The meeting stretched past11:30 Wednesday night after visits from City Controller Wendy Greuel and Congressman Brad Sherman, but things really heated up over a request to help pay for children’s snow at a planned holiday event.
The —which has in the past put on the—for the second year in a row abandoned plans for the event and instead worked out a “Winter Family Festival Plus a Taste of the Holidays,” expected to take place at the) on Dec. 4.
Alan Dymond of the Residents Association asked the Neighborhood Council—which has a budget of about $40,000 from the city to spend on the community—for $5,000 that would specifically pay for the children’s snow activity at the event.
Actually, the cost of the shipped-in snow would be $7,500 but at the council’s Budget Committee meeting they decided that was too much to bring to the entire Council, and they brought the $5,000 proposal with conditions that included the Council as being acknowledged as a “presenting sponsor” and included on flyers banners, event programs, articles and an email blast to members that would also encourage them to join the Neighborhood Council’s email list.
Dymond explained that the four-hour afternoon event would be a fun community event, and there would also be a food drive for the North Hollywood Interfaith Food Pantry. He also said Radio Disney would cover the event.
Some Council members expressed concern that such large-scale publicity would make the event less for the people of Studio City, and amended the proposal to cut it to $2,500.
said, “I can be happy to co-sponsor the snow portion of the event for $2,500, but not more because we have other projects coming down the line that we need to fund.”
Dymond explained that the entire project would cost a bit more than $30,000. So far, the Residents Association is paying for $17,500, mostly coming from the proceeds made by the. Then, the added $2,500.
“The kids loved the parade, but it was short, and now we have an event that is the entire day at the park,” said Ben Neumann, who is also on the board of the Improvement District as well as the Council. “We have to spend our money by April, we should support this.”
Council member Todd Royal, who also sits on the board of the Residents Association, also supported the money for the snow, and tried to amend the conditions on the money. He only got two votes.
The Council voted 10 to 4 to give $2,500 to the Residents Association, but Dymond said he wouldn’t take the money with the same conditions than the original $5,000 he was asking for. He turned down the money.
“I don’t want to bust my hump and I may not be able to comply with all the conditions for that amount,” Dymond said. “I can’t guarantee it.”
Remy Kessler, the Council treasurer, asked, “You can’t comply or you don’t want to comply?”
Then, the Council voted to rescind the money they just voted for the Residents Association and essentially started all over again.
“We are not getting enough for the stakeholders money,” Kessler said. “It is a waste of public money, there is nothing we are receiving. We are just being an ATM machine for this particular event.”
Kessler said he would rather fund something “more permanent.”
Council secretary Rita Villa said the Council should certainly trust the Residents Association and Dymond, who attends most of their meetings, and added, “And if there is people coming from outside Studio City to be part of this event then that’s good because the stores along Ventura Boulevard could use the business.”
Walker said, “We gave Mr. Dymond money but he just threw it back in our faces.”
A stakeholder from the audience, Lisa Cahan Davis, said “I think it’s an excessive amount.” And, Richard Adams another member of the audience, said, “This is the desert and have a problem spending money and energy freezing water and letting it melt into the ground.”
Dymond assured, “That water goes back into the san Fernando valley acquifer. It is recycled.”
The Council voted 9 to 5 to give $2,500 without the email blast and other restrictions.
After the vote, Dymond told Studio City Patch, “I’m not disappointed, I’m glad they gave the money. We will just have to make up the rest some other way. We will have to go to the business community like we usually do. It is a holiday family event for the whole community and should be a lot of fun.”