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MINUTES FROM APRIL 22nd 2021

Voting Members in Attendance:  David Card, David Kaplan, Richard Cohen, Chris Spitz, Karen Ridgley, Sue Kohl, Haldis Toppel, Steve Cron, Joanna Spak, Jenny Li, Reza Akef, Alan Goldsmith, Beth Holden-Garland, Peter Powell, Craig Natvig, Eric Dugdale, Richard Blumenberg, Trish Bowe, Fay Vahdani, Brenda Theveny, Jim Kirtley

Voting Alternates:  Karyn Weber

Non-voting Advisors and Alternates:  John Padden, Kevin Niles, Mary Mueller, Marilyn Wexler, Cindy Kirven, Kimberly Bloom, Lee Anne Sanderson, Danielle Samulon, Nancy Niles.

1.     Call to order and reading of Mission Statement.  The Chair David Card called the meeting to order at 6:00 pm.  The Mission Statement was read.

2.     Introduction of Zoom engineer.  The Chair welcomed everyone and introduced the technical engineer Alex Ponting.  Introductions of the Board and audience were deferred.

3.      Roll call of voting members and certification of quorum.  At the Chair’s direction the Secretary called the roll of voting members; the Chair certified that there was a quorum.

4.     Approval of Minutes.  The minutes of April 8, 2021 were approved. Upcoming meetings: May 13, 2021: 1) Nominating Committee announcement of officer candidates; nominations from Board open; 2) Resilient Palisades presentation on proposed solar-powered “Pali Grid”; 3) Presentation on plans for new restaurant replacing “Taste” on Palisades Dr.  May 27, 2021: 1) Guest speaker — LA City Controller Ron Galperin; 2) close of Board nominations of officer candidates.

5.      Consideration of Agenda.  Agenda items may be taken out of order at the discretion of the Chair.

6.     Treasurer’s Report.  The Treasurer Richard G. Cohen reported that PPCC’s cash balance is $35,061.11. The sole significant transaction since the last report was a $305.82 payment for website and email hosting and domain name registration.

7.       General Public Comment.

7.1.     Rob Kerinki (Build Shelter Now) stated that he was attending the meeting as a member of a coalition of residents across Los Angeles urging the City to update ordinances and to take more urgent action on homeless issues.

8.      Reports, Announcements and Concerns.

8.1.     From the Chair/Presiding Officer.

8.1.1.     Robotic Personal Delivery Devices – clarification regarding applicable law.  The Chair explained that at the recent past meeting when these devices were discussed, we were advised that they are permitted by state law.  However, we have now learned from CD 11 that there is no state law regulating personal delivery devices.  Local jurisdictions are therefore free to regulate them, or not.

8.1.2.     Update on STAP Program (street furniture/digital signs in bus shelters).  John Padden (PRIDE) attended a meeting about the program and the Chair asked him to give a report.

Mr. Padden explained that he sat in on a call on April 14 with City Councilmembers and Lance Oishi of Streets LA.  Mr. Oishi provided an overview of where they are with the program.  They have 4 proposals in hand from contractors.  A committee has been formed to review the RFPs.  StreetsLA will go out to councils and do outreach.  By the end of May there will be information about locations and what the bus shelters and benches would look like.  There were many concerns about the digital screens and whether these will be ad driven vs. rider driven.  Lots of concerns were expressed about danger to drivers due to bright light from digital signs.  There will be a centralized computer system to manage the sign illumination.  There is a long way to go and future outreach will occur. As to our concern about keeping our PRIDE benches and other street furniture, Mr. Oishi assured Mr. Padden that if a location they are looking at already has a bench, StreetsLA won’t remove the bench; in locations where there are no benches, we can take a look at the locations and put in our own benches.

8.2.      From Officers

8.2.1.    Chris Spitz (Secretary).  WRAC and legislation updates.

a) WRAC Update: The WRAC board passed several motions dealing with homelessness, including one in regard to Council File 21-0350, to oppose the use of beaches, beach parking lots and parks for homeless housing. The Brentwood and Mar Vista councils have already passed motions to oppose the Council File and several more member councils are expected to agendize the motion in the coming weeks.
b) Legislation Update: SB 15 – the affordable housing bill that PPCC supports, involving use of vacant big box stores – has passed in all Senate Cmtees and will eventually go to the Senate floor for a vote. Unfortunately, both SB 9 and 10, the housing density bills that we strongly oppose, have also passed in key Senate committees and are making their way through the legislature.  We’ll continue to monitor.

8.3.     From Area and At-large RepresentativesNone.

8.4.     From Organizational Representatives.

8.4.1.    Brenda Theveny (TCA) reported that Carol Leacock, who was TCA’s president for many years, will be moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico this month.  This will be a great loss to the Palisades community.  Ms. Theveny described Ms. Leacock’s many accomplishments and service to the Palisades community.  Ms. Leacock earned Citizen of Year honors in 1999.  The Leacock Trail which connects Bienveneda with Temescal Gateway Park was named after her husband Phil.  She worked to build and approve the trail.  She was very involved in leading group hikes and spent a lot of time working on maintaining the trails in the Santa Monica Mountains.  The Chair joined Ms. Theveny in relating that we will miss Ms. Leacock and we wish her the best.

8.4.2.    Eric Dugdale (PPHS) announced that here will be many historic events happening as we near the 100th anniversary of Pacific Palisades next year. The PPHS newsletter will soon come out.

8.5.    From Government Offices / Representatives.   Contact information available at: http://pacpalicc.org/index.php/government-contacts/

8.5.1.    LAPD Officer Brian Espin, acting SLO for the Palisades.

Officer Espin explained that he is filling in as our Senior Lead Officer.  He has been in the West LA office for 7 years and is familiar with the Palisades.  He loves the community and has filled in for our former SLO Mike Moore in the past.  Officer Espin was a lifeguard at Will Rogers in the summer.  He reported that grand theft auto is up 230 %.  There aren’t many other crimes.  Most crimes in the Palisades involve stolen vehicles.  At this time last year we had 6 stolen vehicles, but this year at this time we have had 20 stolen vehicles.  Residents are leaving key fobs in cars.  Officer Espin reminded everyone:  Do not leave key fobs in your cars.  The police are also seeing burglaries from motor vehicles.  Criminals are “door checking” to see what items are left in the car. They will take anything they think might be of value.  Officer Espin repeated the LAPD mantra: “Lock it, hide it, keep it!”  He also reminded everyone to call 1-877-ASK-LAPD for non-emergency reporting.

8.5.2.    Janet Turner, Field Representative, U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu.

Ms. Turner reported that Congressman Lieu and some of his colleagues convinced the Pentagon to establish the Space Systems Command for the new U.S. Space Force at the El Segundo Air Force base.  She announced that there is now a FEMA funeral assistance program, with up to $9,000 in reimbursements, for the many people who have lost relatives to COVID 19.  Visit FEMA.gov for more information.  She also explained that Congress working on the American Jobs Plan, which will include fixing highways, rebuilding bridges and many other measures. She will return to explain more about the Plan at a future meeting.

8.5.3.    Len Nguyen, Acting Field Deputy, CD 11. Mr. Nguyen gave the following updates:

1) Councilmember Bonin received reports from Castellammare homeowners regarding illegal dumping and car clubs using the streets.  Coordinating with Officer Espin, the City has posted signs on the streets at various spots in the area to discourage these activities.

2)  Regarding the Riviera Country Club Longworth gate issue:  City Planning has completed their review of historic documents and has conducted onsite visits during tournaments.  The conclusion:  The Club has exceeded the scope of their deemed-approved use. They will have to apply for a public hearing regarding the use.  Mr. Nguyen has notified the PPCC area representatives of these developments.

Reza Akef (Area 8 Representative): Mr. Nguyen has been responsive to residents on the Riviera Country Club gate issue; he thanked Mr. Nguyen and the Councilmember for doing this work for Area 8.

The Chair:  Are other streets in the Polo Fields area, in addition to Longworth, also included as part of the Planning Dept.’s determination?  Mr. Nguyen: He sent a list of all the street easements related to all the gates in question, including Jonesboro; they should be included.

3)  Today is Earth Day.  The Councilmember is hosting a tree giveaway on May 1 at the West Los Angeles district office.  Reservations are required.

4)  The City Council approved an ordinance to ban free giveaways of plastic utentsils.

5)  Councilmember Bonin wrote a letter to PPCC today regarding his motion in CF 21-0350.  Mr. Nguyen summarized the letter.  The Chair explained that the Councilmember’s letter is not on the agenda tonight for discussion or action, that he responded today to the statements in the letter, and that the letter and his response will be circulated to the Board.

8.6.    From PPCC AdvisorsNot called.

9.    Reports from Committees.

9.1.    Executive Committee.  Update on CM Bonin motion re housing homeless on beaches and in parks (CF 21-1305); request for Board approval of PPCC Position Statement. See:  http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/PPCC-Position-Statement-CF21-0350R.pdf.

David Kaplan (Vice-Chair) stated that the Executive Committee is making a motion for the Board to adopt the Position Statement linked in the agenda.  The proposed Position Statement [linked above] was shared on the screen.  The Treasurer then advised that the committee is amending the Statement to change the phrase “County owned,” in both bullet points on p. 1 of the Statement, to “County operated.”  He explained that the proposed Position Statement is an updated version of the Statement informally approved by the Board in a straw poll taken at the last Board meeting.  He then moved the Position Statement as amended for adoption by the Board.  No second was necessary as the motion was made by a committee of more than one voting Board member.

The Chair then summarized the Position Statement, going through each of the pages and referring to the points made in the Statement as shown on the screen.  Discussion then ensued:

Eric Dugdale (PPHS): Pacific Palisades has a long history of fires.  The bluffs near the beach are a natural place to catch fire.  This would pose a real physical danger to the community.

Alan Goldsmith (At-large Representative):  The bike path is an important facility.  This would effectively ruin the bike path.  The Chair:  The bike path comes up at the parking lot area which Councilmember Bonin identified at our meeting on April 8 as the Lifeguard facility.  The bike path enters into the lot at that point.

Marilyn Wexler (At-large 2nd Alternate):  As a resident of Santa Monica Canyon, she and other residents in that neighborhood are very worried about negative impacts on homes and residents in the Canyon.

Karen Ridgley (Area 4 Representative):  A resident in Tahitian Terrace reached out to her and explained that there are many units and residents living in that development.  They are vulnerable since they live directly across PCH from where homeless units may be installed. Many elderly widows live alone there and have little security.

Karyn Weber (Area 6 1st Alternate):  There is some transit availability on PCH with a bus stop at the main Temescal Canyon parking lot entrance.  The Chair:  It is not close to the proposed location for the homeless encampment.

The Vice-Chair:  Councilmember Bonin’s reference in his letter to PPCC’s pandemic-related suggestion about using the beach parking lots on an emergency basis last spring was disingenuous.  The beach was closed, no one was using the beach then, and now millions of people are using the beach and the parking lot.  The Chair: This suggestion was only made as an alternative to the City’s inappropriate proposal to use the Palisades Recreation Center to house homeless individuals during the pandemic; it was intended to be very temporary.

Jenny Li (Area 7 Representative):  We say in the letter that this is not an emergency, but the Councilmembers think it’s an emergency.  The Chair:  We state our position that this is not an immediate emergency; it’s a chronic situation.  Ms. Li clarified that she is not making a motion for amendment.

Reza Akef (Area 8 Representative): The letter doesn’t address the federal lawsuit related to skid row.  Every councilmember must find places to put the homeless.  He suggests a follow up letter to say that there is significant homeless population in this part of town.

Alan Goldsmith:  He suggests a possible amendment to make some reference to the bike path.  The Treasurer:  The letter is the first of many that will likely be written to public officials, in which additional concerns can be raised.  Mr. Goldsmith then retracted his suggestion for an amendment.

Janet Lever (Tahitian Terrace resident).  She lives alone in the mobile home park. The park is restricted to residents aged 55 and over.  The residents are in an at-risk area.  The mobile homes are aluminum and were built for affordable housing.  There are 600-700 residents in the mobile home communities.  She asks for this to be mentioned in future letters.

Angelique Rudolf (lower Las Casas).  She doesn’t fully understand this situation and would like clarity.  The Chair: This motion before the Board has to do with Councilmember Bonin’s motion in City Council that was presented before Judge Carter’s injunction in the federal lawsuit was issued.  We are opposing Councilmember Bonin’s motion in City Council.  Ms. Rudolf:  Was the Councilmember ordered to do this in Pacific Palisades?   The Chair:  Nothing in the Judge’s order directs Councilmembers to find housing in every little neighborhood in each district.

Chris Adelman (Bienveneda resident):  Do we have data on how many people visit the beaches?  [No response.]

Gene Cameron (Marquez Knolls resident):  The Junior Lifeguards program is situated at that area of the beach.  Our lifeguards have chosen that beach to educate kids about ocean safety.

The Treasurer:  The Executive Committee has phrased the Position Statement carefully. Taking NIMBY positions doesn’t persuade public officials.  We have stronger arguments to present to our elected officials.

A vote was then taken.  Result:  Unanimous to adopt the Position Statement as amended.

9.2.    Land Use Committee (LUC; Howard Robinson, Chair).  (Tentative) Update on research: Marquez/Ida residential project & related non-hillside Coastal area zoning issues – No report.

10.    Old Business None.

11.    New Business. 

11.1.    Update on Gladstones development project (by Thomas Tellefsen, representative of the concessionaire) Postponed to June 24, 2021.

11.2.    Presentation on 2021 City Redistricting (by Commissioner Michele Prichard, CD 11 volunteer representative to the Los Angeles Redistricting Commission).  Discussion only.

The Chair introduced Ms. Prichard, who is Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Liberty Hill Foundation. He summarized her background and accomplishments and explained that she is the CD 11 appointee to the Los Angeles Redistricting Commission.

Ms. Prichard explained that Councilmember Bonin appointed her in November 2020.  He felt that her background would give her a broad and inclusive sense of the City.  She emphasized that she is a volunteer and not an expert.  She then showed a Power Point presentation and explained the core purpose of redistricting – to develop new political boundaries based on census data and applicable laws, in order to create new districts and allocate districts in a proportionate manner.

She went on to explain that there are twenty-one members of the Commission who are appointed by Los Angeles’ elected officials.  The Commissioners draw and recommend boundaries for the districts which must be approved by the Los Angeles City Council.  They hold monthly meetings which are open to the public.  The Chair is Fred Ali.  The Executive Director is Frank Cardenas.

The Commission’s Mission is to strengthen the governance of the City of Los Angeles through empowering its communities to have their diverse needs served through fair and inclusive representation.  The redistricting process involves drawing new boundaries that will determine which residents will be represented by which elected official.  This is necessary because of changing demographics due to factors such as births, deaths, migration, etc.  The population count is based on the 2020 Census.  The governing laws are the US Constitution, the Los Angeles City Charter and the federal Voting Rights Act.  Ms. Prichard described what is required under these laws.  Redistricting will be based partly on boundaries, neighborhoods and communities of interest.

The State, County, LAUSD and the City are all undergoing redistricting.  Per the City Charter the districts must be redrawn every ten years.  The Commission must obtain public input.  The City Council has ultimate authority to adopt the redistricting plan.

The Commission will use the following line drawing criteria:  1) districts must be of nearly equal population; 2) they must comply with Voting Rights Act; 3) they must be drawn contiguously; 4) they must minimize division of neighborhoods; and 5) they must be geographically compact.

What are “communities of interest” (COIs)?  These are concentrated population areas which share social and economic interests.  COIs are key to building districts that can be defined by geographic or service boundaries.  Constituents’ voices and full participation in the process are encouraged.  The Commissioners want to know:  What are communities’ shared interests, what boundaries are important to us, what communities do we want to be with?  Constituents will be able to draw their community boundaries on a map with new user-friendly software being developed.  Testimony can be emailed directly to the Commission.  Redistricting.lacity@lacity.org.

Ms. Prichard emphasized she was not able to take public comment tonight.  There will be other upcoming opportunities for comment: public hearings, Commission meetings, the interactive website under construction, and written comments.   There will be 15 public meetings from June through August 2021 – one public meeting for each of 15 Council Districts.  Outreach will be conducted.  There will be an expert “line drawer” to hear the testimony and use this to enter information in the data base for line drawing purposes.

Questions and comments from the Board then ensued.

The Chair: Where is Ms. Prichard from?  Ms. Prichard:  She is a Mar Vista resident and is familiar with Pacific Palisades.  She has lived in Los Angeles since 1977 and in CD 11 for over twenty years.

The Chair:  He would like to relate his own personal comments on redistricting.  The primary point he wants to leave her with is that Pacific Palisades has great ties of community interest with Brentwood.  We share a charter school complex, we have common interests in our mountains, hillsides and flat areas, and we also share a Community Plan.  The other thing important for Ms. Prichard to know: Pacific Palisades is a beach town.

The Vice-Chair:  How far above or below the average number of residents are in CD 11?  Will the District have to increase or decrease to meet the standard?  Ms. Prichard:  That is a good question and she does not know the answer.  The raw Census data will be submitted in August and the final product will come in September.  The Commissioners will be delving into that data and will seek extra demographic advice.  There may be an undercount due to the pandemic conditions last year.

The Treasurer:  He has similar concerns about an overcount and undercount.  What more has she learned about this and how might it affect the Westside?  Ms. Prichard:  We haven’t learned a lot.  The lower income, African-American and Latino communities are under-represented.  Due to the pandemic, there were other undercounts in wealthier communities, perhaps because people left town.

The Chair:  Will the homeless count be taken into consideration?  Ms. Prichard:  She doesn’t know the current state.  The undercount methodology will seek to take into account the homeless, undocumented individuals and students.

The Chair thanked Ms. Prichard for her presentation.

12.     Adjournment.   The meeting was adjourned at 7:39 pm.

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