2012 Outstanding Green Citizenship Award winner: Pico Cleaners

A shining example of outstanding green citizenship, Pico Cleaners has won this year's Outstanding Green Citizenship Award at the 2012 SoRo Festival.

Through its workplace environment, environmental practices, educational philosophy, and environmental leadership, Pico Cleaners has shown itself to be an outstanding steward of the earth. Among its many programs, Pico Cleaners helped pioneer an innovative, eco-friendly dry cleaning process that has no hazardous chemicals or petroleum products, with no negative impact on the air, water or soil.

We hope that Pico Cleaners' example will inspire other businesses and schools in the community to emulate their efforts to improve the environment of the community and the planet.

2012 Susan Bursk Community Service Award winner: Beth Ryan

The Susan Bursk Community Service Award is presented each year at the SoRo Festival to an individual in recognition of his or her dedication and service to the South Robertson Neighborhoods community. The award is co-sponsored by SORO NC and SoRo, Inc.

This year's winner was Beth Ryan, President of the Crestview Neighborhood Association. In addition to her work organizing and connecting the Crestview community, Beth has also spearheaded the Stepping Forward/Robertson Activities League program, a youth leadership development program originally created in response to gang shootings in the SORO area.

At our July Board meeting we will also recognize the other community members nominated this year:
  • Carmen Dominquez - Principal at Shenandoah Elementary
  • Doug Fitzsimmons - President, SORO NC
  • HarSimran Khalsa - Community volunteer
  • Karen Smith-Laramay - Teacher at Hamilton High School
  • Paula Waxman - Green Team Co-Chair, SORO NC

We're deeply grateful for the work all the nominees have done within SORO, and congratulate them on their nominations.

SORO NC partners with KCET to tell the stories of SORO

SORO NC is very excited to announce a new partnership with KCET's Departures series, to tell the stories of the South Robertson Neighborhoods.

This partnership marks the first time KCET/Departures is collaborating with a Neighborhood Council. 

Departures is an oral history project, an interactive documentary, a community engagement tool, and a digital literacy project in the online space, using video, images and text to bring Los Angeles neighborhoods to life.

As we begin exploring South Robertson with KCET, we are mapping the important places that reflect the shifts and characteristics of the community. And that's where YOU come in.

Click through to our KCET Departures page to read more and find out how you can get involved.

Together, we are looking forward to putting SORO on the map! Watch the project progress at kcet.org/soro

SoRo Festival 2012: Sunday June 3rd

SoRo Community Festival

Sunday, June 3 • 11am-4pm
South Robertson Boulevard between Beverlywood St. and Cattaraugus St. (just North of 10 Freeway at the Robertson Boulevard exit)

Save the date! Open to the public, the SoRo Festival features live local musical entertainment and dancing, "Camp SoRo" offering attractions and a rock-climbing wall and free arts & crafts for children, 60 vendor booths featuring neighborhood businesses and community information, and a variety of culinary delights from some of L.A.'s hottest gourmet food trucks. The theme for this year's Festival is "SoRo Sails for 15 Years." For more information, click here.

2012 Susan Bursk Community Service Award Nominations

Seeking your nominations for this  year's winner

Nominations due Friday May 11, 2012 by 5pm


Every year the community service non-profit SoRo Inc. and South Robertson Neighborhoods Council (SORO NC) partner to present a community service leadership award to a South Robertson stakeholder who has made outstanding contributions to the community.

We are trying hard to broaden our reach and capture unsung heroes in the community that we may not typically know about.  We are looking to recognize people who do good works in SORO whether or not they hold official "leadership" positions. Your neighbor, friend, colleague—even someone you've admired from afar—could be the recipient this year.

Please help us recognize our neighbors, educators, students, volunteers, business owners, employees, faith and organizational representatives and others who's extraordinary efforts broadly benefit the SORO community. Is there an unsung hero making a difference in your community that deserves recognition? Let us know!

Submission instructions are on the form, which is available for download in either MS Word or PDF format.

Tree Planting on Robertson: 100 Volunteers Needed

In 2011, SORO NC dedicated over 25% of its annual budget towards the purchase of new trees for Robertson Blvd. between Cadillac and Cattaraugus. This month, with the support of Council Districts 5 and 10 and Million Trees LA, we tackle Phase 1 with a one-day blitz. But we need your help.

Volunteer to help beautify Robertson

Saturday, March 24 • 8am to noon

Hamilton High parking lot (map)
Bring: gardening/work gloves, sun block, water in a reusable bottle, a hat, and closed-toe shoes

  • Volunteers can be of all ages and ability levels—there will be less-physical jobs, too.
  • Each tree will require a crew of 7 volunteers to be planted, so consider organizing a small team of friends!
  • Kids are welcome, as are families and groups of friends/neighbors who would like to work together.
  • Council President Wesson and Council Member Koretz will be there planting along side us.

Volunteers should register in advance with Paula Waxman at greenteamchair@soronc.org or 310-559-2552. More information can be found on our volunteer flyer.

We're planting Chinese Elms—carefully selected in collaboration with Million Trees LA—hardy, good for public spaces, and designed to grow tall with a large lacy canopy. They'll provide greenery, shade, noise reduction and make Robertson businesses more attractive.

We'll fill in all the empty tree wells with new trees and cut new tree wells into the sidewalk where none exist. In addition, we've funded a two-year watering and maintenance program, to ensure that the trees are properly cared for and can grow strong, healthy roots. We hope they'll survive beyond all of our lifetimes.

This is just the beginning of a larger cooperative effort to revitalize Robertson. We hope you can join us.

General Board meetings now at Wiesenthal Center

Starting in March, the main SORO NC General Board meetings will permanently move to the Simon Wiesenthal Center at the northwest corner of Pico and Roxbury. Parking is available in the underground garage on Roxbury. (Note that Google Maps incorrectly shows the address as the Museum of Tolerance).

It's been over four years since the last time we moved our meeting location. We're grateful to the administration and staff of Hamilton High for their hospitality (and flexibility) over the years, and we thank the Wiesenthal Center for their kind offer to host our meetings.

Only the General Board meetings will move; all other committees will continue to meet at their usual locations, listed at right.

Extended: Take the City Budget Survey by Monday, Feb. 27

UPDATE: The deadline for taking the survey has been extended to noon on Monday, Feb. 27.

One of the most important functions of the NC system is to provide the Mayor with suggestions and feedback on the City's budget. So let the Mayor know what YOUR priorities are by taking our short online Budget Survey today.

Last year, NC input did make a difference. This year's survey results will be presented to the Mayor on Saturday, March 10 at 8:30am in City Hall. If you'd like to attend, RSVP with Joe Hari at joseph.hari@lacity.org or call 310-479-3823. More info on Budget Day can be found here.

Wanted: Director for this year's SoRo Festival

Update: the Festival has found a new director.

This year will mark the 15th anniversary for the SoRo Festival and SoRo, Inc. (our partner and lead organizer) is looking for someone new to take charge.

It's is well organized, funded, and has an established set of people ready to help. We need YOU to oversee the process and manage all the details. Preparations have already begun, so we need someone that can jump in.

You will meet neighborhood leaders, open dialog with business owners, and work with some exceptional volunteers in the community. It’s a great way to get yourself some exposure, build your management skills, add to your resume and do something that is really important for the community. No prior Festival experience is necessary.

You can find more detail about the position here.

Postponing the 2012 NC elections

Our bylaws establish four-year, staggered terms for our Board members, which means half of the Board seats would normally be up for election in May 2012. However, some years ago the City Council passed an ordinance giving the City Clerk sole authority to conduct NC elections--and then this year failed to fund those elections for 2012. 

At the City Council's request, the City Attorney has prepared a draft ordinance that would cancel the 2012 NC elections outright and automatically extend Board member terms to 2014. Many feel that this action would undermine the credibility of the NC system and subvert the rights of voters.

The Neighborhood Councils have one other option available: a selection process. It differs from an election in that it is not anonymous. For example, signed ballots or a town hall where people vote by show of hands would both qualify. At our October meeting, SORO NC voted to amend our bylaws to allow (but not mandate) a selection process if an election cannot be held. You can see that language here (scroll to the end of the PDF).

At this point, we do not know if we'll be having a City Clerk-conducted election in 2012, but we'll keep you up to date as events unfold. If you have an opinion on the proposed ordinance pro or con, we urge you to contact your City Council member immediately.

2011 Town Hall: Renewing Robertson Rec Center

The Robertson Recreation Center has been a fixture of the community for years, but the building itself is decaying. Fortunately, Proposition K created substantial funding for park projects. Councilmember Koretz and his staff are working to use some of those funds to revamp our Rec Center. It's still very early in the process.

Since the project affects so many in our community, SORO NC will hold a Town Hall so that you can hear directly from City planners and engineers, ask questions, raise concerns, and voice support.

SORO NC Town Hall

Monday, November 7 • 7:00pm
Robertson Rec Center at Preuss & Airdrome (map)

The event will be the first chance to the community to learn about the proposed scope of the project and see early concept sketches (SORO NC will continue to hold smaller public meetings throughout the process to keep everyone in the loop).

You can read more about it at our Town Hall page. Hope to see you there!

Update: we'll continue to have public meetings about the Rec Center, so be sure to sign up to be notified via email, Facebook, or Twitter. And if you have thoughts about what you'd like to see in a new Rec Center, email us at parkideas@soronc.org.

Temple Beth Am Pressman Academy expansion

District 5 Councilmember Paul Koretz will be holding a public meeting to discuss the proposed expansion of the Pressman Academy. 

Tuesday, October 11 at 6:30pm

CD 5 District Office (822 S. Robertson Blvd., Suite 102)

This is a great opportunity to discuss your views, concerns, and thoughts on the project. If you can't make it to the meeting, the Councilmember invites you to call, write, or email his office. More information in his meeting announcement.

More information about the project can be found here and here.

Green Living: free environmental workshops for all

Beginning next month on October 13th, environmental experts from Sustainable Works will begin the first of three six-workshop series conducted at three different venues convenient to SORO residents: Westside Pavilion (Oct 2011), Fairfax High School (Oct 2011), and Temple Isaiah (April 2012).

These classes are being offered for FREE via a $45,000 grant secured by Council District 5 through LADWP and the US Department of Energy.

The six-week workshops meet once a week for 90 minutes. Over the course of the six evenings, you will learn how to reduce your impact on the earth by living more sustainable lives, as well as practical information for how to reduce your energy and water bills, reduce your waste and make better consumer choices regarding transportation and food. Each attendee will get lots of free goodies such as aerators, low-flow showerheads, CFL's, and tire pressure gauges. In addition, each evening, Sustainable Works will conduct a free raffle of compost bins, worm bins, rain barrels and many more items. Download the workshop flyer for more information.

For dates, times, and addresses and to pre-register for any series visit:

Westside Pavilion

Starts Thursday October 13th • 7-8:30pm • runs for six Thursdays
Register online or at 310-458-8716 ext. 2

Fairfax High School

Starts Tuesday October 18th • 7-8:30pm • runs for six Tuesdays
Register online or at 310-458-8716 ext. 2

Temple Isaiah

Starts Monday April 16th • 7-8:30pm • runs for six Mondays
Register at 310-458-8716 ext. 2

Council Member Paul Koretz of Council District 5 said:
"Every day, we make decisions that can have a positive or negative impact on the earth, with every one of us playing a vital role. I hope these programs can show all of us—our neighbors, friends and relatives, that we no longer need to feel overwhelmed by ballooning water and energy bills. Although we face diminishing resources, our communities must be empowered by the knowledge that our simple day-to-day choices can have a direct impact on our present and future lives."

Don’t pass up this wonderful opportunity to learn how you can reduce your impact on mother earth. Sign up for a class and share this information with your neighbors and community. We'll all be better off for it.

6th Annual SORO Peace Picnic

2011 Peace Picnic

Celebrate the United Nations "International Day of Peace"

A FREE neighborhood celebration for the whole family at the Robertson Rec Center, 1641 Preuss (Robertson at Airdrome), co-sponsored by South Robertson Neighborhoods Council.

Sunday, September 18th
1:00pm - 4:00pm

  • Gourmet lunch donated by local restaurants
  • Live music by neighborhood musicians
  • Make-and-take crafts for kids
  • Fun activities and snacks

Bring a blanket to sit on. For more information, go to peacepicnic.org, or call 310-431-7152.

Town Hall meeting with the Mayor

Town Hall with Mayor Villaraigosa

If you live, work, play, worship, own a business on the westside—or simply have an interest in the City of Los Angeles—you are cordially invited to lively Town Hall with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to discuss the city's priorities for the next two years. 

Monday, September 12, 2011 6:30pm

Felicia Mahood Senior Citizen Center Auditorium
11338 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025
Free parking and complimentary light refreshments

The meeting is being sponsored by the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils (WRAC). Please see the attached flier for further details.