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3rd Annual - April 22nd Earth Day/Car Free Day

The planning of the 3rd Annual Wilshire Center Earth Day/Car Free  Day event has begun. The event will be similar to last year’s and will take place on the lawn at 3700 Wilshire Blvd. (between Oxford and Serrano) on Thursday, April 22nd from 11 AM - 3 PM. This year’s event will feature e-waste recycling, tree adoption,  sustainability awareness information and a bike valet. The main stage will feature musical performances by Naked Rhythm, the Quetzal Guerrero Band, VoKab Company, as well as other artists, including a Korean Fan Dance performance and an El Salvadorian dance troupe. In addition to the environmentally friendly aspects and the stage entertainment the event will also be host to a farmer’s market with organic and locally grown produce. On April 22nd the WCBID would like to encourage everyone not to use their cars, but instead use public transportation, carpool, hybrid cars, bike or walk. For more information visit: www.wilshirecenter.com/earthday.

Cool District Program

WC Cool District; we have started the building energy audit work with the assistance of Arup. The initial  benchmarking work is done. It is estimated that the energy usage so far indicates that WC District buildings are producing 335,000 tons of CO2 per year. The current goal by 2025 is to reduce our district’s CO2 by 30% to 235,500 tons per year. Arup is currently conducting about 12 preliminary assessment level audits for buildings within the District. ARUP has done 3 residential buildings and 9 commercial buildings so far. Reductions from 10% to 60% are possible on the residential buildings, and 20% to 40% reductions on the commercial side are possible, with a 3 year simple pay-back. CRA has agreed to assist in the funding of the Cool District program for about $200,000; in addition, the Mayor’s office has submitted an application for us to the Feds for an additional $150,000 from a Federal program. When the CRA funds become available we will be expanding the number of energy audits that we can provide to building owners. If you are interested in a free preliminary energy audit for your building please email us at info@wilshirecenter.com.

As part of the Cool District program, CRA is funding the development of the District’s Carbon Master Plan. The  plan is a way to articulate a low carbon vision for the District. The vision and plan is to transform the District into a  thriving sustainable residential and business community. Building energy efficiency, renewable energy and  district heating and cooling are part of the master plan. The Carbon Master Plan will also address water use, water and solid waste management, open space and gardening, bicycle sharing, and public transportation. Envision the year 2030, where buildings are retrofitted to include roof-top gardens and solar panels, one-way tertiary streets with bike paths and permeable pavement, and rain planters along primary streets to supplement the stormwater infrastructure. The plan shown here is just the start of the visioning discussion that will take place throughout this year.

Another part of the Cool District program is the bike sharing study that was completed by the students at SCI-Arc incorporating public surveys, field surveys, and case studies to evaluate the possibility of implementing bike sharing stations in conjunction with three subway stations, educational institutions and key commercial outlets. Among the goals for implementing such a system is to allow Angelenos to be less dependent on automobiles as their primary mode of transportation, thus reducing vehicular congestion and air pollution levels in the District. This program is part of MTA's “First-Mile,  Last-Mile Solutions". We are in discussion with MTA to implement a bike sharing program within the District.

The study’s street research suggests bike sharing within the District would  be a desirable transit option for residents, visitors, students and business because many people who live, work and often visit the area welcome a bike sharing program. The class conducted 160 on-site surveys between September 25th and October 15th, 2009. Among the people we interviewed, 68 out of 160 interviewees would like Wilshire Center to adopt a bike sharing program. For more information visit: www.wilshirecenter.com/cooldistrict.

Green Action Center

Along with CRA, we are exploring the idea of opening a Green Action Center. The main purpose of the center would be to help promote and get greater participation in the Cool District program. The proposed center will be a place where individuals can get products to help them save energy and water; it will also have a variety of  information on recycling, composting,  bike routes, bus and train routes, bike  sharing, bike parking, and more on  how to reduce one's carbon footprint. We are looking to possibly work with LADWP, the Gas Co, MTA, LA Bicycle Coalition, CICLE,  DOT, LA Environmental Affairs and a number of energy saving product companies. We are currently in discussion about a facility located at the Wilshire Vermont Station with the owners of the complex.

4th Street Bicycle Blvd.

Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, C.I.C.L.E. (Cyclists Inciting  Change through Live Exchange), and a team of people are working on a campaign to transform 4th Street from Hoover Street in Wilshire Center to Cochran Avenue in Hancock Park into a Bicycle Boulevard. Bicycle Boulevards are shared roadways that create an attractive, convenient, and comfortable environment that are welcoming to cyclists, pedestrians, and differently abled people of all ages and skill levels. 4th street from Hoover to Norton has already been repaved and it is designated in the new city Bike Plan Map as a “Bike-Friendly Street.” The Coalition received the Board’s support to have 4th Street designated as a Bicycle Boulevard, conditional upon further study being done as to how it would affect nearby streets.

7th & 8th Street Expansion Approved

The City Council approved the Business Improvement District’s renewal and 8th Street expansion. Services have now started in the area between 7th and 8th St, from Wilton Pl to Hoover St. The WCBID will be providing additional district safety officers, maintenance crews, tree trimming, graffiti removal, sidewalk improvement analysis, private & public partnerships, etc. for 2010.

Overnight Parking District

The Wilshire Center BID Board of Directors asked staff members to investigate forming an Overnight Parking District (OPD). An Overnight Parking District is a district where  there is no parking between 2 am to 6 am without a permit. With a permit, residents and their guests are exempt from the overnight parking restrictions. The fee is $15.00 each per year with a maximum of two Visitor Permits per dwelling unit at any one time, valid for a maximum of four months at a fee of $10.00 per permit, and a maximum of 25 one-day Guest Permits for the same day for a fee of $1.00 per permit. The district is somewhat easy to get going if our local Councilmember is in support of it. The Department of Transportation needs a written request from a Councilmember requesting that the Department of Transportation establish an OPD. We are requesting your thoughts about forming an OPD within the residential area of the Wilshire Center District. Please email your comments to info@wilshirecenter.com

Successful Business Resource Fair

The Wilshire Center Business  Improvement District hosted a very  successful Business Resource Fair last  Nov 19th. The event featured over 30  exhibitors and presenters and about  150 business attendees. We created a “Local Business Assistance” section on the website using much of the infomation that was presented at the  event. A special thanks goes out to the Wilshire Boulevard Temple for providing the venue. Learn more at wilshirecenter.com/business.

Bulky Items - Call 311

Please remember to inform your neighbors and tenants to call 3-1-1; the City will haul away discarded bulky items such as old couches, tables, furniture, mattresses, refrigerators, appliances, computer monitors, etc. It’s EASY! Just call 3-1-1 or email San.CallCenter@lacity.org, let the City know what is needed to be picked-up and they will haul it from the curb. Click here for more information.

Olympic Area Community Police Advisory Board

Michael Russell, WCBID Operations Director, has been appointed by the LAPD Olympic Division Captain, Matt Blake as the new Co-Chair of Community Police Advisory Board (C-PAB). The Olympic Area C-PAB meets monthly to discuss crime, quality of life and other issues that effect the community. Meetings are held at 6:30 pm on the first Thursday of each month at the Olympic Station located at 1130 S. Vermont Ave. Come meet your Captain, Olympic Area Senior Lead Officers and other community members. For more info go www.olympiccpab.org

C-PABs were created in 1993 to provide community members with an opportunity to provide information and  advice to their respective area. The board is comprised of members from the various residential and business communities who live or work in a particular geographic area. The purpose of the C-PAB is to provide advice to the Area Commanding Officer regarding decreasing the incidence and fear of crime in the community, as well as to provide community members with a voice in the policing of their communities. In addition, the Area Commanding Officer provides updates and explanations of Department programs to members of the CPAB.

Charmette Bonpua, Chief Of Staff To Councilman Herb Wesson, Dies At 44

Charmette Bonpua, chief of staff to Los Angeles City Councilman Herb Wesson, died in Las Vegas Sunday morning a week after suffering an aneurysm on a family trip.

Bonpua, 44, was remembered as a trusted aide and skilled government insider who worked to inspire youths to pursue public service.

Wesson and his staff were in shock Sunday over the death of Bonpua, who was not thought to have had any serious health problems, said Edward Johnson, assistant chief deputy for the councilman.

"She was passionate about public service and government service, an inspirational leader," Johnson said. "We're going to miss her terribly."

Bonpua worked behind the scenes as a senior aide for some of the most powerful figures in California government.

She had been chief of staff for Wesson when he was speaker of the California Assembly. Before that, she'd served in the same capacity with Speaker Fabian Nunez.

When voters sent Wesson to the City Council in November, 2005, Bonpua agreed to come south to staff his office.

Wesson traveled to Las Vegas when he learned that Bonpua was stricken, and was too shaken to comment, Johnson said.

Her other posts in government illustrate the depth of her experience. As a staffer for the state legislative analyst, she provided fiscal and policy analysis. She also worked for the California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission, and served as chief consultant for the Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization.

Johnson said her passion outside of her job was working with youths. She chaired the board of the Asian Pacific Youth Leadership Project, a nonprofit that stages an annual conference to develop leadership skills.

Bonpua was born and raised in the Philippines and immigrated with her family to California in 1981. She held a bachelor's degree in political science from UC Santa Barbara and a master's in public administration from Columbia University in New York City, Johnson said.

She is survived by her parents, her siblings and their children. Arrangements for services are pending.

- Information From LA Times, Howard Blume

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