MINUTES FOR MAY 9th 2019
Voting Members in Attendance: George Wolfberg, Peter F. Culhane, Richard G. Cohen, Chris Spitz, Rick Mills, Joanna Spak, Steve Boyers, Sue Kohl, Haldis Toppel, Alan Goldsmith, Bill Bruns, Dick Wulliger, Richard Blumenberg, Duke Ostendorf, Sarah Conner, Jean Sharp, Brenda Theveny, Ellie Jenkins
Voting Alternates: Melanie Bouer, Niloo Kia, Susan Orenstein, Jason Sklar
Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: Barbara Marinacci, David Card, Jan Ostendorf, Sharla Steinman (following appointment; see item 8.1.1 below)
1. Certification of Quorum. The 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. Jason Sklar 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 4/25/19 were deemed approved. 2) Upcoming Meetings –May 23, 2019: (1) close of Board nominations of officers; (2) update on wildfire safety by PPCC Wildfire Advisor Miriam Schulman; tentative discussion of parking meter revenues. June 13, 2019: (1) candidates forum (if needed) and Board election of PPCC officers for the 2019-2020 term; (2) LAX Landside Modernization Plan update. June 27, 2019: Guest speaker Councilmember Mike Bonin; Q&A about matters of community concern. Additional topics to be announced. One meeting only in July and August; dates 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 $40,982.66. Significant transactions this month included a payment of $140 to renew our P.O. box for the year and a $500 check as a refundable deposit to reserve the community room at Palisades Village for a tentative June LUC meeting (the library being unavailable). The Treasurer will credit the refund of the deposit back to the account balance when the check is returned or voided.
7. General Public Comment — None.
8. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
8.1. From the Chair.
The Chair began by announcing that the first Board member to open the agenda was Sarah Knauer (Chamber of Commerce Representative); in her absence, the Secretary presented a gift of treats to Sue Kohl (Area 5 Representative), who will arrange to deliver the gift.
8.1.1. Approval of additional PPCC Youth Advisor, Sharla Steinman (Bylaws, Art. XIV). Pali High junior and member of the Pali Ambassadors Sharla Steinman was appointed as the second PPCC Youth Advisor, with the approval of the Board.
8.1.2. Appointment of Street Tree Policy Committee. The following persons were appointed to the new Street Tree Policy Committee, to research and present recommendations to the PPCC Board about a possible Street Tree Policy for the Palisades: David Card, Chair [At-large 1st Alternate, landscape designer]; Kelly Comras [Area 1 2nd Alternate, landscape architect/FASLA], Jo Ann Bright [Garden Club], Bill Bruns [Friends of the Library Representative], Libby Motika [journalist, Master Gardener], Jan Ostendorf [Area 4 2nd Alternate] and Michael G. Terry [Palisades Beautiful, landscape designer].
8.1.3. Update on Chautauqua Blvd. repaving. The long-awaited repaving happened last weekend. The City did a good job and the lines are in.
8.1.4. Update on recent racist hate speech & threats; see PPCC Statement. The Chair joined the well-attended service last Sunday at the Lutheran Church which the community attended in solidarity with Pastor Davis and his family. PPCC’s statement condemning the vile racist hate threats was widely distributed, including on social media. The Chair received a private response to PPCC’s post on Nextdoor, from a resident who worked up the courage to write to us after seeing the posts about the incident involving the Davis family. She sadly related another incident of racism in the Palisades. He read aloud the resident’s entire message to PPCC and expressed dismay that this continues to occur in our society [see attachment for text of message].
8.1.5. 15245 W. De Pauw St. (Potrero Canyon rim construction); see PPCC Position Letter. The contractor had received a building permit which was not authorized by the existing CDP. The owner is now seeking retroactive permission to continue to build a large, obtrusive structure along the Canyon rim, despite the Zoning Information guidelines. Because of the timing (Planning Dept. hearing last Monday), the Executive Committee unanimously approved the letter linked above.
8.1.6. LADWP Information; see 2019 LA Aqueduct-Owens Valley Tours; Mylar Balloon Safety. Those interested in the tour should click on the link and RSVP as soon as possible (first tour is on May 17-18).
8.1.7. Fire Service Day May 11 at Station 69; see Fire Service Day Flyer. This is one of three terrific events on Saturday. Festivities are from 10am-4pm. Bruce Schwartz (past Citizen of the Year and Area 2 2nd Alternate) will receive Honorary Fire Chief honors.
8.1.8. Palisades Beautiful Tree Walk May 11; see Tree Walk Flyer. This is the third of the three “Super Saturday” events on May 11 [see item 8.6.1 below for the second event]. The walk will take place from 3-4:30pm and begins at the giant Moreton Bay Fig Tree at the entrance to the Recreation Center.
8.1.9. Parking meter revenue return pilot program. This is a program for the Business Improvement District (BID) to manage parking meter revenue returns for streetscape projects in the BID area. PPCC strongly advocated that the City include the BID in the current experimental program. There are Brown Act hoops that the BID must jump through in order to run this program. The Chair and Vice-Chair Peter F. Culhane attended this week’s BID meeting to offer PPCC’s assistance in implementing the program. Our offer was well received. Stand by for more information.
8.1.10. Aircraft noise update. The Chair just received a message from Geoff Thompson, Councilmember Mike Bonin’s airport liaison, stating that last night the LAX Community Noise Roundtable took action to address the noise we are experiencing in Santa Monica Canyon and Pacific Palisades. By working this issue on behalf of our community via the Ad Hoc Metroplex/Wide Area Committee that Geoff Thompson chairs, the full Roundtable membership voted to send a letter to the FAA asking that the JUUSE Waypoint just off the coast – which is crossed-over by jets landing at LAX from the north — be moved approximately one mile south / southwest. [See JUUSE Waypoint Map.]
Geoff Thompson believes this alignment may be acceptable to the FAA and could reduce noise in our area, since jets will be farther off the coastline. Stand by, but do not hold your breath. Kudos to Golden Sparkplug award winner Debbie Warfel for continuing to follow up on the aircraft noise issue.
8.2. From Officers.
8.2.1. Chris Spitz (Secretary) gave an update on SB 50 (Wiener). The bill will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on May 13 and if it passes will then go on to the full Senate. New amendments include exemptions for small cities (under 50,000 in population) that are located in the Coastal zone, and for sites designated as High Fire Hazard Severity Zones (HFHSZ) where “fire hazard mitigation measures” haven’t been adopted. What exactly constitutes mitigation measures isn’t clear under the bill. Since Pacific Palisades is not itself a city it does not fall within the exemption for “small cities in the Coastal zone.” However, virtually all areas of the Palisades are in the HFHSZ and presumably will therefore be exempt, although which sites, if any, have adopted fire mitigation measures such that they would lose the exemption under the bill remain to be determined. See PPCC’s Position Letter submitted to the Appropriations Committee on May 8, 2019.
8.3. From At-Large and Area Representatives.
8.3.1. Kelly Comras (Area 1 2nd Alternate). (Tentative) report on City of LA “Tree Summit” – not in attendance.
8.4. From Organizational Representatives.
8.4.1. Jean Sharp (Optimists) announced that a Kids’ Track Meet will take place on May 19, 11am-2:30pm at the Pali High track. The event is sponsored by the Optimists and the YMCA. Information can be found on the YMCA website. [See Track Meet]
8.4.2. Dick Wulliger (PP Historical Society) reminded members of the Society’s May 13th program, 7pm at Theatre Palisades: The Sun and her Stars: Salka Viertel and Hitler’s Exiles in the Golden Age of Hollywood. He distributed flyers. [See Sun & Stars Flyer]
8.4.3. Susan Orenstein (TCA) announced the start of the Spring/Summer weekly Tuesday evening hikes this Tuesday, May14 (exploring Will Rogers Park). [See TCA Hikes]
8.4.4. Duke Ostendorf (YMCA) reported that the Y’s Healthy Kids Day event was a success. Over 120 families attended and the Simon Meadow was crushed with kids.
8.5. From Government Offices / Representatives – None.
8.6. From PPCC Advisors.
8.6.1. Sharla Steinman (Youth Advisor) presented information about the Pali High Campus Gardening/Beautification Day to take place from 11am-1pm on May 11 [see Ambassadors Flyer]. The Chair remarked that this is the second of the three events to take place on Saturday. Secretary Chris Spitz announced that the first person who attends all three events on Saturday and sends in selfies to show they were there will receive a free dessert courtesy Marissa Hermer (Chamber of Commerce Alternate) and The Draycott! The Youth Advisor also announced that a “Friday Night Live” event will take place at Pali next Friday May 17 at 7pm and 9pm. There is a review system on Google to give ratings to the Ambassadors. Responding to a question about the status of work at the corner of Bowdoin & Temescal, the Youth Advisor explained that this will be a landscaped seating area.
9. Reports from Committees.
9.1. Nominating Committee (Richard Blumenberg, Chair; Sue Kohl, Joanna Spak). Committee Chair Richard Blumenberg announced the Committee’s candidates for officers for the 2019-2020 term, as follows:
Chair: George Wolfberg
Vice-Chair: David Card
Treasurer: Richard Cohen
Secretary: Chris Spitz
Committee Chair Blumenberg related that David Card has lived in the Palisades since childhood and is a long-time community leader, serving on the American Legion, the Rotary, the Potrero Canyon Community Advisory Committee and the PPCC Board for several years. He is currently the PPCC At-large 1st Alternate and served as Chair of last year’s Election Committee. A former bankruptcy lawyer for many years, David is also a trained landscape designer and received a Golden Sparkplug Award for his work on Potrero Canyon and for landscaping the area around the pumping station at the corner of Temescal Canyon & PCH.
The Chair thanked the Committee for its work in selecting the nominees and then opened nominations to the Board. There were no nominations by Board members. The Chair explained that nominations from the Board will be open until 15 minutes before the scheduled close of the next meeting on May 23. [See item 12 below for statement by the current Vice-Chair.]
9.2. Bylaws Committee (Richard G. Cohen, Chair). Second Distribution of proposed amendments to the PPCC Bylaws recommended by the Committee (pertaining primarily to the Code of Conduct, disciplinary procedures and clarification of Board membership). See 1) Committee Report and 2) “Redline”plus “Clean” draft of proposed amendments, distributed concurrently with the meeting agenda via PPCC email and posted on the PPCC website (“Amendments”).
Committee Chair Cohen again explained the proposed Amendments and the various categories of revisions and voting requirements (parts A, B, C and D of the motion, as set forth below). He introduced the motion on behalf of the Committee for adoption of the proposed Amendments [no second was required as the motion was made by a committee of more than one voting member]. The Chair then invited discussion from the Board. There were no questions or comments. A vote was then taken on each of the following parts of the motion:
- Bylaws and Appendix A [voting requirement: 2/3 of members present (abstentions counted as “No” votes)].Vote: Unanimous in favor of the motion.
- Appendix C – Standing Rules [voting requirement: majority of members present (abstentions counted as “No” votes)].Vote: Unanimous in favor of the motion.
- Appendix D – Guiding Principles [voting requirement: 2/3 of members voting (abstentions not counted as votes)]. Vote:Unanimous in favor of the motion.
- Attachment A – Election Procedure for Elected Representatives [voting requirement: majority of members voting (abstentions not counted as votes)]. Vote: Unanimous in favor of the motion.
The Chair thanked the Bylaws Committee for its careful work in proposing these important revisions.
10. Old Business – None.
11. New Business.
11.1. Resolution Regarding Dockless Electric Scooter & Bicycle Providers (co-sponsored by Area 7 Representative Steve Boyers & Secretary Chris Spitz).
The resolution sponsors introduced the following resolution [which did not require a second as it was made by two voting board members]:
“Whereas, on or about April 13, 2019, the beloved pastor of a church in Pacific Palisades was seriously injured in a hit-and-run accident recklessly caused by the user of a dockless electric scooter, who fled the scene (on the sidewalk outside of the church rectory) and could not be immediately apprehended at the time of the accident;
Whereas, any of us could be victims of such future reckless and unlawful conduct;
Whereas, the business providing the dockless electric scooter involved in the above accident refused to provide information to law enforcement about the user or to reasonably assist in law enforcement’s investigation of the accident, resulting in an inability to bring the user to justice or a significant delay in justice;
Whereas, in the interest of public safety, every business providing dockless electric scooters and/or bicycles (Dockless Mobility Devices) operating in the City of Los Angeles (City) should reasonably be required to cooperate fully with law enforcement under the circumstances described above as a condition of being granted a business license or Dockless Mobility Permit;
Whereas, such requirement of provider cooperation with law enforcement is necessary to protect the safety of the public and does not unreasonably infringe on the privacy rights of users of Dockless Mobility Devices;
Whereas, it is the responsibility of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) and the City to “promote safety. . . and improve the quality of life for the people of Los Angeles“ (LADOT Statement);
Now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) urges the City to (1) deny a business license and/or Dockless Mobility Permit, or suspend and/or revoke any previously-issued business license and/or Dockless Mobility Permit, to any provider of Dockless Mobility Devices operating in the City that fails or refuses to cooperate fully with law enforcement in providing information about the user of its Dockless Mobility Device involved in an accident causing injury to another person; (2) if and as necessary, immediately enact additional regulations amending existing rules and/or data protection policies in the City’s Dockless Mobility Pilot Program to provide for issuance of business licenses and/or Dockless Mobility Permits only upon condition that providers cooperate fully with law enforcement under the circumstances set forth above; and (3) provide for suspensions, followed by revocation hearings, of any such licenses and/or permits issued to Dockless Mobility Device providers that fail or refuse to comply fully with law enforcement under the circumstances set forth above; and
RESOLVED FURTHER, that PPCC send a copy of this resolution directly to Councilmember Mike Bonin and to Mayor Eric Garcetti, as well as to all members of the Los Angeles City Council, to emphasize the importance of this safety concern to the residents of Pacific Palisades.
Adopted: ________, 2019”
Following discussion, a vote was taken on the resolution as amended. Vote: Unanimous in favor of the resolution as amended.
11.2. WRAC-recommended Motions A through E below (sponsored in PPCC by the Executive Committee).
The Chair and Chris Spitz introduced each motion in turn [which did not require a second as each was made by a committee of more than one voting board member]. Discussion was invited on each motion and votes were taken as follows:
A. Support for findings of City Attorney’s Blue Ribbon panel on school safety:
“Pacific Palisades Community Council supports the findings of the Blue Ribbon Panel on School Safety, convened by the City Attorney, and urges LAUSD to adopt the priorities of the report recommending steps towards increased school safety.”
Vote: Unanimous in favor of the motion.
B. Support for Wildland Urban Interface Hazard Mitigation Task Force and request for neighborhood outreach by the task force:
“Pacific Palisades Community Council supports Council Member Bonin’s motion for the formation of a Wildland Urban Interface Hazard Mitigation Task Force and urges the task force to conduct neighborhood outreach to community stakeholders and understand / consider their thoughts and concerns.”
Vote: Unanimous in favor of the motion.
C. Request for City to develop regulations for co-living developments:
“Pacific Palisades Community Council requests that the City develop planning, zoning and leasing regulations for co-living developments, which are residential in nature but have aspects of hotels/transient occupancy. Issues include: 1. Length of leases; 2. Parking for “units,” which have larger bedroom counts; 3. Compliance with density bonus ordinances – regulatory framework.”
Vote: Unanimous in favor of the motion.
D. Request for City to enforce affordable housing density bonus regulations:
“Pacific Palisades Community Council requests that the Housing and Community Investment Dept. fully comply with the regulations of the State and City affordable housing density bonuses ordinances (SB1818 and Prop. JJJ/TOC), per the concerns stated in the City Controller’s audit report of Jan. 2017. This includes ensuring that developers properly register units and record covenants upon occupancy, properly publicize and qualify low-income tenants and audit their status every year, assign the correct restricted rent and review it every year, and conduct annual audits to ensure that the affordable units properly and legally serve the intended population of low-income households of Los Angeles. HCID shall state how it will change its processes to ensure compliance. The job performance metric of the HCID General Manager shall reflect full compliance with the State and City’s affordable housing density bonus programs, especially annual audits of tenants of those units and developers who lease those units.”
Vote: Unanimous in favor of the motion.
E. Support for motion calling for prohibitions on developer contributions to elected officials:
“Pacific Palisades Community Council supports Council Member David Ryu’s motion (CF 19-0046) and its prohibition on developer and contractor contributions to City elected officials with the following clarifications:
- Contributions shall be prohibited to the mayor, city councilmembers, controller, city attorney, and all PACs and non-profits that hold fundraisers or make contributions for those elected officials;
- Contributions shall be prohibited for 1 year prior to submittal of a development application (those contributions prior to submittal shall be returned) and for 1 year after a development approval and its subsequent issuance of certificate of occupancy;
- Contributions shall be prohibited from all financiers, developers, applicants, land owners, architects, engineers, contractors and subcontractors, and all employees and spouses of those employees of those firms; and
- The City Ethics Commission shall be responsible for enforcing the ordinance.”
Vote: Unanimous in favor of the motion.
At the conclusion of the meeting and immediately prior to adjournment, Peter Culhane explained that he had informed the Chair and the Nominating Committee Chair that he has decided not to run again for Vice-Chair because of family and other commitments, including his continuing involvement with his Highlands community. He expressed his gratitude for having had the privilege of serving on the Board and explained that he wishes to remain involved and is available to assist PPCC in the future in any capacity needed. The Chair then adjourned the meeting at 8:07pm.
ATTACHMENT: Item 8.1.4 — Resident’s Nextdoor message to PPCC
“Hello PPCC, I hope this message finds you well. I wish I were messaging under different circumstances but this post couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m shaking as I write this as it is similar to my recent encounter. I wish for this to remain private for now and not sure how much my message will help others or simply bring attention to the injustice some of us unfortunately face. As a woman of color living in the Palisades, it never crossed my mind nor questioned the neighborhood. In fact, I was delighted to move here. I’ve been here a little over a year and have enjoyed all of the beauty this amazing part of LA has to offer. Fast forward to last week where I was coming home from work and the grocery store. I parked a house away from where I live rummage through my trunk. Groceries in hand, I was ready to close my trunk when I noticed a neighbor staring at me from her driveway. I looked up and said Hello. Followed by an intense stare I was left to wonder if I have perhaps disturbed her so I asked if I can help her. She followed with the nasty statement or rather series if questions asking what I was doing here. Perplexed I was stunned and in turn had no reply because I was gauging the intent of her questions. So I was processing because it’s 2019, no way she is insinuating what I think. She then followed with a statement ‘I just want to see where you are heading, do you live here?’ Having been parking in this street now for a little over a year. This last statement confirmed the mal-intended statement. She clearly did not want me here so I honesty responded with, I live here. In which case she hurried into her home. I am sure you can understand the dismay and shock I was feeling. Did she really question me living in the neighborhood? I am sure she must have seen me before. Nonetheless, the words were said. Anger then followed and confusion as how does someone hold a nasty untended accountable? I write this story from the exact same location the incident occurred as parking on my street can be limited. Standing outside my car on my phone with her car directly behind me. I head the locking alarm. Clearly she sees me and wants either to make sure she car is locked or is being passive aggressive by locking her car while I stand here. Still processing. Wondering if you can lend support or similar stories. Completely disgusted by her and wonder if she is even worth my time. I am sure I know what the answer is but high hopes lends to my question. A concerned neighbor. Excuse the typos as I [am] filled with anger.”