SONC
Election
2021
Voter
Guide

Hello Sherman Oaks Stakeholder!

The Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council is proud to present the Election Voter Guide. Use this guide to help determine what area you live in, how to register to receive your Vote-By-Mail Ballot and to take a closer look at the Candidates.


Please take a look and read:
  • A message from SONC President
  • Important Dates
  • Register for City Clerk Vote- By- Mail Ballot
  • Candidate provided statements and questions and answers (Q&A)
  • Join SONC and the Candidates every Friday night, starting April 16th -- Friday Night Spotlight


Message from the President
Jeffrey Hartsough
Welcome to Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council (SONC) Vote-By-Mail Guide.

Thank you for taking a moment to read this and being an involved member of the Sherman Oaks community!

Get Out The Vote (GOTV) Information

This will be a difficult election due to several factors. (1) The SONC by-laws require that voters meet and demonstrate eligibility requirements. (2) All voting for this SONC NC Election will be done by Vote-By-Mail ballots – requiring the voter to (a) apply for a ballot, (b) receive the ballot, and (c) cast the ballot timely.


Jeffrey Hartsough
President of SONC
Community Interest 2
The biggest challenge will be the (a) apply for a ballot. Vote-By-Mail Applications will be submitted either through an online Portal or by submitting a paper application, which is available “online.” In both cases having access to the internet is needed.

The Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council (SONC) will be actively promoting Sherman Oaks stakeholders to vote. SONC will be providing all candidates with Yard Signs that will support the GOTV effort. SONC is also producing GOTV postcards that will be made available to candidates.

Here’s some background information
about Neighborhood Councils (NCs)

NCs represent the community and advocate for their communities in City Hall. NC boards are elected members of the community, the community they care about. NC elections are held every two years – this year’s election day is Tuesday, May 11, 2021. But you can only vote using a Vote-By-Mail ballot. More on that later. 14 seats on the SONC board are up for election – you could run for one of those.

Thanks for getting involved and helping make Sherman Oaks a better community. If you know of someone who might be interested or if you think they’d make a great candidate -- please pass this guide along.

If you have other questions? Please email SONC:




SONC Map and Seats Open for Election

The map below shows the SONC boundaries. There are 3 open seats up for election in each of Areas 1, 3, 5, and 7 and 1 open seat up for election in both Areas 2 and 6.

Use the following map, or Click Here, to help determine which SONC Area of Sherman Oaks you live, work, or have a community interest in. You’ll need to know which Area you’re in when you apply for your Vote-By-Mail ballot.


Important Ballot Related Dates:

April 12 The City Clerk begins to mail out Vote-By-Mail ballots

May 4, 5:00pm is the deadline for submitting applications with supporting documentation for Vote-By-Mail ballots using the LA City Clerk’s Online Portal.

5:00pm Application Portal closed - Ballot Applications by USPS Mail must be post-marked

Starting Sunday, May 9, 9:00am – Tuesday, May 11, 8:00pm You can drop off your Vote By Mail. Ballot Box at Sherman Oaks Public Library available for drop-off of ballots.

May 11, 2021 Ballots must be post-marked May 11, 2021 and received not later than May 21, 2021 to be counted.


How to Register for a Vote-By-Mail Ballot:

How to register for a Ballot:
 
Do not delay. Registration for your Vote-By-Mail Ballot closes on May 4th at 5pm. Do not wait. Register to receive your application.

If you have other questions? Please email SONC:


Meet the Sherman Oaks NC Candidates for 2021
Area 1 Candidates
Levon Baronian - Area 1 Business

Candidate Statement with Candidate Filing

I look forward to continuing my service on the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council, focusing on the interests of the people and businesses that actually reside and work in our neighborhood, specially Area 1.
Candy Ann Williams - Area 1 Community Interest

Candidate Statement with Candidate Filing

I am a 12 year Sherman Oaks resident. Six years ago I founded Empowered Gifts, a 501c3 that helps liberate underrepresented women\girls from domestic abuse, homelessness, and socio-economic hardships through gift donations, financial education, and career guidance, all with the goal of securing employment and business startups. Our dedicated platform has been to mentor & provide
handbags with hygiene products. My experience with Fortune 500 companies speaks volumes, JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, Disney, Estee Lauder & more. My passion to grow EGO led from gifting a dozen handbags to providing referrals for womens career development & giving 1,600+ handbags. Handbags from individual donors, Brighton Handbags, Capital One, SAG-AFTRA, Target, USC & more are given at Homeless events, Prom, Teacher Application, Mothers Day & Holiday events. I would be honored to continue serving on Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council. I'm committed to continuing to spread neighborly love here where I call home.
Jacqueline Khachatrian - Area 1 Resident

1. Candidate Statement

As a resident of Sherman Oaks, I am ready to represent the needs and priorities of our community. I am a passionate person, who is excited and has the resolve to do the hard work of addressing our community’s concerns, advocating on our behalf for innovation and the appropriate use of resources, making sure the government does right by its people, and most importantly, making Sherman Oaks the best place to live. I have been proud to call Sherman Oaks my home for the past 6 years, and
I have spent a lifetime exploring everything it has to offer. From early morning coffee runs at the Starbucks on Noble on my way to UCLA, where I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology, to an incomparable nightlife up and down Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks has featured in all of my favorite memories. All of my experience with the local culture, people, and businesses of our neighborhood empowers me to see the bigger picture and make the right decisions. I am READY TO REPRESENT our neighborhood’s needs. Share your voice with me and together we can enact change.

2. Why do you want to be on the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council (SONC)?

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of attending a talk by John Opdycke, President of Open Primaries, whose message has been ringing loud and clear in my head since then. In order to affect real change, you have to get “weird”. What he meant was that you have to start thinking about new and different ways to engage with government at the smallest and most local levels, beyond just voting in the big elections every few years. I started getting “weird” by hosting group discussions with my family and friends about the state of things and what we would like to see change and/or be better. I reached out to local representatives to better understand their positions and how they are serving our community. Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council has the power to impact the day-to-day lives of the members of this community - from providing input on the laws being proposed at LA City Council to sponsoring free movies in the park at summertime. SONC needs a passionate person who not only understands what makes our neighborhood a wonderful place to spend time with family and friends, but who can also see the big picture, and has a lot of big ideas about how government should spend our resources. I want to be on the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council because I believe that it’s the most immediate way to engage with our community and its leaders, and ensure that our voices are heard and championed.

3. What do you think are the two or three biggest issues facing the Sherman Oaks community?

Homelessness and crime. I believe that these issues are largely two sides of the same coin stemming from a lack of awareness and funding for critical resources such as affordable housing, social services, and mental health services. These are matters which are plaguing our community and are exacerbated by large scale issues like the pandemic, and a hurting jobs market and economy.

4. What will you do if you are not elected? Will you become active in SONC or another community organization?

I will continue to be a voice for change, reaching out to my neighbors to understand their priorities and concerns and participating in SONC or Sherman Oaks HOA as a citizen and proud member of the Sherman Oaks community.

5. If elected, which committees would you like to be on and why?

My talents and passion would be best suited to the Government Affairs committee because it is directly concerned with the laws, bills, proposals, etc. of the city and the work done therein has direct impact to SONC’s actions and decisions to affect change in government. I also would like to participate in the Outreach committee to work on increased awareness of SONC’s work in the community and its impact.

6. If you received a $1 million grant to be used in Sherman Oaks, what would you do with it and why?

I would open a performing arts center or playhouse. I have loved theatre my entire life, having that love instilled in me by my mother at a very young age. But I recognize that seeing a play or musical is a privilege not everyone can afford. Nor can everyone with a passion and desire to pursue theatre as a career actually do so. By creating a space of equal opportunity for all, a center for people of all walks of life to partake in performing or attending a live show, think of the lives we could transform; our retired neighbors who need a new hobby, a child who needs an outlet for their energy and passion, a friend who moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in show business and just needs a chance to shine, an unhoused person who needs a place where they feel like they belong. Theatre can give each of these people a real sense of purpose, a chance to form community and bonds outside of their immediate circles. It helps us share stories. It connects us. Theatre has the power to enrich and transform people’s lives.

7. Name one thing specific to Sherman Oaks that you would say is a not-so-well-known hidden gem?

M Street Coffee. It’s a cozy and inviting space with great coffee (tea and smoothies, too!) and walls lined with beautiful art. A great place for a quick morning pick-me-up or a leisurely afternoon catching up with friends.

8. Summary statement

I am a hard-working, passionate person who is invested in improving the quality of life in Sherman Oaks. I see the increase in crime and in our unhoused population. I understand the safety concerns with traffic on our busiest streets. And I appreciate that city government doesn’t always understand or support our community’s specific needs. That’s why I am READY TO REPRESENT and be the voice for our needs and priorities. To provide access to resources that improve lives such as mental health and social services, education, and the arts. I want to do right by our community and I am ready to help local leaders and government do right by their people. Together, we can do all this and more.

9. What skills or experience will you bring to SONC and why is it valuable?

I am an empath and an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person). It allows me to see past people’s behaviors/actions and understand the motivations behind them. In addition, I have a degree in Sociology, where I studied the creation and evolution of social constructs (such as government). Further, I have built a career working as an Operations Consultant in which I use my strong communication skills to work with a business to understand root cause issues and implement simple solutions to complex problems. These innate skills and my experiences enable me to see past the bureaucracy that so often bogs down our governmental systems. In understanding my colleagues’ motivations and the core issues at hand, I am able to create concrete, targeted solutions to our community’s concerns.
CHRIS KIM - Area 1 Resident

Candidate Statement with Candidate Filing

As a longtime resident of Sherman Oaks, I am proud to be a part of this amazing city. I would be honored to represent the interests of our community, helping to preserve our traditions and identity, while pushing forward for innovation that will benefit all residents and visitors of this city we call home.
Cantina Lesavoy - Area 1 Resident

1. Candidate Statement

I’m Catina Lesavoy, an east coast native living in California since 2010. I have been a resident of Sherman Oaks since 2014 on and off. I am a professional in the healthcare industry, working in Philanthropy. I have always gotten involved in communities I am part of, serving on HOA Boards of any place I have owned. I’m the if not me, then who person. I intend to get my hands dirty and make a difference by asking the tough questions, and getting things done. 
I have a 13 plus year career in event planning, project management
and fundraising across various industries working from start up to large enterprise. Even more importantly, I have a two-year-old daughter and I want to do my part as a community member to preserve Sherman Oaks’ special sauce, and aid in continuing to make it flourish for her future here. I have every confidence I will be the type of council member who speaks for our families, our businesses and those who contribute and care for our community.  

2. Why do you want to be on the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council (SONC)?

I have been a resident of Sherman Oaks since 2014 on and off. In July I bought my second home in the area and am completely invested in Sherman Oaks for the long haul. I have always gotten involved in communities I am part of, serving on HO Boards on all of the places I have owned. I am the type of person who wants to get my hands dirty and make a difference by doing the work. I see the areas where we need help and improvement, as well as what is so special about the area. Even more important though, I have a two-year-old daughter, and I want to do my part as a community member to preserve it’s special sauce and aid in continuing to see it flourish for her future here.

3. What do you think are the two or three biggest issues facing the Sherman Oaks community?

Very obviously, and on most people’s top priority lists I’m certain is homelessness and the expansion of encampments in and around residential areas. While I am extremely empathetic to the difficulty in home ownership in Los Angeles as a whole; because I see other states and what real estate is like there, I also feel that those citizens contributing and supporting to a community need to be considered as well.  Secondly ensuring the restaurants and businesses who have had to battle through a pandemic causing serious hits to their livelihood get the promotion and help they need. Thirdly, doing what we can on the Council to aid schools in returning to regular teaching and community involvement.  

4. What will you do if you are not elected? Will you become active in SONC or another community organization?

I have spent some time on meetings with the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association, but I have not found many other opportunities to have direct impact on the community. So I will most likely continue to see where I can be helpful, but it will most likely not be through another neighborhood council channel.

5. If elected, which committees would you like to be on and why?

I’m most interested in anything having to do with community driven events and gatherings, as well as how to be helpful and impactful within the efforts to take care of our community’s homeless issue. Over the years I have seen the growth of the homeless on every off ramp and on our main town center streets, and I want to see that reversed.  
 
As I mentioned above I also feel strongly that our businesses need to get front and center care to repair the losses they have just encountered through the effects of the pandemic, and I believe Council support and advocacy in that respect are paramount. They are what make Sherman Oaks the treasure it is. I’m an event planner and fundraiser by trade and I believe I can bring a great deal of value in driving various activities that involve our neighbors providing enrichment, but also provide funds to these businesses and their owners.

6. If you received a $1 million grant to be used in Sherman Oaks, what would you do with it and why?

Well without knowing so many factors about how the budget is currently spent and where there is need, I would want to use the money to fairly allocate it to existing programs that have proven qualitative and quantitative positive results for our community and/or proposals that show innovative ways to deal with our biggest challenges.

7. Name one thing specific to Sherman Oaks that you would say is a not-so-well-known hidden gem?

The Sherman Oaks recreation center and park. It’s wonderful and has provided such a respite to families the past year.

8. Summary statement

I have been a resident of Sherman Oaks since 2014 on and off. I am a professional in the healthcare industry, working in Philanthropy. I have always gotten involved in communities I am part of, serving on HOA Boards of any place I have owned. I’m the if not me, than who person. I intend to get my hands dirty and make a difference by asking the tough questions, and getting things done. I have a 13 plus year career in event planning, project management and fundraising across various industries working from start up to large enterprise. Even more importantly, I have a two-year-old daughter and I want to do my part as a community member to preserve Sherman Oaks’ special sauce, and aid in continuing to make it flourish for her future here. I have every confidence I will be the type of council member who speaks for our families, our businesses and those who contribute and care for our community.  

9. What skills or experience will you bring to SONC and why is it valuable?

I’m a resident of the community who genuinely cares about its wellbeing. I’m the type to jump in, ask questions, get answers, and get things done. I have a 13 plus year career in event planning, project management and fundraising across various industries working from start up to large enterprise. I have a keen sense of how to navigate bureaucracy to achieve a shared objective. In my professional life I work across various functional areas with success, and I intend to bring this experience to the council. I’m looking forward to challenge and experience.   
Thelma Mericle - Area 1 Resident

1. Candidate Statement

I was born in the City of Angels, grew up in Sherman Oaks and graduated from LAVC and CSUN. I am a proud resident, homeowner, and educator in Sherman Oaks. My family also grew up here and attended local schools. Belonging to the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association, the San Fernando Valley Historical Association, the Society of Architectural Historians, and serving as VIce President of the Music Teachers Association of CA, East Valley Branch, has given me an understanding and
appreciation of the community of Sherman Oaks. Also, having served as the Neighborhood Captain of Killion St. for over 20 years, I am deeply involved in the safety of our neighborhood.

YOUR concerns are MY concerns. I will listen to you. We want to keep our neighborhoods and schools safe for our children and preserve an excellent quality of life. Together we can make Sherman Oaks the shining star of the Valley! I would be honored if you would vote for me for the Neighborhood Council District 1 in Sherman Oaks.

2. Why do you want to be on the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council (SONC)?

I want to be on the S.O.N.C. to act as an interface for the community so that their concerns and interests can be heard and offer assistance in working together to solve their problems.

3. What do you think are the two or three biggest issues facing the Sherman Oaks community?

The biggest concerns facing Sherman Oaks are: 
a. Homelessness - This is a major problem that needs to be addressed. The homeless die on the streets at a rate of 4 daily in Los Angeles. There are over 65,000 homeless and the number is increasing every year. I agree with Controller Ron Galperin’s ideas that we utilize vacant city owned properties for housing. We also need to build facilities where the unhoused can be vetted and treated for their unique problems, whether it be drugs and alcohol, psychosis and schizophrenia, job training, counseling, whatever it may be and be treated. They need immediate treatment. It is a crime to leave the sick and homeless languishing on the streets. The longer they are on the streets, the more difficult it is to readjust to normalcy. 
b. Destruction of Single Family Residences - due to over zealous developers, single family residences are being demolished to be replaced by 6 unit buildings. This leads to an increase of parking density, infrastructure density, loss of tree canopy, and loss of affordable housing. 
c. Crime - due to the unhoused, drugs and alcohol, lack of police enforcement, change in laws.

4. What will you do if you are not elected? Will you become active in SONC or another community organization?

If I am not elected, I will continue to attend various meetings of the SONC and City Council online. It is a wonderful opportunity to learn about city government. I will also continue to protect my neighborhood with my Block Captain duties.

5. If elected, which committees would you like to be on and why?

If elected, I would like to look into the Art Committee. Sherman Oaks at one time had numerous live musical venues on Ventura Blvd. Such as Cozy’s, Cafe Cordial and other locations. We only have one or two at the moment. We need to bring music back to Sherman Oaks, perhaps in the form of an orchestra concert at the S.O. Park in which the musical instruments are explained to the children and afterwards the children are given a chance to talk to the performers one on one and hear each instrument. We need to engage families with the beauty of music and art. Also, summer musical concerts would be a wonderful way to bring together the community when the pandemic has subsided. An art show featuring local artists would also be wonderful! Music and art at the park!

I would also like to look into the Animal Welfare Committee. Being a member of the Humane Society, the ASPCA and others, I feel that many more shelter animals should be adopted instead of being purchased through puppy mills. I would like to be their voice. I have 2 wonderful loving shelter dogs that I have adopted. 

I also would like to look into the Green and Sustainability Committee. In a recent USC study it was found out that 80% of the canopy in Los Angeles is located in single family residences. The greening of the city adds to the health and well being of the community by providing a micro-climate, adding shade, cleaning the pollutants in the air, adding beauty and a better way of life for all inhabitants.

6. If you received a $1 million grant to be used in Sherman Oaks, what would you do with it and why?

If I received a $1 million dollar grant to be used in Sherman Oaks - it would most definitely be applied to the homeless. This is the most compelling problem that S.O. is currently faced with. Perhaps tents could be set up in an unoccupied parcel of city owned vacant land. They would be provided with psychiatric, medical and job assistance. I would do research of other states and countries to see what has been successful as homeless assistance options.

7. Name one thing specific to Sherman Oaks that you would say is a not-so-well-known hidden gem?

A hidden gem that I recently discovered was Bliss Park, a historical 2 block by 2 block area in Sherman Oaks, off of Van Nuys Blvd., that features some of the first homes built in S.O., with custom built homes featuring Spanish Colonial Revival, English Tudor, French Chateau and created with the help of European ornamental plasterers and carpenters who also worked on movie sets. One in particular, the Hatterschied Home was built by Bert LaPlante for the Vice President of the First Bank of Van Nuys. This is a magnificent 2 story Spanish Colonial home built for Mr. Hugo Hatterschied. Being surrounded by a wealth of “gems” in S.O., I would also like to list the diversity of cultures and the delectable array of foods from around the world. We are so fortunate to avail ourselves of these fabulous restaurants!

8. Summary statement

As a summary statement, I would like to represent the community of S.O. as a member of the S.O.N.C. I would like to act as a bridge between the community and the City Council.

9. What skills or experience will you bring to SONC and why is it valuable?

My experience as a caring and concerned community member will be a valuable asset to S.O.N.C. Working to save my residential block from developers, I have applied to the Cultural Heritage Commission and filed an appeal to save a historic home on my block


Area 2 Candidates
Jeffrey Alan Rector - Area 2 Business

1. Candidate Statement

None provided

2. Why do you want to be on the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council (SONC)?

I have served my community in various official positions for over 9 years. I bring a wealth of experience and knowledge from serving on other Neighborhood Councils both on the executive and the community level. When I served on the Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council, we had the same issues with zoning and over expansion of the area.
3. What do you think are the two or three biggest issues facing the Sherman Oaks community?

Redevelopment, the opening of local businesses and schools due to COVID, and the current homeless situation. 

4. What will you do if you are not elected? Will you become active in SONC or another community organization?

Whether I am elected or not, I will continue to be active in my community. To be the most effective however, it would be important to be an actual voting member, which would allow me to participate in and be vocal in a way that would be quantifiable. It would also allow me to be more hands on in my commitment to SONC. Real change I believe can only come about by having a formal voice and vote as a council member.  

5. If elected, which committees would you like to be on and why?

I’ve been very active in Outreach Committees in the past. I’m a people person and feel that direct interaction with the community is definitely one of my strongest assets. I would consider other committees as well.   

6. If you received a $1 million grant to be used in Sherman Oaks, what would you do with it and why?

I would start by offering assistance to local businesses to help them prepare for reopening. I would also earmark funds for all the council committees and decide with the council, the best way to allocate and utilize the funds to its greatest potential.

7. Name one thing specific to Sherman Oaks that you would say is a not-so-well-known hidden gem?

Anejo Bar & Grill. I used to go here for years when it was an upscale jazz club and bar. Now it serves delectable south-of-the-border cuisine and the best margaritas in town. It also has a large banquet room suitable for local meetings and corporate events. Because it upstairs above a business, it is a hidden gem that is not easily seen from the street.

8. Summary statement

I have served my community my whole life, from serving the church, to running a non-profit organization that champions independent filmmakers from all over the world. I served on the Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council for five years and created the “Good Neighbor Award” to recognize and honor others in the community. I’ve been a member of the Sherman Oaks Chamber of Commerce for many years and I was elected by the Burbank City Council to serve on the Burbank Cultural Arts Commission (BCAC) for a four year term where I was chair of the Outreach Committee. I also wrote, directed and produced a very successful talent show fundraiser for BCAC in order to fund a variety of other commission projects. If elected, I will use my connections, knowledge and life-long experience to continue to make Sherman Oaks, the exciting and vibrant city that is known for.  

9. What skills or experience will you bring to SONC and why is it valuable?

None provided


Uday Shakour - Area 2 Business

Candidate Statement with Candidate Filing

Hello! I’m Uday Shakour, a resident and small business owner in Sherman Oaks. I am running for Area 2 Business Representative on the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council to promote economic development, jobs and safer communities. As we enter the second year of an unprecedented pandemic, I will collaborate across both public and private agencies to safely reopen businesses while continuing to build strong, healthy and vibrant community institutions. I will also work to address systemic city-wide issues that impact our own neighborhood
such as homelessness, mental health, and public safety. I have the proven leadership and experience of bringing people together to solve problems and will make effective management of our Neighborhood Council a top priority. Let’s work together towards keeping Sherman Oaks the crown jewel of the Valley. I would be honored to have your vote for Area 2 Business Representative on the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council!
Area 3 Candidates
Howard M. Katchen - Area 3 Resident

Candidate Statement with Candidate Filing

My wife, sons and I have lived in Sherman Oaks for 34 years and I have served as the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council's Area 3 Residential Representative since 2010. During my tenure on the council, I served six years as Treasurer and currently as First Vice President overseeing and working with all of the Council's committees and am a member of the Executive, Finance and Governmental Affairs committees.
My guiding principle: Be a good person, help others and do the right thing! I earned Bachelor of Arts Degrees in Economics, International Relations and Semitic Languages from the University of Southern California and a M.Sc. in International Political Economy from the London School of Economics and an M.B.A. from London Business School in the United Kingdom. I appreciate the opportunity to serve our Sherman Oaks Community and encourage all stakeholders to become involved in your Neighborhood Council.

Avo Babian - Area 3 Community Interest

1. Candidate Statement

My name is Avo Babian. I am an orthodontist by profession. I have been living in Sherman Oaks for 14 years. I love this neighborhood and would like to offer all my extra time and energy to make it the best neighborhood in Los Angeles.

2. Why do you want to be on the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council (SONC)?
I feel that I can be the most effective on the local level and SONC is as local as a government can get. We are in direct contact with elected officials and get to help to shape policies for our neighborhood and to voice our opinions on local issues.

3. What do you think are the two or three biggest issues facing the Sherman Oaks community?

Traffic and Development

4. What will you do if you are not elected? Will you become active in SONC or another community organization?

Yes, if I’m not elected, I will remain active with SONC and with the office of our Councilmember

5. If elected, which committees would you like to be on and why?

Traffic Committee

6. If you received a $1 million grant to be used in Sherman Oaks, what would you do with it and why?

I would help develop a half block stretch of Ventura, a half mile area with progressive ideas regarding traffic and Environmentally friendly ideas including: A walkable area, with bike friendly lanes, and sidewalks that widen out into the street than back in, to slow traffic. And a subway stop or other public transport. Also a developed median with rain capture troughs, native plants, and poles with solar panels powering lights at night.

7. Name one thing specific to Sherman Oaks that you would say is a not-so-well-known hidden gem?

The Sherman Oaks Galleria

8. Summary statement

Please vote for me and I will work hard to improve our Neighborhood

9. What skills or experience will you bring to SONC and why is it valuable?

I have been on the SONC for 5 years and have worked on many committees. This experience taught me how to get things done with our Council Members and SONC members to help our neighborhood.
Arutyun "Harry" Kapukchayan - Area 3 Business

1. Candidate Statement

Who is Arutyun “Harry” Kapukchyan you may be asking yourself? I have lived and worked in the Valley for all of my adult life. This is my home and I want to keep it nice a safe for my wife “Sirvard Kapukchyan”, two sons “Peter and Daniel” and all the great people that call Sherman Oaks our home. Being in Real Estate for the better part of a decade and seeing all the changes that have taken place here I feel we need to do more and we can do more to improve our lives. I bring
honesty, integrity, compassion, attention to detail, and creativity to the table to serve our community and uplift it.

2. Why do you want to be on the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council (SONC)?

I want to be on the Sherman Oaks Council to be able to represent the voice of the working-class people of this community. I want to be able to have more businesses like mine call Sherman Oaks their home.

3. What do you think are the two or three biggest issues facing the Sherman Oaks community?

The two big biggest issues facing the Sherman Oaks community in my eyes are homelessness and the roads that we are driving on. We have to come up with a better solution to manage both.

4. What will you do if you are not elected? Will you become active in SONC or another community organization?

If I do not get elected, yes I plan on becoming very active with SONC like I am already active with many other community organizations. I currently am part of several organizations that help the needy, children, and families within our community.

5. If elected, which committees would you like to be on and why?

I would like to be a part of the Education, Finance, Government Affairs, Public Safety and Planning and Land use Committees

6. If you received a $1 million grant to be used in Sherman Oaks, what would you do with it and why?

I would use it to help all the hard-working teachers in our schools and clean up the roads we all share to commute within our community

7. Name one thing specific to Sherman Oaks that you would say is a not-so-well-known hidden gem?

One thing specific to Sherman Oaks that I would say is a not-so-well-known hidden gem is all the great food choice’s that we have here. We have many great restaurants that we can choose from that most people would never guess we have here. Whatever you are craving can be found in Sherman Oaks.

8. Summary statement
In Summary, I will bring my knowledge in business, finance, and people to the table to help our GREAT city succeed. I will am a team player and will hold the best interest in mind for everyone that calls Sherman Oaks home. I would like to thank you in advance for considering voting for me and putting me to work for your needs. 

9. What skills or experience will you bring to SONC and why is it valuable?

None provided.

Area 5 Candidates
Norayr Tertsaguian - Area 5 Business

Candidate Statement with Candidate Filing

No statement submitted with filing.
Christy Adair - Area 5 Community Interest

1. Candidate Statement

After serving 2 years as a board member with SONC, I honestly feel more connected to
my neighborhood than ever before. The neighborhood council system is a tool that
community members can use to access city government. Why would anyone want to
do that? Hate potholes? Need a stop sign at a dangerous corner? Want more trees on
your street? Angry that Metro is putting a station in the heart of
Sherman Oaks? SONC can help find solutions - I’ve seen it happen.

I strongly believe in Sherman Oaks and I want to continue to serve the community as I am able. Being a part of the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council is one of the ways I can affect positive changes where I work and live.

2. Why do you want to be on the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council (SONC)?

There are significant changes being considered that will affect the landscape of Sherman Oaks. I want a seat at the table so that my voice is heard when our Leadership votes on these matters and I want to help ensure transparency when important decisions are made. I have invested in Sherman Oaks – this is my home and frankly, being on the SONC board helps me protect my investment.

3. What do you think are the two or three biggest issues facing the Sherman Oaks community?

a) Fighting the State to be able to make local decisions – there are bills in the senate that remove our ability for planning and land use in our neighborhoods. The State should not dictate how our local, residential lots can be developed. Note, SONC has been heavily involved in this struggle.
 
b) Metro’s Sepulveda Pass Relief project is being developed and pushed forward in a less-than-transparent and often murky process. The majority of affected residents are not even aware they could lose their homes, businesses or their favorite shopping spot or restaurant when this is finally settled. Note, SONC has been heavily involved in this struggle.
 
c) The obviously increase in Airplane noise and related pollution is a serious issue and should not go unchecked. Note, SONC has been heavily involved in this struggle.


4. What will you do if you are not elected? Will you become active in SONC or another community organization?

If I am not re-elected, I will continue to work on the Public Safety Committee, but I would step down as Co-Chair. I would also monitor the SONC Board Meeting agendas and the Sub Committee Meeting Agendas for items of interest.

5. If elected, which committees would you like to be on and why?

I currently serve as Co-Chair of the Public Safety Committee and we are working to bring quality information and educational resources that will help strengthen our neighborhood Preparedness and Personal Safety. We are inviting speakers and trainings on topics such as: Disaster Preparedness; Utility Shut-off /Fire Extinguishers; Basic Medical First Aid; "Run, Hide, Fight"; Neighborhood Watch; Radio Coms training; etc.

6. If you received a $1 million grant to be used in Sherman Oaks, what would you do with it and why?

I would immediately work to improve our neighborhood’s resilience for proper Emergency Preparedness. One consistency in every country that has faced a significant disaster: ordinary citizens will come together to check on neighbors and provide medical assistance. Sherman Oaks needs to give its community members free skills training so that the Rescuers don’t wind up need rescuing.
 
Neighborhood Team Training:
In order to empower neighbors to help neighbors, I would use part of the grant for promoting and holding free ongoing trainings and drills in each of the seven SONC areas. Trainings would address key skills we will face post-catastrophic disaster such as assessing building damage, light search and rescue, aiding in medical events, organizing convergent volunteers, etc. The skills trainings would empower community members to step-up as community leaders. 
 
Medical and Other Supplies:
I would identify at least one location in each of the seven SONC areas to store a cache of emergency supplies. The containers would hold medical supplies, tarps, search and rescue tools, long-life food & water, walkie-talkie radios and batteries, EZ Ups, flashlights & lanterns, documentation supplies, solar chargers and a small generator. These supplies would be for the sole use of trained Neighborhood Team members.


7. Name one thing specific to Sherman Oaks that you would say is a not-so-well-known hidden gem?

I love the Pineapple Hill Saloon! Just love it. I don’t know if its hidden - but it sure is a gem in my book!! The thought of the fresh popcorn makes me smile – and when my plate with a crispy tuna melt and just-perfect french-fries show up at my table… just don’t talk to me for a few minutes…

8. Summary statement

I’ve lived in Sherman Oaks since 2006 and have seen some changes I didn’t like but many that I did. I feel like I’ve found my voice in the community by sitting on the neighborhood council. I would like to continue working with this dedicated body of civic-minded neighbors who share a passion for bettering Sherman Oaks.


9. What skills or experience will you bring to SONC and why is it valuable?

My volunteer background includes a lot of Personal Safety and Emergency Preparedness training! However, I will only highlight two of the programs that I have been actively involved with for almost 20 years each: Impact Personal Safety and CERT.
 
As a Lead Instructor, I taught self-defense with Impact Personal Safety which gave me a broad perspective of awareness of my surroundings and appreciation for direct, non-escalatory communication. I am a better listener and have learned not to immediately react to emotional issues that may arise in a SONC meeting. 
 
As a Team Leader with LAFD’s Community Emergency Response Team (“CERT”) program, I was constantly reminded that that we live in Southern California and it is irresponsible not to prepare on some level for disasters. I bleed preparedness and want to get all of my neighbors a little more prepared. It has been proven that people who prepare for disasters recover more quickly. The same is true for communities: Sherman Oaks will recover faster if our residents and businesses are more prepared for what will happen when the San Andreas Fault shifts significantly.



Alexis Casteneda - Area 5 Resident

1. Candidate Statement

Hello, everyone! My name is Alexis, but you can call me Ally! I am so excited to run and be your Area 5 Residential Representative in our community's neighborhood council. I am a graduate student passionate about improving our wellbeing within the city. Being elected to this position would be an honor because I am dedicated to
listening to the public. I believe that a good representative listens to her constituents with the line of communication always open. To put your trust in me would be an honor, and I hope that we can work together to make our neighborhood even more perfect.

2. Why do you want to be on the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council (SONC)?

Being in our neighborhood's council would be a privilege. I ran because I believe that far too often, politicians think they're the experts in everything and fail to listen to the people. As a resident of other cities, I have felt that disappointment. As a representative, I will aim to make sure I do not ignore the words of my constituents. I believe we can be stronger together if we maintain an open dialogue.

3. What do you think are the two or three biggest issues facing the Sherman Oaks community?

Los Angeles faces many issues, and our community is not immune to these impacts. I believe that apart from the COVID pandemic, homelessness is another crisis our community faces. Our community needs to work in conjunction with city councilmembers to find a solution that will benefit everyone. 
 
Another important issue for me is our community's pedestrian and active transportation infrastructure. Sherman Oaks is such a beautiful neighborhood, but personally, using a bike or walking down Ventura Blvd can be scary, especially with traffic. I think we should encourage more bike lanes, crosswalks, and safe streets so that we can spend time in our neighborhood and strengthen our sense of community.

4. What will you do if you are not elected? Will you become active in SONC or another community organization?

While I hope to be elected, I plan on doing everything I can to maintain involvement with the Neighborhood Council. Whether through community-based organizations or as a concerned resident, I can ensure my neighbors that I will be in attendance and participate in council meetings. I will also encourage others to attend and participate, as well. 

5. If elected, which committees would you like to be on and why?

Sometimes I wish I could be in three to five places at once. If I could do that, I would love to be part of SONC's Planning and Land Use Committee, Government Affairs Committee, Homeless Outreach Committee, and Green & Sustainability Committee. 
 
I want to take the knowledge I've gained from graduate school and apply it to our neighborhood. I believe these committees are great ways to get that real-life experience and hear from various constituents with different concerns. I think these committees also align with my top priorities for the neighborhood. 

6. If you received a $1 million grant to be used in Sherman Oaks, what would you do with it and why?

Having a million dollars to spend on our community would be a dream come true. However, it's important to remember that these types of gifts are few and far between. If I were elected, I would work hard to learn of the different ways we can get real funding for our neighborhood, especially through the city's own funding initiatives. If I were to get the resources to provide our community with one program, I would encourage that funding to alleviate the economic impacts residents and business owners have felt due to the pandemic. Whether this program is a direct stimulus or an outreach campaign, I would like to hear what my constituents felt was the best way to use those funds and try to make it happen.   

7. Name one thing specific to Sherman Oaks that you would say is a not-so-well-known hidden gem?

Maybe this is a well-known gem of Sherman Oaks, but the Sherman Oaks Veterinary Group is a fantastic business that really pulls our community together. We might all have a pet that we love, and this group is an excellent example of a business that really dedicates itself to the community and our fur babies' wellbeing. I love seeing my neighbors socializing with their pets in their hands, and the employees are welcoming. Overall, it is a very heart-warming place that I have never experienced before moving here. 
 
8. Summary statement

I hope I gave you all an idea of who I am and what I stand for. I want to prove to the community that I will be more than a representative, but an ear and a voice to listen and speak to your concerns. There is a lot of negativity in the world that divides us, but I believe in changing the perspective to unite us, and this is the first step in bringing us together. 

9. What skills or experience will you bring to SONC and why is it valuable?

I believe that the strongest skill I have which will prove valuable to SONC is my ability to listen and empathize with others. This skill I've gained through my life experience has also taught me that everyone has something important to say and they deserve to be heard. Unfortunately, I've also experienced that far too often, we feel ignored by those in leadership positions. I want to use this skill to show everyone that there are passionate individuals that believe in the power of uniting as a community. Future leaders aim to restore, strengthen, and support the relationship between representatives and constituents. I want to be that type of leader for you.
Stacey Segarra-Bohlinger - Area 5 Resident

1. Candidate Statement

My goal is to provide a voice for low-income residents and middle class families who see their forever-home in Sherman Oaks. I want to be a catalyst in making our neighborhood a more healthy, beautiful, fun place for all to enjoy. My priorities, if elected, include the following:
-banish slumlord tactics and empower renters to understand and assert their rights -get litter and pet waste off the streets and sidewalks -ensure public spaces are safe and accessible. I also plan to address the barriers preventing so many working class families and individuals from being actively engaged in local politics. There’s an imbalance in representation at every level of government; I’d like to understand why and address the root causes. 

2. Why do you want to be on the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council (SONC)?

Having lived and worked in Sherman Oaks since 2016, I’m compelled by a desire to help my community overcome persistent issues that I believe can be solved with some ingenuity and elbow grease. I’m running for SONC because I believe in personal accountability. The issues facing residents and workers in our area won’t be solved by passing the buck, but by asking ourselves what it is we can do to help. 

3. What do you think are the two or three biggest issues facing the Sherman Oaks community?

-Housing
The average rental price of a studio-apartment in Sherman Oaks would cost a full-time worker earning L.A. county minimum wage half of their income to rent. A number of workers dubbed “essential” by state-implemented COVID restrictions earn minimum wage, and struggle to afford basic necessities. Furthermore, landlords and investment property owners are notorious for taking advantage of renters, and lack of oversight enables them to shirk their duties in maintaining safe, clean, habilitable properties. A goal of mine, if elected, is to enforce standing health and safety codes, help renters in the Sherman Oaks area understand their rights, and ensure that no one is subject to harassment or unfair treatment by their landlords. I’d also like to explore ways to bring affordable housing options and better housing stability to my neighborhood.

-Sidewalk/Road Safety and Maintenance 
Being that I’ve spent much of my time living in Sherman Oaks without a car, and I prefer walking when it’s a viable option, my perspective on transportation and road safety might be different than some. In addition to walking in lieu of driving, like many Angelinos, I love riding my skateboard. Skating has brought the issue of sidewalk accessibility to the forefront of my mind, especially since COVID-19 pushed sit-down dining into the streets and sidewalks. When I experience difficulty on my skateboard due to tree-root bulges, cracks, missing pavement, rough gravel, and diners crammed tight as legally possible -- I can only imagine what someone who uses a mobility device, or has limited mobility experiences every day when navigating Sherman Oaks. I think it would behoove our community to create an initiative that encourages the pedestrian lifestyle, provides resources for infrastructure, and educates drivers on pedestrian right-of-way and safety. 

- Availability and Accessibility of Outdoor Public Space 
The Pandemic, and how life has changed since the onset, has made some things abundantly clear; how important the service sector is to our way of life, for example. It’s evident that outdoor public space enables free or low-cost recreation that has myriad health benefits. Engaging in outdoor activity is the safest way to spend time away from home until the CDC advises otherwise. Playgrounds and other public recreation resources closing for COVID safety disproportionately affected low-income and marginalized residents. It’s imperative to ensure that all public spaces not only comply with the letter of the law as far as the ADA is concerned, but the spirit of it as well. If elected I plan to proactively assess public spaces in Sherman Oaks for accessibility to ensure they can be enjoyed by anyone and everyone in a safe manner. 

4. What will you do if you are not elected? Will you become active in SONC or another community organization?

If not elected, I will continue to attend SONC meetings, and work with members to address concerns shared among myself and my neighbors. I’ve been on the SONC mailing list since moving to the area. What prevented me from attending meetings and events in previous years was my work schedule. Earning minimum wage, I was continually either too busy working, taking care of my family, or recovering from working/taking care of my family to actively participate in civics. Pandemic restrictions and benefits have provided me an unexpected opportunity to get involved. I hope to address how low wages and high cost of living prevents folks from civic engagement whether or not I’m elected. 

5. If elected, which committees would you like to be on and why?

Traffic and Transportation committee - I’d like to address the condition of roads and sidewalks, particularly pedestrian infrastructure, cleanliness, and accessibility 

Homeless Outreach Committee - If elected as Residential Representative, I plan on representing my unhoused neighbors with the commitment and advocacy they deserve. Part of that is proactively trying to understand their needs and struggles. 

Outreach Committee - Many voters and residents don’t have a voice on issues and laws that affect their daily lives, simply because they don’t know who to speak with or when/where to show up. Breaking down barriers to civic engagement will be one of my top priorities if elected.

6. If you received a $1 million grant to be used in Sherman Oaks, what would you do with it and why?

I’d use that *grant to purchase vehicles and hire brigades that would be deployed to clean up pet waste and litter. They would also remove furniture and large items wantonly discarded on sidewalks; these items would then be donated or disposed of properly. This would not only address eye-sores and health-hazards, but provide employment during a time of unprecedented need for safe job opportunities. 

*If I had more than, a lot more than a million dollars, I’d propose funding allocation to create a Ventura Boulevard Promenade. This would require serious consideration regarding compensating for traffic and road congestion, as well as parking availability. If done right, something like this could create long-term benefits for the community spanning all demographics of residents, workers, visitors, and posterity.

7. Name one thing specific to Sherman Oaks that you would say is a not-so-well-known hidden gem?

Rumi Cafe, off of Ventura Boulevard on Dixie Canyon! They are family owned and operated! They consistently go above-and-beyond taking care of their guests. The menu includes a variety of delicious options that are vegan/vegetarian, kosher, gluten free, etc. The cherry on top is their weekly comedy open mic, a staple of Los Angeles culture. 

8. Summary statement

Many have cautioned me against pursuing anything deemed “political”. I reject the philosophy of politics for the sake of governance. I subscribe to no binary affiliation. If I earn the privilege of serving on the Neighborhood Council I will approach my duties with empathy, diplomacy, objectivity, and most importantly, integrity. It would be my greatest honor to serve Sherman Oaks and I hope to have that opportunity.

9. What skills or experience will you bring to SONC and why is it valuable?

The valuable skills I developed during college and my career include: communication, adaptability, improvisation, resourcefulness, and empathy. Discourse in government is lacking in empathy, and attentive listening, to the detriment of voters. Furthermore, valuable, real-world experience I have is that of a working-class American. I know what it means to live paycheck-to-paycheck; to work full time and still struggle to put food on the table. I understand the barriers to representation and mobility faced by blue-collar workers, because I am one. Affluence is prolific in government at every level. I hope to provide some balance to that dynamic. 
Area 6 Candidate
Tom Materna - Area 6 Business

Candidate Statement with Candidate Filing

50 + year resident. I recently got Sherman Oaks a voice on Van Nuys airport council and helped create the Quieter Nights Program that just documented a 40% reduction in night jet traffic. We need a fair shake on the Sepulveda Transit Corridor metro project. I
will work to not let the traffic gridlock return. We need to revive our Sherman Oaks business as we exit this pandemic. There is a lot of important issues in Sherman Oaks and I look forward to being your voice. I always want to hear what concerns my neighbors so I can work for you. I have a strong relationship with all our council offices and staff.

Area 7 Candidates
Hilary Pickles - Area 7 Business

1. Candidate Statement

I am running to advocate for YOUR INTERESTS on the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council and our community safety is my top priority. The SONC is designed to represent our community voice to City Hall and I would be honored to serve as the Area 7 Business
Representative. I will make sure that our Area 7 ideas and concerns are represented accurately. As a board member in a business seat, I will advocate for the needs of our local businesses AND the wishes of our neighborhood area. I live and work in Area 7 which I believe is vital to maintaining a strong connection to neighborhood needs. You will have a direct connection to me on the board so that my vote can truly represent the majority will of our neighborhood. I will advocate for a quiet, safer neighborhood, with less traffic, thriving local businesses and fair representation for taxpayers. I am against the destruction of single-family neighborhoods. I believe that the FAA has done a grave injustice to our community and they must restore our quiet, clean airspace. I believe that it shouldn't be so hard for a small business to survive here. I believe in creating systemic change for people, animals and the environment by addressing root causes of issues and using common sense. I believe that women should always have a seat at the table and that youth should be empowered. I believe in equity. I believe we must protect our wildlife and advocate for voiceless animals. I believe we should have access to clean, safe parks, sidewalks and trails for our kids and pets. I believe that addressing our homeless issue requires community participation and the solutions presented must provide safety and sanitation for our neighborhood. And I believe that projects proposed in our neighborhood should always be introduced with transparency and when the neighborhood speaks, the council must listen…and make recommendations to the City Council accordingly.
 
Both personally and professionally, I have fought for community interests in California for the better part of a decade. By managing people, serving nonprofits and lobbying for legislation, I have become efficient at facilitating large conversations, weighing both sides of the matter at hand and doing thorough research to ensure that my advocacy is fair and just. I know that the person I would choose to represent my interests would be the person who cares about the issues we face together and is committed to fair representation. I will be that person for you.

2. Why do you want to be on the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council (SONC)?

I will bring fresh energy and experience to my service on the SONC and make sure that my neighbors know they have an advocate in me. Just the other day, I was speaking with a neighbor in Area 7 who has been feeling very isolated and needed both connectivity and a person who could represent her neighbor’s interests effectively. She never felt like she had that. She didn’t even know that we had a Neighborhood Council or who her representatives were. I’d like to change that for my neighbors.
It’s vital that your Area representative has a daily connection to the neighborhood by either living or working in the area; I do both. I speak with my neighbors daily, walk the neighborhood, work in the neighborhood, live in the neighborhood and experience the same issues. I am connected to local businesses here and I am their customer. Last year I was a volunteer on a Political Campaign in our District; during that time, I spoke with almost every business owner on Ventura Blvd and learned of their common struggles. Too often I have seen neighbors and business owners show up to voice their opinions about a particular issue only to walk away in frustration when they did not feel represented. I want to be a direct connection for my Area 7 neighbors to the SONC so that my votes on motions reflect their needs.

3. What do you think are the two or three biggest issues facing the Sherman Oaks community?

First, we must restore business vitality and advocate for their recovery so that our Boulevard can be the thriving epicenter we know it could be. Businesses, property owners and renters alike are struggling due to heavy taxes and economic hardships exacerbated by COVID19. Businesses were already struggling with high rent, a new tax structure, parking issues, litter, graffiti, fines, break-ins and homeless campers creating unsanitary conditions near their entrances. Many of these symptoms are a direct result of City Hall’s failing policies to effectively address the homelessness crisis which increased crime and pollution – the crisis gets worse and yet the City still has not provided adequate, targeted services to neither businesses nor the people experiencing homelessness. Both deserve real help.
 
Second, we must preserve the family atmosphere that Sherman oaks is known for by improving public safety and fighting to keep single family neighborhoods intact. Sacramento has introduced bill after bill to eliminate single family zoning and stifle our democratic rights to affect development decisions in our own community. We need to address affordable housing stock without compromising our neighborhood integrity.
 
Finally, the FAA has repeatedly ignored our petitions to restore the peaceful clean airspace over the community in which neighbors invested their hard-earned money. And I speak for renters as well. Everyone who lives here chose to spend their paychecks in an area that was not in a flight path. As planes get lower and lower, our sanity and environmental conditions sink right along with the height allowances.

4. What will you do if you are not elected? Will you become active in SONC or another community organization?

If I am not elected, I would love to Chair the Animal Welfare Committee for SONC. I have a vast amount of experience with non-profits and animal rights issues and can make local interests accessible and actionable. We have an animal-loving neighborhood, and we should have an active Animal Welfare committee. I would also like to participate in the Outreach Committee as I see progress being made, yet still so many neighbors do not know SONC exists. I have been an active participant at both SONC and SOHA meetings for the past few years and will continue to engage.

5. If elected, which committees would you like to be on and why?

Outreach, Animal Welfare and Homeless Outreach. I have both personal and professional experience in serving Animal Welfare organizations and implementing Outreach efforts. Regarding Homeless Outreach, I would like to see this committee represent root cause efforts that advocate for systemic change, provide lasting help to people experiencing homelessness AND protect the neighborhoods and businesses. I also have interest in Government Affairs and Public Safety but am happy to discuss in which of these 5 committees my knowledge would best fit or fill a gap.

6. If you received a $1 million grant to be used in Sherman Oaks, what would you do with it and why?

I would use the money to implement additional Security Sub-Station locations to improve community safety and provide security cameras throughout our major business thoroughfares to reduce crime and increase customer and employee security. It’s no secret that our community safety is increasingly compromised, and we do not have enough current security coverage. 
 
I would also contribute to the Small Business Relief Program and remove the graffiti that makes sections of Ventura Boulevard less desirable for local business growth.

7. Name one thing specific to Sherman Oaks that you would say is a not-so-well-known hidden gem?

I’d like to give shout-outs to some local businesses that have made life better for me in Sherman Oaks. First, an Area 7 business that is woman-owned, woman-led and has been incredibly supportive of the community’s best interest: Caden Concepts. They are branding experts and treat you like family. If you need branding help, go local! Next, there are several other Sherman Oaks businesses that give me confidence I am voting sustainably with my dollars: EcoH2O. They are so nice here and provide a cost-effective and sustainable way to get alkaline water! They keep strict COVID protocol and prevent plastic waste. I refill my gallon jugs every week! I also love the Coffee Roaster. The owner knows everyone by name and the coffee is roasted to perfection. And finally, the Sherman Oaks Farmer’s Market. This place has been my saving grace throughout the pandemic as I always felt safe shopping in an outdoor setting and love supporting our local farmers and other SoCal businesses.

8. Summary statement

I believe I am the best Candidate to serve Area 7 in the Business Seat because I have a daily connection to our neighborhood, I know the issues we face together, and I possess the skills to ensure you will have an advocate in me. I believe that effective government requires participation with the community it serves. Our community is impacted by increased crime, traffic, homelessness, economic struggles of renters, property owners and business owners, safety threats, air-traffic noise and pollution, and threats to the sustainability & success of our local businesses and to the integrity of our beautiful neighborhood itself. I will listen to your concerns and honor your ideas when considering SONC motions. Sherman Oaks has been my home for a decade and our neighborhood safety and well-being is my top concern. Area 7 is where I live, work, volunteer, walk my dog, connect with neighbors and patronize our local businesses. I have been involved with SONC and SOHA for several years and I participate in community meetings because I want to partner with my fellow community members to create a positive impact. After spending many years volunteering at home & abroad, I chose to make my career supporting non-profit organizations that fight for the rights of animals, people & the environment. I will do no less for our neighborhood.

9. What skills or experience will you bring to SONC and why is it valuable?

I managed retail business for 7 years before moving into a full-time position as a Grant Maker and Ethical Strategist. In my current role, I contribute to our evolving business strategies to ensure that our actions align with our values and build customer loyalty. The culmination of these responsibilities has given me the ability to analyze issues and focus on solutions. Creating solutions includes participation with employees across our business just like community solutions require participation of both representatives and the neighborhood. Managing people afforded me the skills of listening A LOT before I made decisions. A thriving business requires supportive employees who also feel supported. I am good at hearing both sides of a discussion and delivering fair insights. If I don’t know an answer right away, I will do my research and return with a listening ear. We can’t all be experts at everything, but we can become very good at listening and representing people accurately. That’s the crux of being a public servant. 
 
I have also been very blessed to have worked with so many brilliant decision-makers, non-profit leaders and social enterprisers who have taught me how to approach community need with humility. No one knows better what the community needs than the community itself. The same applies in government. I have lobbied in Sacramento and was the Business Representative for Lush Cosmetics in both the Senate and Assembly hearings that would ultimately pass SB 1249, the California Cruelty Free Cosmetics Act. I have had the fortune of participating in multiple pieces of legislation that hold intrinsic value to our company and I know that the community voice is powerful. But we can only be powerful if we are informed. I would be honored to earn your vote, contribute my skills to SONC and help our informed community grow.
Neal Roden - Area 7 Business

1. Candidate Statement

I have had the privilege and responsibility of serving on the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council since its formation in 2002. As someone who has both lived and worked in Sherman Oaks for over 30 years, I have come to value this community more than I have ever expected. Our quality of life is high in Sherman Oaks, and we need to work to maintain the integral balance between careful, planned growth and continually improving all that we love about
our community. We also need to seek out what needs attention and make it better. I firmly believe in equity and inclusion, while also striving for increased diversity in Sherman Oaks. As with the rest of our country, the current pandemic has greatly impacted the businesses and citizens of Sherman Oaks. Together, we will work to manage this virus and other upcoming challenges, and we must each help, in whatever way possible, to make sure that the Sherman Oaks community is the best it can be.

2. Why do you want to be on the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council (SONC)?

I want to continue to be on the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council because my community matters to me, and it is important to keep the people of Sherman Oaks informed and get them more involved in important issues within our city. Neighborhood Councils work directly with our City Council representatives and help voice the concerns of the stakeholders in the local community to our city leaders. My desire is to continue to be a helpful part of that important connection between the citizens of Sherman Oaks and the government of Los Angeles.  


3. What do you think are the two or three biggest issues facing the Sherman Oaks community?

Sherman Oaks residents, businesses, schools and community groups have been challenged by the Covid-19 virus. We must work together to help all of our stakeholders recover from the impacts and bring back all aspects of Sherman Oaks to an even more vibrant, stronger community. In the months and years ahead, we will continue to learn of the many ways all of Sherman Oaks has been impacted, and we will need to all help our community to recover. This will need to take the form of drives for basic necessities, fund raising, neighborhood purposes grants (NPG), return and increases to local business patronage, and continuing to check in with neighbors.

Housing, especially affordable housing, will continue to be a huge challenge for our entire state as we face the threat of losing the right to determine local zoning because of State Senate Bill 9 (SB 9) and similar bills. SB 9 would allow every single-family lot to become multi-unit (4 units) as well as permit lot division, thus allowing a potential 8 units on a typical lot with no required infrastructure improvement or guarantee of affordable housing. This is a developer’s dream and a resident’s nightmare. We must seek out better ways to provide affordable housing in our community and help the homeless as our fellow human beings rather than removing the rights of local governments to determine zoning of neighborhoods and development. While working to stop passage of SB 9 and similar bills, we will all need to generate more ideas and to work to find solutions to affordable housing in Los Angeles.

Traffic in Sherman Oaks was extremely challenging before the pandemic. With the closures due to Covid 19, many people have temporarily forgotten the difficulties. As we return to in-person work and school, traffic will surely resume. It is important that all residents of Sherman Oaks and the Valley work with Metro on the Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project to be sure we get an equitable deal of underground rail to connect with the network already established in LA. Taking shortcuts and cheaper alternatives will not serve the Valley well, and we need to be sure this long term project meets Sherman Oaks’ and the Valley’s needs while also being mindful of the environment and our air quality. Working on ways to improve vehicle traffic and safety is also ongoing, especially the commuter traffic that flows through our hillsides. 

4. What will you do if you are not elected? Will you become active in SONC or another community organization?

If I am not elected, I will continue to be a part of SONC and SOHA, as this is my community. Attending meetings and being a part of committees will continue to be a part of my life. Monitoring and speaking out on Metro’s plans for the STCP is also a necessity. I spend way too much time in Sherman Oaks to not be involved in the present and future of this great neighborhood.

5. If elected, which committees would you like to be on and why?

I would like to continue my involvement with the Outreach Committee, as keeping our citizens informed is one of the most important aspects of being part of Neighborhood Council. I am also considering the Traffic and Transportation Committee in the future, as these issues are becoming even more important in Sherman Oaks as Metro’s Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project takes more of center stage.

6. If you received a $1 million grant to be used in Sherman Oaks, what would you do with it and why?

Given a $1 million grant, I would want to use much of it for outreach to those who have fallen on hard times in Sherman Oaks due to the pandemic. From helping families with housing costs and providing them with basic necessities (food, clothing, etc.) to finding housing and providing social services, including mental health counseling, for the homeless, we need to do right by our fellow citizens who may be less fortunate.  

7. Name one thing specific to Sherman Oaks that you would say is a not-so-well-known hidden gem?

There are so many “gems” in Sherman Oaks, from many of its retail businesses to its schools to its people to VNSO Park. One not-so-well-known gem of a restaurant is MB Chinese, which is a family business with great food and affordable prices at the corner of Ventura Boulevard and Stansbury Avenue. The luncheon specials are a super value, and the owners are good people, too.

8. Summary statement
As I think about Sherman Oaks, I know it is a great place. But unless we continue to plan for the future, we will not be able to maintain its livability. By balancing carefully measured growth with our current quality of life, and by getting all our stakeholders involved in continual improvement, we will help to insure the promising future of Sherman Oaks. I want Sherman Oaks to be a place where future generations desire to live, work, and recreate - one in which all stakeholders thrive. I hope you will give me the chance to continue my service on the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council by your vote for Neal Roden, Area 7 Business Representative.


9. What skills or experience will you bring to SONC and why is it valuable?


In addition to the love and respect I have for this community in which I live, work, shop, dine, and play, I bring 19 years of Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council experience with me. Since its origination in 2002, I have had the privilege and responsibility of serving the stakeholders of SONC. I bring institutional knowledge and an understanding of how things have worked. I also bring an open mind to trying new things and ideas for others to consider. I have utilized my good organizational skills for events, and my willingness to put in some hard work also helps. At most in-person meetings I am there late, following up with people and staying to help others with the labor of cleaning and packing up. For on-line meetings, I remain focused and do my best as a moderator to be sure everyone who wants to be heard gets the chance to speak. I believe all these skills and experience serve SONC well, and in turn, help to make the public’s experience with SONC to be positive and productive.
Jeffrey M. Kalban - Area 7 Community Interest

1. Candidate Statement

As a member of the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council for the last eight years I have chaired both the Planning and Land Use Committee (PLUM) and the Vision Committee. I have successfully negotiated public benefits for the community
from developers needing discretionary approval. Three examples: a reduction of units plus a public park from the LA River to Riverside Drive along Hazeltine Ave. as part of the Sunkist development (construction 2021); the plaza at the corner of Tyrone and Ventura as part of the new Whole Foods development; the reduction of units, a public plaza and the landscaping of the median between Sepulveda and Little Sepulveda from the developers of the IVT project (construction 2021). If reelected, I will continue to fight for a greener, more walkable, more beautiful Sherman Oaks.

2. Why do you want to be on the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council (SONC)?

To contribute my skills and problem solving capabilities to the community I live and work in.

3. What do you think are the two or three biggest issues facing the Sherman Oaks community?

The Community Plan Updates, Metro’s proposed Sepulveda Transit Corridor concepts and Sacramento’s proposed re-zoning bills.

4. What will you do if you are not elected? Will you become active in SONC or another community organization?

I will stay active in Sherman Oaks community organizations. 

5. If elected, which committees would you like to be on and why?

I would like to be on the PLUM and Vision because I can offer my professional architectural experience to these committees as I have in years past.

6. If you received a $1 million grant to be used in Sherman Oaks, what would you do with it and why?

I would endow a public landscape installation and maintenance program.

7. Name one thing specific to Sherman Oaks that you would say is a not-so-well-known hidden gem?

The community’s potential.

8. Summary statement

The pressures of higher density development projects will a constant in the foreseeable future. We need to work with developers to achieve public benefits our City cannot provide. New open space and quality of life issues are not even mentioned by our civic leaders, the Planning Department, Metro, Caltrans, etc. We are on our own and we need to stand together and demand better.

9. What skills or experience will you bring to SONC and why is it valuable?

50 years of professional Architecture and Planning experience to hopefully contribute to ongoing planning issues in Sherman Oaks.
Michael Binkow - Area 7 Resident

1. Candidate Statement

I’m running to continue to serve the community on the SONC board. I’ve enjoyed the past five years with SONC, but like many am frustrated with the worsening homeless problem, increasing crime and the impending return of morning traffic. I believe we need to take bold and decisive action. We need to continue to push our elected representatives to do what’s fair and right and always hold them accountable. 

2. Why do you want to be on the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council (SONC)?
I want to continue on SONC to serve the community and help where I can—with a particular focus on all things Sherman Oaks. Sometimes we’re distracted by issues like elephant transfers and buzzy national topics which may important, but they are not focused on Sherman Oaks and its citizens.

3. What do you think are the two or three biggest issues facing the Sherman Oaks community?

The 3 major issues facing Sherman Oaks: Traffic, Affordable Housing and Traffic!

4. What will you do if you are not elected? Will you become active in SONC or another community organization?

If I am not re-elected, I will continue philanthropic activities with Make A Wish, American Red Cross and the SFV Rescue Mission Homeless Showers.  

5. If elected, which committees would you like to be on and why?

If elected, I would like to be on the Finance and Traffic & Transportation Committees.

6. If you received a $1 million grant to be used in Sherman Oaks, what would you do with it and why?

If I received a $1 million grant, I’d improve life in Sherman Oaks by hiring private traffic officers at key intersections in the morning, identify and reward developers who build low & moderate income housing and make a major investment in disaster preparedness for citizens.

7. Name one thing specific to Sherman Oaks that you would say is a not-so-well-known hidden gem?

The “not-so-well-known” hidden gem in Sherman Oaks is SONC—non-profits and others seeking money for worthy causes should present to SONC because not many do, and we have funds to invest in this community! As for a restaurant, Little Itzikawa is terrific.

8. Summary statement

Please vote for me or another qualified, dedicated candidate.

9. What skills or experience will you bring to SONC and why is it valuable?

No response submitted.

Susan A. Collins - Area 7 Resident

1. Candidate Statement

I'm Susan A. Collins and I'm running for the Area 7 Resident Representative Seat. I have proudly called Sherman Oaks my home for the past 13 years and I am fortunate to have worked here and raised my son here. I have been involved with our neighborhood council, Homeowners Association and other community interest groups for several years. As a full-time
resident, homeowner and active member of the Sherman Oaks community, I appreciate how wonderful our neighborhood is and am fully vested in ensuring the continued success of this community. I also understand the issues we're facing such as homelessness, safety, traffic, supporting local businesses, economic recovery from Covid 19, and addressing the increased air-traffic noise and pollution. I’m running because I believe we all share in the responsibility to improve our community and deserve representation which mirrors the views of our stakeholders. It will be an honor to receive your vote and to serve Sherman Oaks as our area representative.

2. Why do you want to be on the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council (SONC)?

I want to serve on our Neighborhood Council, because I love Sherman Oaks, and I know the struggles we’re facing. We’re being asked to accept transit systems that could displace residents and businesses, homeless housing projects that do not incorporate a community impact report as a benchmark of success and rezoning of residential areas to multifamily areas with drastic reductions in parking requirements. All areas of Los Angeles are seeing increased crime and gridlocked traffic and Sherman Oaks is no exception. In addition, we’re battling increased air traffic at much lower altitudes. Many times, when comments are made in support of proposed projects, those speaking in favor of the project are representatives of the developer or the non-profit hoping to move the project forward, however their affiliation with the project or community is not noted. This gives the appearance that they are stakeholders in Sherman Oaks when they are not and will not be affected by the project they’re voicing an opinion on. The vocal minority is gaining greater representation simply because the community at large is unaware or has been misled. I will work diligently with the other council members to inform Sherman Oaks community members of proposed plans in order to create greater engagement from Sherman Oaks’ stakeholders. My primary goal will be to ensure that the views of Sherman Oaks are represented in a way that reflects the ideas and best interests of our community.

3. What do you think are the two or three biggest issues facing the Sherman Oaks community?

The biggest issues Sherman Oaks facing are:
preserving our single-family neighborhoods while also addressing the growing homelessness crisis  
ensuring any transit systems that are implemented allow Sherman Oaks to maintain its family friendly character while at the same time reducing traffic congestion.
working with the FAA to reduce the amount of air traffic and pollution and increase the altitude at which planes must fly while over residential areas. 

4. What will you do if you are not elected? Will you become active in SONC or another community organization?

I have been active in SONC and our Homeowners Association for several years and I plan to continue to be active in our community.

5. If elected, which committees would you like to be on and why?

I would like to be a part of the Outreach Committee because only a few of our stakeholders are aware of the existence of the neighborhood council and I feel we are not able to accurately represent them without their participation. 
I would like to participate in the PLUM Committee because there are few decisions that affect a community more than planning and land use. I’d like to ensure that our community is provided with the opportunity to participate in projects impacting our neighborhood. 
Homeless Outreach Committee – I want to advocate for programs and policies that ensure that people living on our streets are provided with the targeted care they need, while also restoring and maintaining safety and cleanliness in Sherman Oaks. 


6. If you received a $1 million grant to be used in Sherman Oaks, what would you do with it and why?

I would like to invest In field identification units for our first responders so that when they encounter someone who is not capable of providing their name and information, our responders will be able to quickly and accurately identify them and reconnect them with their families, or appropriate service providers. 

7. Name one thing specific to Sherman Oaks that you would say is a not-so-well-known hidden gem?

The hike up to the top of Dixie Canyon. If you go straight up Dixie Canyon or around to the fire road, it is beautiful and peaceful. You can almost forget you are minutes away from the city. It’s beautiful!

8. Summary statement

In summary, I believe that I am the best candidate to serve as our Area 7 Resident Representative because I have been actively involved in our community by participating in our Neighborhood Council, our Homeowners Association and by running for City Council. I truly believe in action over rhetoric, and I have shown that I am willing to work hard for our community. I will work diligently to keep the stakeholders of Sherman Oaks accurately informed on all proposed changes. Our city leaders often say one thing and do another, and they get away with it because community members either don’t know about proposed changes or they’ve been misled. My primary goal as a member of our Neighborhood Council will be to deliver truthful, accurate and non-biased information to our community members so they are able to form educated opinions and receive representation that honors the views of our community. 

9. What skills or experience will you bring to SONC and why is it valuable?
 I recently ran for City Council and during that process I learned a great deal about many different issues affecting our community. Issues such as traffic control, finding creative ways to effectively address the homelessness crisis that are cost effective and community inclusive rather than divisive. I have researched and found ways to increase our stock of affordable housing options while maintaining our diverse landscape which should always include single family homes and apartments. I’ve learned simple ways we can all limit our carbon footprint. I fully understand the importance of addressing short term and long-term community planning, which is why it is so important that we reach as many community members as possible and make sure they are included in those plans. I know there are more equitable options for the flight paths in and out of the Burbank and Van Nuys airports that must be implemented. I know the issues Sherman Oaks is dealing with and what issues are coming up and I understand the proposed solutions. I’ve canvassed and door knocked enough to understand how most of our stakeholders feel, and that the majority of people are still not receiving accurate, non-biased information, which is crucial in order for them to be accurately represented. I will represent the views of our stakeholders and make certain that the best interests of Sherman Oaks are always the sole motivation for our council’s advocacy.
Adam Drucker - Area 7 Resident

Candidate Statement with Candidate Filing

A San Fernando Valley native, Adam has made Sherman Oaks his home for 20+ years, alongside his wife Rita, son Daschle and great dane Gus. After a successful career in IT, Adam pivoted in 2010 to pursue his passion for food, starting out as a dishwasher at Bob Morris’ Paradise Cove, ultimately becoming management. His operational expertise led him to celebrity chefs Susan Feniger & Mary Sue Milliken’s Border Grill,
launching their food truck business. In 2012, Adam went on his own with Big Mango Cafe, opening a second location in 2019, exiting the business pre-COVID. As a homeowner, Adam shares fellow residents’ concerns about traffic safety, (he lives on Beverly Glen Blvd), and as a private pilot, the impact of flight paths from our local airports. By serving on the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council, Adam hopes to champion policies that benefit residents, support small businesses, and build a deeper sense of community for residents to interact with each other and local businesses.
Michael Fishman - Area 7 Resident

1. Candidate Statement

Hi, my name is Michael Fishman, & I was born & raised in Tarzana. I currently live in Sherman Oaks with my wife, two kids, & a dog.
 
I’m involved with the community via non-profits such as The Jewish Federation and The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, where I’m currently the Board Chair.
 
I’m an entrepreneur & started my first business in college at University of Wisconsin-Madison
10 years ago. The business was a bicycle company called Pure Cycles. 
I also serve as a mentor for other entrepreneurs through University of Wisconsin & The Jewish Federation.
 
I love riding my bike everywhere & I use public transportation when I can. I believe that people are happier, healthier, & friendlier when they can get around by walking, riding, scooting, etc.
 
My biggest interests are equitable & safe transportation, green space, & entrepreneurship. My goal is for my wife & I to safely bike ride or walk our kids to school at all times of the day or night.
 
Please reach out to me if you want to get to know me better. I’d love to go on a hike or bike ride with you.


2. Why do you want to be on the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council (SONC)?

I want to be on the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council so make the city a safer and healthier place for my kids to grow up in. I want to make our streets safer and I want to help make our businesses thrive.

3. What do you think are the two or three biggest issues facing the Sherman Oaks community?

I think that the two biggest issues facing the Sherman Oaks Community is that our streets are not safe for cars, pedestrians or bikes, and the traffic is terrible. It is important to understand that car accidents are the leading cause of death for people under the age of 18.  
 
Additionally, there is not enough green space.


4. What will you do if you are not elected? Will you become active in SONC or another community organization?

If I’m not elected, I will continue my safe streets advocacy through the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. I will also continue to go attend the Sherman oaks neighborhood transportation committee meetings. Lastly, I’ll continue my involvement with LA Forward.

5. If elected, which committees would you like to be on and why?

If elected, I’d like to serve on the Traffic and Transportation committee and possibly the Public Safety, the Green & Sustainability, and the Finance committees. I am passionate about safe streets and I believe my skills running businesses over the past ten years would be very useful on the finance committee.

6. If you received a $1 million grant to be used in Sherman Oaks, what would you do with it and why?

If we received a $1M grant to be used in Sherman Oaks I would use the money to create protected bike lanes that lead to Chandler Blvd. and that lead to the Red Line at Universal. Our lack of connected bike lanes is a huge issue.

7. Name one thing specific to Sherman Oaks that you would say is a not-so-well-known hidden gem?

The biggest hidden gem in Sherman Oaks is hiking/biking up Dixie Canyon to Mulholland.

8. Summary statement

If elected I promise to listen, ensure transparency, and spend the necessary time required to make our city a happier and healthier place to live.

9. What skills or experience will you bring to SONC and why is it valuable?

My skills and experience from running businesses and being involved with various non-profits over the past ten years will allow me to contribute heavily to SONC. Here is a list of what I believe will be most beneficial:
Budgeting and accounting - I have created numerous budgets for for-profits and non-profits, and I know how to read financial statements.

Sales and marketing - I can use this experience to help generate more awareness for SONC, which I believe all neighborhood councils have a huge awareness problem. I want to help tell a story that allows our fellow community members to see that we can make a difference together.

Non-profit experience - I'm currently board chair at the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC), and I've helped work with many city officials and organizations. This relationship brokering between city community members and the government will help me as a leader on the SONC.

Small business experience + leadership - I've been an entrepreneur over the past ten years, and I've led many different organizations to success while maintaining a fun, inclusive, and healthy culture.

Valley boy - I've lived in the San Fernando Valley my entire life, and I don't intend to leave. I'm a homeowner in Sherman Oaks, and I have two kids. I'm invested in making Sherman Oaks the safest and healthiest place to live. 

Bicycle commuter and user of public transportation - my mission is to create safer streets for our community, and I practice what I preach as I'm out in our streets riding my bike daily.

Friday Night Spotlight on the Candidates:

April 16, 7:00pm Candidate Forum – Zoom Live / (recorded) Contested Seats
Area 2 Business (Rector, Shakour)
Area 5 Residential (Castaneda, Segarra-Bohlinger) 

April 23, 7:00pm Candidate Forum – Zoom Live / (recorded) Contested Seats
Area 1 – Residential (Kim, Khachatrain, Lesavoy, Mericle)

April 30, 7:00pm Candidate Forum – Zoom Live / (recorded) Contested Seats
Area 7 – Business (Pickles, Roden)
Area 7 – Residential (Binkow, Fishman, Collins, Drucker)

May 7, 7:00pm Candidate Forum – Zoom Live / (recorded)
All Candidates


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If you live, work, own property, own a business or belong to a non-profit organization, school or religious institution in Sherman Oaks, you are a stakeholder in Sherman Oaks. We hold monthly Board of Directors and various committee meetings which you are invited to attend to learn about and participate in your community. Join SONC's Mailing List today.