MINUTES FOR SEPTEMBER 13th 2018
Voting Members in Attendance: George Wolfberg, Peter Culhane, Richard Cohen, Chris Spitz, David Card, Sue Kohl, Cathy Russell, David Kaplan, Rick Mills, Alan Goldsmith, Janet Anderson, Rick Lemmo, Bruce Schwartz, Reza Akef
Voting Alternates: Kelly Comras, Brenda Theveny, Barbara Kohn, Eric Dugdale
Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: Leah Cox, Richard Blumenberg, David Peterson
1. Certification of Quorum. Chair George Wolfberg called the meeting to order at 7:00pm and certified that a quorum was present.
2. Reading of Community Council’s Mission. Peter Culhane read the Council’s Mission.
3. Introduction of the Board and Audience. The board and audience were introduced.
4. Approval of Minutes & Upcoming Meetings. 1) Approval of Minutes – The minutes of 8/09/18 were approved as corrected. 2) Upcoming Meetings – September 27, 2018: topics: 1) presentation on the Safe, Clean Water ballot initiative (Measure W parcel tax); 2) PPCC Awards information; 3) report on REAL CA Driver License/ID card (deferred from tonight’s meeting due to inability of the presenter to attend).
5. Consideration of Agenda. The Chair announced that the agenda was as distributed, with one exception: the Porta Via presentation (new business) would be heard early, before remaining announcements. See Item 11.1 below.
6. Treasurer’s Report. Treasurer Richard Cohen reported that PPCC’s bank balance is $32,198.00. Significant transactions this period include the following: reimbursement of the deposit for the holiday gala at Gladstones of $3,364; and payment to the tech advisor for online ballot and election analysis work of $420.
7. General Public Comment.
7.1. Marge Gold (resident). An ad hoc volunteer group is trying to spruce up the Village (areas outside of the Caruso Village project); they will meet at the Village Green at 10:30am this weekend. Many hands are needed.
7.2. Diane Bleak (resident) inquired about how to apply for grant money for Santa Inez Canyon park. She was directed to the office of Councilmember Bonin (CD11).
8. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
8.1. From the Chair George Wolfberg.
8.1.1. Appointment of Three Chairs Committee (Bylaws, Art. VIII.3.C and D). This is the Committee that reviews alternate Area and At-large representative applications and recommends alternates to the board for election. The Committee members are Maryam Zar, Chair Emeritus (Committee Chair), Chris Spitz and Richard Cohen (past Chairs). The alternate application process began on August 31 and is ongoing; alternate applications must be received by 9pm on September 30. To view the requirements click on the green “Alternates Application” button on the PPCC website. See attached press release.
8.1.2. Congress of Neighborhoods update. This valuable annual event will take place on September 22 at LA City Hall. Neighborhood Councils, elected officials and representatives of City agencies all participate and PPCC has also participated for many years. For more info or to sign up visit Congress website.
8.1.3. Officers’ Meeting with Councilmember Bonin. The elected officers recently met with Councilman Bonin. We stressed there is no change in items of interest to PPCC and there would be continuity. High priority items: adding a left turn protected signal on Sunset at Chautauqua and repaving Chautauqua.
8.1.4. 2018 Citizen of the Year and Golden Sparkplug Awards. The annual PPCC Awards Gala will take place on December 13, 2018. The Selection Committee will be announced on 9/27/18. Nominations from the public will be accepted from 9/27/18-10/27/18. See current Awards Guidelines here..
8.1.5. “Pumpkin Patch” on West Channel Rd. The Bureau of Street Services recently ripped out pumpkins that had been planted by residents in a median. This action was taken without notice to anyone and was technically due to lack of a permit. This result was not satisfactory. Councilman Bonin is supporting the community to assure this never happens again.
8.1.6. Board Members’ Identification of PPCC Affiliations in Statements. See summary approved by PPCC’s Legal Advisor here. The goal is to ensure that correspondence and communications from board members do not inadvertently confuse people regarding the PPCC’s adopted position on any matter.
8.1.7. Police Commission Meeting. The Commission met last Tuesday night in West LA. There were well-received remarks from our Homelessness Advisor Sharon Kilbride (a past PPCC Citizen of the Year). The Chair also testified, stressing the need for LAPD to combine two long-term PPCC advocacy issues: ending the scourge of gas-powered leaf blowers through judicious use of ACE citations. The majority of meeting attendees exhibited disgusting deportment and behavior that you would not want your 4th Grade class on a civics field trip to ever hear. The Chair will follow up to ascertain what can be done to prevent this at future meetings.
8.1.8. Potrero Canyon Park Update. The Chair reported with great anger and sadness that the contract documents continue to be stuck in the RAP commission office.
8.1.9. New Library PA System. We have a new, effective PA system, thanks to the efforts of the Friends of the Library.
8.2. From Officers.
8.2.1. Chris Spitz (Secretary). The Home-Sharing (Short Term Rentals/STRs) Ordinance was heard by the City Planning Commission (CPC) this afternoon. The CPC approved the ordinance with several major changes, including: no cap on extended home-sharing (allow STRs year round); allow STRs in ADUs if permitted before 1/1/17; allow STRs in RSO units with a 120-day annual cap. The ordinance will return at some point to the City Council. For more information, visit: a 9/12/18 Summary prepared by Chris Spitz as well as PPCC’s position letter submitted to the CPC on 9/10/18 (and approved by the PPCC Executive Committee)
8.2.2. Richard Cohen (Treasurer). The Treasurer also attended the recent Police Commission meeting. Numerous “activists” who attend every Police Commission meeting made outrageous comments throughout. Because of this, he did not have opportunity to testify, but was able to give his prepared remarks to Chief Michael Moore’s lieutenant, who was present. Richard has now passed along the same message to former Chiefs Bratton and Beck and now current Chief Moore: While PPCC appreciates their promises to keep a police car 24/7 in the Palisades, due to our location and unique situation our community needs this car regardless of the crime statistics. We must keep pressing this point. Sharon Kilbride also spoke effectively at the meeting about the effectiveness and importance of our beach patrol.
8.3. From At-large and Area Representatives.
8.3.1. Lou Kamer (At large). Announcements: 1) Volunteers will be doing clean up work in the Village (areas outside of the Caruso Village project) this Saturday. PRIDE will also be helping with clean up. 2) The community raised $5,500 for Norris Hardware employees to tide them over; all have now obtained new jobs. 3) Regarding traffic conditions, Lou suggested that PPCC should push the City and LADOT for a traffic management plan.
8.3.2. Sue Kohl (Area 5). New “small cell sites” will be installed on utility poles in Area 5. This is pursuant to information from Michael Cintron of SureSite. Two installations are planned: one on Bestor and the other at the top of Monument. They are to be completed in October or November. Sue distributed renderings of what these installations will look like; they appear to be unobtrusive single antennas installed on DWP poles. She does not believe the neighborhood will complain, and there will be better cell service.
8.3.3. David Kaplan (Area 6). There has been no activity on planned cell sites in the Huntington since a meeting that he attended this summer with Michael Cintron and HPPOC president Song Oh, who has not heard back from the installer. There is no clarity yet on the proposed installations.
8.3.4. Rick Mills (Area 4). There will be a public hearing on October 1 at WLA City Hall, concerning a Mitigated Negative Declaration and Coastal Permits for eight new homes on Marquette, near the west rim of Las Pulgas Canyon. The proposed homes range in size from approximately 5,300 to 8,000 sq. ft. each with a height of up to 33 ft. The developer is Cosimo Pizzulli. The neighbors and CD11 are aware of this project, which has been approved by the Civic League. Rick provided details and answered questions about the proposal, which include lot line adjustments and possible impacts from grading, export of dirt and sewer line construction. He has copies of the hearing notice for those interested.
8.4. From Organizational Representatives.
8.4.1. Eric Dugdale (Historical Society). On October 2 at 7pm at Theatre Palisades, the Historical Society will host a talk on the history of our parks. The event is free and open to the public.
8.4.2. Rick Lemmo (Chamber of Commerce). The Chamber’s new remodeled offices are completed. Bob Benton is the new President and CEO of the Chamber. Upcoming Chamber events: Saturday, September. 22, 8:45am, Vintage Grocers’ Opening and ribbon-cutting; 9:45am, the Village Grand Opening & ribbon-cutting; Tuesday, October 30, Bob Benton Bash at Mastro’s restaurant (30-40 seats total available); Friday, November 30: Holiday Kick-Off with Christmas Stroll (details to come); Thursday, January 17, 2019: Chamber Installation Gala, featuring “Dancing with the Chamber Stars.”
8.4.3. Brenda Theveny (TCA). TCA’s annual meeting will be on the evening of December 3 at Stewart Hall in Temescal Canyon. G uest speaker will be Joe Edmiston, MRCA Executive Director. All are invited.
8.4.4. David Card (American Legion). This Saturday night the annual Rockabilly Night event will take place at Rustic Canyon Recreation Center at 6pm. Tickets are available at LA Parks Foundation.org. The event is a benefit for the Recreation Center.
8.5. From Government Offices/Representatives.
8.5.1. Melissa Kaufler, Field Representative, Assemblymember Richard Bloom – Not in attendance; briefing on the new REAL California Driver License/ID card deferred to 9/27/18.
8.5.2. SLO Michael Moore and Officer Ryan Basaker, West Traffic – LAPD.
Officer Moore: Crime is down in the Palisades. Q&A ensued with questions about incidents in several areas of the Palisades involving traffic, home intruders, a knife attack and wild animals. Richard Cohen (Treasurer) noted that he recently found a rattlesnake on his property on Bienveneda; after several calls he was able to find a “snake wrangler” who came out from the WLA Animal Shelter and took care of the problem. Officer Basaker: West Traffic has put together a “Special Problems” (SP) unit, with 4 officers covering the entire West area. They are continuing to work on the ongoing Wednesday night problem involving noisy and unsafe behavior of motorcycles on Sunset.
8.5.3. Janet Turner, District Representative, Congressman Ted Lieu.
The Congressman sends congratulations to the newly elected officers and expresses his appreciation to all departing board members. Announcements: 1) Applications are being accepted from high school students for the “App Challenge” (to create an app). Submission deadline: October 15. For details visit Challenge site.. 2) Deadline for applications by high school students for military academy nominations: October 19. For details visit www.Lieu.house.gov/services/military-academy-nominations. 3) The Congressman will host a Veterans Town Hall on Veterans Day, November 11, at 11:30am at the LA National Cemetery. Palisades veterans are invited to contact Janet about being selected as one of the speakers. Janet Turner contact information: (310) 652-3095, email@example.com.
8.6. From PPCC Advisors – None.
9. Reports from Committees.
9.1. Village Project Community Liaison Committee (VPCLC; David Kaplan and Sue Kohl, Co-Chairs).
A few issues have been raised as to whether Caruso has permission to work 24/7, and whether some neighbors on Monument are getting special treatment. As to work permits, Sue Pascoe has written in her blog that Caruso has a permit to work at night and in the morning as long as the work is inside and quiet. As to whether some residents are getting special treatment, water was entirely cut off to some homes on Monument due to utility work in the area; since these residents were unable to live in their homes, Caruso provided hotels and meals for those affected until the water was resumed.
The good news is that most restaurants and retail stores will be opening on time. The grand opening open to the public will be on Saturday, September 22 at 9:45am, with a public ceremony on Swarthmore. Mayor Garcetti, Honorary Mayors Billy Crystal and his wife, Councilman Bonin and other City dignitaries will be there. Vintage Grocers will be open at 7am with a ribbon cutting at 8:45am.
There are beautiful large trees and landscaping throughout the project. There will be a concierge service and valet parking. Upstairs from the concierge desk will be a community room. There will also be a “mother’s room” if anyone wants privacy for changing diapers or breastfeeding. Public bathrooms will be upstairs, including one bathroom with smaller toilets for younger children.
The park area will host free community events and will be a place to relax, read a book or have a picnic. There will be a number of events over opening weekend with the tenants. The free bike share program will be up and running as of 9/22 as well. More information will be at the concierge desk.
The Farmers Market will return to Swarthmore once the initial excitement has died down. For the last two weekends, Caruso and the tenants have conducted a job fair at the Farmers Market looking for local employees; they have said it was quite successful.
Regarding the Amazon sign: The sign is based on measurement of building frontage. The sign could have been 100 sq. ft., but it is only 21 sq. ft. Regarding the closure of the lane on Sunset: For the last two weekends Caruso has funded extra LADOT traffic control officers to assist with traffic flow. This work was required for new asphalt and base, new curb and gutter, streetlights, traffic signals, etc. The work required consecutive 72-hour periods.
The project will feature many restaurants, retail stores and the Cinepolis movie theater. All restaurants will have outdoor dining. The announced tenants can be found on Palisades Village website. Please note that the Chanel store is not for clothing; it is strictly for make up and beauty products.
9.2. Land Use Committee (LUC; Howard Robinson, Chair — not in attendance). Report on 8/23/18 meeting and JIB site project.
The Chair noted that details are available at the written LUC report
Reza Akef (Area 8 rep and LUC member) noted that as an observer, he attended a recent HOA meeting with Edgewater Tower residents and the developer; they are moving forward with discussions, as per the LUC’s motion (set forth in the LUC Report). Chris Spitz (Secretary and LUC member) then read the LUC motion, which called upon the developer to meet with Edgewater Tower and Castellammare residents and report back to the LUC.
9.3. Election Committee (David Card, Chair).
David Card, Committee Chair, gave the final Election Report and related the election results (vote count). See reports attached. See also: final report posted online. David Card, Committee member Richard Cohen and advisor Chris Spitz answered questions about the voting and counting process, the online ballot and the recommendations for future improvements. The Committee members (David Card, Richard Cohen, Richard Blumenberg, Andrew Frew and Bill Bruns) were thanked for their hard work, with special recognition for David Card’s leadership and the indispensable work of Richard Cohen and technical advisor Heather Cohen in developing the successful online ballot.
10. Old Business.
10.1. Commercial Aircraft Noise in the Palisades Update. Guest presenter: Debbie Warfel, 2017 PPCC Golden Sparkplug Awardee.
Debbie thanked the board for awarding her with Golden Sparkplug honors in 2017. She last gave a presentation to PPCC in 2016. Since 2015, residents had been noticing increased and significant levels of noise from low flying commercial aircraft, and she and others in Santa Monica Canyon and regionally engaged in an ongoing effort to obtain relief for residents. The noise is a result of a change in the flight path for flights coming into LAX, which in turn occurred because the FAA is requiring aircraft to move from radar to a new GPS navigational system (known as the “NextGen” air transportation system); the Southern California “Metroplex” program was designed to accommodate the changed flight paths. This has created a superhighway in the sky. Some other problems with the system are that only 3% of planes have GPS, some pilots are not trained or are not properly using the system or the instruments. In order to put the new flight paths in place, the FAA was required to go through an environmental assessment process, and ultimately issued a “Finding of No Significant Impact” (FONSI) on people on the ground. Santa Monica Canyon Civic Association (SMCCA) has challenged the FONSI and filed a lawsuit along with Culver City and other area residents in federal district court. The City of Los Angeles has filed an amicus brief. There is a hearing in October. Many of our elected officials, on the federal, state and local level, are also attempting to get relief from the FAA for their constituents. They have asked for planes to be redirected to fly over the desert and ocean, a bit farther from the coastline. They are also trying to raise the minimum altitude for aircraft. Debbie stressed that it is important for residents to lodge complaints with the authorities. A “button” can be obtained to click for noise complaints; visit www.airnoise.io for information on how to obtain the button. Residents can also download an LAX app to register complaints per each noise incident at LAX noise reporting app; or they can call LAX’s noise complaint hotline at 424-64-NOISE. Contributions toward the legal fund are also requested; visit www.smcca.org for information on how to donate.
11. New Business.
11.1. Introduction of new Porta Via Café / “Taste of Porta Via.”
Guest presenter: Ryan Hill, General Manager, Porta Via Café in Pacific Palisades. Ryan introduced himself and the restaurant, which has been located in Beverly Hills for almost 25 years. The Palisades is the first new location for Porta Via outside of Beverly Hills. Ryan invited the community to visit the new location, which will be near the Bay Theater in the Palisades Village project. Meeting attendees enjoyed delicious sandwiches and house-made chips provided by Porta Via.
11.2. WRAC-recommended Motions – deferred to 9/27 meeting due to lack of time.
12. Adjournment. The Chair adjourned the meeting at 8:50pm.
Item 8.1.1 – Alternates Application Press Release
Pacific Palisades Community Council
Pacific Palisades Community Council Now Taking Applications
For Area and At-large Alternate Representative Positions
(Pacific Palisades, CA)—The Pacific Palisades Community Council is pleased to announce the opportunity for residents and other eligible persons to apply to become an Area or At-large alternate representative in 2018-2020.
There are eight primary Area representatives and one At-large representative on the PPCC Board of Directors. The primary representatives are elected by the community, while the alternate representatives must apply and are elected by the Board. Up to two alternate representatives (1st and 2nd alternates) will be chosen for each seat. The alternates as well as the primary representatives serve a two-year term, beginning in October 2018. Alternate representatives are encouraged to attend meetings and to participate in the discussion of issues, but do not vote unless the primary is absent.
Applicants for alternate Area representative must live within the specified boundaries of the area for which they are applying; the areas are detailed on the PPCC website, pacpalicc.org (Area Maps tab). Applicants for alternate At-large representative must either live, own property or run a business within Pacific Palisades.
All interested parties must submit a Statement of any length indicating which position they are applying for (Area or At-large, 1st or 2nd alternate, or both; and you may apply for both Area and At-large alternate positions). The Statement of each Area alternate applicant shall include the number of years residing in Pacific Palisades, the number of years as a resident of the Area and the number of years at the current address and that address. The Statement of each At-large alternate applicant shall include the number of years residing in Pacific Palisades or running a business or owning property in Pacific Palisades and the applicant’s current residence, business or property address. All applicants’ Statements shall include the position on issues the applicant believes are of importance to the community or the applicant’s Area. The Statement may also include a few biographical facts including any skills that the applicant would bring to PPCC.
Applications for all alternate positions (Area or At-large) must be received by 9pm on Sunday, September 30, 2018.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (preferred method)
Mail: PPCC Candidate Statement
P.O. Box 1131
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272, or
Personal Delivery: Applications may be handed to the Chair (presiding officer) at a September PPCC Board meeting
Please direct questions to email@example.com.
Item 9.3 – 1) Election Committee Report & 2) Results Data Sheet
1) PPCC Election Committee Report – 2018
September 13, 2018
The Committee is pleased to announce that the following are the newly elected Area and At-large Representatives to the PPCC board, beginning October 1, 2018:
Area 1: Joanna Spak Area 6: David Kaplan
Area 2: Steve Cron Area 7: Steve Boyers
Area 3: Haldis Toppel Area 8: Reza Akef
Area 4: Rick Mills At-large: Alan Goldsmith
Area 5: Sue Kohl
We had the second largest voter turnout in PPCC history, with 1034 total valid ballots. This is only 203 votes less than in the 2016 election, but still hundreds more than in the 2014 election, and many hundreds of votes more than scores of other Westside council that held elections in 2016 (except for Venice, Sunland Tujunga and Central San Pedro, all more populated than Pacific Palisades). We attribute the fewer votes cast this year to there being two contested offices (instead of four in 2016), and to the absence of the Palisades News (that would have provided election info and reporting to every home).
We commend all the candidates and thank the Palisades community for participating in this election.
With this report we are also distributing a Results data sheet, which includes the vote counts. A few words about the Committee’s vote-counting process are in order: 3 of the 5 Committee members were present (Committee Chair David Card could not attend due to illness; Andy Frew could not attend due to a prior volunteer commitment at the opening of a Theatre Palisades show). In attendance were Bill Bruns, Richard Cohen, and Richard Blumenberg (a majority of Committee voting members). Non-voting attendees were PPCC Chair George Wolfberg, Committee advisor Chris Spitz, and technical advisor Heather Cohen. Each questionable ballot was inspected by every member of the Committee and discussed by the group. Every decision concerning each ballot was unanimous and decisions were based strictly on the Bylaws. After initial ballot qualification determinations were made, the entire group reviewed all decisions at least once (or more) again. The Bylaws were scrupulously followed and all decisions were entirely impartial and unanimous.
It is important to recognize that the disqualification of votes narrowed the margin of victory in all but one race, but did not change the outcome. This result was fortuitous, but the Committee was fully prepared to follow the Bylaws to whatever outcome the rules dictate. The grounds for disqualification were duplication of votes (that is, a voter voting more than once), omission of required information such as full name or a valid address, and voting in the wrong Area.
Based on the experience of this election and having received several constructive suggestions for improvement, the Committee recommends for future board consideration the following possible bylaws changes or other actions:
- Conduct & Misconduct: Establish reasonable guidelines for the conduct of election campaigns by the candidates, and for dealing with misconduct.
- Online Voting:
— Keeping online voting as the only voting method, eliminating a 3-hour in-person “help session” at the Library (no one came to ask for help). An individual voter may still request assistance voting online from a Committee member, if the voter’s friends and family can’t help.
— Allow voters to decline to vote for Area Rep, but vote for At-Large Rep, and vice versa.
— Strengthen voter education and instructions to put greater stress on the consequences of failure to follow those instructions, especially regarding double voting (disqualification of those double votes).
— Shorten the online voting to 2 weeks (vs. 3) and start the voting 8 days after the Candidate Forum, to give media time to publish reports of the Forum.
- More Candidate Info for the Voter: Expand the Candidate Statements to 200-300 words, including a link to the candidate’s campaign website (if any). In addition, consider publishing separate written questions from the Committee and written answers from the candidates, to give the voters more focused answers to current issues. Encourage the continuation of a Candidate Forum, and allow a more free-flowing exchange with hand-raised questions from the audience, so long as civil and appropriate exchanges can be maintained.
Congratulations to the newly elected representatives!
PPCC ELECTION COMMITTEE:
David Card, Chair; Bill Bruns; Richard Blumenberg; Richard Cohen; and Andrew Frew.
George Wolfberg, Chair of the PPCC Board, ex officio
Christina Spitz, 2016 Chair of the Election Committee, advisor
2) PPCC 2018 Election of Representatives – Results
Total voters (valid ballots): 1034
Votes per candidate: Final Valid Vote* and (raw vote)
Alan Goldsmith: 565 (588)
John Padden: 469 (495)
Joanna Spak: 40 (42)
Steve Cron: 335 (345)
Adam Handler: 103 (137)
Haldis Toppel: 112 (117)
Rick Mills: 71 (72)
Sue Kohl: 124 (135)
David Kaplan: 109 (115)
Steve Boyers: 49 (55)
Reza Akef: 30 (30)
*Duplicate votes were the primary reason for invalidating votes.
Exclusion of invalid votes did not change the outcome of any election.
PPCC Election Committee; David Card, Chair
September 13, 2018