Barbara Savage: Hancock Park’s Own Wonder Woman

Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu (third from left) honored four women at a recent luncheon, including local Hancock Park resident Barbara Savage (fourth from left).

Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu, who represents Council District 4 (CD4), paid tribute last month to local Barbara Savage as part of a Women’s History Month.

At a luncheon held in March, Ryu honored Savage as one of four “Wonder Women” in the district who have made “immense contributions to their neighborhoods,” according to a statement issued from Ryu’s office.

Savage was feted along with Cheryl Cashman, of the Community Policing Advisory Board, Van Nuys Division; Sherman Oaks Elementary Charter School 3rd grade teacher Robyn Arnold and Audrey Casillas, of the Koreatown Youth and Community Center.

“They did a beautiful luncheon at [Le Petit Greek] on Larchmont [Boulevard],” Savage said. “Councilman Ryu was very thankful to us for our civic pride.”

Ryu had nothing but glowing praise for Savage.

“Barbara serves her community with consistent dedication and enthusiasm every single day,” Ryu said. “Her record as businesswoman, volunteer and mother speaks for itself. Barbara Savage is truly a wonder woman of 2017.”

Savage has always felt connected to helping others—even before the late 1980s when she was a young cheerleader for the then Los Angeles Raiders. As a teen growing up in Colorado, she volunteered with American Red Cross as a lifeguard and most recently, she served as a Red Cross Community Ambassador.

Despite her long-held love for the area, Savage said she knows life is not perfect in her neighborhood—especially its traffic.

“I’ve lived here for so long and I see how much things are changing,” she said. “To me, it feels like a small town. But [Los Angeles is] one of the number one tourist destinations in the world and we have got to step up. We’ve got to become current with technology, with transportation.”

On the various councils she volunteers on, Savage has tackled many issues, from new restaurants on La Brea requesting longer hours, stop sign problems on residential streets, even a nagging pothole on Third Street that once got her daughter’s clothes dirty walking to John Burroughs Middle School.

She’s also spent a lot of time trying to alleviate cut-through traffic on residential streets.

“I’m kind of lucky,” she said. “I live on a street with speed bumps.”

Savage said she enjoys the diversity of her community’s age and ethnicity demographics but notes that some of the older residents have been resistant to neighborhood change, she said.

“We’re 50/50,” Savage said, characterizing the local demographics. “Fifty percent over 50 years old, 50% under 50 years old. The older people,” she said, “are wishing [we could be] the same quaint Rancho La Brea.”

Savage, on the other hand, embraces many of the neighborhood’s changes underway, like the area’s in-progress Metro Line construction that will provide more public transit.

“I am personally very excited about the subway [Purple Line extension],” she said.

She also likes what she is seeing taking place along La Brea Avenue.

“La Brea is having a resurgence in restaurants and retail. Now we have restaurants that are coming in and want to stay open later. We’ve had buildings that have been vacant for years. To me, a vacant building is more dangerous. I think less crime happens on a busy street.”

Despite all of this progress, Savage, who has lived at her current home since 2012, has a deep respect for the area’s rich history.

“I’m the third owner of my home and I’m still in touch with the woman who grew up in this house,” she said.

Savage has also worked as a private investigator—something she said she still practices part-time. She also launched a line of personal care products and last summer, was one of 20 contestants on Fox’s “MasterChef.”

She currently works as a caterer and conducts twice-monthly cooking classes at the Whole Foods on Third and Fairfax.

“My specialty is gluten-free [cuisine],” Savage said. “I’m multi-faceted when it comes to cuisine because I’ve traveled all around the world.”

And in her more than 30 years of CD4 residency, Savage said there’s no place else she’d rather live.

“It’s beautiful,” Savage said of Hancock Park. “It’s the heart of the city.”

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