Essel is a longtime resident of the exclusive Doheny Estates community which really is much closer to tony West Hollywood and Beverly Hills than it is to CD2 and communities such as North Hollywood, Valley Glen, Valley Village. Sun Valley, Van Nuys, Sherman Oaks, Studio City and Sunland Tujunga.
In addition Essel has been extremely active within that community's homeowner's organization, The Sunset Doheny Homes Association. Unlike community advocate homeowner organizations such as the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association, this is one of those totalitarian NIMBY crank groups that do everything from telling the homeowners when to breathe to what color you can paint your house.
Essel serves on the board and is a key player on the association's architectural committee. Want to put a jacuzzi in your back yard? First you have to get Chris Essel's approval. Thinking of some new landscaping? Ask Chris. Interestingly, one of Essel's partners in crime in her construction review kingdom is fellow board member Steve Cochran who hosted the CD5 mega-bucks birthday-a-palooza for Essel last week.
The group has such an odd and heavy handed approach that members are not even advised of the time and location of board meetings unless they ask and as the association's website says "we will try to accommodate your request." Imagine you dropped over a million dollars on your home and a self appointed cadre of blue hair nags get to tell you what to do and what not to do and you don't even have the opportunity to show up and comment. Where's the Brown Act here?
But on top of all that the most amazing thing is that Essel and the association have sought to block film production in the area. Say you're a realtor living in the area and the housing crunch has commissions down so you have a chance to keep the mortgage current by perhaps renting your home to a shoot for "Curb Your Enthusiasm." Sorry. Not allowed unless you're lucky enough for Chris and her secret board to say yes (not likely to happen). So Essel, supposedly responsible for ENCOURAGING filming in LA says "Not in my backyard" when it comes to production. Of course this isn't the first time Essel has sent production packing leading talkradio host Kevin James to call Essel the "Queen Bee of Runaway Production".
Imagine - Chris Essel doesn't want TV or film crews in HER neighborhood but she's more than okay with SB1818 developers building a ten story condo in yours!
The bottom line is that a NIMBY gated community Beverly Hills adjacent corporate lobbyist like Essel is a horrible match for a working class district like CD2.