Membership Matters: Helen Tocco
By Gabriela Philo
Helen Tocco speaks with us about her experience in the Conservancy’s Community Leadership Boot Camp, and why she is a Conservancy member.
LAC: Which neighborhood do you live in? And what do you think makes it full of character and distinct?
HT: I live in Palms. It is a wonderful walkable community with tons of great restaurants and local businesses, a Metro stop, good freeway proximity, and you can even find street parking here. The residents are very friendly, and I like to say we are the “best kept secret in LA” although I guess it isn’t a secret if I keep telling everyone!
LAC: You’ve been a Los Angeles Conservancy member since 2018. What compelled you to join?
HT: I learned about the Conservancy when they got involved to try to help save the Tabor House, which was a historic home in Palms. Unfortunately, the campaign was unsuccessful, and the building was demolished, but it led me to want to learn more about the Conservancy and LA historic buildings.
LAC: This Spring, you joined the Community Leadership Boot Camp. What did you get out of the experience?
HT: I am an architect in my day job and I work on historic easement and historic tax credit projects around the country, so I am always looking to expand my learning and the Boot Camp seemed like a great opportunity. I also wanted to learn how to be more prepared to save the few remaining historic buildings in Palms if any more face demolition like the Tabor House did. One unexpected bonus from the program was the opportunity to network and build friendships with other participants from around the County, and I look forward to supporting each other on future projects.
LAC: You’re on the Board of the Palms Neighborhood Council; why do you think it’s important to be active in neighborhood activities?
HT: I have been the Secretary for the Palms Neighborhood Council since 2019 and am happy to report that I was just reelected to another two-year term. LA is such a big city that NCs are crucial to help our city government keep tabs on specific local concerns and build community engagement. I look forward to elevating historic preservation in our local community by planning walking tours of Palms historic buildings in the future.
LAC: Which programs of LA Conservancy do you like and why?
HT: The Conservancy’s walking tours are fun and educational, and I am so happy to see that they are back! The Conservancy has also done a great job with virtual tours and presentations during the pandemic so that we could stay engaged with historic preservation from the comfort of our homes. I look forward to seeing what the Conservancy does in the future, and I plan to stay involved!