MINUTES FROM APRIL 14th 2022
Voting Members in Attendance: David Card, David Kaplan, Richard Cohen, Chris Spitz, Jenny Li,* Joanna Spak, Steve Cron, Haldis Toppel, Karen Ridgley, Alan Goldsmith, John Padden,* Reza Akef,* Janet Anderson, Kevin Niles, Brenda Theveny, Fay Vahdani, Ryan Craig (after vote on Item 9.2) (*partial attendance)
Voting Alternates: Cathy Russell* (*after Li’s departure), Richard Blumenberg* (*before Padden’s arrival)
Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: Jack Coleman, Jackson Walter, Nancy Niles, Michael Edlen
1. Call to order and reading of Mission Statement. The Chair David Card called the meeting to order at 6:00 pm. The Chair read the Mission Statement.
2. Introduction of Zoom engineer. Zoom engineer Alex Ponting was introduced.
3. Roll call of voting members and certification of quorum. The Chair called the roll of voting members and certified that there was a quorum.
4. Approval of Minutes. The minutes of March 24, 2022 were approved. Upcoming meetings: April 28, 2022: Topics to be announced (meeting time 5:45pm – 6:45pm, to allow attendance at the WRAC City Attorney candidates forum beginning at 7pm that evening). May 12, 2022: (1) Nominating Committee announcement of nominations for PPCC officer candidates; (2) other topics to be announced. May 26, 2022: Topics to be announced.
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 Cohen reported that PPCC’s balance is $55,922.51. Since the last report we paid $370 for a Zoom upgrade so we can co-host the candidates’ forum, half of which will be reimbursed by BCC. As a reminder, in the past few weeks the Treasurer paid the renewal premiums for our D&O and general liability insurance policies ($660 and $975 respectively).
7. General Public Comment – None.
8. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
8.1. From the Chair/Presiding Officer.
8.1.1. George Wolfberg Park at Potrero Canyon – Updates/letters written since 3/24 PPCC meeting:
The Chair noted that the letters were sent as indicated. There has been no response but he hopes we will hear from Noah Fleishman later in the meeting. He also reported that the turning circle at the Recreation Center has now been fully planted and he encouraged everyone to visit.
8.1.2. Appointment of Nominating Committee (to nominate candidates for the election of PPCC officers, 2022-23 term; Bylaws Art. VII.1). Schedule: May 12 – Committee nominations announced and Board nominations of officer candidates open; May 26 – Board nominations close (15 minutes before scheduled end of meeting); June 9 – officer candidates forum held (if needed) and Board elects officers; July 1 – new officers’ term begins.
The Chair announced the members of the Nominating Committee and reiterated the officers’ nomination and election schedule as set forth above. The members are: Steve Cron (Committee Chair); Beth Holden-Garland, Mary Mueller, Nancy Niles, Joanna Spak; Rob Weber (Legal Advisor, ex officio/nonvoting).
8.1.3. (New agenda item) Hannah Safaie-Kia (Pali High Ambassadors). The Chair introduced Ms. Safaie-Kia, President of the Pali High Ambassadors and sister of Eli Safaie-Kia, a former PPCC Youth Advisor. She introduced her Cabinet and explained that the Ambassadors comprise a diverse group of students from a variety of backgrounds who are committed to creating a better school environment and empowering future leaders. Several members of the Ambassadors’ Cabinet then described their efforts and protocols in working with organizations and groups off campus, and in leading school tours and helping students on campus. They will assist at the Historical Society Centennial event in May. They emphasized that the Pali Ambassadors are always there to help. Visit Paliambassadors.org for more information.
8.2. From Officers.
8.2.1. Chris Spitz (Secretary). Updated WRAC candidates forum schedule (all at 7pm via Zoom webinar): 4/25/22 – CD 11 candidates; 4/27/22 – County Supervisor candidates; 4/28/22 – City Attorney candidates. More details at www.westsidecouncils.com. The Secretary reiterated the WRAC forum series schedule and encouraged everyone’s attendance at these Zoom events, noting that Board members and the community may be interested in particular in the County Supervisor and City Attorney forums as these may be the only such forums on the Westside for these important elected offices.
8.3. From Area and At-large Representatives
8.3.1. Steve Cron (Area 2 Representative). He has received an announcement that in May the LADWP will be letting water out of the Santa Inez Reservoir in the Highlands as part of maintenance; there may be run-off on Palisades Dr. He is trying to arrange for City workers to clean out the drains on Palisades Dr. before the work on the Reservoir. The Secretary will include a notice about the Reservoir draining in the next meeting recap email.
8.4. From Organizational Representatives.
8.4.1. Ryan Craig (Resilient Palisades). Earth Day Festival, Saturday, 4/16/22 at Will Rogers State Historic Park (Polo Field), 10am-3pm. This is the first annual Earth Day Festival sponsored by Resilient Palisades in collaboration with CD 11 and the Mayor’s office. Mr. Craig described the event and all of the activities that will take place. They expect many attendees. He asked PPCC members to spread the word about the festival. The Secretary noted that PPCC has included information about the event in emails and on social media and will include another notice in the next meeting recap email. The Chair also announced that the PPCC Palisades Forestry Committee will have a table at the event, which he and Bruce Schwartz will head up.
8.5. From Government Offices / Representatives – Contact information available at: http://pacpalicc.org/index.php/government-contacts/
8.5.1. Noah Fleishman (CD 11 Deputy District Director). Mr. Fleishman discussed two LADWP projects: 1) water will be released from the Santa Inez Reservoir as part of maintenance. He is unsure if the water will make it all the way down to the cache basins on Palisades Dr. He will follow up with Steve Cron. 2). There will be underground work at Arno and Montoya near the residential area entrance to the Bel Air Bay Club.
Regarding the trail from Potrero Canyon to Temescal Canyon Road: The Councilmember has submitted a request to the Mayor to allocate $1.5M for the trail in the proposed City budget. The request will have to go through the budget approval process. Mr. Fleishman will also personally submit an application to Congressman Lieu’s office tomorrow for a federal funding grant for the trail. The LA Parks Foundation has submitted an application for federal funding to improve the playground at the Recreation Center, which the Councilmember supports.
Mr. Fleishman also described a number of events that CD 11 has recently participated in or is hosting: a town hall on renters’ rights assistance; a food distribution event in the Oakwood neighborhood of Venice; and a Homelessness Connect Day at the West LA office. LA Sanitation is holding a free bulky item drop-off event on Saturday at the Stoner Ave. Sanitation Yard in West LA. Residents can also call Sanitation for a bulky item pick-up. The Councilmember is introducing legislation for approval to use CD 11 discretionary funds for grants for housing and homelessness prevention. Finally, applications are due on April 15 for EWDD “micro enterprise” recovery grants for small enterprises.
8.6. From PPCC Advisors – None.
9. Reports from Committees.
9.1. PPCC Candidates Forum Committee (Jenny Li, Committee Chair). Update on the BCC/PPCC-hosted forum: May 3, 2022, 7pm, via Zoom webinar.
Ms. Li reiterated the forum date and format and recognized all the committee members. She thanked Youth Advisor Jack Coleman for setting up the Zoom webinar and committee member Kimberly Bloom (Area 5 1st Alternate) for producing the flyer which contains links to the webinar and to a page to submit suggested questions for the candidates. She noted that two additional candidates have been invited and Mat Smith has accepted. As of now, seven candidates will attend the forum. The Committee is waiting to hear back from Soni Lloyd, the other additional candidate. Everyone is encouraged to submit questions for the candidates (link to submit questions in the flyer).
9.2. PPCC Bylaws Committee (Richard Cohen, Chair). Second distribution of proposed bylaws amendments. See the following documents distributed concurrently with the meeting agenda via PPCC email and posted on the PPCC website:
1) Committee Report: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Bylaws-Cmte-Report-March-2022R.pdf.
2) Amendments “Redline”: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/PPCC-BYLAWS-April-22-REDLINE.pdf.
3) Amendments “Clean”: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/PPCC-BYLAWS-April-22-CLEAN.pdf.
Motion by the Bylaws Committee for Board adoption of Amendments (parts A, B, C, D and E below). The Secretary noted that the Bylaws Committee was moving to amend the PPCC Bylaws as indicated in the agenda and that since this was a motion made by a committee of more than one voting member, no second was necessary.
Bylaws Committee Chair Richard Cohen then described the various categories of proposed amendments as described in the motion parts A-D below. He explained that certain minor clarifying amendments are needed essentially to correct typos [part A]. The Committee recommends replacing references to the old “print” map (from the now-obsolete Thomas Brothers Guide, with boundaries marked by a Sharpie), which had long been in the Bylaws as part of Appendix B, with digital maps on the PPCC website that were created by the late PPCC Chair George Wolfberg and Heather Cohen after a great deal of careful work. The online maps have been used successfully by PPCC for the last 6-7 years and are much more accurate than the old Thomas Brothers map [part B]. The Committee also proposes clarifying changes involving the status of organizations in categories on Appendix A with two organization members; he explained the recommended changes, specifically as to the status of the remaining organization if a vacancy occurs with one of the two organizations [part C]. In addition, Mr. Cohen explained the proposed provisions that would apply if an elected Area representative moves away and is no longer living full time in the area (as has occurred in the past), or if the elected At-large representative no longer owns property, resides or operates a business in the Palisades [part D].
Following Mr. Cohen’s explanatory remarks, the Chair called for discussion as to parts A-D. Fay Vahdani (Chamber of Commerce) asked Mr. Cohen to explain again the part C changes. Mr. Cohen provided a further explanation and she stated that she was satisfied with the explanation. An individual voice vote was then called as to each of parts A-D in order. The vote results for each of parts A-D are indicated below (Ryan Craig, Resilient Palisades, ineligible to vote; Reza Akef, Area 8 Representative, not present for vote):
A. Minor revisions for consistency/clarity (add word “PPCC”– Bylaws, Art. VII.3; delete word “and”– Bylaws Art. IX.1.B) [voting requirement: 2/3 of members present (abstentions counted as No votes)].
Vote result: Motion passed by unanimous vote (15-0-0).
B. Revisions related to Area Maps (clarify that the website Area Maps govern Area descriptions; remove former map in Appendix B; change text to replace references to the Appendix B map with references to the website Area Maps) (Bylaws, Art. III.G; Art. VIII.B.1; Appendix B; Attach. A., Sec. 3.B.1-2) [voting requirement, Bylaws and Appendix B: 2/3 of members present (abstentions counted as No votes; voting requirement, Attachment A: majority of members voting (abstentions not counted as votes)].
Vote result: Motion passed by unanimous vote (15-0-0).
C. Addition of full-time “residency” and “property-ownership/business operation” rules for Area and/or At-large Representatives and Alternates (as applicable) (Bylaws, Art. XIII.1.B.2-3 and Art. XIII.1.C.2, D.2 and D.5) [voting requirement: 2/3 of members present (abstentions counted as No votes)].
Vote result: Motion passed by unanimous vote (15-0-0).
D. Addition of provision to clarify status of the listed Member Organization in the case of Categories with positions for two organizations when one position is vacant (Bylaws, Art. VIII.1.A.1) [voting requirement: 2/3 of members present (abstentions counted as No votes)].
Vote result: Motion passed by unanimous vote (15-0-0).
Reza Akef, Area 8 Representative, arrived after the vote on parts A-D. An explanation and discussion of the proposed changes to Appendix A (part E, subsections (i) – (ii) of the motion below) then ensued.
Mr. Cohen explained that the Civic League is fine with the change in the Civic Organizations category and wants Resilient Palisades to serve out the remainder of PRIDE’s term as primary (as it would have if remaining in that category). Mr. Cohen then shared a copy of the redline version of p. 21 of Appendix A on the screen and explained the proposed changes. PRIDE is being moved from the Civic Organizations category to the Business & Commerce category, with the Chamber of Commerce becoming the second organization in that category, while Resilient Palisades is added to Civic Organizations, sharing the category with the Civic League. If the Chamber eventually merges with the Malibu Chamber as expected, at that point we will consider admitting the joint Malibu-Palisades Chamber, a different entity from the current Chamber, to the position on Exhibit A occupied by the current Chamber. PRIDE brings business-oriented perspective to the Board and for that reason is proposed to be added to the Business & Commerce category. The new arrangement of organizations, with the Civic Organizations and Business & Commerce categories each containing only two organizations that rotate each year between the primary and alternate positions, ensures that all organizations in these categories always have a seat at the table.
Kevin Niles (American Legion): He questions why the American Legion is in the Service Clubs category; he does not feel that the Legion is a service club like the Rotary or Optimists. The PPCC Chair: The motion before the Board only deals with the rearrangement of organizations in the two categories and the addition of Resilient Palisades. Mr. Cohen: He agrees that the American Legion effectively stands alone, but he explained that the placement of organizations in Appendix A is more of an art than a science; for example, many organizations claim that they deal with the environment, but it is difficult to place all such organizations in the Environment category which has long had one standing member (Temescal Canyon Association). He also explained that the Bylaws Committee does not wish to add another category of organizations. According to longstanding tradition and policy originally developed by the organization’s founders, PPCC has maintained an equal balance between the elected representatives (9) and the organizations (9) as voting members of the Board.
Jenny Li (Area 7 Representative): She would like to understand why it is better to have two organizations in a category rather than one. Mr. Cohen: While an individual organization may wish to be the only one in a category, it is better for PPCC as an organization to have categories with rotating organizations. The Bylaws Committee has long felt that having multiple organizations in as many categories as possible is best because the rotations allow more organizations to be involved. He explained that in 2015, the Bylaws Committee proposed to eliminate all single or standing member organization categories. The motion passed by a majority of Board members but did not carry the required 2/3 vote. PPRA and the Historical Society, both standing organizational members, actively advocated against the proposal at the time. The Bylaws Committee does not wish to revisit that argument but at the same time is attempting to avoid creating any more standing organization categories.
Reza Akef: He was on the Bylaws Committee in 2015 and agreed with the proposal then. He is now concerned about the new proposal to place the Chamber in a two-organization category. He is a member of the Chamber. The Chamber has deep roots on the PPCC Board and is now at its lowest point since the pandemic. He feels that the Chamber wasn’t given a choice in the matter. The PPCC Chair: The Chamber is not losing anything and will still be on the Board. It is just losing its standing status and would now be rotating with PRIDE. That is the only real change. He spoke with the Chamber’s Chair Sarah Knauer and she was in favor of the changes. The Secretary noted that she supports the business community, but disagrees that the Chamber wasn’t given a choice; the proposed Bylaws Amendments have gone through two distributions as required by the Bylaws and the Chamber and all Board members have had an opportunity to discuss this fully before voting on the matter. The amendments are not decided until the Board votes.
Haldis Toppel (Area 3 Representative): She is concerned about retaining some standing organizations while creating another two-organization category. She would like to review all the standing organization categories. She does not want this change in status to affect only the Chamber. More time needs to be devoted to considering the issue of standing member categories. The Secretary: The situation with other standing organization members such as PPRA is different; they are not dissolving or merging with another entity as is the Chamber.
Mr. Cohen: No one has the appetite to hunt down the standing members. The Bylaws Committee decided as a principle at this time not to create more standing member categories. But that does not mean we should table this proposal and come up with a new plan now. We must find a spot for Resilient Palisades on Exhibit A. The affected organizations are only PRIDE, the Chamber, Resilient Palisades and the Civic League. Resilient Palisades cannot be added with Temescal Canyon Association (a standing member) as that would result in an unnecessary fight. Again, many organizations claim to be involved with environmental issues but are not included in that category. The Civic League is good with this proposal as is Resilient Palisades. The Civic League is not disadvantaged; they are serving out the rest of their term as expected. PRIDE is also good with the proposal. The only organization that can claim any disadvantage is the Chamber, but it is inactive and doesn’t really exist anymore; the Chamber’s website doesn’t function and an “Error 404” message appears when you click on three of the four tabs. However, they are still not being thrown off the Board and will remain in the second position in the Business & Commerce category. If and when the Chamber merges with the Malibu Chamber and the new entity seeks to be added as a new member, we will need to know what the Malibu and Palisades businesses think and they will need to explain their status so that we can make a decision as to how to deal with the new entity. For now, we are leaving the Chamber on the Board whether it is defunct or not; this creates a placeholder for the new organization if and when the Board decides to admit them in the future.
Jenny Li: She understands the history and current proposal now and thinks that the Bylaws Committee has done a good job of balancing the interests of the organizations. Fay Vahdani: She thanked Mr. Cohen for his explanation. She explained that the Chamber has been working with three lawyers and achieving the merger is a long process. The Chamber wishes not to continue as rotating with PRIDE when the new organizational term begins in October. They would like to have the same level of responsibility and have a vote after October. They will be back. Richard Blumenberg (Civic League): The Civic League had an individual seat for many years but the Board later voted to change that status and the Civic League then shared the Civic Organizations category with PRIDE. He sees no reason why it should be any different for the Chamber.
Discussion ended and a vote on the motion (Item 9.2, part E, subsections (i) – (ii)) took place as follows (Ryan Craig ineligible to vote):
E. Changes in Appendix A (rearrange the list in respect of two categories ((subsections (i) and (ii) below)) and create a placeholder in those categories as needed):
(i) “Business & Commerce” category: Move P.R.I.D.E. from the “Civic Organizations” category to the 1st position in the “Business & Commerce” category; remove the Chamber of Commerce as a sole Organization in that category and move the Chamber to the 2nd position; P.R.I.D.E. to serve as the primary member through the term ending September 30, 2022 [voting requirement: 2/3 of members present (abstentions counted as No votes)].
(ii) “Civic Organizations” category: Add Resilient Palisades to the 2nd position in the “Civic Organizations” category with the Civic League remaining in the 1st position; Resilient Palisades to serve as the primary member through the term ending September 30, 2022 [voting requirement: 2/3 of members present (abstentions counted as No votes)].
Vote result: Motion passed by vote of more than 2/3 of voting members present (14-1-1) (Yes: all voting members present other than Akef and Vahdani; No: Akef; Abstain: Vahdani). The Secretary asked Ms. Vahdani if she understood that her abstention counted as a No vote; Ms. Vahdani replied that she understood.
10. Old Business – None.
11. New Business.
11.1. Emergency Preparedness Presentation – K. C. Soll, CERT Coordinator.
The Chair introduced Ms. Soll, who is a CERT Coordinator. She explained that the important watch words are Preparation and Communication. The Palisades has 25,000 residents and at any one time we have only 30 resident firefighters. She is very concerned that there is going to be insufficient emergency support when there is a significant disaster, whether a wildfire or an earthquake. She works with the City’s RYLAN program and urges everyone visit the website, www.ReadyLA.org/get-prepared.org. The Secretary noted that she will add the website link to the PPCC Disaster Readiness webpage.
Ms. Soll’s plan going forward: She will be organizing and working with eight areas of Pacific Palisades that she believes need to coalesce and help each other. They will identify the persons in each area who have medical and CERT training. Ms. Soll wants to start an area group that will meet two times a month in the next six months and will focus on who can help whom in a disaster. This will include the Huntington, the Alphabet Streets, Marquez Knolls, Castellammare and Sunset Mesa. She reiterated the importance of Planning and Communication. She also described and showed “Family Radio Service” devices which she explained will be very important for families to have in a disaster. The devices can be placed in backpacks and can allow for communication between family members if Sunset Blvd. is blocked in a disaster and parents cannot get to their children. She will host eight programs in the next six months and is looking for a place to hold the meetings. They will focus on residents aiding one another in a disaster, especially when there are few police or firefighters. We need to be more in focus and better planned. For more information Ms. Soll can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr. Cron: What about the Highlands? Ms. Soll: The Highlands is an important area for her since she lives there; she is working already with certain units on RYLAN methods. She expects 30-40 people in each area to come together for the training programs. Ms. Toppel: This is wonderful information. In Marquez Knolls several groups have been operating under the MYN program (similar to RYLAN), which is sponsored by the Red Cross.
Ms. Soll wrapped up her remarks by emphasizing: Our main evacuation route, Sunset Blvd., is going to be very hard to negotiate after a disaster. The Palisades’ only escape routes are Sunset Blvd., Temescal Canyon Rd. to PCH, and Chautauqua to PCH. The Family Radio Service devices which she displayed will be critical in an emergency. The Chair thanked K.C. Soll for her presentation.
11.2. (As time allows) Motion to Support Modified Version of WRAC-recommended Motion re CF 22-0158 (sponsored in PPCC by the Executive Committee). See attachment, following, for motion text and background information. Motion postponed to the next Board meeting due to lack of time.
12. Adjournment. The meeting was adjourned at 7:39 pm.