Despite all of the blows 2020 has dealt, we have a lot to be grateful for in our community. This has been a year of incredible giving, camaraderie, and new beginnings. Here is a rundown of some of the many accomplishments our Board and volunteers have worked very hard for.
A note from our President, David Oliver:
I am especially proud of the Board and Advisory members of the LHCA for rolling up their collective sleeves in a year when it would have been easy to say "we can deal with that next year after the Pandemic". Their collective efforts definitely took the lemons and made lemonade, which brought forth more community engagement than ever at a time when it was most needed.
Earlier this year, we teamed up with our neighbors at the United Homeowners Association II and the League of Women Voters to produce a candidate forum for the seat of outgoing County Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. The (Pre-Covid) event was standing room only and gave our community an excellent opportunity to ask questions and hear the candidates' answers in realtime.
Also in the first quarter of the year, we distributed a survey asking our community how we could help. We received lots of feedback from the community and here are the top three areas where our focus was requested:
You asked, and we listened. In February, our team began planning the logistics of a traditional farmers' market in Ladera Heights. However, once Covid hit, we had to rethink our plan. Instead, we opted for a pandemic-friendly approach and dramatically accelerated the timeline. Our team quickly pulled together a CSA (or farm box) program that over 20-weeks grew to become a modern, pandemic-friendly, online farmers market. Additionally, our community donated hundreds of pounds of fresh produce to local charities, Food Pantry LAX and 3.50 Cares.
We've also been very happy to welcome several new food options into our community this year, like Mike's New York Pizzeria, Simply Salad, Firehouse Subs, Sunday Gravy, and Chocolate and the Chip. We hope 2021 will bring us even more healthy food options.
The third most-requested area of improvement was our local public schools and we admittedly have a lot more work to do here. We were delighted to award a grant of $3,000 to the Robotics Club at the La Tijera Academy of Excellence who was in need of equipment earlier this year.
On the digital front, the LHCA made a lot of progress in 2020. We started with a new website, spent hundreds of hours cleaning up our membership records and have built a very active social media presence on Facebook. We started sending a weekly Sunday newsletter, and perhaps our biggest accomplishment was to begin hosting our community meetings over Zoom–setting new attendance records and getting more households involved than ever before.
At the height of pandemic cabin fever, we hosted a pop-up drive-in movie for the film, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Many neighborhood leaders stepped up to help fund this costly event, especially Ray and Carla Lowe underwriting the film's licensing costs. We broadcast the audio into car radios and got spotlights from NBC4, KCRW, and The Wave Newspaper.
We also kicked off a new community initiative called Ladera Clean-Up Day. The first Saturday of every month, volunteers from across the community come together to tidy up our sidewalks and streets. While we have outstanding support from the LA County Department of Public Works and the City of Inglewood, it's been an ongoing effort to get the same attention from their counterparts in the remaining jurisdictions. The main trouble-spot our team has been focusing on is the stretch of La Cienega from Slauson to Fairview.
What seems like a lifetime ago was only May when we got word of the LA County Sheriff planning to close our sheriff station along with Altadena. Our community heard the rallying cry and stood up to let it be known that we would not tolerate the closure of our community's sheriff station. Over 5,000 signatures later and it seems our station is safe for now.
Our Board took a firm stance to help defeat SB1120 the rezoning bill that could have decimated our community's gorgeous single-family home skyline.
As the year wound to an end, our Board pushed even harder to produce our first-ever (and likely "annual") Ladera Heights Holiday Decor Contest. It was a smashing success by every metric and most importantly, created buzz and optimism in our community. One of the best things about this event was that it was co-produced by members of the board and the community. We are ALWAYS eager to have support, so please let us know if you'd like to get more involved!
In a year that felt like ten, I believe I speak for our entire community in wishing 2020 good riddance! We're wildly optimistic for 2021 and wish you and yours an absolutely marvelous holiday break. Until next year, Ladera Heights!
Photos courtesy of Ladera Heights-based, Karim Saafir Photography
2020 LHCA Board of Directors
Brian Hale, Sr.
James "Blake" Wilson, Jr.