General SORO NC News

2015 Outstanding Green Citizenship Award winners: Karen Laramay & Cristina Paul

Karen Laramay and Cristina Paul were this year's winners of the Outstanding Green Citizenship Award at the 2015 SoRo Festival.

Karen Laramay is Head of the Science Department at Hamilton High School. All one needs to do is to walk into her lively classroom to know that she is a friend of the earth and is guiding her students to accept personal responsibility for caring for their environment in the years ahead.

As the SORO NC Green Team's representative on the Hamilton High School campus, she has co-sponsored our yearly E-Waste Drives, hosted the committee’s meeting, and worked with the Green Team on the Hamilton High School Environmental Science Project, in which students produced a town hall meeting featuring a panel of eight experts to debate the pros and cons of Proposition 37, the California ballot measure that would have required labeling of genetically engineered foods.

As a result of her sponsorship of the student Environmental, Garden, and Vegetarian Clubs, there is a flourishing garden at Hamilton High School which focuses on organic vegetables and California natives. “The Hami Garden” is supported and maintained by over 150 student and neighborhood volunteers.

Cristina Paul noticed that the trees along Venice Boulevard, which runs through the center of SORO NC's Zone 6, had been cut down due to the construction of the Expo Line. She went door to door with her petition asking people to help bring back these beautiful and environmentally important trees. The City will ultimately replace the trees that they had removed, but Cristina pressed on. She forged a partnership between the Helms community, TreePeople, and The Koreatown Youth & Community Center to donate and care for neighborhood trees and orchestrated a tree-planting event in her own neighborhood. Her work brought the neighborhood together, motivating them to plant 26 additional trees within the Helms community.

Her petition became the gateway to form The Helms Neighborhood Association. Since then, HNA has conducted freeway clean ups to keep the neighborhood looking beautiful. Cristina continues to motivate and lead her community by example, cleaning up graffiti and being one of the first to plant a low water, California native garden and install a grey water system and rain barrels.

As always, our hope is that by honoring environmentally-friendly businesses and individuals like Karen and Cristina, it will encourage others to emulate their work by doing their part in caring for our environment.

See all the past winners of the award.

Seating the newly elected Board

At our General Board meeting on Thursday, June 19, SORO NC welcomed its newest Board members: Giovanni Ferdinand, Beth Hirsch, Sherilyn Correa, Leo Portal, Victoria Hope Martin, and Aimee Zeltzer. Congratulations to them, and to all our re-elected members.

More information about the election—including the new 2014 Board list—can be found on our full 2014 Election page.

2014 Outstanding Green Citizenship Award winner: The Green Truck

As the first and only environmentally sustainable Organic Gourmet Food service business, The Green Truck was this year's winner of the Outstanding Green Citizenship Award at the 2014 SoRo Festival.

Located in Los Angeles, they operate a solar powered production kitchen and alternative fuel catering trucks. 

  • The Green Truck only uses certified organic ingredients, without harmful pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMO). Going organic also keeps these harmful pollutants away from plants, animals, and waterways.
  • To cut down on harmful transportation byproducts such as greenhouse gas CO2, The Green Truck buys locally grown ingredients whenever possible.
  • Their solar powered commissary adds whatever clean energy they don't use to the city's power supply.
  • Even cleaning products are environmentally friendly, ensuring that we are not polluting our oceans with unnecessary chemicals.
  • All of their trucks run off of vegetable oil previously used by The Green Truck and other food service companies in the Los Angeles area. By using recycled vegetable oil, they not only help to keep grease from clogging the city's drainage systems, but utilize a fuel that creates no harmful emissions to the environment and definitely does not add to our dependence on foreign oil.
  • All food packaging containers, bags, napkins, and utensils are made from bio-compostable products rather than plastics and Styrofoam. This process generates zero trash and utilizes sustainable technologies that minimize pollution in the production process.

As always, our hope is that by honoring environmentally-friendly businesses and individuals like The Green Truck, it will encourage others to emulate their work by doing their part in caring for our environment.

See all the past winners of the award.

2014 Susan Bursk Community Service Award winner: Barbara Kaye

The Susan Bursk Community Service Award is presented each June 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 the SoRo Community Foundation, Inc.

This year's winner was Barbara Kaye, a one-of-a-kind, phenomenal art teacher at Castle Heights Elementary School with an impact on hundreds of children, teachers, and parents. As a volunteer for many years, Barbara has donated thousands of hours in beautifying the school, teaching art of many genres, creating plays and displays, and infusing the curriculum with artistic elements.  She patiently engages children who think they can’t paint and helps them discover that they can, much to their surprise and delight.  Barbara is an inspiration to both teachers and students.

At our June Board meeting we will also recognize the other community members nominated this year:

  • Saran Kirschbaum — Community volunteer and docent for the Ballona Creek Wetlands
  • Karen Smith-Laramay — Head of the Science Department at Hamilton High
  • Barry Levine — Long-time Chair of SORO NC's Education Committee
  • Terrence Gomes — Treasurer of SORO NC and Co-Chair of this year's SoRo Festival
  • Doug Fitzsimmons — President of SORO NC

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

See all the past winners of the award.

2014 SoRo Community Festival: June 1

SoRo Community Festival

Sunday, June 1 • 11am-4pm
South Robertson Boulevard between Beverlywood St. and Cattaraugus St. (just North of 10 Freeway at the Robertson Boulevard exit)

This year’s theme is “Many Neighborhoods Create One Great Community!”

Free and open to the public, the SoRo Festival features food trucks, a live music stage, tree adoption, and over 60 vendor booths highlighting neighborhood businesses, community information and a variety of merchandise. It also offers “Camp SoRo” Kids Zone with attractions, a rock-climbing wall and free arts and crafts for children.

In addition there will be a separate Public Safety Pavilion hosted by the SORO Neighborhoods Council with many exhibits and demonstrations by “First Responders” such as LAPD and LAFD.

For more information, visit our full Festival page.

Meet the Candidates Forum

On Sunday May 18th you have the opportunity to elect your representatives to the Board of the South Robertson Neighborhoods Council (SORO NC). These representatives will be empowered to make votes on behalf of the community during their 2-4 year terms, so it’s really important to make sure that you are electing people who share your vision for the neighborhood you want to live in.

In order to make it easier for you, there will be a Meet the Candidates Forum where you will be able to hear from each of the candidates running for election, ask questions, and make your decisions about who should represent your voice on the NC.

SORO NC Meet the Candidates Forum

Thursday May 15th, 6pm
Simon Wiesenthal Center
1399 Roxbury Drive, 90035
(Northwest corner of Pico and Roxbury)

The candidate forum will run directly before a meeting of the Board at 7pm, and we encourage you to stay and see the Board in action.

Come out to vet the candidates so you can make an informed choice, and to thank them for their enthusiasm and volunteer spirit in devoting time to make SORO a better neighborhood for us all.

Download the agenda

Candidate Information Session

On Thursday March 20th at 6pm, we invite you to attend a Candidate Information Session where you can hear more about what is involved in serving on the SORO NC Board, meet current Board Members, and have your questions answered. The information session will run directly before a meeting of the Board at 7pm, and we encourage you to stay and witness a Board meeting to see if it’s a fit for you.

Candidate Info Session

Thursday March 20th, 6pm
Simon Wiesenthal Center
1399 Roxbury Drive, 90035
(Northwest corner of Pico and Roxbury)

Represent Your Community

Run for a seat on the SORO NC Board


Candidate filing is now open for the 2014 SORO NC Elections to elect representatives to serve on the SORO NC Board starting in June 2014. Interested candidates have until April 3rd to file online.

So why might you want to sign up?

Serving on the neighborhood council board is a great way to give service to your community, and to plug into a city-wide movement of Angelenos who are using their time and voices to try to shape the City that we want to live in. Each neighborhood has its own particular opportunities and challenges, and nobody knows that more than the people who live, work, study, and worship there.

Serving on the SORO NC Board is definitely a commitment of time and energy, but one that pays dividends in making you feel more connected to your community of neighbors. SORO NC can be an avenue to bring your ideas for local projects to fruition, or to help shape the neighborhood that you want to see. It is a true opportunity for civic engagement.

For more information, visit our Candidates page, attend the Candidate Information session on March 20, or download the flyer.

Final NC Election Results

Our elections results have now been certified.

New to the SORO NC Board: Kevin Gres (Zone 1), Beth Ryan (Zone 3), Ellen Lanet (Zone 8), Michoel Bloom (Zone 10), Hector Garza (Organization Rep), Bethie Kohanbash and David Mattis (At-Large Reps).

Returning incumbents: Bette Billet (Zone 5), Jon Liberman (Zone 7), Paula Waxman (Zone 9), Susan Burden and Terrence Gomes (Business Reps).

Again, our thanks to all the candidates—and especially to all of you who voted. 

We'll be seating the new Board at our November 15th General Board meeting. We hope you can join us.

Preliminary election results are in

SORO had a fantastic turnout for the NC election: we had as many more voters than we did two years ago, with only half the number of open seats. Our thanks to everyone who came out and voted, and a special thanks to the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment and the many volunteers who made the event a success.

We have posted preliminary election results on our election page. Note that these are not yet finalized or certified. 

Barring any election challenges, we currently plan to seat the new Board at our November 15th meeting. 

Come out and vote!

SORO NC Election: Sunday, Oct. 28 10am-4pm at Shenandoah Elementary

Elect a new SORO NC Board

On Sunday, our community will choose boardmembers to fill roughly half the SORO NC seats. These are the people who will represent our neighborhood within the City, and we encourage every SORO NC stakeholder to vote.

Polls will be open Sunday from 10am – 4pm at Shenandoah Elementary (map). 

In this election, the NC has seven residential zone seats, two at-large seats, two business seats, two organization seats, and one school seat open. You can see the SORO NC zones here.

Who can vote?

All SORO stakeholders aged 15 and above may vote in this election—regardless of immigration status—although factual basis* stakeholders may only vote for At-Large seats. For a full description of candidate and voter eligibility, visit the EmpowerLA website

More information, including a full list of candidates, is available on our 2012 election page.

If you don't live, work, go to school or are a member of an organization in SORO, your stakeholder status may also be established by means of declaring a stake (or interest) in the neighborhood and providing the facts to support that declaration.

Meet the Candidates

Meet the SORO NC Candidates

Thursday, October 18 • 7-8pm (starts promptly)
Simon Wiesenthal Center, 3rd Floor (map)
Underground parking available (enter from Roxbury Dr.)

This is your chance to meet and talk with all the SORO NC candidates before the October 28th election. We'll provide the food and soft drinks—you provide the questions.

Held just before our regular October Board meeting (which we're moving back an hour), the Forum will be a great chance to get to know the people who hope to represent you in the Neighborhood Council. 

For more information about the candidates and voting, visit our Election 2012 page. A brief agenda is also available.

Meet the Candidates Forum

This is your chance to meet and talk with all the SORO NC candidates before the October 28th election. We'll provide the food and soft drinks—you provide the questions.

Held just before our regular October Board meeting (which we're moving back an hour), the Forum will be a great chance to get to know the people who hope to represent you in the Neighborhood Council. 

For more information about the candidates and voting, visit our Election 2012 page. A brief agenda is also available.

NC Elections: Candidates Wanted!

Elections for the SORO NC board are coming up in late October, and we're actively seeking candidates.

Serving on the SORO NC Board is an excellent way to become more connected with the community that surrounds you. It helps you reach out beyond your immediate neighborhood, help change the things you recognize need changing, and give back to help improve local lives. It can be a meaningful and empowering way to make Los Angeles feel a little less like a sprawling metropolis, and a little more like a small town.

Candidate filing is open between now and September 28.


We have organized two informal eat-and-greet meetings so interested candidates can come and meet Board members and learn more. We encourage anyone who may be interested to come and say hello. You never know if you may be inspired!

Candidate Information Sessions


Monday, 10 September, 7pm
Robertson Recreation Center, Child Care Room
1641 Preuss Road, 90035

Sunday, 23 September, 4pm
Robertson Recreation Center
1641 Preuss Road, 90035

You can download a flyer here, and information about which seats are empty, how to file, and what the important dates and deadlines are can all be found on our Candidate information page.