By Bill Hendrickson
The Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council (HHPNC) has begun to reconstitute itself after a rash of resignations exposed a rift on the council over how to respond to gentrification in the community.
At a meeting of the HHPNC on March 5, open positions on the council were filled for treasurer and director-at-large. In addition, two seats were filled on the Land Use committee that are reserved for existing members of the neighborhood council.
The new treasurer is Nga Bullen, a graduate of Cal State, Northridge with a major in accounting who works as a Vietnamese interpreter. The new director-at-large is Christina Esquibel, who works as an addiction counselor at Children’s Hospital.
The HHPNC board members elected to join the Land Use committee are Melanie Freeland, an architect who has lived in Highland Park since 2006, and Brian Bullen, a homeowner in Highland Park since 2012. Freeland said she seeks an open dialogue among residents on solutions to the housing crisis and ways to make the streets safer for bicyclists and pedestrians. Bullen said he wants to listen and be responsive to all sides on issues facing the community.
The Land Use committee – the hot spot on the HHPNC for debate over gentrification in Highland Park – still has to fill three seats with community stakeholders who are not existing members of the HHPNC. But filling those seats will have to wait until the coronavirus emergency ends, as all meetings of the HHPNC (and of neighborhood councils throughout Los Angeles) have been cancelled until further notice.
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