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.
Joy Atkinson is a private consultant specializing in developing and implementing community outreach programs. She served as a consultant for California Speaker Karen Bass, specializing in outreach to the African American press, the community at large, and with The Speaker’s Clergy Alliance.
Through her work with GeM Communications Group under the direction of former Assemblywoman Gwen Moore, Joy has prepared community outreach proposals and coordinated public relations/community outreach programs. Through Alescia Buford & Associates, Joy has worked on press relations and administrative support for Fortune 500 companies in their corporate responsibility programs. For 16 years Joy Atkinson served as Chief of Staff for Former Assemblywoman Gwen Moore.
Upon graduation from the University of Southern California, Joy started her professional career as a Deputy Probation Officer for the County of Los Angeles and became active in the Probation Officers Union Local 685. Joy recently completed her Masters Degree in Public Administration from the University of Phoenix.
Her political passion comes from lessons learned from her politically and community conscious parents, Eddie and Antoinette Atkinson. Joy’s father was the first African American to run for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council and reach the general election. At the age of 12 she learned the sorrow of losing an election but the thrill of just being in the political process.
She served as President of New Frontier Democratic Club; serves as chair of the political involvement committee of the Los Angeles African American Women’s PAC; is a delegate to the California Democratic Party; and is the Executive Director of the L.A. African American Women’s Public Policy Institute that is a public policy, leadership, and civic engagement program focusing on minority women, For eight years Joy worked with Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas on the non-profit Empowerment Congress. The Empowerment Congress is a major project involving citizens in civic engagement.
In March of 2002 she was appointed by Mayor James Hahn as a commissioner with the South Los Angeles Area Planning Commission and served as President for 1½ years. In November 2003, she was appointed by Mayor Hahn as a commissioner with the Los Angeles City Planning Commission. She became the first local planning commissioner to serve on the citywide planning commission. In June 2009, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa appointed Joy as a commissioner to the Los Angeles Police Department’s Permit Review Panel. Named by Mayor Eric Garcetti, she is now privileged to serve as a commissioner on the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners.
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.
Quyen Vo-Ramirez has been a life-long resident of the San Fernando Valley. She came to the US as a refugee from Vietnam; an infant cradled in the arms of her parents. At a young age, she was encouraged and inspired by her parent’s self-discipline, dedication to excel and hard work to improve their lives and community. They instilled in her to help, even when they may need the assistance. And they taught her to give and share, no matter how much or how little they had. This strong foundation coupled with the diverse landscape of LA has been the ethos for her advocacy, career and leadership.
Quyen served as president of the Sylmar Neighborhood Council (SNC) from 2008-2012 and was elected to the SNC in 2006. During her tenure, SNC was recognized as the Neighborhood Council of the Year, by the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners, Department of Neighborhood Empowerment and Congress of Neighborhood Councils, for supporting the coordination of multiagency efforts for evacuation and recovery during the 2008 Sayre Fire. She was instrumental in the funding of an emergency training and preparedness grant in which LAFD-Fire Station 91 and the community of Sylmar were the recipients. She served as a board of director on the LAPD Mission Community Police Council for over a decade. She has also served on the El Cariso Park Advisory Committee, San Fernando Valley Coalition on Gangs, and as an Area Planning Commissioner for the North-East Valley, appointed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
In her professional capacity, Quyen has accrued over two decades of integrated comprehensive development experience in sustainable design, urban planning, architecture and landscape architecture, specializing in design-build. She has delivered innovative and transformative multi-faceted project management in collaborative environments directing multidisciplinary teams domestically and internationally. Her cultural acumen, respect for operational procedures and hands on approach allows her to meet ambitious deliverables. She serves on the Proposition-K Regional Valley Neighborhood Oversight Committee, to advise, allocate and approve the fiscal expenditures on competitive and specific aquatic, cultural and recreational centers, appointed by Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez.
Quyen has been a guest speaker for the Congress of Neighborhood Councils, the DARE program and for the National Education Association (NEA). The first in her family to attend college. She earned multiple degrees from Occidental College and a Master from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She’s been a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, International Society of Arboriculture and several parent and teacher associations partnering with local communities and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), including serving on the principal search committee. Her family has been involved in Vietnamese Associations of LA and Orange county since she was a child. She resides on a half-acre orchard in the North Valley with her husband and children.
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.