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Braude Proud of Van Nuys Projects

October 28, 1994

* Your Aug. 26 letters to the editor column contained a letter questioning my representation of Van Nuys.

The portion of Van Nuys to which the letter referred has been part of the 11th Council District for only about three years. Many of the problems that exist there I inherited from the council members who preceded me as Van Nuys City Council representative.

To solve them, my staff and I have been working closely with the Van Nuys business community, the Van Nuys Homeowners Assn. and its president, Don Shultz, and with the Van Nuys police.

One area where we have made real headway is dealing with motels on Sepulveda Boulevard where there was evidence that prostitution was occurring. I asked the Los Angeles Planning Department to review the operation of these motels to see if they were being run in violation of the law. After a careful review and public hearings, it was discovered that three of them were, and were responsible for conditions that contribute to crime and community deterioration.

Recently, the Los Angeles City Council approved tough and binding conditions on these motels, which will result in an end to the presence of prostitution and in their operation as businesses that contribute to the community rather than detract from it.

I am very proud of this innovative accomplishment, which resulted from close cooperation between my office, the homeowners, the planning department and the police. I believe it will serve as a model for use in other parts of the city where this problem might arise.

Another community problem to which I have responded directly is the proliferation of pawn shops in Van Nuys. Because of concerns by the Van Nuys Homeowners Assn. that pawn shops can be magnets for crime, I proposed legislation to limit the number and placement of pawn shops in Van Nuys, which has a high concentration of them.

A third Van Nuys achievement of which I am proud is the Delano Street Community Impact Team Project, which my office originated and coordinated. Because of gang, drug and other problems on Delano Street, just off Van Nuys Boulevard, we put together a unique team, made up of police, the city attorney's office, the building and safety department, apartment building owners, residents and public school representatives.

Through mutual support and a series of no-nonsense meetings, we succeeded in reducing these serious problems, cleaning up the street and instilling a new community pride of ownership in the buildings' owners and among the street's residents. This program, too, has already been emulated by other City Council members for application in their districts.

I have also worked hard to stimulate citizen participation in local government in Van Nuys, and my office is always open to neighborhood residents who have complaints, inquiries or suggestions about how we can make Van Nuys a better community.

The participation and involvement of community residents is crucial to the well-being of any community. Those who are willing to work with their elected officials to help solve a community's problems are in a much better position to comment on the quality of life in their community than are those who simply criticize.

MARVIN BRAUDE

Los Angeles

Braude represents the 11th District on the Los Angeles City Council.

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