Wednesday, Patch published on Chandler Boulevard in Sherman Oaks.
In that piece, we quoted Mitch Ramin, who lives two doors west on Chandler from Chabad, as saying Councilman Paul Koretz had been largely unresponsive to the needs of the residents:
“[Koretz] said he can’t do anything," Ramin stated, "it’s up to the City Attorney. But Koretz is the mayor here; he has all the control. The city attorney says that it’s up to the decision-makers, meaning Koretz. But Koretz will not touch this.”
Though we were unable to reach the councilman on the phone Wednesday, his Planning Deputy Sean Bayliss promised he'd speak to Koretz and have a statement by the end of the day. What follows is that statement.
"Synagogues and other houses of worship are of extraordinary importance to our communities," wrote Councilman Koretz.
"That said, the size and scope of any large project is of valid concern to a neighborhood, which is why I believe community input is invaluable."
"Prior to my taking office, this synagogue was fully entitled and the matter was embroiled in litigation. The situation that I inherited was a mess and, sad to say, full of vitriol."
"My staff and I immediately and repeatedly encouraged both sides to meet, talk face to face, and reach common ground. Indeed, we have hosted such meetings, in hopes of some mutual accommodation. I have met with both sides on multiple occasions to discuss the issues and hear the concerns, and have pushed for an open and fair process."
"The Appellant Court recently concluded that a small number of the final elements, dating back to when my predecessor was in office, were not done correctly and needed to be revisited. The City is complying with that court order -- including, at my urging, by allowing the public the opportunity to voice its concerns in front of the Council's Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) committee. I look forward to that public input in front of the committee."