April 23, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

The Brentwood Beat: Politics, Parklets & Paintings

Jeff Hall interviews Teri Redman Kahn from the Brentwood Community Council.
Jeff Hall interviews Teri Redman Kahn from the Brentwood Community Council.

Approximately 20 candidates have filed papers to run for the 33rd District Congressional seat being vacated by Henry Waxman.

I called my friends at University Synagogue to see if the Brentwood News and University Synagogue could once again co-host a “Meet the Candidates” forum, and Rabbi Morley Feinstein said “yes” – as I knew he would.

Uni Synagogue is very generous with the use of its terrific facility for community events. Rabbi Feinstein and members of his staff couldn’t be more supportive – and there’s a lot that takes place behind the scenes.

Our “Meet the Candidates” forum will be held Sunday, April 27, from 2 pm to 4 pm. If you would like to attend, please send an email to: events@brentwoodnewsonline.com. You may reserve up to two seats.

I anticipate this event being “sold out” – the synagogue can hold around 400 people – so the only fair way to do this is to book reservations in the order they arrive.

Scheduling the candidates is challenging; there is a tiny chance we might have to reschedule to either May 1 or May 4; we’ll let you know if that happens. But Sunday, April 27 seems 99 percent sure.

Given the huge number of candidates, we’ll need to become creative in terms of how we do this. This might be less of a debate or conversation – and more along the lines of a “speed-dating” session. We’ll figure it out. Hope to see you there!

Teri Redman Kahn has been active as a member of the Brentwood scene for years. Saving the Coral Trees from over-watering is a particularly important cause of hers.

Recently, she proposed taking a section of the San Vicente median strip, taking out the grass and replacing the grass with a mix of drought-resistant vegetation and natural materials that would create a nice walkway in the middle of Brentwood’s main drag.

But her fertile mind didn’t stop there. Teri recently learned of a new movement to create “parklets” out of public spaces, and she is now proposing that Brentwood consider closing the tiny section of Gorham between Barrington and San Vicente (between Starbucks and the Pinkberry and the menswear store called Rag and Bone).

Instead of a street, that area would be replaced by greenery and open space – a tiny park, or “parklet.” Brentwood really has no central gathering place; I think the idea of a parklet at this location is terrific.

Bryan Gordon, real estate developer, proposed something similar years ago.  He wanted to build a retail establishment that would take up the area between Whole Foods and Starbucks, including that strip of Gorham.

Even though he proposed some very nice outdoor space and several traffic improvements as part of his proposal, there was something of an uprising from locals in the immediate area who argued a private developer shouldn’t be able to acquire part of a public street.  In return, Bryan was willing to fund several needed traffic improvements in the area, but things stalled.

Maybe Teri’s idea will stand a better chance of achieving approval, since Gorham Avenue – even if covered over by a park – will remain in city hands.  I think most would agree that little strip isn’t the greatest thoroughfare for drivers – it’s quite dangerous, really.

Closing that strip of Gorham would trigger the need to create a better right-turn lane heading south on Barrington, turning right (or west) onto San Vicente.  Similarly, a better left-turn lane turning north onto Barrington from San Vicente, heading east) would be required.

These ideas were part of Bryan Gordon’s original proposal, and they could still work today.   The benefits of having a nice little park would far outweigh any inconvenience a few motorists might suffer.  Traffic flow – and safety – would likely improve quite a bit.   This is an idea whose time has possibly finally come.

I was invited to a lunch the other day to honor the Anderson family, which is making a huge contribution of original art to Stanford University. Mary Patricia “Putter” Pence lives in Brentwood. She grew up with paintings by Jackson Pollack and the likes hanging on her bedroom wall.

Her parents, “Moo” and “Hunk” Anderson, gave Putter an appreciation for art (she’s now a renowned art dealer). Next issue we’ll have some great photos of some of the pieces that will end up at Stanford.

Summer is approaching. At the Brentwood News, we are very big on student interns. If you know of any who want to be involved in local newspapering and an online startup I’m part of, have that fine young lady or man send me an email: jeffhall@brentwoodnewsonline.com.

Be sure to check out the rest of WestsideToday.com. We’re starting to build up a library of videos called “In the Chair with Jeff Hall.” Search on that term and you can meet some of Brentwood’s movers and shakers. Want to be interviewed? Send me an email.

Have a great month!

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