SORO NC Programs

2014 Outstanding Green Citizenship Award winner: The Green Truck

As the first and only environmentally sustainable Organic Gourmet Food service business, The Green Truck was this year's winner of the Outstanding Green Citizenship Award at the 2014 SoRo Festival.

Located in Los Angeles, they operate a solar powered production kitchen and alternative fuel catering trucks. 

  • The Green Truck only uses certified organic ingredients, without harmful pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMO). Going organic also keeps these harmful pollutants away from plants, animals, and waterways.
  • To cut down on harmful transportation byproducts such as greenhouse gas CO2, The Green Truck buys locally grown ingredients whenever possible.
  • Their solar powered commissary adds whatever clean energy they don't use to the city's power supply.
  • Even cleaning products are environmentally friendly, ensuring that we are not polluting our oceans with unnecessary chemicals.
  • All of their trucks run off of vegetable oil previously used by The Green Truck and other food service companies in the Los Angeles area. By using recycled vegetable oil, they not only help to keep grease from clogging the city's drainage systems, but utilize a fuel that creates no harmful emissions to the environment and definitely does not add to our dependence on foreign oil.
  • All food packaging containers, bags, napkins, and utensils are made from bio-compostable products rather than plastics and Styrofoam. This process generates zero trash and utilizes sustainable technologies that minimize pollution in the production process.

As always, our hope is that by honoring environmentally-friendly businesses and individuals like The Green Truck, it will encourage others to emulate their work by doing their part in caring for our environment.

See all the past winners of the award.

2014 Susan Bursk Community Service Award winner: Barbara Kaye

The Susan Bursk Community Service Award is presented each June at the SoRo Festival to an individual in recognition of his or her dedication and service to the South Robertson Neighborhoods community. The award is co-sponsored by SORO NC and the SoRo Community Foundation, Inc.

This year's winner was Barbara Kaye, a one-of-a-kind, phenomenal art teacher at Castle Heights Elementary School with an impact on hundreds of children, teachers, and parents. As a volunteer for many years, Barbara has donated thousands of hours in beautifying the school, teaching art of many genres, creating plays and displays, and infusing the curriculum with artistic elements.  She patiently engages children who think they can’t paint and helps them discover that they can, much to their surprise and delight.  Barbara is an inspiration to both teachers and students.

At our June Board meeting we will also recognize the other community members nominated this year:

  • Saran Kirschbaum — Community volunteer and docent for the Ballona Creek Wetlands
  • Karen Smith-Laramay — Head of the Science Department at Hamilton High
  • Barry Levine — Long-time Chair of SORO NC's Education Committee
  • Terrence Gomes — Treasurer of SORO NC and Co-Chair of this year's SoRo Festival
  • Doug Fitzsimmons — President of SORO NC

We're deeply grateful for the work all the nominees have done within SORO, and congratulate them on their nominations.

See all the past winners of the award.

2014 SoRo Community Festival: June 1

SoRo Community Festival

Sunday, June 1 • 11am-4pm
South Robertson Boulevard between Beverlywood St. and Cattaraugus St. (just North of 10 Freeway at the Robertson Boulevard exit)

This year’s theme is “Many Neighborhoods Create One Great Community!”

Free and open to the public, the SoRo Festival features food trucks, a live music stage, tree adoption, and over 60 vendor booths highlighting neighborhood businesses, community information and a variety of merchandise. It also offers “Camp SoRo” Kids Zone with attractions, a rock-climbing wall and free arts and crafts for children.

In addition there will be a separate Public Safety Pavilion hosted by the SORO Neighborhoods Council with many exhibits and demonstrations by “First Responders” such as LAPD and LAFD.

For more information, visit our full Festival page.

2014 Community Town Hall Meeting: LAUSD School Board Candidate Forum

Town Hall 2014: LA School Board District One Candidate Forum

A public Q&A about the future of our schools


For the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), this is a time of unprecedented changes and challenges. Public debate continues over testing and core curricula, teacher tenure and the role of unions, the introduction of computer tablets and other technologies, breakfast in the classroom programs, student safety, and more.

At this crucial period for our schools, the School Board seat for this area—District One—is currently open. The South Robertson Neighborhoods Council (SORO NC) and League of Women Voters of Los Angeles are co-sponsoring a candidate forum to help residents understand the issues and how each candidate would help guide LAUSD through them.

Join us for a lively and enlightening evening as the candidates respond to your questions. 

The event is free and open to everyone. Download the flyer to share with your neighbors here.

The Candidates

In event seating order:

  • Hattie B. McFrazier, Retired Educator / Counselor
  • Omarosa O. Manigault, Teacher / Children Advocate
  • Alex Johnson, Education Policy Advisor
  • Genethia Hudley-Hayes, Education Consultant
  • Sherlett Hendy Newbill, Teacher / Mother / Coach
  • Rachel C. Johnson, Educator / Gardena Councilmember
  • George McKenna, Retired Principal / Superintendent

Update: Watch video of the candidate forum on the full Town Hall page, thanks to videographer Matt Klauschie. 

2013 Community Town Hall Meeting: Meet Your Representatives

Town Hall 2013: Meet Your Representatives

Get to know the people who make decisions on your behalf.


SORO NC is represented by two Council Members on the Los Angeles City Council.

The portion of SORO that is to the south east of our boundaries is represented by Council President, Herb Wesson (Council District 10). The majority of the rest of SORO NC is represented by Council Member Paul Koretz (Council District 5).

In this old-fashioned, intimate Town Hall setting, you will have the opportunity to hear directly from your elected representatives about their vision for Los Angeles, and the specific issues facing our area. You will also have a chance to ask your own questions directly of your elected officials.

Don't miss this chance to participate directly in the democratic process, and meet these two gentlemen who have such a large influence over the day-to-day decisions that affect your life.

Download the flyer to share with your neighbors here.

The event is free, and open to everyone.

Town Hall Event: Meet your Representatives

Get to know the people who make decisions on your behalf.


SORO NC is represented by two Council Members on the Los Angeles City Council.

The portion of SORO that is to the south east of our boundaries is represented by Council President, Herb Wesson (Council District 10). The majority of the rest of SORO NC is represented by Council Member Paul Koretz (Council District 5).

Town Hall: Meet Your Representatives

Tuesday, November 12 • 7:00pm
Free • Open to all
Third Floor, Simon Wiesenthal Center
1399 Roxbury Drive, 90035 (map)
Free parking under the building. Enter lot on Roxbury north of Pico

In this old-fashioned, intimate Town Hall setting, you will have the opportunity to hear directly from your elected representatives about their vision for Los Angeles, and the specific issues facing our area. You will also have a chance to ask your own questions directly of your elected officials.

Don't miss this chance to participate directly in the democratic process, and meet these two gentlemen who have such a large influence over the day-to-day decisions that affect your life.

Download the flyer to share with your neighbors here.

The event is free, and open to everyone.

2013 Outstanding Green Citizenship Award winners: Charmaine Colina and Castle Heights Elementary

A shining example of outstanding green citizenship, Charmaine Colina and Castle Heights Elementary School's administrators, teachers, parents and students have won this year's Outstanding Green Citizenship Award at the 2013 SoRo Festival. They embody the three “R’s” of environmental sustainability: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Charmaine has even added a forth one, “Rethink.”

Together they have changed the environmental culture of Castle Heights School. Here are just a few examples:
  • In her first two years at Castle Heights, Charmaine expanded the school’s recycling program from 7 blue bins to over 30.
  • Charmaine created our community’s biggest annual environmental event: Earth Week and Eco Fair. She involves students, parents, and the community in sustainable practices by making them fun. For one week, kids and parents are encouraged to ride bikes to school or carpool; eat organic food; use recycled materials. Their E-waste drive is open to the entire community.
  • The administration has phased out the school’s use of paper communication by employing emails and the school’s website. When flyers are needed, they are limited to one per family. Cardboard lunch trays are recycled. Reusable grocery bags and water bottles are sold as school fundraisers.
  • She and her colleagues take their students to beach clean ups and TreePeople and use public transportation. The students have created a video about recycling and formed an environmental club.
  • The school has a learning garden where students learn that the earth is what sustains us.

We hope by honoring outstanding teachers like Charmaine, and schools like Castle Heights Elementary, it will encourage others to emulate their work by doing their part in caring for our environment.

See all the past winners of the award.

2013 Susan Bursk Community Service Award winner: Paula Waxman

The Susan Bursk Community Service Award is presented each June at the SoRo Festival to an individual in recognition of his or her dedication and service to the South Robertson Neighborhoods community. The award is co-sponsored by SORO NC and the SoRo Community Foundation, Inc.

This year's winner was Paula Waxman. As Co-Chair of SORO NC's Green Team with Larry Hess and Saran Kirschbaum, Paula has helped spearhead some of the most dynamic programs in our area. In addition to founding the Hamilton High Garden, organizing annual fruit picks to benefit local food banks, and co-ordinating the 2012 Robertson and 2013 Pico tree plantings, under Paula's stewardship the Green Team has lead the City on policy issues like the elimination of coal burning power plants, plastic bag and styrofoam restrictions, GMO food labeling, urban beekeeping, and a moritorium on fracking.

At our June Board meeting we will also recognize the other community members nominated this year:

  • Charmaine Colina - Teacher at Castle Heights
  • Larry DeMers - SoRo Community Foundation Treasurer
  • Terrence Gomes - SORO NC Treasurer, President LAANC
  • Erick Morales - Hamilton Student/Former SORO NC board member
  • Aubrey Provost - Property Owner, SoRo Community Foundation board member
  • Celine Sotelo - Le Petit Jardin Restaurant/Flower shop

We're deeply grateful for the work all the nominees have done within SORO, and congratulate them on their nominations.

See all the past winners of the award.

Outstanding Green Citizenship Award

2015 nomination deadline: TBD


Each year the South Robertson Neighborhoods Council and SoRo Community Foundation present an award to honor a business or organization in the South Robertson community that has shown outstanding leadership in greening their business practices and workplace.

Who Can Apply?

Only businesses or organizations (including schools) with a physical location within SORO NC boundaries can apply for Award Certification. Applicants must have a staff of three or more employees and workspace of 500 square feet or more. At-home businesses are not eligible to apply. 

How to Apply

You can apply using the online form below, or by downloading the form and sending it to greenaward@soronc.org.

Judging Criteria

The judges will be a committee of representatives from the SoRo Community Foundation, the SORO NC Green Team and former award recipients. The criteria that follow are the “gold standard.” In making a judgment as to which applicant should receive the award, the committee does not expect that the applicant complies with all of the criteria below. The committee will look for the applicant that has attempted to implement as many of these aspects as possible.



Desirable Green Practices

Again, it's not necessary to comply with all of these practices. The committee will look for the applicant that has attempted to implement as many of these aspects as possible.

General Education

  1. Track water and energy usage through utility bills. Show copies to judging committee. Set water and electricity goals and track progress.  Repair problems.
  2. Inform your customers about your business environmental efforts by posting the Green Business Certification decal in a visible location.
  3. Adopt a written Environmental Policy statement declaring your commitment to operate and give preference to purchasing sustainable and/or products containing post-consumer, recycled content. Post these standards in a visible location.

Waste Reduction

  1. Perform a self-assessment of your trash.  Identify the types and percentages of waste that are currently being generated and recycled and use the assessment to create or improve a reuse and recycling program.
  2. Recycle or reuse: paper, cardboard, mixed paper, junk mail, newspaper, glass, plastic, Styrofoam and aluminum.  Keep used paper near printers or re-use as note paper.
  3. Stock only compostable, recyclable and/or reusable kitchenware for staff use.  Avoid # 6 plastic.  Provide refillable containers for sugar, salt and pepper, etc. to avoid individual condiment packets.
  4. Compost food and organic waste via outdoor composting bins, indoor/outdoor vermi-culture systems (worm bins) or mechanical indoor composting units.
  5. Reduce garbage bin liners: do not use them or use biodegradable liners.
  6. Eliminate individual bottles of water for staff and guests and install an onsite water filtration system on faucet.
  7. Retailers eliminate single use plastic and paper bags and replace with reusable bags that are machine washable, or paper bags made with 100% recycled content and a minimum 40% post consumer recycled content. Do not use bioplastic bags made from corn or labeled “PLA” because they do not easily decompose.  Non retail businesses should provide these bags for use in the workplace.
  8. Practice efficient copying by making two-sided copies standard practice, using smaller fonts and margins, posting a diagram showing how to load paper to minimize misprints. 
  9. Reduce unwanted mail by getting removed from mailing list. (stopjunkmail.org) Purge your own mailing lists regularly.
  10. Use electronic forms and contracts.
  11. Post staff announcements, journals, etc. in single location (bulletin board) to reduce printed copies.
  12. Marketing materials should require no envelopes.  Substitute post cards or fold-and-mail.
  13. Use vendors that recycle or take back products when life cycle is over.
  14. Donate, sell, or exchange unwanted, but usable items.
  15. When appropriate, offer incentives to customers who bring in their own “to-go” dishes, or reusable bags.
  16. Use laundry service that provides reusable bags for dirty and clean linen.

Energy Efficiency

  1. Replace incandescent lamps with high efficiency alternatives, compact fluorescent, LED, dimmable cold cathode, MR 16, optical reflectors or diffusers.
  2. Show proof of regular maintenance on HVAC.
  3. In low traffic areas, use lighting controls such as motion sensors, photocells, or time clocks.
  4. Program computer monitors to sleep mode after 15 minutes or less of inactivity.
  5. Set the Energy Saver feature on photocopier as the default.
  6. Purchase Energy Star equipment/appliances.
  7. Insulate water heaters, storage tanks, hot water pipes.
  8. Use a solar water heater.
  9. Install a solar electric system.
  10. Use ventilation, or ceiling fans instead of air conditioning.
  11. Install a programmable thermostat: set at 72 degrees with nighttime setting of 55 degrees. 
  12. Replace leaky, broken windows with double pane, low-E, energy efficient windows.
  13. Apply window film to reduce solar heat gain on clear, single pane non-northern facing windows.
  14. Shade sun exposed windows and walls during the warm season: use awnings, sunscreens, shade trees or shrubbery.
  15. Weather strip windows and doors.
  16. Implement an organization-wide policy encouraging staff to turn off equipment and lights when not in use.
  17. Place “turn off light” labels on switches.
  18. Use standby mode on equipment, energy saver buttons on copiers.
  19. Clean skylights, light fixtures, and diffusers regularly for optimal light output.

Water Efficiency & Urban Run-Off

  1. Provide water bills for pre and post changes.
  2. Regularly check for and repair leaks.
  3. Replace pre-1992 toilets (3 gal.) and urinals with more efficient alternatives that use 1.6 gal. gpf or less.
  4. Clean outdoor areas with broom and damp mop instead of hose.
  5. Do not wash cars, equipment, floor mats where runoff water flows into the storm drain.
  6. Keep receiving areas and dumpsters clear of litter.  Ensure tight fitting lids.
  7. Adjust sprinkler times according to laws and seasons.  Sprinkler runoff is prohibited.  No spray irrigation between 10 am and 4 pm.
  8. Install faucet aerators or flow restrictors facility wide.
  9. Post signs in restrooms and kitchens to encourage water conservation and to report leaks.  Run dishwasher only when full.
  10. Clean litter and debris in front of your organization on regular basis to minimize litter entering storm drains.
  11. Install water efficient shrubs or ground cover, mulch exposed soil to retain water, whenever possible use drip irrigation.
  12. Install a cistern or rain barrel to catch rainwater.
  13. Install gray water system (City permit required)
  14. Redirect downspouts to landscaped areas
  15. Use pool covers to reduce evaporation and heat loss.

Pollution Prevention & Chemical Use

  1. Stock refillable, non-toxic, biodegradable cleaners, with trigger spray bottles not aerosol cans. (greenseal.org or ecologo.org)
  2. Educate cleaning staff of your eco-friendly preference and provide them with safety data sheets in both English and Spanish.
  3. Drop off hazardous waste at city facilities.  This includes: rechargeable and alkaline batteries, paint, used toner and ink-jet cartridges, cleaning chemicals, CFL’s and fluorescent tubes, electronics, aerosol cans that are not empty, pesticides, medicines.
  4. Request that your pest control or landscape contractor reduce their use of pesticides.  Get their commitment in writing.  Apply pesticides on an “as-needed” basis.  Use traps, contained baits, gels and barriers whenever possible.
  5. Use natural reed diffuser or trigger spray deodorizers and disinfectants.
  6. Use low or zero VOC non-toxic paint products and office supplies (white out, dry erase markers), substitute with water based pens and markers.
  7. Use unbleached/chlorine free paper products.
  8. Obtain battery recharger for office use.  Use rechargeable instead of disposable batteries for flashlights, radios, remote controls, etc.

Sustainable Procurement & Eco-Purchasing

  1. Use post-consumer recycled content office paper, letterhead, business cards, file folders, envelopes, paper towels, napkins, shipping boxes.
  2. Use remanufactured toner cartridges
  3. Contact CalMAX (California Materials Exchange) or other materials exchange programs before purchasing equipment.  ciwmb.ca.gov/CalMAX, lashares.org
  4. Request that deliveries come in returnable, reusable containers.

Transportation Management

  1. Encourage the use of rapid transit and ridesharing among staff and post maps and information on bulletin board.  Give incentives to staff who use public transit and ride share.
  2. Make organization bike-friendly for staff and customers. Give incentives to staff and customers, perform business errands on bike, provide bike racks.

2013 SoRo Festival Sunday, June 2: Save the date!

SoRo Community Festival

Sunday, June 2 • 11am-4pm
South Robertson Boulevard between Beverlywood St. and Cattaraugus St. (just North of 10 Freeway at the Robertson Boulevard exit)

Save the date! Open to the public, the SoRo Festival features live local musical entertainment and dancing, "Camp SoRo" offering attractions and a rock-climbing wall and free arts & crafts for children, 60 vendor booths featuring neighborhood businesses and community information, and a variety of culinary delights from some of L.A.'s hottest gourmet food trucks. The theme for this year's Festival is "Sweet Sixteen." For more information, click here.

2013 SoRo Community Festival

SoRo Community Festival


The 16th Annual SoRo Community Festival will take place on Sunday, June 2, 2013 from 11 am to 4 pm. The Festival is located on South Robertson Boulevard, between Cattaraugus and Beverlywood St. (just north of Hamilton High School and the 10 Freeway). Download a flyer about the festival here.

The SoRo Festival’s goals are to build bridges amongst local neighbors, businesses, and community and public service organizations; and celebrate the cultural diversity of our community.

Local caterers, restaurants, merchants, schools, entertainers and organizations will participate. The SoRo Festival will feature activities for kids at our own "Camp SoRo," a live music stage and lots of exciting artist and vendor booths.

Paul Fig Fegen, as seen on America’s Got Talent, will be entertaining the crowd with his mystifying up-close magic throughout the day at Camp SoRo.

Additionally, the SoRo Festival will feature local school children’s presentations of art and science projects on the Festival’s theme “Sweet Sixteen.”

Food

The SoRo Festival will also serve up a variety of culinary delights from some of Los Angeles’ hottest gourmet food trucks, including Fatburger, bool Korean BBQ Tacos & PastelsCurrywurst Truck, Kosher Grill on Wheels, The Trailer Park TruckFrozen Crush and King Kone Ice Cream Co.

SORO Festival food trucks


Main Stage

The SoRo Festival stage will spotlight live musical and dance performances from some of SoCal’s talented young performers. 


Performance Schedule

Master of Ceremonies: Michael Cladis  |  Sound Master: John Lackner

11:15 am Mallory Low
12:10 Pat Gorman
12:45 Rock Theatre
1:00  Susan Bursk Founder’s Award and Community Award for Outstanding Green Citizenship Presentations
1:30 SGI-USA Pearl Chorus & our SGI-USA ESD (elementary school division) Choir
1:45 Dance Team from Shenandoah Elementary
2:00 World Garden Dance and Music Studio (Brazilian/Caribbean/Cuban Drumming and Dance)
2:15 Rock Theatre
2:30 Westside Crew (Top 40/Latin Soul)


The SoRo Community Festival is coordinated by the South Robertson Neighborhoods Council and the SoRo Community Foundation, Inc. and funded in part by a grant from the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department. We would like to invite the entire Southern California community to join our event.

Admission to the SoRo Community Festival is FREE. Free street parking is also available. The SoRo Festival is open to the public and will provide plenty of fun for the whole family on a Sunday afternoon!

SORO Tree Planting: Pico!

SORO NC tackles phase 2 of our tree planting efforts with a focus on Pico Boulevard. But we need your help.

Volunteer to help beautify Pico

Sunday, April 28 • 9:30am (sharp!)

City Parking Lot on Pico Blvd. between Livonia and Robertson (map)

Bring: please bring a broom for cleanup around tree well, and camera (optional) for fun pictures. We will supply shovel, gloves, tree, tree stakes and ties, soil amendments.

  • Volunteers can be of all ages and ability levels—there will be less-physical jobs, too.
  • Each tree will require a crew of 7 volunteers to be planted, so consider organizing a small team of friends!
  • Kids are welcome, as are families and groups of friends/neighbors who would like to work together.

2012 Community Town Hall Meeting: Organizing Your Community

SORO may be a collection of neighborhoods, but unfortunately not all of our areas have active neighborhood associations.

Having an active neighborhood association helps develop a sense of community, a strong voice when community concerns arise, and an organized response to local emergencies. With the recent spate of break-ins, it couldn’t be more timely.

Town Hall: Organizing Your Community

Thursday, December 6 • 7:00pm
Free • Open to all
Hamilton High School Cafeteria (map)
Free parking at Kincardine & Durango

Join us for a workshop-style evening where we will help you ignite the sparks of your own local group. Get to know representatives from the City Council and LAPD, hear from other homeowner associations in the area, learn about setting up email chat, neighborhood watch, block captains and more. Whether you rent or own your home, being connected is a good idea.

Visit the Town Hall page for more information. If you can’t make the meeting but are interested in this project, email us at connect@soronc.org. You can also download a meeting flyer here.

Students and families welcome. Bring your neighbors too!

Candidate Information Session

Serving on the SORO NC Board is an excellent way to become more connected with the community that surrounds you. It helps you reach out beyond your immediate neighborhood, help change the things you recognize need changing, and give back to help improve local lives. It can be a meaningful and empowering way to make Los Angeles feel a little less like a sprawling metropolis, and a little more like a small town.

Candidate filing is open between now and September 28.


This is the second of two informal eat-and-greet meetings so interested candidates can come and meet Board members and learn more. We encourage anyone who may be interested to come and say hello. You never know if you may be inspired!

You can download a flyer here, and information about which seats are empty, how to file, and what the important dates and deadlines are can all be found on our Candidate information page.