reported here in The Chatsworth Roundup newsletter.  And five members of other neighborhood councils now face felony charges of misuse of public funds. Most neighborhood councils still don't know how much city funding remains in their financial accounts.



    A critical message from the President: A little over a year ago, I coined the phrase "Chatsworth Cares" in the aftermath of the Metrolink train wreck. The community had responded to this emergency with such swift and amazing action, that the entire world needed to know what great neighbors we have here.

    Today, I have a new phrase: "Chatsworth recognizes horse excrement when the city slings it our way."

    On November 1, 2008, the Chatsworth Neighborhood Council (CNC) entered into what we consider was a legal contract with all of our stakeholders and our board members for representation on our board of directors. The City Clerk has decided to ignore that contract -- and ignore your wishes as indicated in the election you participated in on November 1, 2008. In that election, half our board was elected for 4-year terms. The rest of the board had terms that expire in 2010.

    Arbitrary Action
    The City Clerk has arbitrarily decided that all 21 board members must stand for election on March 2, 2010, despite the fact that we held a legal election and the results were certified by the city in 2008, with all candidates and stakeholders understanding that the term of office was 4 years. This outrageous ruling by the City Clerk is contrary to our Bylaws, our wishes and the decision by our neighbors on what is best for our community.

    As a stakeholder, your will is going to be subverted.  Your vote will be nullified.

    The City Clerk's election procedures even stipulate that if there is any discrepancy between the bylaws and the procedures, "the Election Procedures shall be revised to reflect the DONE approved bylaws." So, not only is the City Clerk ignoring our bylaws, they are also violating their own stated policy about how to resolve a conflict in the rules. DONE is the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment.

    Once again, someone sitting in an office downtown is trying to tell us what is best for our community. We recognize horse excrement. We don't like it thrown at us.

    If this action is allowed to stand, it means that 11 board members legally elected to a 4-year term will instead have only a 17-month term. It will mean that CNC will have to recruit at least 21 quality candidates for our election, rather than the 12 we expected to be electing. It will mean that 21 board members will have to decide immediately if we are still willing to put up with a constant stream of horse excrement thrown from city officials downtown.

    Difficult Decision
    Half of the board made the difficult decision to run for a 4-year term in 2008 to maintain a stagger. Although most of us had been on the board for many years, our previous elections entailed a commitment of only 2 years. A lot can happen over a 4-year span. Not everyone is willing to commit to volunteering with one organization for that long, no matter how much we care about our community.

    It is possible that many board members have waded through enough horse excrement from downtown that they will opt to retire now, including some who would have been committed until 2012 but now have to re-consider sticking around until at least 2014.

    It's definitely not that we don't care about you and our community. We renewed our pledge to serve you for 4 years in 2008 -- but we weren't asked to commit until 2014. We may well be willing to continue serving, but we committed to 4 years, and we believe we should have the option after that 4 years to make a new decision based on our circumstances at that time.

    And, perhaps more importantly, you voted for us for 4 years. You should have your vote count for the specified term, not a reduced term that someone downtown has arbitrarily decided for you.

    The City Clerk's decision comes literally on the eve of the opening day to file as a candidate. If we don't manage to get 21 candidates, we will have open seats for the first time in our history. Unless there are more than 21 candidates, you will have no choice in who represents you because anyone who gets even his or her own single  vote will become a board member.

    If you don't like that prospect, please support our protest of this change that directly conflicts with our bylaws and our assessment of what is best for our community. Don't just settle for someone downtown slinging horse excrement at us.

    Quick History
    Let me give you a quick history of the Chatsworth Neighborhood Council. We were certified by the city in April 2003 and held our first election in October 2003. Eight of the 21 current board members were part of the organizing group and have served on the council since the beginning.

    For six years, CNC held its own elections, with only one challenge in all those years. That challenge was quickly resolved. (Other Neighborhood Councils across the city have had challenges that shut down operations for months or required a re-vote.) CNC has always had more candidates than seats in an election. (Other NCs have had open seats because they couldn't find enough candidates.) In all our years, we have had only two board seats open between elections, once because a board member passed away, the other because a  member resigned for personal reasons. In both cases, we held special elections for the remainder of the term and attracted more voters for that one seat than many NCs get for a scheduled election for their entire board.

    A couple of years ago, the City Council decided to turn over the task of conducting all Neighborhood Council elections to the City Clerk's office, which conducts all other city elections. The City Clerk studied the situation and concluded that they could handle the NC elections in even-numbered years because they had a full staff that was overseeing city elections in odd-numbered years but no elections in the off years.

    CNC used to spend less than $3,000 for an election. With the change to the professionals conducting NC elections, the cost for the 89 councils in the city is a total of $1.5 million, which works out to almost $17,000 per Neighborhood Council.

    CNC used to call for candidates a month before election day, with write-ins allowed up to about 24 hours before voting started. With the change to the professionals conducting NC elections, candidate filing closes 2 months before the election and write-ins must file a full month before the voting.

    $1.5 Million
    The City Clerk originally told City Council that the 89 NC elections, which are clustered into 11 regional voting days, would cost $1.5 million. In the midst of the worst financial crisis the city has ever experienced, the City Clerk decided in the spring that the elections would, instead, cost more than $4 million. City Council initially responded by suggesting a drastic cut in the NC allocation, with the trims transferred to the City Clerk for election expenses. But, after hundreds of NC representatives, including some from Chatsworth, arrived at City Hall to testify and protest, the City Clerk was told to go back and figure out how to hold the elections for the original estimate.

    Each NC was allocated $45,000 this fiscal year instead of the anticipated $50,000 to serve their communities.

    So, the City Clerk worked on their numbers and assured City Council they would manage to do the job for $1.5 million. It turns out that they didn't mention that in the process they would be abrogating major portions of their job as election professionals.

    In every other election the City Clerk has conducted, a major function is to notify all voters that there is an election and who or what is on the ballot. That's their outreach to all registered voters. We all get those booklets in the mail with sample ballots before an election. For the Neighborhood Council elections, the City Clerk is doing zero outreach. They won't tell you when, where, who, why or even that there is an election.

    Your Tax Dollars
    NCs have been told that we must do our own outreach. When some of us asked the City Clerk for a mailing list to be able to communicate with our stakeholders, we were told that is proprietary information that the City Clerk can't release to us. But we are welcome to use your tax dollars to buy the information we need from a private business, which will be making a profit in the process, of course.

    Let me remind you that your Neighborhood Council is part of the "city family." We are an arm of city government. Every penny we spend comes from the hard-earned tax dollars you pay to the city.

    In addition to all the issues related to our election, we have been deluged with problems related to our city funding. CNC has been very careful about how we spend your tax dollars. I believe that we spend more money helping more different groups than any other Neighborhood Council in the city. The CNC finances pass muster, yet, DONE freezes funds and thaws them without notice, only to freeze them again.

    We believe that the city is raiding our coffers and taking money that should be available to spend in Chatsworth, for Chatsworth and instead diverting it to that black hole known as the city General Fund, from which you are likely to derive no direct benefit.

    But that's another story for another day -- and another pile of horse excrement to plow through.

    I urge you to let City Clerk June Lagmay, Department of Neighborhood Empowerment General Manager BongHwan Kim, the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners and Councilman Greig Smith know how you feel about your community and your tax dollars. Let them know that you support the CNC position that they must abide by our Bylaws and our wishes and allow us to elect only half our board during this election cycle.

    Let the city officials sitting in downtown LA know that we recognize horse excrement and we don't appreciate it being thrown at us. When used properly as organic fertilizer, horse excrement is a good thing. When it is slung at you, well, you get the idea.

    Judith Daniels
    Chatsworth Neighborhood Council

    City Clerk
    Department of Neighborhood Empowerment General Manager
    Board of Neighborhood Commissioners President
    Councilman Greig Smith
    Contact for all Board of Neighborhood Commissioners members
    Chatsworth Neighborhood Council President
    Top Cop Video
    New LAPD Chief Charlie Beck is a fan of Neighborhood Councils and the Valley.


    CPR and First Aid Classes
    Free to Local Stakeholders

    The Chatsworth Neighborhood Council (CNC) is sponsoring a free Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) class and a free  First Aid class (pediatric-qualified) on Feb. 6, 2010 at the Chatsworth Foursquare Church, 10210 Canoga Ave. 

    The CPR class will be held from 9 to noon and the Pediatric First Aid class will be from 12:30 - 3:00 p.m.  CNC will provide light refreshments. If you plan to take both classes, please bring a lunch.  The classes are free to CNC stakeholders.  You are a stakeholder if you live, work, own property, or board a horse in Chatsworth. 

    Space is limited.  To sign up email or call (818) 773-9655 and leave your name, phone number and e-mail address. The classes will be filled on a first-registered first-served basis.

    The class instructor is Chatsworth's Lisa Sheeran of CPR for Life. 

    Upon completion of the classes you will receive a two-year American Heart Association certification.


    Businessmen to Launch
    New Bank in Chatsworth

    A group of Valley and Ventura County community leaders is seeking to raise about $16 million to launch a community business bank at 20946 Devonshire St. in Chatsworth.

    Among them is Chatsworth's Nick Montaņo, owner of Los Toros Restaurant.
    El Camino Bank, headquartered in Chatsworth, marks the return of traditional community banking in the Northwest San Fernando Valley after approximately  10 years. The bank would open in the first quarter of next year after the capital raising campaign.  They will focus on small and mid-sized businesses through a variety of banking services including SBA products.  In addition, they will have a focus on Latino businesses, one of the fastest growing demographics in the country.

    See for additional information.


    Draft Bicycle Plan Proposes
    696 Miles of New Bikeways

    The city is working on a draft Bicycle Plan which proposes approximately 696 miles of new bikeways and new policies related to implementation, education, enforcement, engineering, parking, transit integration, maintenance and evaluation.

    The proposed draft Bicycle Plan incorporates comments and suggestions from a series of public workshops held in February and March 2008, a public survey and best practices from cities around the nation. The draft 2009 Bicycle Plan is available for download on the project website here.

    City staff will take comments on the draft Plan until Jan. 8, 2010.  After Jan. 8, staff will prepare a revised Plan, including  maps, based on all of the input that has been received through the website, at workshops, in letters, e-mails, and on comment cards.  A staff report and a revised draft Bicycle Plan will be released in February 2010, giving two months for review. There will be two public hearings by the City Planning Commission --  one in the Valley and one near downtown.

    For more details, contact Jordann Turner at (213) 978-1379.


    State Senator Sees Chatsworth as Key to Clean Tech Corridor

    By Sen. Fran Pauley
    Senate District 23

    For the health of our planet and the health of our economy, I believe it's vital to create more green jobs in California. I'd like to see the Chatsworth area in the San Fernando Valley become a clean tech corridor.

    I, along with Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), recently hosted a brainstorming meeting with business and civic leaders, environmentalists, and higher education officials to discuss what the Valley needs to do to position itself as the home of clean tech companies in Los Angeles. We conducted the meeting at Pierce College in my district, which has been recognized for its efforts to create a green campus.

    With available land, world-class academic institutions and dedicated leaders, the San Fernando Valley is poised to become a major player in a burgeoning clean tech economy. Capstone turbine, which is based in Chatsworth and makes microturbines to power hospitals, shopping malls and hotels, is just one example of the kinds of businesses that can thrive in this new economy.

    I look forward to working with state and local leaders and with volunteers from Valley Green Team, which works to improve  the quality of life in the region by promoting green technologies, to explore what the San Fernando Valley needs to do to make itself more competitive to attract more clean tech companies.

    This article was first published in the District 23 Newsletter.

    Scout Cleanup
    [Photo / Les Salay]  
    Local Scouts recently cleaned up debris at Stoney Point as part of their annual Chatsworth service project. They were not able to do their volunteer work last year because of the fires which swept the area.


    Smith Seeks Inspector General
    as Independent DWP Watchdog

    Councilman Greig Smith has introduced a motion to create an Inspector General position to serve as an independent watchdog that would review and report on the operations and management actions of the Department of Water and Power (DWP) in order to help restore the public's trust in the DWP. 

    The Inspector General would have complete access to all records, personnel meetings, key documents and contracts at all times. The Inspector General would report findings directly to the public without interference from the DWP's Board of Water and Power Commissioners, the Office of the Mayor, the City Council, Neighborhood Councils, or special interest groups.

    "In order to regain the public's confidence, we must move strongly and quickly to improve transparency and accountability at the DWP," Councilman Smith said. "An Inspector General who provides independent review of the DWP's infrastructure implementation, operations and maintenance, administration, rates, renewables program, implementation and contracting, will help achieve this goal."

    Council President Eric Garcetti and Councilmember Jan Perry seconded the motion.


    Looting the Neighborhood

    When insiders on local political councils help themselves to hundreds of thousands in city money, some restructuring is in order.

    Chatsworth Roundup Editor's Note:
    Neighborhood Council system's fiscal
    shenanigans were revealed exclusively in the
    Chatsworth Roundup newsletter on Sept. 9.

    When one Los Angeles neighborhood council treasurer makes off with thousands of dollars in taxpayer money, he's a bad apple. When two do it, it starts to look like a troubling pattern. When half a dozen council insiders mishandle up to $250,000 in public funds, it's clear that the system has some structural problems.

    The city's lax financial oversight of its neighborhood councils came into focus with a recent report by Times staff writer Maeve Reston, who revealed six police probes of spending improprieties -- four of which have resulted in felony charges. Neighborhood council officials, who are unelected [Note: Neighborhood council members are elected.] and unpaid, have spent city money on clothing, restaurants and cable TV bills, and the former chairman and treasurer of the Empowerment Congress Southwest Area Neighborhood Development Council turned out to be a previously convicted felon whose expenditures are now under investigation. He was never subjected to a credit or background check.

    L.A.'s 89 neighborhood councils each get $50,000 a year in city money to spend as they please. [Note: In 2009, the allocation was $45,000.] Some have made very good use of it, upgrading business districts, buying playground equipment, planting greenery in medians or removing graffiti. Others have spent it on block parties, which at least improve neighborhood cohesion. And individuals at some councils treated the city money as personal expense accounts, ignoring rules that each expenditure be approved by the full council and submitting faked ledgers to city auditors.

    Neighborhood councils are volunteer organizations created in 1999 as a way of empowering communities and enhancing public participation in a metropolis where City Hall can seem as remote as the national Capitol. Yet few participants are fully satisfied with the experiment in grass-roots democracy, in large part because the councils are constrained by many of the same rules as elected bodies but have none of their powers. Some have emerged as key players in city politics despite the fact that their rulings are purely advisory, while others are so roiled by internal dissent that they have ceased to function.

    Solving the many problems that have arisen with neighborhood councils will be a challenge. But keeping a closer eye on their books shouldn't be. Requiring background checks of officers who handle the money would be a good start. The city's Department of Neighborhood Empowerment is also considering common-sense measures such as creating a formalized system for the councils to approve each transaction; that's clearly needed and overdue.

    Originally published Oct. 12, 2009 in the Los Angeles Times.

    DOT... DOT... DOT...

    Remember the Time...

    Back in the day when newspapers were still newspapers... Back when every paper had a "three-dot journalism" columnist writing short items of news, opinion and boldface names broken up by ellipses... They were the original blogs before there were blogs... Snark before there was snark... Back in the day... 

    So here we go...

    Don't ya love those politicos with their finger to the wind? Our good Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa took a firm stand... No cutbacks in his 10,000-man police force... No backing down... Nose-to-nose with the City Council... Oops, he cuts a deal to "maintain the current deployment levels that have allowed our city to reach historic crime reductions."...

    BongHwan KimBongHwan Kim, General Manager, EmpowerLA

    And speaking of flip-flops, our action hero Governator was serious about shutting down bunches and branches and bushes of state parks to close the state budget gap...  The chain was ready to go up at Chatsworth's Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park... But after all the filibuster, Gov. Schwarzenegger turned girlie man, saying, "This is fantastic news for all Californians."... And the parks stayed open... He "found money" by closing rest rooms and hiring fewer lifeguards...

    Meanwhile, dozens of Chatsworth volunteers have trained as docents... They're ready to step in and run the Pass Park if the governor has a change of heart... And the Chatsworth Neighborhood Council provided their lunch while they learned the way of the wild...

    A $939,169 federal grant to the Angeles District of California State Parks will allow parks in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area to operate just like last year... Where did all all this jolly jingle come from?... Is that you, Santa Claus?...

    BongHwan Kim, the man hunting the money at the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, called in sick last month... He was scheduled to meet stakeholders at the Chatsworth Neighborhood Council meeting... He confirmed on Tuesday that he will be in tip-top shape for Wednesday's meeting... Maybe he can help us figure out when it is OK to call his department EmpowerLA... And how much rollover taxpayer cash is still in the kitty...

    School Boarder Tamar Galatzan reports a break-in at Castlebay Lane Elementary School... They got digital cameras, laptop computers, digital light projectors... Previously, they got 20 laptops and a big-box computer from Knollwood Elementary School... Sounds like Black Friday at Best Buy...

    Congratulations to Jan Eddy-Languein, the newest member of the Chatsworth Neighborhood Council's board... She won the  recent Special Election to fill the seat of the late Art Schlefstein... 

    Condos are auctioning like... Well, condos... Starting bids at Independence Villas in Chatsworth, ranged from $145,000 to $170,000 for 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath designer town homes previously priced from $355,000 to $425,000... All 26 homes sold in one hour, totaling more than $8.1 million in sales...

    BongHwan KimJan Eddy-Languein,     Elected to fill vacant  Council seat

    We know well in Chatsworth what can happen when commuter train safety is not the top concern... So what's the deal with this?... Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger quietly spiked an effort to win $1.1 billion in federal rail stimulus funds...  29 projects were planned to improve the safety, speed and capacity of Southern California's commuter corridors... Instead, he sought money for only one project -- the proposed bullet train between San Francisco and San Diego...

    Zev's got a brand new blog... Click ...

    How about a free day at Disneyland?... Well, actually nothing is really free... You have to work for it... Darn those Disney guys...  When you sign up here to volunteer a day of service with a participating organization, you'll get a ticket to ride...
    "Give a Day. Get a Disney day."...

    Operation Gratitude is about to stuff its 500,000th gift package for American servicemen and women... Join the brigade at ...

    The LAPD has cut ties with the Boy Scouts... Seems the Scouts don't like gays... And that's discrimination... So the department may manage the Explorer program itself, or so says the Associated Press...

    Finally, Metro was so excited about completion of the 310-space expansion of the Chatsworth Depot parking lot that they sent out a press release... Turns out that parking is now more convenient for the Cowboy Palace than the train station...

                                                                       -- Saul Daniels


    Opportunity Clicks

    These are difficult economic times, so your Neighborhood Council has added an employment search engine to our website and newsletter. This convenient search engine reaches out to most job sites large and small and lists all your opportunities in one place.

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    Jobs by SimplyHired

    You might also click on WorkSource California.


    Farmer's MarketChatsworth Farmer's Market
    Every Saturday. 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. (new time), St. Stephen Presbyterian Church, 20121 Devonshire St. Farmer's Market features a jumping castle for kids, hot food, sweets, live entertainment, and fresh vegetables and fruit.

    Health FairHealth Fair
    Take advantage of this valuable community health fair, with many kinds of free health screenings, consultations and information, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 5 at Northridge Hospital, 18300 Roscoe Blvd. Services include mammograms, pap testing, diabetes blood sugar testing, blood pressure testing, prostate cancer screening and more.
    Space is limited and appointments are required for screenings. To reserve or for more information, call (818) 700-5668.

    This musical version of the Dickens Classic "The Christmas Carol" will transport you to 1860's London to experience the transformation of "rotten old Scrooge" as he is visited by three ghosts, Past, Present and Future. Dec. 5, 6, 12, 13, at 22200 Chatsworth St. Details, (818) 998-0185,

    St. NickGranada Hills Holiday Parade
    A great Valley tradition continues at the 26th Annual Granada Hills Holiday Parade, 1:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 6 in Granada Hills Village between Petit Street and Zelzah Avenue.. Theme for this year's holiday parade is "Holidays of the Sixties." Details: (818) 368-3235 or visit

    DollToy and Book Drive
    The Chatsworth/Porter Ranch Chamber of Commerce is collecting toys and books through Dec. 11. Bring unwrapped toys, games or books to 10038 Old Depot Plaza Rd. Donations benefit the LAPD Devonshire PALS and Child Care Resource Center. Details, (818) 341-2428.

    SantaChatsworth Holiday Parade and Festival
    The 26th Annual Kiwanis-sponsored Chatsworth Holiday Parade and Festival is Sunday, Dec. 13. The festival is 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at Mason Avenue and Devonshire Street. the parade begins at 1 p.m. and travels east on Devonshire Street from Jordan Avenue to Lurline Avenue. Details: (818) 489-6423 or  Click for flyer.

    CoatWarm Coat Project
    Donate your gently used coats, jackets, sweaters or blankets through Dec. 13 for the elderly, veterans and the needy. Kiwanis Club drop-off locations: Los Toros Restaurant, 21743 Devonshire St.; James Jordan Middle School, 20040 Parthenia St.; Saint John Eudes Church, 9901 Mason Ave.

    Hanukkah"Chanukah in Winterland"
    The Chabad of Chatsworth, Northridge and Porter Ranch is holding its free "Chanukah in Winterland" at Porter Ranch Town Center, Corbin Avenue and Rinaldi Street, on Tuesday, Dec. 15.  Festivities start at 6 p.m. Menorah lighting at 7 p.m. Details: (818) 718-0777 or email

    HouseFree Foreclosure Clinic
    A free foreclosure solutions clinic will be held      3 - 8 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 15, at St. Stephen Presbyterian Church, 20121 Devonshire St., at Winnetka. Attendees will meet one-on-one with lenders and HUD certified non-profit loan counselors. They will also be able to assist with credit recovery and housing-related legal concerns. Details, (818) 360-7460.

    Fruit TreeTree Giveaway
    Rosemary & Thyme Community Garden has partnered with Tree People to give away 150 fruit trees, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 9,  at 10161 Jordan Ave. (between Craggyview Street and Romar Street). Details: (818) 700-8940 or (818) 993-0746.

    BadgeNeighborhood Watch
    The January Chatsworth Neighborhood Watch meeting will be 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 28, at   St. John Eudes Church,  9901 Mason Ave. Officer Danny Del Valle is senior lead officer for Basic Car 17A23.

    First AidFree CPR and First Aid Classes
    The Chatsworth Neighborhood Council is sponsoring free CPR and First Aid classes beginning at 9 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 6, at Chatsworth Foursquare Church, 10120 Canoga Ave. Registration required. Email or call (818) 773-9655 or (818) 464-3511. Please be sure to leave your name,  phone number and email address.

    • Submit an event HERE.
    Free Gift
    Bring this coupon to the next Neighborhood Council Meeting and receive a free Be Safe, Be Seen safety flasher.  Wear it while jogging, cycling, walking the dog.

    Name: ________________________________________

    Email: ________________________________________
    While supplies last                                                                12.1.09