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ERNC Postpones ‘Erotic’ Massage Discussion, Votes on Bylaws, School Library Funding

The agenda for Tuesday night’s meeting also attracts some curious comments from former ERNC member Robert Guevara.

The Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council voted unanimously Tuesday to change its bylaws and create a new “at-large” seat for so-called “factual-basis” stakeholders in the council’s elections, effectively seeking to limit the ability of people who don’t reside in Eagle Rock from contesting or voting for more than a single post on the 19-seat body.

The ERNC board also voted to appoint its president from among elected members rather than continuing with the past practice of getting the president elected directly by voters. Appointing the president is common among other neighborhood councils, ERNC Secretary and Sub-District 7 Director Michael Blanchard said in a brief presentation at the council’s first monthly meeting in the New Year.

The vote to create a single seat for factual-basis stakeholders was a response to the highly contested Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council elections last October in which hundreds of non-residents voted. Their ability to vote for all 19 seats was, strictly speaking, a violation of the council’s bylaws, which clearly state that only Eagle Rock residents can vote for posts not reserved for stakeholders, Blanchard said.

The Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, which conducted the Oct. 6 vote, inexplicably chose not to enforce the bylaw, Blanchard told the board meeting at Eagle Rock City Hall. Shortly after the elections, Los Angeles City Councilman José Huizar called for a review of stakeholders in neighborhood council elections, proposing that election authorities, assisted by the city attorney and with advice from neighborhood councils, examine, redefine and recommend who should vote in local elections.

Funds For School Library

In another significant move, the ERNC voted 7-3 to provide $1,500 in funds to the Eagle Rock Elementary Foundation Library, housed in the Eagle Rock Elementary School & Magnet Center. The funds will be used to install solar shades and murals in the decade-old library as well as help pay for catered food that the school sells during its annual fundraising event in May, EREF President Eric Wong told the meeting.

ERNC Business Director Gregory Luke was among the three board members who voted against granting funds for the school library. Luke argued that it seemed unfair to other schools in the neighborhood who might not be aware of the ERNC’s action and may well be as needy of funds as Eagle Rock Elementary.

'Erotic' Massage Therapy

A much-anticipated discussion and possible action on how to regulate “erotic” massage therapy businesses in Eagle Rock was postponed until next month’s meeting because a representative from the Los Angeles Police Department’s vice unit was not available to make a presentation on the issue.

Immediate Past President Michael Larsen, however, presented an overview of massage therapy businesses in Eagle Rock. While some of them are genuine, until a few years ago the neighborhood had some 26 massage parlors advertised online as providing “erotic” services. The LAPD has been unable to shut them down because the massage therapy industry is controlled by state authorities, Larsen said.

7-Eleven

The ERNC board also deliberated on a proposal to develop a 7-Eleven convenience store at 4515 York Blvd. by a group of people who had been to previous ERNC meetings thrice before—twice when the board did not have a quorum. Besides the lack of a quorum, the proposal was also stuck before the ERNC because the entrepreneurs had not done the necessary outreach to inform neighbors within 500 feet of the proposed store that it would sell beer and wine.

'I Don’t Blame Them'

Hours before Tuesday’s 7 p.m. meeting, the local Boulevard Sentinel newspaper posted a set of unprecedented online comments about the ERNC meeting agenda. Written in an e-mail on Monday, Jan. 7, to both the Sentinel and Eagle Rock Patch by former ERNC Secretary Robert Guevara, some of the comments were unusually acerbic.

“I stopped by the ER Branch Library and photographed the Agenda since there was not any link online that I could locate,” began the comments. “After seeing the content, I don’t blame them.”

In a comment about funding for the Eagle Rock Elementary School Library, Guevara remarked that “usually this school gets most of [the] school gifts from ERNC,” and that although he’s unaware of the “current situation,” Larsen and former ERNC board member Peter Hilton were among council members “with children in this school.” (Larsen didn’t vote for the $1,500 award to the EREF, and left the meeting room before the vote.)

Guevara’s final comment about the ERNC meeting—click here to read the rest—was particularly biting. “Still considering whether to show up or skip this,” he wrote.

As it turned out, Guevara not only showed up but stayed until the end of the meeting.

Tim Ryder January 10, 2013 at 06:38 PM
The new ERNC board held an excellent meeting discussing a variety of issues relevant to our Eagle Rock community. I personally attend in order to express my opinion on the agenda topics as well as observe first hand the back and forth, give and take of political dialogue that goes into the formulation of 'motions' which the board then votes on. These are just regular folks trying to sort out some pretty complex situations and I recommend my fellow Eagle Rockers attend if just to meet your own Sub-district Director who is volunteering their time and doing their best to try to represent your sub-district. Next meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 5th.
John January 11, 2013 at 01:14 AM
According to Google, Eagle Rock is proud to host: 4 dog groomers 7 grocery stores 7 car dealers 7 gas stations 8 pharmacies 8 nail salons 10 hair salons 6 medical marijuana dispensaries 21 restaurants 26 massage parlors Looks like Eagle Rock isn't the best place to stake your claim, whatever business you are in. While the ERNC wants to limit massage parlors and marijuana dispensaries, these businesses bring revenue and customers who patronize other businesses in the community. While car dealers, groceries and pharmacies bring in the most money, the sheer number of massage and marijuana businesses would indicate substantial demand for their services. Eagle Rock should be more pro-business and less hostile to existing businesses. If you want to help the poor girls in the massage parlors, offer them English lessons, immigration counseling, disease prevention, health services, checkups, and information about where and how to get help if they are abused, imprisoned, threatened, or forced to work for sub-standard wages. If you don't like their signs, or the looks of their customers, be sure to make an equal and fair comparison to how other businesses are investigated and opposed by the ERNC. Who makes money if these businesses are closed? No one. Who will move in to these vacant spaces? Pawn shops? Gun Dealers? I ask the ERNC and CoC to give all businesses equal opportunity.
Anonymous Nimby Crank January 11, 2013 at 01:34 AM
These numbers are completely wrong.
AFG January 11, 2013 at 06:12 PM
Undesirable business is still undesirable which in turn makes ER trashy. Who really wants ER to become a ghetto just so more people shop at the market? Seems like cutting your nose to spite your face.
Tim Ryder January 12, 2013 at 07:05 PM
Great post, John! It's good to see the numbers once in a while. We also have over 30 Churches, 20 Corporate Banks and variety other businesses that choose to make Eagle Rock their home. No one complains about their numbers. Your question of who gets to choose what businesses we allow here is a valid one. The medical marijuana witch hunt is a perfect example of how certain businesses can be arbitrarily targeted by a small but viscous group of crusaders who make up stories, slander the business, harass its members and manipulate a small neighborhood council into passing motions against the will of the majority in the community. The election we just had was my attempt to shake up the ignorant close-minded stance of the Larsen council and I'm happy to say that the new board has a fresh group of more practical, reasonable, forward-thinking members who will actually respect numbers, statistics and hard data as evidence not just the fear-mongering bloviating from overpaid politicians like Jose Huizar.
Timothy January 12, 2013 at 10:31 PM
I'm still confused about where folks are finding all of these erotic massage places. I googled "erotic massage 90041" and got nothing. Why isn't there a focus on attracting the types of businesses that will enhance our community rather than persecuting the ones that are here paying rent. Are there documented problems with the massage parlors? If so wouldn't that be an issue for LA county health dept.? Why are we focusing on this?
Timothy January 12, 2013 at 10:33 PM
Do you want more driving schools? Autobody shops? Another mediocre Vietnamese restaurant? Look at Old Town, Sunset Junction, hell even York and Ave. 51 is booming....
Anonymous Nimby Crank January 12, 2013 at 10:44 PM
Please list the 20 Corporate Banks, 6 MMD's and half the massage parlors to add any credibility to this post. Once again complete exaggeration to try and illustrate your point.
Anonymous Nimby Crank January 12, 2013 at 10:50 PM
"The medical marijuana witch hunt is a perfect example of how certain businesses can be arbitrarily targeted by a small but viscous group of crusaders who make up stories, slander the business, harass its members and manipulate a small neighborhood council into passing motions against the will of the majority in the community." Tim Ryder That is because they are ILLEGAL!!! I don't understand why this is so hard to understand. The Constitution is plain: Federal law is the “supreme law of the land” (Article VI, section 2). Whether or not the Federal authorities enforce it, is up to them. Luckily, they enforced it in Eagle Rock.
AFG January 13, 2013 at 02:50 AM
@Tim - this is not the first time you have referred to the "will of the majority of the community" of Eagle rock regarding medical marijuana. When was the community ever poled for their opinion. I have lived her all my life, have family and friends here, etc. and none of us were ever asked if we wanted MMDs here. Where do you get your information about the will of the community? Just curious.
Anonymous Nimby Crank January 13, 2013 at 02:55 AM
@AFG- He just pulls it out of thin air to try and further his cause, he's says things that can be easily disproved, like saying there are 30 banks in Eagle Rock. I don't think he's really all that smart.
AFG January 13, 2013 at 06:54 AM
@Nimby - But that just hurts their cause!
Timothy January 13, 2013 at 03:55 PM
@Nimby & AFG, so what happens after all of the MMD's and massage parlors are run out of town? More auto body shops?
Anonymous Nimby Crank January 13, 2013 at 06:17 PM
"Look at Old Town, Sunset Junction, hell even York and Ave. 51 is booming...." This is a quote from you a few lines up. Does the fabric that make up these areas consist of rampant proliferation of Massage Parlors and Pot Stores?
Timothy January 13, 2013 at 06:34 PM
@Nimby: no, my perspective is that there should be a proactive strategy to attract the kinds of businesses that would improve Eagle Rock rather than a reactive move to drive out the businesses that have found their way here. Also, what's wrong with a massage parlor if nothing illegal is going on? Why is ER attractive to these types of businesses and not better restaurants, shops, bars etc.?
Tim Ryder January 13, 2013 at 06:47 PM
@"AFG" I don't know who you are or who you work for or even if you live in Eagle Rock so even though you questions may be valid but you are not because you are just an anonymous pseudonym. But to educate folks like you the Patch did conduct a poll and only 4% held your ignorant opinion concerning cannabis. http://eaglerock.patch.com/articles/should-marijuana-be-legalized-take-our-420-poll#photo-9441674
Tim Ryder January 13, 2013 at 06:55 PM
@Nimby At some point we're going to have to ask the Patch to have only real people post on these boards because there is something very peculiar about conducting dialogue with an anonymous pseudonym. You can take 'pot' shots at me and question what I say but who are you? Why don't you put your real name here? Why hide behind an kooky anonymous phrase, it's so hard to take you seriously, know what I mean?
AFG January 13, 2013 at 07:53 PM
@Tim - you are side stepping the issue of a poll of ALL Eagle Rock residents by focusing on the use of my initials. The point is that there has never been a comprehensive polling of ALL ER residents, so saying that the "majority" is for this or that is not valid. Which of my ignorant opinions are you referring to? The fact that I said I was curious about where the facts came from? Asking that question is ignorant? Regardless of my choice of using initials it is still a valid question, asked nicely, etc. I believe that you live in ER because you said so, so because I use initials you question my residence? Regardless of where I live (I wouldn't publish my address anyway even if my name were here) my question is still valid. I would actually like to know what ALL of ER thinks. Unfortunately the Patch poll is not relevant since there are so many people who do not use the computer and/or do not read the Patch. I am talking about an unbiased polling of ALL residents. What could that hurt? Wouldn't you like to know what the will of the residents is? That would be beneficial to us all.
AFG January 13, 2013 at 07:55 PM
Also, Tim, if memory serves (I have not gone back to verify this) you seem only to take exception with initial/pen name users when they disagree with you. Why?
Michael Turmon January 13, 2013 at 09:10 PM
To your first question -- the massage joint at the mini mall on the north side of Colorado at Argus, near Dominos, is a rub and tug. If you open your eyes as you drive around town, you'll see others. As with the pot shops, there are several issues. One general thing is, they are here because other burbs in the area have excluded them. So in effect, ER could become the rub and tug headquarters of the whole area. Many residents and business owners have something else in mind. Related to this, for the most part the rub and tug business is not locals. So they may find they have nobody in the community to stand up for them. Finally, there is this weird tendency of businesses to flock. Melrose has clothing shops. Old Town has national specialty retailers. Fairfax has Ethiopian restaurants. ER could specialize in rub and tugs. Is that what we want?
Timothy January 13, 2013 at 09:16 PM
@Michael: Certainly I do not want ER to be the rub n' tug capitol of LA. But again, here's my point: WORK MORE ON ATTRACTING THE KIND OF BUSINESSES THAT WILL IMPROVE ER, NOT ONLY ON CHASING POT SHOPS AND MASSAGE PARLORS OUT OF TOWN. Get it?
Anonymous Nimby Crank January 13, 2013 at 09:29 PM
@Tim- You confuse legalization with zoning. People don't want MMD's in their RESIDENTIAL neighborhoods. Why do you continue to miss this point? Why do you continue to propagate for a complete proliferation of MMD's in residential neighborhoods, when you know they disrupt the lives of people who live in those neighborhoods? Please answer the question. Here is an opportunity to give yourself some credibility. It doesn't matter if I'm anonymous or not, people read this and know who you are.
Anonymous Nimby Crank January 13, 2013 at 09:50 PM
Tim- Go ahead and ask the Patch to do whatever you want them to do, It will probably turn out like all the other things you want. Not gonna happen. As far as who I am, why don't you concentrated on more of what I have to say? Would it make you feel better if the letters on the screen said "Mortimer Schwartz" or " Lisa Pembernickel?" You seem to only take exception to who is against you. You seem to have no problem conducting dialogue with Duff Strong or John. Everyone sees that you, trying to find out who is who is just a diversion tactic so you don't have to explain any of you stances. If it makes you feel better you can call me Paul Franklin or Aster Paige, what does it matter? I'm a guy who thinks your ideal system is whack at best and that should be good enough, and you are a guy that wants to ruin neighborhoods where people are trying to put down roots and raise families and don't want their kids exposed to all the crap that comes along with a pot store in their neighborhood. Does this sound about right?
Marcus January 14, 2013 at 01:48 AM
ER needs to make sure these massage businesses are proper and legal. If not, they are just plain and simple 'massage parlors' or 'rub-n-tug-shops. I don't understand why some here wish protect these illegal activities? A decent massage spa is a good addition to the community, but if a business pedals sex on the side, the redients are going to object. So again, I support those efforts by ERNC to close any business that creates illegal acitivty, and thus destroying the neighborhood quality of life.
ERHS Moms January 14, 2013 at 01:59 AM
Maybe because it looks a little shabbier than areas where nicer establishments want to pay rent? Also, perhaps it is the condition of the buildings? If you've ever asked to use the restroom in any of ER's restaurants (not Camillo's) you can see how old they are - some think that makes them look unclean (when they might not really be).
Michael Turmon January 15, 2013 at 02:24 AM
There's room for both approaches (go after unwanted, fly-by-night, illegal business as well as support positive business). The community has been very welcoming of many new businesses, and in general very supportive of long-term favorites. Personally, my favorite new business is Organix, or Rock Dog and Cat, depending on which day you ask me. I doubt the rub-and-tugs will have a lot of people sticking up for them at community meetings, because they really don't return much to the community. What's surprising about this?
Observer February 02, 2013 at 01:12 AM
Marcus you make a good point about shutting down the illegal business and keeping the ones that operate legitimately, but I have to also agree with Timothy here because ha has great points. I have read all these post referring to the massage parlors as "brothels" and "rub and tug" shops and it isn't quite fair to the business owners. Actually it's quite offensive when people keep referring to the Asian massage brothels. I am certain that most are legitimate. If I were an Asian business owner in Eagle Rock I would take great offense to these accusations. Let's say another massage parlor opened right next door to one of the current establishments but was run by Germans, Italians, or Norwegians, Everybody would be praising the new business in Eagle Rock. The same people criticizing would probably pay $250 for a massage because it would be considered European. People need to stop categorizing these establishments as bad and their patrons as sleaze bags. You are being racist and condemning some honest business owners before they have been found guilty of a crime. If I were an honest business owner reading all these hateful things about my business, customers, and culture, I would be contacting the ACLU faster than you could say ERNC. First legally convict them of a crime then pick on the bad ones and leave the honest ones alone.

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