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Valleywide Focus

Realtor to Head Panel on Ventura Blvd.

August 19, 1993|SCOTT GLOVER

For the second time in as many months, a Sherman Oaks realtor has been elected chairman of a citizens panel overseeing implementation of a 20-year plan to overhaul Ventura Boulevard.

Jeff Brain was elected chairman by an 8-3 vote of the 13-member Ventura Boulevard Specific Plan Review Board Tuesday, three weeks after an earlier election was overturned because it allegedly violated a state meeting law. Two board members were absent from Tuesday's vote.

"This shows that the members of the board support the direction that I'm headed, and the proposals I've made as being reasonable solutions to the problems on Ventura Boulevard," Brain said after the vote. "Now we can go full force ahead in implementing some of these programs."

Brain, 34, president of the Sherman Oaks Camber of Commerce, was appointed to the board by Los Angeles City Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky when it was created in 1991.

In his role as chairman of the board's budget and finance subcommittee, he has publicly questioned several key elements of the plan to control growth, ease traffic and enhance neighborhoods along the 17-mile strip.

Most notably he has suggested that the plan's $222-million budget could be reduced by half by finding cheaper alternatives to street widening proposed to ease traffic along the boulevard. he also favors spreading the cost of the improvements among all property owners as opposed to relying on fees collected from new developments.

Though Brain was buoyed by the victory, Gerald A. Silver, who challenged the first election saying it violated the Brown Act as it was not on the meeting agenda, said he is alarmed by Brain's election.

"I'm very unhappy with the results of the election because it puts the Chamber of Commerce in charge of the plan review board and I think that is really going to hurt its credibility," the veteran homeowner activist said. "It's not the plan review board anymore, it's the plan revocation board."

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