Propelled by their concern on a variety of community issues—from traffic to public safety to overdevelopment— voters headed to the polls on Sunday to select their candidates for the Del Rey Neighborhood Council.
Tobyann Mandel, a 35-year resident of Del Rey who is also on the board of the Del Rey Residents Association, said she was tired of developers buying land meant for one type of zoning and then developing it toward a different type of zoning, and “cluttering up areas that one time were single family residents and making it so you can’t even get into your own garage.”
Neighbors Lydia Lucciola and Kristin Zurek agreed that overdevelopment is a concern.
“We need more of a proactive approach from the neighborhood council to help in restricting overdevelopment because all of us stakeholders are feeling very cramped and feeling like there’s a lot of land abuse and there’s not enough green space,” Lucciola said. “We’re hoping that this new board will be advocates of green space.”
Lucciola and Zurek said they also voted to create more awareness about the neighborhood council, noting that many of their neighbors were unaware there was an election taking place.
“We’ve been trying to get people to come and they said, ‘oh, we don’t know what the council does,’” Lucciola said.
Adam and Maritza Benitez, who came dressed as a shark and vampire because they were on their way to a Halloween party with their daughters, raised concerns about traffic problems, particularly with the construction of a new building on the corner of Culver Boulevard. and Inglewood Boulevard. The construction, Adam said, has led to an increase in illegal U-turns and has highlighted the need for additional traffic signs.
Meanwhile, 13-year resident Angela Awolola voted because she’s worried about public safety.
“I think that there’s a lot of safety issues in the neighborhood and the need for youth activities, especially for the children that may be living in impoverished situations like the kids in the projects, to have something to help keep them out of trouble,” she said. “I don’t think that there’s enough funding for that. Everyone’s concerned about safety and idle hands are, as they say, the devil’s playground.”
Some voters said one of their key concerns is the lack of the sense of community in Del Rey.
According to Mike Stafford, one of the poll volunteers and an inaugural member of the Del Rey Neighborhood Council when it formed eight years ago, “people in Del Rey just don’t seem to have the attitude toward becoming a community. We have physical barriers because there are no good places to meet, except for schools … But other than that, the residents, I feel, are just lackadaisical.”
Others agreed that Del Rey still needs to find its identity as a community.
“I’m hoping that Del Rey will become a cohesive community, where everyone knows they live in Del Rey, and that we can have a main street or something, a community area to bring us together,” Tobyann Mandel said.
Correction: The article has been changed. It previously incorrectly called Mike Stafford, Mark Stafford.