April 16, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Brentwood Beat: From Town Halls to Tent Cities

Jeff HallLast month I wrote that it felt to me like the Brentwood Community Council (BCC) was spending too much time on perfunctory reports, not enough time on matters that required time for serious discussion. BCC Chairman Ray Klein sent me an email telling me he agreed many of the reports took up too much time and suggested what I was really calling for was more along the lines of a town hall meeting.

I think an annual Brentwood Town Hall Meeting is a terrific idea. What if once a year all citizens could attend a big meeting, say, on a Sunday afternoon, and learn all about all the issues, big and small, facing our community? If anyone is interested in this idea, drop me a line at jeffhall@brentwoodnewsonline.com, I’ll bounce the idea off others.

Anyway, in a nice change of pace, this last BCC meeting moved along quickly, with lots of meaty issues tackled – with plenty of time for people to weigh in:
• The BCC voiced opposition to proposed rush hour bus lanes on Wilshire, with good input all around, including a call by Brentwood resident Robert Rosebrock for a monorail that would go above Wilshire, allowing cars to continue to travel on the street below;
• Brentwood resident (and employer) Tom Safran laid out a very nice and warmly received vision for a new building he wants to construct at the corner of Montana and San

Vicente, where a gas station is now;
• Flora Krisiloff, representing the Avondale Homeowners, announced the neighbors on this street had reached an agreement with the Country Mart that would allow the new restaurant, FarmShop, to get a beer and wine license; and
• Bryan Gordon announced that Hotel Angeleno had agreed to tone down outside lights that had irked some in the neighborhood.

So peace reigns in our little burb for the holidays. The economy remains sour, but maybe necessity is causing people to work more closely together to overcome problems – at least at the local level.

There is one problem that seems particularly sad during the holidays: Homeless veterans. It seems to me the VA ought to open up a section of its vast property and set up a tent city to provide shelter to as many of these men and women who can reasonably be accommodated.

Such an idea might make some neighbors nervous. But something should be done, this is a national disgrace – with local impact. If not the VA, who? If not at this huge VA campus, where?

Ideas about reclaiming a handful of old buildings on the VA campus and offering more treatment to the homeless individuals selected are all fine and good, but at best will only help a tiny fraction of those in need. A tent city, properly managed, could help thousands.

Even a tent city is only a band-aid and doesn’t solve the underlying, broader problems – that’s understood. But at least it’s a start. Everyone would be better off with these individuals safe inside the VA – and off the streets. Brentwood should rally behind these men and women who rallied for us – at a steep personal price.

Consider the experience of one of our fellow Brentwoodians, Elizabeth Stern. Day after day, she saw a homeless man, “Irish†Mike Nolan, hanging out at the Starbucks at San Vicente and Barrington. Elizabeth initiated a conversation with him and learned he was a veteran. Elizabeth took him under her wing and became his advocate, seeing to it that he got proper medical, dental and psychological care.

He had cancer and now it’s gone; his teeth look like a million bucks; he now lives in a house in Burbank. If Elizabeth could do this, surely the rest of us could support a tent city for homeless veterans currently living on the streets. They were there for us; we should be there for them.

Happy holidays, all!

in News
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