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MINUTES FOR JANUARY 10th 2019

Voting Members in Attendance:  George Wolfberg, Peter Culhane, Richard Cohen, Chris Spitz, Sue Kohl, David Kaplan, Rick Mills, Haldis Toppel, Joanna Spak, Steve Cron, Steve Boyers, Richard Blumenberg, Dick Wulliger, Bill Bruns, Duke Ostendorf, Jean Sharp, Ellie Jenkins, Brenda Theveny

Voting Alternates: David Card, Barbara Kohn

Non-voting Advisors and Alternates:  Cathi Ruddy, Mary Mueller, Barbara Marinacci, John Padden, David Peterson, Melanie Bouer, Susan Orenstein, Bruce Schwartz, Cathy Russell, Jason Sklar, Miriam Schulman

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.  David Kaplan 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 11/08/18 were approved and 12/13/18 were approved as corrected.  2) Upcoming Meetings – January 24, 2019: 1) LAFD Deputy Chief Armando Hogan (fire safety and lessons learned from the Woolsey fire); 2) LAPD Capt. III Vic Davalos (introduction to the community).   February 14, 2019: 1) PRIDE President and rep to PPCC John Padden (Village beautification/harmonization plans); other topics to be announced.

5.    Consideration of Agenda.  The Chair announced that item 11.1 will be considered no later than 7:30pm in consideration of the long distances some of the postal representatives have come.

6.    Treasurer’s Report.   Treasurer Richard Cohen reported that the Council’s bank balance is $41,290.61.  The most significant transaction since the last report was renewal of our Directors and Officers Liability Insurance, which renews in March; the cost was $575.

With respect to the Gala finances, Richard reported that the Gala was a financial success.  The event was sold out and the program/tribute book was very successful.  Numbers are preliminary but it appears that as in previous years the dinner itself was approximately a financial break-even.  However, the tribute book ads and auction sales brought our preliminary result to an approximate $7,300 excess of revenue over expenses.  We still have approximately $2,100 of additional ad revenue receivable.  Expenses of the event were closely controlled and managed.  We successfully used Ticket Tailor for reservations and ticket sales.  Thanks are due to Heather Cohen for her assistance. Amazingly the Ticket Tailor program only cost $25.50 for each of two months plus there were unavoidable PayPal fees.  Kudos to PPCC Chair George Wolfberg, Event Committee Chair Peter Culhane, Secretary Chris Spitz and Awards Selection Committee Chair Sue Kohl, who were involved in myriad aspects of making this a financial success.  Richard will report at a subsequent meeting on the final numbers once we receive payment for outstanding tribute ads.

7.    General Public Comment– None.

8.    Reports, Announcements and Concerns.

8.1.    From the Chair.

8.1.1.    PPCC Awards.  The Chair restated his thanks to all the volunteers who made the PPCC Awards Gala such a great success.  Amazing teamwork and effort by all involved.  The awardees all have expressed their thanks and the Chair read from a thank you note to the Council received from Dede Vlietstra.  The live auction was highly successful, resulting in two dinners for bidders at Fire Station 69, one dinner having already taken place.

8.1.2.    Wildfire Safety Advisor.  The Chair announced the appointment of a Wildfire Safety Advisor, Miriam Schulman, who has hit the ground running and is doing a great deal of research into fire issues that should be of concern to Palisades residents.  And, we expect a robust discussion.  The Chair has also requested a meeting with Mike Bonin, the Chair and our Wildfire Safety Advisor to discuss the Councilmember’s recent motion to form a wildfire emergency response Task Force.

8.1.3.    Rollover Accident.  There was a rollover accident from PCH onto the Temescal Beach Parking Lot on Tuesday evening, seriously injuring a bicycle rider.  The Chair asked Caltrans to look into installing robust barriers in places where they do not exist between the Bel Air Bay Club and the Entrada Parking Lot entrance. The Chief of Caltrans Corridor Management immediately replied that they will take a look.

8.1.4.    Homeless Count.  The Chair reminded all of the annual Homeless Count which this year will be held on Wednesday, January 23 from 8pm to midnight with headquarters at the Corpus Christi Church.  Signup at www.theycountwillyou.org.

8.1.5.    Station 69 Landscape.  The Chair noted that the Station 69 landscape is looking great and the two pine trees and three sequoias have been nicely trimmed — well done by Tracy Price, and thanks to Kelly Comras and Lisa Cahill for their support on this.

8.1.6.    Zoning Code Workshop.  The City’s re-write of its Zoning Code is moving apace and Secretary Chris Spitz has partnered with our sister Council in Brentwood to sponsor a briefing and workshop for the board and interested community members on Saturday, March 30, in the Gilbert Hall auditorium at Palisades High School, subject to board concurrence.  More details to be provided by Chris Spitz.  We are pleased that the Re:codeLA Zoning Advisory Committee Co-Chair Sharon Commins along with Principal City Planner Tom Rothmann will be speakers.

8.2.    From Officers.

8.2.1.    Chris Spitz (Secretary).  Chris summarized her report (previously distributed to the board) on the recent Westside Regional Alliance of Councils Land Use & Planning Committee (WRAC-LUPC) meeting, with updates on ordinances & planning measures we have been following. See:details here.  She also announced that PPCC proposes to partner with Brentwood Community Council (BCC) to co-host an educational workshop on navigating the revised Los Angeles Zoning Code, to take place on March 30, 2019 at 10:30am in Gilbert Hall at Palisades Charter High School. Sharon Commins (Co-Chair, WRAC-LUPC and Co-Chair, Re:codeLA Zoning Advisory Committee) will explain how to use the new Code, and Tom Rothmann (Principal Planner, Dept. of City Planning) will be present to answer questions. The board concurred with the plan to hold this workshop.

8.3.    From At-Large and Area Representatives.

8.3.1.    David Card (At Large First Alternate).  David explained that he is in charge of the upcoming American Legion student Oratorical Contest.  The deadline for students to submit applications is Monday.  The local contest is on January 27 at Post 283 in the Palisades.  The winner locally will go on to compete in the District contest, and then potentially in the Area, the State and the National Finals.  The National Finals winner receives an $18,000 scholarship.  Each participant will receive $150.  The contest is open to students in grades 9-12.

8.3.2.    Steve Cron (Area Two Representative).  Steve reported that he communicated in November with Heather Johnson of the Coastal Commission regarding the Highlands trailhead restroom problem.  The PPCC Executive Committee wrote a letter to Ms. Johnson supporting her efforts to address the problem; the Chair announced that the letter will be in the next agenda.  Steve also stated that he, Lisa Cahill and Joe Halper have met with fire chiefs to discuss wildfire safety and they will be going out to the Highlands later this month to speak about the fire situation.

8.4.    From Organizational Representatives.

8.4.1.    Bill Bruns (Friends of the Library).  Bill announced that the Friends made $8,200 from the sale of books at the last parking lot sale.  This will be used for new books which go throughout the library system.  They will be building a book store, approximately the size of the former Village Books store, in an empty space in the library. It has taken two years to get the required permits.

8.4.2.    Duke Ostendorf (YMCA).  Duke stated that the YMCA appreciates everyone for shopping for holiday trees at the Y’s tree lot.  The tree sale was very successful, with only five trees left at the end.  He also announced that they will send 130 high school youth to the annual statewide Youth in Government program in Sacramento.  The YMCA finished the year in the black, and thanks everyone in the community for their support.

8.5.    From Government Offices / Representatives.

8.5.1.    Council District 11 (Mike Bonin) District Director Krista Phipps Not in attendance; presentation postponed to January 24 (see item 11.2 below).

8.5.2.   Janet Turner (District Representative, U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu).  Janet announced that Congressman Lieu’s West LA VA Community Roundtable will take place on Wednesday, January 16 from 7-8:30pm at the Brentwood library.  The event is open to the public.  The annual open house for students interested in attending one of the service academies – Service Academy Day — will take place on February 16 from 1-4pm;  more information to come.  Janet also reported that the Congressman has introduced an aggressive greenhouse gases bill, and explained that he is a member of the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs Committees.

8.5.3.   Ami Fields-Meyer (West LA Representative, Mayor Garcetti).  Ami introduced himself as the Mayor’s new West LA Representative and explained that his job entails all of CD11 and CD5.  It is important for him to be in touch with the community as often as possible. He has spoken with the Chair, the Secretary and PPTFH President Doug McCormick and appreciates learning about community issues.  He praised the Palisades for its work on homelessness.  A new Deputy Mayor, Christina Miller, will work on homeless issues. Ami also announced that Mayor Garcetti encourages everyone to use the new Shake Alert cellphone app.

8.6.    From PPCC Advisors– None.

9.    Reports from Committees.

9.1.    Awards Event Committee(Peter Culhane, Chair).  Peter reported that the Awards Gala was a big success. He thanked all of the Event Committee members individually by name and spoke about their contributions.  He also thanked Sam Lagana for expertly serving as our MC and conducting the successful auction, Heather Cohen for her invaluable assistance, Jimmy Dunne for his original video presentation, the Awards Selection Committee, all the honorees and the 135 attendees who were integral in the success of the event.

10.    Old Business – None.

11.    New Business.

11.1.     US Mail Delivery and Security.  Briefing by Special Agents Adrian Valdez and Shani Lee, USPS Office of the Inspector General (OIG); Uco Johnson, Pacific Palisades Postmaster; and Stacia Crane, USPS Inspection Service.

Ms. Crane explained that the USPS representatives were there to talk about protection of our mail.  She distributed a:  handoutfrom Postal Inspectors on ways to protect mail. She discussed the tips in the handout, which include: give all outgoing mail to a carrier or place it in the slot inside the post office rather than in a mail deposit box; do not put cash in the mail. Ms. Crane advised that residents should report all mail theft immediately to the police and then to the Postal Inspectors at (877) 876-2455.  She then introduced Pacific Palisades Postmaster Uco Johnson.  Mr. Johnson has been with the Postal Service for 20 years. He is eager to make sure mail service is done correctly and mail is delivered as early as possible.  He is working on improving staffing and service.  If anyone has any problems with mail service, ask to speak with him in the Palisades Post Office.  If he isn’t there his supervisors will take complaints.  Mr. Johnson stressed that USPS takes all issues and mail theft reports seriously. Complaints about missing deliveries and postal employee misconduct are turned over to Postal Inspectors or to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG).  Mr. Johnson also explained that he is at the Post Office late, until the last carrier gets back.  He has fifty-five employees.

Q&A ensued. There was discussion about criminals putting sticky substances such as fly traps in mail deposit boxes as part of “fishing” schemes to steal mail out of boxes.  The speakers explained that this is why it is best to hand mail to a carrier or put in the slot inside the Post Office.  USPS tries to deal with this problem and is working on developing devices to prevent workarounds, but it’s not 100% foolproof.  Criminals go out and get drug users to steal mail out of mailboxes and swap for drugs; they will steal checks and wash the ink off.  Ms. Crane recommended using gel point ink which can’t be washed off on checks being sent in the mail. Some audience members described problems with their mail delivery and expressed concern about suspected postal personnel misconduct. The speakers reassured meeting attendees that postal employees go through background checks and are vetted and trained, but USPS does want to bring employees to justice if it’s ascertained they are acting improperly. Investigations take time.  Putting a lock on your home mailbox is important, but make sure you don’t prevent the mail carrier from putting mail inside your mailbox. An issue was raised about problems with carriers incorrectly inserting mail in home mailboxes. Mr. Johnson advised that residents contact him about specific instances and he will fix the problem. He can be reached at uco.johnson@usps.gov, (310) 464-3475. As to why mail sometimes is delivered at different times, Mr. Johnson explained that if a carrier has called in sick, his or her route has to be split up and the other carriers deliver the split after first serving his/her usual customers.  The post office makes Sunday deliveries of Amazon packages only.  The last mail pick-up in the Palisades is 5pm.  Haldis Toppel and Peter Culhane expressed thanks for the good work of USPS carriers and Post Office personnel.

Janet Turner (District Representative, Congressman Lieu) stated that her office was forwarded a Nextdoor chain with 100 people in the Palisades talking about receiving envelopes or cards that are slit open, with checks, gift cards and/or cash being taken out.  The initiator of the Nextdoor chain stated that he was present and described the problem he experienced with cash being stolen from mail that had been sent to him and the reasons why he suspected this was the work of postal personnel.

Adrian Valdez, Special Agent with the OIG, next spoke. He explained that he was there with Agent Shani Lee to address residents’ concerns about possible misconduct by USPS employees. Mr. Valdez advised that the OIG is the oversight agency for the U.S. Postal Service.  He emphasized that the OIG’s number one priority is protecting the “sanctity and integrity of the seal.”  Two criminal codes (18 U.S. Code §§1701 and 1709) are used to charge postal employees who mishandle mail in any way.  The Postal Inspectors identify matters related to misconduct such as “fishing” schemes involving mail deposit boxes, but the OIG focuses on postal employee misconduct alone.  They use investigative techniques to identify postal employees who compromise the mail. The OIG is a federal agency that investigates and presents cases to the U.S. attorney for prosecution; it also works with local police departments.  If you believe your mail is being compromised, call 888-USPS OIG.  Residents in the audience then gave examples of mail being received that was ripped open.  Many people have complained about these problems.  Mr. Valdez stated that the OIG is aware, has already made one arrest and is still working on the issue.  There were also complaints about customer service issues, which Mr. Valdez explained are referred to postal management.  As to what items can be placed in a mailbox, Mr. Valdez stated that this is governed by federal statute:  only U.S. mail can go in mailboxes (not Fed Ex or other deliveries).  Agent Lee then provided complaint forms, which she advised should be sent to Special Agent Alyse Shelton: ashelton@uspsoig.gov, (562) 343-9892.  Mr. Valdez also advised that residents who suspect misconduct should preserve evidence such as video footage (e.g., RING, etc.) and receipts for gift cards missing or stolen from mail, and make this material available to the agents to assist in their investigation.

11.2.   Council District 11 (Mike Bonin) District Director Krista Phipps. Briefing on new proposed City Task Force to improve ways to keep people safe before and during wildfires and other emergencies; Q&A on matters of community concern.

The Chair explained that Ms. Phipps was unable to attend tonight due to a personal matter; her presentation about the proposed emergency response Task Force will be postponed to the January 24th meeting, when we will have a general discussion about wildfire safety.An abbreviated discussion ensued with residents who had attended the meeting in order to inform Ms. Phipps of their concerns about improper lane turns and traffic problems at the Chautauqua and Temescal Canyon intersections with PCH.  The Chair apologized for not announcing Ms. Phipps’ absence earlier in the meeting.  The Chair and Treasurer Richard Cohen briefly provided information about these intersections, explained that PPCC and the Council District 11 office have long been aware of these traffic issues, and assured residents that PPCC has been working and will continue to work with government officials to address the problems and obtain enforcement.

11.3.   Map Your Neighborhood (MYN) Emergency Response Program. Presentation by past Pacific Palisades Woman’s Club President and current rep to PPCC Cathi Ruddy.

Ms. Ruddy stated that she was presenting along with Julie Thomas, Executive Director of the Santa Monica Chapter of the American Red Cross. They would like to spearhead a partnership between the Red Cross and PPCC to promote awareness and participation in the Map Your Neighborhood (MYN) disaster readiness program in the Palisades.  She explained that this is a nine-point program for residents of individual neighborhoods to get together and share information for use in an eventual emergency or disaster situation.  Cathi passed out written materials on MYN, noting that this is a community-building activity.  She is asking for everyone to commit to hosting an event at their home for their block, with 15-20 neighbors.  She and Julie Thomas can walk everyone through the program if they wish to participate.  Discussion ensued about the best way to get the information to the community.  Suggestions included Area Representatives and board members reaching out to organized Neighborhood Watches, homeowner associations and other groups.  Secretary Chris Spitz suggested that PPCC can help with spreading the word on the PPCC website, on social media and in email messages.  In response to questions, Cathi explained that the MYN program is complimentary to Neighborhood Watches and CERT training.  She urged all board and community members to participate in setting up MYN neighborhood groups.  Anyone with questions about MYN can contact Cathi at cbsruddy@aol.comand/or Julie Thomas at julie.thomas@redcross.org, 424-203-1102.

12.    Adjournment.  The Chair adjourned the meeting at 8:57pm.

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MINUTES FOR JANUARY 24th 2019

Voting Members in Attendance:  George Wolfberg, Richard Cohen (acting Secretary), Sue Kohl, David Kaplan, Rick Mills, Joanna Spak, Steve Cron, Steve Boyers, Alan Goldsmith, Dick Wulliger, Duke Ostendorf, Ellie Jenkins, Brenda Theveny

Voting Alternates:  Barbara Marinacci, John Padden, Barbara Kohn, Cathi ruddy

Non-voting Advisors and Alternates:  Miriam Schulman, Allison Holdorf Polhill, Sharon Kilbride, Melanie Bouer, David Card, David Peterson, Jan Ostendorf

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.  ­­­­Dick Wulliger 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 1/10/19 were approved.  2) Upcoming Meetings –February 14, 2019: 1) PRIDE President and rep to PPCC John Padden (Village beautification/ harmonization plans); 2) WRAC-recommended motion re Senate Bill 50.  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).  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 $41,112.  With respect to the Gala’s finances:  We have received but not yet deposited $900 of additional program advertising revenue and still have about $1,200 additional outstanding.  He will report more on the Gala finances at a later date.

7.    General Public Comment.

7.1.   Patrick Hart (resident).  Regarding Potrero Canyon, the pumping station site has been a residence for homeless and will be destroyed.  There are some historical aspects that should be preserved and recorded, in his opinion. The Chair will reach out to the City Engineer.

8.    Reports, Announcements and Concerns.

8.1.    From the Chair.

The Chair thanked Richard Cohen for stepping in to take this evening’s minutes as Secretary Chris Spitz was called away this evening.

The Chair also congratulated Richard Blumenberg (Civic League representative) upon his election as Chair of the Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce.

The Chair noted his pledge to get agenda materials out to the board allowing ample time over the weekend before each meeting for board and community members to familiarize themselves with the agenda items. The Chair and Secretary have been able to keep that pledge and this evening the Chair honored the first board member to open this week’s agenda with a special hand-crafted gift from the Wolfberg kitchen:  Sue Kohl.

8.1.1.   Highlands Trailhead Letter.  In late November the PPCC Executive Committee approved a letter supporting the Coastal Commission’s efforts to effect repair of the deplorable conditions at the restrooms and parking lot located at16701 Via Costa and ensure the safety of the Temescal Ridge Trail access point.  Thanks to Steve Cron for keeping up the pressure on all the involved officials.   The letter has been posted and there will be a link in the meeting minutes.  See 11/29/18 Letter to Coastal Commission approved by the Executive Committee.

8.1.2.    WRAC Leadership Meeting 1/16.  WRAC leadership voted to recommend that member-councils consider a motion that had been proposed by the WRAC Land Use & Planning Committee, opposing Senate Bill 50 (Wiener).  This bill – the so-called “transit-rich and job-rich” bonus housing bill — is a do-over of a prior bill from Sen. Wiener, SB 827, which PPCC opposed and was killed in committee last year.  The proposed motion is supported unanimously by the PPCC Executive Committee and will be on the PPCC meeting agenda for 2/14/19.  Information about the motion and SB 50 has been provided to PPCC board members in order to prepare for a thoughtful discussion at the next meeting: Proposed SB 50 Motion; WRAC-LUPC Talking Points and SB 50 Text.

8.1.3.    Potrero Canyon Groundbreaking 1/22.  Groundbreaking for the long-awaited final phases of construction for Potrero Canyon Park took place on January 22.  Public officials, Potrero Canyon Community Advisory Committee members, and PPCC & PAB board members joined in the ceremonies to celebrate the start of the 600,000 cubic yard grading phase.  The attendees received a commitment from Councilman Bonin, the City Engineer and Rec and Parks that the final phase of park development — landscaping of the canyon — will soon be placed out to bid so that growing of the specified plants may begin.  Also, Councilman Bonin pledged his support for funding of a key piece of the park, a bridge for safe passage over the Coast Highway.  When completed, Potrero Canyon will be a beautiful passive park with trails and lookouts to be enjoyed by all.

8.1.4.    Zoning Code Workshop.  Reminder:  PPCC and BCC 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. More details to come.

8.2.    From Officers – None.

8.3.    From At-Large and Area Representatives.

8.3.1.    David Card (At-large First Alternate).  Go Rams!

8.3.2.    Rick Mills (Area Four Representative).  Thanks to Sue Pascoe and Circling the News for calling to the community’s attention the proposed new location of dumpsters below the continuation school in the swampy area.

8.4.    From Organizational Representatives.

8.4.1.    Dick Wulliger (Historical Society).  The Democratic Club will meet this Sunday at 2pm.

8.5.    From Government Offices / Representatives.

8.5.1.    LAPD Captain III Vic Davalos, new West LA Area Commanding Officer(see item 11.1 below) – Not in attendance.  Michael Moore (LAPD Senior Lead Officer) was in attendance and reported that crime is down.  He advised everyone to remember to set your alarms.  He also described a break-in that resulted in a purse and car theft while the family was upstairs.  If you hear a “thump,” that may be the miscreants entering your house; listening for a second thump will be too late.

8.5.2.    Deputy Fire Chief Armando Hogan, LAFD West Bureau Operations(see item 11.2 below).

8.5.3.    Council District 11 (Mike Bonin) District Director Krista Phipps (see item 11.3  below).

8.5.4.    Reporting in the absence of Janet Turner (District Representative, Congressman Ted Lieu), the Chair announced that Rep. Lieu is hosting Service Academy Day on February 16.  A handout was made available to anyone interested.

8.6.    From PPCC Advisors.

8.6.1.    Allison Holdorf Polhill (Education).  The six-day strike ended on Tuesday, with the Mayor mediating the settlement.  The teachers had seven days of lost pay and will now receive a 3% retroactive pay raise from 2017, with 6% going forward; various school services will receive additional funding.  As to whether there would be limits on charter schools, Allison explained this is not settled, but the issue is pending and will be considered in the near future.  There would be a resolution asking the state for a moratorium on charters.  Responding to a question about lottery revenue, she stated that she believes the lottery did not actually add revenue but replaced other funds.

8.6.2.    Sharon Kilbride (Homelessness).  PPTFH volunteers found 28 new camps that have been cleaned up.  There are now two active camps across from the Lake Shrine that volunteers could not access because it is private property.  The Palisades is now looking very good.  Most homeless people are now living in their cars – perhaps 37 or 38.  As to the January 23 Homeless Count:  the total number counted this year was about 70, which Sharon believes is somewhat less than last year.

9.     Reports from Committees – None.

10.    Old Business – None.

11.    New Business.

11.1.    LAPD Captain III Vic Davalos, new West LA Area Commanding Officer– Not in attendance.

11.2.   Deputy Fire Chief Armando Hogan, LAFD West Bureau Operations.  Presentation on fire safety and lessons learned from the Woolsey Fire.

Deputy Chief Hogan of LAFD West Bureau Operations attended along with other LAFD personnel.  He introduced Capt. Tom Kitahata of Station 69 who introduced other LAFD captains in the West area.  Capt. Kitahata explained the LAFD’s wildfire action plan, Ready, Set, Go!  He and his family live near Thousand Oaks, he was at the Woolsey fire and he had neighbors who lost houses.  He described his family evacuating and noted the speed of the advancing Woolsey fire as unlike anything he had witnessed in over 31 years of firefighting. He was amazed at how quickly the fire came across the mountains and threatened his community.

Deputy Chief Hogan presented a PowerPoint explaining the department’s wildfire containment procedures and brush clearance requirements.  He explained that Battalion Chief Percy Jones would likely be the Incident Commander in a wildfire.  He would take control and would be the first to arrive and understand the situation.  He would direct resources to address the objectives.  Where is the fire going and what is the rate of spread?  They try to outflank the fire and keep it narrow.  The commander would coordinate with other agencies.

The public should create a defensible space – a 200 foot buffer of no brush.  LAFD uses helicopters for command as well as water dropping.  They endeavor to contain the fire in a “box” that defines the fire containment limits. Drones are used to spot any hot-spots.

West Bureau Assistant Chief Orin Saunders explained the “Wifire” fire mapping tool that helps to predict fire behavior based upon wind speed, direction and humidity. It is used to aid in planning.  LAFD urges people to evacuate about two hours ahead of danger.  If down to 30 minutes of warning one would shelter in place and resources would be applied to help protect lives and property.  LAPD does the evacuations.

“NotifyLA” is a service for phones that will alert you to pending evacuations and other essential news.  The public should subscribe to receive push notifications to mobile or landlines.  An Evacuation Order is mandatory, and an Evacuation Warning is advance warning.  It is best to evacuate early because leaving late diverts resources that could be better utilized to stop the fire.  You can leave your pets and advise the firefighters at the command center and they will pick up your pets.  Please have your pets chipped so unification is facilitated.

Questions & answers then ensued:  Reverse lanes may be needed quickly on Sunset or PCH.  There was a long delay with the Woolsey fire.  Will we have such delays?  Answer:  PCH was a barrier to prevent fire spread.  It took time for the various agencies to coordinate.  Fire trucks may be coming in while evacuees may be leaving.

Is it possible to get real time fire and evacuation maps?  No, because the fire and the plan changes based upon circumstances.  Generally, it takes a day or so until detailed maps are made public.  Refer to NotifyLA for road closures and evacuation areas.

Are there controlled burns in our area?  No, not in LA City.  Prevention is based upon brush clearance.  LAFD cites violators and works with other agencies such as LADWP, MRCA, to urge compliance.

See LAFD.org, click on fire education and you can find the Ready, Set, Go! plan and other relevant fire safety information.

Steve Cron (Area 2 Rep) expressed concern about the Highlands.  Response: The LAFD will meet and discuss preparedness and evacuation plans after consultation on the ground.

David Card (At-large First Alternate) expressed concern about Marquez Knolls.  He noted that the last burn was 1977/1978.  Response: The LAFD is aware.  Wind driven events can be very dangerous.

State Parks, MRCA and LADWP each maintain their own properties and their fire roads.  LAFD does not maintain fire roads.

The Chair thanked the LAFD for and audience members for participating.

11.3.    Council District 11 (Mike Bonin) District Director Krista Phipps.

Ms. Phipps noted the questions asked of LAFD and will attempt to address these issues with the community in the future.  She indicated she may return to a future PPCC meeting with a new area expert as the old expert has recently taken a new job.  Please share questions with Lisa Cahill to move toward forming a task force.

12.    Adjournment.  The Chair adjourned the meeting at 8:36 pm.

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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 [davidcard22@gmail.com].

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 [andrew@catrusts.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 [johnpadden@kw.com].  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 [lisa.cahill@lacity.org] 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.

_________________________

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MINUTES FOR FEBRUARY 28th 2019

Voting Members in Attendance:  George Wolfberg, Peter F. Culhane, Richard G. Cohen, Chris Spitz, David Kaplan, Rick Mills, Joanna Spak, Steve Cron, Alan Goldsmith, Reza Akef, Haldis Toppel, Richard Blumenberg, Bill Bruns, Brenda Theveny, Jean Sharp, Sarah Knauer, Sarah Conner, Richard Wulliger, Duke Ostendorf

Voting Alternates:  Marilyn Wexler, Steve Lantz

Non-voting Advisors and Alternates:  Mary Mueller, David Card, Patti Post, Barbara Marinacci, Cathi Ruddy, Eli Safaie-Kia [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.   ­­­­­­­Patti Post 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 2/14/19 were deemed approved as corrected.  2) Upcoming Meetings – March 14, 2019:  1) Capt. III Vic Davalos, Commanding Officer, LAPD West Area; 2) other topics to be announced.  March 28, 2019:  Topics to be announced.

5.    Consideration of Agenda.  The Chair announced that the agenda is as distributed with the exception of Pastor Davis’ report (see Sec. 11.3, below) which will be moved up to allow the pastor to attend another meeting.

6.    Treasurer’s Report.  Treasurer Richard Cohen reported that the Council’s bank balance is $42,430.58.  He also reported that since the last meeting PPCC has received about $600 of tribute revenue and the refund of a small erroneous charge by Gladstone’s, bringing PPCC’s net positive cash flow from the Gala to about $8,780 with about $250 left to collect.  This excellent result is the Council’s best ever Gala performance.  The Treasurer again thanked all who worked so hard to make it a success.There were no other significant transactions this period.

7.    General Public Comment.

7.1.    Michael Terry (President, Palisades Beautiful) provided information about street tree policy and selection.  He advised that the Palisades has no viable street tree policy in place.  There is an old document that lists approved street trees, but he has learned after consulting with Urban Forestry that 59% of tree species on the old list are no longer permitted.  If anyone wishes to see it, he has a marked-up copy of the list. He has tried but has not been able to find a connection between the list and the Brentwood-Pacific Palisades Community Plan.  Palisades Beautiful has no official policy on street tree species selection.

8.    Reports, Announcements and Concerns.

8.1.    From the Chair.

8.1.1.    Approval of Youth Advisors. The Chair nominated and introduced Eli Safaie-Kia as PPCC Youth Advisor.  Eli is President of the Palisades Charter High School Ambassadors. The board approved his appointment as PPCC Youth Advisor [Bylaws Art. XIV].

8.1.2.    Zoning Code Workshop 3/30/19.  Save the date for this important event sponsored by PPCC and BCC, which will take place on March 30 at 10:30am at Gilbert Hall, Palisades Charter High School. Expert speakers will provide information on how to access the new revised Zoning Code.  Click on links and/or buttons on our website and in PPCC email messages for more information.

8.1.3.    WRAC Leadership Update.  The Chair and Secretary Chris Spitzattended last week’s Westside Regional Alliance of Councils (WRAC) leadership meeting.  There have been thirteen member-councils of WRAC for many years. At the meeting, WRAC leaders welcomed a fourteenth council, North Westwood Neighborhood Council, which was recently certified by the City as a neighborhood council representing the North Westwood/UCLA area.

8.1.4.    Board Member Opening of Agenda.  The Chair again honored the first board member to open the agenda of the last meeting with a special hand-crafted gift from the Wolfberg kitchen:  David Kaplan. 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.

8.1.5.    The Chair welcomed new Chamber of Commerce representatives to the PPCC board:  Sarah Knauer (Chamber Chair-elect), primary (in attendance), and Marissa Hermer (owner of The Draycott), alternate (not in attendance).  He also thanked past Chamber primary representative Rick Lemmo for his service to PPCC.

8.2.    From Officers.

8.2.1.    Chris Spitz (Secretary) announced that the PPCC position letter regarding SB 50 has been sent to Councilmember Mike Bonin and other elected officials, including Councilmember Paul Koretz.  The letter is posted on the PPCC website [SB 50 Letter].  She noted that we learned today that Councilmember Koretz has introduced an important resolution, as requested in our letter, for the Los Angeles City Council to oppose SB 50.  This is a significant development, since if the resolution passes it will likely have an impact on the progress of this bill.

8.3.    From At-Large and Area Representatives.

8.3.1.    Steve Cron (Area Two Representative).  On Tuesday, he and Lisa Cahill met with four members of the Dept. of Recreation & Parks and three members of LAFD to look at conditions involving brush and downed trees along Palisades Dr.  The City’s policy provides that downed trees more than 10 ft. from a roadway or 200 ft. from residences are not removed.  There are no residences along most of the lower portion of Palisades Dr. Two or three dead trees have fallen over, but all but one of these trees are more than 10 ft. from the roadway and will have to remain where they fell. One downed tree is on the edge of the roadway, so it was cut into pieces and will be cleared away when the City begins doing brush clearance along Palisades Dr. in May or June.  A Highlands Fire Safety community meeting has been scheduled for March 19, 7-9pm at Calvary Christian Church.  Speakers will include Fire Chiefs Armando Hogan and Orin Saunders. All are welcome, although the meeting orientation will be the Highlands. Peter Culhane (Vice-Chair) was instrumental in getting permission to use Calvary’s facilities. The meeting will be recorded and posted if feasible so that people who can’t attend will be able to view the recording.

8.3.2.    Marilyn Wexler (Area Seven 2nd Alternate).  A female cougar (mountain lion) has been hanging out at Rustic Canyon park.  Neighbors are nervous and uncertain about what can be done.  LAPD SLO Michael Moore:  He is aware of the situation.  This is a state issue; the City’s Animal Services Dept. won’t take action unless the animal displays aggression. The official state agency is the Dept. of Fish & Wildlife; SLO Moore will try to follow-up.

8.4.    From Organizational Representatives.

8.4.1.    Sarah Conner (PPRA).  PPRA has heard from Barbara Marinacci on the important   issue of street tree selection.  Sarah announced that Kelly Comras will be leading a PPRA committee to work on this issue.

8.4.2.    Richard Wulliger (Historical Society).  On Tuesday, the Society sponsored an interesting talk at Theatre Palisades with historian Eric Wannamaker on the role of Native Americans in making movies at Inceville. There was a great deal of interest and the event was well-attended.

8.5.    From Government Offices / Representatives.

8.5.1.    LAPD SLO Michael Moore.

Since the beginning of year there have been eleven reported stolen vehicles.  Eight cars were recovered and all eight had key fobs in them.  The owners reported that they had not left keys in the car but may not have remembered that extra fobs could have been in the glove box.  Officer Moore advises the community to make sure there are no keys left in cars, which in some cases allow the car door to be opened. Criminals are now trying handles first to see if the cars open. Reza Akef (Area Eight Representative) asked if any of the stolen cars were particular model years of Ford products which he asserted would not lock if the key fob is in the car. Officer Moore did not know.  He said that residents should call police services if they see someone trying to open car doors.

Bill Bruns (Friends of the Library) asked about better traffic enforcement at the Chautauqua & Sunset intersection. Officer Moore will speak with the motor officer in charge, Officer Ryan Basaker, about obtaining more enforcement at that intersection.

Richard Cohen (Treasurer) commented that these issues have come up at C-PAB meetings which he attends.  He noted that doors won’t lock with most modern cars if the key fob is still in the car. This could be an issue of valet keys being left in glove boxes, which allows criminals simply to push the start button.  Regarding traffic enforcement, the Treasurer has been told that there are only six motor officers for the entire West Traffic area and under new policy directives from LAPD Chief Moore they have been pulled away to do traffic accident reports, in order to free up other officers to fight crime. This has resulted in officers being removed from traffic enforcement, and there are no longer officers sitting on Sunset or San Vicente with laser guns checking speed.

8.5.2.    Zac Gaidzik (West-Metro LA Field Deputy, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl).

The Board of Supervisors (BOS) unanimously approved a motion by Supervisor Kuehl to phase out the use of pepper spray in all juvenile facilities.  The Supervisor is thrilled that BOS passed a series of motions to fund 1600 affordable housing units throughout the southland in the coming fiscal year, and also passed a motion by Supervisor Kuehl to preserve the emergency tenant assistance fund.  BOS additionally voted to support the Hope for the Coast vision to protect our coast line.  A Nextgen Bus Study is being sponsored by Metro in order to overhaul the entire bus system; a Bus Study workshop will take place on Mar. 5, 4-7pm at the Felicia Mahood Senior Center, 11338 Santa Monica Blvd., WLA. The County is now offering beach wheelchairs in some locations on a first-come first-served basis.  Motorized wheelchairs are available at Perry’s at Santa Monica beach. David Card (At-large 1st Alternate) raised a question about BOS taking over the 50 miles of the LA River. Response:  BOS passed a motion co-sponsored by Supervisor Kuehl to initiate a study to start the process of updating the Master Plan for the River. Sarah Knauer (Chamber Representative): What is the process for getting better traffic signage on Channel Rd. & Chautauqua regarding lane turns?   Response: LADOT is in charge and knows about the sign issue at this location, as does Councilmember Bonin’s office. They will need a push.

8.5.3.    Janet Turner (District Representative, Congressman Ted Lieu).

The Congressman has been very busy sponsoring bills that have just been introduced in Congress.  He has sponsored HR976 – the Air Traffic Noise Pollution Act.  It is a first step calling for a study of noise and pollution impacts of air traffic.  Questions were asked whether the bill addresses the impacts from general aviation and freight drones; she will bring back answers.  She also described other legislation that Congressman Lieu has sponsored or co-sponsored, including the “Rebuild America’s Schools Act,” which would provide for infrastructure and safety improvements for schools; a bill to provide tax credits to employers for providing educational loans to employees; and a “Medicare for All” bill.

8.5.2.    Eric Bruins (CD 11 Transportation Deputy).

Regarding environmental issues:  LADWP will not reinvest in natural gas and will look to replace this energy source with renewable energy. The Hyperion water treatment plant will be recycling 100% of waste water.  This will be used for non-potable purposes (e.g., irrigation) or will be recycled back into the aquifer and kept in storage. See also additional report in Item 11.2 below.

8.6.     From PPCC Advisors.

8.6.1.    Eli Safaie-Kia (Youth Advisor) reported that “Game Night” will take place this Friday, March 1 at 6:30pm in Mercer Hall at Pali High.  The event is open to everyone.  All proceeds will go to support the Pali High Ambassadors.

9.     Reports from Committees.

9.1.  Bylaws Committee (Richard G. Cohen, Chair).

  1. Second 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 the meeting agenda via PPCC email and posted on the PPCC website.
  2. Motion by the Bylaws Committee to Adopt the Proposed (Redline/Clean) Amendments.A second was not necessary because the motion was made by a committee of more than one voting member.  Committee Chair Richard G. Cohen explained the proposed amendments; after discussion a vote was taken.  Vote:  Passed by unanimous vote of board members present.

Richard Cohen also reported that the Bylaws Committee has met and will be proposing extensive revisions of Bylaws provisions related to the Area and At-large Representative elections, with the First Distribution of the redline amendments to occur in connection with our next meeting on March 14. He further advised that the Executive Committee has unanimously approved a Bylaws Committee recommendation to correct certain minor typographical errors and “informalities” (capitalization and nomenclature) in Appendix B of the Bylaws (area boundaries).  These errors will therefore be corrected without the necessity of a board vote [Bylaws Appendix C, SR-8].

10.    Old Business – None.

11.    New Business.

11.1.    Adel H. Hagekhalil, Executive Director & General Manager, Bureau of Street Services (Street Services information and Q&A).

Mr. Hagekhalil provided information on his background and goals for the Bureau of Street Services (BSS).  He was worked for the City for 30 years but was recently recruited to the position of BSS General Manager.  The new nomenclature of BSS is “Streets LA.” He wants to transform the streets, trees & sidewalks to be safe, mobile and sustainable. He intends to work with everyone so that Los Angeles will have a “world class” streetscape. The City has not invested in our streetscape for some time and he is advocating for change.  The former policy was simply to do what was necessary to keep “good” streets in shape and to neglect “failed” streets.  He is making a shift in the policy and intends to do advance planning using innovation, technology & data to keep our streets safe.  He has a team with him who are working on these plans.  He has requested significant new budgetary resources from the City for BSS operations.  A new “street damage restoration” fee is being imposed on utilities who make utility cuts causing streets to be compromised.  New paving material is being developed to replace the use of asphalt; it is 10 times stronger and also cheaper and more environmentally sustainable than asphalt.  The City also needs to invest in street trees. His team is working toward scheduled-tree trimming, instead of simply responding to emergencies.  BSS is also paying attention to tree removal; they want to be sure the tree actually needs to be removed and if so, that an equivalent replacement tree will be planted.  Regarding street furniture:  He wants to make sure that 75% of ridership on the transit system will have shade shelters at transit stops; he would like to install “smart” shelters.

Mr. Hagekhalil introduced his team in attendance: Stehanie Clements, Chief Financial Officer; Veronica Maxwell, Community Liaison; Aida Valencia, Repaving & Resurfacing; Elvin Galindo, Enforcement; and Steven Duprey and David Miranda, Urban Forestry. Mr. Miranda stated that Urban Forestry will work with the community on updating our street trees plan.

Q&A then ensued.  Reza Akef (Area Eight Representative):  Do you make utility companies contract with the City to make sure their work is up to par when trenching or cutting into streets?  Response (Galindo):  Yes. His investigators will come out and inspect to make sure utility companies are properly doing the work. Reza challenged this and stated that in his experience as a builder, he sees utility companies frequently tearing up streets and inadequately covering excavations which leads to decay and cracking.  He believes the new restoration fee is not sufficient. Response (Hagekhalil):  He hears the concern and will consider it.

Peter Culhane:  He has mapped out over 25 miles of street curbing in the Palisades that could be swept. We are looking for street sweepers. Response (Hagekahlil):  The City has long had specific routes for sweeping but this hasn’t been updated for a long time.  He is committed to revamping the entire program.  The first step will be to address streets that have lots of trash, such as commercial areas/traffic corridors.

Richard Cohen:  Regarding street furniture, we have a Specific Plan which the community contends applies to street furniture in the PROW.  In the past PPCC has hired an attorney to assert our position to the City. We don’t want our beautiful street furniture, which was paid for and installed by one of our own community groups, to be replaced with furniture not of our choice, and further, we don’t want commercial advertising and digital signs in the PROW. Response (Hagekahlil):  He understands and will work with us in the future on street furniture and signage in the PROW.

Alan Goldsmith (At-large Representative):  Asked about BSS funding in terms of real dollars.  Response (Hagekahlil): We have various funding sources, including taxes and the restoration fee fund.  He is proposing to make investments in failed streets, to make sidewalks safe, to reduce liability for claims, and to plan for the future. The BSS budget was $168 million last year and his proposal to the Mayor this year is over $300 million.

Sarah Conner:  Will BSS be looking at withdrawn streets?  Response (Hagekahlil):  The City Council has voted to bring back previously withdrawn streets and they will look at these. Q: What does he mean about bringing in equivalent trees to replace trees that are removed?  Response: We have a “tree summit” coming up on April 26 to look at best practices in replacing trees.

Patti Post (Transportation Advisor):  Suggested that BSS work on coordinating all of its divisions. An example of one of the issues: A street will be re-slurried, but the re-striping then doesn’t occur for months afterwards. This is a safety issue.  Response (Hagekahlil):  We now have monthly meetings to deal with these issues and we will be looking at better coordination.

Haldis Toppel (Area Three Representative):  Raised an issue about fixing a small problem on her street that could become a big problem as this is in a slide area.

Krishna Thangavelu (resident): Urged that no highly flammable street trees be planted as we are a high fire hazard area.  Response (Miranda):  We will work on an appropriate street tree list for the Palisades.

John Padden (PRIDE):  We are working on a plan to revitalize and revamp the streetscape in our commercial area.  We will need to raise funds and also work with the City.  How can we work with you to be proactive, and are there funds available for some of this work?  Response (Hagekahlil):  Indicated he could not help with funding but suggested that he and Veronica Maxwell (Community Liaison) can help with streamlining the permit process. He can also help with the Sanitation Dept. in terms of servicing trash cans.

Sue Pascoe (resident):  Can BSS look at conditions on Temescal Canyon Road? Response (Hagekahlil):  Yes.

David Card (At-large 1st Alternate):  Expressed concern about protecting the urban forest and urged Urban Forestry to consider at the April summit not only getting action on a preferable street tree list but also trying to get street trees treated as infrastructure.

Chris Spitz:  Asked for an update on the status of Chautauqua repaving. Response (Hagekahlil & Valencia):  The repaving had been scheduled twice in the past but had to be pushed back due to construction and trenching.  Right now, there is a hold on repaving until April 19.  BSS has penciled-in the work for April 27-28.  The repaving will be from Sunset Blvd. to PCH.  David Kaplan (Area 6 Representative):  A contractor for AT&T will be doing trenching on Chautauqua at some point in the future (exact date unknown); he will follow up with BSS.

Mr. Hagekahlil reiterated the intention of BSS to work with the community and assist us with our streetscape needs and concerns.

l11.2.    CD 11 Transportation Deputy Eric Bruins(Bonin motion re electric scooters, LADOT “Vision Zero” report & new pilot program to return parking meter revenues to the Palisades).

Dockless electric scooters:  There has been no change legislatively since his first report to the PPCC board.  The full program will kick in during in the first week of March.  Patti Post (Transportation Advisor) asked about fees and enforcement.  Response: The City hasn’t allocated any money yet as permit fees are just starting to be collected. There be evaluation and outreach.  LADOT is hosting workshops on the program, with one on March 20 at 7pm in Mar Vista [Disability Community Resource Center, 12901 Venice Blvd., LA 90066].  Bill Bruns: Are there limits on the number of permitted devices?  Response:  There are different allocations depending on areas.  Each operator can receive permits for a maximum of 3,000 devices. Some are applying only for small fleets (100) and some are applying for the full program. Most of the concentration is in other areas.  They have not seen active interest in placing these devices in the Palisades (likely due to topography). So far there have been seven or eight conditional permits issued; eleven have applied for the full program. The program covers electric bikes as well as scooters.

Vision Zero:  In December the City approved priority corridors and intersections for attention in 2019. They are prioritized according to the rate of severe and fatal accidents.  Number One on the list is the PCH & Temescal Canyon intersection, with the PCH & Sunset intersection also included. The discussion will be about redesigning the intersections.  Timeline:  Over the next several months the City and Caltrans will talk about what they want to do about modifications to the intersections. There won’t be radical design changes.  They will be looking at signal timing (giving pedestrians a head start) and intersection tightening (cars being required to turn more at a right angle/decreasing turning radius).  Patti Post: When is your best guess when there might be a plan for these intersections? Response: We will likely have a plan in 5-6 months.  CD 11 is also working to fund a signalized left turn phase at the Sunset & Chautauqua intersection (although that intersection is not on the Vision Zero list).

Parking Meter Funds Return Program:  The program was approved a month ago.  The Palisades BID is one of three pilot areas.  Chris Spitz:  How much of the revenues will be returned to the Palisades?  Response: Fifteen percent (15%) of all meter revenues in the BID area will be earmarked and the BID is in charge of outreach to the community for input on streetscape improvements.  He expects around $65,000 annually to go to the BID.

11.3.    Pastor Kenneth Davis, Palisades Lutheran Church (Feed My Starving Children program).  Pastor Davis briefly explained that this is a community wide event to support efforts to eradicate hunger world-wide, one child at a time, through the distribution of meal packets.  They had the first packing event in 2017 in which 88,000 meal packets were packed and then distributed to 70 countries.  The packing event in 2019 is being hosted at Corpus Christi Church and sponsored by Palisades Lutheran Church.  It will take place on Thursday, June 20; different shifts will be available in the evening, and all ages can participate, including children as young as 4 years old up as well as adults.  The goal is to pack 100,000 meal packets this year. The Pali High Ambassadors have committed to help. The Chair encouraged participation by PPCC members, noting that June 20 is not a PPCC meeting date. Information will be posted on the Palisades Lutheran Church website [PLC-FMSC].

12.    Adjournment.  The Chair adjourned the meeting at 9:05 pm.

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