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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Korean-American Bill Robinson elected as the new president of WCKNC

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A Korean-American, Bill Robinson, has been elected as the new president of the Wilshire Center-Koreatown Neighborhood Council (WCKNC).

The election was held at the Pio Pico Library in Los Angeles Koreatown to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Mark Lee last month.

Nominated by other delegates, Robinson ran as an independent candidate and was elected unopposed.

Bill Robinson

Robinson first joined the WCKNC in 2013 and has been serving for eight years, excluding the pandemic, and has previously served as the council’s president and vice president.

“This is an unexpected position, but I will do my best to serve again,” Robinson said, adding, “I believe my years of neighborhood council experience will be helpful.”

Robinson, whose father is African-American and mother is Korean-American, said he has served the Koreatown community for more than 30 years.

He served as an aide to former LA Councilmember Nate Holden and is currently a city lobbyist.

“My main focus will be on beautification of Koreatown and public safety,” said Robinson, adding “We will organize graffiti and litter cleanup events to remove graffiti that detracts from the aesthetics of the neighborhood and lead to crime.”

“In addition to meeting frequently with the police officers and building a partnership with them, four members of the council, including myself, have started a citizens police academy to learn about the police system,” he added.

One of the challenges of his term will be to use the large budget efficiently, he said. At the meeting, the WCKNC learned that it had $25,000 of its $35,000 budget remaining and would need to spend some of it by next month when the next fiscal year begins.

The organization will hold an emergency meeting on May 22 to discuss how to spend the funds, Robinson said. “The money will be distributed to organizations that applied for grants earlier. This includes KYCC (Koreatown Youth and Community Center), LA Korean Festival Foundation, and the Bangladeshi community.”

On the other hand, Robinson has been the subject of controversy for attending WCKNC subcommittees in situations of conflict of interest.

For the remainder of his term, Robinson will be tested on his ability to make impartial and transparent decisions as WCKNC president, representing Koreatown’s voice.

“(If I have a conflict of interest,) I can recuse myself and not speak during the decision-making process,” Robinson said. “I joined the WCKNC Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee because I can help other delegates with my experience, not for my own self-interest,” he added.

BY SUAH JANG, HOONSIK WOO [jang.suah@koreadaily.com]