General SORO NC News

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.

2012 NC Board Election

2012 Neighborhood Council Elections

Come out and vote!

SORO NC has a staggered election system, so roughly half the seats are open every two years. In this election, the NC has seven residential district seats, two at-large seats, two business seats, two organization seats, and one school seat open.

List of Candidates

Update: Final Election Results

The final voting results are listed below; there were no challenges to the results. Elected candidates are designated with a green checkmark. You can view the final canvass of votes, including vote totals.

Our thanks to all the candidates, the many local volunteers who helped organize the election, our partners at EmpowerLA, and Shenandoah Elementary for hosting the polling. Most importantly, thanks to the nearly 300 voters who helped choose a strong and active Board.

Download a list of the candidates and their statements. You can see the SORO NC zones here.

All SORO stakeholders aged 15 and above may vote in this election, although factual basis stakeholders may only vote for At-Large seats (see FAQs below). 
For a full description of candidate and voter eligibility, visit the EmpowerLA website

Zone 1 Representative

1 seat open, 4 year term

Kevin Gres

Kevin Gres

Fancy rhetoric is never enough—changes come through thoughtful action. I have lived in Zone 1 my entire life. I am 24 years old and currently work as a Federal Judicial Law Clerk for the Central District of California. I enjoy basketball, reading, fishing, hiking and spending time with family and friends.

As Zone 1 Representative, I will build stronger relationships between SORONC and its residents and make what is already a great community into an even better one.

Like you, this community is my home and I want Zone 1 to have a voice.

Vote Kevin Gres for SORONC Zone 1 Representative. Thank you for your consideration.

Burrad Marsh

Burrad Marsh

As a resident and stakeholder in the South Robertson District for seven years, I am running for Zone 1 Representative as I believe strong community engagement is the cornerstone of a functioning society. I am excited to take an active role in the improvement of our neighborhood and planning for the challenges of LA’s limited funding sources. We need to team with our city partners to address crumbling sidewalks and roads, parking fees, emergency preparation and improved public safety.

I am a Television Executive with years of experience with budgeting, financial analysis, business contracts, and collaborating to get results. I would appreciate your vote for me, Burrad Marsh, to serve on the SORO Neighborhood Council. It’s pronounced “Brad” but you call me whatever you want—as long as you vote for me!

Together let’s keep SORO green and clean.

Zone 3 Representative

1 seat open, 4 year term

Beth Ryan

Beth Ryan

My name is Beth Ryan and I ask for your vote for Zone 3—Crestview! I moved to LA nine years ago and within four months joined the Crestview board and have served as President ever since.

Together, we created a Crestview Chat for neighbors to stay connected and organized a neighborhood block party every other year. I serve on the SORO Outreach Committee and would like to help other unorganized areas connect with their residents.

In 2006, I collaborated with SORO, local elected officials, LAPD and community leaders to create the Robertson Activities League in response to three La Cienega Heights youth being shot and killed by gang activity.

I have continued this work—creating Stepping Forward—and want to create a Youth Committee on SORO so that we can continue to reach out to and protect the students who live within La Cienega Heights.

Zone 5 Representative

1 seat open, 4 year term

Bette Billet

Zone 7 Representative

1 seat open, 4 year term

Ryan Iyengar

Ryan Iyengar

My name is Ryan Iyengar, and while I currently rent in the South Robertson area, I would love to eventually own property in this great neighborhood. I’d like to get more involved in making the area even better, and would love to get to know the community and contribute towards our shared goals of communal well being.

Martin Jon Liberman

Martin Jon Liberman

I am a lifetime resident of Soro. I was educated in the community (Shenandoah, Pasteur Jr. High and Hamilton High School). I attend a local synagogue. After college I went into the Financial Services Industry. I have been a Manager of Insurance Underwriting, a Director of Marketing and Administration, a Director of Compliance, a Credit Union Treasurer and a President of a Credit Union. I have many years’ experience sitting on the Boards of two Credit Unions.

From 2004 – 2010 I served as a member of the South Robertson Neighborhoods Council. I served 5 years as Vice President or Acting President. For that period I was Chairman of the following committees: Executive, Public Safety & By-Laws. I was also a member of the Land Use Committee and the Outreach Committee. I was actively involved with the RAL Program, the Soro Festival, WLAPD Transportation Committee, WLAPD CPAP, LA County Mental Health Advisory Committees, Hamilton HS Public Safety Advisory Committee, LA Parks & Rec Advisory Committee for the Robertson Activities Center and various civic groups concerned about the harmful effects of one way traffic on Pico Blvd and Olympic Blvd as it applied to local businesses.

My focus for the next four years is quality of life in our community. Specifically Public Safety, programs for both young people and for retirees, and the economic revitalization of the Soro Business Community. I have worked hard for our community in the past and I want the privilege of serving you for the next four years. Please Vote on October 28th for Martin Jon Liberman as Zone 7 Representative.

Troy Richardson

Troy Richardson

Troy Richardson is a current SORO NC Business Representative, holding the position for a little over a year, and also a member of the Outreach Committee. Being both a business owner and resident in the SORO community, Mr. Richardson has a commitment to the well being of the community on more than one level. A graduate of the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, he works as a performing musician, music journalist, and writer in marketing and advertising as well as owning his own musical instrument company. Mr. Richardson’s experience with people in all walks of life make him an excellent representative for the diverse community found in the South Robertson area.

Zone 8 Representative

1 seat open, 2 year term

Ellen Lanet

Ellen Lanet

My name is Ellen Lanet and I grew up very close to SORO. My grandparent’s lived in SORO’s Zone 6. Our family spent time at the Robertson Park, local temples and many of the unique businesses on Pico & Robertson Blvds that are still thriving today. During my adult life I have lived in 2 different SORO zones over 26 years. As a newlywed, I lived 2 years in the western edge of Zone 1 in a garden apartment. Afterwards we built our first home outside of SORO. We returned to SORO a couple years later to buy a lovely 2 bedroom Spanish home in the eastern portion of Zone 1, where we started a family and enjoyed 10 years of living within walking distance to shops & grocers on Pico and the neighborhood park & library on Robertson. My older daughter attended Guru Ram Das daycare. My younger daughter attended Gan Yaffa, Children’s World Nursery School and Hamilton HS Humanities magnet. Eventually we moved 12 blocks to Zone 8 and have been here for 14 years continuing to enjoy our neighbors; the local businesses; the schools, parks & library; and recently the new Metro Expo line.

In Los Angeles, SORO is a rare family oriented neighborhood with a variety of diverse religions and ethnicities working well together: to be neighborly; maintain local mom & pop businesses; create a safe walking community; and support its local public schools, parks and library. I am a local architect specializing in custom residential and small institutional projects throughout Los Angeles. I have experience working well with Planning & Building Departments to facilitate clients to build thoughtful and contextual designs. I’ve enjoyed volunteering at the public schools my daughters attended and at Shenandoah ES as a literacy coach through Koreh-LA. I want to contribute viable solutions to our local neighborhood concerns and support our unique qualities to build a stronger community.

I ask you for your vote to represent Zone 8 on SORO Neighborhood Council.

Zone 9 Representative

1 seat open, 4 year term

Paula Waxman

Background: I have lived in Beverlywood since 1980. I served as Vice President of Sothebys Auction Firm 1971-1987; Curator, Norton Simon Museum 1987-1990; Director, Cramer Art Foundation 1990-98 and taught art and world history at University High School, retiring in June, 2008. I have two children. My husband is a television producer/writer.

Currently: I represent Zone 9 and co-chair Soro’s Green Team. I became involved in social activism as a teacher. In matters regarding Beverlywood, I contribute articles to their HOA newsletter. In matters relating to the environment, our team has written grants, organized tree plantings, e-waste drives, urban fruit harvests, supported environmental legislation, built and managed a community garden, and co-sponsored environment activities with local schools and local religious organizations.

Zone 10 Representative

1 seat open, 2 year term

Michoel Bloom

Michoel Bloom

I am an Orthodox Jew with a long history of community involvement.

I spent 10 years volunteering and leading the all Volunteer Hatzolah Emergency Medical Service. During that time I have built working relationships with our local political figures, Law Enforcement and Fire Department.

I have experience with organizing large scale community events and Safety Fair’s.

I am also extremely active in my Synagogue, Bais Bezalel, and am very in tune with the issues facing our community.

I look forward to helping make our community a role model for the rest of the city.

Armando Roman

Armando Roman

As a resident of South Robertson and previous appointee to the council, I have a vested interest in the area and its residents. If re-elected, I would do my very best to represent the residents in my neighborhood to the best of my abilities. During my time on the council, I have been active in the debate and decision-making that creates a vibrant local government that reflects the concerns and desires of its community. I will continue to participate in local activities that foster collaboration with neighbors, businesses, and places of worship, including the annual South Robertson Festival and Peace Picnic. I hope to further unite the diverse groups within South Robertson, and create specific and attainable goals for the coming year, including maintaining South Robertson’s business-friendly and family-oriented environment.

Business Representatives

2 seats open, 4 year terms

Susan Burden

Terrence Gomes

Terrence Gomes

Terrence Gomes is a current Boardmember and the Treasurer. Terrence has assisted local officials to implement policies and to direct additional resources to our community that address quality of life issues and public safety. He is a member of the Land Use, Public Safety, Budget, and the Executive Board. He is also a member of CPAB and CERT.

Terrence believes our youth are our future and is active in supporting and promoting programs at our local schools. He also volunteers his time to find ways to help our at-risk youth stay out of gangs throughout the community.

Terrence is a strong supporter to revitalize the Robertson Corridor and bring back business to the area through his efforts on the Land Use Committee.

Support Terrence Gomes’ efforts to continue making our neighborhood safe, providing programs to our youth, and cultivating economic growth in our neighborhood.

Re-elect Terrence Gomes, Business Seat

Organization Representatives

2 seats open, 4 year terms

Aron Klein

Hector Garza

Hector Garza

No one looks after your interests like you do yourself. That philosophy compels me to get more involved with my neighborhood. I’ve been a homeowner in zone 5 of Reynier Village for the past 11 years. For the past six years I have served as treasurer of the Reynier Village Neighborhood Association. As an Organizational Representative i hope to be able to contribute to endeavors that will enhance the residential and commercial appeal of the South Robertson area.

At-Large Representatives

2 seats open, 4 year terms

Bethie Kohanbash

Bethie Kohanbash

My name is Bethie Kohanbash and I have been living in South Robertson NC for past 22 years. As a mother and an active member of the community, I am passionate about community and community services. Currently, I have founded a non-profit mental health clinic in order to help community and families who are in need of services but due to financial difficulties are unable to receive assistance. I will love to serve our community in which we can all feel equal and safe.

Vote for me for At-Large Representatives.

Thank You for your consideration.

Garr Montalbano

Maya Rozov


David Mattis

David Mattis

My name is David and my goal is simply to be involved.

One of my passions is inter-faith dialogue, which is vital and rewarding in a multi-cultural neighborhood such as ours.

Furthermore, if as a community we focus on education and poverty-elimintaion, we will be ahead of the game.

School Representative

1 seat open, 4 year term

No candidates

Election FAQs

What does the NC do?

The NC advocates and represents our community’s wants and/or needs to local government officials and entities; builds partnerships with government so that government is more responsive to local needs; fosters a sense of community; and decides how to spend the City’s annual financial allocation ($37,000 this year) for priority community activities and projects.

Who can vote?

Any SORO stakeholder aged 15 and above, who lives, works, goes to school, or is a member of an organization within the South Robertson Neighborhoods boundaries. Additionally, anyone who declares a stake in the neighborhood and affirms the factual basis for it may vote for open At Large seats.

How do I vote?

Location and qualifications to vote

The election will be held at Shenandoah Elementary on October 28th between 10am and 4pm. You just need to verify your stakeholder status through simple written self-affirmation on election day at the location.


This year, SORO is also providing the opportunity to vote by mail (VBM). You can request a VBM ballot online here, or download the VBM application, fill it out, and return it via mail, fax, or email (instructions are on the form). Note that whether you register online or send back the PDF, your request must be received by 5:00pm September 28th.

Once your application is received and verified, a final ballot will be mailed to you 10 to 25 days before the election.

Factual basis stakeholders

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. Note that factual basis stakeholders may only vote for At-Large seats.

Who can run for office?

Anyone age 18 and above who qualifies for one of the open seats.

Becoming a boardmember is a great way to get involved in making your community a better place.

What are the responsibilities of being a Boardmember?

At a minimum: help in outreach to community members; represent our community to government officials; make decisions that will affect our community; and participate in at least two meetings each month (General Board meeting and committee meeting of your choice). The more you put in, the more rewarding the experience (and the more you help your community).

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

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.

SORO NC Founded

On August 13, 2002, the City of Los Angeles's Board of Neighborhood Commissioners officially certified the South Robertson Neighborhoods Council as the 40th NC in the City. The initial yearly budget for each NC was $50,000.

BONC's determination letter

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 or call 310-479-3823. More info on Budget Day can be found 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.

Update: SORO NC Boundary Adjustment Hearing, Take 2

View SORO NC annex areas in a larger map
As we've previously posted, SORO NC is petitioning the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners (BONC) to adjust our borders to include two adjacent, currently unrepresented areas. One of the areas to the southeast is being contested by Mid-City NC.

Due to procedural problems, BONC was unable to make a final decision at the July 5th hearing, so they will be reconsidering the petition on Tuesday, August 2.

This time, the public hearing will be at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center (4718 West Washington Boulevard).

BONC will once again be hearing public comment, so please come out to support our application.

SORO NC Boundary Adjustment Hearing

View SORO NC annex areas in a larger map
SORO NC is petitioning the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners (BONC) to adjust our borders to include two adjacent, currently unrepresented areas. The map at right shows the two areas in dark green.

We are one of two neighborhood councils interested in the area south of Venice, between La Cienega and the 10 Freeway. (Our bid for the western area is uncontested and has the support of the Westside NC).

BONC will hold a public hearing to consider both petitions on July 5th at 6pm at SmogShoppe (2651 S. La Cienega Blvd.). It is incredibly important that SORO supporters are there in force.

SmogShoppe has generously provided light refreshments and free valet parking, so come a bit early to enjoy one of LA's most beautiful event venues.

Land Use Committee meeting location change

Beginning in January of 2011, the SORO NC Land Use and Economic Development Committee will meet on the third floor of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, 1399 S. Roxbury Drive (map). The building is across from the Museum of Tolerance on the corner of Pico and Roxbury. The meeting time won't change, however: it'll continue to be at 6:30pm.

Seating of the New SORO NC Board

At our General Board meetiing on Thursday, May 20 (info at right), SORO NC will welcome its newest Board members: Ben Bellet, Martin Epstein, Ryan Gaines, Brian Kite, Rachel Lester, Michael Lynn, and Victor Mitry. Congratulations to them, and to all our re-elected members.

More information about the election—including the new 2010 Board list—can be found on our full 2010 Election page.