MINUTES FOR FEBRUARY 14th 2019
Voting Members in Attendance: George Wolfberg, Peter F. Culhane, Richard G. Cohen, Chris Spitz, Sue Kohl, Rick Mills, Joanna Spak, Steve Cron, Alan Goldsmith, Richard Blumenberg, Bill Bruns, Brenda Theveny, Jean Sharp
Voting Alternates: Rick McGeagh, Eric Dugdale, Andrew Wolfberg
Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: John Padden, David Card, Susan Orenstein, Bruce Schwartz, Melanie Bouer
1. Certification of Quorum. The Chair George Wolfberg called the meeting to order at 7:01pm and certified that a quorum was present.
2. Reading of Community Council’s Mission. Rick McGeagh 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 1/24/19 were approved. 2) Upcoming Meetings – February 28, 2019: 1) Adel H. Hagekhalil, Executive Director & General Manager, Bureau of Street Services (Street Services information and Q&A); 2) CD 11 Transportation Deputy Eric Bruins (Bonin motion re electric scooters & LADOT “Vision Zero” report); 3) Pastor Kenneth Davis, Palisades Lutheran Church (Feed My Starving Children); 4) 2nd Distribution & Vote on Motion to Adopt Proposed Bylaws Amendments. March 14, 2019: 1) Capt. III Vic Davalos, Commanding Officer, LAPD West Area. Other topics to be announced.
5. Consideration of Agenda. The Chair announced that the agenda is as distributed.
6. Treasurer’s Report. Treasurer Richard Cohen reported that the Council’s bank balance is $41,684.71. We received an additional $900 of Gala tribute revenue since the last report bringing our net positive cashflow from the event to approximately $8,000 with the expectation that we will receive another approximately $1,000 which is still outstanding.
7. General Public Comment.
7.1. Krishna Thangavelu (resident) expressed concerns about Highlands fire safety. Steve Cron (Area 2 Rep) explained that he will report on what Highlands leaders have been doing about the issue later in the meeting.
7.2. Elizabeth Lerer (not a resident) stated that she was raised in the Palisades and is concerned about possible demolition by the owner of a home dating from 1929 at 14924 Camarosa Dr. The property is under consideration for Historic Preservation status. There will be a City hearing concerning the property on March 7 at 10am at City Hall, Rm. 1010; contact Melissa Jones of the Planning Dept. (Historic Resources) for more information. Lerer also noted remarks on Nextdoor expressing concern about the Farmers Market location plans. Sue Kohl (Area 5 Rep) explained that the situation is complicated.
7.3. Lou Kamer (resident) asked for an update on repaving Chautauqua. The Chair stated that he does not have a definite answer, but noted that the General Manager of the Bureau of Street Services, Adel Hagekhalil, will be attending our next meeting and the Chair has advised him that repaving of Chautauqua is of the highest priority to the Palisades.
8. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
8.1. From the Chair.
8.1.1. Zoning Code Workshop 3/30/19. Reminder: As a public service, PPCC and Brentwood CC will co-host a community workshop on how to access the new Zoning Code on March 30, 2019 at 10:30am at Gilbert Hall, Palisades Charter High School. The new Code is the culmination of the 5+ year-long “re-codeLA” project to comprehensively revise the City’s massive & confusing old Zoning Code, which dated from 1946 and had never before been comprehensively revised. We have arranged for expert speakers who will teach us the ins and outs of the new interactive Code: Sharon Commins, co-chair of the re-codeLA Zoning Advisory Committee, co-chair of the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils Land Use & Planning Committee, and past Chair of Mar Vista Community Council; and Tom Rothmann, Principal City Planner for Code Studies with the Dept. of City Planning and manager of the re-codeLA project. Board members and all interested community members are invited and encouraged to attend.
8.1.2. Board Member Opening of Agenda. The Chair again honored the first board member to open this week’s agenda: David Kaplan. David was unable to attend tonight’s meeting but will be receiving a special hand-crafted gift from the Wolfberg kitchen. Board members are reminded that the agenda may be accessed by clicking on the link and/or button that is always provided within the message distributing the agenda. The Chair again noted that he and the Secretary make every effort to send out the agenda on the Friday before each board meeting to give members more time to familiarize themselves with the items to be discussed. If anyone is not receiving the email message distributing the agenda, please let the Chair or the Secretary know.
8.1.3. Youth Advisor(s) Update. The Chair and Secretary met this week with the President of the Palisades Charter High School Ambassadors, Eli Safaie-Kia, to encourage students to apply to become PPCC Youth Advisor(s). Eli has applied and will spread the word with other students. Eli was unable to attend tonight’s meeting as he and other students are visiting the State Capitol this week. The Chair will ask for the Board’s approval of the appointment of Eli and other possible Youth Advisors, as required by the Bylaws, at our next meeting on February 28.
8.2. From Officers.
8.2.1. Peter F. Culhane (Vice-Chair) reported that he and the Chair will be attending the MoveLA 10th annual Transportation Conversation on Friday March 1 at the LA Cathedral downtown. He has room in his car if anyone else wishes to attend. He also distributed a flyer about the event.
8.3. From At-Large and Area Representatives.
8.3.1. David Card (At-large Alternate) announced that the American Legion recently held a second round of the Oratorical Contest. Daniela Wilson of Brentwood won and will go to the third round of the contest in Hollywood. She will compete with others from all over Southern California on February 24 at 10:30am at the Hollywood Post 43 Hall. In addition: The American Legion-sponsored Boys State – a week-long mock government session for 11th grade young men – will take place this June at Cal State University, Sacramento; nomination applications for anyone interested are available from David Card [firstname.lastname@example.org].
8.3.2. Steve Cron (Area 2 Rep) explained that Palisades Dr. is the backbone of the Highlands community. About 10 days ago, he, LAFD Chiefs Hogan and Saunders, Lisa Cahill (CD11) and Joe Halper drove the area to discuss concerns about fire safety and emergency preparedness. Chief Hogan is trying to remove dead trees along Palisades Dr. which are a fire hazard. LAFD will hold at least two presentations for residents in the Highlands (dates are TBD). A representative from Rec & Parks will also be going along Palisades Dr. to see what can be done, including cleaning up dumps of dirt that Peter Culhane has been involved with attempting to clean up. An update regarding the Highlands Trailhead bathroom & parking lot situation: Heather Johnson of the Coastal Commission advises that this is high priority for the Commission; they can’t discuss current strategy but she is confident something will be announced in two months.
8.3.3. Andrew Wolfberg (Area 8 Alternate) reported that the Genesis Open golf tournament is taking place this week at the Riviera. There are a few changes this year. Patrons with General Admin tickets must enter via the Longworth gate, off of Allenford. Tickets are $55 per person; use code “neighbor19” for a 20% residents’ discount. Contact Andrew for more information [email@example.com].
8.4. From Organizational Representatives.
8.4.1. Eric Dugdale (Historical Society) announced that PPHS will have a program on February 26, 7pm at Theatre Palisades. The topic will be the use of Dakota Indians at Inceville for silent movies. This occurred 10 years before the Palisades was founded. Marc Wanamaker, a film historian, will speak along with Eric Dugdale. He also distributed postcards depicting film-maker Ince shaking hands with a Dakota chief.
8.4.2. Brenda Theveny (TCA) reminded the board that TCA is sponsoring a hike this Sunday, 2/17. The meeting time has been changed to 9am in Temescal Canyon. The hike will be from Zuma beach to Pt. Dume followed by brunch at Paradise Cove.
8.4.3. Rick McGeagh (PPBA) announced that second best day of the year in the Palisades is coming soon: the PPBA Pancake Breakfast & season opening ceremonies, Saturday, March 16 at the Field of Dreams. Visit the PPBA website for more information [http://ppba.net]; information will also be posted on the PPCC calendar.
8.4.4. John Padden (PRIDE) explained the situation with the former donor tiles, which are being transferred to bricks along Sunset adjacent to Palisades Village. If anyone has questions about the status, this will be taken care of in the next 30 days. They are trying to catalogue all the bricks and create a way for people to locate their bricks. All the bricks will need to go in before this can happen. Can bricks still be purchased? PRIDE has taken the donation page down but if someone contacts John within 48 hours they can buy a brick [firstname.lastname@example.org]. Cost for the donation is $500 per brick.
8.5. From Government Offices / Representatives.
8.5.1. Lisa Cahill (Palisades Deputy, CD11) reported:
The repaving of Chautauqua is scheduled for March, but Caltrans needs to sign off on a permit for an easement onto PCH. Krista Phipps of CD11 is in charge. The current repaving schedule is PCH to Vance St., providing that the State signs off on the permit. Andrew Wolfberg: Neighbors near Paul Revere are happy with CD11’s work on the Longworth Gate matter, but would like something in writing from the Riviera about their plans. Response: Lisa will check with Len Nguyen and try to obtain that. Sue Kohl: Residents in the Alphabets are concerned about dog poop being left on parkways. What can be done? Response: There is no program in the City through Sanitation or Street Services or others that she can find, during time she had available to research this, that would provide a remedy. Chris Spitz: What are the changes in CD11 staff? Response: Tricia Keane has a new position as a Deputy Director of Planning. Krista Kline is now Deputy Chief of Staff. Len Nguyen is now Senior Planning Director. Mike is looking for a replacement as Legislative Deputy for John Gregory, who left for a position with LADWP. Krishna Thangavelu: With whom should she speak regarding fire safety issues? Response: Contact Lisa Cahill about fire safety. CD11 is planning an evacuation drill with Mandeville Canyon in May. They will also be holding meetings in the Highlands regarding fire safety. The Councilmember is serious about putting neighborhoods first and is holding pop-up office hours at Farmers Markets and living room chats with residents. Write to Lisa Cahill [email@example.com] if you’d like to host Mike for a living room chat.
8.5.2. In the absence of Janet Turner (District Representative, U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu), the Chair distributed flyers regarding the Congressional Art Competition for high school students. The deadline to submit original art is Friday March 15 at 5pm. Information will be posted on the PPCC website calendar.
8.6. From PPCC Advisors– None.
9. Reports from Committees.
9.1. Bylaws Committee (Richard G. Cohen, Chair). First Distribution of proposed amendments to the PPCC Bylaws, recommended by the Committee. See 1) Committee Report and 2) “Redline” plus “Clean” draft of proposed amendments, distributed concurrently with this meeting agenda via PPCC email and posted on the PPCC website.
Committee Chair Richard Cohen stated that the Bylaws Committee has met and is making a motion to adopt the proposed amendments; discussion & vote on the motion will take place on 2/28/19, after the required Second Distribution of the proposed amendments. He noted that the Committee members are himself (Chair), Peter F. Culhane, Andrew Wolfberg, David Kaplan, David Card and Chris Spitz; the PPCC Chair also attends the meetings. The Committee has been keeping lists of suggestions for bylaws amendments and will get to all in time. The Committee’s prime directive must be no unintended consequences. The members must think through all ramifications of changes. It is important to do clusters of changes that are related to one another. Prioritizing of the issues depends not just on how important the issues are but also on any time pressures. The Committee Report that was distributed along with the redline explains that the proposed changes deal with officer elections which are just around the corner. The proposed changes aren’t controversial; they clarify that while the PPCC Chair is a non-voting member of all appointed committees he or she is not a member of the Nominating Committee. The changes also clarify the candidates forum and election procedures. Next after the officer elections amendments, the Committee will tackle issues surrounding area and at-large representative elections as per recommendations by the past Election Committee headed by David Card. After that, the next group of amendments will involve organizational issues such as certification, standards for being on the board, the organizational postponement issue and the question of who owns the vote. This must be approached in a deliberative way. The PPCC Chair repeated that there will be a Second Distribution, discussion and vote on the motion to adopt the proposed bylaws amendments at the next meeting on February 28.
10. Old Business – None.
11. New Business.
11.1. Village Beautification/Harmonization Update: John Padden, PRIDE President and rep to PPCC.
John Padden explained that the genesis of this plan started years ago. PRIDE has long had on its agenda the need to revitalize Sunset Blvd. The sidewalks are buckled and dirty and there is no uniform streetscape. This was a priority for PRIDE before Caruso came to town. In 2015 the PRIDE board felt that it would be good to spruce up the south side of Sunset since Caruso would be developing the north side. PRIDE met with Caruso in 2016 to discuss this concept as well as the preservation of PRIDE’s assets, including the benches, the donor tiles, the baskets, etc. Caruso stated that the company could work with PRIDE and would provide design services. At end of 2016 Caruso hired a person who came from the NBC Universal development group and had worked with local HOAs to revitalize Cahuenga and local neighborhoods. The idea was to have Caruso now work with the Palisades community through PRIDE to engage a professional urban designer to do long-term planning for the commercial Village district. It was decided that John would lead the effort and that the project should be very inclusive. A committee was then formed including representatives from PRIDE, PPCC, the Village Green, the Chamber of Commerce, the BID and local residents. There are about 10-12 people on the committee who have met multiple times over the last year and a half with the urban designer, discussing ideas to revitalize the Palisades’ core business district streetscape – Sunset, Via de la Paz, Swarthmore, Antioch and La Cruz. The committee is proposing ten phases of development, with different costs and uses for each phase and for the phases to be developed over time. The idea is to finalize a book which depicts the proposed plans and to roll this out to the entire community for input. It was decided that it makes the most sense to look at Sunset revitalization first. Before the roll out and fundraising, the committee wants to finalize a marketing plan. This has been a work in progress and the committee has a preliminary cost proposal. The project is very expensive and it can’t be accomplished all at once. He has met with the Bonin and Kuehl offices; there is very little opportunity for funding from those offices. The committee will have to go to individuals and businesses in town for fundraising. They have not yet hired a contractor since it’s still in in a very preliminary stage. Questions were asked as to who will be in charge and what are the cost estimates. Response: This is a community decision. The preliminary total cost estimate for all ten phases is $20 million; the first phase involving Sunset is under $2 million. Lou Kamer questioned whether this was a community project and expressed concern about the level of community input and transparency to date. Response: This is a community committee that is working on a plan which will be rolled out to the press and community for input in due course, including at a future PPCC meeting. It is not a secretive effort. Chris Spitz reiterated that this is not a secret project and the committee has a diverse membership representing many community voices who are working in harmony.
11.2. Motion to Oppose Senate Bill 50: recommended by the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils (WRAC) for consideration by member councils; sponsored in PPCC by the PPCC Executive Committee.
The Secretary Chris Spitz presented the motion on behalf of the Executive Committee:
“Whereas California neighborhoods depend upon high quality, citizen driven, local community planning for justice and equity and balanced development, and
Whereas State Senate Bill 50 [Scott Wiener] weaponizes state government code to eviscerate local planning statewide and thereby increases financialization of land use; intensifies inequality; encourages predatory speculative activity; and masks massive wealth transfer by shifting property ownership opportunities away from small owners to corporate investors, and
Whereas the City Charter-mandated Neighborhood Council system of Los Angeles, and the Community Councils of the City of Los Angeles, represent grass roots democracy, and
Whereas California State Senate Bill 50 [Scott Wiener] establishes “one size fits all” development criteria–based on changeable municipal structures such as bus stops and employment locations–to be determined, without democratic due process or public scrutiny, by the Department of Housing and Community Development and the Office of Planning and Research, and
Whereas the lack of analysis of infrastructure and other costs associated with this pen stroke planning creates grave uncertainty that any local agency would be able to“levy enough service charges, fees or assessments sufficient to pay for the program or level of service mandated by this act within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code”, and given the aforementioned lack of fiscal analysis, Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution “No reimbursement” clause is wrongfully applied to this legislation,
Whereas reform is needed for the present state legislative system which allows sweeping, ideological blunt instrument legislation such as SB 50 to be introduced without extensive vetting in local public hearings prior to consideration in the State Legislature, and
Whereas this wholesale removal of all land use authority to the State clearly abolishes all meaningful local input into land use planning and therefore constitutes an attack upon local democracy, upon neighborhoods, and upon the Neighborhood Councils and Community Councils in the City of Los Angeles,
Therefore, Pacific Palisades Community Council opposes SB 50 and urges our City Councilmembers to introduce a resolution in Council forthwith, opposing SB 50.”
A second was not required as the motion was sponsored by a committee of more than one voting member. Chris Spitz then gave introductory remarks, explaining the motion and Senate Bill 50. A discussion took place and a vote was taken on the motion.
Vote: Unanimous in favor of the motion.
12. Adjournment. The Chair adjourned the meeting at 8:24 pm.