Get to Know Your Candidates - WLASNC Candidate Short Interviews

Get to know your candidates!

Questions were sent to all candidates on Tuesday with a Thursday 5pm Deadline.

Vote on June 2nd at the WLA Farmers Market 10-4pm


Jamie Keeton

At-Large Representative

(Term: 4 years)

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1) Talk about your relationship to West LA and how it informed your decision to run? 

I've lived in West LA since 2002, and lived in my current apartment since 2007. Part of the reason I've stayed where I am so long is that I love the history of Sawtelle, and I love that it has a real community feel - I can walk to local grocery stores, eat great food, and take my kids to Stoner Park. Having been in the neighborhood over a decade, I've seen lots of changes in Sawtelle. Not only has it become a foodie destination, but is now seen as a desirable place to live and work. I see the neighborhood council as a way to get involved in having a voice in the changes that are coming, and helping to shape the development that is inevitable in a way that retains the close knit community, and allows people to join in that community by being able to live an work here. 

2) What changes or improvements would you like to see in West LA?

I would like to see more housing that is affordable and accessible to young families, and make sure that we are not pushing out long-time residents. I would also like to see safer conditions for pedestrians to be able to enjoy the area on foot, which means working with the city to come up with some better traffic flow plans and parking. I would also like to see more commitment from developers to include green, community spaces, since we only have one park in the district, and to make sure that developers understand that our neighborhood schools are important to the community, and desperately need donations to bring more programs to our kids. You can find out more about issues that are important to me at my website www.keeton4council.com

3) What expertise or skill set are you willing to bring to the Board?

I've been the chair of the council for almost 3 years, and run a pretty efficient meeting. I've been a litigation attorney for 10 years, and prior to that I worked for the United Auto Worker's Union, where I bargained contracts for over 12,000 employees, and handled grievances and arbitrations and thus am able mediate tense situations, and help facilitate communication in a way that allows for both (or many) sides to at least discuss controversial issues in a productive and less hostile way. 

4) What else would you like a voter to know about yourself?

I have two kids - 6 and 3 - and love history, literature and making stuff. I am a trial lawyer licensed in 8 states, and have a master's degree in Slavic Literature, and speak Russian. 


Dylan Wright

At-Large Representative

(Term: 4 years)

1) Talk about your relationship to West LA and how it informed your decision to run?

I've moved around a lot as a kid and an adult so sometimes it's hard to think of "home" being a place. However, since landing in West LA 7 years ago, this is the first time that I truly feel like I'm home. And I want to keep home safe, clean, fun, interesting and welcoming by helping make decisions through the neighborhood council, which is one the most effective methods for residents to speak and act on local issues.

2) What changes or improvements would you like to see in West LA?

This is still one of the best neighborhoods in Los Angeles, if not all of California. But we have a homeless problem that is not particular to us and a spate of development that could be a boon or a bane to our neighborhood. Those are changes that need attention but hopefully we can still focus on improving traffic flow and on beautifying our public spaces as well.

3) What expertise or skill set are you willing to bring to the Board?

My expertise comes from my career in education which has given me the skills to balance the divergent interests of different stakeholders while navigating the corridors of bureaucracy. My own personal skills present themselves in the form of listening to the voters and working smart on their behalf.

4) What else would you like a voter to know about yourself?

I am not special nor unique. I am a average citizen like every resident and I am serving the community in the best way I can. Every voter would be well advised to attend the WLASNC meetings, join committees, and run for office themselves. Other than that, I like playing both acoustic and electric.



Teri Temme

At-Large Representative

(Term: 4 years)

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1) Talk about your relationship to West LA and how it informed your decision to run?  

I started my career on Sawtelle boulevard in the 90’s and I have lived in the area since 2013.  I loved the area since I worked there and came back after living in Nevada and Washington.

2) What changes or improvements would you like to see in West LA?  

Increase the communication of city services and offerings, increase library usage and create a walkable community and a model for other communities in Los Angeles and beyond.

3) What expertise or skill set are you willing to bring to the Board?  

An MBA, 20 years of experience in commercial real estate with extensive lease negotiations.  Management and Organizational Behavior experience in bringing groups to consensus.

4) What else would you like a voter to know about yourself? 

 I am a perpetual student and have perfect attendance.  I believe strongly in listening to all parties and coming to a win-win solution.  


Alan Shinkman

At-Large Representative

(Term: 4 years)

1) Talk about your relationship to West LA and how it informed your decision to run?

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I want to get more involved in the community that I’d been living in since 2004. I will enjoy being a part of helping improve the community, and being a representative of my neighborhood. As the homelessness problem is getting worse, I feel that I need to help this situation as much as possible.

I look forward to helping make the neighborhood council a place where stakeholders can feel welcome and to come and share ideas, or ask for help.

2) What changes or improvements would you like to see in West LA?

I think that homelessness is the most important issue. It is growing every day and the fact that it is happening in a neighborhood filled with so many talented and intelligent residents is a disgrace to our community. It is a tremendous waste of potential. What is needed is a better understanding of what goes on in the minds of these people, and that means a meeting of our minds and theirs, perhaps via panel discussions, will be a great start.

3) What expertise or skill set are you willing to bring to the Board?

As an engineer and “refugee” of the Space Shuttle Program I bring a very detailed oriented mind that questions EVERYTHING. If the right questions are asked of the right people at the right time, I believe we can get a better understanding of the issues that our community is dealing with.

4) What else would you like a voter to know about yourself?

I see the future with the neighborhood council being extremely well known in West LA, to the point that ALL registered voters vote on the many, many candidates and all council meetings are standing room only. 

Galen Pindell

At-Large Representative

(Term: 4 years

1) Talk about your relationship to West LA and how it informed your decision to run?

I came to WLA through my wife, who grew up here.  I've lived here six years, and we now have a daughter, whose grandparents, aunt and uncle all live in the Stoner Park area.  I'm extremely thankful to have so much family so close by, and it's so important to me that our home maintains all of the great aspects that it currently provides, as our city and community grows.  I feel that the next 2-5 years will shape the next 50 years for WLA and I want to have a voice in helping to steer the way that our community evolves.

2) What changes or improvements would you like to see in West LA?

I want to see working families stay in WLA, and feel they're currently being priced out.  I want to see developers held accountable for filling low income units for their projects.  We, the tax payers, are giving developers many valuable exceptions to what they can build, in exchange for including low income units.  I'd like to see the city take control of how those units are filled, using a list of eligible people, and assigning them to these low income units.  The city uses a list like this to fill supportive housing with people from the greater area, and I'd like to see a similar process extended to these low income units to help families and first responders in our community stay here.

3) What expertise or skill set are you willing to bring to the Board?

My work involves continuous negotiation.  I really think that progress is only achieved by recognizing both sides' needs, as well as acknowledging how much leverage exists to make a request.  I bring that experience and approach in working with developers so that their projects serve our community as best possible.

4) What else would you like a voter to know about yourself?

WLA is my home and I love it here.  We have a walkable community that's close to the beach, the freeways, the train, and the jobs.  I want to be on the neighborhood council to advocate for WLA to continue growing as a diverse, lively community with events, and walkable business districts that bring us all together, as well as homes where we can find a few moments of quiet.  Please come vote on Sunday!  And please vote for me.


Eric Nakamura

Small Business Representative
(Term: 4 years)

1) Talk about your relationship to West LA and how it informed your decision to run?

I’m born and raised in West LA and I currently own Giant Robot Store and GR2 Gallery on Sawtelle Blvd since 2001 and 2003. I also co-edited and published a print magazine also called Giant Robot out of a garage on Federal Avenue until 2010. This magazine was available at newsstands, bookstores, and boutiques around the world. I also attended the Japanese Institute of Sawtelle and the West LA Buddhist Temple. After being asked to run by plenty of great locals, I was elected in 2016 to the WLASNC, became a Vice Chair and also chaired the Outreach Committee. I’ve redesigned the website, sent out the email newsletters, and updated all of our social media. I’ve attended and helped at our NC events. If I can do one thing for the NC, it’s to keep our public informed. 

2) What changes or improvements would you like to see in West LA?

Without systemic changes, the least I can do myself is to help beautify the area. I’ve worked on the signal box art project with the West LA Community Coalition, and am currently working on mutliple beautification projects. There is still the issue of homelessness, public safety (burglaries), and the rapid development of the area. I’m hoping with a cohesive Board, we can work on each of these in a productive manner. Perhaps we can set up more “town halls” to get dialogues started.

3) What expertise or skill set are you willing to bring to the Board?

Photography, writing, publishing, printing, design, business savvy, marketing, social media, and webwork. I’d like to say I’ve used many of these skills when called upon and I intend to keep this up. 

4) What else would you like a voter to know about yourself?

Being a business owner for 25 years, I’ve learned that surviving the “storms” and “issues” that plague small businesses require fairness and a long term vision. Surprisingly, this isn’t easy and isn’t the norm.  I hope  You can find more about me including design projects, curation, and press at www.ericnakamura.com or see my business in action at www.giantrobot.com


Steven H Kwok
North West District Representative
(Term: 4 years)

1) Talk about your relationship to West LA and how it informed your decision to run?

I want to bring back reason and compassion and find solutions to very real problems. My wife found the neighborhood council, and so I started attending. There was a vacancy position for the NW Rep, and after some thought, I applied and was voted in by the current board. After I joined, I realized that there is so much that can and should be done. So many people grumble about the problems in the community, and more importantly, have ideas on what would help. But at the same time, so few people in the neighborhood even know about the council. I decided to run, so I can continue working for the community, working with them, understanding the issues facing West LA, and together, push for solutions.

2) What changes or improvements would you like to see in West LA?

So far what I’ve heard from my time on the council and based on my personal experience, it certainly seem like housing development and traffic is on many residents’ minds. I believe the solution lies with the Community Plan Update that is going on right now (and for the next couple years). This is where we have the opportunity to get West LA zoning and planning rules right-sized for our community. But what good is the Community Plan Update if the community doesn’t know about it and isn’t involved? That’s where I need all of you to learn more and contribute to the plan that could define the future of West LA development.

3) What expertise or skill set are you willing to bring to the Board?

I am an engineer. My specialty is analyzing and tackling problems by bringing together all the right pieces. I’m not the most creative person, which is why it’s so important to me to hear from the community. I want to take all of the pieces of what I hear, and put them together to build a solution that works for all of West LA.

4) What else would you like a voter to know about yourself?

You can find out more about me, my work on the council, and all of the candidates at stevenhkwok.com



Arman Ghorbani

South East District Representative
(Term: 4 years)

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1) Talk about your relationship to West LA and how it informed your decision to run?

When I graduated from UCLA in 2013, I moved to my apartment on Colby and have lived there since. While in school, I would often come to Sawtelle to eat which is how I first learned about the area. Once I moved here, I saw how incredibly unique this little pocket of LA is. There are so many amazing restaurants and shops in walking distance which gives it a big city feel, but inside of the main streets it feels like a small neighborhood where you can walk your dog or go for a run. I’ve enjoyed getting to know my next-door neighbors (who knew that could happen in LA!) and recognizing friendly faces while walking around makes the city feel smaller. I wanted to help give back to the community I care for so much, which is how I got involved with the neighborhood council back in 2016. Since then, I’ve seen what we can accomplish when we work together and I hope to continue that volunteer work, which is why I am running for re-election!

2) What changes or improvements would you like to see in West LA?

I would like to see more community resource events. As a current board member, I started the Renter’s Rights Fair to bring government agencies and non-profits to connect with neighbors. I hope to continue this as well as expand these type of events to other relevant topics that can better inform neighbors about the resources available to them. I’d also like to see continual improvement in the Civic Center to ensure it is a community space that people enjoy using. Some other improvements I’d like to see is making the neighborhood safer for pedestrians by expanding flashing-light crosswalks and re-painting some crosswalks along Santa Monica Blvd. 

3) What expertise or skill set are you willing to bring to the Board?

I currently work as a Project Manager for a biotech company and many of those skills transfer well to the neighborhood council. I am well organized, very comfortable managing complex projects with various stakeholder inputs, and have a consistent track-record of delivering results. My background is originally as a scientist, so I also approach problems logically and use science-based thinking to evaluate situations. Additionally, I am also good at working with many different personality types, which is useful for a diverse neighborhood like ours. 

4) What else would you like a voter to know about yourself?

In addition, I’d like the voters to know that I am very passionate about volunteering and making a positive impact in my community. I love hiking/camping and was an active volunteer for UCLA UniCamp, where I served as camp counselor each summer for underserved youth in LA. I also don’t take myself too seriously and used to do open mic stand-up comedy for fun. I’m always happy to connect with new people so feel free to reach out to grab coffee, beer, or boba and let’s talk about how we can work together to improve our neighborhood!

eric nakamuraComment