Neighborhood Stars; Herbst named to defense alliance; LAX VIP recruiting mixer

The Westchester Town Center Business Improvement District (BID), which was created in 2007 to improve maintenance, marketing and beautification of Westchester’s central business district, will seek a 10-year renewal later this year that will include the addition of 11 new parcels that border the BID’s current footprint.

A business improvement district is a geographically defined area within the city of Los Angeles, in which services, activities and programs are paid for through a special assessment that is charged to all members within the district in order to equitably distribute the benefits received and the costs incurred.

The assessment money is collected by the city, and those funds cannot be spent outside of the BID area. BIDs must be approved by over 50 percent of the affected property owners, first through a petition to the city and then by a secret ballot vote.

Don Duckworth, executive director of the Westchester Town Center BID, said he expects that the existing BID members as well as the owners of the 11 parcels the district hopes to add will vote to renew the BID.

“I believe we have been quite successful in fulfilling our mission to improve the area,” said Duckworth. He added that the parcels slated to be included will, “rationalize the BID’s boundaries” by including both sides of the street for services that are not provided by the city such as street sweeping, litter control, landscape maintenance, weed control, graffiti removal, homeless services coordination, and ambassador services.

“I’ve noticed that the areas to be included are unkempt as opposed to their neighbors across the street,” BID board member John Ruhlen said. “It seems only fair that they should be included.”

Petitions for the BID renewal are scheduled to go out this month, and property owners will then vote by secret ballot whether to support the renewal or not.

Duckworth said the results should be presented to the Los Angeles City Council in June, and that the City Council will vote later this summer on the confirmation of the vote.

Since its inception, the BID has provided landscape lighting and maintenance along Sepulveda Boulevard, street sweeping, sidewalk pressure washing, trash collection, graffiti removal, and homeless services coordination throughout the entire Westchester Town Center area.

In addition, decorative trash receptacles have been placed throughout the BID area, sidewalk repairs have been done and 120 new street trees were planted. The BID has also created a website, an advertising campaign for local shops, and a Halloween Town Fair event designed to attract new customers to the area.

Duckworth said that BID members have also been beneficiaries of the organization’s advocacy efforts, which have helped secure nearly $1 million in local project funding that otherwise would not have been available.

“We’re very proud of our efforts, and we look forward to continuing to improve the area,” he said.

NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL SEEKS NEIGHBORHOOD STARS

The Neighborhood Council of Westchester-Playa is seeking nominees for its annual Stars of the Neighborhood Award.

The neighborhood council is hoping to identify and honor those unsung heroes of the community who quietly, persistently and without fanfare voluntarily perform good deeds that serve the needs of their neighbors and the community.

Members of the public are invited to nominate a person whose efforts fit this criteria. The nominee must live in Westchester, Playa del Rey or Playa Vista. Nominations will be evaluated by an ad hoc committee of the Neighborhood Council, and the winning honoree(s) will be honored at Westchester’s Annual Fourth of July Parade.

Nomination forms can be found online at www.ncwpdr.org and must be received by no later than June 17.

HERBST APPOINTED TO SOUTHWEST DEFENSE ALLIANCE

Westchester resident David A. Herbst, executive vice president and chief corporate officer of Mercury Air Group, Inc., has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Southwest Defense Alliance (SWDA).

Founded in 1997, San Diego-based SWDA works to preserve and enhance critical defense missions and assets in the Southwest Defense Complex, which includes important military test and training facilities in Arizona, California, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Texas. These facilities represent some of the most extensive test and training ranges, laboratories, weapons expertise and technological research and development installations in the world, according to the alliance.

In 2003, Herbst played a key role in the nation’s first-ever land swap of Department of Defense property with private property, which resulted in a new Los Angeles Air Force Base being built without taxpayer funding. He was also instrumental in creating the LAAFB Regional Alliance, which successfully advocated for saving the base from the last round of base closures.

“I am very honored to have the opportunity to serve on the SWDA board because of my deep respect for our armed services and the partnership the private sector plays in helping keep our national security strong,” said Herbst. “It is also a privilege to serve on a board with so many retired generals and admirals who have given their entire careers in service to our nation.”

Herbst is also a member of the Board of Directors of Maytag Aircraft Corporation, a subsidiary of Mercury Air Group, Inc. Founded in 1950, Maytag Aircraft provides essential operations and maintenance services ranging from aircraft refueling and air terminal and ground handling to base operating support for the U.S. government at multiple international and domestic locations. Prior to joining Mercury, Herbst was a senior vice president and general manager of MWW Group, considered one of the nation’s top public relations firms.

LAX HOLDS VIP RECRUITING MIXER

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) will host a mixer from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 14 to provide information about its volunteer program, Volunteer Information Professionals (VIP). Free parking, light refreshments and door prizes will be provided at the mixer, which will be held at Flight Path Learning Center at 6661 W. Imperial Highway in Westchester.

The VIP program’s mission is to provide friendly passenger assistance to ensure a safe and positive experience at LAX. Volunteers will provide assistance on the arrivals level of each terminal and will serve in an information booth.

On occasion, volunteers may be assigned to roam at the baggage claim area and its nearby exits. Volunteers will work in groups of two in four-hour shifts, with each volunteer working one shift per week or more, if preferred. Hours of operation will be 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

VIP assistance includes providing directions to various airport and community facilities and providing suggestions to sightseeing attractions in the Los Angeles area. Among other VIP services are assisting passengers with finding appropriate transportation and accommodations, facilitating communications between distressed passengers and airlines and assistance from consulate offices.

VIPs will be stationed behind information counters in each LAX terminal.

Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP to vip@lawa.org, or (424) 646-8471.

Information,www.lawa.org/vip.

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