KHG 2017-2018 BOARD & OFFICERS

President: Tracy Thrower Conyers
1st Vice President: Aaron Torrence
2nd Vice President: Marion Koh
Secretary: Chris Blatter
Treasurer: Todd Harris

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

Our home prices are consistently rising year over year and interest rates are still near historical lows, making for a lot of renovations in our neighborhood. It seems like huge new houses are popping up overnight like mushrooms.

I like seeing some of our older housing stock getting a facelift, but we are seeing more and more projects popping up without owners submitting construction plans to KHG for review.

Everybody who owns property in Kentwood purchased their property subject to our Declarations of Protective Restrictions (“DPRs”). If you look up your deed with the County Registrar, you’ll see a deed restriction in the name of Kentwood Home Guardians.

I’ve been actively involved with KHG for about four years. During that time, I’ve seen neighbors who are totally gung ho about the HOA rules and I’ve seen neighbors who question whether the association should just quietly go away.

Funny thing about deed restrictions. They just don’t “go away.” Under Davis Stirling – the State law regulating HOA’s – if nobody shows up to run an established HOA, a conservator is appointed by a judge and that person has the ability to assess any membership dues deemed necessary to run the association.

You can bet that number will not be anything like the amount we currently pay.

Personally, I’m a fan of having a homeowners association. We are an organized group of almost 3400 homes and properties. Organization means influence. Our councilman’s office takes our calls. LAPD takes our calls. And it’s no coincidence that we have some of the highest home values in Westchester.

Remember when there was talk about turning the old fire station into homeless housing? Your board weighed in and the plan was changed.

Do you like having Little Von’s in the neighborhood? That lot must remain a grocery store under KHG rules. With KHG to monitor and enforce that deed restriction, it won’t be repurposed as a hyper-dense multifamily project any time soon.

So let’s all work together to make our homeowners association work for us, starting with following the few rules that we have. Don’t like the rules? Get involved and help change them. They aren’t going away. 🙂

OUR BEAUTIFUL KENTWOOD NEIGHBORHOOD

A big thank you to KHG member & resident Kathy Rosenfeld for sharing her observations on living in Kentwood.

18 years ago, my husband and I were thrilled when our offer on our house was accepted and we moved to Kentwood. I had worked for a company based here and had always admired the neighborhood, as it reminded me of the Bay Area neighborhood I grew up in. Many friends who visit are always surprised that there is such a “homey” neighborhood in the midst of the big city. The 4th of July parade, block parties, incredible holiday decorations for Halloween and Christmas are more indicative of a “small town” atmosphere, rather than an urban one. And then there are all those wonderful neighbors who have become dear friends.

I still marvel and am grateful for the community planning that went into Westchester – so many houses of worship representing many faiths, schools, parks, the beloved “baby Vons” and surrounding merchants as well as our terrific Y. And of course, the adjacent shopping. I’m sure everyone agrees these attractions are all popular with friends and family who want to spend the night to avoid traffic to catch their early flights out of LAX.

As we celebrate the good fortune we’ve had with an incredible rise in home values and the arrival of so many new businesses strengthening our local economy, I hope we can hold on to the feeling of Westchester and specifically Kentwood as an oasis of calm and a real family neighborhood.

As we all know, there’s a tremendous amount of home renovation going on all around and my hope is that every Kentwood resident will follow the Kentwood Home Guardians’ rule requiring submission of construction plans to the association’s architectural committee prior to construction, as we all agreed to do when we bought our homes. To maintain a cohesive look and feel to our neighborhood is important. To stay within general guidelines benefits all the surrounding neighbors as well as the entire neighborhood.

WE NEED A NEWSLETTER EDITOR

This newsletter is produced quarterly as a fundraiser for our Association, with the Fall newsletter mailed to every member as part of our annual assessment mailing. We are looking for a member to plan and produce these newsletters. You will work with the Outreach Committee and no special skills are required, other than a desire to serve your community. Call the office (310.670.5111) or email tracy @ living90045.com for more information.

NEIGHBORHOOD SAFETY & SECURITY

There is often a debate whether crime is up in our community, or whether we just hear more about it with the increased popularity of social media. Either way, we have recently heard some not very pretty stories in Kentwood.

For this reason, we want to remind our members about the 5 House Rule. This plan, first discussed on our website in October 2014, works like this: get to know the neighbors on either side of you, and the three across the street, for a total of five. If you feel extra ambitious, add the three behind you, as well.

With these 5-8 neighbors, exchange cell phone numbers and email addresses. Get to know each other’s general daily routine. Who works from home? Who is retired? Who works long hours and is gone all day?

This plan doesn’t require you to become lifelong friends or host dinner parties. Just know your neighbors well enough to send them a text when you see something suspicious in the neighborhood or to let them know you’re leaving town for a few days.

The 5 House Rule is about basic vigilance, awareness and communication. So what do you say? Make a commitment to get to know your “five” or “eight” in February?

We are also looking for a volunteer to organize a safety & security forum for our members. If you can take this on, please call the office at 310.670. 5111 or email info @ kentwoodhomeguardians. com.

REMEMBERING A NEIGHBOR NAMED TIM

KHG Member Stuart Blashill on Stewart shares his observations on living in Kentwood.

It was a gathering of neighbors, remembering and celebrating one we lost. I hope you were there – Tower Pizza on October 6. Tim Quill was one of the nicest people we have ever known. He had a ready smile that would light up a room. I hope you knew him.  If you did, you were his friend. He should have had a wonderful life, and it was wonderful for a long time. He was married to strong, supportive, beautiful and caring Lisa and they had a terrific son, Timothy. She was a model turned artisan and business woman. Tim was an actor you have probably seen in a movie or on TV. He started his career in 1987 as one of the leads in the Vietnam War movie “Hamburger Hill”.

That led to a lot of work in movies and on television. Recently he had a small part in “Argo” and was in the series “Scandal” with what was planned to be a continuing role. That was not to be however, as it was about that time he found out he was fighting cancer. This was just the latest and final blow as both Lisa and one of Tim’s brothers had previously died of cancer. He had pulled back from acting for a long time to help care for both, and that hurt his career. With his own cancer he could no longer act as it greatly affected his voice.

The neighbors rallied. A few years after Lisa died, Tim had to move. At about that same time a neighbor across the street had to move into a care facility and she insisted that Tim move into her house at a ridiculously low rent. Another neighbor down the street, Paul, retired from his job and became Tim’s best friend and lifeline. They shared football and Tower Pizza dinners and socializing. If Tim or his son needed a ride, they got one. Trash cans were put out and brought in by other neighbors. Tim and his son were an essential part of the small Stewart Ave community.

Sadly, Tim could eventually no longer sustain himself and care for his son, so they had to move back to the East coast to be with his family. We still checked in with him, checking his progress and hoping/praying for a miracle. Paul would fly back regularly for visits. Tim died on September 25. He was 54. He was our neighbor. He is missed.

You can thank Stuart and/or share your comments on his essay by emailing him at srblashill @ gmail.com. If you would like to submit an essay for our newsletter, please email it to info @ kentwoodhomeguardians.com with “KHG Newsletter Essay” in the subject line.

LAPD SENIOR LEAD OFFICERS

Do you know about LAPD’s Senior Lead Officer (SLO) program? SLO’s are assigned to specific areas to liaise with citizens on quality of life issues. SLO’s are able to call in additional officers when needed. Our SLO is Sophia Castaneda, who covers the area west of Sepulveda, and south of the Marina to the airport.

If you experience a crime, our SLO wants you to call 911 for emergencies and 877.ASK.LAPD for non-emergencies, but to please also keep her in the loop by sending an email to let her know what happened. Officer Castaneda’s email address is 35080 @ lapd.lacity.org.

On a related note, did you know that there are five ways to contact LAPD? While SLO Castaneda is our primary point of contact for ongoing crimes and other quality of life concerns, there are four additional points of contact to assist us, including SLO Supervisors, Watch Commanders and Commanding Officers.

You can find phone numbers for LAPD on our Resources Page.