Since becoming a resident of the San Fernando Valley in 1971 Leonard Shaffer has volunteered in many capacities. His participation in neighborhood organizations began in 1972 when he first joined the Tarzana Property Owners Association and he has continued to be an active member of the Board of Directors.
He became interested in the idea of neighborhood councils after attending a series of conferences sponsored by the USC Public Participation Project prior to the passage of the 1999 Charter. He attended several city-wide meetings presented by the new Department of Neighborhood Empowerment for the purpose of formulating the plan mandated by the Charter. In 2002, as chair of the formation committee, he led the effort to form a neighborhood council in Tarzana. In January 2002 the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners certified the Tarzana Neighborhood Council. Leonard is currently the Chair of the Tarzana Neighborhood Council.
Leonard expanded his participation from Tarzana to the City of Los Angeles. In 2004 at the Congress of Neighborhoods the USC Collaborative Learning Project conducted a session that explored the idea of a permanent Congress of Neighborhoods. That session evolved into a series of meetings that existed until January 2005 at which time USC announced that they would no longer be able to support the program. Neighborhood council members present voted to continue meeting with the goal of the creation of a continuous city-wide Congress of Neighborhood Councils. Leonard was chosen to facilitate the new group. In February 2005 he participated in the formation of what eventually became the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Coalition, a group that he chaired almost continuously until January 2012. In 2006 he was appointed to the Neighborhood Council Review Commission where he served as a member of the Commissions Executive Director Search Committee, as chair of the Budget Committee and a member of the ad hoc committee on grievances. He is a participant in the Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils and has been a member of its executive committee.
Leonard retired from the practice of law after 35 years as a Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney. He keeps active in the law field by helping fellow ham radio operators as a Volunteer Council for the American Radio Relay League. He has taught several classes concerning criminal justice at the University of Phoenix.
Debbie Wehbe is a native of Hollywood, an educator, businesswoman, and community leader. She attended local public schools prior to receiving her education degrees from USC. As Owner and Educational Leader of the Hollywood Little Red School House preschool, Debbie moved to expand through 6th grade in the 1980’s (renaming it, The Hollywood Schoolhouse.)
The 1990’s brought drugs and gang wars to Hollywood, and the Schoolhouse served as the safe place for neighbors to meet. The Hollywood Sentinels Neighborhood Watch was born, and Debbie and her neighborhoods patrolled nightly for four years. Community clean-ups, tree plantings, and youth programs followed. The Hollywood Beautification Team grew out of this time, and Debbie is a one of its founders.
Debbie is co-owner of F&D Properties, a real estate company that focuses on empowering people by helping first-time buyers purchase homes, and low-income apartment dwellers remain in their apartments. She continues to devote her energy to this business to seek equity for the residents of Los Angeles.
In 2002, Debbie certified the 1st neighborhood council in Hollywood, the Central Hollywood Neighborhood Council, and went on to serve as President for 9 years, and Treasurer for 2 years, while serving on the Planning, Land Use, and Management Committee throughout.
Debbie’s commitment to service is at her core. For 10 years, she held the position of Commissioner on Private Education for the State of California, advising on education programs and legislation that affect California children and families.
Her service to the City and County of Los Angeles includes numerous Advisory Committees and Task Forces. She Chaired the Commission on Prop K Funds that provide for our parks, and brought Redevelopment monies, and established Social Services Networks as the Chair of the Housing and Social Needs Committee of the Hollywood Community Redevelopment Agency.
She is appreciative of the honors and commendations received for her volunteer work, yet stays focused on her Rotarian Foundation, “Service Above Self.” 2007 brought about the opportunity to give back by chartering a new Rotary Club, the Los Angeles Cedars Rotary Club. She has served as President and continues to serve on the board.
As Commissioner for the Central Area, Debbie is honored to serve the Neighborhood Councils of District 5 and 6 and the City of Los Angeles.
As a lifelong resident of the Glassell Park community, Commissioner Darrett-Quiroz has a track record of activism that includes service on the Glassell Park Neighborhood Council for 11 years, and as one of the founders of the Glassell Park Neighborhood Council. She also served the Glassell Park Improvement Association as president for two years. She led her community’s fight to save the community’s swimming pool from closing down and worked closely with Rec and Parks management, including City Councilmembers and the Mayor to put the pool expenses back in the Mayor’s budget. Under her leadership, the funding was restored and the pool remains open. Commissioner Garrett-Quiroz also played a key role in establishing the Glassell Park Community Garden at 3304 Drew St., once the epicenter of gang activity in the community. The garden has resubmitted the confidence of neighbors and has brought the small community closer through garden meetings, garden clean ups, potlucks and community harvesting. What was once a center of gang activity that evoked violence and fear has now shifted to a center of growth, hope and, most importantly, community.
Susan Avakian-Koroghlyan comes to the Commission as an active member of her community in Sunland-Tujunga. She currently owns and operates her own mortgage lending firm out of Montrose, CA and is dedicated to helping people become homeowners. With a B.A. in Liberal Studies and a background in teaching, Susan believes her patient and educating working manner is what has made her stand out, and made it possible to help people through the difficult process of purchasing a home.
In recent year, after working with her local client base, Susan has come to learn about her community and its many challenges. The evolution of her own community is what encouraged her to become more civically involved, and in 2016 she was voted as the Treasurer of the Sunland Tujunga Neighborhood Council where she is still currently serving her community. Ms. Avakian-Koroghlyan is also very active within the Armenian community throughout the Foothills and is serving a second term as a board member of the Crescenta Valley Armenian Center.
Ray Regalado comes to the Commission with an extensive human relations background. Currently, Mr. Regalado supervises the Dispute Resolution Program Act (DRPA) activities of the 12 agencies Community and Senior Services contracts with. These agencies provide community based dispute and conflict resolution at the local level. Additionally, specific, agencies also provide civil court, day of hearing, mediation opportunities to allow opposing parties to attempt resolving their dispute before presenting their case in front of a judge. Finally, specific program agencies provide restorative justice opportunities for first time criminal offenders. Mr. Regalado provides programmatic guidance to affect successful outcomes by the County’s DRPA contract organizations.
Since 2001 Ray has worked in the area of hate crime victim support, hate crime awareness training and assisted in the compilation of data for the annual Los Angeles County hate crime report. In addition, Mr. Regalado is a trained mediator in conflict resolution. Ray has experience working with at risk youth, community organizing and leadership development. He coordinated the activities of the Gang Reduction and Community Engagement (GRACE) project to address youth gang violence in the Harbor Gateway community of Los Angeles. Ray has also worked as a Field Deputy for First District Supervisor Gloria Molina. Ray has an MA in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution.