MINUTES FOR APRIL 13th 2017
Voting members in attendance: Maryam Zar, George Wolfberg, Allison Holdorff Polhill, Richard Cohen, Chris Spitz, David Kaplan, Sue Kohl, Reza Akef, Rick Mills, Peter Culhane, Cathy Russell, Danielle Samulon, Lou Kamer, Barbara Marinacci, Dick Wulliger, Gil Dembo, Rick McGeagh, Leiauna Anderson, David Card, Sarah Conner, Richard Blumenberg.
Voting alternates: Doug McCormick, Susan Payne.
Non-voting advisors and alternates: Amir Ebtehadj, Sharon Kilbride, Carol Bruch, David Peterson, Quentin Fleming, Ted Mackie, Kevin Niles.
1. Certification of Quorum. The Chair Maryam Zar called the meeting to order at 7:02pm and certified that a quorum was present.
2. Reading of Community Council’s Mission. Chris Spitz 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 March 23, 2017 approved as distributed. 2) Upcoming Meetings: 4/27/17. 1) Moku Sushi CUB, along with (new) Kayndaves and (tentative) Chipotle CUBs & broader discussion on alcohol in Pacific Palisades. 5/11/17. 1) Bernheimer Gardens new property owners & DWP discussion of temp pole top distribution station at Sunset and Marquez (lower); 2) Fire Station Captains on Duty, Valdez & Mitchell, to talk about Fire Service Day on 5/13 and the state of fire and emergency related issues in Pacific Palisades; 3) MKPOA/PPCL presentation; 4) Nominating Committee announcement of nominees for PPCC officers, 2017-2018 term. 5/25/17. 1) City Attorney Mike Feuer as guest.
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 $40,078. Since the last meeting our general liability premium was paid in the amount of $800.
7. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
7.1. From the Chair.
7.1.1. Maryam announced that Stephanie Cohen, Field Representative to Assemblymember Bloom, will be leaving that position and moving on to become District Director, Westside/Metropolitan Region for Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.
7.1.2. Maryam explained the purpose and role of PPCC on Nextdoor. We are endowed with this platform through EmpowerLA, for the purpose of imparting information to the public. We do not generally take part in exchanges on Nextdoor but use our platform as a way to put out information related to the PPCC and our work. Maryam explained she does not have a personal presence on Nextdoor.
7.1.3. Maryam reported that WRAC is working to arrange an LAUSD Candidates Forum on the Westside for April 23, 2017 at University High School.
7.2. From Officers – None.
7.3. From At-Large and Area Reps.
7.3.1. Lou Kamer (At-Large). Lou announced that the PAPA parade theme submissions are open. The parade is coming up. Theme suggestions are due by 5/5/17.
7.4. From Organizational Reps.
7.4.1. Sarah Conner (PPRA). Sarah gave an update on the temporary pole top distributing station (TPTDS), explaining that an appeal was filed with the CCC.
7.4.2. David Card (PP Rotary). David announced that there will be two spring events at Rustic Canyon on April 15: the Spring Festival, 11am-2pm, and Crafters Fair, 11am-4pm.
7.4.3. Rick McGeagh (PPBA). Rick announced the Eggstravaganza at the Palisades Recreation center coming up on Sunday April 16. Maryam interjected the recent addition of the Minors Basketball Champions to the 4th of July Parade. Rick affirmed that they had won their league championship and would be seeking to be included in the parade, alongside the PPBA Baseball teams.
7.5. From Governmental Representatives.
7.5.1. Captain III, Tina Nieto – Los Angeles Police Department (“LAPD”).
Captain Nieto reported that Officer Redican (“Rusty”) previously rode a bike because he liked riding a bike and now Rusty is going into the Z unit where he will be in a car. His interactions will be recorded. Rusty will continue to be present in the Palisades. Nothing has changed with Rusty’s coverage of the Palisades. He will be more visible in a black and white vehicle. The Transient Unit will be coming to the Palisades earlier in the day. Palisades has a dedicated A Car. The Z Unit is the unit that will continue to patrol the beach, and will not be pulled out of the Palisades. Captain Nieto suggested we work to gain a dedicated beach unit (“fixed position”) to ensure the beach is protected year-round. She has to reallocate some of her resources to other beaches, like Venice, to ensure that those trouble spots across her command are covered. A “fixed position’ beach patrol that is budgeted would be the way to keep this year-round detail along our shoreline. Captain Nieto noted that the shoreline patrol unit is a beach detail, not a bike detail per se.
7.6. From PPCC Advisors.
7.6.1. Amir Ebtehadj (Youth Advisor) announced that Friday April 21st is Earth Day; on April 23rd there will be a beach clean up with St. Matthew’s. He ceded the floor to Lilliana Zar, who reported there will be a Science March on April 22nd at Pershing Square in connection with Earth Day. Lilliana is a Youth Ambassador for the March and is part of the national student outreach team. There is a March going on in every continent. Palisadian and March leader, Andrea Muller, also spoke and stressed that the March for Science needs additional volunteers. They are also looking for donations. Andrea is organizing a breakfast and a lunch. Checkers in downtown will be the starting point. More information is at marchforsciencela.com.
8. Reports from Committees – None.
9. General Public Comment.
Ileana Watchtel provided a statement and handout regarding Measure S.
10. Old Business – None.
11. New Business.
11.1. Captain II, Valencia Thomas, from LAPD West Traffic Division.
Captain Thomas explained that the fatal traffic collision last Sunday involved 4 motorcycles and a vehicle driven by a minor. The accident resulted in a loss of life. Speeding has been brought to Captain Thomas’ attention. She has increased the number of officers related to traffic and speeding. The investigation regarding this accident is ongoing and will take a while longer. She is investigating allegations regarding groups of motorcycles driving fast. The investigation should take approximately 30 days or more. She may need to determine if there are engineering issues (hedges, etc., items impacting the flow of traffic). She suggested the department may embark on a community campaign to address safe driving, including increasing education at schools and within the community. She said she will form a “Strategic Team” to work with PPCC and the community on matters that involve traffic and safety.
Maryam asked if PPCC would be apprised of developments/conclusions within their investigative report related to engineering. Captain Thomas assured Maryam such results would be shared. Sue Kohl made note that the discussion of speed, safety and traffic, particularly as related to motorcycle gangs riding through, has been a topic of ongoing conversation. What can the department do to deter this behavior – maybe undercover cops, she asked. Captain Thomas said the presence of officers is a deterrent and she may increase them during the times the department has been able to determine the motorcycles pass through. Resident Paula Leonhauser stressed that speed has created an unsafe situation for this community. David Card stressed that the intersection of Chautauqua and Sunset is unsafe and suggested engineering may be needed. Quentin Fleming said he has been on the board for the last 10 years and this is an ongoing problem. Lou Kamer asked whether the Vision Zero Plan is implemented in the Palisades. Captain Thomas assured Lou that the Vision Zero Plan applies to the Palisades. Captain Thomas also reiterated that she will form the Strategic Team where community members would be asked to participate and she will work with PPCC. Both Chris Spitz and Maryam asked Captain Thomas to confirm that she would coordinate with PPCC regarding the Strategic Team’s formation. Captain Thomas assured the group that she would coordinate with Maryam.
Lou Kamer then made the following motion:
“Given the increase in vehicular speed, noise, and density in our community, including disruptive and dangerous driving by motorcycle groups and cars that is currently unenforceable over the long run, we ask for a cooperative taskforce to be convened between Palisades community leaders, residents, and members of our local and state government entities, to investigate and implement innovative solutions in accordance with the Mayor’s adoption of the Vision Zero plan to eliminate traffic deaths by 2025. These new engineering, education, and enforcement standards will act to change the dynamic of a longstanding and tenable danger to our community by unsafe drivers while engaging our community. We ask for the support of this cooperative, information sharing and learning initiative from CD11, LADOT, LAPD, and the Mayor’s Office.”
Sarah Conner seconded the motion before the Chair had a chance to restate the motion. Maryam called for discussion to be deferred in the interest of time, stating that we had another agenda item waiting to be heard, which was an important community concern and had a motion that would need to be considered. Richard Cohen then moved to postpone the motion by Lou Kamer indefinitely. Richard’s motion was not seconded. Due to time constraints Maryam deferred consideration of the motion by Lou Kamer to the next meeting.
11.2. PPTFH President and team.
a) Kim Clary – Head of the Pacific Palisades Homeless Count sub-committee of the PPTFH. Kim reported that the 2017 Count was a success and that we counted fewer homeless individuals than the year before. The Palisades homeless count was conducted in January 2017, early in the morning to capture all those who have slept in the Palisades. The work of the homeless task force seems to have been successful, with the count reflecting a 53% decrease in homelessness in Pacific Palisades.
b) Sharon Kilbride – Chair of the Enforcement Committee of the PPTFH. Sharon reported that volunteers locate encampments on the beaches and the bluffs working hand-in-hand with LAPD and Beach Patrol. Prior to PPTFH there were 57 established encampments. Currently, as of March 2017, there were only 10 active encampments. LAFD is working with PPTFH to provide signs. Officer Redican and Jimmy worked hand-in-hand to locate and provide services to the homeless. AB 109 will release more criminals and therefore PPCC should encourage the retention of Officer Redican – the enforcement effort (Beach detail). Officer Redican explained that the level of success is from input from the citizens. The amount of work that PPTFH does is critical. It takes significant time working with the homeless population to get them to accept services.
c) Doug McCormick – President of PPTFH. Doug indicated that last year 35% of the homeless who were engaged are now off the streets. He indicated that a critical factor in that success has been a balance of the Beach Patrol with the Outreach Team from the organization previously called OPCC. He updated the Board on the general plan and activity of the task force, and cited the statistic showing the number of people helped transition off the streets and into services as a measure of their success. He stated that PPTFH would fail if this did not continue. He suggested that the Palisades should have not just two officers but a full-time team of one lead and four officers.
George Wolfberg then made the following motion:
“Given the crucial role that the discretionary beach patrol (comprised of two officers on bicycles) has had on the community’s ability to cope with homelessness and the progress made by the PPTFH in transitioning dozens of homeless individuals living on the beaches and bluffs of Pacific Palisades out of homelessness, Pacific Palisades Community Council urges the City of Los Angeles to fund full time shoreline detail as a “fixed position” with a complete team of officers to continue the work that has been done thus far, and maintain the effective enforcement coupled with services strategy which has produced remarkable results.”
Richard Cohen seconded the motion.
Discussion: Patrick Hart provided specific examples of recent homeless activity involving fire starters and other dangerous activity. Hart stressed that Rusty was brilliant in addressing the psychological and strategic needs of the homeless.
The motion passed unanimously. Maryam announced that she would work with the Executive Committee, the Task Force and our police team to craft a letter that makes our position clear to our City Councilman as well as the Office of the Police Chief.
Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff then asked to address the board. He stated that there is a long line of communities that need resources and that the Palisades was simply not one of them. Still, he was impressed with our community’s ability to responsibly address issues regarding homelessness and policing. He highlighted that the PPTFH is an example of measurable results. He thought there may be a creative way with the Police Foundation to fund additional resources. He suggested we define what we need and raise the money. Get an LAPD t-shirt and wear sunglasses – it can serve as a deterrent.
Richard Cohen reminded everyone that we cannot raise money to acquire more police protection, but that we can raise money for more equipment. Maryam recapped the discussion regarding the need for police resources along the shoreline by reminding everyone that this was not a policing resource we sought simply for our community, but to ensure the continuum of enforcement along the shoreline from Malibu (where the Sherriff has a presence) to SM (where SMPD is robust) down to Venice and beyond where OWB focuses its resources. If we don’t have a robust presence along our shoreline, we will become a catch-all for transient and homeless activity, so this call for a fixed position line item for our beaches and bluffs benefits the entire City and not just this community.
11.3. Due to time constraints Maryam deferred the two WRAC motions regarding City Planning and density to the next meeting.
12. Adjournment. Maryam adjourned the meeting at 9:00 pm.