About Us

Mission Statement :

The primary objectives of the Westchester / Playa Historical Society shall be to gather, study and preserve the history of the communities of Westchester, Playa del Rey and Playa Vista, California;

To provide educational and research opportunities;

To receive, hold, and disburse gifts, bequests, devises, and other funds from members or friends of the communities of Westchester, Playa del Rey and Playa Vista, California; 

To receive, hold, and disburse monies from fundraising activities; and

To make all gifts/funds more effective by providing for the management thereof.

WPHS Board Members

Cozette Vergari

Cozette grew up in Westchester, attended USC receiving her bachelor’s degree in dance, and continued on with her master’s course work, while obtaining a teaching credential for secondary education. She spent a decade performing in musical theatre. After 25 years in the field of dance,  and motivated by the issues of domestic violence and sex abuse crimes, Cozette chose to attend  law school. She currently is of counsel to Vergari & Napolitano. She  has been a member of the Rotary Club of Westchester since 1995, has served as  Rotary International District Governor for the Los Angeles region, as Honorary Mayor of Westchester, and on the boards of the WPNC, LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce, AMCS, Westchester Rotary Foundation, and Rotary District 5280 Charitable Foundation. Cozette resides happily in Westchester with husband Richard Moon. Together they share four children and five grandchildren.

Marcelo Cruz

Marcelo has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Oregon (Go Ducks!), and for many years taught Public Speaking, Broadcast Journalism, Radio Broadcasting, and Mass Communications at Santa Monica College. After moving to Westchester in 1996 he became active in community events, and in 2000, with a small group of dedicated individuals, launched the first 4th of July Parade down Loyola Boulevard.

David Russell

David Russell is an artist and educator who’s work examines the intersections between public art and community engagement.  He earned his B.F.A. in Painting/ Art History from the University of Tulsa.  He then completed his K-12 Art Education teacher licensure program at Metropolitan State College of Denver.  Russell received his M.F.A. in Public Practice from Otis College of Art and Design in 2011.  His thesis and current work explore the modernization of the L.A. infrastructure, the politics of art in public space, ethical strategies of community engagement and critical pedagogy.  Russell is a senior lecturer at Otis College of Art and Design and Loyola Marymount University. (www.davidkentrussell.com)

Art Wexler

Art Wexler is originally from Santa Monica, moved to Westchester at age 2 and has lived there most of his life. He is a product of our local schools; Cowan Avenue, Wright Junior High and Westchester High Schools.  He is the fun one of the group.

Mike Heffernan

Mike Heffernan, the Society’s archivist, is a 38-year resident of Westchester. Mike attended St. Anastasia elementary school and St. Bernard High School, graduating in 1967. After later graduating from California State University Long Beach, Mike inherited the family home near Loyola Marymount University; he and his family moved back to Westchester in 1999. Mike retired in 2016 from a career in computer operations, and has as his current interests classic cars (he owns two), riding his Harley with a local club, model trains, and, of course, the Historical Society.

Grant Francis

Grant has lived in Westchester almost all of his life, and loves working on all sorts of reunions.  

During his thirty five years at Venice High School, he was chairman of the Industrial Education Department and Technical Director of the Performing Arts Dept.  He retired from Venice High in June of 2001.  He is the block captain for his Neighborhood Watch of Westchester.

Grant loves traveling with his lovely wife Judy. Some of their trips have included: Africa, Alaska, Australia, Canada, and the Caribbean.  They have four children, four grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

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