The deadline for candidates filing for the Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa del Rey board of directors has passed and while there are 11 seats on the ballot, only five will be contested.

The Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa del Rey was certified by the city in 2002 and will hold its annual election to select its next board of directors in April.

The election will be held over two days:

– Monday, April 3rd, at the CenterPointe Club, 6200 Playa Vista Drive in Playa Vista; and

– Wednesday, April 5th, at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 6323 W. 80th St., in Westchester.

Polls will be open from noon to 8 p.m. each day.

Voters can also meet candidates at a Candidates Forum at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 30th, in the Westchester Municipal Building Community Room at 7166 Manchester Ave., Westchester.

The Westchester/Playa del Rey Neighborhood Council board of directors is comprised of 31 board positions, representing residents, business people, community volunteers and other entities.

The Neighborhood Council area is divided into 15 residential districts, designed to assure that each segment of the community is well represented on the board.

Of the remaining 16 seats five are for at-large members and a the rest are designed to encompass the widest representation of the community as possible.

In the April election, only one candidate filed by the deadline for each of the following seats and will serve a three-year term:

– Residential Area No. 9: Frances Stronks;

– Residential Area No. 12: Denny Schneider;

– Residential Area No. 15: J.D. Webster;

– Community Organizations: David Voss;

– Loyola Marymount University: Lisa Piumetti Farl; and

– Education: Eric Davidson.

There are, however, five seats that will be contested in the election.

They are:

– Residential Area No. 3: Sibyl Buchanan, Lindsey Ann Duro and Jonathan Port;

– Residential Area No. 6: James Ferro, John L. Loizeaux and Judeth Petix;

– At-Large (two seats available): William Ballerini, Bud Goldstone, Jennifer Kingshott, Nicole Kline, Mathew Kot, Sheila Mickelson and Harry Rose; and

– Service Clubs/Fraternal Organizations: Edgar Saenz and Gwen Vuchsas.

More information about the candidates, each of whom has posted a qualifications and vision statement, is available on the Neighborhood Council Web site at

To be eligible to vote in the election, stakeholders must be registered by Tuesday, March 14th.

Stakeholders can download a registration form at or can register in person at one of the Neighborhood Council weekly stakeholder registration drives held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Saturday through March 11th in front of Westchester-Loyola Village Library, 7114 Manchester Ave., Westchester.

DOCKWEILER YOUTH CENTER FACES CHALLENGES — Two unresolved issues the California Coastal Commission has included in a staff report could kill the county Dockweiler Youth Center, according to the County Department of Beaches and Harbors.

The coastal commission staff is recommending the relocation of the center’s proposed building and restricting the use of that building during the summer months.

The Dockweiler Youth Center is a key component of the Department of Beaches and Harbors’ long-range plan to use the natural resources under its stewardship to provide character-building education and recreational opportunities.

Planning and development of this project, both the physical plan and the contemplated water activities associated with it, have taken years and cost $500,000.

“With regard to the re-siting of the building, the architect designed the building to fit into the environment,” said Dusty Crane, Department of Beaches and Harbors spokesperson. “Given the county’s budget constraints, the architect was challenged to create a space that could safely serve a large number of participants. The county cannot afford to redesign the building for another location.”

“With respect to the restriction of community events from Memorial Day to Labor Day, that would be a loss to this community to not have access to the facility for meetings and ceremonies,” she said.

The Westchester/LAX-Marina del Rey Chamber of Commerce recently voted to support the county’s position and send a letter urging that the coastal commission reconsider these two elements proposed by staff.

“The Dockweiler Center will be a tremendous asset for our community and will enhance the recreational opportunities for children from all over the county,” said chamber president Cedric Sutherland. “We urge the coastal commission to do everything in its power to move this project forward as it is proposed.

“Wasting more time and money will only serve to delay, or perhaps eliminate, what will no doubt be an extraordinary facility.”

The Dockweiler Youth Center is planned to serve as:

– a center for the county WATER Program (Water Awareness, Training, Education and Recreation);

– a center for volleyball training and activities on the volleyball courts at the beach adjacent to the center;

– a 3,000-square-foot community room; and

– storage space for the county WATER Program.

The WATER Program is a year-round ocean safety education program developed in 1986 in an effort to train and recruit minorities into aquatic-related careers.

Over the years, the program has evolved and grown to accommodate schools, youth groups and vacation camps.

Youngsters ages four to 17 learn basic life skills in water safety, in addition to ocean-related knowledge in subjects such as rip currents, tides, waves and marina life.

The program’s recreational activities include ocean swimming, sailing, kayaking, body boarding, paddling and body surfing.

The curriculum includes health education in the use of sunscreen and lessons in basic first aid and CPR, in addition to fostering environmental awareness of local watershed, storm drain runoff and ocean water quality concerns.

This year, more than 5,000 young people from all over Los Angeles are expected to participate in the WATER Program.

More than 80 percent of these students are minorities and inner-city youths who require financial aid.

More than five percent of the participants are physically or mentally challenged students.

Many of these youngsters have never seen the beach, as unimaginable as that is, and have no awareness or training with regard to how to be safe in the ocean.

The Dockweiler Youth Center is one of three facilities planned for the WATER Program and other youth aquatic programs.

The other beach facility would be at Will Rogers State Beach, and a Marina del Rey facility will focus on boating activities.

The Dockweiler Youth Center will be a 16,645-square-foot facility that will include an outdoor patio and landscaping.

The addition of the facility will enable the county to double the number of children it serves each year to about 10,000.

CERT TRAINING — Are you ready for a major earthquake, terrorist attack or other disaster? Are you prepared to help your neighbors who are not?

The City of Los Angeles police and fire departments will be stretched thin if a disaster hits, and we learned from the Katrina situation that state and federal responses to our community would be slow.

It is important for everyone to learn basic emergency preparedness skills to help themselves and others in the community.

The Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa del Rey will be sponsoring a comprehensive Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) program to train local residents.

The free seven-week course, which totals 17 and a half hours of training, will begin at 7 p.m. Monday, March 6th, at Westchester Elks Lodge #2050, 8025 Manchester Ave., Playa del Rey.

CERT training will be conducted by emergency preparedness professionals and citizens will learn to manage utilities and put out small fires, treat the three medical killers by opening airways, controlling bleeding, and treating for shock, provide basic medical aid, search for and rescue victims safely, organize themselves and spontaneous volunteers to be effective, and collect disaster intelligence to support first responder efforts.

Information, Judith Ciancimino at (310) 560-1943 or Los Angeles City Fire Department Captain Jeff Elder at (818) 756-9674 or to learn more about CERT.


DROLLINGER, JORDAN — The Airport Marina Counseling Service will honor two influential people in the Westside community with lifetime achievement awards Sunday, March 19th.

This year’s Tribute to Our Friends event acknowledges the work and contributions of Toni Jordan, former AMCS clinical director, and philanthropist Howard Drollinger.

“We hope people come out to this great event that supports a wonderful cause,” said Karen Dial, honorary co-chair of the event.

This annual tribute will be held at 5:30 p.m. at Loyola Marymount University, 1 LMU Drive, Westchester, with a cocktail reception, followed by dinner and entertainment.

This year’s local sponsors include The William H. Hannon Foundation and Playa Vista.

Information, AMCS, (310) 670-1410.