MINUTES FOR FEBRUARY 23rd 2017
Voting Members in Attendance: Maryam Zar, Richard Cohen, George Wolfberg, Chris Spitz [acting Secretary], Lou Kamer, David Kaplan, Cathy Russell, Danielle Samulon, Barbara Marinacci, Dick Wulliger, Richard Blumenberg, Sarah Conner, Gil Dembo, Katie Braude, Rick McGeagh.
Voting Alternates: Kevin Niles, Carol Bruch, Andrew Sacks.
Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: David Peterson, Brian Deming, Barbara Kohn, Sharon Kilbride, Doug McCormick.
1. Certification of Quorum. The Chair Maryam Zar called the meeting to order at 7:06pm and certified that a quorum was present.
2. Reading of Community Council’s Mission. George Wolfberg read the Mission Statement.
3. Introduction of the Board and Audience. The board and audience were introduced.
4. Approval of Minutes & Upcoming Meetings. 1) Approval of Minutes: Maryam deemed the minutes of February 9, 2017 approved. 2) Upcoming Meetings: 3/9/17. Topics to be announced. 3/23/17. 1) Caruso Village Project report; 2) Shell Station discussion and motion. Carol Bruch asked to raise an additional agenda topic, claiming that the PPCC bylaws had been violated as a result of a letter by Maryam published in the Post in which she was identified as PPCC Chair. Chris Spitz raised a point of order, stating that if a bylaws violation is being claimed, proper process under the bylaws must be followed and that raising such a claim in this public manner was improper. Carol stated that she was raising this issue now on an emergency basis because the letter might be construed as a PPCC endorsement of Mike Bonin in light of the upcoming CD11 election. Maryam explained the circumstances, clarifying that she has not endorsed any candidate and had not written the letter in her capacity as PPCC Chair, having submitted the letter as an editorial to clarify the role of WRAC, and her position on the Exec Committee of both boards. Post Editor John Harlow was present and confirmed that the Post had on its own identified Maryam as PPCC Chair in the published letter. The matter was not pursued further.
5. Consideration of Agenda. Maryam announced that the Agenda is as distributed.
6. Treasurer’s Report. Richard Cohen reported that PPCC has a bank account balance of $39,818.
7. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
7.1. From the Chair.
7.1.1. Announcement regarding CD11 Candidates Forum.
Maryam stated that the WRAC-sponsored forum will go forward at Windward School in Mar Vista on Feb. 27th at 6:30pm. All three candidates will be present; two will attend in person and one by way of prerecorded responses of the same questions. The event will be live-streamed on the WRAC Facebook page. Further details will be distributed.
7.2. From Officers.
7.2.1. George Wolfberg (Vice-Chair).
George reported that the Santa Monica Canyon Civic Association (SMCCA) board holds monthly public meetings. This month’s meeting, held on the 21st, had an expected briefing from a developer on development in the Canyon Specific Plan Area as well as presentations by two candidates for City Council: Mike Bonin and Robin Rudisill. The other candidate showed up at the January meeting. George noted that these agenda items brought out a room full of attendees and SMCCA actually ran out of chairs—at least 64 people at the Rustic Canyon Recreation Center. Unfortunately, the developer did not have his ducks in a row and the board looks forward to hearing from him in the future. Regarding the Council race, this was announced as not being a debate; the two candidates made presentations and answered questions taking a little over 20 minutes each. The board agreed to share the cost of beach tunnel cleaning with the BOCA neighborhood group and authorized SMCCA’s counsel to enter into a settlement with the FAA regarding flight paths if possible.
7.2.2. Chris Spitz (Chair/President Emeritus).
Chris explained that we have learned that Chipotle will be applying in the near future for a CUB to serve alcohol (beer, wine and margaritas) at the Village location. They will present to the board once the application is filed. Regarding the Temporary Pole Top Distributing Station (TPTDS) at Sunset & Marquez Ave., Chris announced that PPCC has received notice of a hearing of the adjacent property owner’s appeal of issuance of a Coastal Development Permit for the TPTDS. The hearing will take place on March 8, 2017 at 10am before the Board of Public Works at Los Angeles City Hall, 200 N. Spring St., Rm. 350, Los Angeles. Comments or questions can be directed to Catalina Hernandez at 213-485-5756 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Chris noted that PPCC will send out the hearing notice with a meeting recap in the next email blast.
7.3. From At-Large and Area Reps.
7.3.1. Danielle Samulon (Area 3).
Danielle explained that an issue in Area 3 is the extensive storm debris on Sunset between Arno Way/Bay Club Dr. and Bienveneda. She has been in touch with Sharon Shapiro of CD11 regarding the challenges in cleaning up Sunset. Danielle also reported that a Marquez resident is concerned about the proposed subdivision of a property in Marquez Knolls; MKPOA is concerned as well and has encouraged PPCC to look into the matter. Maryam advised that the PPCC has investigated the issue; she has had several communications with the Council office and a determination was made that the property was large enough to subdivide (10,000 sq. feet). Maryam also explained that there is a question as to how large typical lots are in the Palisades and whether this will set a precedent. Cheryl Zomber (audience) stated that the lot in question was 10,000 sq. feet so that each subdivided lot would be 5,000 sq. feet. She asked that MKPOA be kept in the loop if there are further communications about this issue and Maryam replied that they would be.
7.3.2. Andrew Sacks (Area 8).
Andrew reported that the Genesis Open Golf Tournament went well this year under the new event organizer, the Tiger Woods Foundation. The residents had a successful pre-event meeting with the Foundation and CD11; there was some negative feedback but most of the feedback since the event took place was very positive; they look forward to a post-tournament meeting as to what went right and what went wrong. Daphne Gronich (audience) advised that the Foundation met in advance with Paul Revere staff and parent leaders; that the event went well in terms of Revere; and that Revere rep, Matt Rodman (also a PPCC Board member), would be included in the post-tournament meeting.
7.3.3. Lou Kamer (At-Large). Lou reported that he has been approached by some businesses on both Swarthmore and Sunset who state that business is down overall because of the hauling and Caruso project construction.
7.4. From Organizational Reps.
7.4.1. Rick McGeagh (PPBA).
Rick announced that the 2nd best day of the year in the Palisades (the first being July 4th) is coming up on March 11 with the annual PPBA Pancake Breakfast and Opening Day ceremonies at the Rec. Center. The Pancake Breakfast is from 7:30-10:30am and Opening ceremonies are at 9:30am. Breakfast tickets are $5 and all proceeds benefit PPBA.
7.4.2. Sarah Conner (PPRA).
Sarah announced that PPRA hosted a fair debate at the CD11 Candidates Forum on February 16. She explained that PPRA’s mission is education and they did not endorse any candidate. 125 persons attended and the event was successful. The entire debate is posted on the PPRA Facebook page; segments are also posted, broken down by topics.
7.4.3. Richard Blumenberg (PPCL).
Richard advised that he attended the City Council PLUM Committee meeting on February 14; the Committee passed the R1 Variations for the 25 areas of the city covered by the ICO amendments. Only a few areas are exempt: the ABCs and Huntington. Maps of the areas affected and information showing the restrictions can be found on the Planning or Neighborhood Conservation websites.
7.4.4. Gil Dembo (TCA). Gil reported that the connector trail from Temescal to Rivas Canyon has been closed due to mudslides; it is dangerous to use. New wooden stairs were installed in the Leacock Trail for hiker safety.
7.5. From Governmental Representatives.
7.5.1. Michael Moore – Los Angeles Police Department (“LAPD”), SLO.
Officers Matt Kirk (SLO Pico-Robertson area) and Paul Menchaca (West Traffic Division) were present with SLO Moore. Michael reported that the biggest crime issue in the Palisades is stolen vehicles, which are up 300% because of residents leaving their cars unlocked with keys inside. He believes this is most likely because of bush button engine starters. Maryam remarked that she has noticed there are more home break-ins with smashed windows. Is this a trend? Michael answered that it’s possible; this has been going on for the last year. Glass doors are an invitation to smash. There are companies that do window glazing to make it more difficult to break the glass. In 90% of cases if the resident has a noisy alarm system the suspect leaves or only takes items in the immediate area and doesn’t ransack the entire house. Carol Bruch asked if there is a car theft ring. Michael replied that he assumes a group has discovered this area is ripe for picking but we don’t know for sure. Michael also advised that he has a Twitter account: Mike@lapdSLO1. Chris Spitz stated that this has been added to our website.
Officer Menchaca then introduced himself and related that he works at the West Traffic Division in the CTSU, a unit that supports the community with traffic issues such as speeding, failing to obey stop signs, etc. This year LAPD is looking at Vision Zero, which is a goal to reduce vehicle and bicycle accidents by 20%. Residents can call the unit with any traffic issues at 213-473-0215 and speak with Mike Toth; residents should be prepared to give the time and date of the incident when calling. Officer Menchaca also reported that an Officer O’Dea has been working on motorcycle issues. He can be reached at the same phone number. Officer O’Dea has checked on the motorcycle group activity and some have been speeding. Officer Menchaca explained in regard to speed surveys that this allows LAPD to run lasers; it is in process but needs to be certified. He also explained that Sergeant Eun will be taking over the CTSU. The unit does not write up accident reports; different officers are assigned to that duty. George Wolfberg advocated for the use of drones to document traffic accidents. He explained that the clearance time using drones is only 15 minutes rather than hours, which is important for PCH accidents, and that Michigan is using drones for this purpose. Carol Bruch asked what citizens can do about repeated incidents of cars running red lights. Officer Menchaca replied that the officer has to see the violation. Gil Dembo stated that LADOT is responsible for traffic control officers and more officers are needed at Sunset and Church lane.
7.5.2. Sharon Shapiro – Office of Councilman Mike Bonin, Field Deputy.
Shapiro reported that traffic control officers were present at the Church Lane/Sunset intersection during the 405 construction. The Council office is aware that this is an intersection with an issue. Staffing availability and cost are factors in traffic control officer assignment; there is a recommendation for officers at Barrington and Bundy. Councilmember Bonin has proposed lane restriping at the 405 onramp NB; it is hoped that this will be done by the end of the month. Village School asked for the City to pump out water from a storm drain; crews are continuing to work overtime to do this and to clean up debris from the rains. Sharon explained the Councilmember’s recent motion to take more sworn police officers from administrative positions and put them back on patrol. She also explained his positions on ballot measures: He supports Measure M as a way to regulate the marijuana industry. He does not support Measure S because he feels it will exacerbate homelessness. Richard Blumenberg asked about when the R1 variations are expected to be in effect. Sharon will check with Tricia Keane and get back to us.
7.5.3. Janet Turner – Office of Congressman Ted Lieu, District Representative.
Janet advised that Congressman Lieu had a recent meeting with the VA regarding homelessness. The VA will be opening permanent supportive housing with 100 new units. This is in the planning stages. There is also a new project with an outside developer involving 3 or 4 nuisance hotels that will be converted to housing for homeless vets. Pacific Palisades was mentioned twice in the meeting: The VA will break ground this spring for a columbarium with10,000 units which Dick Littlestone of the Palisades had long lobbied for; the American Legion Post in the Palisades was also mentioned as a contributor to the LA National Museum to renovate the Bob Hope Chapel. Janet emphasized that Congressman Lieu welcomes constituent comments and suggestions.
7.5.4. Veronica de la Cruz Robles – Office of City Attorney Mike Feuer, Deputy City Attorney/ WLA Neighborhood Prosecutor. See item 11.1 below.
7.6. From PPCC Advisors – None.
8. Reports from Committees.
David Kaplan, co-chair, reported on the status of the Caruso project construction barrier signage on Sunset. He spoke to Michael Williams with LADBS, who informed David that as the result of an inspection on February 21, it was determined that the signage is actually located on public property, which removes jurisdiction from LADBS. The Order to Comply previously issued by LADBS was therefore rescinded and the matter was referred to Public Works. In response to questions, David explained that he does not know what the current status is, other than there is no longer a matter pending with LADBS and the City is taking no action at this time.
9. General Public Comment.
Eric Marshall asked for the Council to support the status of Los Angeles as a sanctuary city and oppose the Trump administration’s immigration policies. He noted that our police officers are already overextended and that the Palisades has a heritage of being a sanctuary for artists escaping the Nazis. He urged the Council to pass a resolution in support of the City’s sanctuary status and of other groups’ efforts to assist refugees, and in opposition to the use of local police to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement actions. Maryam thanked him and stated that she will consider the matter.Marge Gold inquired if the Chipotle CUB will come before the PPCC board and Maryam replied that this will occur.
10. Old Business – None.
11. New Business.
11.1. Vehicle Dwelling Ordinance, LAMC 85.02.
Presenting: LAPD Senior Lead Officer Michael Moore and Deputy City Attorney/WLA Neighborhood Prosecutor Veronica de la Cruz Lopez [Robles]. Veronica explained that her office drafted the ordinance pursuant to the directive of the City Council. The Council wanted to regulate the practice of vehicle dwelling while not criminalizing the homeless. The new law is temporary and will expire on July 1, 2018, unless extended by ordinance. She passed out a handout and explained the various provisions of the ordinance as to where and when vehicular dwelling is allowed or prohibited. Veronica advised that outreach and education to the homeless has been ongoing by various agencies. Violations of the ordinance are infractions only; LAPD can write citations but there will be no misdemeanor arrests. She explained the different fines that can be imposed and the fact that officers do not have towing authority. A map was created to help the public understand the neighborhoods where vehicle dwelling is allowed or disallowed; this can be found online. The map is only for guidance to the public; citations will be issued by officers based on the actual ordinance language. In order to issue citations officers must find that at least two factors are present to show evidence of living in a vehicle, as set forth in the ordinance. Maryam asked whether the City Attorney has a “Heart” program that forgives the citation in exchange for community service. Veronica explained that there is such a program. Maryam also asked whether this ordinance will actually be a deterrent. SLO Michael Moore stated that Officer Rusty Redican has been working on outreach and has convinced many people living in vehicles along PCH to move to other areas based on the ordinance going into effect. They haven’t yet looked at other areas of the Palisades although he has information there may be some vehicle dwelling taking place on Palisades Dr. Michael encouraged residents to email him if they see any problem with vehicle dwelling. He believes that talking to individuals and letting them know the consequences has been effective. Sharon Kilbride also noted Rusty’s success in getting numerous RVs to move away from the area and she related an incident involving a vehicle parked near her home, in which the police found guns and drug paraphernalia; she emphasized that residents must report suspicious vehicles to the police. Gil Dembo asked if there is any size restriction on vehicles where people are dwelling. Michael said there is no size restriction; the criterion is simply whether there is evidence of living in the vehicle. Lou Kamer asked how this relates to abandoned vehicle law or related laws. Veronica advised that this ordinance only pertains to vehicle dwelling; it is in addition to other laws that may be applicable. If a car is left for 72 hours you can call the hotline for abandoned vehicles and they can remove the vehicle. Lou also asked whether the 500 ft. limit in the Vehicle Dwelling Ordinance refers to both public and private parks. Sharon Shapiro stated that this is determined by whether the area is zoned as park space.
11.2. Measure S.
Presenting Yes on S: Marcia Hanscom and Ileana Wachtel. Presenting No on S: Brent Gaisford and Brian VanRiper. The guest speakers presented respective arguments for and against the Measure and answered questions from the board and audience.
12. Adjournment. Maryam adjourned the meeting at 9:03pm.