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DLANC Board Recap: September 2009

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, September 09, 2009, at 10:58AM
DLANC Meeting Eric Richardson [Flickr]

A representative from the Score Gentlemen's Club addresses the DLANC Board of Directors in the lobby of the Los Angeles Theater.

The Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council (DLANC) is one of two councils to cover Downtown. blogdowntown will be providing recaps of monthly board meetings as a service to our readers.

September's meeting of the DLANC Board of Directors weighed in at a svelte two hours, but had its share of drama as the body weighed whether to continue funding the Downtown Art Walk shuttle. The Board also voted to support a Conditional Use Permit for Score Gentlemen's Club, located near the 10 freeway.

The meeting got off to an inauspicious start when the first item, the City-mandated screening of a sexual harassment education video, was postponed because no one had set up a projector.

During public announcements, there was confusion over who was going to present information about the upcoming Red Bull Soapbox Race. The scheduled speaker wasn't on-hand when the item came up, leaving a pair of attractive but not technically versed Red Bull girls to answer questions about the event and hand out free product. Julio from All Access Entertainment arrived just as things got awkward.

Debate over Funding the Downtown Art Walk Shuttle

The night's longest debate was over whether the neighborhood council should continue funding for the Downtown Art Walk's Hippodrome shuttle. The council currently provides $500 per month for the service.

Bill Eiseman, alternate for Brady Westwater and owner of Todd Browning Gallery and Polyester Books, made the motion to remove the funds from the shuttle and instead program them toward the needs of the newly formed Gallery Owners Association. He gave a brochure and web site fees as possible uses, but no budget was presented.

Given its success, Eiseman said that he believed the Art Walk "should be self-sustaining" and should no longer need DLANC's financial support. The galleries, on the other hand, need support to survive.

"We have to come up with ways to bring serious art collectors in," he told the Board.

Board President Russell Brown said that Art Walk's success has only translated into traffic for a handful of galleries. "We're hearing stories of galleries who are lucky if they get 100 [people]," he said. "What we're trying to do is create a solid foundation [for the galleries to be successful]."

Board member Scott Bytof questioned whether such a move would come at the expense of other businesses that benefit from Art Walk. "This is going toward a selection of businesses we've chosen to help," he said.

Richard Schave, Executive Director of the Art Walk, told the board that he was "confused" by the process involved in the funds' allocation. He asked how they could have been approved in May, but pulled now.

In the end, the motion fell to the floor for lack of a second.

Logo Contest Update

Board member Ashley Zarella told the Board that she was disappointed with delays and uninspired work by the winner of the DLANC logo competition, chosen in June. Board President Brown asked whether DLANC needed the winner's participation in further tweaks, given that part of the contest entry was to grant all rights on the design to the Council. Zarella said that she wanted to give the winner one more chance, but would make alterations herself if the results weren't satisfactory.

Gentlemen's Club Scores DLANC Endorsement for Plans

Score Gentlemen's Club got the rare DLANC endorsement for an adult use, with the Board voting to write a letter in support of the strip club's application for a Conditional Use Permit. The club, located at 2065 S. Santa Fe, is hoping to add alcohol sales and a full restaurant, going from full-nude to topless in the process and agreeing to a long list of conditions.

Committee Updates

Parks, Recreation and Open Space: Board member and Committee Chair Patti Berman told the board that a vendor has been approved for the cafe space at Pershing Space. She also shared information about October's movie lineup at the park.

Board president Brown gave a brief update on the effort by residents of the Eastern Columbia building to acquire the parking lot at 9th and Hill as a park. Councilmembers Huizar and Perry have each committed $500,000 in Quimby funds, he said, but the land purchase price is $6 million.

Sustainability: Board member and Committee Chair Zarella told the board that the AIA SDAT team will be in town September 10 and 11 for an introductory visit. She said that the committee had chosen not to pursue a recovery grant application that Australian firm Urban Glue had asked it to partner on.

Transportation: The volunteer who had offered to chair the committee is unable to do so given work commitments, and the council is seeking a volunteer to head the committee.

Affordable Housing: Board member and Committee Chair Shannon Parker showed the board a draft of the committee's "Where It's At" map, which highlights the location of services in the Skid Row community. Someone asked whether the same map could be done for the galleries.

The Board's next meeting will be on Tuesday, October 13.

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