Brentwood, Los Angeles
Brentwood is a neighborhood in the Westside of Los Angeles, California, United States.
Brentwood marker sign
|Elevation||96 m (315 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC−8 (PST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−7 (PDT)|
|Area code(s)||310, 424|
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Modern development began after the establishment of the 600-acre (2.4 km2) Pacific Branch of the National Home for Disabled Soldiers and Sailors in the 1880s. A small community sprang up outside that facility's west gate, taking on the name Westgate. Annexed by the City of Los Angeles on June 14, 1916, Westgate's 49 square miles (130 km2) included large parts of what is now the Pacific Palisades and a small portion of today's Bel-Air. Westgate Avenue is one of the last reminders of that namesake.
Local traditions include a Maypole erected each year on the lawn of the Archer School for Girls, carrying on that set by the Eastern Star Home previously housed there. This building was the exterior establishing shot for the "Mar Vista Rest Home" that provided a key scene in the 1974 film Chinatown.
Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone DesignationEdit
The State Cal-Fire Authority officially designated all of Brentwood a Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone from Mulholland down to Sunset Boulevard, due to the long, uninterrupted border of urban-wildlife interface in the Brentwood hillsides that has resulted in multiple fires over many years, destroying entire neighborhoods and requiring numerous evacuations. For this reason, the Brentwood community has been strongly in favor of halting all further development in the hillside and canyon areas.
On November 6, 1961, a construction crew working in Sherman Oaks in the San Fernando Valley north of Brentwood on the far side of the Santa Monica Mountains noticed smoke and flames in a nearby pile of rubbish. Within minutes, Santa Ana winds gusting up to 60 mph (100 km/h) sent burning brush aloft and over the ridge into Brentwood.
More than 300 police officers helped evacuate 3,500 residents during the 12-hour fire, and some 2,500 firefighters battled the blaze, pumping water from neighborhood swimming pools to douse flames. Pockets of the fire smoldered for several days. Even as firefighters battled what was to become a Bel Air disaster, another fire erupted in Santa Ynez Canyon to the west. That blaze was contained the next day after consuming nearly 10,000 acres (40 km2) and nine structures and burning to within a mile of Bel Air and Brentwood. The fires were the fifth-worst conflagration in the nation's history at the time, burning 16,090 acres (65 km2), destroying more than 484 homes and 190 other structures and causing an estimated $30 million in damage.
O.J. Simpson trialEdit
Brentwood was the site of the 1994 stabbing deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, outside Nicole Brown Simpson's Bundy Drive townhouse. Nicole's ex-husband, football player and actor O.J. Simpson, was acquitted of the murders, but was later found liable for the deaths in a civil trial. O.J. Simpson's Brentwood home was subsequently sold. The new owners demolished Simpsons home and built a new residence.
The district is located at the base of the Santa Monica Mountains, bounded by the San Diego Freeway on the east, Wilshire Boulevard on the south, the Santa Monica city limits on the southwest, Sullivan Canyon/Westridge Trail on the west and Mulholland Drive on the north.
Brentwood, like nearby Santa Monica, has a temperate climate influenced by marine breezes off the Pacific Ocean. Residents frequently wake to a "marine layer", a cover of clouds brought in at night which burns off by mid-morning. The topography is generally split into two characters, broadly divided by Sunset Boulevard: the area north of Sunset is defined by ridges and canyons of the Santa Monica Mountains and is located in a Cal-Fire designated Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone; south of Sunset the area is mostly flat. The area South of San Vicente features an underground spring which bubbles up into a small creek along "the Gully" near the Brentwood Country Club.
The 2000 U.S. census counted 31,344 residents in the 15.22-square-mile Brentwood neighborhood—or 2,059 people per square mile. In 2008, the city estimated that the population had increased to 33,312. Since 2010, the population has gradually shifted to younger families with children in local schools looking for single family homes north of San Vicente Blvd and executives seeking to live in higher-end, low maintenance condos within walking distance to the San Vicente commercial center.
The racial breakdown is whites, 84.2%; Asians, 6.5%; Latinos, 4.5%; blacks, 1.2%; and others, 3.6%. Iran (27.2%) and the United Kingdom (4.8%) were the most common places of birth for the 21.1% of the residents who were born abroad—which was a low percentage for Los Angeles as a whole.
Brentwood has made strong efforts to have inclusive housing stock, with 49% of residents living in single family homes and 51% living in dense zoning/multifamily residences. The median yearly household income in 2008 dollars was $112,927 and renters occupied 48.4% of the housing stock. As of June, 2020, 20% of Brentwood multifamily units qualified for Fannie Mae loans and the starting price of studio apartments and one bedrooms was within $100 of HUD vouchers in Los Angeles, allowing residents across a range of income levels to find housing in the community.
San Vicente Boulevard is divided by a wide median on which stand many large coral trees. This green belt replaced a Pacific Electric trolley track, and the trees have been named a City of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument.
Brentwood features a number of residential sub-districts:
- Brentwood Circle: a gated community east of Barrington and north of Sunset that was created when the Getty Museum was built.
- Brentwood Glen: an area bounded by Sunset, the 405 Freeway, and the Veterans Administration, it is an enclave of small lots and single family homes
- Bundy Canyon: home to Mount St. Mary's College and an emergency ingress entrance to Getty Center (though the latter is accessible only from Sepulveda for the public)
- Crestwood Hills: includes a cluster of protected, architecturally significant mid-century modern residences located in the northern part of Kenter Canyon
- Mandeville Canyon: westernmost part of Brentwood, north of Sunset; extends about three miles to the north and is the longest dead end street in the City of Los Angeles.
- Sullivan Canyon: a mostly equestrian neighborhood with a private riding ring.
- The "Polo Fields": situated between Paul Revere Middle School and the back side of Riviera Gold Club
- Brentwood Park: large estates located in a zone bordered by Oakmont, San Vicente, Allenford and Cliffwood Drive.
- Brentwood Terrace: Located between the Brentwood Country Mart and Brentwood Country Club
Brentwood's Barrington Recreation Center has an indoor gymnasium which converts into a small auditorium with a capacity of 250. Outdoors is a lighted baseball diamond, an unlighted baseball diamond, lighted indoor basketball courts, lighted outdoor basketball courts, a children's play area, picnic tables and lighted tennis courts. As of March, 2018, Barrington Park received a grade of "D" from the Los Angeles Parks and Rec Department due its poor facilities; upon investigation, the Brentwood Community Council discovered $1.1M in missing funds that were supposed to be used for capital upgrades at the park and fought the city for their return - successfully. With the funds back in place, the Community has worked to improve the park. The Barrington Dog Park is across the street from the recreation center and is part of Barrington Veterans Park, which is owned by the West LA VA and leased to the City of Los Angeles.
Economy and businessesEdit
The vast majority of office space in Brentwood is rented to professional services firms: accountants, lawyers, medical care.
There are three upscale commercial areas: Brentwood Country Mart, Barrington Plaza and the San Vicente Business District, which include restaurants, clothing stores, and other high-end retailers.
A few long time businesses should be noted: Brent-Air Pharmacy, run by the founding Lassoff family from its inception until June 2007, served Brentwood for more than 50 years. The drug store has been the scene of many famous scandals and, like its defunct West Hollywood cousin Schwab's, is known as the pharmacy to the stars, where many now-notable actors and actresses worked as delivery boys or "candy counter" girls.
Vicente Foods is an independently owned and operated grocery market that has served Brentwood since 1948. Other local markets include Whole Foods and Ralphs.
A popular area for dining and coffee for local residents is located in Brentwood Village at the intersection of Barrington and Sunset. More than a dozen restaurants and coffee shops are located within a two-block stretch offering a wide variety of cuisine.
Dutton's Brentwood Books, a local landmark called by Sunset magazine "the last of the truly independent bookstores", closed its doors in April, 2008.
Government and infrastructureEdit
Brentwood Leadership & City ServicesEdit
Brentwood and Pacific Palisades both chose to form Community Councils in order to have an independent voice with regard to issues that impact their communities, such as their joint Community Plan, which is a City approved document that governs the aesthetics of zoning and design for the neighborhoods. The Brentwood Community Council holds monthly public meetings, as does its Land Use Committee, and has been a powerful and effective voice for the community since the 1990s. The BCC Board includes members from all local HOA's, plus members representing schools, business, environment, transportation, civic affairs and a group dedicated only to residents under 40, called Brentwood '49. City Services are provided by the Los Angeles Fire Department Station 19 is in Brentwood. The Los Angeles Police Department operates the West Los Angeles Community Police Station in West Los Angeles, serving Brentwood. The City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power provide utilities. All areas of Brentwood are served by a Residents Association of some kind.
Homelessness, the West LA VA and VA Master Plan RedevelopmentEdit
While the annual County of Los Angeles homeless count rarely attributes more than 50 persons as homeless in Brentwood, they are invariably residents of the persistent homeless encampment along San Vicente Blvd, next to the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs property. The majority of the homeless persons are Veterans. While the VA does have available beds and treatment programs, many Veterans find it hard to take the first step to accept VA assistance for a variety of reasons, including deep mistrust of the VA, dishonorable discharges that prevent them from receiving services, the mandatory sober living environment on the VA campus. The Brentwood Community Council took the lead in 2013 to help establish Veteran safe parking and safe camping programs, which allow Veterans to take an 'intermediate step" between homelessness and accepting full VA assistance and these programs have been successful and have grown over time. Some Veterans believed the VA was derelict in its duty to provide housing and successfully sued the VA, proving that multiple leases of VA property had been used for fraudulent means. Several individuals went to prison, including a former VA executive. As a result of the settlement in the Veterans civil suit against the VA, the $1B VA Master Plan Redevelopment of the West LA VA property, including 2000+ units of housing, was approved by Congress in 2019 and breaks ground in late 2020.
Seventy percent of Brentwood residents aged 25 and older had earned a four-year degree by 2000, a high percentage for the city and the county. The percentages of residents in that age range with a bachelor's degree or greater were high for the county.
Schools within the Brentwood borders are:
The elementary schools in the area are Kenter Canyon Elementary School (an LAUSD charter school) and Brentwood Science Magnet Elementary School (an LAUSD alternative school). Paul Revere Charter Middle School is Brentwood's middle school. University High School in West Los Angeles, and Palisades Charter High School, in the nearby neighborhood of Pacific Palisades.
The following private schools are located in the Brentwood area:
- James Arness – Actor (1923–2011)
- Bea Arthur – Actress (1922–2009)
- Eli Broad - Billionaire, Philanthropist, Entrepreneur
- Dr. Dre - Rapper, record producer, and entrepreneur
- Tom Brady – National Football League quarterback
- Andrew Breitbart – Author, commentator and website publisher (1969–2012)
- Gisele Bündchen – Model and entrepreneur
- Dee Caruso – Screenwriter and producer
- Mickey Cohen – Gangster (1913-1976)
- Dabney Coleman – Actor
- Bert Convy – Actor, game show host, singer and panelist (1933–1991)
- Joan Crawford – Actress
- Stephen W. Cunningham – UCLA graduate manager and Los Angeles City Council member
- Don DeFore – Actor (1913–1993)
- Dane Elkins (born 1999) – professional racquetball player
- Glenn Frey – Musician, co-founder of the rock band Eagles (1948–2016)
- Mark Harmon – Actor
- Leland Hayward – Entertainment industry agent and producer
- LeBron James – National Basketball Association player
- Jack Larson - Actor (1928-2015)
- Monica Lewinsky – activist, television personality, fashion designer, and former White House intern
- Robert Loggia – Actor (1930–2015)
- Lea Michele – Actress
- Donna Mills – Actress and producer
- Marilyn Monroe – Actress
- Former President and First Lady Richard Nixon and Pat Nixon
- Gwyneth Paltrow -Academy Award winning actress, founder of Goop 
- Gregor Piatigorsky - Cellist (1903-1976) 
- Roseanne - Actress
- David Baerwald – Musician.
- Lee Remick-Actress
- Faye Resnick – Reality TV personality
- Arnold Schoenberg – Composer
- Arnold Schwarzenegger – Actor, Bodybuilder, former Governor of California
- Maria Shriver – Journalist, author and former First Lady of California
- Oliver Stone Director and screenwriter
- Nicole Brown Simpson – Murder victim and ex-wife of O.J. Simpson
- O.J. Simpson – National Football League player, broadcaster and actor.
- Margaret Sullavan – Actress
- Robert Taylor – Actor
- Reese Witherspoon - Academy Award winning actress 
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