MINUTES FOR OCTOBER 23rd 2014
Voting Members in Attendance: Chris Spitz, Andrew Wolfberg, Jennifer Malaret, Richard Cohen, Barbara Kohn, Carol Pfankuche, Donna Vaccarino, Richard Wulliger, Janet Turner, Stuart Muller, Joyce Brunelle, Paul Glasgall, Greg Sinaiko, George Wolfberg, Kelly Comras, Rick Mills, Sue Kohl, Maryam Zar, Reza Akef, Cathy Russell and Amy Kalp.
Voting Alternates: Ted Mackie and Haldis Toppel.
Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: Steve Boyers, Peter Culhane, Quentin Fleming, Brenda Theveny, Sash Ramaswami, David Kaplan, Barbara Marinacci, Laura Mack, Bruce Schwartz and Doug McCormick.
Start of Business Meeting
1. Reading of Community Council’s Mission. George Wolfberg read the Mission Statement.
2. Call to Order and Introduction of the Board and Audience. Chris Spitz called the meeting to order at 7:01 pm. Introduction of the Board and audience.
3. Certification of Quorum. Chris certified that a quorum was present at 7:07 pm.
4. Adoption of Minutes. Chris announced that the October 9, 2014 minutes were deemed adopted as corrected. Next Meetings: November 13, 2014 (presentation and Q&A on the 5 Steps to Neighborhood Preparedness program (disaster preparedness). www.5steps.LA. December 11, 2014 (holiday party and presentation of Community Service Award). January 8, 2015 (presentation and Q&A on LADWP recycled water use program). January 22, 2015 (forum on Pacific Palisades Design Review Board Proposed Design Guidelines for the Palisades Village/Specific Plan area (in the planning stage)).
5. Consideration of Agenda. The President considered the agenda.
6. Treasurer’s Report. Richard Cohen reported the financial status as of October 23, 2014. The total account balances equal $37,762.19. Recently $225 in contributions has been received. The newsletter remains negative $-(1,104).
7. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
7.1. Announcements from the President, Chris Spitz.
7.1.1. Community Service Award Committee: Sue Kohl, Chair; Paul Glasgall; Gil Dembo. Award given for long-term, continuing voluntary service to the Palisades. The public has been invited to submit nominations consistent with the guidelines by October 25, 2014 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
7.1.2. Outreach Report: Farmers Market, October 12 (held). The next Farmers Market table event will be November 9, 2014 from 9-12n. Volunteers are needed and requested. Going forward the council will attempt to be at the Farmer’s Market on the second Sunday of each month.
7.1.3. December 11, 2014 meeting/holiday party. The Temescal Canyon Dining Hall has been reserved and the 2014 Holiday Committee is comprised of Jennifer Malaret (Chair), Cathy Russell, Carol Pfannkuche, Maryam Zar, Diane Bleak and Andy Frew. Jennifer Malaret asked for input regarding continuation of the potluck with catered main courses or if the board preferred full catering of the event. The board preferred the potluck option. Jennifer passed around an RSVP list, potluck sign up sheet and fund collection envelope in support of the event.
7.1.4. Report on Orientation Seminars for New Representatives – October 14, 2014 (held). The second and final orientation will be November 6, 2014 at 7pm at the home of Chris Spitz. Board members who were unable to attend the first seminar are invited and encouraged to attend. Seating is limited. Please RSVP to Chris Spitz at email@example.com.
7.1.5. West LA Night, November 1, 2014, Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. PPCC’s Executive Committee voted to approve a $100 donation and to be included in the West LA Community Police Stations’ video vignette to be shown during the event that features community partners. The theme is “We are West LA.” A short taping will begin during the beginning of PPCC’s 10/23/14 meeting by Senior Lead Officer Moore or Sergeant Justin Scott. Questions may be sent to Paul Glasgall at firstname.lastname@example.org. For event tickets and further information visit www.westlanight.com or email email@example.com or contact Dede Price at (310) 351-4917 or (310) 444-0735. LAPD invites and encourages attendance and donations by any interested individuals, organizations or businesses.
7.1.6. PPCC Online Survey. Over 320 Palisadians participated in the Survey, which ended September 30, 2014. The results are being analyzed and a summary will be presented at a later date.
7.1.7. Appointment of Laura Mack as PPCC Sustainability Advisor. All interested in participating in a discussion of sustainability issues or possibly serving on a committee, please contact Chris Spitz at firstname.lastname@example.org or Laura at email@example.com.
7.1.8. Letter responding to two letters in Palisadian Post on October 16, 2014. (Attached.)
7.2. Announcements from Governmental Representatives.
7.2.1. Los Angeles Police Department (“LAPD”), SLO Officer Moore — Not in attendance.
7.2.2. Los Angeles City Council, District 11; Councilmember Mike Bonin’s Office. www.11thdistrict.com. Norman Kulla in attendance.
(1) Mar Vista Park, Department of Public Works will be holding a budget presentation on Monday October 27, 2014 at 7 pm, (2) Mike Bonin will be attending the Palisades Charter High School football game tomorrow night and at the Palisades Recreation Center Spooktacular on October 25, 2014 from 3-4 pm, (3) George Wolfberg asked about the 50/50 sidewalk effort. Norman did not know the status but that Councilmember Bonin was fully in support of the program. Residents interested in supporting can contact the Bureau of Street Services.
7.2.3. Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Daniel Tamm Westside Area Representative, Mayor’s Interfaith Liaison (*attending on the 4th Thursday of each month). Mayor’s Website: www.lamayor.org. City Services webpage: http://www.lacity.org/CitywideServices/index.htm. MyLA Phone App: http://www.lacity.org//MyLA311/index.htm — Not in attendance.
7.2.4. California State Assembly, Office of Assemblymember Richard Bloom’s Office, Stephanie Cohen Field Representatives. Website: http://www.asmdc.org/bloom. Email: Stephanie.Cohen@asm.ca.gov. Office: (310) 450-0041 — Not in attendance.
7.2.5. California State Senator Ted Lieu, ((Janet Turner; District Representative Janet.Turner@sen.ca.gov. Office: (310) 318-6994).
Janet reported that (1) the PCH Task Force considered federal funding for expanding and extending the current separate pedestrian beach path from the California Incline to Temescal Canyon Road. The Senator sent a letter to the County in support of these efforts. Other topics included the California incline with the objective of finishing in one summer by the end of 2016; motorcycle surveillance by LAPD helicopter and officer enforcement; grants for portable electronic signs to allow signs along PCH that are temporary to remain into the future which encourage drivers to slow down; and bike safety on PCH.
7.3. Announcements from Board Members and Advisors.
7.3.1. Officers/Area Representatives. Barbara Kohn reported on the initial meeting of the PPCC sponsored “Taskforce on Homelessness.” Approximately 35 persons were in attendance and the formation of the committee is being addressed, along with a homeless count in January 2015.
7.3.2. Organizational Representatives – Report on Behalf of Organizations.
(1) Dick Wulliger, Historical Society reported that the USC Los Angeles History Festival will be held on October 25, 2014 beginning at 9 AM. The event is free and the public is welcome. (2) Joyce Brunelle reported that October 30, 2014 at 5:30 pm is the next Chamber mixer at Daniella and this event is also open to non-Chamber members and membership. Board membership applications will be taken and the Chamber then votes on people to serve on its board. (3) Amy Kalp reported on the Library where the new bookstore is open and volunteers are being sought so that the bookstore can remain open for additional hours.
7.3.3. PPCC Advisors.
Laura Mack reported that DWP is having outreach meetings next week including power resource plans and public outreach where input and comments are sought by November 11, 2014. Other topics include renewable energy, vehicles and Laura requested that Area Reps circulate flyers to their constituents.
7.3.4. Board Members, Other Reports — None.
8. Reports from Committees.
9. Old Business.
Area and At Large Alternate #2 nominees as to which no discussion is needed: Chris Spitz read the names previously read at the last meeting: Diane Bleak (Area 2), Brian Deming (Area 3), Carol Bruch (Area 4), Robin Myers (Area 5), David Peterson (Area 6) and Michael Soneff (At-Large). Dick Wulliger seconded the nominations. The motion passed unanimously.
Discussion and election re #1 position Area 3 Alternate nominee (Jim Rea). Chris reported that Jim Rea has withdrawn his nomination so this matter will not be considered at this time and that, in accordance with the bylaws, the matter of the Area 3 First Alternate will be returned to the Three Chairs Committee. Chris read a statement to the board and public (see below).
Discussion: Steve Boyers spoke in favor of transparency and fairness and praised Jim for his willingness to resign in the best spirit of PPCC. Steve noted Jim’s contributions on committees, fundraising and with the council’s technology. Carol Bruch expressed her concern over the emails and dismay with Jim Rea’s withdrawal. Ted Weitz suggested that this controversy result in an amendment to the bylaws since he had the second largest number of votes in the Area 5 election but was not nominated for an alternate position and such amendment would result in a fair process with perhaps a different result. Richard Cohen directed this analogy to how Jim Rea was treated relative to Area 3. The Three Chairs Committee was charged to nominate not just those desired by the elected but to preserve the continuity of the council and to make sure that all issues in each Area are addressed. Reza Akef stated his concern about a volunteer having their reputation tarnished because of their service to the community particularly in a way that harms them professionally or financially. Daniele Samuleon disputed that Jim Rea’s reputation had been tarnished and stated that residents had put forth facts.
10. New Business — None.
11. General Public Comment — None.
12. Adjournment. Chris Spitz adjourned the meeting at 7:59 PM.
ITEM 7.1.8 – Letter to the Palisadian Post
Those who read the Palisadian Post on October 16 saw two letters concerning PPCC. PPCC had no notice that these letters would appear nor was it provided with any opportunity to comment. We will therefore do so briefly here:
1) Regarding the letter concerning the selection of alternate representatives, unfortunately Kurt Toppel, a former PPCC chair, seriously misunderstands the bylaws which govern PPCC’s conduct and to which it must adhere. While he suggests that the elected representative has the absolute right to choose his or her alternate, this assertion is contrary to the bylaws, which provide for an alternate selection process that includes not only nomination by a committee of three past chairs, but also election by the full board. The board is of course free to reject the committee’s nominations. Thus, the suggestion that alternates are selected by the “personal preference” of a select few is simply false. Notwithstanding these shortcomings, PPCC appreciates Toppel’s acknowledgement that the current board obtained “unprecedented voter participation” in the recent election. As a board we are thrilled with the turnout and we hope all community members will continue to participate by attending PPCC’s public meetings, volunteering and engaging in the discussion!
2) Regarding the letter concerning the parklet, Elizabeth Tower assumes incorrectly that PPCC was somehow involved with an effort to force the removal of picnic tables from Palisades Garden Café. She also suggests that PPCC purports to have the right to “decide” what projects may be pursued by community organizations. In fact, PPCC had no involvement whatsoever regarding the picnic tables and has never held itself out as an organization with the power to make decisions on any projects. Rather, PPCC provides a forum, a voice and a vehicle for advocacy with government officials on matters of community concern; it acted entirely in keeping with its principles and its obligation to the community in this matter.
On a more positive note, we remind the community that PPCC is accepting nominations for the Community Service Award. The deadline for submission is October 25. This award honors Palisadians for steady, continuing, long-time volunteer service to the community. For further details or to submit a nomination, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We invite all interested to our upcoming public board meetings: October 23, 2014 and November 13, 2014 (when there will be a valuable presentation on disaster preparedness – “5 Steps to Neighborhood Preparedness”), from 7pm-9pm in the Palisades branch public library.
ITEM 9.1.2 – AREA 3 FIRST ALTERNATE POSITION
Statement from the President, Chris Spitz:
Because Jim Rea has withdrawn his nomination, we will not be considering this issue at this time. The matter will go back to committee for further deliberations in accordance with our bylaws.
I want to say a word about Jim Rea. As those of us who have worked with him for many years know, Jim is a standup, honorable guy. He worked hard for Area 3 and served the Council and the community well for a long time. I regret very much that in this process he has been subjected to ad hominem personal attacks on his integrity. These personal attacks on dedicated volunteers need to stop now. . . . On behalf of PPCC I want to thank Jim for his outstanding service, and I hope that he will be able to continue to serve the community, whether involved with PPCC or in another capacity, in the future. [remarks from Steve Boyers, also thanking Jim for his service.]
I also want to say a few words about PPCC and its process. Like all organizations, PPCC is guided by its bylaws, which are posted on our website, pacpalicc.org, and available for all to see. The procedures for the election of area and at-large representatives and alternates are not secret. They have been in place for a long time without protest or incident. I categorically reject and deny any allegations of wrongdoing in this instance. The procedures required by our bylaws were followed every step of the way. The Three Chairs Committee was appointed by me in accordance with the bylaws, they did their work in good faith in accordance with the bylaws, and they made decisions on nominations in accordance with the bylaws. Let me be clear: despite the inaccurate information that has been spread in emails, on social media and in the press, the committee did not and does not select ANY alternate representatives. Indeed, the controversy over alleged conflicts obscures the actual facts: Pursuant to our bylaws, the committee, using its best judgment, nominates, then the board votes on whether to accept the nominations and makes the ultimate decision on who the alternates will be; the board did so in all cases up to this point and will do so again at such time as the committee may make another nomination for the Area 3 1st alternate. It is my responsibility as President to make sure the bylaws are followed. I will continue to fulfill that responsibility as long as I serve in this capacity.
PPCC was founded in 1973 and over the years has focused on issues raised by our community members. There are many voices on PPCC and I believe all place the best interests of our community first and foremost in their actions. We continue to be guided by the Council’s mission statement, which was read at the start of this meeting and is read at every meeting. My role as President is to help PPCC fulfill its mission statement. This is turning out to be a full-time job and the pay is not particularly good. I am confident that we will continue to fight for the community in accordance with our mission statement.
Unfortunately, some appear to have misunderstood what PPCC can and cannot do. PPCC cannot make laws and cannot require anyone to do anything. PPCC is the mirror of this community for those who have come forward to be heard. PPCC merely represents the community, as our mission statement provides, “where there is broad community agreement, as reflected by a two-thirds majority vote of the Board Members present….”
I appreciate and am flattered that so many people are so passionate about PPCC. I initially got involved because of issues taking place in my immediate neighborhood. Through the years I have remained involved to work on issues that impact the community as a whole. It is my hope that many of you who have gotten more directly involved with PPCC because of a specific issue will continue long after that issue has been resolved.
The Council and its volunteers have made a significant effort to get more community participation. I believe that we as a Council have been successful based on the record election turnout, with or without the incredible turnout in Area 3. I am excited to move forward together as Palisadians.