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Wednesday, Oct 4, 2023


miscikowski/sfvbj/24″/dt1st/jc2nd By DANIEL TAUB Staff Reporter Starting this month, the San Fernando Valley has a new representative in Los Angeles City Hall Cindy Miscikowski, who worked as a planning aide and chief of staff to predecessor Marvin Braude for nearly two decades. As the new 11th District councilwoman, Miscikowski represents a district that includes parts of Van Nuys, Encino, Tarzana and Woodland Hills. The district also stretches over the Santa Monica Mountains to encompass part of West L.A. and all of Pacific Palisades and Brentwood, where Miscikowski lives. Miscikowski, 48, was the only new council member to be elected this year. She recently met with editors and reporters at the Business Journal: Question: The 11th District is split between the Westside and the San Fernando Valley. Is there a problem in juggling your Valley half vs. your Westside half? Answer: I guess I’ll find out, but I don’t think so. I went to a meeting last night in Mountaingate and that was right between the two areas. And in that community, there were folks from Woodland Hills there, from Tarzana, from Brentwood, from Pacific Palisades all folks who found some common issues in the Santa Monica Mountains and the conservancy and how it purchases land and what’s going to go on with development. And it really was bringing them together. And there is much more joining together, at least with neighborhood associations, that I think has been effective in terms of their lobbying efforts. There clearly is a drumbeat going on that the state of the Valley is different, and one of the areas I want to focus on is Van Nuys. Q: What are you looking to do there? A: Well, I would like to really restore the area. Clearly, you’ve got the Van Nuys (Civic) Center project going on that Marvin (Braude) started. You’ve got the (site of the former General Motors) plant. So you’ve got some energy and excitement looking at the region. I’d like to concentrate on Van Nuys Boulevard next. In the past, there actually was a tentative exploration of a redevelopment project there. And for a lot of reasons that was abandoned. But it might work if one were to go up and down the boulevard, and maybe not even up and down the boulevard to start, but pick a block or two, a block north or south of the Civic Center, where you’ve got abandoned buildings. (I will) really talk to property owners, and say, “What would it take? What would you like to see? What would make things work for you, make you want to come back in and buy a building here?” And literally work on it maybe on a block-by-block basis start with a model block. And not that I’ve got all the solutions, but would a specific plan work? Would some of the incentive programs work? Q: So do you mean a redevelopment area possibly for Van Nuys? A: Not (Community Redevelopment Agency) redevelopment. But why not take a block, a nice big block or two, find out who all the property owners are in that block, and look at the conditions? Around the boulevard there are shuttered, abandoned buildings. And why are they abandoned? Let’s find out who owns them, let’s find out what incentives might attract somebody there. See if you can work on them, a small segment at a time, and really see if it works, and see if it can be replicated. Van Nuys used to be the center of the Valley, with the government and with the business center. And I still remember when I first started working with Councilman Braude in the early ’70s, the biggest problem with Van Nuys Boulevard was that it was still the “cruise” street. Everybody cruised Van Nuys Boulevard. “American Graffiti” that was the image. And it was an interesting spot where people gathered. It’s not now. Is Warner Center the Valley identity? Or can we create a Valley center in Van Nuys as the Valley identity? Q: As development activity picks up again, how do you plan to approach those conflicts that will inevitably arise between business and homeowner groups? A: One of the projects that I pointed to on the campaign stump was on Ventura Boulevard at Hayvenhurst (Avenue), and it’s the last project I worked on. This is the Encino Market Place project. A Ralph’s market is there. Rick Caruso is the developer. Rick came along and said, “Cindy, I think I’ve got a project that will work. I am willing to meet with you and the community.” But he came in September and said the bank was only going to give him three months to get all the entitlements he needed specific plan changes, zone changes and an (environmental impact report). If you know business in the city and process in the city, you would have said it’s impossible. I said we could make it happen. And we did. So again, it’s looking at each project on a case-by-case basis. What do they need to make things work? Q: Are you concerned about recent delays in the Valley rail extension? What’s your sense of that, and what role will you play as that moves forward? A: That’s probably the most difficult question you’ve asked. I don’t have any kind of easy fix. The (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) is such a mess. It really needs to be revamped. I don’t know where and how it ought to be revamped. No one is happy with it. Q: Is the 2007 date for construction to begin too late? A: A commitment to a real date is what I think is important. (The year) 2007 sounds a little bit far off. Ten years from now doesn’t sound bad to me, but I would like to see a real commitment to a line, to a date to get things underway, and not continually revisiting that date.

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