IN THE DECEMBER NEWSLETTER:
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Miracle Mile HPOZ Workshop
& Community Meeting
• Saturday, January 10, 2015 •
Los Angeles Times
The Miracle Mile Residential Association will hold its first HPOZ workshop and community meeting on Saturday, January 10, 2015, from 10 AM to 12 PM, at Candela (Leonardo’s Night Club), 831 South La Brea Avenue. Street parking is available on La Brea or adjacent streets.
Several months ago the MMRA launched a Historic Protection Overlay Zone [HPOZ] Committee to explore the benefits of HPOZ status for the Miracle Mile and to determine whether consensus exists in the community for the creation of an HPOZ.
The threat of mansionization and high-density infill developments has sparked a great deal of concern. At the November MMRA Annual Meeting a large number of residents demonstrated a willingness to attend public meetings to learn more about Historic Protection Overlay Zones. The results of the ongoing MMRA Mansionization-RFA-HPOZ Survey indicate that the majority of the respondents support the creation of an HPOZ [poll results].
Mark Zecca, MMRA board member and chairperson of the HPOZ committee, will host the meeting, which will feature a PowerPoint presentation on HPOZs and how they function. Also in attendance will be Shannon Ryan, Planning Assistant with the City of Los Angeles Office of Historic Resources’ HPOZ Unit, and Robbie O’Donnell, who helped create the Wilshire Park HPOZ. Questions will be welcomed. The purpose of the meeting is to educate residents and promote a well-informed discussion about the pros and cons of a Miracle Mile HPOZ. Feel free to contact Mark, if you have any questions about the workshop: email@example.com.
Broad community involvement is crucial to implementing an HPOZ. It will take the active participation of a large number of residents to overcome the many hurdles that must be surmounted to achieve HPOZ status. It is a challenge, but many feel that an HPOZ is the only way save the historic character and charm of the Miracle Mile. Renters are encouraged to attend. Polling reveals that renters and homeowners want older duplexes and small apartment buildings to be protected by a Miracle Mile HPOZ.
We have a tight budget; refreshments will not be served. So, pick up a cup of coffee or a bagel on the way – and let’s get down to the hard work of saving the Miracle Mile.
Miracle Mile HPOZ Workshop
& Community Meeting
Saturday – January 10, 2015 – 10 AM to 12 PM
Candela/Leonardo’s Night Club
831 South La Brea Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Now Playing on the MMRA YouTube Channel:
Melrose Residents Protest McMansions
Click on image to view video.
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Speak Up! Annual Online Survey Closes Dec. 31
MMRA Annual Online Survey
Closes December 31, 2014
Click on map to enlarge.
The MMRA 2014 Annual Online Survey
closes on December 31, 2014. The survey provides a “snapshot” of the community and helps us measure attitudes and opinions on central issues, such as traffic and development. The Miracle Mile Residential Association is a consensus driven organization. We rely on the feedback and input of the residents in forming our policies. (Results from the 2013 Annual Online Resident Survey can be reviewed here
While the 2014 survey will end on New Year’s Eve, the “MMRA Mansionization-RFA-HPOZ” and “LACMA Bridge Over Wilshire” surveys will remain open. You can participate in those polls or view the results in the links below.
We utilize SurveyMonkey for our polls; it is a secure and simple way to gather your input. Participation is completely anonymous and your honesty is welcomed. So, please take a few minutes and participate in the 2014 survey – there are 60 questions with opportunities to make specific comments. Feel free to skip over the questions that don’t interest or apply to you.
2014 Miracle Mile Residential Association
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Q&A: Are Burglaries Up or Down in the Miracle Mile?
Are Burglaries Up or Down in the Miracle Mile?
Interview with L.A.P.D Senior Lead Officer Perry Jones
and the Wilshire Division Cyber Support Unit
The MMRA annual surveys reveal that burglary tops the list of crime concerns for Miracle Mile residents. Lately, there have been rumblings that burglaries seem to be on the increase. We decided to get the facts from the L.A.P.D. Senior Lead Officer for the area covering the Miracle Mile. Perry Jones is known for his professionalism and his strong relationships with the community. As an example of this, to accommodate the deadline of this newsletter Officer Jones came into the station on his day off for this interview and insisted on putting on his uniform for the photo that accompanies this article [below
]. We met at the L.A.P.D Wilshire Division.
Officer Jones, what is a Senior Lead Officer?
A Senior Lead Officer is basically a person that is assigned to a certain geographic area in the City of Los Angeles, we’re responsible for the good and bad and indifferent. We take care of all the problems in the community and we are the liaison between the community and the police department. So, we are the ones that bridge the gap. We get the resources to fix a problem or we fix them ourselves.
How long have you been the Senior Lead Officer for the Miracle Mile area?
I’ve been at the Wilshire Division for twenty-three years and a Senior Lead Officer for the past twenty years. They re-did the geographic area about six or seven years ago and that’s when I inherited the Miracle Mile area. The Wilshire Division is divided up into nine Basic Car Areas and the Miracle Mile is in Basic Car Area 7A33 [see map below
Is it fair to say that sometimes the perception of the crime rate seems to be in the eye of the beholder, regardless of what the actual statistics might be?
If I’m the victim of a crime, crime is at an all-time high and if I live three blocks over – and it doesn’t effect me – crime is at an all-time low. I can give you the numbers in my area, but numbers don’t mean anything to me. If I have one crime victim in my area I have a problem. I prefer to have zero crimes. So, for me to say that crime in my area is down 24% over last year is only mildly interesting if I have a crime victim on South Ridgeley. I’m not numbers driven. Having been a victim of crime myself, of burglary and car theft, I know personally what I want when someone steals from me: I want that person caught, I want them arrested, and I want my stuff back. And I want to feel safe – and that’s what we’re striving to do at Wilshire Division.
What is the truth about the crime rate in the Miracle Mile?
Overall, in Basic Car Area 7A33, we’re down 23.4% from last year. I’ve had 92 total burglaries this year, last year at this time I had 127. We’ve had a dramatic reduction in burglaries.
What do you attribute this reduction in burglaries to?
Community involvement and education. We’ve passed out close to 20,000 flyers this year about burglary prevention. We’ve been walking foot beats. We’ve been dedicating our resources to what we call our ‘dots on the map’ and when we get a cluster of dots in a particular area that’s where we devote our resources.
Do you find that burglars concentrate on a particular area where they’ve had success? Do they return to the scene of the crime, so to speak, to commit more burglaries?
The easier it is to get into a home, the more visible valuables inside the home are, the more concealed it is by shrubbery, the more poorly illuminated, no alarms, no dogs, with high fences – anything that would buy more time for a burglar to break in and give them cover to get out – those are the homes that burglars target. It takes a burglar a few seconds to get inside and they’re out of your house in two-to-three minutes. That’s a lot faster than we can ever respond.
Click map to enlarge.
We always hear that the best defense is neighbors looking out for neighbors.
The way we catch bad guys is a combination of burglar alarms and the eyes of the neighbors. The eyes of the community have allowed us to catch a lot of bad guys this year.
How do alarm companies interface with the police department?
When your alarm goes off the alarm company contacts our dispatchers, they try to get as much information as they can, and then we get the call. It takes about three-to-four minutes. But by the time we get the call and get the helicopter overhead, the bad guy is usually gone. But when we have a neighbor that sees them going in, we get that call quicker than we get a call from an alarm company. The neighbor can give us a description of the suspect. That’s the kind of call we look for. We have a much better chance of getting that guy.
So, residents shouldn’t hesitate calling the police, even if they’re not certain if a crime is being committed?
Anytime you sense something is suspicious or out of the ordinary it never hurts to call us. If we show up and catch a bad guy, wonderful. If we show up and nothing bad is going on, that’s wonderful, too. It gets people in the habit of communicating with the police department and that deters a lot of crime. And knowing your neighbors and looking out for each other is the best determent against crime.
Would it be useful if residents included surveillance cameras in their security systems?
Cameras are very, very helpful for us – particularly if they’re placed in the right positions on the exterior and interior of the property. The first thing we do in an investigation is look for video footage.
How important is having an inventory of your possessions if you are burglarized?
Keep it all: serial numbers, photographs, receipts – anything that helps to identify your personal property. We recover a lot of things, but we need documentation to link it back to you. We recover an enormous number of bikes, but we don’t know who they belong to, because the owners didn’t know the serial numbers. I’ll stop a guy with seven iPads in his backpack and I know they’re stolen, I’ll run the serial numbers, but they come back clean because the folks they were stolen from didn’t have the serial numbers when the reports were made.
What should people do if they come home and they see that their residence has been broken into?
Call 911. Don’t go inside or you could become a victim of more than just a burglary. Call us. Let us do our job. Our number one priority is protecting life. Let us come and clear the property and make sure the bad guy is gone and that you’re safe. If you go in and check it out yourself and then call us, well, then it’s just a reporting call for us and it might take us some time to get there depending on how busy we are. We protect people first and property second. Don’t clear your home yourself; let us do it.
From what I understand, vehicle burglaries seem to be, by and large, crimes of opportunity. People tempt smash-and-grab thefts by leaving smartphones or laptops in plain view.
Numerous times walking through the Miracle Mile I have seen people who have left their smartphones inside their cars plugged into their chargers with the cord leading to the console or under the seat. The thief sees that cord and thinks: ‘I’ll take a chance breaking into this car.’
[Accompanying Officer Jones to the interview were Officers Robert Davenport and Joe Armstrong with the Wilshire Division Cyber Support Unit; the interview continues:]
Officer Davenport and Officer Armstrong, what are your assignments with the L.A.P.D?
We are the Cyber Support Unit for the Wilshire Division. The unit has been around for about two years. We are tasked with monitoring social media. Each L.A.P.D. division has their own social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. We disperse important information to the public
We try to get the pulse of the community and to support the community and the businesses. We don’t just do crime prevention tips, we also want to let everyone know that Officer Jones is out there meeting with the community, that he’s available to the community. That we’re not just guys in uniforms who only care about placing people under arrest. We live in this community. Social media gives us a chance to demonstrate that we are human and that we’re just trying to help people navigate through their day.
It seems that what the Cyber Support Unit is doing is extending the principles of community based policing into the 21st Century.
Yes, our problem was that the police department was slightly behind the times because the digital revolution came on so fast. When Captain Leslie first came onboard he promised that Wilshire Division would have a larger footprint in the social media world and when Officer Armstrong joined us he challenged us to do that. He created a website for the Wilshire Division and we’re the first division in L.A.P.D to have our own website. He also created a phone app for Android and iPhones. We’re the first to do that as well.
We have about 7,000 followers on our Twitter account. We have an Instagram account – people like to have photos. We have a Facebook account and we’ve started creating videos for our Vimeo account.
If you repeat the same message over and over it becomes dull. The unique thing we do is to try to keep it fun as well as informative. We keep it interactive with maps and a community events calendar. It provides the community with a digital forum where they can talk to us.
Wilshire Division has a smartphone application available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Search for "LAPD Wilshire" on either store and you can download it for free.
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Miracle Mile Spotlight: Candela Taco Bar & Lounge
Miracle Mile Spotlight:
Candela Taco Bar & Lounge
(AKA Leonardo’s Nightclub)
Thirty-seven years ago two brothers from Northern Mexico, Armando and Leonardo Lopez, opened their first nightclub in a former dance studio at 831 South La Brea Avenue. They named their establishment Leonardo’s and built a large clientele of working-class Mexican and Latin Americans seeking the live music, dancing, and food of their homeland.
The Lopez brothers answered a demand that led them to expand to 12 Leonardo’s nightclubs from Downtown L.A. to Oxnard to Lancaster. Several years ago the brothers went their seperate ways and Armando took ownership of the flagship La Brea Avenue club while Leonardo took possession of property across the street to develop a retail center. And this is where Armando’s daughter, Maria Lopez, enters the picture.
A graduate of Cal State Northridge with a major in International Business, Maria had a plan to realize the full potential of the popular nightspot. She wanted to preserve its existing customer base while expanding its appeal to the residents of the Miracle Mile. But first she had a major obstacle to overcome. “We’ve always been a family business,” she explained. “All of my brothers and cousins grew up working here, but the girls not so much. It was a very Mexican business; the men ran it. I was the first to challenge that.”
Her father’s traditional ways were no match for Maria’s intelligence, charm, and energy. Seven years ago she became actively involved in the business. When asked if her father is easy to work with, Maria replied: “It’s a hard balance between the old school and the new school. But I think he trusts me now. I’ve proven myself.”
Maria’s first innovation was the creation of Candela Taco Bar & Lounge, “The intention behind Candela was to build a bridge between our Miracle Mile neighborhood and our traditional Mexican-American nightclub business.” The restaurant’s success launched an expansion into catering and hosting a wide array of functions for local businesses and organizations.
What used to be a predominantly Mexican-American nightclub that was only open on weekend evenings is now a dynamic, seven-days-a-week enterprise that has attracted a broad range of customers. This reinvention of the business inspired the name change from Leonardo’s to Candela – although the weekend nightclub is still commonly referred to as Leonardo’s or the La Brea nightclub.
Candela Taco Bar & Lounge has earned high marks for the quality of the food, full liquor service, and its home-like feel. The popularity of $1 taco Wednesdays compelled Maria to open the restaurant at 11:30 AM on Wednesdays; the rest of the week the restaurant operates from 4 PM to midnight.
“I was raised to appreciate that customer loyalty is the most important thing in this business,” she emphasized. “It’s such a fine line between growing a business and honoring our long-time patrons.” This continuing customer loyalty is very evident given the popularity of “Tango Tuesdays” and the many hundreds of nightclub patrons dancing every weekend to the live music of popular Mexican and Latin American performers.
Maria grew up in Encino – a regular commute that her father still makes – but the daily demands of managing the restaurant inspired Maria to move to the Miracle Mile a year ago. “It’s changed my life in so many aspects,” she states. “I relate to my customers better because I’m a local now. I frequent other restaurants. It’s very much a neighborhood vibe around here.”
In turns out that Maria was a trailblazer for another woman in her family: her mother, Consuelo Lopez. “We were very fortunate to have a stay-at-home mom when we were growing up. About four years ago, she was suffering from empty nest syndrome and she came to me and said, ‘Please, let me have a job with you.’ The kitchen is her thing. She’s been an incredible help. We develop new dishes together and she helps a lot with our catering business.”
So, now Armando Lopez finds himself working side-by-side with both his daughter and his wife. But it is a wise man who can change with the times – and a lucky man to have a daughter like Maria, who knows what needs to be changed.
Maria Lopez (center) with her parents, Armando and Consuelo Lopez.
Candela Taco Bar & Lounge
831 S. La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
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MMRA Begins Video Monitoring of Subway Contruction
MMRA Begins Video Monitoring
of Subway Construction
Click image to view video.
The Miracle Mile Residential Association’s Board of Directors recently reaffirmed their commitment to “digital” community outreach by authorizing the expenditure of over $2,000 for the purchase of high-definition video equipment. This will facilitate a range of video productions for the MMRA Channel on YouTube, from interviews with political candidates to public meetings – such as the upcoming Miracle Mile HPOZ workshop – and the recent McMansion protest by the Melrose community.
The board’s decision was also motivated by a desire to monitor subway construction, specifically nighttime work. “Many folks living well south of Wilshire have no idea what’s going on with the late night subway work there,” explained MMRA President Jim O’Sullivan. “Seeing and hearing it on video will show everyone exactly why we launched our ‘Sleepless in the Miracle Mile’ petition campaign to stop nighttime subway construction.”
An example of the sort of nighttime construction that Metro has been conducting in the Miracle Mile can be seen on the video above. Utility relocation involves moving underground infrastructure to clear the way for subway tunneling. Metro maintains that it can mitigate the noise and not disturb the peace and quiet of nearby residents. You can judge for yourself how well they achieve this goal.
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2014: Miracle Mile Year in Review
2014: Miracle Mile Year in Review
As the Great Recession receded the Miracle Mile has become a hotbed of construction in the past year. A few long-delayed projects and many new developments commenced in 2014. A large apartment building is under construction behind the landmark Desmond’s building and another smaller apartment project will soon start construction behind the Dominguez-Wilshire building; a new school building and mixed-use complex is being built on the Shalhevet campus at Fairfax and San Vicente; the Petersen Automotive Museum is doing a major interior renovation and controversial exterior facelift; a new 13-story Museum Square office building will soon break ground; a small condo project is going up at Curson and Olympic; and South Ogden Drive between Wilshire and Olympic has three different residential projects at varying stages of construction, including a 45-unit apartment building.
Expansion of the Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) into the Miracle Mile resulted in the repaving of Wilshire Boulevard – something that many residents never thought they would see in their lifetimes. The BRT will restrict curb lanes for buses only during morning and evening rush hours once construction is completed to the Westside. It is projected that the BRT will increase peak hour traffic on 6th and 8th Streets by twenty percent.
Utility relocations in preparation for the Purple Line subway tunneling have been underway since the beginning of the year (and will continue at Wilshire and Fairfax for another two years). Principal subway construction is to begin early in the New Year with the demolition of the structures at the northwest corner of Wilshire and La Brea to clear ground for a construction site, the first of four such sites in the Miracle Mile.
The proposed Academy Museum at the former May Co. building is slowly winding its way through the approval process and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is pushing for a new museum that would bridge Wilshire Boulevard. The plans of both organizations threaten to overwhelm the Miracle Mile community if they fail to acknowledge and act on the reasonable concerns of the residents. LACMA already attracts 1.2 million visitors per year and the Academy Museum could double that number. The lack of parking, traffic congestion at Fairfax and Wilshire, frequent and large special events, and the creation of a Digital Sign District are the major issues the MMRA has with the proposed plan for the Academy Museum.
All of this has made for a very busy year for the Miracle Mile Residential Association. The Miracle Mile is obviously experiencing a tidal wave of change and the MMRA is tasked with ensuring that the voices of the residents are included in plans for the future of our community.
Last February the “Sleepless in the Miracle Mile” petition campaign was launched to stop the proposed 24/7 construction activities at the subway staging sites. The disturbances caused by the ongoing nighttime utility relocations have demonstrated that heavy construction and a good night’s rest are inherently incompatible [see video link in article above
]. The MMRA will continue to closely monitor subway construction in order to protect residents and small businesses.
The spread of mansionization into the Miracle Mile created a groundswell of opposition to McMansions. The MMRA applied for Reduced Floor Area District status to thwart speculators – and successfully lobbied to be included in a pending Interim Control Ordinance that would ban demolition of single-family residences in the Miracle Mile for two years while the City reforms its flawed Baseline Mansionization Ordinance. The MMRA also created a Historical Protection Overlay Zone Committee to explore community interest in creating a Miracle Mile HPOZ to preserve the history and design character of our neighborhood [see article above
The MMRA is spearheading an effort to protect Miracle Mile landmarks by sponsoring several iconic Wilshire Boulevard buildings for official Historical-Cultural Monument status.
The increased rush hour congestion on 8th
Street and traffic intrusions on residential streets led the MMRA to instigate a Miracle Mile Neighborhood Traffic Management Plan
. Working closely with Councilmember Tom LaBonge, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, and Gibson Transportation Consulting, Inc., the study was launched this October with the final report due next spring. The study, which emphasizes safety, will recommend measures that – hopefully
– will reduce the spate of collisions resulting from north/south traffic attempting to enter or cross 8th Street and, just as important, make the street safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
In many ways 2014 is merely a preview of coming attractions for the Miracle Mile. Change is inevitable and not always unwelcome. Development is far from a level playing field and the needs and wishes of community are often an afterthought for the powers that be. But the residents of the Miracle Mile, both renters and homeowners, have displayed the unity and resolve to preserve and protect our neighborhood. With your support the Miracle Mile Residential Association has established itself as a strong (and often loud) voice of the community.
[For additional information on the developments and events mentioned above see the MMRA Newsletter Archive
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Miracle Mile Real Estate • November 2014 Sales
Miracle Mile Real Estate
• November 2014 Sales •
5670 W. Olympic Blvd. #B3
condo: 2 bdrm, 2 bath
1,059 sq. ft.
listing price: $490,000
sale price: $486,000
sale date: 11-03-2014
5764 San Vicente Blvd. #301
condo: 2 bdrm, 2 bath
1,270 sq. ft.
lot: 7,251 sq. ft.
listing price: $549,000
sale price: $545,000
sale date: 11-26-2014
1059 S. Cloverdale Ave.
duplex: 2-3 bdrm, 2 bath units
4,323 sq. ft.
lot: 6,904 sq. ft.
listing price: $1,299,999
sale price: $1,280,000
sale date: 11-12-2014
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