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East Valley Focus

VAN NUYS : Ventura Blvd. Panel to Elect Chairman

August 17, 1993|SCOTT GLOVER

Members of a citizens panel charged with overseeing the planned overhaul of Ventura Boulevard are slated to vote for a chairman tonight, after last month's election of a Sherman Oaks realtor was overturned because it allegedly violated a state meeting law.

Jeff Brain was elected chairman by a 7-4 vote of the 13-member Ventura Boulevard Specific Plan Review Board. One seat was vacant and one board member was absent from the July 26 vote.

But the election was overturned this month after an Encino homeowner activist charged that it was not listed on the meeting agenda and was therefore in violation of the Brown Act, which stipulates that business conducted by the board must be put on an agenda at least 72 hours before its meeting.

While the review board's power is limited to setting priorities for the city department's work on the plan to limit growth, ease traffic and enhance neighborhoods along the 17-mile strip, recommendations by the politically appointed panel carry weight at City Hall.

Gerald A. Silver, president of Homeowners of Encino, said the process by which Brain was elected was unfair because the board did not properly notify the public and allow for public comment. The election was not included on the agenda due to an oversight, said a city Planning Department staffer who works with the board.

Silver, who disagrees with several of Brain's ideas for implementing the 20-year, $222-million Ventura Boulevard Specific Plan, said he has approached several board members in an effort to dissuade them from voting for Brain.

Brain is a realtor who handles property along Ventura Boulevard and is president of the Sherman Oaks Chamber of Commerce. Brain, who agreed to the new vote, said he believes that the results of tonight'selection will be no different from the last.

Brain, who is now acting chairman of the panel, said, "I think people have faithin me that I can represent both business and homeowner interests."

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