In Memoriam: Howard Drollinger
For decades, Howard Drollinger defined civic leadership in Westchester. Building on his mother's legacy, he helped give birth to downtown Westchester. Howard always put his community first - whether it was by fighting LAX expansion, spearheading economic development, or lending his name, his time and his resources to community beautification projects.
Howard was a treasure. He left our world a better place.
I will miss his friendship, and we will all miss his leadership.
Mar Vista Farmers' Market
Mar Vista is a community of action! They are proof that when people work together, magnificent things happen!
About 4 years ago, the Urban Planning Committee, a branch of the Mar Vista Community Council, decided to look into the idea of a local farmers' market. Lorraine Wells and Joseph Treves, visited many other markets in the area, gathering information, talking to market managers, and looking at the viability of a market in Mar Vista. Then, about 6 months ago, the Farmers Market Sub-Committee reorganized as a 501 (c)(3) and become a separate entity in order to properly handle preparations and financial matters.
An amazing board of community activists spent countless volunteer hours fund-raising, getting permits, finding a market manager and vendors! All the necessary pieces were put together, and viola, on Sunday, August 6th, the Mar Vista Farmer's Market opened. It didn't just open...it OPENED!
I arrived at 8am to watch the set up, and by 8:30, there were already at least a hundred people, waiting to buy the beautifully displayed produce, flowers, and delectable prepared food. By 9:30 am, Grandview Ave was crammed with busy shoppers. The shoppers were delighted and by the time Councilman Rosendahl arrived at 10am, the street was packed. People were congratulating the board members, the Councilman and each other. The board estimated that about 2500 people came through the market on opening day. The wonderful market manager, Ted Galvan, who also manages the Santa Monica Farmer's Market, said he hasn't seen such a "grand" opening like this before.
Councilman Rosendahl presented certificates of recognition to the board members, who worked tirelessly to make this happen: Lorraine Wells, Joseph Treves, Demetrios Mavromichalis, Jolie Chitwood, Allison Copeland, Ian Votteri and Michael Lucas. He thanked Tom Ponton, founder and outgoing President of the Mar Vista Community Council, and Rob Kadota, the incoming President.
Then, to jumpstart efforts to promote and improve Mar Vista, Councilman Rosendahl presented a check for $100,000 to the Venice Boulevard Streetscape Improvement Association, for community-led efforts to beautify Venice Boulevard.
Steve Wallace, who accepted the check for the community, had a booth at the farmer's market to get community input on the type of trees that are being suggested to put in along the medians on Venice Blvd. Steve's booth was consistently crowded with residents participating in their community plans.
The beautification project consists of several components focused on revitalizing the busy corridor. Immediate plans include installing 22 decorative trash cans, trimming 154 trees, and beautifying the Venice Boulevard median.
This community effort will help with the ever expanding commercial corridor along Venice. It's so encouraging to see what the business owners have done to revitalize the area and how actively they contribute, in time and money, to the overall benefit of the community.
If you weren't there, I encourage you to visit any Sunday, from 9am - to 1pm. It's a feel-good environment, and a great place to stock up on fresh food, and meet the incredible community of Mar Vista.
Special Projects Deputy
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
After recent investigative reporting by NBC4 TV and the LA Weekly, I remain deeply concerned about the safety of the residents of Playa Vista, and I have lots of unanswered questions for the Los Angeles Department of Building & Safety.
I will be holding a Town Hall meeting on these issues 6 p.m. Tuesday August 15 at Venice High School, 13000 Venice Blvd., in Mar Vista. I invite you to attend.
You can view the latest two installments of the Channel 4 investigative series here and here, and read the LA Weekly story here.
The Town Hall meeting will focus largely on public comment on a peer review analysis of safety issues related to how dewatering impacts the methane mitigation and monitoring program at Playa Vista. You can read that report here.
I hope to see you on the 15th.
Samuel Chester Gross
So if you attended the Rosendahl Empowerment Congress, you know that my wife was pregnant. Well on July 7, 2006 at 5:37pm, my rockstar wife, Cary, gave birth to our son, Samuel Chester Gross. He weighed 7 lbs. 6 oz, was 18.5 inches long and is the cutest child ever born. We think the Samuel Chester part sounds very presidential, but the last name may cause him some trouble.
While he cries a lot these days, he is very healthy which we attribute to all of the fresh eggs his mother ate during her pregnancy, not to mention a tremendous amount of pickles. I am not really sure what to do now, or why they let me take the child home, but fortunately Cary seems to know what she is doing. Sam asked me to say hello to all of his well-wishers and let you know that he looks forward to meeting everyone. In the meantime, check out my boy...
Aaron Gross, Deputy Chief of Staff