Get To Know Your Board - Interview with WLASNC Board Chair Jamie Keeton
What's your professional background?
Jamie Keeton: I'm a civil litigation attorney at a mid-sized firm in El Segundo. I also have a master's degree in Russian.
What's your history with West LA?
JK: I came to West LA in 2002 to go to grad school at UCLA. I was in Century City for a while, and then came over to the good side of the 405 in about 2004. I fell in love with Sawtelle and basically never left.
What do you like most about West LA?
JK: Coming from Phoenix, I really like the walk-ability of West LA, and all the smaller shops and restaurants - it a big change from the strip mall culture of Phoenix.
What would you like to see improved?
JK: I would like to see more attention paid to parks and greening of the streets, and clean and non-broken sidewalks. I'd also like to see some improvement to the affordability of housing, whether that means getting more units, or maybe better rent control ordinances. As I said, I've been in the area for over a decade, but I didn't know anything about the NC until there was a push by some stakeholders to add parking restrictions to the residential area around Sawtelle.
What made you run for a Board seat in the WLASNC?
JK: When I found out that there was an organization that had a direct line to City Council, I became intrigued and got involved.
Development is huge in West LA. What’s your opinion on it all? Specifics are fine too if you’d like.
JK: I'm not sure how I feel about all the development - I do think that we need more housing, and that frankly, its inevitable. That having been said, I think that its important that we don't just become a concrete jungle - we need to work with developers to get aesthetic diversity in the buildings themselves, and to make sure that the purposes of the buildings suit the community.
Traffic is also a hot topic in West LA. How do you personally handle it?
JK: Personally, I don't really drive after I get home from work - I walk to the grocery store and the park, and over to Sawtelle for dinner or boba. If someplace I need to go is within about 1.5 miles, I try to walk it.
Do you have any suggestions to help mitigate it?
JK: I think that mass transit will help the traffic situation, but it won't stop the problem. Having things that people want/need within walking distance will help too, but I don't think that there is a long term fix to the traffic. I personally think its gotten worse over the last 5-7 years because the housing prices have gotten so out of control that people can no longer afford to live close to where they work.
Do you have any personal interests or hobbies that you’d like to share?
JK: As for hobbies, I do like spending time with my kids (4 year old son and 18 month old daughter); I'm excited for them to get a little older so we can travel more. We go to lots of museums, and to the beach. I'm pretty crafty, so I try to do lots of different crafts with my kids.
We'll interview each Board Member in no particular order. Stay tuned.
Board Chair Jamie Keeton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org