2010 Annual Meeting
June 19, 2010 - LILA School

FHRA President Michelle Parkinson opened the meeting with a welcome to neighbors and then introduced the current boardmembers and candidates.  When the votes were tallied, Parkinson, Chairman Charley Mims and Eric Frase were re-elected, Armida Bolton will rejoin the board after a several year absence and newcomer Teresa Vogel rounded the slate of five elected to two year terms on the FHRA Board.

LA Fire Department Battalion Chief Chris Kawai gave a frank analysis of the impact of budget cuts on fire department resources citywide and in our area, where Engine 35 on Hillhurst is not staffed nine days each month. He then graphically explained why, even though Franklin Hills is not a heavy wild brush area, just the steep hills mean fires can spread fast. Think of lighting a match to a flat sheet of paper...then think how much harder it would be to put the flame out if you tilt the paper at an angle like our hills. That's why following brush clearance regulations is so important.

Councilmember Tom LaBonge announced that the long sought traffic signal nearby at the "tough intersection" of Finley and Hillhurst will be in operation in a few days. He also said he's still looking to get funds to repair our streets, but points out "if it's concrete the city doesn't like to touch it, they just like to let it go until it's almost gone and then they try to figure out what to do with it." 

He also spoke about his desire for expanding fire station 35, getting a Northwest division for LAPD on our side of the river, and said he'd like to hear from the neighborhood about an expected request from Marshall High for lights on the newly renovated athletic field. Then he fielded questions and asked for input from the FHRA about noise from barking dogs, motorcycles and helicopters at Prospect Studios.

Conservation Biologist Dan Cooper, whose work has been supported by the FHRA, presented some of his surprising and interesting findings over the last three years working on the Griffith Park Natural History survey. The first of its kind systematic cataloging of the flora and fauna in the park. His biggest surprise of 2010 was finding the "extremely rare locally" magenta flowered Chaparral Pea, which he had only seen in books, before finding it on Cahuenga Peak. He expects to have his complete findings to date on the Griffith Park Natural History website late this summer.

King Middle School Computer Animation teacher Kirk Palayan announced Michelle Kim, holding her computer created design, as the winner of the Myra Mural IV contest. Nearly 200 e-mail votes were cast in the competition among 20 designs. The design must now be approved by the city, then students with professional guidance will paint the mural on the wall where Myra passes under Sunset Blvd., one of the gateways to the Franklin Hills. 
Author Charles Fleming (seated below) told the meeting how back pain was the muse for writing his new book, Secret Stairs - A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles, which details 42 stairway walks in the LA area, including two Franklin Hills routes which rank in the top 10 for the number of stairs. After his presentation he autographed about two dozen books for meeting attendees. The book's popularity, it has reached #5 on the LA Times best seller list, has surprised Fleming.
During the meeting raffle winners won a copy of Fleming's book, Laemmle Theatre movie tickets and dinner for two at Palermo Restaurant donated by its owner and generous long time FHRA supporter Tony Fanara.

After the meeting everyone was invited to our the FHRA sponsored Norman Harriton Community Garden. Former FHRA Chairman Adam Weisman, one of the original gardeners talked about his expected bountiful harvest of tomatoes and cucumbers which alas were not quite ripe yet. But meeting goers didn't go away hungry in addition to fruit, veggie and sandwich trays the hit, as always, were the brownies, cookies and other delectable delights from Franklin Hills resident Vivien Shea's magic oven.