Studio City Neighborhood Council: 2018 EmpowerLA Award Winner for the South Valley

In 2017, the Studio City Sustainability Committee put on two small business seminars. The first workshop, held in March 2017, was the 4th annual “Grow Your Business: Free Solutions for Your Business Needs.” The workshop presented resources for business owners, workers, students and employees who need access to free City, State and County services to start and grow their business. Speakers included Jesse Torres of the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz); Monika McKnight, of the Office of Finance; and Joshua Gonzales and Eric Lara, of ICON CDC’s South Valley BusinessSource Center. SCNC also invited civic leaders to sponsor the event. Sponsors included AD46 Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian, SD18 State Senator Robert Hertzberg, CD2 Councilmember Paul Krekorian, County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl of the 3rd District, the Studio City Branch Library, and the Studio City Business District.

SCNC’s second small business seminar took place at the Studio City Library in August 2017. This workshop focused solely on what the difference is between operating a business as a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, and/or corporation. The event was co-hosted by the South Valley BusinessSource Center and featured a presentation by USC Gould School of Law Professor Michael Chasalow, who runs the USC Small Business Clinic.

In 2017, SCNC also hosted their 6th annual Green Living Fair, a sustainability event held in partnership with over 25 organizations including other nearby Neighborhood Councils, sustainability nonprofits, and City, county and state agencies. The event draws about 700 people yearly.



Greater Toluca Lake
GTLNC’s 6th annual Earth Day/Taste of Toluca event drew over 1,000 people to learn about environmental stewardship, ecology, sustainability, water conservation and their part in actively promoting a healthy living environment. The free event was fully inclusive and included live music, an eco-friendly fashion show, and over 70 vendor booths demonstrating how residents, businesses and stakeholders can work with City Departments to make a meaningful difference on issues like resource consumption, urban forestry, water recapture and reuse. Featured guests included Ed Begley, Jr., CD4 Councilmember David Ryu, and Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian. The event garnered coverage from media outlets like Discover Los Angeles, the Daily News, Tolucan Times, and Patch.

GTLNC has also started a Homeless Coalition in partnership with other community leaders like their local LAPD Senior Lead Officer. The Coalition was founded to assist and welcome all members of the Greater Toluca Lake community – including those without roofs over their heads. Activities include hosting events like a Supportive Housing Panel, to provide expert answers from LAHSA, United Way, A Community of Friends, and LAPD to help dispel fears and turn them into facts.


Lake Balboa
Lake Balboa has been extending their free community CPR/AED trainings beyond their Neighborhood Council boundaries. In 2017, 737 people got CPR certified at one of their events – some of whom came from as far away as Long Beach, Pasadena, Santa Clarita, Koreatown, and Oxnard. LBNC’s Health and Public Safety Committee has also partnered with a leading Socal American Heart Association training provider to provide free community CPR training in other parts of the Valley, such as Northridge and Reseda. Goals for 2018 include conducting trainings in Spanish and providing free training to more than 1,000 Angelenos.

Sherman Oaks
Sherman Oaks’ thoughtfully-constructed newsletter is a major part of their outreach. Beginning with 3400 subscribers in February 2017, the newsletter has grown to a subscription base of over 17,500 people as of March 2018. Though the newsletter serves to increase transparency and engagement with SONC’s activities, one key to the newsletter’s popularity is that it is doesn’t just focus on Neighborhood Council news, but is instead an comprehensive one-stop source for community news, with 50-60 community interest articles being published monthly.


Tarzana has one of the only Animal Welfare Committees in the Neighborhood Council system. In 2017, that committee undertook several projects in 2017 to help save the lives of dogs, cats, and other pets across Los Angeles:

  • Initiating and helping bring to fruition, with the help of City Council President Herb Wesson, the takeover of a formerly abandoned City building to create a new no-kill animal shelter to be run by a nonprofit organization, the Jefferson Park Animal Shelter in South LA.
  • Helping Woodland Hills animal rescue Rockin’ Rescue obtain the zoning variances needed to stay in operation  
  • Working with the office of CD3 Councilmember Bob Blumenfield on a motion to amend current City ordinances so that a variance was no longer required for animal rescues operating in a commercial zone
  • Working with volunteers from the West Valley Animal Shelter to participate in mobile adoption events and to repair and improve shelter facilities, with the aid of Recreation and Parks and General Services


Valley Village
Valley Village enhanced their Planning and Land Use process to increase participation by residents, developers, the local City Council office, and City Planning. The hope was that expanding participation in the planning process would improve understanding of those who are affected by local land use decisions, and foster better communication from the initial planning phase through construction to sale/rental. The process overhaul included:

  • Creation of a Valley Village Design Guide to help communicate and protect the character of the community
  • Development of a Valley Village parcel map
  • Requiring those seeking project approval to invite stakeholders within 500’ of the proposed project to attend the Board hearing on their project
  • Formation of a Valley Village Vision Committee to represent NCVV’s positions during the ongoing Community Plan update process
  • Implementing a Planning & Land Use Committee structure that represents a range of interests: 1 developer, 1 real estate agent, 1 community activist, 1 preservation specialist, 1 City Planning staffer, 1 condo association president, and 1 architect.


Van Nuys
The Van Nuys Neighborhood Council has made it their goal to submit more CIS than any other Neighborhood Council in Los Angeles. To date, they have submitted 46 CIS statements.


Neighborhood Commissioner Leonard Shaffer accepted the 2018 South Valley EmpowerLA Award on behalf of the Studio City Neighborhood Council

Neighborhood Commissioner Leonard Shaffer accepted the 2018 South Valley EmpowerLA Award on behalf of the Studio City Neighborhood Council