MINUTES FOR OCTOBER 27th 2016
Voting Members in Attendance: Maryam Zar, George Wolfberg, Chris Spitz [acting Secretary], Richard Cohen, Sue Kohl, David Kaplan, Reza Akef, Peter Culhane, David Card, Barbara Marinacci, Danielle Samulon, Sarah Conner, Rick Mills, Lou Kamer, Cathy Russell, Katie Braude, Rick Lemmo, Richard Blumenberg and Gilbert Dembo.
Voting Alternates: None.
Non-Voting Advisors and Alternates: Bruce Schwartz, Carol Bruch, Kevin Niles, Barbara Kohn, Susan Payne and Mary Mortensen.
Start of Business Meeting
1. Certification of Quorum. The Chair Maryam Zar called the meeting to order and certified that a quorum was present at 7:01p.m.
2. Reading of Community Council’s Mission. David Card read the Mission Statement.
3. Introduction of the Board and Audience.
4. Approval of Minutes & Upcoming Meetings. Approval of minutes: Maryam approved the October 13, 2016 minutes as corrected. Upcoming meetings: 11/10/16. (1) Citizen of the Year and Golden Sparkplug Honorees announced. (2) Introduction of Tiger Woods Foundation & the Genesis Open. (3) Confirm Areas 4 and 7, 2nd Alt., (4) Safety discussion for Pacific Palisades. 12/08/16. Holiday Party and Awards Event. 1/12/17 & 1/26/17: Sharon Commins on Recode LA and Barbara Broide on building and development on the West Side (including the battle over the sign ordinance). Note: There is one meeting only in Nov. and Dec.
5. Consideration of Agenda.
6. Treasurer’s Report. Treasurer Richard Cohen reported that we have a balance of $34,188.00, and there have been no significant transactions in the last two weeks.
7. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
7.1. From the Chair.
7.1.1. Update on WRAC. In the interest of time the audience was directed to the PPCC newsletter which was emailed last week and will be on the PPCC website.
7.1.2. PLUM Committee meeting on 10/25. The Haul Route appeal was denied; all routes applied for are still approved.
7.1.3. Caltrans light and Chautauqua remediation if used. PPCC is attempting to see if another route can be opened up which would require installation of a traffic signal on PCH for left turns into the canyon. Councilman Bonin has written a letter to Assemblyman Bloom and is working to urge Caltrans to approve the traffic signal.
7.2. From Officers.
7.2.1. Richard Cohen (Treasurer). Richard gave an update on the last WLA C-PAB meeting. The City’s Office of Emergency Management reported that we are overdue for a big earthquake and residents should have emergency supplies and plans in place. LAPD officer staffing remains steady. We are lightly staffed. Richard thanked Capt. Nieto for keeping the beach patrol with Officer Redican. There is an undercover “X” car, which is a free-roaming, unmarked car going through neighborhoods, making many arrests and finding evidence of other crimes. It is hoped his will make a difference in the crime rate.
7.3. From At-Large and Area Reps.
7.3.1. Lou Kamer (At-Large). Lou explained that he has been working on an issue that PRIDE is also working on: adding a crosswalk at the Alma Real/La Cruz intersection. This will involve moving a tree and putting in ADA access; CD11 supports the improvements, as do nearby businesses. Lou has spoken with Palisades Beautiful regarding the tree and also with PRIDE regarding the overall improvement. He is also initiating a safety symposium that will start on Nov. 9; it is anticipated that this campaign will last several months with many meetings. The issues discussed will also be brought to PPCC as part of the ongoing campaign.
7.3.2. Peter Culhane (Area 2). He has met with Mo Bloforshan of LADOT. There is a dangerous intersection with almost a blind turn on Palisades Dr. at lower Palis. Circle. A complaint was registered and hopefully restriping and flashing lights will be installed. Peter has also learned who the culprit is who has been spilling huge amounts of white paint near Von’s on Sunset; Peter is getting the individual involved to clean up the mess.
7.4. From Organizational Reps.
7.4.1. Sarah Conner (PPRA). Sarah reported on the 58th annual meeting of PPRA this week. Jill Stewart of the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative and Dick Platkin, former City Planner, were guest speakers. The Initiative will be on the ballot in March; Jill Stewart explained that among other things the Initiative would preserve neighborhood character, require the EIR process to be followed, and force an update of the City’s General Plan. To get on the PPRA email list, contact email@example.com.
7.4.2. (Agenda addition) Rick Lemmo (Chamber of Commerce). Rick reported on the Chamber’s first event in its new Distinguished Speaker series, which took place at Pepperdine this week, with Kevin Demoff, COO of the LA Rams, as the guest speaker. The event was well attended. The next event will be in March.
7.5. From Governmental Representatives.
7.5.1. Los Angeles Police Department (“LAPD”) – SLO Michael Moore.
Officer Moore stated that crime is down 4.6%. There are still many vehicle break-ins, with 6-7 reported this morning. Lou Kamer: Are there unreported break-ins going on? Officer Moore: He doesn’t know for sure. People will report being broken in on Nextdoor and others reply that they experienced break-ins, but Officer Moore isn’t seeing reports on all these; they could be posting about break-ins that occurred months earlier so it is not clear how many are current. Just based on current reports, the break-in situation is not as bad as some people make it out to be. Peter Culhane: We would like accurate information regarding a recent assault on a trail in Area 2. Officer Moore: A young woman went up on the trail to take her own life. She survived and has told the police she is not sure if anything actually happened to her. There is no danger to the community. Gil Dembo: We would like information about a different incident involving fire access road at top of Lachman, when someone was hit with a baseball bat. Officer Moore: That is listed as a robbery, but detectives are looking at the victim, who had conflicting answers to questions and may have initiated contact with the alleged assailant; a 2nd victim disappeared; detectives are taking a 2nd look at the situation; this is not something that should be of community concern.
7.5.2. LAFD Captain Bates – FS69 – Los Angeles Fire Department.
Maryam welcomed Captain Bates and the fire fighters in attendance. Capt. Bates introduced Capt. Tom Kitahara, the other Station 69 Captain, and all the fire fighters. He stated that they are glad to be here to serve the community. They invite all community members to come in and meet the Fire Station members. They have an open door policy. There are 3 shifts, and representatives of all 3 shifts are here tonight. Regarding what the community can do to help in high fire situations, Capt. Bates says the best assistance the community can give is to evacuate if advised to do so; this greatly helps fire fighters by keeping streets clear. He also advised that we should cut back brush and trim trees or other hazards up against our houses. They will be happy to attend another meeting and provide more details on fire prevention. Maryam thanked the fire fighters for all their service.
Cathy Russell: Area 7 and other areas of the Palisades have lots of narrow streets, and she worries about access in an emergency. Capt. Bates: The fire trucks can get to just about any road they need to get to, even hiking trails. There’s only a problem if people are not evacuating in time and clogging the streets. David Card: Do all firefighters get training in brush fires? Capt. Bates: We have a system called “mutual aid” so that we receive assistance from other stations; everyone is trained from all stations; there is minimum required annual brush training to a national level, as well as state level training. Lou Kamer: Residents are worried about the use of Chautauqua as a haul route during construction; is there any current problem getting fire trucks down Chautauqua? Capt. Bates: Most of the time we don’t have an issue; sometimes it’s a bit slow. Audience: Do helicopters come out of Van Nuys? Capt. Bates: Yes, but they may be moved to different areas depending on high fire hazard days. Sarah Conner: She has noticed all SM fire firefighters playing volleyball at the beach – do our fire fighters play? Capt. Bates: We regularly run at the beach but do not play volleyball. Capt. Kitahara also advised the community to call 911 first in an emergency, then we are welcome to back this up with a call to the Station 69 business number: 310-575-8569 (on our website under Resources).
7.5.3. Debbie Dyner Harris – Office of Councilman Mike Bonin, Westside District Director.
There is new crosswalk striping at both the Temescal/Bowdoin and Alma Real/La Cruz intersections. Councilman Bonin was at the Farmers Market this past Sunday and spoke with many neighbors. The City will implement a new sidewalk repair program which will allow property owners to cost-share the repairs of sidewalks. The cost-sharing will be for both residential and commercial property owners and the City will be proactive. Debbie reminded us to use 311 to access City services. She also advised that the Bureau of Sanitation Services has a call center that will can be accessed 24/7, 365 days per year.
7.5.4. Janet Turner – Office of Congressman Ted Lieu, Field Deputy – Not in attendance
7.6. From PPCC Advisors.
7.6.1. Amir Eptehadj (Youth) – Not in attendance.
8. Reports from Committees.
8.1. VPCLC (David Kaplan, Co-Chair).
David reported that we are continuing to try and find alternative routes to currently approved haul routes in order to alleviate the need to use Chautauqua for hauling. Routes have been approved and hauling will start in a few weeks. We are working with Councilman Bonin who in turn is working with Assemblyman Bloom to urge Caltrans to permit installation of a temporary traffic signal on PCH which would allow left turns from PCH into the canyon.
8.2. Awards Selection Committee (George Wolfberg, Chair).
Awards nominations are due by midnight, Sat. 10/29. Nominations may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to the PPCC P.O. Box. The box will be checked on Monday 10/31. Award winners will be announced at the Nov. 10 PPCC meeting.
8.3. Awards Event Committee (Peter Culhane, Chair). Dec. 8 is the date for our Awards Event/holiday party. More information to come at the next PPCC meeting.
9. Old Business – None.
10. New Business.
10.1. Measure M — MoveLA.
Peter Culhane introduced Marlene Grossman, leadership board chair of MoveLA, a transportation advocacy group. Marlene gave background on the measures that MoveLA has been working on. Since 2007 they worked to get Measure R on the ballot, which passed. The fruits of that measure include the Expo Line and the Gold Line. To accelerate the process started by Measure R, MoveLA then worked on Measure J, which was on the ballot in 2012 but did not pass by a very narrow margin. Metro began a process called the Mobility Matrix, which asked what projects are needed most and made a list. MoveLA started to reinforce and expand the coalition they used for Measure R – added faith-based, seniors, bike coalitions, disability groups. Result: 48K people have had input over 3 ½ years into what Measure M would be about (the Los Angeles County Traffic Improvement Plan): highway improvements; rail and buses; active transportation, i.e., bike paths and active walking areas; local return of money (meaning local cities get funding to be able to receive more paratransit, buses, bike path, street repairs). This goes to all cities in the county. A half percent goes to admin. One of the controversies: it’s a tax without a sunset. Why no sunset? So we can have a source of money in perpetuity for operations and maintenance. The tax is a ½ cent sales tax which will raise $120 billion over 40 years. There is an oversight committee. Every 4 years there will be a federally mandated upgrade in the transportation plan. Metro will present the plan as it exists and if approved, funds will be allocated to Metro by the federal government.
Gil Dembo: The brochure says you are improving the cross from the Valley to Las Virgines/Malibu Canyon. Will you improve PCH in anticipation of additional traffic from the Valley? Marlene: Does not know but wlll try to get an answer. Malibu is supporting this measure because of local return dollars which the cities will receive. The Malibu/Las Virgines COG supports Measure M. Carol Bruch: How much is the total sales tax increase from all the measures on ballot? Marlene: Doesn’t know for sure – ½ cent HHH and ½ cent Measure M. David Kaplan: What exactly will benefit this area? Marlene: 1) the Expo line; 2) more rail, more buses and more connectivity which will he better overall; a subway will be completed to the VA by 2024; how we will get to the subway will be addressed through local return dollars. Marlene urges us all to get involved.
10.2. Measure A – Safe, Clean Neighborhood Parks & Beaches Protection.
Lynn Hylen, PP-PAB, explained that this measure will fund necessary safety repairs and upgrades to our parks. She pointed to the state of our Rec. Center bathrooms; the gym hasn’t been cleaned in 10 years; our parks are completely underfunded. The measure will also fund water conservation efforts at parks. It is cheap – a replacement tax, replacing other taxes that are expiring. Tax amount: 1 1/2 cents per square foot. Lynn stated that there is a list of 10 projects compiled by the PAB that will be funded and will go right to the Palisades, including a dog park near Potrero Canyon.
Maryam: Will the money reasonably come back to us? Lynn: Yes, money will be distributed via grants for the project list. This involves a parcel tax that will last 35 years. Richard: Isn’t the main thrust to serve underserved neighborhoods? Lynn: that’s for areas that need to acquire land for parks; we are ready to go. Reza: How was the list made? Lynn: Rec and Parks conducted needs assessment meetings. The list of priorities came out of residents coming to meetings and expressing their opinions. Debbie Dyner Harris: There was thorough vetting to get to the list. CD11 will be advocates. Audience: The measure does have an oversight committee.
10.3. LAWA – LAX Landside Improvements.
Daniel Osztreicher, Planning Assistant, Environmental Programs Group, LAWA, presented information about the Landside Access Modernization Program. The draft EIR is out – deadline for comment has been extended to Nov. 15; to comment go to ConnectingLAX.com. David showed a PowerPoint. He explained that the project involves a people mover, light rail and tram. These will connect to Metro. Phase 1: roadway improvements, consolidated rental car facility, intermodal transportation facilities (ITF), public and employee parking. Will be done by 2023. Phase 2: roadwork closest to airport and potential future developments. They are dispersing traffic to outside facilities. Full build out will occur by 2035. Automated people mover: timing 12-15 minutes from ITF to airport. If Measure M passes the Metro airport connector will be built. Design will be mid-century modern. LAWA does not want to obstruct views of the theme building. There will be mitigation measures – clean construction, dust mitigation, traffic mitigation. LAWA will work with all local cities to integrate traffic plans. They are working with the LA Rams. The program will have sustainability features; LEED Silver is the goal.
David Kaplan: How to get to LAX and back from the Palisades? Daniel: Flyaway. Carol Bruch: What have you done to help people who are disabled/in wheelchairs? Daniel: The program will be ADA compliant; he welcomes further comment. Audience: Is there any airport in the world that you have looked out? Daniel: LAX is unique: we are in a landlocked situation and there are very few airports we can look at for comparison. LAWA looked at airports all over the world and in the U.S., including in Germany, Tokyo, Oakland and Denver.
10.4. Potrero Canyon Project — Rob Hancock, BOE.
Introductory remarks by George Wolfberg, Chair of the Potrero Canyon Community Advisory Committee. George explained that for decades there has been a project to create a park in Potrero Canyon. The project stalled for lack of funds. The City owned valuable parcels along the rim of the future park, representing some areas of landslides and lawsuits resulting in the City acquisition. Unfortunately, the Coastal Commission prohibited any land sales until the project was completed—a genuine stalemate. In 2004, our then local City Councilmember, Cindy Miscikowski reached an agreement with Coastal to let the City sell just a few parcels with future sales possible if there was demonstrable progress. She also got the LA City Council to create a trust fund to protect money from these sales and to create a Brown Act citizens advisory committee. George was designated Chair and members included people you know, including David Card, Rob Weber, Gil Dembo, Stuart Muller, Chris Spitz, Bob Harter, Norma Spak and Carl Mellinger. Messrs. Card, Weber and Mellinger were vice chairs and chaired subcommittees. The Committee held monthly public meetings, as well as workshops and tours beginning in February 2005 and in April 2006 unanimously adopted a consensus plan for the Potrero Canyon Trails prepared by David Card and his committee. After another 18 months of contentious meetings, the final plan was adopted by the committee in January 2008 with the caveat that the committee’s highest priority was the completion of a pedestrian bridge over PCH. Many heroes exist, including David Card, he of the tagged garage door, Councilman Bill Rosendahl who had to fight off a possible grab of the trust funds by then Councilman Bernie Parks who was running for supervisor. Bill endorsed Bernie and the fund was saved. Such is politics. Norman Kulla, a former PPCC Chair, who worked for Bill and Mike Bonin, was single-handedly the key to the project by bringing together City people along with Caltrans and Coastal commission and it was sometimes like herding cats. Kudos to these heroes. Now the ball is in the City Engineer’s court and it has not been easy. Rob Hancock is the lead geotechnical expert on the project and he and other City engineers have been working with consultants to complete final plans that can be bid out to finally build the park. George concluded his remarks by commenting that more soil also is needed.
Maryam then introduced Rob Hancock. Rob is an Engineering Geologist for City and has been managing the park design for about 10 years. He will retire in early Jan. Pedro Garcia, also present, will take over and finish management of the design. Mike Sherrod of RRM Design, who is doing landscape design for the park, is also present. Rob stated the objectives for the park: 1) stabilize the canyon wall; 2) create a natural park with 7.8 acres riparian habitat. The park will be operated and maintained by RAP. Current status: the plans are essentially complete; we have Coastal approval; and LADBS review is almost complete. Along PCH: the old road comes inland at corner of Potrero and goes under the area of the Via de las Olas landslide. That right of way is still Caltrans property. They must build a fill slope up against the right of way; the City is working with Caltrans to get the necessary encroachment permit. The project is funded through the sale of 21 properties around the rim. These sales have generated more funds than expected. Construction is estimated to be $20 million. As soon as the City gets Caltrans and LADBS sign-off, they should be ready to begin construction. The park was designed by Mars, a private consultant. They took input from the PPCAC, CD11, RAP, the CCC, PP-PAB and BOE; all were involved in design. The CCC required many design elements, including additional parking; 25 new parking spaces will be added at the Rec. Center. The City hired 5 experts from around the country and their input was incorporated into park design. There will be trails on both sides of the riparian area from the Rec. Center to PCH. The upper portion of the park will be ADA compliant; an ADA parking space will be added in the Frontera parking lot. There will be wheelchair access in some parts of the park. There will be 3 park entrances: stairs from the ball field area; the tennis courts off of Frontera; and at PCH and the beach.
Rob explained the reason why this has taken so long: funding stopped for quite a long time before money eventually came from the sale of rim properties. Enough funds were generated to do the required grading. A pedestrian bridge to be built over PCH is the second phase. Rob is also working with DWP and has requested the undergrounding of all facilities on PCH from Potrero to Temescal.
Rob also explained that 122K yards of soil are needed to finish the park. Caruso has 122K yards of clean soil. The soil will come into the canyon from PCH and be stockpiled. They have not hired a contractor yet. Hauling will start mid-November. If the Caruso project soil is used they will have all the soil they need to do the grading. The City understands concerns about contamination. The Dept. of Toxic Substances Control sent a letter concluding that the soil coming from the Caruso project is suitable for unrestricted use; the soil will be monitored as it is removed and BOE will monitor the soil again when it comes off the trucks coming into the park. The City will make sure no contaminated soil comes into the park. If the soil from the Caruso project doesn’t happen then that soil would have to be taken far away and we would need another source for the 122K yards needed for the park; Rob is not sure where it will come from.
Maryam: If you get the soil when can you start grading? Rob: Grading will take a year and landscaping will take a year; they need to get approvals first from Caltrans and LADBS. There will be one joint venture contract to do grading and landscaping. 1300 trees will go into the canyon; there is a donor for 120 live oak trees.
Mike Sherrod of RRM Design, landscaping for the project, gave a Power Point presentation regarding Phase 3 of park development: putting the habitat back into place. Goals: Habitat Replacement and Creation. 1) Coastal Scrub Habitat. Native plant community along the coast from Santa Barbara to Baja CA. Coastal Bluff Scrub Zone: placed at mouth of the canyon (faces the ocean; no trees). 2) Coastal Scrub within Fuel Modification Zone. 14.5 acres around park rim. 3) Coastal Scrub/Riparian Zone (Transition Zone). 7.0 acres. Altogether 25.3 acres habitat total. Riparian Habitat – in channel and lower parts of the canyon: 1) Dry Riparian Zone 5.4 acres (moist soil outside of creek). 2) Wet Riparian Zone 2.7 acres. There will be an impermeable liner under the creek. Riparian Habitat total area 8.1 acres. Another goal: Recreation Enhancement: there will be trails, rest and overlook areas; one “spine” trail and hiking loop trails; a native demonstration garden near the tennis courts; a meadow in the upper park area; and overlooks with benches near the PCH end.
Bruce Schwartz: Is there an active fault under the park? Rob: There is no active fault. Sue Kohl: Where does the water for the park come from? Rob: Irrigation will be installed when plants are first installed. They will be irrigated for a couple of years, then the irrigation will be turned off. The riparian area will continue to need irrigation. A storm drain comes down canyon and there will be pump station which will pick up most of the low flow diversion and pump water back up canyon. There will be a biofiltration area (gravel); the water will be clean; it will flow down through canyon above the liner and irrigate the riparian area. Richard Cohen: Will there be west rim access? The PPCAC suggested this but local residents opposed and the question was deferred for future consideration. The committee has not met again to consider the issue. TCA supports west rim access. Rob: This is not within his purview. Debbie Dyner Harris: Councilmember Bonin is grappling with the issue and is deferring any decision on west rim access; this is a complicated, hot button issue. David Kaplan: What is the actual possibility that the pedestrian bridge will be built? Rob: The plan is to build a bridge which would have “Trilogy” locks on the gates which would open at sunrise and close at sunset. The bridge is a requirement of the 1985 EIR. David: Residents are concerned about homeless people in the park; how can you ensure that people who have come in during the day have left at sunset? Debbie: The park rangers will move people on. Gil Dembo: There will be a fence surrounding the park; rim residents won’t have access to the park from their properties and no one from outside will have access to residents’ properties. It is also a passive park; there will be no active recreation. Cathy Russell: How can we get Caltrans to approve a traffic light to allow left turns into the canyon during hauling? Rob: This is not his jurisdiction. Audience: question about milkweed and butterflies. Rob: Will look into this. Carol Bruch: What is the material of the impermeable liner? Rob: ESS 13; it is a flexible liner that will last a long time. Patrick Hart: He has studied earthquakes for many years; research indicates a fault under the park became active during the Northridge quake; it broke the coastal interceptor sewer; a 2002 study indicated a fault capable of sustaining a large earthquake. Rob: By law you can’t build on an active fault, so creating a passive park is an excellent use of this property; displacement of soil at the mouth of the canyon will not be big problem. Mary Mortensen: Where will the extra parking spots go? Rob: They will be at the island in front of the Rec. Center where trees have had to be removed; the parking plan was from the PP-PAB. Sue Pascoe: In what months will grading start? Rob: This would be a complete guess; it depends on Caltrans. The City would like to see it happen early next year; it will take 6 months to get a contractor, but that is speculation at this point. Audience (resident who lives on Alma Real overlooking park): What dust control measures will be taken? Also, is part of the program to improve the area north on PCH to allow people to walk out of the park to Temescal? Rob: We think we have an additional $6 million to build the pedestrian bridge. RAP is trying to fund a plan that would take a trail from the park to Temescal and then back to the Rec Center (3.5 mile loop). Dust mitigation measures will be undertaken; the soil being hauled in the trucks will be wet down to mitigate dust. Audience: when will the park be done? Rob: 1 year for grading, 1 year for park improvements, but must first obtain a permit from Caltrans.
11. General Public Comment. Eric Marshall: Public comment should be called earlier in the meeting. Maryam: This may be a bylaws matter; we will look into it.
12. Adjournment. Maryam adjourned the meeting at 9:15p.m.