Scroll down for all 2021 meeting minutes.

Return to Index of 2021 Minutes

MINUTES FROM JANUARY 14th 2021

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

Voting Alternates:  None

Non-voting Advisors and Alternates:   Zennon Ulyate-Crow, Jack Coleman, Karyn Weber, Cindy Kirven, Rick Mills, Rick McGeagh, Lee Anne Sanderson

1.    Call to order and reading of Mission Statement.  The Chair David Card called the meeting to order at 5:30pm.  Steve Cron read the Mission Statement.

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

3.    Roll call of voting members and certification of quorum. The Chair called the roll of voting members and certified that there was a quorum.

4.    Approval of Minutes.  The minutes of November 12, 2020 were approved. Upcoming meetings: January 28, 2021 —  Zac Gaidzik (Supervisor Sheila Kuehl’s deputy) will speak on COVID and vaccines.

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

6.    Treasurer’s Report.

The Treasurer Richard G. Cohen reported that PPCC’s cash balance is $38,848.32.  There have been no significant transactions since the last report.

7.    General Public Comment – None.

8.    Reports, Announcements and Concerns.

8.1.    From the Chair/Presiding Officer.

8.1.1.    Executive Committee determination of exigent circumstances/in-person meetings infeasible; Zoom meetings to be held indefinitely (until orders and conditions allow). Bylaws, Art. IX.1.A.  The Chair explained that the Executive Committee has unanimously determined that exigent circumstances (as defined by the Bylaws) continue to exist, requiring PPCC meetings to be held virtually for an indefinite period.  We will continue to hold meetings by Zoom until orders and conditions allow.

8.1.2.    Riviera Country Club/Longworth Maintenance Gate update.  The Chair explained that the Area 8 Representatives have been alerted by neighbors that the Riviera Country Club (RCC) has been using the maintenance gate for public access, which is an unauthorized use.  The Chair recently met with Len Nguyen (CD 11 Senior Planning Deputy), Durrah Wagner (CD 11 Palisades Deputy) and Don Smith (RCC General Manager) to talk about the issue.  This is a concern to Area 8 residents in the Polo Fields neighborhood.  There are traffic and school safety issues along Allenford Dr. and Longworth Ave. The participants in this meeting discussed their concerns and viewpoints.  The Chair, along with the Area 8 Representatives Reza Akef and Andrew Wolfberg, will be meeting in one week with Councilmember Bonin, Len Nguyen and Durrah Wagner to discuss our viewpoints on the subject.  Meanwhile, based on our past position in support of the neighbors when this issue arose in 2018, the Executive Committee has sent a letter to Councilmember Bonin requesting that he in turn request that the Planning Dept. issue a Zoning Determination letter regarding the use of the maintenance gate.  The letter has been sent to the PPCC Board and is posted on the PPCC website [See: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/PPCC-EC-Letter-re-RCC-Longworth-Gate.pdf].

8.1.3.    Palisades SLO Michael Moore retiring; new acting SLO as of 1/17: James Allen.  The Chair announced that we are losing one of our favorite LAPD officers:  longtime Palisades Senior Lead Officer Michael Moore is retiring on January 17. The Chair remarked that SLO Moore has done a wonderful job for us, and has been open to and cooperative with residents and PPCC.  He will be replaced temporarily, starting on the 17th, by Officer James Allen as the Acting (not permanent) SLO.  Capt. Tom of LAPD West Division has advised that there are several candidates for the position and we will see them coming forward.

8.1.4.    [New: County Vaccine Information.] The Chair summarized a recent press release from the LA County Public Health Dept.  The County is ramping up vaccine efforts.  The goal is to complete vaccinations of frontline health care workers and staff by the end of January.  Visit www.vaccinatelacounty.com for more information.  There will be a Town Hall on Tuesday, January 29 on Facebook and other media platforms about the vaccine.

8.2.    From Officers.

8.2.1.    Chris Spitz (Secretary).  Updates: 1) STAP program (digital signs in bus shelters): Bonin Motion (CF 20-1536): https://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2020/20-1536_mot_11-24-2020.pdfPPCC Letter:  http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/PPCC-Letter-Motion-STAP-RFP.pdf

2)  WRAC meetings 11/16 & 12/21/20; 3) new proposed legislation (SB 9 and 10). See 1/8/21 Update: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/WRAC-Legislative-Update-1-08-21.pdf.

The Secretary briefly summarized the information contained in her written report linked in the agenda.  She also stated that the WRAC LUC had unanimously passed both motions to oppose SB 9 and 10 and this matter will be on the WRAC board agenda on January 18.

8.3.    From Area and At-large Representatives

8.3.1.    Haldis Toppel (Area 3 Representative).  There is a situation involving 45 ft. high buildings being constructed in the Coastal Zone.  She would like PPCC to look into this issue.  Mike Bonin is aware of the issue and he will make a motion in City Council to reverse the problem.  The Chair noted that if Councilmember Bonin makes a motion, we will refer the matter to the LUC for consideration.  Ms. Toppel also noted that there has been a slew of catalytic converter thefts.  She advised residents to keep cars parked inside.

8.3.2.    Karen Ridgley (Area 4 Representative).  She wished to thank CD11 Palisades Deputy Durrah Wagenr for working with residents on the road racing issue and for assistance in getting speed humps on Asilomar and El Medio.

8.3.3.    Sue Kohl (Area 5 Representative).  She stated that she deeply appreciates everything Congressman Lieu is doing to represent us in Congress.

8.3.4.  Steve Cron (Area 2 Representative). He also thanked Durrah Wagner for her help with the street racing problem on Palisades Dr.

8.4.    From Organizational Representatives

8.4.1.    Eric Dugdale (PP Historical Society).  Happy Birthday Pacific Palisades!  The 99th anniversary of the founding of the Palisades is today, January 14.  He observed that as of 100 years ago we were getting over another pandemic.  PPHS will be coming out with books and there will be a lot of things happening this year.

8.4.2.    Fay Vahdani (PP Chamber of Commerce).  She invites everyone to join the Chamber at 6pm on January 26th for the Mayoral Inauguration of Eugene Levy.  The event is free and open to the public.  Register at the Chamber’s website.

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

8.5.1.    Brad Fingard, new West Area Representative, Mayor Garcetti.  He wished everyone a Happy New Year and remarked that he is excited to be taking on this new role.  Mr. Fingard has had two years of experience with the City working with CD 4 (former Councilmember Ryu).  The COVID-19 vaccine is top of mind right now.  The City has launched a new website, www.coronavirus.lacity.org/vaccine.  The public can sign up for a vaccine-related newsletter from the County.  Officials are hoping to get to the point of vaccinating persons 65 and older by early February.  He also announced that the City has successfully negotiated bargaining agreements with several City unions to allow furloughs to stop.  The City is also working to secure emergency funding from the most recent federal CARES package.  The Chair asked what the Mayor is doing about police cuts.  Mr. Fingard explained that the LAPD union hasn’t been open to renegotiating pensions, but the conversations will continue.  The Mayor is pleased that negotiations with the LAFD and civilian unions have been successful.

8.5.2.    Deborah Hong, LADWP Community Liaison (see also item 11.1 below).

8.5.3.    Janet Turner, Field Representative, Congressman Ted Lieu.  She reported that we have received more money for USPS through the last COVID relief package.  USPS has been hit extremely hard by the pandemic.  We will have mail delays; mail will not arrive daily but in a bundle every few days; this will likely last for about 14 days.  USPS will now have more money to hire more workers.  Ms. Turner will give a more thorough update next time on COVID relief.

8.5.4.    Durrah Wagner (CD 11 Palisades Deputy).  She has been helping constituents in the Palisades.  CD11 staff are working hard not to be affected by the furloughs; she noted that it looks like they’ve been spared from scheduled furloughs due to successful negotiations, but they will have to take off two days for mandatory furloughs.  She is strongly advocating for retention of the LAPD beach patrol which has been working with the PPTFH.  The beach patrol is a very important component to PPTFH’s work.  Ms. Wagner is also working on a six-month plan. She invited all who are planning future events to please contact her.

8.6.    From PPCC Advisors – None.

9.    Reports from Committees.

9.1.    PPCC Palisades Forestry Committee (PFC/Cindy Kirven Chair). Status report on the PFC’s work to date on a tree-planting plan for the Palisades. See PFC outreach letter to 900 block of Hartzell: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Hartzell-Neighbor-Outreach-1-6-21.pdf.

Attached flyer:  http://investfromthegroundup.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Trees-make-life-better-infographic-EN.pdf.

The Committee Chair announced that the PFC is working on a street tree planting plan and they are beginning neighborhood outreach.  The first test street that the PFC is analyzing for street tree planting is the 900 block of Hartzell. A letter and flyer will be sent to all homeowners as per the agenda attachments.  The PFC members want to introduce themselves to neighbors on Hartzell and to request neighbors’ comments and feedback.  They want to excite neighbors about the benefits of trees.  There will be a second communication only to people who have a vacancy to qualify for a free street tree.  The neighbor must agree to water the tree for five years.  The PFC would be the coordinator of neighborhood residents.  Urban Forestry will coordinate with agencies and the identification of trees.  City Plants (a non-profit organization that operates in a public/private partnership with the City) will coordinate planting after the PFC makes recommendations and obtains approvals. The PFC will return to PPCC for approval as the program progresses.

Steve Cron:  When will planting take place?  Response: We don’t know yet; it depends on how quickly we can get feedback.  It is a slow process but we are moving forward.  The Secretary:  What if a neighbor with a vacancy doesn’t want a tree to be planted?  Response: People must get city permits if they want their own tree.  We won’t force a tree if someone doesn’t want one planted. Eric Dugdale:  He lives on Hartzell and wants to preserve an old Eucalyptus tree. Response:  One of the goals of the PFC is to preserve trees.  Our first priority is to plant trees where they are missing.

10.    Old Business  None.

11.    New Business. 

11.1.    LADWP Update. Guest speaker: LADWP Community Affairs Liaison Deborah Hong. Discussion only.  Also present and introduced by Ms. Hong: LADWP Electrical Services Managers Ruben Hauser and Dominic Cerulli.

Ms. Hong announced that there are two upcoming online meetings in January that may be of interest to residents (each with multiple meeting dates):  the LA 100 Study (to determine how we can reach 100% renewable energy); and the Urban Water Management Plan.  She will provide the information to the Secretary.  She also noted that if anyone has questions about their individual LADWP bill, they should contact her at: Deborah.hong@ladwp.com.

Ruben Hauser next discussed the Temescal Gateway Park pole replacement project.  Approximately 70 of the old poles have been replaced, with about 150 more still to be replaced.  About 140 of those are in Topanga State Park; LADWP is awaiting a permit for those replacements from park authorities. The remaining approximately 10 poles are in the Coastal area and LADWP is working on obtaining Coastal Commission approval of those replacements. The poles are painted brown steel and will be better able to withstand wildfire.  The Secretary asked about the Coastal Commission process and what is happening with the plan to mitigate harm to the endangered plant that we learned about in LADWP’s prior presentation.  Mr. Hauser:  LADWP’s regulatory group is still working this out with the Coastal Commission; they expect the permit to be issued in March. Mr. Hauser handles only the construction.  The Environmental Affairs group is working out the details of the legal matters.  The Chair:  How is the plant replacement going to be handled?  Are more of the plants in the way of the pole replacements?  Mr. Hauser:  They are being vigilant to make sure no more plants will be removed; they are working out the language of the mitigation plan with the Coastal Commission.  Ms. Hong:  Our environmental and regulatory group have been working on details of the mitigation plan with the Coastal Commission. Once the permit is approved in March they can proceed.  She will return in March to explain the mitigation plan.

Steve Cron (Area 2 Representative):  Have the metal poles been tested and will they survive wildfire?  Will the wires also be resistant to fire?  Mr. Hauser:  The reason wood poles fail is that the heat from the fire weakens the pole and once the pole falls the wires also fall down.  Unlike wood poles, steel poles don’t burn and have three times the strength; they are far more fire-resistant than wood poles.  The arms of the poles are fiberglass.  In the past, LADWP used wood crossarms which succumbed to the heat.  The conductors are traditionally made of copper because of the salt air; they do a good job of withstanding the heat.

The Chair:  Are the wood poles from the 1930s or older?  Mr. Hauser:  Yes, most are from the 30s and 40s.  Ms. Hong:  There are about 220 wooden poles which date from 1935-1955.  The Chair: This project is important because it brings power to the Palisades; it is one of only two sources of power to Pacific Palisades, the other running along Sunset Blvd.

The Secretary:  How long will it take to complete the project?  Mr. Hauser:  It will take about two months to complete after the permit is issued in March.

The Chair: The second topic we would like to have LADWP address is brush clearance around poles in the Palisades.

Joanna Spak (Area 1 Representative):  A fire recently broke out at the base of a utility pole on Castellammare, at the edge of the Tramonto slide area.  The neighbors were able to notice this and contacted the authorities to put out the fire, otherwise a huge wildfire could have ensued.  There is native vegetation in the area.  The components on the pole itself had malfunctioned.  A number of residents are concerns about vegetation around the bases of poles.  What is LADWP doing in terms of preventing potential wildfires, with vegetation, aging poles and malfunctioning components on those poles?  Have any poles recently been inspected and have these issues been addressed?

Mr. Hauser:  With vegetation, we inspect the area around the poles every year, mostly assessing how trees are growing around the poles and conductors.  The inspection crew comes out once each year, then another crew comes out afterward and does necessary trimming, then a crew comes out to verify that the work was done.  Another inspection crew comes out each year and looks at the equipment to see what is broken and needs to be replaced; they also look at vegetation as well (so that a potential vegetation problem gets addressed twice every year).  The poles themselves are inspected differently. They are regularly looked at when the conductor inspection is done.  Also, every 5-10 years LADWP does an inspection just of the poles; they use treatments for termites, etc.  Mr. Hauser anticipates doing more detailed inspections going forward due to a new contract they’ve entered into.  They will be looking for hotspots on the equipment, using infrared cameras.  The vegetation contract has also been renewed and will have more resources available for trimming and for more frequent inspections.

Joanna Spak:  A resident was told by LADWP that a particular pole has been put into the queue for replacement and hardening.  How can we find out which poles are in the queue?  Mr. Hauser:  Let us know if you think a pole needs inspecting and replacing. Mr. Hong:  She will get a contact number for people to call which the Secretary can put in the minutes and/or add to the website [number to call: 1-800-342-5397].

The Chair thanked the LADWP representatives for their presentations.

11.2.    Motion recommended to member-councils by the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils (WRAC): A) Prioritize elementary school reopenings; B) Oppose BONC social media policy; C) Support CF 20-1174 (unfinished development/enforcement). See attachment below for text of recommended motions. Background information: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Background-InformationR.pdf.

Motion A): T he Secretary introduced the motion and referenced the background information that had been provided in the agenda [see attachment below for text of motion].  The Secretary then moved that the board vote to support the motion. Second:  Peter Powell (Corpus Christ School/Education Representative).  Extensive discussion then ensued.

Lauren Park Mulder (Principal, Marquez Elementary):  She is the new Principal at Marquez, with thirteen years of school administrative experience. She described her background.  She stated that she believes the motion is right on the mark and covers all the aspects of reopening of schools, and that she appreciated the comprehensive approach of the motion.  She explained that many of our local public schools are charter schools; they have flexibility with class size and instruction but must adhere to LAUSD guidelines.  They have received the Public Health revised order and are following all directives.  Today she met with the school safety committee.  They will be conducting training in safety and reopening protocols, which include screening, sanitizing and social distancing.  They have two classrooms full of PPE as well as signs, directives, etc.  They have also marked the campus for areas that might transmit the virus and have rearranged classroom furniture.  They are still working on screening procedures and are preparing daily for safe reopening.  They don’t want to prematurely rush into things, and it is important that there is a safe action plan.

Sean Whitley (Friends of Marquez/parent): He appreciates all the work the school is doing to reopen the school.  It is painfully obvious that there is no substitute for in-person education.  Missing that interaction is very tough for students, especially the youngest.  He supports any effort to get students back in school faster.

Casey Ryan Foster (Palisades Elementary parent): She is grateful for the work that we are doing and for bringing this motion.

Peter Powell (Education Representative and Dean of Students at Corpus Christi):  Grades TK-4 at Corpus Christi have been onsite for quite some time.  The parents and students are very happy.  The teachers are happy that they don’t have to teach online.  They are looking forward to the vaccine and getting back to normal interaction and socialization with kids. He appreciates the board’s support in getting schools open as soon as possible. He remarked on the precautions that must be taken: Ms. Park Mulder laid them out well.  At Corpus Christi, every kid’s temperature taken drop off in the morning; they are then escorted into school at a safe distance.  Classrooms have 12 or fewer students in each cohort.  There are plexiglass dividers.  The staff disinfects several times a day.  The school has an App that allows parents to check in before drop off and to enter safety protocol questions.  This takes the cooperation of families in the community.  Andrew Wolfberg (Area 8 1st Alternate):  Have any students been diagnosed with COVID?   Mr. Powell:  He can’t discuss that.

Richard Cohen (Treasurer): He supports the work educators are doing but doesn’t understand why we’re doing this.  This is a matter for the health officials to determine. The Secretary explained that this is intended to allow the voice of Westside constituents to be heard on this issue.

Reza Akef (Area 8 Representative):  He doesn’t understand why Andrew’s question didn’t get answered.

Steve Cron:  He is confused about the wording.  He saw this as prioritizing reopening for elementary school students.  The Secretary explained that it is calling for funding to allow for prioritization of safe reopening for elementary and vulnerable students.

Beth Holden Garland (PPRA):  She noted that we must get over the hump of the surge.

Karyn Weber (Area 6 1st Alternate):  She has two high school students and has seen a decline in everything since schools have been closed.   It will be safe once it is determined to be safe.

Jenny Li (Area 7 Representative):  Parents are upset and offended that other things have been opened when schools haven’t; we should be using our efforts to put kids back in school if possible.

Honey Rosenthal (parent):  Distance learning isn’t working for the vast majority of students; they will be impacted for life.  There is increasing depression, anxiety, obesity and other harm by not going to school, which outweighs the risk of in-person schooling.

Jack Coleman (Youth Advisor):  His view as a student is that it is absolutely crucial to support this motion.  The evidence that school closures have caused negative impacts on students is overwhelming.

Mia (Palisades Elementary parent):  She was excited to see the information about this meeting and the motion.  She noted that the students have been so diligent.

Peter Powell:  Regarding the earlier question about students testing positive, he is not at liberty to share specifics.  He didn’t mean to be rude but there are protocols that must be followed.  He noted that if a student tests positive, they would have to shut down a cohort; the school hasn’t had to do so.  He also agrees with the last comments; young students are very diligent following protocols.

Zennon Ulyate-Crow (Youth Advisor):  It is not our place to decide whether to go back or not; that is up to the health care experts.  He feels that we do need to get younger children back to school.

A vote was taken.  Result: 12-6-2; motion passed by a 2/3 majority.

Motion B):  The Secretary introduced the motion and referenced the background information that had been provided in the agenda [see attachment below for text of motion].  The Secretary then moved that the board vote to support the motion. Second:  Richard Cohen.  Discussion: None.  A vote was taken.  Result:   Unanimous in favor of the motion.

Motion C):  The Secretary introduced the motion and referenced the background information that had been provided in the agenda [see attachment below for text of motion].  The Secretary then moved that the board vote to support the motion.  Second: Richard Cohen.  Discussion: Reza Akef remarked that under current law a project cannot remain unfinished for more than two years; this motion provides for enforcement remedies. The Chair noted that he has had an uncompleted house near him for many years. A vote was taken.  Result:  Unanimous in favor of the motion.

12.    Adjournment.   The meeting was adjourned at 7:40pm.

ATTACHMENT – Item 11.2 (Text of adopted motions: A, B & C)

A) Prioritize elementary school reopenings

Motion text:

Whereas schools provide “essential academic and social-emotional learning” environments, and a broader array of resources including “physical, mental health, and therapeutic services”1;

Whereas “school closures impede learning and compound inequities, disproportionately affecting disadvantaged children”2; and particularly disadvantaged are students who are at a young age, have special needs, or are from underprivileged households;

Whereas many states and countries have successfully prioritized the opening of schools over businesses, instead of the other way around;

Whereas Federal, State and local governments can offer stipends, grants, and loans to businesses and employees who may be forced to close, however the same government bodies cannot offer redress to students for lost opportunities and benefits derived from education;

Whereas “safe and consistently open schools are essential for many parents and guardians … to reenter the workforce”3, and forcing working parents into full time childcare is neither fair nor sustainable;

Whereas the health of all students, staff and teachers must be protected, the federal government and State of California must provide school districts with the resources needed for the safe reopening of schools and to contain outbreaks (should they occur) including the prioritization of school staff and teachers in vaccine distribution;

Therefore, Pacific Palisades Community Council supports prioritizing the many efforts needed to safely reopen elementary schools and special-needs classes for the most vulnerable students in Los Angeles including, but not limited to, daily testing, vaccinations for all qualified students and staff, access to personal protective equipment and the necessary training and signed COVID protocol agreements.

1  Levinson M, Cevik M, Lipsitch M. Reopening primary schools during the pandemic. New England Journal of Medicine. 2020 Sep 3;383:981-985.

2  Armitage R, Nellums LB. Considering inequalities in the school closure response to COVID-19. The Lancet Global Health. 2020 May 1;8(5):e644.

3  Ludvigsson JF. Children are unlikely to be the main to be the main drivers of the COVID‐19 pandemic – a systematic review. Acta Paediatrica. 2020 May 19.

B) Oppose BONC [Board of Neighborhood Commissioners] social media policy

Motion text:

Whereas the proposed BONC Social Media Policy is a direct overreach in power and scope of limiting the ability of Neighborhood Councils to effectively communicate with their constituency; it requires onerous and unenforceable clauses; is overly complicated when existing rules cover many of the issues outlined and a simpler approach would be more appropriate; Therefore, the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils opposes the proposed BONC Social Media Policy.

C)  Support CF 20-1174 (unfinished development/enforcement)

Motion text:

Motion to support CF 20-1174 (Koretz and Ryu). Whereas there are unfinished development projects citywide, which were issued building permits, in some instances, more than 8 years prior, such unfinished projects causing the building sites to become eyesores and a disturbance to abutting property owners and neighborhood residents, therefore the City Council is to instruct the Department of Building and Safety, in consultation with the City Attorney, to prepare a report with the department’s enforcement of Municipal Code 91.106.4.4.3. to provide remedies such as a completion bond, which sets time limits to complete projects.

_________________________

Return to top of page

MINUTES FROM JANUARY 28th 2021

Voting Members in Attendance:  David Card, David Kaplan, Richard Cohen, Chris Spitz, Matthew Quiat, Jenny Li, Karen Ridgley, Joanna Spak, Sue Kohl,* Brenda Theveny,* Craig Natvig, Beth Holden-Garland, Alan Goldsmith, Steve Cron, Haldis Toppel, Fay Vahdani, Richard Blumenberg, Eric Dugdale, Jim Kirtley (*left meeting before vote on Item 11.2)

Voting Alternates:  Andrew Wolfberg,  Kimberly Bloom* (*after primary Sue Kohl left meeting)

Non-voting Advisors and Alternates:  Zennon Ulyate-Crow, Jack Coleman, Melanie Bouer, Mary Mueller

1.    Call to order and reading of Mission Statement.  The Chair David Card called the meeting to order at 5:31pm.  Dave Card read the Mission Statement.

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

3.    Roll call of voting members and certification of quorum. The Chair called the roll of voting members and certified that there was a quorum.

4.    Approval of Minutes.  The minutes of January 14, 2021 were approved. Upcoming meetings: February 11, 2021 — (Tentative) Public Safety Forum with new acting SLO James Allen; additional speakers/details to come.

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

6.    Treasurer’s Report.

The Treasurer Richard G. Cohen reported that PPCC’s cash balance is $37,725.82. There have been no significant transactions since the last report.  PPCC has received an offer of renewal for our D&O liability insurance.  The Treasurer will take care of this before the March renewal deadline.

7.    General Public Comment – None.

8.    Reports, Announcements and Concerns.

8.1.    From the Chair/Presiding Officer.

8.1.1.    Riviera Country Club – Longworth Maintenance Gate.  The Chair explained that following up on PPCC’s letter regarding this matter, he and the Area 8 Representatives Reza Akef and Andrew Wolfberg recently met with Mike Bonin and his team.  The Chair explained the background as set forth in PPCC’s letter requesting a determination letter from Planning [see: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/PPCC-EC-Letter-re-RCC-Longworth-Gate.pdf]. The Chair stated that Councilmember Bonin supports the neighbors and is insisting that the City agencies address their concerns about the illegal use of the gate. CD11 Senior Planning Deputy Len Nguyen is following up with the Planning Dept.  [see Item 8.5.3 below].  Andrew Wolfberg expressed thanks to the Councilmember, Mr. Nguyen and CD11 Palisades Deputy Durrah Wagner for stepping up and putting the neighborhood first.  He noted that the safety of the students at nearby Paul Revere Middle School is also important.  He also stated that he appreciates the support not only from the Council office and also from the PPCC Executive Committee.

8.1.2.    Potrero Canyon Park – naming for George Wolfberg.  The Chair announced that as result of Mike Bonin’s motion and the approval of the Board of Recreation and Parks Commissioners (RAP), the new name of the park in Potrero Canyon will be “George Wolfberg Park at Potrero Canyon.” This will be in honor of our long time PPCC board member and multiple past PPCC Chair, the late George Wolfberg. Andrew Wolfberg [George’s nephew] thanked Councilmember Bonin and everyone for their assistance with this effort. He stated that the neighborhood and community will love the park; it’s been a year since his passing and this honor for George is an honor for all in the family and for everyone who participates in volunteering and helping the community. The Chair then noted George’s long history of service, as detailed in PPCC’s resolution [see http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Resolution-re-Wolfberg-Park-Approved.pdf].  As to the project’s status, the Chair explained that RAP closed out the grading contract and the contract is complete.  There is a small credit.  Much of the work on the park has already been done.  He described all the elements that have been completed and what is visible now.  The tentative schedule going forward is: the bid package has been approved for the landscaping contract; bids will be solicited in Feb. 2021 and will be received in March; the landscaping contract will be awarded in April or May, with landscaping work to start this summer.  Spring 2022 hopefully will be the completion time (a 9-10 month timeframe is expected for completion). The Chair thanked Mike Bonin, Durrah Wagner, Lisa Cahill and all the CD11 team, including former CD11 senior counsel Norman Kulla, for their work in pushing this project along and making the park a reality for the community.

8.2.    From Officers.

8.2.1.   Richard Cohen (Treasurer).  Harry Sondheim (past PPCC Chair and Area 4 Representative) – In Memoriam.  The Treasurer reported that we are saddened to learn of the passing of Harry Sondheim on January 16 from complications caused by COVID. Harry was chair of PPCC from 2000 to 2002, a long-time Area 4 representative and an important member of the PPCC bylaws committee. Harry will be remembered as a strong voice for ethics, independence and civility. He was a true gentleman who was greatly admired for his volunteer work including being a board member of the Friends of the Palisades Library and work for the California State Bar Association which earned him recognition and which named an award after him [https://www.calbar.ca.gov/Portals/0/documents/awards/SondheimAwardSheet_06-27-12_r.pdf].
Harry was truly the embodiment of community leadership, professionalism and ethics. We will miss him.   Karen Ridgley (Area 4 Representative) thanked the Treasurer for this tribute and noted that Harry’s efforts on behalf of Area 4 were appreciated by the neighbors.

8.2.2.    Chris Spitz (Secretary).  WRAC motions and legislation.  The Secretary reported on motions that PPCC supported that have now become adopted WRAC positions.  WRAC chair Matt Wersinger has submitted a position letter regarding the “dockless mobility devices” motion [deny permits to providers that do not comply with law enforcement; see https://westsidecouncils.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/WRAC-Dockless-Permit-Denial-1_20.pdf],
which PPCC passed a year ago and sponsored in WRAC; the Secretary read aloud CD 5 District Director Debbie Dyner Harris’ email reply [see Attachment below].  The WRAC chair also submitted a position letter on the Community Plan update process [see https://westsidecouncils.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/WRAC-Community-Plan-Motion-12_3.pdf]; the Planning Dept.’s response was to thank WRAC and state only that they will take note of the requests. The Secretary also reported that the following additional motions (supported by PPCC) have passed by a majority or more of WRAC member councils and have been adopted by WRAC: eliminate gut and amend, support CF 20-1536 (Bonin STAP program motion) and oppose BONC social media policy.  Position letters will be submitted soon. Regarding state legislation, the Secretary noted that SB 55 (Allen & Stern; prohibit new development in the VHFHSZ) has not yet been assigned to a Senate committee and we are awaiting a further discussion with the Senators about possible amendments.  SB 9 and 10 will be discussed later in Item 11.2.

8.3.     From Area and At-large Representatives.

8.3.1.    Alan Goldsmith (At-large Representative):  A recent water sprinkler problem caused a ceiling to collapse at one of the units in his townhome complex.  A team of firefighters came to the scene and he was concerned because none of the firefighters was wearing a mask. He asked if anyone else had noticed firefighters not wearing masks and there was no response.

8.4.    From Organizational Representatives.

8.4.1.    Eric Dugdale (PP Historical Society).  Dick Wulliger – In Memoriam.  Dick Wulliger was a very bright, respected and energetic man who served the community again and again in many capacities.  He was on the PPHS and TCA boards and also served on the PP Democratic Club.  He was an example of service to the community and was a truly great Palisadian. The Secretary noted that Dick served as the PPHS primary representative to PPCC for many years. The Chair also remarked on Dick’s service and expressed appreciation for his contributions to the community.

8.4.2.    Jim Kirtley (YMCA).  During the pandemic, the Palisades-Malibu YMCA is pivoting and doing community service work.  He would like to share at our next meeting a “COVID outcomes” sheet showing everything that the YMCA is doing in the community.

8.4.3.    Beth Holden Garland (PPRA).  PPRA has created signs that people can put up reminding everyone to wear masks.  The Chair suggested that PPRA may want to ask businesses to post the signs and he noted that the signs should not be affixed to trees or placed in the public right of way.

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

8.5.1.    Zac Gaidzik, West/Metro LA Field Deputy, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl (see Item 11.1 below).

8.5.2.    Janet Turner, Field Representative, Congressman Ted Lieu – not present.

8.5.3.    Durrah Wagner, Palisades Field Deputy, and Len Nguyen, Senior Planning Deputy, Councilmember Bonin/CD11.

Ms. Wagner:  Regarding the drop in water pressure in Area 5, an LADWP representative has informed her that the agency is conducting treatments related to reservoir recycling; as a result there are periods when the water pressure is low.  Ms. Wagner still needs to be told how long this will last; she is trying to get information about the timeline on when the situation will get back to normal.  Sue Kohl (Area 5 Representative):  She is glad that CD11 is keeping the pressure on LADWP, but neighbors say this is continuing to happen at various times, including within the homes of individual homeowners, and the drop in pressure at the hydrants continues to be a concern due to the fire danger.  The Chair noted that this sounds like an engineering problem that needs to be solved with infrastructure.  Ms. Wagner also reported that Councilmembers Bonin and Raman have called for the City to expand Project Roomkey and have asked the City Attorney to investigate and report on how to get federal funding for the effort.

Mr. Nguyen:  Regarding the RCC/Longworth gate, he has spoken to the Chief Zoning Administrator for the Planning Dept., who has assigned staff to do research about the approvals for the gate.  He gave her the background on what he was able to find when this came up in 2018 and will have an update for us in about a week.

8.6.    From PPCC Advisors – None.

9.    Reports from Committees.

9.1.    Community Plan Update Committee (CPUC; David Card, Committee Chair).  The Chair explained that we have received a Notice of Preparation (NOP) of the Initial Study for the City’s Housing Element update. There were scoping meetings this week as part of the environmental review process.  Every 8-9 years the state housing agency gives their projection of how many housing units are needed in various jurisdictions in the state (this is known as the Regional Housing Needs Assessment/RHNA).  The RHNA number assigned to our area may impact the Brentwood-Pacific Palisades Community Plan (CP). When we receive the number that will tell us how we will need to accommodate X number of additional housing units in the Palisades and Brentwood.  We don’t yet know what the numbers are but will find out at some point.  The Housing Element update is due by October 2021, but we are told that the process of updating our CP will likely not even start until 2022. Written comments on the Housing Element NOP and Initial Study are due by February 15th.  The CPUC is working jointly with the Brentwood Community Council’s committee on draft letters; the board will likely be voting on a proposed comment letter at the February 11th PPCC meeting (to be submitted by the February 15th deadline, as part of the EIR process).  The Secretary noted that the CPUC will attempt to provide information about the process to the board in advance.

10.    Old Business – None. 

11.     New Business.  

11.1.     COVID 19 vaccinations update.  Guest speaker: Zac Gaidzik, West/Metro LA Field Deputy, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.   Discussion only.  Also attending and speaking:  Lonnie Resser, Health Program Analyst with the LA County Dept. of Public Health.

Mr. Gaidzik introduced Ms. Resser, who described her job and explained that she addresses public health concerns primarily in the West LA community.  She shared a Power Point with detailed information about COVID-19 and vaccinations.  She first discussed what we know about the virus, how the virus works, and what the vaccines do.  The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are 94-95% effective at preventing the disease. These vaccines use mRNA technology; she described what this is and how it works.  She emphasized that individuals cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine.  There may be brief side effects after getting the vaccine, including fever and aches, that last 1-2 days, but these are normal and are signs that the body is building immunity.  Two doses are needed in order to get the best protection and the same vaccine should be administered for both doses.

Ms. Resser also described how to make appointments for second doses.  There is a different process depending on where you received your first dose.  Vaccination is a safer way to prevent spread of the disease than natural immunity.  She also spoke about the fast-track development of the vaccine and the steps taken to ensure safety.  Manufacturing of the vaccine began during clinical trials.  The FDA and CDC prioritized review and authorization.  She described the studies for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.  The FDA and CDC continue to conduct extra monitoring of the safety of the vaccines.  “V-safe” is a new text messaging app used to follow up with people in the studies.  This allows any possible problems to be investigated.

Ms. Resser further described how the County is allocating and managing vaccine distribution; it is attempting to do this in an equitable way.  There won’t be enough vaccine for everyone until late spring or summer.  She described the various phases of distribution.  The County is currently vaccinating healthcare workers and anyone who is 65 and older.  She showed a screenshot of the County website, www.vaccinateLAcounty.com [see link on the PPCC website]. The County website has links to book an appointment and information about the vaccines.  There are phone numbers for those without access to a computer.  She gave a few tips: Look out for scams and report any scams to dcba.lacounty.gov; never give out personal or financial information.  As to the steps necessary to stop the spread:  nothing has changed; we must all continue to wear face coverings, avoid close contact, wash hands and sanitize.

Q&A then ensued:  Sue Kohl (Area 5 representative):  She has spent hours every day to try and get an appointment; those who went to a pharmacy such as Ralph’s for first dose did not receive an appointment or any information about how to obtain a second dose; we were told good luck, you’re on your own in getting a second dose. She hasn’t been able to get an appointment for the second dose on her own, and is wondering if the first and second doses are the same.  Ms. Resser:  The vaccine supply is limited but the County is prioritizing second doses; there are shipments earmarked for second doses. She will check on whether the first and second doses are the same.  Mr. Gaidzik:  People can sign up for a second dose at the mega sites.  Ms. Resser:  She advises individuals to keep trying to obtain an appointment.  Appointments for second doses can be up to a week after the recommended date and still be ok. Second doses are recommended 21 days after the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and 28 days after the first dose of the Moderna vaccine.   Mr. Gaidzik:  Keep trying on the County website by clicking refresh. There is also a new statewide “my turn” website for appointments, myturn.ca.gov.  It is best to check over the weekend.

David Kaplan (PPCC Vice-Chair):  Regarding second doses, he received a white card after his first dose that said to return on February 13.  He was told he would probably get an email telling him when to come.  If he doesn’t get an email, should he just show up?  Ms. Resser:  If you don’t receive the email then still show up on the date on the white card at the same time as your first dose.  Jim Kirtley (YMCA):  What is the status for vaccination of children 16 and under?  Ms. Resser:  She doesn’t have that information.  The Moderna vaccine was approved only for 18 and over.  The Pfizer vaccine was approved for 16 and over.  That is because those ages were included in the vaccine trials; children under those ages weren’t in the trials. Some companies such as Johnson & Johnson may now be conducting trials on children but she doesn’t know the ages or status.  

Eric Dugdale (PPHS):  Are any companies better equipped to make adjustments for the new strains than other companies?  Ms. Resser:  We don’t have that information yet.  The Public Health Dept. urges everyone to get the vaccine as soon as it is offered to you.  We don’t know enough about how the vaccines respond to the new strains to make a different recommendation.  Alan Goldsmith (At-large Representative):  His wife got an appointment via email for a second dose but he did not; they were vaccinated in Long Beach.  Can he just go with her?  Ms. Resser:  Long Beach County is different from LA County so she can’t speak directly to his question.  Haldis Toppel (Area 3 Representative):  Balboa Park allows walk-ins at the end of regularly scheduled appointments.  If you wait in line in the park, at the end of the last appointment a staff person goes through the waiting line and picks out anyone over 65 and they will give them any leftover shots.  About 20 persons over 65 were in line when she was there and they all got their shots.  Mr. Gaidzik:  We are not recommending that people take that option but at the same time they aren’t going to waste the vaccine and will put any leftover doses in arms if people are there.  Ms. Resser:  We are asking people not to show up and get the vaccine at the end of the day at LA County sites.

PPCC Chair:  Teachers/educators do not yet have the green light for vaccinations; when will that happen?  Ms. Resser:  We must keep transmission/community spread down.  The last she checked, that tier would be early February; she noted that the website still says that, but it will take time to get through the first tiers.  Chair:  When will we be getting increased supplies?  Mr. Gaidzik:  We hope as soon as possible. Chair:  What are the holdups?  Mr. Gaidzik:  Everything.  There was a lot of historic coordination and planning did not happen during the prior administration.  Chair:  It has been reported that Blue Shield may take over statewide distribution; can you explain this?  Mr. Gaidzik: He can’t comment as he doesn’t have any information about this.  Ms. Resser:  She doesn’t know about this either.  Eric Dugdale:  Should we be double-masking?  Ms. Resser:  She hasn’t heard yet from Dr. Ferrer about this but it couldn’t hurt.  We need to keep wearing masks as well as getting vaccinated.

There were no questions or comments from the audience.  The Chair thanked Mr. Gaidzik and Ms. Resser for the presentation and for answering our questions.

11.2.    Motion recommended to member-councils by the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils (WRAC):  A) Oppose SB 9 (Atkins); Support CF 21-0002-S18 (Koretz) B) Oppose SB 10 (Wiener); Support CF 21-0002-S21 (Koretz). See attachment below for motion text. Background: https://westsidecouncils.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Background-re-SB-9-and-10.pdf.

Motion A):  On behalf of the Executive Committee, the Secretary introduced the motion and referenced the background information that had been provided in the agenda. She stated that the Committee was including a new first “Whereas” paragraph in the motion that was inadvertently omitted from the motion text in the agenda (“Whereas, Senate Bill 9 violates principles of democratic process. . .”).  She then moved on behalf of the Executive Committee that the board vote to support the motion with the new first “Whereas” paragraph and substituting the name “Pacific Palisades Community Council” for the name “Westside Regional Alliance of Councils” in the last “Therefore” paragraph [see attachment below for text of motion].   No second was necessary as the motion was made by a committee of more than one voting board member.  Discussion:  None.

A vote was taken.  Result:  Unanimous in favor of the motion.

Motion B):  On behalf of the Executive Committee, the Secretary introduced the motion and referenced the background information that had been provided in the agenda. She then moved on behalf of the Executive Committee that the board vote to support the motion, substituting the name “Pacific Palisades Community Council” for the name “Westside Regional Alliance of  Councils” in the last “Therefore” paragraph [see attachment below for text of motion]. No second was necessary as the motion was made by a committee of more than one voting board member.   Discussion: Matt Quiat (Area 6 Representative):  He supports this bill as he believes we need more affordable housing which should be located near transit corridors. The Chair explained that PPCC’s position has consistently been to oppose state legislation that would remove local control over planning and zoning and/or would add additional density in our Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone.  The Secretary commented that SB 10, among other things, is unconstitutional because it includes a provision that allows for City Councils to override voter initiatives and further, it does not provide for any affordable housing.  She stated that it is important to acknowledge that we do have an affordable housing crisis; she is working on a draft motion to be introduced in WRAC, acknowledging the crisis and supporting other bills now pending the legislature that address the crisis in a positive way, consistent with the principles that we support.

Jenny Li (Area 7 Representative): She wonders how these state housing bills would impact the Community Plan process.  The Secretary and Chair both noted that state legislation takes precedence but we don’t know now if the bills will pass and what their impact will be. Karen Ridgley (Area 4 Representative): She wonders about the impact of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and whether these would be allowed on R1 parcels in addition to the extra dwelling units that the new bills call for. The Secretary explained that state legislation passed last year allows an ADU and a junior ADU by right on R1 parcels, in addition to the main dwelling unit. As she noted to the board last year, as a practical result this legislation eliminated most R1 zoning in the state. PPCC did not take a position because, after discussing the matter at PPCC LUC meetings, we learned that many residents want to be allowed to construct ADUs on their property and there wasn’t a consensus on the issue one way or the other.  However, now that ADUs are allowed by right on most parcels, if SB 9 and 10 were to pass that would result in many more dwelling units being allowed by right on residential parcels.  For example, under SB 9, a former single-family parcel would be allowed to have two main dwelling units, plus a junior and “regular” ADU, for a total of four dwelling units; or if the lot is split under SB 9, up to eight units (four main dwelling units plus a junior and “regular” ADU on each of the split parcels) – all on a former “one-unit” single family parcel.

A vote was taken.  Result:  17-1-1; motion passed by more than a 2/3 majority.

12.    Adjournment.   The meeting was adjourned at 7:30pm.


ATTACHMENTS
 

Item 8.2.2 (Response of Debbie Dyner Harris/CM Koretz to WRAC position letter):

“Thank you very much for letting Councilmember Koretz know of this motion.  As you may know, the Councilmember has been a champion for ensuring safety relating to these dockless scooters from day one, and has made several motions to ensure compliance.

During COVID, both LAPD and LADOT have been overall successful in getting these companies to comply with City requirements such as you reference in your letter, and the Councilmember will continue to press this forward to ensure safety throughout the City.

Please let me know if you have any questions, Debbie”

Item 11.2 (Text of adopted motions – A & B):

A) Oppose SB 9 (Atkins); Support CF 21-0002-S18 (Koretz).

Motion text:

Whereas, Senate Bill 9 violates principles of democratic process and local control by mandating local governments to ministerially approve lot splits and/or development projects allowing for two main residential units on parcels in single-family residential zones (under specified conditions), thus substantially eliminating single-family zoning in California;

Whereas, Senate Bill 9 violates the California Coastal Act (Public Resources Code §§30000 et seq.) by failing to exempt parcels within the Coastal zone, by purporting to eliminate hearings for Coastal Development Permits, and by requiring by-right/expedited approval of all projects permitted under the bill, including projects within the Coastal zone which otherwise require discretionary review, including hearings, under the Coastal Act;

Whereas, Senate Bill 9 violates the California Environmental Quality Act (Public Resources Code §§ 21065 and 21080) and shortcuts required CEQA review by declaring preemptively that a project permitted under the bill is not a “project” under CEQA, without regard to the test established by controlling caselaw, that is, whether the ordinance in a given case is “capable of causing a direct or reasonably foreseeable indirect change in the environment” (Union of Medical Marijuana Patients, Inc. v. City of San Diego (California Coastal Commission, Real Party in Interest), (2019) 7 Cal.5th 1171);

Whereas, Senate Bill 9 compromises public safety and puts the lives and property of thousands of California residents in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone (VHFHSZ) at risk from increased density by failing to provide any exemption for parcels within the VHFHSZ;

Whereas, Senate Bill 9 fails to address the state’s affordable housing crisis or to further the purported goal of “ensuring an adequate supply of affordable housing” by not specifying or requiring any particular amount or level of affordable housing (low to moderate income/workforce housing) in projects permitted pursuant to the bill;

Whereas, Councilmember Paul Koretz has introduced a resolution in Los Angeles City Council, CF 21-0002- S18, calling for the City of Los Angeles to oppose Senate Bill 9;

Therefore, Pacific Palisades Community Council opposes Senate Bill 9 (Atkins) and supports the resolution in CF 21-0002-S18 (Koretz) calling for the City of Los Angeles to oppose Senate Bill 9.
B) Oppose SB 10 (Wiener); Support CF 21-0002-S21 (Koretz).

Motion text:

Whereas, Senate Bill 10 violates the California Constitution (Art. II, Sec. 10(c)) and principles of democracy and true local control by allowing local governments (i.e., a majority of the current or future City Council) to upzone single family residential properties and speed approval processes for increased density/multi-unit housing, without stakeholder involvement and by overriding community-driven local restrictions on adopting zoning ordinances, including restrictions enacted by voter initiatives;

Whereas, Senate Bill 10 violates the California Coastal Act (Public Resources Code §§30000 et seq.) by failing to exempt parcels within the Coastal zone and by allowing by-right/expedited approval of development projects with up to 10 dwelling units on properties that are upzoned under the bill, including projects within the Coastal zone which require discretionary review under the Coastal Act;

Whereas, Senate Bill 10 violates the California Environmental Quality Act (Public Resources Code §§ 21065 and 21080) and shortcuts required CEQA review by declaring preemptively that an ordinance by a local government (i.e., a majority of the current or future City Council) to upzone a single family residential property pursuant to the bill is not a “project” under CEQA, without consideration of whether the ordinance in a given case is “capable of causing a direct or reasonably foreseeable indirect change in the environment” (Union of Medical Marijuana Patients, Inc. v. City of San Diego (California Coastal Commission, Real Party in Interest), (2019) 7 Cal.5th 1171);

Whereas, Senate Bill 10 potentially compromises public safety and may put the lives and property of thousands of California residents in single family residential areas that are also in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone (VHFHSZ) at risk from increased density by failing to provide for an unconditional exemption from upzoning under the bill for properties in the VHFHSZ;

Whereas, Senate Bill 10 prevents public scrutiny and bypasses democratic process by providing that state agencies alone, without local community input, would identify and maintain a controlling map of so-called “jobs-rich” areas throughout the state for purposes of upzoning single family residential properties under the bill;

Whereas, Senate Bill 10 circumvents controlling caselaw by, in effect, allowing for “spot zoning” by local governments (i.e., a majority of the current or future City Council) without consideration of whether upzoning a single family residential property would be of substantial benefit to the public in a given case (Foothills Communities Coalition v. County of Orange (2014) 222 Cal.App.4th 1302);

Whereas, Senate Bill 10 fails to address the state’s affordable housing crisis or to further the purported goal of “ensuring an adequate supply of affordable housing” by not requiring any particular amount or level of affordable (low to moderate income/workforce) housing in development projects to be built on properties that are upzoned under the bill;

Whereas, Councilmember Paul Koretz has introduced a resolution in Los Angeles City Council, CF 21-0002- S21, calling for the City of Los Angeles to oppose Senate Bill 10;

Therefore, Pacific Palisades Community Council opposes Senate Bill 10 (Wiener) and supports the resolution in CF 21-0002-S21 (Koretz), calling for the City of Los Angeles City to oppose Senate Bill 10.

_________________________

Return to top of page

MINUTES FROM FEBRUARY 11th 2021

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

Voting Alternates:  Rick McGeagh, Susan Orenstein

Non-voting Advisors and Alternates:  Jack Coleman, Miriam Schulman, Melanie Bouer, Mary Mueller, Cathy Russell

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

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

3.    Roll call of voting members and certification of quorum. The Chair called the roll of voting members and certified that there was a quorum.

4.   Approval of Minutes.  The minutes of January 28, 2021 were approved. Upcoming meetings: February 25, 2021 – (1) Public Safety/Disaster Readiness Forum #2 (CERT, ACS/ amateur radio & RYLAN/MYN); (2) Update on low water pressure problem in Area 5 (Deborah Hong/LADWP).

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

6.    Treasurer’s Report.

The Treasurer Richard G. Cohen reported that PPCC’s cash balance is $37,003.51. Since the last report he has paid the renewal premium for PPCC’s Directors and Officers liability insurance in the amount of $619.00, a modest increase from last year’s premium.

7.    General Public Comment.

7.1.   Marge Gold (resident).  The Palisades-Malibu YMCA is sponsoring a Grab & Go grocery program one day a week on Thursdays in front of the Y.  Groceries are given out to those in need.  She asked everyone to spread the word.

8.    Reports, Announcements and Concerns.

8.1.    From the Chair/Presiding Officer.

8.1.1.    New Zoom meeting start time 6pm.   The Chair explained that with the concurrence of the Executive Committee, the officers have made an administrative decision that the new start time of PPCC meetings, while being held in the Zoom format, will be 6pm instead of 5:30pm.  The start time may return to 7pm or another time, depending on conditions and meeting location, when we are able to return to in-person meetings in the future.

8.1.2.    PCH Task Force update.  No Task Force meeting was held this month; the next meeting will probably take place in March.

8.1.3.    Chautauqua/PCH intersection update.

The Chair reported that LADOT and Caltrans have advised that in the next few weeks or months they’ll be making some changes to the complex intersections of PCH with Chautauqua, West Channel and with Entrada.  This is considered a pilot program. The agencies will monitor the intersection for some period of months to determine the efficacy of the improvements and may make adjustments as needed in the future.

Changes to southbound Chautauqua include: installing new lane markings, plastic lane separators and possible new signage to deter illegal and unsafe turns onto PCH.  LADOT will create a small, narrow island between the left and right lanes on which they will install delineators to deter people from using the left lane to turn onto PCH southbound. These efforts are meant to encourage and educate motorists that the left lane is only for U-turns onto W. Channel Rd. The right lane of Chautauqua will continue to be the only lane to be able to turn onto PCH, north or south.

The biggest proposed change will be for vehicles heading northbound on PCH between Entrada and Chautauqua, where there are four lanes.  Three lanes will be for through traffic only, north on PCH.  Only the one right lane will allow right turns.  Cars in that lane can turn right onto either W. Channel Rd. or Chautauqua. New signage and lane markings will be installed to alert motorists to the changes.

8.1.4.    Motion in City Council re possible use of non-dedicated City parkland for homeless housing – CF 21-0063 (de Leon); Palisades area parks status.

The Chair explained that Councilmember Kevin de Leon has brought a motion regarding the possible use of City property, including non-dedicated City parks, for use for homeless housing.  All of the Palisades area City parks are dedicated City parkland.  We have verified through the City Attorney’s office that the Palisades and Rustic Canyon parks are in fact City parkland.  From experience, the Chair knows that Potrero Canyon is also dedicated City parkland.  He also explained that there are some emergency exceptions when temporary housing has been allowed on dedicated City parkland, such as emergency housing for soldiers during WWII and temporary homeless housing at recreation centers during the pandemic.

8.1.5.    PLUM rehearing of the JIB site project.  This will take place on Tuesday, February 16.  The rehearing was scheduled because of technical audio difficulties at the last hearing when some people couldn’t get into or hear the virtual meeting to make comments. PPCC previously submitted written and oral comments in opposition to the project, including oral comments in opposition made by the Chair at the last hearing.

8.2.    From Officers.

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

a) PPCC letters (re SB 9 and 10):
Council File: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Letter-re-CF-21-0002-S18.pdf
Council File: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Letter-re-CF-21-0002-S21.pdf
Sen. Cmtee: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/PPCC-Letter-Senate-Housing-SB-9-10.pdf
Sen. Cmtee: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/PPCC-Letter-Senate-GovFinance-SB9-10.pdf

b) Updates:  http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/WRAC-and-legislation-update2-11-21.pdf

The Secretary announced that letters regarding SB 9 and 10 had been submitted to officials as linked in the agenda.  She also stated that she hoped everyone had read the Update document linked in the agenda and she had a few additional updates.  First, the motions to oppose SB 9 and 10 have now been adopted by a majority of WRAC members and will become official WRAC positions. We will continue to monitor the bills in the Senate and the resolutions in City Council.  She also noted that the WRAC Land Use & Planning Committee had passed the motion she has sponsored calling for support for positive affordable housing bills such as SB 15 and SCA 2.  This motion will be taken up at the WRAC meeting this coming Monday and may be recommended out to the member councils.  Stay tuned for more information about this proposed motion.

Regarding SB 115:  We were recently assured by Assemblymember Bloom’s team, Lenh Voong (Legislative Deputy) and Josh Kurpies (District Director), that the Assemblymember will be amending the bill to include an unconditional exemption for the VHFHSZ.  We have thanked them and Asm. Bloom and we will of course monitor the bill to make sure the bill is amended to include the exemption.

The Secretary also announced that Councilmember Bonin’s motion calling for a report on the parameters of the STAP program (installation of bus benches with digital signs) passed in the Council Public Works Committee yesterday.  The WRAC position (which is the same as PPCC’s position – support for the Bonin motion, with additional requests) was presented at the hearing by WRAC Secretary and BABCNC Chair Robin Greenberg.  The motion will need to go next to the full Council for adoption.  Meanwhile, proposals from contractors are being sought and StreetsLA is continuing to conduct outreach.  StreetsLA has also posted an interactive map of all bus shelter and bench sites in the City, along with user data, which may be used to determine shelter/bench and digital sign locations. PRIDE will be taking a look at the map and we’ll continue to monitor.

8.3.    From Area and At-large Representatives.

8.3.1.    Sue Kohl (Area 5 Representative).  What is happening with the planned left turn signal at the intersection of Sunset westbound onto Chautauqua southbound?  The Chair:  He has been to the site and has talked with the workers who are busy with all the improvements. This is still in the process of being installed.

8.4.    From Organizational Representatives.

8.4.1.    Trish Bowe (Rotary Club).  The Palisades Rotary has donated $10,000 to the Westside Food Bank.  This will result in 55,000 lbs. of food.  It is the largest donation ever to go to the Food Bank. The Chair commended the Rotary for this effort.

8.4.2.    Jim Kirtley (YMCA).  The Y is hosting a Grab & Go grocery program in front of the Y on Thursdays from 12-2pm, for anyone in need of food.  The Y is also starting a Zoom learning support group.  On February 22, the organization will host twelve children who will be supervised on Zoom so that their parents can go to work.  The Chair thanked the Y for these programs.

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

8.5.1.    LAPD Acting SLO James Allen; LAFD Battalion Chief Joe Everett, Captain II Mike Johnson & Captain II Mike Flynn (Palisades Fire Station 69). See Item 11.1 below.

8.5.2.    Janet Turner, Field Representative, Congressman Ted Lieu.

Congressman Lieu and Senator Feinstein have introduced the “West LA VA Campus Improvement Act,” to allow the VA to use proceeds from leaseholders toward building more housing for homeless veterans on the campus.  The Congressman also participated in a Congressional letter to President Biden asking for more federal aid for COVID care and vaccines. The Congressman’s office learned today that the federal government is sending workers to hospitals in Torrance.  They are hopeful more aid will be coming.  Upcoming events for students: The deadline to submit entries in the Congressional Art Competition is February 26 at 5pm. Service Academy Day will take place on February 20; it is a virtual event this year for those interested in attending one of the service academies.  More information about both events is on www.lieu.house.gov (visit resources on the Help tab).

Reza Akef (Area 8 Representative) remarked that when he recently took his mother to be vaccinated at CSUN, he learned that 200 bottles of vaccine were thrown away; he would like Ms. Turner to let the Congressman know about this incident.  Ms. Turner replied that her office is in constant talks with LA County about these vaccine issues.

8.6.    From PPCC Advisors – None.

9.    Reports from Committees

9.1.    Community Plan Update Committee (CPUC; David Card, Committee Chair).  Citywide Housing Element 2021-2029 Update/NOP-Initial Study; motion for board approval of EIR comment letter.

Proposed letter: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Housing-Element-Comment-Letter.pdf
NOP links: https://planning.lacity.org/development-services/eir/housing-element-2021-2029-update-safety-element-update
CEQA/EIR steps: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1MrStWLgpB-ohJ-Kx8Lb4AIUfz-RbbxaE/view (information recently prepared to assist the BCC board in connection with the EIR process for a Brentwood development project).

The Chair introduced the matter and explained that this involves the Housing Element Update.  At some point in the process, we’ll be given the increased number of houses that will be required in our Community Plan area and we’ll learn whether or not some of our R-1 areas will have to be rezoned to accommodate more housing.  Right now, we are in the initial study phase of the environmental review process and the Secretary has drafted a comment letter on the Housing Element Update draft EIR.  The Secretary then explained that the Community Plan Update Committee (CPUC) is recommending that the board approve the draft comment letter which is linked in the meeting agenda.  Information about the EIR and CEQA process is also linked in the agenda, and Alex Ponting (PPCC’s technical engineer) has added a link to the letter in the Zoom Chat as well.  The Secretary explained briefly for background that the Housing Element is a section of the City’s General Plan; it is updated every eight years to reflect new housing “RHNA” (Regional Housing Needs Assessment numbers) required by state housing law.  Right now, the Housing Element Update is going through the environmental review process.  An initial study has been prepared and comments are due by February 15.  In a nutshell, the draft letter describes our concerns, which center on wildfire hazards and the impact on public safety from increased housing density in the VHFHSZ, and it asks for the EIR to address these potentially significant impacts.  The Secretary also reported that Councilmember Bonin has written a strong EIR comment letter regarding the Housing Element Update, requesting a study of fire risks in the hillside and canyon areas of CD 11.   [See CM Bonin’s letter at: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/CD11-Comment-Letter_02.09.2021_Housing-Element-CEQA-and-Wildfires.pdf].

The Secretary then moved on behalf of the CPUC for board approval of the proposed comment letter as linked in the agenda.  No second was needed since the motion was made by a committee of more than one voting board member.

Discussion:  Reza Akef asked about the phrasing of the last sentence of the letter and wanted to know how we know what the impacts will be.  The Secretary and the Chair both explained that, as mentioned in the letter, we haven’t been given the housing number for our area so we don’t know the extent of any required rezoning or what the exact impacts will be at this point, but it is possible, again as explained in the comment letter, that more housing and rezoning may be required which would have a potentially significant impact on public safety in the Palisades. We are therefore asking that the EIR address these potential impacts from a range of realistic rezoning possibilities or required housing numbers that may be assigned to the Palisades in the future.

A vote was then taken.  Result:  Unanimous approval of the proposed letter linked in the agenda [http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Housing-Element-Comment-Letter.pdf].

10.   Old Business – None.

11.   New Business.  

11.1.   Public Safety/Disaster Readiness Forum #1. Guest speakers: Acting LAPD Palisades SLO James Allen; LAFD Battalion Chief Joe Everett, Captain II Mike Johnson & Captain II Mike Flynn (Palisades Fire Station 69).  Discussion only.

Acting SLO Allen:  He has been with LAPD for 13 years and in West LA since 2009. Unfortunately, we will have a new Acting SLO as of February 12th because Officer Allen is leaving the next day to work on the beach patrol and the Palisades will be assigned rotating SLOs.  He will ensure that we won’t have any service interruptions.  Regarding recent tents with homeless people camping on the beach:  Officer Allen has learned about what the beach patrol does in these cases from working with Officer Rusty Redican. The City has a Shelter in Place order and the police can’t tell people that they must leave the sidewalks, but the officers can enforce the hours on the beaches.  During hours that the beach is operational tents can be placed there, but at night until 5am there is no camping on the beach.  He and the beach patrol start watch hours at 4am and catch people who had slept on the beach overnight.  PPTFH members also come and offer resources and services. If the homeless won’t take services they are given a ticket and have to pack up and leave.  Officer Allen praised PPTFH for their efforts.

The Chair asked what LAPD’s role is during fire emergencies.  Officer Allen explained that LAPD assists LAFD; since police drive the streets every day, they can ensure security in the area and they can also knock on doors and make announcements.  He noted that tomorrow he will be on the beach detail with Officer Espin.  He also reported that crime in our area has been low; the main issues involve burglary and theft from cars parked on Los Leones. The Chair thanked Officer Allen for his presentation and service.

Battalion Chief Joe Everett:  He has been with LAFD for 28 years and in the Battalion for two years.  He announced that in attendance with him were Captains Mike Johnson and Mike Flynn of Palisades Station 69.  He praised all the firefighters at our Palisades stations and noted that Capt. Robert Williams is at Station 23.

Chief Everett explained that he lives in Malibu Canyon and is familiar with the Palisades and our topography and fire risks.  In 1937, his grandfather took a job as a firefighter with LAFD, was assigned to Station 69, bought a house on Bestor and raised his family in the Palisades.  Pacific Palisades is near and dear to Chief Everett’s heart.  He is aware that the potential for experiencing a large wildfire is always here.  He was involved most recently with LAFD operations on the Palisades Fire in October 2019.  He then presented a slide show with historical photos, including very old photos showing the Long Wharf and the Methodist founders, as well as several photos of the huge 1978 Palisades fire, which he remembers. Chief Everett assured us that LAFD will do everything it can, when conditions for wildfires are present, to move resources here as a precaution in advance of fires starting.  He then provided more details about the 2019 Palisades Fire operations.  LAFD was able to respond with air resources and they saved every house. He showed an aerial photograph of the fire approaching homes in the area of upper Lachman Lane and noted that the picture depicted defensible space behind the houses, which was important in preventing flames from reaching the structures.  LAFD’s tactics included pinching off the fire at the base of Palisades Dr. and surrounding nearby houses with manpower and water.

Regarding evacuation procedures, Chief Everett explained that LAFD partners with LAPD in evacuations.  He stressed the importance of brush clearance and home hardening, and advised everyone to visit the LAFD website, www.LAFD.org (fire prevention/brush), or email LAFDBrush@lacity.org.  He also noted the importance of the Ready, Set, Go initiative, which has four basic safety premises: make an evacuation plan; have an emergency supply kit; arrange a meeting spot for family members; and stay informed with Notify LA and other fire alerts.

Chief Everett then introduced Capt. Flynn as a leading expert in technology and communications with LAFD.  Capt. Flynn discussed the ALERTWildfire system, which is supported by CalFire.  LAFD uses weather stations to be advised of basic wind directions.  Cameras have been added to the system.  He showed a map with large viewsheds from the cameras which included parts of canyons in the Palisades.  San Vicente Peak is a new camera addition.  Through this system LAFD can see in advance which canyons are threatened by wildfires and which canyons need to be evacuated.

Karen Ridgley (Area 4 Representative) asked how people can sign up for fire alerts.  Chief Everett suggested getting the Notify LA or CalFire (Get Ready for Wildfire) apps, which can be accessed on cell phones.  The Secretary noted that the PPCC website has extensive information on the Disaster Readiness page under Resources, including information on how to sign up for the Notify LA and CalFire apps.

Alan Goldsmith (At-large Representative) related an incident that occurred after firefighters had responded to a recent fire at a residence in his complex.  None of the firefighters wore a mask.  A person in charge told him that they don’t wear masks when responding to an emergency, but by the time this was no longer an emergency the firefighters were still gathered not wearing masks.  Chief Everett apologized and stated that he will address this with the companies that responded to this fire.  He acknowledged that masks are needed for public safety; LAFD’s policy is that while fighting a fire the firefighters don’t need to wear masks, but they need to put masks on after their work on the fire has stopped.

Rick McGeagh (Area 7 First Alternate) asked if any ALERTWildfire cameras are planned for sites closer to the Palisades.  Chief Everett:  They are working on getting more cameras  but will have to jump through certain hoops, including the fact that many of the possible camera locations are on private property or in state responsibility areas.  He hopes that they will have more cameras up prior to the next brush season.

Miriam Schulman (Wildfire Safety Advisor) stated that she is concerned about evacuations on our narrow streets that are not red-flagged.  Some people don’t want to lose their parking so they oppose the red flag designation for their streets.  Ms. Schulman suggested that residents on these streets should instead support the designation and she asked how residents can apply to have streets red-flagged.  Chief Everett: Address this question to him at joseph.everett@lacity.org.

The Chair asked about evacuation orders and suggestions; if we are given an evacuation order or suggestion, is remaining in our home an alternative?  Chief Everett explained that there have been changes in the orders.

K.C. Soll (resident and CERT trainer):  In cases of major earthquakes, when 911 may not be available, what is the first thing that should be done?  Chief Everett:  We could use advanced technology such as Notify LA and wildfire alert apps, as well as radio & TV. LAFD handles emergencies in the same way – they use a system of situational awareness and will work to abate the situation.  Ms. Soll:  She has coordinated CERT training in the Palisades and has heard of windshield assessments.  Chief Everett:  All the fire stations have a route that they follow to check on critical infrastructure.  Their response is contingent on the magnitude of the problem. They do look at windshield assessments, and LAFD has an extensive emergency plan.

The Chair then introduced the next guest speaker, PPCC’s Wildfire Safety Advisor Miriam Schulman, to remind everyone of the basic things people need to do to make their homes fire resistant.

Ms. Schulman explained that there are a number of things people should do for fire prevention — brush clearance being the most important.  She related numerous other measures that should be taken, starting from the top of the house down:

Install the right fire-resistant roofing material (i.e., no wood shingles).
Keep roofs and gutters clean (to prevent embers from sparking dead leaves/pine needles).
Enclose eaves around the house.
Properly screen vents; install ember-proof screens across all vents/openings.
Remove piles of wood, debris or other items piled up next to the house.
Install hardscape or gravel around the house.
Remove trellises against walls and ensure that no vines are growing up around the house
Keep landscaping watered and healthy.
Remove dead trees, piles of leaves or other dead landscaping around the house.
During red flag days move patio furniture away from deck and remove outdoor cushions.
If leaving town, make sure the deck and patio furniture are fireproofed.
Don’t store things underneath mobile homes.

Ms. Schulman emphasized that embers can travel a very long way during wildfires and can spark fires at homes even if actual flames are not nearby.  She also reminded everyone that she is certified to do wildfire safety evaluations at homes and is available to do walk-arounds.

The Chair thanked Ms. Schulman, Battalion Chief Everett and the fire captains in attendance for their presentations.

12.    Adjournment.   The meeting was adjourned at 7:35pm.

_________________________

Return to top of page

MINUTES FROM FEBRUARY 25th 2021

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

Voting Alternates:  Cindy Kirven, Kevin Niles

Non-voting Advisors and Alternates:  Jack Coleman, Kimberly Bloom, Mary Mueller, Lee Anne Sanderson

1.    Call to order and reading of Mission Statement.  The Chair David Card called the meeting to order at 6:01pm.  Chris Spitz read the Mission Statement.

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

3.    Roll call of voting members and certification of quorum. The Chair called the roll of voting members and certified that there was a quorum.

4.    Approval of Minutes.  The minutes of February 11, 2021 were approved. Upcoming meetings: March 11, 2021: (1) School reopenings update from Allison Polhill (District Director, LAUSD Board Member Nick Melvoin); (2) WRAC-recommended motion re affordable housing bills.; (3) LADWP updates (low water pressure in Area 5, postponed from today’s meeting; measures to protect sensitive plants in area of pole replacement project).  March 25, 2021: CD 11 presentation on proposed regulations and a pilot program for “Personal Delivery Devices” (remote-controlled/robotic delivery of purchases).  April 8, 2021: City Redistricting 2021 presentation (Michele Prichard, Commissioner/CD 11 Representative to the Redistricting Commission).

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

6.    Treasurer’s Report.

The Treasurer Richard G. Cohen reported that PPCC’s cash balance is $36,802.26.  There have been no significant transactions since the last report.

7.    General Public Comment – None.

8.    Reports, Announcements and Concerns.

8.1.    From the Chair/Presiding Officer.

8.1.1.    PPCC recent comment letters (Housing Element Update EIR & Processes & Procedures Ordinance).
http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/PPCCHousing-Element-Comment-Letter.pdf
https://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2012/12-0460-S4_PC_AB_02-12-2021.pdf

The Chair reiterated that the letters linked in the agenda have been submitted. He then described each of the letters and reiterated our concerns as set forth in the letters.

8.1.2.   Jack-in-the-Box site project update.

The Chair announced that Joanna Spak (Area 1 Representative) attended the last City Council Planning & Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee hearing of this project.  The PLUM Committee reaffirmed its prior approval of the project, which will consist of 39 units & ground floor retail.  The developer will add 4 moderate-income units to the previous 4 low-income units, so that the project will have a total of 8 low–moderate income units.  It will otherwise be the same-sized project.

8.1.3.    Beach bike path extension project update.

The Chair explained:  This project has been slowly developing.  The County engineer has advised that approval of a grant from the State has been received and construction will begin by December this year. A Coastal Development Permit was also issued.  Construction will likely take a year to complete.  The path extension will run from the City of Santa Monica border to the Bel Air Bay Club.

8.2.    From Officers.

8.2.1.    Chris Spitz (Secretary). WRAC/other updates.

The Secretary reported that motions to oppose SB 9 and 10 have been passed by a majority of WRAC member councils and have become adopted positions of WRAC.  Position letters will be submitted forthwith.  Meanwhile, the bills will be heard in the Senate Housing Committee on March 18. The City Council still hasn’t taken up the resolutions by Councilmember Koretz to oppose the bills, although the City’s Chief Legislative Analyst has filed reports recommending that the City pass the resolutions and oppose both bills.  We will continue to monitor.

The WRAC board also passed for recommendation to member councils the motion that the Secretary had originally sponsored to support certain affordable housing legislation.  The PPCC board will consider this motion at our March 11th meeting.

The Chair, the Secretary and 3 or 4 other board members attended a Zoom meeting yesterday with Senators Ben Allen and Henry Stern (Malibu, Calabasas) to discuss legislation regarding restrictions on new development in fire zones.  Other meeting attendees included numerous community and elected leaders from Brentwood, Bel Air, Sherman Oaks, Malibu, Agoura Hills, Westlake Village and even Santa Clarita.  This is obviously an issue of great concern to hillside communities. Sen. Stern indicated that his and Allen’s proposed bill to ban new development in the fire zone, SB 155, was basically a “blunt instrument”/opening salvo to raise the issue, and he doesn’t expect it to pass unless amended.  He definitely wants to make clear in the bill that property owners can rebuild on a 1:1 basis after a disaster or in order to build a new home to replace a “tear down” structure.  There was quite a bit discussed about legislative amendments and how best to protect properties in what is called the “Wildland Urban Interface,” and the discussion will continue.

8.2.2.    David Kaplan (Vice-Chair) reported that he attended a virtual State Board of Forestry & Fire Protection meeting on February 24th.  The discussion involved proposed amendments to update emergency fire safety regulations that were put in place in July 2020.  The new regulations are intended to address the intersection between the state’s housing supply crisis and the wildfire crisis.  They will be enacted in July 2021.  There was discussion about various definitions, road and driveway standards for ingress and egress, safety requirements and rebuilding standards after wildfires.  The Board will conduct ongoing meetings to discuss the proposed amendments. We will post relevant information.  [Related materials: https://calfire.app.box.com/v/firesaferegulations2021Board of Forestry website; info. on how to register for meetings: https://bof.fire.ca.gov/.]

8.3.    From Area and At-large Representatives.

8.3.1.    Haldis Toppel (Area 3 Representative) explained that she is also President of Marquez Knolls Property Owners Association (MKPOA).  An issue of great concern to MKPOA is the 45 ft. height limit affecting properties in the Coastal Zone.  She is again requesting to have this issue studied by the PPCC Land Use Committee (LUC).  Construction is ongoing at a large house on the corner of Marquez and Ida which appears to be 45 ft. high with 4 stories in the rear portion. She believes this may impact future home construction in the Coastal Zone. The Chair stated that he will refer this issue to the LUC and that we also need to speak with CD 11 about the matter.  Sue Kohl (Area 5 Representative) and Karen Ridgley (Area 4 Representative) both stated that they have seen the house under construction in Area 3 and share Ms. Toppel’s concerns.

8.3.2.    Joanna Spak (Area 1 Representative) reported that she attended a 7-hour hearing of the City Planning Commission (CPC) today, February 25.  On the agenda for consideration were the proposed Citywide Sign Ordinance (recent version supported by the Council PLUM Committee) and the Mello Act Ordinance.  Regarding the Sign Ordinance: the CPC rejected the PLUM Committee’s version, and instead reiterated its approval of Version B+ (a version previously supported by the CPC which PPCC also supports), with some revisions.  Regarding the Mello Act: This is a state law which preserves & expands affordable housing in the Coastal Zone. The City of LA has been implementing the Act with interim administrative procedures.  This ordinance would add a new section in the Municipal Code and would clarify and standardize controls.  It is intended to provide more affordable housing in the Coastal Zone. There was a lengthy discussion and after points were made by Councilmember Bonin and the Legal Aid Foundation, the matter was tabled to a future CPC meeting in May.

8.4.    From Organizational Representatives.

8.4.1.    Jim Kirtley (YMCA) advised that the Y’s food distribution program is going well. Fifty bags of groceries were given out to needy individuals last week and there were 8-10 volunteers helping with the distribution.  The program takes place on Thursdays at 12pm in front of the Y on Via de la Paz.

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

8.5.1.    LAPD Officer James Allen (attending for acting SLO Jae Lee, who was unable to attend due to illness).  Officer Allen stated that he will be out at the El Medio bluffs tonight in a special detail with other LAPD officers. They received reports from residents that people were speeding on El Medio, and he is part of a special LAPD task force to enforce the curfew and speeding laws.  Karen Ridgely thanked Officers Allen and Lee, who had met with a group of Area 4 residents about this issue. They believe the task force will be extremely productive.  Officer Allen also reported that Officer Perez will substitute in as acting SLO in two weeks.  Officer Allen will follow in the SLO position again after Officer Perez’s rotation ends.

8.5.2.    Zachary Alamillo, CD 11 Constituent Advocate (attending for CD 11 Field Deputy Durrah Wagner, who was unable to attend), reported that the new turn signal at Sunset & Chautauqua will be activated in about 3 weeks.  There was a recent water cut-off issue in the Palisades that occurred at 5pm yesterday.  LADWP fixed the problem, but another water main break happened today in Mandeville Canyon and LADWP is working right now on the problem.

8.6.    From PPCC Advisors

8.6.1.    Jack Coleman (Youth Advisor), announced that Los Angeles schools are now allowed to have sports activities per a recent County Health Dept. order. The order applies to all schools in LA County.

9.    Reports from Committees – None.

10.   Old Business – None.

11.    New Business.  

11.1.    Public Safety/Disaster Readiness Forum #2Discussion only.  Guest speakers: 

(a)  K. C. Soll – Resident, LAFD CERT and Red Cross “Map Your Neighborhood” (MYN) volunteer program coordinator.

(b)  Jenny Buchbinder – Resident and Palisades Highlands “Ready Your LA Neighborhood” (RYLAN) volunteer program coordinator.

(c)  Hank Wright – LAFD Battalion 9 Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS/amateur radio) volunteer communications unit leader.

(d)  New:  Stephanie Benjamin – EMT (Masters in Emergency Management), head of Culver City CERT training and volunteer during Katrina. 

The Chair welcomed the speakers and noted that K.C. Soll has put together this program for PPCC.  He invited Ms. Soll to speak first and introduce the remaining speakers.

Ms. Soll introduced herself as a resident and LAFD CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) volunteer trainer in the Palisades.  She was born and raised in the Palisades and has lived in the Highlands for the last 4 years.  She has coordinated CERT training with LAFD in the Highlands and also at Palisades Presbyterian Church with many groups.

Ms. Soll next introduced Hank Wright, head of the LAFD Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS/ amateur radio) in the Palisades and nearby areas.  Mr. Wright explained that he is the LAFD Battalion 9 Communications Unit Leader.  He works with both Fire Stations 69 and 23 in the Palisades.  ACS is the official communications service for LAFD; it is a back-up for the City’s other communications systems.  He next showed a slide show and spoke about emergency preparedness measures.  He described the LAFD Emergency Preparedness Guide and urged everyone to download a copy from LAFD [Link to the Guide at: http://pacpalicc.org/index.php/disaster-preparedness/].  Mr. Wright’s call to action:  1) make a plan for disasters; 2) Have an FRS radio (such as walkie-talkies); they have limited range and are easy to use; be sure to have extra batteries; and 3) sign up for Notify LA and Pulse Point apps.  He stressed that there are 19 LAFD personnel in the Palisades at any given time.  They have 6 pieces of equipment.  We have 23,000+ residents.  LAFD personnel may be swiftly overwhelmed during an emergency.  For this reason, it is important that we know our neighbors in order to help one another.  A good way to do that is to sign up for Ready Your LA Neighborhood (RYLAN) or Map Your Neighborhood (MYN) as a back-up or force multiplier.  That’s what ACS is intended for as well.  He also noted the importance of the CERT program and described how it trains people in skills to use during emergencies.

The Chair asked Mr. Wright to describe his activities with the American Legion (Palisades Post 283).  Mr. Wright explained that he is part of a program sponsored by the Sons of the American legion. They are working on refurbishing their radio to provide emergency communications for the community.  Richard Cohen (Treasurer) noted that he is a licensed ham radio operator and asked whom he would reach out to regarding the ham radio group.  Mr. Wright replied that those interested should contact the PPCC emergency ham group at hwright@live.com.  He will also be conducting training at the American Legion.  It will not be highly technical, i.e., learning Morse Code won’t be required. Contact Kevin Niles of the American Legion for more information [kevinpost283@gmail.com].

Ms. Soll then introduced Stephanie Benjamin, the head of CERT training for Culver City.  She has a Masters degree in emergency management, fire investigation and law enforcement.  Using a Power Point presentation, Ms. Benjamin described her extensive background and experience, which includes multiple certifications.  She was also a volunteer EMT in Louisiana during the Hurricane Katrina crisis for 5 months.

Ms. Benjamin stressed the importance of making a plan and having a bond with the community through programs such as RYLAN so that neighbors can respond to people in need when a disaster occurs. She gave important emergency preparedness tips, which include creating a family plan, making up an emergency kit, having proper tools in the kit, knowing how to use the tools, identifying hazards in the home and workplace, and fixing hazards in advance.  She gave a detailed description of what should go into emergency kits and which supplies and tools we should have on hand for emergency purposes.  She also gave extensive advice specific to earthquakes.

Lastly, Ms. Soll introduced Jenny Buchbinder, a volunteer coordinator for the RYLAN program in the Palisades Highlands.  Ms. Buchbinder explained that she is a 20-year resident of the Highlands. Four years ago, she attended a meeting to learn about emergency preparedness.  She learned at that time about the importance of mutual aid and the RYLAN program, which is sponsored by the City of LA Emergency Management Dept. (EMD). She relied on expertise from the City to help implement the program for her neighborhood in the Highlands and it has been successful. Jackie Koci Tamayo is the City’s Westside EMD-RYLAN coordinator.  The Secretary advised that Ms. Tamayo’s contact information is on the PPCC website Disaster Readiness page. The Chair also noted that Ms. Tamayo may be familiar to many Palisadians as our past Rustic Canyon Park Director.  Ms. Buchbinder then showed a video which explained the RYLAN program. She encouraged everyone to look into implementing the program for their neighborhood.

Joanna Spak:  She had CERT training a few years ago and  wonders if there are any refresher courses.  Ms. Soll:  This will be happening soon; firefighters are working on a Zoom presentation but it is not yet available.  Ms. Benjamin:  Go to FEMA’s emergency management institute, where you can take classes online; there are also classes on Stop the Bleed.org.  Judy Hewlitt (audience):  The University of Utah has an online refresher course on CERT.

Ms. Soll also noted that she has been working on a Power Point presentation for seniors and elders on disaster readiness.  She will share the program with anyone with an elderly family member who is concerned.  She can be reached at CERT.Palisades@gmail.com.

The Chair thanked all of the guest speakers for their presentations.

11.2.    Low water pressure problem in Area 5 – Deborah Hong, LADWP Community Affairs Liaison – postponed to next meeting.

12.    Adjournment.  The meeting was adjourned at 7:36 pm. 

_________________________

Return to top of page

MINUTES FROM MARCH 11th 2021

Voting Members in Attendance:  David Kaplan, Richard Cohen, Chris Spitz, Karen Ridgley, Sue Kohl, Matthew Quiat, Reza Akef, Craig Natvig, Beth Holden-Garland, Steve Cron, Haldis Toppel, Richard Blumenberg, Jim Kirtley, Trish Bowe, Peter Powell, Brenda Theveny, Eric Dugdale

Voting Alternates:  Rick McGeagh, Mary Mueller, Melanie Bouer, Bruce Schwartz

Non-voting Advisors and Alternates:  Allison Polhill, Cindy Kirven, Rick Mills, Lee Anne Sanderson, John Padden

1.    Call to order and reading of Mission Statement.  The Vice Chair David Kaplan (presiding in the absence of the Chair) called the meeting to order at 6:00 pm.  He read the Mission Statement.

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

3.    Roll call of voting members and certification of quorum. The Vice Chair /Presiding Officer called the roll of voting members and certified that there was a quorum.

4.    Approval of Minutes.  The minutes of February 25, 2021 were approved. Upcoming meetings: March 25, 2021: CD 11 presentation on proposed regulations and a pilot program for “Personal Delivery Devices” (remote-controlled/robotic delivery of purchases).  April 8, 2021: City Redistricting 2021 presentation (Michele Prichard, Commissioner/CD 11 Representative to the Redistricting Commission).

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

6.    Treasurer’s Report.

The Treasurer Richard G. Cohen reported that PPCC’s cash balance is $35,805.22. This month, he paid the renewal premium for our general liability insurance. The cost was $964.36, the same premium as last year. Last month he reported paying the renewal premium for our Directors and Officers’ liability insurance, so this year’s insurance renewal cycle is now complete. Our P.O. Box also renews this month at a cost of $176 per year.

7.    General Public Comment.

7.1.   Bruce Schwartz (speaking as a resident). T he pavement on La Cruz Drive after the last rainstorm has lots of potholes.  He wishes that this stretch can be repaved one day.

8.    Reports, Announcements and Concerns.

8.1.    From the Chair/Presiding Officer – None.

8.2.    From Officers.

8.2.1.     Chris Spitz (Secretary).

The Secretary provided an update on legislative developments. The Executive Committee has submitted a letter regarding SB 290 (Skinner) which has been forwarded to the Board [http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/PPCC-Letter-Senate-Housing-SB-290.pdf]. Anyone with questions should contact the Secretary.

SB 10 will be heard on March 18 in the Senate Housing Committee but at the request of bill’s author, Sen. President pro Tem Atkins, SB 9 was removed from the hearing schedule.  We have no information as to why or when it will be heard.  Meanwhile, the City still hasn’t taken up the two Koretz resolutions in opposition to these bills; we’ll continue to monitor.

We also learned a few days ago that the City’s Administrative Officer is recommending that the City raise the fee for filing appeals of land use decisions from the current $89 fee to . . .  $16,000.  To repeat, instead of paying $89, residents who wished to appeal a decision about a project that they oppose – just as an example, the Jack-in-the-Box site project — would have to cough up a whopping $16,000.  This is the supposed “cost recovery” amount to the City to process a constituent’s appeal.  The matter will be heard in the City’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee on April 6.  Some of the WRAC member councils are taking up motions to oppose this fee increase and we may do so as well at the March 25th meeting.

We have also learned that Senator Stern is going to be amending SB 55 – the bill that would ban all new development in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone (VHFHSZ).  We are told that he will include amendments to ensure that property owners can rebuild on a 1:1 basis because of a catastrophe or any other reason.  His staff has asked us to submit any other suggested amendments we may have, but these need to be submitted by March 16 due to a Senate deadline for getting in bill amendments).  Because the Executive Committee will need to take action for the Board, the Committee would like to conduct a straw poll to ascertain the Board’s opinion about the follow possible amendments:

  • Amend to make clear that structures on both residentially-zoned and commercially-zoned properties can be rebuilt on a 1:1 basis for any reason.
  • Amend to make clear that vacant land purchased prior to the effective date of the legislation can be developed in accordance with all zoning code provisions and development standards in place at the time that title was vested in the property owner, for a period of three years from the effective date of the legislation (i.e., include a sunset clause).
  • Amend to make clear that Accessory Dwelling Units and/or Junior Accessory Dwelling Units that weren’t previously built, but were allowed to be built prior to the effective date of the legislation, can be built on residentially-zoned properties for a period of three years from the effective date of the legislation (i.e., include a sunset clause).

The Secretary read aloud each possible amendment and asked for comments.  Several members, both voting and non-voting, spoke.  Speakers expressed strong opinions that there should be no sunset clause (Richard Blumenberg, Trish Bowe, Rick Mills, Reza Akef).  Karyn Weber and Rick Mills suggested that rebuilt construction should be legal and subject to current applicable codes.  Karyn Weber didn’t understand what was meant by “a 1:1 basis for any reason.” Rick Mills was also concerned that there are complicated statewide fire zone issues that this bill doesn’t address. Reza Akef indicated that restrictions should apply only to residential properties. Richard Blumenberg owns vacant land and does not wish to be prevented from future development. Howard Robinson believes that PPCC should support existing zoning laws as indicated in our Guiding Principles. Haldis Toppel would like to prevent oversized buildings from being constructed to replace existing structures. The Treasurer explained that PPCC’s position is to oppose state bills that seek to increase density in our residential areas because they eliminate local control and don’t include fire zone exemptions; we are concerned about the risk to public safety with more density in fire zones; Senator Stern is attempting with this bill to address the problem; we do not want to see increased development beyond the level that we are entitled to build.  Reza Akef agreed with the Treasurer. The Secretary stated that the Executive Committee would take the comments into account in deciding on suggestions for bill amendments.

8.3.    From Area and At-large Representatives.

8.3.1.    Karen Ridgley (Area 4 Representative).  There was a recent burglary in the community which was on the front page of the Post.  Neighbors cooperated and provided video footage to the police.  She had a meeting with officers, developed a rapport and received active help from LAPD.  She will be meeting with Capt. Tom and the new Palisades rotating SLO next week.

8.3.2.    Reza Akef (Area 3 Representative).  The area around the storm drain heading east on Sunset Blvd. near Paul Revere now has homeless tents.  The school and principal are aware.  Homeless individuals are going onto the Paul Revere grounds at night.  Palisades Patrol has been watching the gates at the school.

8.4.    From Organizational Representatives.

8.4.1.    Jim Kirtley (YMCA).  Over 40 participants registered for the Y’s food program (donations of free produce and canned goods) this week.  Please continue to spread the word to people who experience food insecurity.  The program is for anyone who lives in the City; it takes place at noon on Thursdays in front of the Y on Via de la Paz.

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

8.5.1.    LAPD acting SLO Jae Lee – not in attendance; Officer Lee’s rotation is ending.

8.5.2.    CD 11 Field Deputy Durrah Wagner – not in attendance

8.6.    From PPCC Advisors — None

9.     Reports from Committees.

9.1.    Executive Committee.  WRAC-recommended motion re affordable housing legislation (sponsored in PPCC by the Executive Committee). Request for Board support of motion. See attachment below.

In the Chair’s absence, Secretary Chris Spitz announced that the Executive Committee moved for the PPPC Board to approve the WRAC-recommended motion as set forth in the agenda.  She read the motion text out loud.  A second was not necessary as the motion was made by a committee of more than one voting member.  The Treasurer then explained the reason for the motion was to show that we are not simply against all legislation; we recognize that there is an affordable housing shortage and we would like the problem to be solved.  The Secretary followed up by saying that it is important to be able to show to our elected officials that we take reasoned, thoughtful positions and we support positive solutions to the policy challenges facing the City and state.

Trish Bowe (Rotary Club):  Are we dealing with the fact that people are leaving the state?  The Secretary: There is still a shortage of affordable housing, whether or not people leave; this motion involves solutions to the affordable housing crisis.  There was no further discussion.  A vote was then called.  Result:  Unanimous in favor of the motion.

9.2.    Land Use Committee (LUC; Howard Robinson, Chair).  Upcoming public LUC meeting to address concerns re zoning height regulations in lower Marquez and other areas of the Palisades (date TBA).  Mr. Robinson explained that an interesting project in lower Marquez has come forward and the LUC is now focused on this. The committee has had two working sessions to discuss the project and do background research.  This project involves a single-family home that is much taller than other homes in the neighborhood.  The building permit states that it is just under 45 ft. in height.  The home is about 75-80% completed.  A group of neighbors is opposed.  The LUC is researching what can be approved in the area.  The neighbors couldn’t understand how a home that tall could be approved.  According to  initial research by the LUC, there is a 45 ft. is height limit in this area which has been for many years, at least since 2008.  We will continue to do serious research on development standards in similar areas: R1 neighborhoods that are in the Coastal Zone but are not in hillside areas. Non-hillside Coastal Zone areas are not controlled by the hillside ordinance or the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance (BMO); they are governed by old, standard R1 zoning.  The LUC is hoping to be able to produce a comprehensive map and a report that will outline a series of zoning characteristics that apply to several neighborhoods.

The committee also wants to work with Councilmember Bonin’s office to understand what can be done about this situation. More than a year ago the Councilmember introduced a motion to apply the BMO to non-hillside areas of the Coastal zone in CD11.  The full City Council approved his motion in March 2020 but the matter has been sitting with City Planning staff with no action since that time.  These things move at a snail’s pace.  Is this the right move or are there some other moves to address this issue?  So many people were confused about the height limit, when in fact the height limit was 45 ft. and the owner didn’t need a variance.  Someone else could also build at this height in this area.  But on this particular house, LADBS has issued a Stop Construction order which lists a number of specific violations.  The order also stated an intent to revoke the building permit, which is an indication that the City admits it did something wrong in issuing the permit in the first place.  The City will have to work with the developer on how to resolve these issues.  Mr. Robinson noted, however, that the overall height was not one of the things cited as a violation.  The LUC will be studying this further and making recommendations to PPCC in the coming weeks about the project and the broader issues involving zoning.

Bruce Schwartz (Area 2 2nd Alternate) commented that this situation reminds him of the issue at Brooktree & Greentree 10 years ago, involving improper set-backs.  Mr. Robinson:  He has been in touch with several neighbors to ascertain what they believe are violations.  We will try and get a complete list of what the neighbors think are violations and look into whether the City’s Stop Construction order should be amended. Haldis Toppel (Area 3 Representative) thanked the Committee Chair and the Committee.

9.3.    [New item] Palisades Forestry Committee (PFC; Cindy Kirven, Chair).  Ms. Kirven reported on the status of historic Eucalyptus trees at the corner of Sunset Blvd. and Solerno in the lower Marquez area.   She explained that the PFC tries to review as many street requests as possible in order to see if trees can be saved.  She saw a notice about a requested removal at this location, in which the property owner wanted to remove a Eucalyptus tree.  She explained that there are two old, historic Eucalyptus trees on the corner and she showed several slides depicting the trees and condition of the location, which includes a historic house.  She called Palisades historian Randy Young, discussed the location and got historical photos from him.  She spoke with both the architect and the owner and they explained that they wanted to protect the historic house from damage from falling tree limbs.  Ms. Kirven talked with them about tree trimming and maintaining the health of the trees.  The owners live in Northern California. After these discussions they decided to withdraw their application, trim both trees and clean up the property. The PFC appreciated the actions of the owners and their decision not to remove the Eucalyptus tree.

Sue Kohl (Area 5 Representative):   She and her neighbors have tried reporting to 311 about a giant Eucalyptus tree in front of her house.  The location is 866 Iliff.  She thinks that the tree’s condition is dangerous and its limbs could fall down and hurt someone.  However, when she calls the City, she gets a message back that her case is “closed.”  How can we get the City to trim the tree?  Response:  Ms. Kirven will look into the situation.

10.    Old Business. 

10.1.    LADWP updates: 1) Low water pressure problem in Area 5 – Deborah Hong, LADWP Community Affairs Liaison; 2) Protection of sensitive “Milkvetch” plants (upper Temescal Gateway Park/pole replacement project area) – Kathryn Laudeman, LADWP Environmental Division.

Ms. Hong introduced several experts and guests to speak on the agenda topics.  First up was  Kathryn Laudeman, an engineer with Environmental Affairs, with an update on the situation involving the protected “Milkvetch” plants in the area of the power pole replacement project.  She explained the large number of plants that LADWP had impacted.  Many more plants than they originally counted were impacted because the plants establish quickly with more seedlings after being disturbed.  She stated that with future work in the area LADWP will endeavor to ensure that no future loss of these plants occurs.  She also announced that the Coastal Commission today approved the Coastal Development Permit for the project, which will allow LADWP to resume work. There were consent and restoration orders issued in December of 2020, and LADWP is working with Coastal on a restoration plan and on a plan to mitigate for any loss of habitat resulting from the unpermitted development.

Ms. Hong then explained that we would have presentations by Edgar Mercado (LADWP Water Distribution Engineer, Western District), Linh Phan (LADWP Manager of Water Control), and LAFD Battalion Chief Joseph Everett.

Edgar Mercado began the presentation with a Power Point. He emphasized that LADWP takes every concern seriously. Water for the area is coming from the Santa Inez Reservoir.  Areas closer to the elevation of the reservoir have lower water pressure, and lower elevation areas get higher pressure. He explained the mechanics of the rate of increase of water pressure depending on elevation. The homes at the top of Chautauqua are at a higher elevation. LADWP has determined that they are meeting the minimum PSI requirements for firefighting. Mr. Mercado also stated that a site inspection confirmed that all valves are open, all fire hydrants have water and there are no water outages in the area.

Linh Phan then discussed the Santa Inez Reservoir situation. The reservoir requires periodic recycling.  LADWP has been filling and emptying the reservoir at regular intervals as a normal practice for some time.  Some of the work in this process has to be done manually.  There were pressure variations and the elevation of the reservoir dropped on December 10, 2020.  People experienced much lower water pressure as a result.  This was due to the impact on the workforce because of COVID-19. This problem only occurred at this time and they haven’t had any further problems since then.

LAFD Battalion Chief Joseph Everett:  LAFD’s concern is wildfire protection.  The Palisades fire in 2019 was the most recent notable fire in the area.  He described the steps that LAFD takes to access water in hydrants in order to fight fires.  He showed a slide depicting a fire engine “pump panel” and explained the various dials and equipment.  He also described different other tools and methods that LAFD uses to try and access water.  His team makes sure the Palisades area is well-prepared in advance with “pumpers” in order to pump water to fight fires. The Dept. also has water dropping helicopters which show up just a few minutes after being called.  Hand crews also help with fire lines.  LAFD’s partners include the County Fire Dept. in Malibu, which can supply pumping apparatus and hand crews.  Regarding the Chautauqua incident: When this occurred, firefighters from the local stations checked the pressure on every hydrant on Chautauqua from the top all the way down to Sunset Blvd.  They determined they had sufficient ability to access water to fight any fires in the area.  All of the hydrants were reviewed.

Edgar Mercado:  LADWP is maintaining pressure levels and making adjustments to prevent this incident from happening again.

Sue Kohl (Area 5 Representative):  Some of the residents near the hydrant said they also experienced lower than normal water pressure in their homes.  Did this only occur on Dec. 10-11 or is the situation ongoing?  Mr. Mercado:   We are aware that this area will experience lower pressure than other areas.  This is by default and design when the properties were developed.  The area was known and expected to have lower water pressure.  The Elevation Agreement with the developer states they are required to provide minimum pressure at the main fire hydrant.  Some houses have a “pump house” to pump water up and increase pressure at individual homes. These are all private installations (LADWP is not in charge of these pump houses).

The Presiding Officer:  Are residents currently facing the same low water pressure problems?  Ms. Phan:  This was confined to the December 10th – 11th time frame.  That was the time of extremely low pressure; otherwise, the residents in this location have always had lower pressure than other areas.

The President Officer thanked all the guest speakers.

11.    New Business. 

11.1.    School reopenings update – Allison Polhill, District Director, LAUSD Board Member Nick Melvoin.  Discussion only.

The Presiding Officer welcomed LAUSD Board Member Nick Melvoin, who thanked PPCC for the invitation.  He then spoke about the agreement ratified by his Board this morning to reopen schools.  This is the one-year anniversary since the decision was made to close schools.  LAUSD did so before the Safer at Home order was instituted.  It is now one year later and it is important to give kids the opportunity to return to in-person learning. He stressed the risk of not reopening and the harm to children.  He wants them to return as soon and as safely as possible, and he also emphasized that this must be done equitably.  LAUSD reached the agreement with UTLA two nights ago.  Palisade High is an independent charter school, with its own teacher’s union, and as a result it will be on its own reopening timeline.

Mr. Melvoin then stated that he is focused on 3 factors: 1) community spread; we will be in the red tier by Monday; 2) mitigation efforts at schools; he wants to make sure that schools are the safest places in the community and he discussed all the safety measures that they are putting in place; 3) opportunity to vaccinate the school community.  He advocated opening even sooner as per the CDC recommendation earlier in March.  LAUSD did reach agreement with UTLA and vaccinations are occurring as soon as possible.  The target date for reopening is the middle of April.  Students in pre-K to 8th grade will have the opportunity/option to have in-person learning 5 days a week.  K-5 students can attend every day, with in-person in the morning; afternoons will involve extended supervision unless parents want to pick them up.  There will be opportunity for supervised online virtual learning in the afternoon.  They have asked parents to send in preferences.

The situation with middle and high school students is more complicated. Factors that were considered: 1) need to minimize disruption; 2) the importance of having stable cohorts, which is more difficult in upper grades because there are so many different classes.  Deciding how to keep the students in the same cohorts throughout the day was difficult.  The solution: the students will come in-person to advisories throughout the day but core classes will still be conducted by virtual/remote instruction. They are also looking for summer school programs and already planning for the fall semester.  He hopes that by August there will be more in-person opportunities, especially for high school students.

Mr. Melvoin is proud of the social safety net provided by LAUSD.  There is a meals program; they are giving out computers to those in need; there are WiFi hotspots; LAUSD has one of the largest school-based COVID-19 testing programs in the country; and it has now launched a vaccination effort.

Trish Bowe (Rotary Club):  What is the status of mandatory vaccinations?  Mr. Melvoin: We agreed with unions that the return to campus is contingent on access to the vaccine; employees will have the option not to take the vaccine. COVID-19 testing is mandatory; testing cannot be declined. About 10% of school employees have declined the vaccine so far.

Mr. Melvoin concluded by notifying everyone of a virtual town hall with Austin Beutner this coming Thursday at 4pm.  The Secretary thanked Mr. Melvoin for his support for our local schools and for presenting to us.

12.    Adjournment.   The meeting was adjourned at 7:50 pm.

_________________________

Return to top of page

MINUTES FROM MARCH 25th 2021

Voting Members in Attendance:  David Card, Richard Cohen, Chris Spitz, Karen Ridgley, Sue Kohl, Matthew Quiat, Joanna Spak, Reza Akef, Alan Goldsmith, Beth Holden-Garland, Steve Cron, Haldis Toppel, Peter Powell, Brenda Theveny, Eric Dugdale

Voting Alternates:  John Padden, Rick McGeagh, Mary Mueller, Janet Anderson

Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: Cindy Kirven, Mary Mueller, Kimberly Bloom, Andrew Wolfberg, Bruce Schwartz

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

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

3.    Roll call of voting members and certification of quorum. The Chair called the roll of voting members and certified that there was a quorum.

4.    Approval of Minutes.  The minutes of March 11, 2021 were approved. Upcoming meetings: April 8, 2021: (1) City Redistricting 2021 presentation (Michele Prichard, Commissioner/CD 11 Representative to the Redistricting Commission); (2) Appointment of Nominating Committee, 2021 Officers Election. April 22, 2021: Update on the Gladstones redevelopment project (by the concessionaire’s representative).

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

6.    Treasurer’s Report.  The Treasurer Richard G. Cohen reported that PPCC’s cash balance is $35,454.22. There were no significant transactions since the last report.

7.    General Public Comment – None.

8.    Reports, Announcements and Concerns.

8.1.    From the Chair/Presiding Officer.

8.1.1.    Letter re SB 55: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/PPCC-EC-Letter-SB55-amendments.pdf.

The Chair explained that SB 55 (Stern & Allen) is the bill that would ban all new development in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone. At Sen. Stern’s invitation, on March 19 the Executive Committee sent this additional letter linked in the agenda, with further comments on bill amendments proposed by Sen. Stern (we were told that our comments had to be submitted by 3/24).  In this latest letter, the Executive Committee reiterated and explained the points that were made in our March 15, 2021 letter about amendments to the bill.

8.1.2.    New:  Traffic signal at Sunset-Chautauqua intersection.  The Chair announced that a new left turn signal has been installed at this intersection.  He drove through it the other day; the signal is operating and it works.  The installation has made the intersection much safer. The Chair thanked Councilmember Bonin, his staff, LADOT, Patti Post and other members of the community who supported this project.

8.1.3.    New:  Potrero Canyon.  The Chair explained that the bids for landscaping have come in and were a little under the BOE estimate of $10 million; they came in at around $8.9 (the lowest bid). That was the base bid number but there may be extras.  The City is now analyzing the bids. We have also learned that there is a possibility of federal funding for a pedestrian overcrossing at the mouth of the park at Potrero Canyon, to allow safe crossing over PCH. The overcrossing was supported by the Potrero Canyon Community Advisory Committee.  A government sponsor (city or state) is needed for the request for federal funding, which in turn will require community support. We expect to learn more about whether a government sponsor may be possible in the coming days.

8.2.    From Officers.

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

The Secretary reported that Congressmember Ted Lieu was the special guest at the last WRAC meeting. He presented information about the American Rescue Plan as well as  infrastructure legislation and possible earmarks.  Dave Card was able to bring Rep. Lieu’s attention to the proposed pedestrian overcrossing over PCH at Potrero Canyon as a possible infrastructure project that the Congressman might support. The Secretary also noted that WRAC members and Rep. Lieu praised Janet Turner during the meeting for her work for the Westside community. She further reported that the WRAC Board voted to recommend the motion to oppose the appeal fee increase, which the PPCC Board will consider later this evening.

On the legislation front:  SB 10 and SB 290, which PPCC opposes, passed in the Senate Housing Committee on March 18 and will next be heard in the Governance & Finance Committee (date TBA).  It is worth noting that PPCC’s objection to SB 290 was specifically cited in the Senate’s written Analysis of the bill, along with a response from the bill’s author (a rare occurrence).  The Secretary will include a link in the meeting recap and minutes. [See Analysis:  https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billAnalysisClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220SB290.]

A bill that PPCC supports, SB 15, also passed in the Housing Committee. We don’t know when the Committee will next agendize SB 9, which we also oppose.  Meanwhile, the City still hasn’t taken up the two Koretz resolutions in opposition to SB 9 and 10; we’ll continue to monitor.

8.3.    From Area and At-large Representatives.

8.3.1.   Reza Akef (Area 8) reported that area residents are still dealing with the Riviera Country Club Longworth maintenance gate issue. He expressed concern with the lack of response by authorities. The Tennis Club has been using the maintenance gate for participants in a tennis clinic and there is a continuing steady stream of traffic on the nearby residential streets.  He requested that PPCC demand swifter action by the authorities.

The Chair asked CD 11 Planning Deputy Len Nguyen (who was in attendance) to respond to these concerns.  Mr. Nguyen explained that the Planning Dept. has asked for more time to address PPCC’s request for a Zoning Determination letter. The Department has been engaging in very thorough research and conducting observations at the site.  We will have a report back from Planning next month and will move on from there. The Councilmember understands that residents want enforcement, but there must also be a sound basis for the letter we are seeking.  The Chair reiterated that this is an important issue for area residents as well as for Paul Revere Middle School, which has additional safety concerns due to the increased traffic.

8.4.    From Organizational Representatives – None.

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

8.5.1.    LAPD Officer Omir Perez, acting SLO for the Palisades – unable to attend.

8.5.2.    Durrah Wagner and Len Nguyen, respectively, CD 11 Palisades Field Deputy and Planning Deputy.

Ms. Wagner announced that she will be leaving CD 11 on April 1 to spend time with her family.  She thanked everyone who had reached out to her for the kind emails, and stated that it was an honor working with the Palisades community.  The Chair thanked Ms. Wagner for her excellent service; we will miss her. Len Nguyen, CD 11 Planning Deputy, will temporarily take over Ms. Wagner’s responsibilities and fill in as our Field Deputy while waiting for her replacement.  Mr. Nguyen’s contact information can be found on the PPCC website under Resources/Government contacts [linked above].  See also Mr. Nguyen’s remarks in Item 8.3.1 above.

8.5.3.    Janet Turner, Field Supervisor, U.S. Representative Ted Lieu.

Ms. Turner provided figures from the American Rescue Plan that she believed may be of interest to the Palisades community:  The City of Los Angeles will receive $1.35 billion; LA County will receive about $1 billion; and the State will receive $26 billion. LAUSD will receive $2.9 billion, 20% of which must be used for “learning loss.”  There will be a child tax credit of up to $3,600 for each child under 6 and $3,000 for kids under 18.  Close to $5 billion will go to assist state and local governments with homelessness, including funding for services and for housing/shelters.  The allocation for new Section 8 housing vouchers will be $5 billion.  Other funding to assist lower income individuals will include renters’ assistance.  Regarding “community investment projects” (also known as earmarks): Rep. Lieu can submit a total of ten projects, and there must be large community support in order for projects to be picked.  The Chair stated that at our April 8th meeting, we may be asking this Board to vote in favor of sending a letter in support of a City application for one of these earmarks (the pedestrian bridge over PCH).

8.5.3.    CD 11 Transportation Deputy Eric Bruins – See Item 11.1 below.

8.6.    From PPCC Advisors – None.

9.    Reports from Committees.

9.1.    Executive Committee.  WRAC-recommended motion to oppose proposed increase in land use decision appeal fee (sponsored in PPCC by the Executive Committee). Request for Board support of motion.

The Secretary announced that the Executive Committee moved for the PPPC Board to approve the WRAC-recommended motion as set forth in the agenda [see attachment below].  She then read the motion text out loud.  A second was not necessary as the motion was made by a committee of more than one voting member.  The Secretary explained that the City’s Administrative Officer (CAO) was proposing the increase from $89 to $16,097 and that this was a supposed “cost recovery” amount.  Five WRAC board members have already passed this motion.  This proposal will be heard in the Council Planning and Land Use Management Committee on April 6.  The Executive Committee unanimously agrees that this enormous increase is discriminatory and will prevent the vast majority of Los Angeles stakeholders from exercising their right to appeal any city land use procedure.

One question was asked as to the reason for the huge proposed increase. The Secretary explained again that the CAO maintains that this is the amount needed to recover the cost of processing these appeals; this information is contained in the supporting documents that were linked in the agenda.  She has been told that the CAO is serious about requesting this fee increase.  There was no further discussion.  A vote was then called.  Result:  Unanimous in favor of the motion by all members voting (one abstention).

9.2.    Land Use Committee (LUC; Howard Robinson, Chair).  Update on investigation and research re 16796 Marquez residential project and related zoning matters. See LUC Interim Report:  http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/PPCC-Land-Use-Committee-Interim-Report.pdf.

In the Committee Chair’s absence, the Secretary (who is also an LUC member) summarized the Interim Report.  She further noted the following updates since the report was written: Councilmember Bonin’s staff advises that the developer complied with the order and submitted plans for review before the March 17th deadline.  We understand that the stop work order is still in effect while the Building Dept. completes its review (timing unknown). The Secretary noted that the LUC’s research and investigation are continuing, and the committee expects to present a final report at public LUC and Board meetings in the near future (dates TBA).  There will be a full opportunity for public input at these meetings.

Sue Kohl (Area 5 Representative) asked about the timing of construction and why there was seemingly such a long delay after permit issuance.  The Secretary explained, as described in the Interim Report, that the Coastal Development Permit (CDP) was issued in 2017, that plans were then submitted and approved during 2017-2019, that building permits were then issued in February 2020, and that to our knowledge construction began in 2020 after the building permits were issued.  She does not know why the process took this long, or when construction actually began after the building permits were issued.

Stephanie Shaner (resident of Marquez Knolls) advised that a group of residents is protesting the construction.  She stated that she was unclear about the role of the committee and wanted to know what the committee is doing in terms of trying to stop the construction.

The Chair explained the advisory role of the LUC and of PPCC, which as a volunteer organization is not part of the City’s decision-making process and does not have authority to stop projects.  Residents have the right to lobby their Councilmember, the Mayor and City agencies about this issue.  Ms. Shaner stated that the opponents are already contacting City authorities but she wants to know what the committee will do to help mitigate the construction.  The Secretary reiterated that the LUC is continuing its investigation with respect to this project and the larger ramifications for zoning in the Palisades.  A stop construction order has been issued by the Building Dept. and we are awaiting the City’s determination on permit revocation.  She also read from the introductory statement in the Interim Report as to what specifically the LUC was charged to do, and explained that its role is solely to research and report its conclusions and possible recommendations to the PPCC Board.  The committee does not and would not take actions or positions independently with respect to the Marquez/Ida project or any other project.

The Treasurer then explained further that PPCC typically does not take positions in opposition to or support of homeowners on single-family residential projects; our general policy is not to become involved with disputes among individual neighbors as to a home’s compliance with building code or zoning rules.  Neighbors are welcome to appeal, file a lawsuit or lobby the authorities. PPCC attempts to influence policy and we also call for strict enforcement. In many years the only time he can recall that the Board has taken a position to oppose a single-family project was the unique situation with the Greentree property in Rustic Canyon, which involved an egregious set of circumstances.  He also cautioned that a few years ago, when the City was developing new anti-mansionization rules, there were widely divergent opinions among Palisades residents as to whether more restrictions should be placed on the size of homes.  PPCC bylaws require a 2/3 majority vote on policy issues; this voting threshold could not be reached on the mansionization issue because the community was evenly divided between those who favored more restrictions and did not want to see high homes blocking views (such as residents of Marquez Knolls), and those who wanted fewer restrictions in order to be able to maximize property value as their neighbors had been able to do under existing rules (such as some residents in Area 5).

The Secretary also noted that PPCC represents all Palisades stakeholders, including owners/developers. Per PPCC’s Guiding Principles we support strict scrutiny and adherence to all land use and zoning laws, including the 45-foot height limit applicable to non-hillside Coastal areas.  She reiterated that the LUC will issue a final report in the near future and will hold a public meeting at which time these matters can be fully discussed.

Len Nguyen (CD 11 Planning Deputy) then reminded everyone that the owner/developer of the Marquez/Ida project has the right to develop the project pursuant to the CDP, but the City also has the right to make sure the project plans are in compliance with code.  That is the reason why the developer was asked to revise the plans.  The City can require an adjustment in the plans in accordance with code. With respect to enacting possible new anti-mansionization rules in the Palisades, Mr. Nguyen cautioned: there was an uptick in applications to build larger homes right before we enacted more restrictive rules a few years ago. Many homeowners wanted to be able to build under the old, less restrictive rules. The new, more restrictive rules can’t be applied retroactively to require compliance by owners who file applications to build larger homes under existing rules before the new rules go into effect.

Ms. Shaner thanked everyone for these explanations. She further noted that opposing residents maintain that the Marquez/Ida structure violates code in several respects and they question the construction’s actual height. According to Ms. Shaner, the opponents believe that the measurements were incorrectly based on the assumption that the bottom floor is the basement; in their view the bottom floor is not the basement.  She asked the committee to support the opposing residents’ position as to code violations.  The Secretary repeated that the LUC is continuing to investigate and monitor the situation and will report its conclusions and recommendations to the Board and public in the coming weeks.

 Haldis Toppel (Area 3 Representative) again referenced PPCC’s Guiding Principles which support strict adherence to code requirements.  She thanked the LUC for its work. 

10.    Old Business – None.

11.    New Business. 

11.1.  “Personal Delivery Devices” (PDDs; remote-controlled/robotic delivery devices; proposed City regulations & pilot program) – Eric Bruins, CD 11 Transportation Deputy.

The Chair welcomed Eric Bruins, CD 11 Transportation Deputy.  Mr. Bruins explained that the City does not yet have a regulatory program for these robotic delivery devices (PDDs).  He provided context: Councilmember Blumenfield (second by Councilmember Bonin) brought a motion in Council last November for a report by LADOT on possible regulation of PDDs.  LADOT has not yet reported back with a draft regulatory program/ordinance.  The reason for the motion is that there seemed to be an emergence of PDD companies looking into spaces for deliveries in Los Angeles. This has become a huge business during the pandemic. The motivation is to do more deliveries more quickly and at lower cost.  However, there are issues with these devices, such as crowded and/or broken sidewalks, and locations where there may not be enough space to accommodate the devices.

The Blumenfeld/Bonin motion was an attempt to address possible problems.  Issues to be considered include:  Sidewalk accessibility; visual management tools; public right of way and use fees; limitations on advertising; enforcement capacity; consumer/public privacy (potential to collect data).  Basic questions to be asked:  Are there real public benefits and what are the trade-offs?  Mr. Bruins advised that state law authorizes PDDs but the City has the right to regulate them locally.  Absent a regulatory program the devices are legal under California law, so we see them operating in some locations without regulation by the City.  He hopes that LADOT will report back in the next month or so with a draft program.

The Chair:   We submitted a list of questions in advance to Mr. Bruins, but the basic question is, what will be the safeguards for pedestrians and motorists?  Mr. Bruins:  That is Councilmember Bonin’s top priority. He wants to have a safe public right of way for all users.  Mr. Bruins explained that we have started to see two types or models of PDDs.  The first type involves fully autonomous devices. We have a great deal of concern over whether this technology is ready for prime time.  Mr. Bruins is skeptical of the autonomous model.

The Chair:  What about permitting bicycle or motor scooter deliveries?   Mr. Bruins: That’s a good question; he doesn’t know why we don’t have more demand for these in Los Angeles.

Eric Dugdale (PPHS):   The Alphabet Streets are very narrow streets.  We would be looking at real traffic issues with PDDs in this area, and there is also an invasion of privacy concern.

The Secretary:  She submitted the list of advance questions, but will wait to respond to what LADOT reports.  She asked if there will be an opt in or opt out provision for communities such as the Palisades?  Mr. Bruins: We are waiting to see what LADOT reports as to appropriate regulations.  We don’t yet know where the companies want to operate or whether this will even be a citywide effort at this point.

The Chair: What type of program has San Pedro launched?  Mr. Bruins:  Councilmember Buscaino welcomed a PDD company there.  This was a very limited arrangement with the City and there were no regulations; they are only operating under the state authority. Mr. Bruins has not heard anything positive or negative about how this is working.

Mr. Bruins then explained that the second type or model of PDD is a remote-controlled robot, in which an operator controls the device’s motions. The operator can see if someone is coming and can move the device out of the way.

Karen Ridgley (Area 4 Representative): What is the radius where these are practical?  The Palisades has hillsides, we are spread out, and some areas have no sidewalks. PDDs are not convenient in a place like the Palisades.  She also noted that people are very concerned about invasion of privacy and she has questions about liability: Could terrorists use robots to deliver bombs?  Who has liability?  Mr. Bruins:  We have asked for an explanation of the public benefit so we can weigh the trade-offs.  There are congestion and climate benefits as well as public health benefits from contactless delivery during the pandemic.  But we need to weigh the negatives against the positives.

Ms. Ridgley also asked about enforcement: How can we enforce regulation of these devices, given the already-existing demands on LAPD?  Mr. Bruins:  That is a good question.  StreetsLA is the enforcement wing for streets, so they will have a role in enforcement.  It is important for the City to have data-sharing, as we do with scooters, so that we have real time data about what is happening with the devices.  StreetsLA has a “for hire” division that works with enforcement.

Steve Lantz (resident; PPCC representative to WRAC Transportation Committee): How do PDDs get through intersections?  Can we charge the companies to put in curb cuts?  Mr. Bruins:  He would love to be able to charge a high enough fee to manage the right of way in this manner. He is skeptical about autonomous PDDs, which now cross intersections by waiting for other pedestrians to cross and then by moving along with the pedestrians.  The PDD companies are mapping City sidewalks to see where the curb cuts are.  Mr. Lantz:  How do we deal with cars making right hand turns and potentially running over PDDs?  He is worried about cars not seeing the devices and ending up crushing someone’s dinner.  Mr. Bruins:  He shares the concern.

Bruce Schwartz (Area 2 Second Alternate): How do we know that these devices won’t be stolen?  Mr. Bruins:  Another good question; the solution that we’ve seen is for the PDDs to be slim in profile but heavy enough so that they can’t be picked up.  The companies also use different technologies to secure the cargo hatches.  We are looking to the private sector to innovate more in this area.

The Chair thanked Mr. Bruins for presenting to us.  He also thanked him for the left turn signal on Sunset & Chautauqua.  The Chair noted that PRIDE is working on landscaping the additional islands in that intersection so that the area of the intersection will even nicer when this is all completed.

11.2.    Community Forest Advisory Committee (CFAC; appointed committee of volunteers and City representatives, under the Dept. of Public Works) – Isabelle Duvivier, FAIA, CD 11 CFAC volunteer representative.  Discussion only.

The Chair welcomed Ms. Duvivier, CD 11’s volunteer representative to the CFAC.  Ms. Duvivier explained that she is an architect from Venice and our representative on the committee.  She and the other members were appointed by the Council office and approved by the Mayor.  The CFAC meets once a month to help shape City policy around the urban canopy which is in decline due to various factors.  The CFAC was able to convince the City to do an inventory of street trees, the first such inventory done in a long time.  Interested persons can go online and see tree species and condition by each Council District.  In CD 11, they will be doing the inventory in Venice in July, but they won’t be getting to the Palisades until an unknown time.  They have already mapped about 1/10 of tree species in the City.  We have a new City Forest Officer, Rachel Malarich. The CFAC also was the impetus for the Dudek Report dealing with forest management.

Ms. Duvivier has been on the CFAC for four years and needs an alternate.  She has been trying to find an alternate and has been meeting with Councilmember Bonin’s office for several years, encouraging them to appoint an alternate.  She lives in the flats of Venice.  Lots of areas in CD 11 are tree-canopy deprived.  That is not true of the Palisades, but we see in hillside areas throughout the City large numbers of requests for protected tree removals.  She feels we need someone as her alternate to help the City create policy to protect some of these trees. The tree removals don’t come to the City until the end of the development process instead of at the beginning.  There are other interesting things happening on the CFAC and she has worked with Cindy Kirven.  The CFAC was involved with the City’s recent expansion of protected tree species to include Toyon and Elderberry trees.  The CFAC has also requested that the Citywide Sign Ordinance include information on trees; many trees are butchered so that billboards can be viewed.  The CFAC has written a letter to the Planning Commission requesting more permitting requirements and fines for unpermitted tree removals. The committee has also issued a letter to LAFD.  Currently none of the LAFD literature regarding brush clearance says anything about protected trees.  Many people have removed protected trees such as Black Walnuts because in the winter these trees look dead.  Information about all protected trees should be in the brush clearance literature.  Another letter the CFAC has written relates to the City budget.  The City is currently spending only 1/4 of 1% on street trees; the CFAC has requested that the street tree allocation be elevated to 1% of the budget.

As the CD11 representative for trees, she has been trying to get other neighborhoods in CD11 to plant more trees.  There are now new groups, such as the Mar Vista Arbor Group and the Verdant Venice Committee, that encourage street tree planting.  The City is actively working in disadvantaged communities for residents to take advantage of the free street tree program.

Ms. Duvivier also explained that the City of Los Angeles has issued a new biodiversity index.  We are a biodiversity hot spot. The City put out a 2020 Biodiversity Report which she recommends to everyone. [See: https://www.lacitysan.org/san/sandocview?docname=cnt052553.]

The Mayor’s goal is no net loss of biodiversity in ten years.  One of the things we can do is register our gardens with the National Wildlife Federation.  The City wants to be the largest city in the country with wildlife gardens.  [See: https://www.nwf.org/certify.]

The Chair thanked Ms. Duvivier for her interesting presentation and service to CD11.

12.    Adjournment.   The meeting was adjourned at 7:30 pm.

ATTACHMENT:  ITEM 9.1 – WRAC-Recommended Motion to Oppose Increase in Land Use Decision Appeal Fee

Background Information:

WRAC:  https://westsidecouncils.com/motion/opposition-to-raising-land-use-appeal-fee/

Council File:  https://cityclerk.lacity.org/lacityclerkconnect/index.cfm?fa=ccfi.viewrecord&cfnumber=09-0969-S3

CAO Report: https://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2009/09-0969-S3_rpt_CAO_02-24-2021.pdf

Text of motion:

The Westside Regional Alliance of Councils opposes the proposal by the City’s Chief Administrative Officer (Rich Llewellyn), to raise the fee for a citizen (or a community group, such as an HOA) to file an appeal of any city land use (or Building & Safety) decision, from the current $89 to the discriminatory amount of $16,097. This amount that has no basis in reality will prohibit the majority of stakeholders in the City of Los Angeles from having meaningful access to any city land use appeal procedure. Council File 09-0969-S3

_________________________

Return to top of page

MINUTES FROM APRIL 8th 2021

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

Voting Alternates:  Danielle Samulon, Melanie Bouer, Janet Anderson, Susan Orenstein

Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: Rob Weber, Zennon Ulyate-Crow, Jack Coleman, John Padden, Kevin Niles, Mary Mueller, Kimberly Bloom, Rick McGeagh, Cathy Russell, Karyn Weber, Lee Anne Sanderson

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

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

4.    Approval of Minutes.  The minutes of March 11, 2021 were approved as corrected. Upcoming meetings: April 22, 2021: (1) Update on the Gladstones redevelopment project (by the concessionaire’s representative); (2) City Redistricting 2021 presentation (Michele Prichard, Commissioner/CD 11 Representative to the Redistricting Commission) — postponed from 4/8/21. May 13, 2021: Nominating Committee announcement of officer candidates; nominations from Board open.  May 27, 2021: Close of Board nominations. Additional 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 G. Cohen reported that PPCC’s cash balance is $35,701.26.  Since his last report there have been a couple of miscellaneous donations received, amounting to a total of approximately $300.

7.     General Public Comment – See Item 11.1 below.

8   Reports, Announcements and Concerns.

8.1.    From the Chair/Presiding Officer.

8.1.1.    Letter re proposed appeal fee increase:

http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/PPCC-Letter-re-Appeal-Fee-Increase.pdf.  No report.

8.1.2.    Appointment of Nominating Committee to nominate PPCC officer candidates for the 2021- 2022 term (Bylaws Art. VII.1).  The Chair announced the following members of the Nominating Committee:  Steve Cron (Area 2 Representative; Committee Chair); Jennny Li (Area 7 Representative); Joanna Spak (Area 1 Representative).

8.1.3.    Robotic Personal Delivery Devices – clarification regarding applicable law. No report.

8.2.    From Officers – None.

8.3.    From Area and At-large Representatives – None.

8.4.    From Organizational Representatives – None.

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

8.5.1.    LAPD Officer Omir Perez, acting SLO for the Palisades.  SLO Perez announced that he will serve as the Palisades’ acting SLO until the end of this week.  He will be working on Saturday night.  Officer Brian Espin will replace Officer Perez as our next acting SLO.

8.5.2.  CD 11 (temporary) Field Deputy & Sr. Planning Deputy Len Nguyen – Not in attendance.

8.6.    From PPCC Advisors – None.

9.     Reports from Committees.

9.1.    Executive Committee.  Motion regarding pedestrian overcrossing (bridge) over PCH, sponsored by the Executive Committee.  See Timeline/Key Points:

http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Pedestrian-Overcrossing-PCH-R.pdf

The Chair announced that the motion was withdrawn from the agenda because the City appears to have prioritized other infrastructure needs and will not be filing an application for federal funding.

9.2.   Land Use Committee (LUC; Howard Robinson, Chair).  (Tentative) Update on research: Marquez/Ida residential project & related non-hillside Coastal area zoning issues.  In the Committee Chair’s absence, the PPCC Chair announced that the LUC held a working meeting today and is continuing its research and investigation into the zoning issues.

10.    Old Business – None.

11.     New Business. 

11.1.    Councilmember Bonin Motion re Homeless Housing (possible “tiny homes”/safe camping at Will Rogers State Beach parking lot & other sites in CD 11).  Discussion only. See Bonin Motion at: https://11thdistrict.com/news/no-stone-left-unturned/ (click on arrows at bottom left of motion to move forward or back between motion pages).

The Chair welcomed Councilmember Mike Bonin, who presented a slide show with information about his motion.  CM Bonin stated that the Los Angeles homeless situation is in indescribable crisis. He gave the numbers of people dying on our streets and noted that there has been a dramatic increase in homelessness.  The numbers are expected to double nationwide and in Los Angeles in a year.  He further described the dire conditions and emphasized that multiple strategies are needed to address the crisis, including housing and prevention. He discussed the menu of options. The interim solutions are bridge housing, Project Room Key and host homes.  The immediate solutions are “tiny homes” or cabin communities, safe parking and safe camping.  The public, the courts and our consciences are demanding solutions.  He spoke about the federal lawsuit overseen by Judge Carter.  The Judge will demand that each Council district participate in a plan to address homelessness.  CM Bonin has called for a consent decree. He described the areas that already have supportive housing.  He is proposing the next step in all of this: immediate life-saving measures to deal with the crisis on the streets.  Measures taken have included purchasing motel rooms, leasing motel rooms and leasing apartment units.  He is also using part of the West LA Civic Center where his offices are located as bridge housing for women. He is now proposing cabin communities, safe camping and safe parking in various areas of CD11. He described what “tiny homes” or cabin communities are and what they consist of. They will provide onsite services, security and a path out of homelessness.  The City has already opened several such communities in other areas.  Safe camping involves people being allowed to put up tents or being provided with tents in sanctioned areas.  There will be onsite management, sanitation, security and services.  Not yet decided: the precise locations of the sites, the types of housing or shelter capacity, the operations and rules.  He has only asked for City agencies to evaluate the sites, to begin discussions and determine how to find funding.

Why is this being proposed on the Westside?  It’s an epic crisis, people are dying, and the direction the Council is taking involves every district doing their part.  The options on the Westside are limited mainly to government-owned properties.  He has offered multiple locations in his motion.  He stressed that every community needs to be part of the solution.  The crisis demands as much action as possible.   During the pandemic last year, the City began using recreation centers for temporary homeless housing. The Palisades Recreation Center was thought to be inappropriate, but the beach parking lot was proposed as an alternate site in discussions.  He is now proposing this site.

CM Bonin then described the process that will take place: His motion will first go to the Homelessness and Poverty Committee, and if it passes in Committee will then go to the full Council.  If the motion passes in Council that will start the study process.  City agencies would then evaluate the proposals and public discussion would continue.  The funding must be ascertained.  The proposal would then go through a required public approval process with multiple jurisdictions involved. He would like to hear ideas for other sites in the Palisades if this site isn’t considered ideal.

Questions and answers with Board members then ensued.

The Chair: He understands that Judge Carter was concerned about camping under the freeways because of pollution.  PCH qualifies as a freeway with 6 lanes of traffic.  It is also an attractive nuisance for homelessness; many have died jaywalking across PCH. The beach parking lot seems a dangerous place to house people.  CM Bonin:  That would be part of the evaluation. There are camping areas on other portions of PCH where there is traffic.  Dockweiler Beach is not on PCH but it also has an adjacent road. There is a difference between being housed in the open air versus under a freeway overpass.

Matt Quiat (Area 6 Representative):  If the beach parking lot were to be used, how would that impact the millions of people who visit the beach every year?  CM Bonin: The Coastal Commission will weigh in on this.  He proposes just taking part of the parking lot at the southern end. The Commission knows this won’t be permanent; there will be a short-term impact for a year or two.  This must be balanced against the crisis of people dying.

Beth Holden Garland (PPRA):  The public beach is for the public; it is an area sacred for families.  She doesn’t see that sufficient resources are there for the homeless, such as sanitation and other services.  There have been several fatalities with crossings on PCH.  How is he addressing impacts on children going to school at Pali High?  CM Bonin:  These issues will all be addressed during the process.  Regarding food and services: These would be provided as part of the program for the cabin communities.

Reza Akef (Area 8 Representative): He is a private developer. Private developers are not building affordable housing because the City is imposing Draconian rules on builders.  He complained about the actions of a homeless person outside property he owns.  CM Bonin:  There are many drivers of the cost of housing.  He is against reducing wages.  The fact that there is a homeless person acting inappropriately outside of the property owned by Mr. Akef is an argument for the Councilmember’s motion.

Sue Kohl (Area 5 Representative):  She represents the Alphabet Streets. She has received an overwhelming number of emails and calls from residents who are upset about the use of the beach parking lot to house the homelessness.  She has a lot of interaction with PPTFH volunteers and police officers on the beach. The message she gets from the officers is that they are very much against this proposal and think it’s a terrible idea. Getting services to homeless people at the beach in this way can’t be managed.  CM Bonin:  LAPD wants to get out of the homeless business.  In order to do this, we need more housing and services.  We have to be providing services in every location.  There are no ideal locations.

Danielle Samulon (Area 3 1st Alternate).  She represents the Marquez area.  This part of the beach is literally the playground for the Palisades and for others; young kids go there to play and others go to learn how to surf.  The whole City goes to the beach.  It’s the Central Park of Los Angeles.  This would be like putting homeless cabins in Central Park.  Are mentally ill people going in these places?  How many cabins would be there?  Are there other cabin communities in beach parking lots?  What has happened with Measure HHH?   CM Bonin:  Every neighborhood must have a park for people to play in. A number of projects on the Westside are being funded with HHH funding but because the costs have gone up, the number of units being built is lower than originally projected. There are cabin communities in Redondo Beach and Santa Cruz.  Ms. Samulon:  Are these on or near beaches?  (No response.)

Trish Bowe (Rotary Club):  Can you verify what these cabins are costing?  CM Bonin:  Pallet shelters cost between $6,000-7,000 per cabin; that is the base cost. The cost goes up with required additional infrastructure.  There are showers and plumbing at Will Rogers, so this could be tied in.

David Kaplan (Vice-Chair): What do you say to those people who believe that these temporary housing units will never go away but will expand and take over a greater part of the parking lots?  How can we believe these assurances?  CM Bonin:  All projects in the Coastal Zone are subject to the Coastal Commission.  They won’t allow anything other than something that is temporary or emergency.  The Commission will give time parameters, such as when it will have to be shut down.  Mr. Kaplan:  What’s to stop the City from asking the Commission to expand the time?  CM Bonin:  We have other agencies that are responsive in this situation; the County owns the beach parking lot.

Karen Ridgley (Area 4 Representative):  She is concerned about the proximity of Pali High to the parking lot location for the tiny houses.  What are the implications for our youth who use the beach for recreation and sports? Are there any laws protecting the youth who would be exposed through the proximity to homeless housing on the beach?  CM Bonin:  These are things that will need to be evaluated and discussed in the process.  This is early in the process; he is only saying this is worth looking into and worth evaluating.  Ms. Ridgley: What is the management team he expects at the location?  We have all seen horrendous videos showing violence in Venice.  What will prevent that from happening on our beach areas?  CM Bonin:  The operator will be chosen later.  An example might be The People Concern.  Regarding the Venice situation:  Restating the problem isn’t the reason not to do the solution.  We aren’t proposing what is happening in Venice; we are proposing a solution to that problem.

Joanna Spak (Area 1 Representative):  What is the time frame for the process; how long will it be before the plan for the Will Rogers site will be ready for public comment?  CM Bonin:  Public comment begins now. He is asking City agencies to look at different properties and places.  It’s hard to tell how long this will take.   We want to be able to move as expeditiously as possible.  The Coastal approval process can take months.

Fay Vahdani (Chamber of Commerce):  Speaking on behalf of the Chamber, we are opposing this plan. The beach parking lot is not appropriate for tiny homes or safe camping sites.  CM Bonin: You do not want the City to look at it?  Ms. Vahdani:  No, based on what we’ve seen in Brentwood and other areas, we don’t want to see this come to our area.  CM Bonin:  There is a problem outside the fence of the VA, but inside the fence where the tents are, they have a safe camping program with rules and security.  That is what he is proposing. Don’t look at the outside of the fence. He again suggested that anyone who wishes to propose an alternative location in the Palisades should let him know.

The Chair thanked the Councilmember for his presentation and for answering the Board’s questions. CM Bonin left the meeting at that point to attend another meeting.  Public comment continued.

Eric Dugdale (PPHS):  Providing historical perspective, he related that the woman who gave the public the land for the VA wanted it to be called the Old Soldiers Home, originally to house Civil War veterans. The situation has changed from the original idea. The authorities should consider other areas to house the homeless before considering dangerous areas.

Rob Weber (PPCC Legal Advisor):  The beach parking lot is a terrible location for various reasons.  It is a danger to the homeless and the public.  The beach is one of the jewels of Los Angeles and purposely moving homeless people there would be a mistake.  He is offended that CM Bonin is trying to shame the Palisades.  We have been dealing with the homeless ourselves for many years.

Alan Goldsmith (At-large Representative):  This will destroy the bicycle path.  People are vulnerable on bikes and he knows from experience that the homeless harass cyclists.  There is no infrastructure and no access to services and amenities.

Karyn Weber (Area 6 1st Alternate):  She agrees with Mr. Goldsmith.  The bike path is a jewel for the City. She also fears that excrement and needles will be left on the beach where kids play.  Considering housing on the beach as an alternative during the early pandemic emergency as described by CM Bonin was a totally different situation.

The Chair:  The choice at that time was to deal with an immediate emergency early on in the virus. The Palisades Recreation Center was a horrible choice. The beach parking lot was closed then and nobody was using the beach.  It was a totally different situation.  There is no immediate emergency right now.  Homelessness has been with us for years.

Zennon Ulyate-Crow (PPCC Youth Advisor/Topanga Canyon resident):  He would rather have a temporary shelter at the beach than what is happening now.  He attends Pali High and encounters local homeless people on the beach and in our bluffs areas.  It is safer to have the homeless temporarily sheltered in the Palisades.  He supports putting local homeless people in shelters on the beach.

Jack Coleman (PPCC Youth Advisor/Palisades resident):  He disagrees with our other Youth Advisor.  The beach is vital to the Palisades and to all of Los Angeles.  He has participated in Junior Lifeguards on the beach.  His grandmother and her neighbor walk on the bike path several times a week.  Nothing that has been said makes him think there will be sufficient controls to keep people safe in this location. There should not be a prison on the beach.

Lori Guggenheim (resident):  There are good reasons to oppose this motion.  This is not just about us Palisadians; the whole of LA County would be damaged.  The beach is a playground for all of Los Angeles to visit and use.  How are people going to have access if an encampment is there?

Lucia Ludovico (resident):  She will fight this proposal as hard as she can and has a lot of company.  This will not end homelessness.

Krishna Thangavelu (resident):  We must examine the assumption that the judge can force us to do anything.  Only we will govern us.

Chuck Hart (resident):  He is adamantly opposed.

Marjan Rajabi (resident):  If the motion is approved, then people who are addicted will have a legal right to live in the beach parking lot and this creates lots of potential other problems.  She vehemently opposes the proposal.

David Howard (resident):  He agrees with everyone.  The “inside” brings terrible attractions to the “outside.”  Examples are at the VA and in Venice.  We must stand firm and unite.

Diane Lenkin (SM Canyon resident):  She understands the anger and concerns.  The Canyon has been dealing with the homeless for 5 years.  We need to do something for these people, for our property and for ourselves.  Please think of us in the Canyon.  This is not a good solution.

Julia Breitman (resident):  She is concerned about summer camps on the beach.  What will happen to them when there is an encampment at that same spot?  She is adamantly opposed.

Paul Guggenheim (resident):  The City has failed in terms of a long-term solution.  This is a dangerous short-term solution.  We need 8 or 9 MGM Grands to house the homeless – a solution that is scalable, sustainable and safe.  It is ridiculous to compare the road adjacent to Dockweiler with PCH.

Audrey Foster (SM Canyon resident):  Living in the Canyon, she has been afraid to go to the beach due to the many homeless who are there.

Ken Sykes (resident):  He is concerned about the proposal and has serious health concerns. What happens to the beach when people don’t stay in the tiny homes?  There are plenty of other alternatives.

Kyle Gerstenschlager (Venice-Palisades resident):  He is moving here from Venice.  CM Bonin failed us in Venice.

Julie Lai (resident):  A sustainable solution is needed, not this proposal.  This is not a viable solution.  We should not rely on the Coastal Commission.

Ashley Schwartz (Mar Vista resident):  She lives across from the project in Mar Vista Gardens.  She is adamantly opposed to this proposal. We need to be thinking more about the collective community.

Sinjin Smith (resident):  It would be one thing to take care of the Palisades’ own homeless. But asking us in the Palisades to take care of all these people who come from all over the country is not acceptable.  Homelessness will continue to happen and grow unless they stop making it attractive for people to come here.

John Attard (SM Canyon resident):  Living in the Canyon, he knows this isn’t a solution.  Choosing the most expensive real estate with limited resources isn’t a good idea.

Michelle Bisnoff (BCC Chair): Brentwood has received more than 11,000 comments in response to what is happening with the homeless.  No one is in favor of using parks or beaches to house the homeless. There was a recent homicide in the homeless encampment outside of the VA.  BCC has for some time been in favor of using an empty municipal building in West Los Angeles to house and service the homeless.  Why are we not building a huge facility for rehab and drug abuse treatment?

Dave Harvilicz (Venice resident):  He sees this as a political move by CM Bonin.  People need mental health facilities.

Jenny Li (Area 7 Representative):  This is a statewide issue.  There is a lot of other open land that could be used for a temporary site.  The City needs to be looking for underutilized buildings with roofs overhead.

The Chair then explained that the Secretary has drafted a proposed motion with input from the Executive Committee. The draft motion opposes CM Bonin’s proposal to use beaches and parks for homeless housing.  The Chair stated that the Board could not formally vote on this draft motion because the agenda item was specified for discussion only.  A formal vote can be taken at the next Board meeting. However, the Chair explained that the Board’s opinion could be ascertained at this time by a straw poll.  This could in turn be used by the Executive Committee should it become necessary to take action, pursuant to PPCC Bylaws, if CM Bonin’s motion is scheduled for hearing in committee before the next Board meeting. The proposed draft motion was shared on the screen and the Chair summarized each of the points in the motion.  He asked for discussion before conducting a straw poll. Sue Kohl, Karen Ridgley, Beth Holden Garland, Richard Blumenberg (Civic League) and Peter Powell (Corpus Christi School) all specifically expressed their support.  There were no statements in opposition. The Chair then called for voting Board members to indicate their opinion via a straw poll vote.  Result:  Unanimous in support of the draft proposed motion.

(See: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Motion-re-homeless-shelters-on-beaches.pdf.)

 12.   Adjournment.   The meeting was adjourned at 7:49pm.

_________________________

Return to top of page

MINUTES FROM APRIL 22nd 2021

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

Voting Alternates:  Karyn Weber

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7.       General Public Comment.

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

8.      Reports, Announcements and Concerns.

8.1.     From the Chair/Presiding Officer.

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

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

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

8.2.      From Officers

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

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

8.3.     From Area and At-large Representatives – None.

8.4.     From Organizational Representatives.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8.6.    From PPCC Advisors – Not called.

9.    Reports from Committees.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10.    Old Business – None.

11.    New Business. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Questions and comments from the Board then ensued.

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

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

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

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

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

The Chair thanked Ms. Prichard for her presentation.

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

_________________________

Return to top of page

MINUTES FROM MAY 13th 2021

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

Voting Alternates:  Janet Anderson, Kevin Niles

Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: John Padden, Marilyn Wexler, Cindy Kirven, Kimberly Bloom, Nancy Niles.

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

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

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

4.    Approval of Minutes.  The minutes of April 22, 2021 were approved. Upcoming meetings: May 27, 2021: 1) Guest speaker — LA City Controller Ron Galperin; 2) close of Board nominations of officer candidates. June 10, 2021:  Candidates forum (if needed) and Board election of PPCC officers, 2021-2022 term. June 24, 2021: Update on Gladstones redevelopment project (by Thomas Tellefsen, representative of the concessionaire)

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

6.     Treasurer’s Report.  The Treasurer Richard G. Cohen reported that PPCC’s cash balance is $36,061.11.  We received a $1,000 contribution from an individual.  Otherwise  there were no significant transactions since the last report.

7.     General Public Comment — None.

8.     Reports, Announcements and Concerns.

8.1.     From the Chair/Presiding Officer.

8.1.1.    Update on Bonin motion/homeless housing on state beach parking lots and in parks. Letters to public officials:

4/19/21: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Letter-re-CF-21-0350-Sheltering-Plan.pdf

4/23/21: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Letter-re-CF-21-0350-beach-parks-homeless-housing.pdf

4/24/21: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Letter-re-Alliance-beach-housing.pdf

4/26/21: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Letter-Kuehl-beach-homeless-housing.pdf

4/26/21: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Letter-Allen-Bloom-beach-homeless-housing.pdf

4/29/21: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Letter-Officials-Follow-Up-beach-homeless-housing.pdf

The Chair summarized what has occurred to date in regard to this matter. Since the last PPCC meeting, PPCC submitted six separate letters of opposition to various officials (linked above). At the hearing today before the Homelessness & Poverty Committee, over 80 attendees were lined up to speak on the motion.  Only about 24 or 25 people were called on to comment before public comment was cut off.  Both the Chair and PPCC Secretary Chris Spitz were on the line but were not called on. Some people we know were called on:  Michelle Bisnoff of BCC; a community leader, Lucy Han, from Playa del Rey; and Jessica Rogers of PPRA.  None of the councils which have sites affected by the motion were called on. After  discussion, the Committee voted  4-1 in favor of the motion, with CM Buscaino being the only No vote and the only Councilmember to state that beaches and parks should not be used for homeless housing.

The matter will now go to the full City Council for a vote, sooner rather than later. If passed, the motion will then will go to the City Administrative Officer (CAO) to study the feasibility of the sites.  The CAO will report back to Council and it will go on from there.  At least half of the speakers were in opposition and they seemed well-organized. We believe that efforts to obtain approval for the use of these sites have been going on behind the scenes.  We have submitted Public Records Act requests to the State and the County for the agreements that control the operation of the beaches and for other documents pertaining to the use of Will Rogers State Beach and Dockweiler beach for homeless housing.

8.1.2.     PCH Task Force Update.   The Chautauqua/PCH intersection restriping is in the final design stages, with a few more tweaks needed. It will then take time to do the striping. The Chair has asked for the community to be given a few weeks warning, since this will be a significant change for drivers, resulting in only one lane going up Chautauqua from PCH northbound.  In regard to the George Wolfberg Park at Potrero Canyon, Pedro Garcia of the Bureau of Engineering reported that the City has now chosen the lowest bid for landscaping. They expect that the required notice to proceed will be issued July 1, 2021.

8.1.3.     LADWP Update. We received a message from Deborah Hong of LADWP that staff need to conduct a site inspection at the LADWP property on Marquez Ave. next to Marquez Elementary Charter School, related to soil work at the site. LADWP surveyors will be walking the site on May 15 and 16 to conduct the inspection.  This is not related to any power system facilities or improvements.

8.1.4.   Area 3 1st Alternate status.  Danielle Samulon will soon be moving from Area 3 to Area 4.  The 2nd Alternate Nancy Niles will become the 1st Alternate, replacing Ms. Samulon.  We will be looking for a replacement for the 2nd Alternate position in due course.   The Chair noted that Ms. Samulon had served the Council admirably both as Primary Representative and 1st Alternate for Area 3, and he thanked her for her service.

8.2.    From Officers

8.2.1.    Chris Spitz (Secretary).  Legislation updates.

SB 9 and 10:  These housing density bills that we and the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils oppose have passed in two Senate committees and are now being held in suspense in the Senate Appropriations Committee for further review.  Appropriations is the next step before a floor vote in the Senate, and then the bills will go to the Assembly if they pass in the Senate.  We will continue to monitor.

8.3.     From Area and At-large Representatives.

8.3.1.    Haldis Toppel (Area 3 Representative).  Regarding Area 3 2nd Alternate applications, the Chair indicated that the announcement will go out in due course, as soon as we are able to get to this.  Reporting on PAPA, Ms. Toppel stated there will be a 4th of July parade.  The organizers are pretty sure that permits will be issued.  There will only be local participation.  There won’t be grandstands but they are looking for floats from the community.

8.4.     From Organizational Representatives.

8.4.1.    Kevin Niles (American Legion).  Regarding PAPA’s plans, there will be fireworks on the 4th of July.  Permits are pending from the City and LAFD. There won’t be a concert.  Pali High is the planned location but the back-up is the recreation center if the school doesn’t give permission.  The plan now is to utilize the football stadium as seating for the fireworks.

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

8.5.1.    Len Nguyen, CD 11 Palisades Deputy.

Mr. Nguyen reported that several streets have been resurfaced.  Regarding the Riviera Country Club maintenance gate matter:  A letter will go out from Planning advising the Club that they will need to file for plan approval.  PPCC will receive a copy. He has requested additional signs to deal with the issue of loitering on Asilomar.  The Chair: What is the next step for the Bonin motion?  Answer:  Approval of the full Council is needed for the requested study to take place. This will take place in about two weeks.  Mr. Nguyen will let us know when the hearing is scheduled.  LADP Officer Rusty Redican (currently on leave/not on duty): Is it possible to get parallel parking only on Asilomar, along with new signage?  Answer:  Mr. Nguyen will ask about this.  Karen Ridgley (Area 4 Representative): We don’t need ten signs; we instead need four No Stopping signs.  Reza Akef (Area 8 Representative): Can there be enforcement of the Riviera maintenance gate even without the notification letter?  Answer: Mr. Nguyen will talk to LADBS and find out; he will let Mr. Akef know.

8.5.2.    LAPD acting SLO report.  The Chair read the report from Acting SLO Brian Espin. There was a small grass/hillside fire at the top of El Medio caused by a homeless person.  LAPD is working with LAFD to identify the individual suspect.  They are checking known encampments.  There was also an incident involving a transient man following three girls in the Village.  The girls evaded him, went into a local busines and told the worker at the business about the situation.  The man left before he could be identified.  In addition, there was vandalism on the beach bike path, with anti-Semitic graffiti stenciled on benches.  Detectives are investigating.  The Chair stated that PPCC condemns this behavior.

Officer Redican:  The police are doing a great job of making everyone aware.   He has been in touch with Officers Margin and Yi of the beach detail. They were able to locate encampments today in the El Medio area and the officers removed the encampments.  The Treasurer: Is it true that Officer Redican has thrown his hat into the ring to become the Palisades SLO?   Officer Redican:  That is true.  The position is not really open yet.  The City didn’t have funding for the position after Officer Moore left.  We have to wait for more money to be allocated.  Other officers are now getting the opportunity to try out and see how they like the position.

There was further discussion about the City’s budget, keeping the beach detail, the fire at the top of El Medio and support for Officer Redican.

8.6.    From PPCC Advisors — None.

9.     Reports from Committees.

9.1.     Nominating Committee (Steve Cron, Chair; members Jenny Li and Joanna Spak). Announcement of Committee’s nomination of candidates for PPCC officer positions, 2021-2022 term. Nominations from the Board open, following Committee’s announcement (Bylaws Art. VII.2).

The Committee Chair announced the Committee has nominated the following candidates for PPCC officer positions in the coming term:  Chair:  David Card; Vice-Chair:  David Kaplan; Treasurer:  Richard Cohen; Secretary:  Chris Spitz.  The Secretary thanked the Committee and explained that all of the nominees were asked and have indicated their willingness to serve in these positions in the coming term.  The PPCC Chair then announced that nominations from the Board were now open and would remain open until 15 minutes before the scheduled close of the next board meeting on May 27.  He asked if there were any nominations from the Board.  There were none.

9.2.     Land Use Committee (LUC; Howard Robinson, Chair).  (Tentative) Update on research: Marquez/Ida residential project & related non-hillside Coastal area zoning issues.  In the absence of the Committee Chair, the PPCC Chair explained that the Committee has been meeting and continuing its investigation and its work preparing zoning maps and related materials.  The Secretary noted that as to the project itself, we’ve been told that the owner has submitted new plans and these are under review and discussion with the Building Dept.  To our knowledge the stop work notice is still in effect.

10.     Old Business – None.

11.     New Business. 

11.1.   Proposed solar-powered “Pali Grid” (presentation by Ryan Craig, Resilient Palisades Clean Energy Resilience Team). Microgrid survey: https://resilientpalisades.org/survey/.  Microgrid info: https://resilientpalisades.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Know-Your-Microgrids.pdf.

The Chair welcomed Ryan Craig of Resilient Palisades (RP).  Mr. Craig explained that RP is a 501(c)3 organization founded almost three years ago.  He presented a slide show about RP and its teams.  The current project is to launch a solar-powered microgrid in the Palisades.  The microgrid would connect all of the solar systems at individual homes.  In the event of a power outage, the participants in the program can island themselves off from the main grid and continue power at their homes.  The Pali microgrid would be one of the first residential microgrids in the country.  These have mostly been in newly built communities.  They have support from elected officials and industry experts.  There would be a two-phase approach, involving a community effort to install solar storage systems.  Then, they will “flip the switch” and connect all the systems.  Postcards were delivered to all homes in the Palisades. The goal is to complete the survey available on the RP website (linked above).  RP is coordinating with LADWP, which is receptive.  RP’s goal is to provide interested Palisadians by this fall with packages for installing solar, plus storage and control.  RP has had 311 responses to their survey so far.  Please check out the RP website or email Ryan Craig for more information (ryan@resilientpalisades.org).

The Chair:  How are we all linked in the grid?  Craig:  Through the existing electrical line.  Jenny Li (Area 7 Representative):  Is this available to all areas in the Palisades, even people in Santa Monica and Rustic Canyons?  Craig:  He does not have an answer yet; this may have to do with engineering and several smaller microgrids may be required.  Alan Goldsmith (At-large Representative):  How can he get information to his HOA?  Craig:  Email Ryan Craig.  Karen Ridgley (Area 4 Representative):  Does he have information about superchargers for electric cars?  Craig:  He doesn’t know the answer about superchargers.  Kimberly Bloom (Area 5 1st Alternate):  Where is the grid located?  Craig:  This will be a virtual grid with the control system at each residence.

The Chair thanked Mr. Craig for his interesting presentation.

11.2.    New restaurant replacing “Taste”/538 Palisades Dr. (presentation by Dafne Gokcen, FE Design & Planning).

The Chair introduced Ms. Gokcen, who in turn introduced Ryan Gowhari.  Mr. Gowhari and his father are opening a new location of the restaurant which they have owned for 27 years in Malibu, “Spruzzo.” They are starting construction on the interior next week.  Ms. Gokcen explained that the new restaurant will be in the former “Taste” restaurant spot in the Highlands Plaza.  This location has a conditional use permit for alcohol.  It is expiring and the new restaurant owners are filing for renewal of the permit.  The only change is for the remodel of the interior of the restaurant.  They will make use of the patio.  The food will be Italian/American, with such menu items as pizza, pasta, salad, fish and chicken. They will offer take-out and delivery.  There will be a full liquor license.  The price range will average $60 for a dinner for two and $25 for dinner entrees.  The Chair thanked Ms. Gokcen and Mr. Gowhari for presenting this information.

11.3.    WRAC-recommended Homeless Motions (Motion for Board support of motions A-D below; sponsored by Matt Quiat, PPCC Rep to WRAC Homelessness Committee, and Chris Spitz, PPCC rep to WRAC & WRAC Vice-Chair). See Attachment for text of motions and background information.

The Secretary stated that she and Matt Quiat (Area 6 Representative) were introducing four motions recommended by WRAC for the Board to support, as indicated in the Attachment.  Each motion was read in turn.  No second was necessary as the motions were made by two voting Board members.  She briefly explained and read each motion out loud.  Discussion ensued and votes were taken in turn on each motion.  Following discussion, the votes on each motion were as follows:

Motion A (see Attachment):

Vote result:  Unanimous to support the motion.

Motion B (see Attachment):

Vote result:  Unanimous to support the motion.

Motion C (see Attachment):

Vote result:  Unanimous to support the motion.

Motion D (see Attachment):

Vote result:  Unanimous to support the motion by all members voting.

12.      Adjournment.   The meeting was adjourned at 7:40pm.

ATTACHMENT – Item 11.3: WRAC-recommended Homeless Motions

Background Information: Document prepared for the WRAC Board by the WRAC Homelessness Committee:
https://westsidecouncils.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/WRAC-HOC-4-Motions-Background.pdf

(Note: two of the motions in the Background document were later amended by the WRAC Board; the motions as amended and recommended to member councils are listed below.)

Motions:

A.  Abate and Correct Unsafe and Unhealthy Conditions in Homeless Encampments

The Westside Regional Alliance of Councils calls on the Los Angeles City Council and Mayor Eric Garcetti to immediately direct the Los Angeles City Bureau of Sanitation (“LA Sanitation”) to undertake site clean-ups, trash collection, and sanitizing of all homeless encampments located in the neighborhoods represented by WRAC on the Westside of Los Angeles, in order to abate, correct, and remove hazardous, unsafe, unhealthy, and unsanitary conditions, including without limitation all combustible materials such as propane tanks, at all homeless encampments forthwith. [Bold font: new amended language proposed by Quiat & Spitz, with input from Sharon Kilbride, PPCC Homelessness Advisor]

B.  Enforcement of Crimes in or Near Homeless Encampments

The Westside Regional Alliance of Councils calls on the Los Angeles City Council and Mayor Eric Garcetti to direct the Los Angeles Police Department and other relevant law enforcement agencies to enforce all existing, enforceable laws prohibiting the sale and distribution of illegal drugs, human trafficking, and other serious crimes taking place in or near homeless encampments on the Westside of Los Angeles.

C.  Enforce Laws Prohibiting Blockage of Public Right of Way

The Westside Regional Alliance of Councils calls on the Los Angeles City Council and Mayor Eric Garcetti to direct the Los Angeles Police Department and the Department of Public Works’ Bureau of Engineering Street Services Division, as well as the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and the Department of Veterans Affairs to direct the Veterans Affairs Police Department and other relevant law enforcement agencies to enforce all existing, enforceable laws prohibiting the blockage of the public right of way on the Westside of Los Angeles, including all applicable provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

D.  Increase Funding to Support Additional Safe Parking Programs

The Westside Regional Alliance of Councils calls for additional funding and resources, from all available sources, in order to implement more Safe Parking Programs and to support existing, reputable safe parking programs, including those operated by organizations such as Safe Parking LA, throughout the Westside of Los Angeles.

_________________________

Return to top of page

MINUTES FROM MAY 27th 2021

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

Voting Alternates:  Mary Mueller, Rick Mills, Cindy Kirven, Nancy Niles

Non-voting Advisors and Alternates:  Miriam Schulman, John Padden, Marilyn Wexler

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

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

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

4.    Approval of Minutes.  The minutes of May 13, 2021 were approved. Upcoming meetings:  June 10, 2021:  Candidates forum (if needed) and Board election of PPCC officers, 2021-2022 term. June 24, 2021: Update on Gladstones redevelopment project (by Thomas Tellefsen, representative of the concessionaire). There will be one meeting only in each of the months of July and August, likely on the first Thursday of the month.  The dates will be announced at the next meeting 

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

6.    Treasurer’s Report.   The Treasurer Richard G. Cohen reported that PPCC’s cash balance is $39,581.60.  We have received many donations since the last report, totaling about  $3,800.  Two donations were for $1,000 with the rest between $25 and $250.  We are expecting additional larger donations.

7.    General Public Comment.

7.1.    Nina Madok (resident) reported on a possible water main leakage on Bashford St.  LADWP has been notified.  The Chair thanked Ms. Madok for letting us know.

8.    Reports, Announcements and Concerns.

8.1.    From the Chair/Presiding Officer.

8.1.1.    Update on Bonin motion/homeless housing on state beach parking lots and in parks. Letters to public officials:

5/07/21: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Message-to-Sup.-Hahn-5-7-21.pdf

5/11/21: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/PPCC-Supplemental-Letter-re-CF-21-0350.pdf

5/16/21: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/PPCC-Letter-City-Council-re-CF-21-0350-1.pdf

5/17/21: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Email-Letter-to-Judge-Carter-5-17-21.pdf

5/23/21: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Letter-to-Editors-LAT.pdf

The Chair reported that all of the above letters have been sent to addressees and/or officials and filed with the City as appropriate.  He also noted that the LA Times will be publishing his Letter to the Editor on Saturday.  This will be an edited version of the longer letter sent to the LA Times Editorial Board on May 23 (see link above).

He also reported on the disappointing results of the City Council hearing on May 26:  the Bonin motion passed in Council over extensive public opposition, with the only No vote being Councilmember Buscaino.  The proposed sites for homeless housing will now be studied for “feasibility” by the City Administrative Officer (CAO).  We will monitor.

8.1.2.    Palisades Fire update: Thank you to first responders; brush clearance reminder.  The Chair reiterated our thanks to all who assisted in fighting the Palisades Fire as well as the recent fire below the Via de las Olas bluffs, and in apprehending the suspected arsonist in the Palisades Fire, including LAFD, LA County Fire, CalFire and LAPD. He also reminded everyone to clear any brush on their property per LAFD requirements.

8.1.3.    Formation of PPCC Communications Committee.  The Chair has appointed a new Communications Committee for PPCC.  The members are: Dennis Higgins, resident and public relations executive; Peggy Holter, resident and Emmy winning TV news reporter & producer; Sue Kohl, Area 5 Representative; Mary Mueller, At-large 1st Alternate; and John Padden, PRIDE’s representative.  The Committee will be meeting soon.

8.1.4.    In Memoriam: Col. Dick Littlestone.  The Chair explained that Col. Littlestone, a longtime resident and friend of Pacific Palisades, has sadly passed away.  He was in his 90s.  The Colonel was an activist with many achievements, including obtaining approval for construction of the columbarium at the Los Angeles Veterans Cemetery, where he will be laid to rest.  He spent 22 years in unrelenting, active work on this important issue, urging officials to build the much-needed columbarium for our veterans.  We salute Col. Littlestone.  The Palisades community will miss him.

8.1.5.    Board nomination of officer candidates – open until 15 minutes before scheduled close of the meeting.  The Chair invited nominations.  There were none. He stated that per PPCC’s Bylaws he would ask again at 7:15pm, 15 minutes before the meeting was scheduled to end.

8.2.     From Officers

8.2.1.    Chris Spitz (Secretary).

The Secretary reported that we learned today that the City Council Transportation Committee, chaired by CM Bonin, will be hearing a report on June 1 from LADOT on regulation of personal delivery devices (PDDs). In March 2021, Eric Bruins of CD11 reported on this matter to PPCC and answered questions and concerns about how PDDs would be regulated.  The officers haven’t had time to read the report in detail, but the Secretary saw from a quick glance that LADOT is recommending that the devices be allowed everywhere in the City, with certain regulations including so-called saturation limits.  She didn’t see any op-in or opt-out provisions for neighborhoods, which is something we might want the ordinance to include.  Action by the board can’t be taken because this isn’t on the agenda for action, but the Executive Committee may take action and comment on the board’s behalf.  We’d like to take a straw poll to guide the Committee in deciding whether to submit comments by June 1.  Does the board feel that any ordinance should include opt-in or opt-out provisions?  The Treasurer added that there were many questions and concerns at the March meeting when this was brought up.  He suggested that the board may also want the Executive Committee to raise these questions and concerns with the Transportation Committee.  The Chair then asked, as a straw poll, if any board members objected to the Executive Committee requesting that the ordinance include an opt-in or opt-out provision and that the board’s questions and concerns be raised with the Committee.  Response to the straw poll:  There were no objections to the Committee making this request and raising these questions and concerns.

The Secretary also reported that she learned just before the meeting that the City Council PLUM Committee will hear a matter on June 1 that may be of concern to some board members or residents:  the Planning and Cannabis Depts. are recommending certain revisions to the Cannabis ordinance that was originally enacted in 2018.  Again, she quickly looked at this and saw that the revisions mainly have to do with existing Medical Marijuana dispensaries, which we don’t have in the Palisades, but there are a few revisions of some of the definitions of “sensitive uses.”  One of the revisions suggested adding federal parkland as a sensitive use. If anyone is interested in delving into this further, contact the Secretary and she will provide a link to the Council File.

Lastly, the Secretary reported that she again learned shortly before the meeting that SB 9, one of the housing density bills that PPCC and WRAC oppose, passed in the Senate yesterday.  Our Senator Allen was a “no vote recorded,” as were Senators Stern and Kamlager from the general LA region.  There were six No votes, mainly from Republicans.  SB 10, which PPCC and WRAC also oppose, will soon be voted on in the Senate and will likely pass as well.  The bills will go on to the Assembly.  As always, we’ll continue to monitor.

8.3.    From Area and At-large Representatives – None.

8.4.    From Organizational Representatives – None.

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

8.5.1.    The Chair stated that he received a written report from acting LAPD SLO Brian Espin which he summarized.  LAPD will be conducting an encampment check with an enforcement task force, including volunteers from PPTFH and outreach workers, in conjunction with the recent fires.  They will be searching for camps and enforcing and removing materials if time and resources allow.  There will be a command post at the Will Rogers State Beach parking lot.   The Chair reported that LAPD Captain Tom also states that the key takeaways from the recent fires are: 1) brush clearance is required; 2) fire evacuation warnings (“get ready to evacuate”) must be heeded; residents should have their “go” bags ready at their front doors; 3) collaboration with the community has never been more important; this was evident in the capture of the arsonist.

Sue Kohl (Area 5 Representative):  There is a new requirement for all residential home closings after July 1:  Sellers must let buyers know what has to be done in terms of brush clearance.

LAPD Officer Espin:  He was able to attend briefly to give a short crime update. Conditions in the Palisades have been fairly good for the last two weeks.  There is still a concern about auto burglaries; people continue to leave items in cars.  Criminals are opportunists; they do a door check and lots of times the doors are unlocked. There was one break-in since his last report when keys were left in the car. He reminded everyone not to leave keys in the car.  He also briefly discussed the capture of the suspected arsonist in connection with the recent Palisades Fire.

8.6.    From PPCC Advisors – None.

9.    Reports from Committees.

9.2.    Executive Committee.  Motion by the Executive Committee:

Request for Board authorization for the Executive Committee to proceed with the following: 1) raising funds for legal expenses and 2) retaining counsel to represent PPCC with respect to the matter of opposing the use of public state beaches, state beach parking lots and parks for homeless housing, including but not limited to research, policy formation, advocacy and potential action to oppose such use. Such authorization by the Board to include granting the Executive Committee discretion to determine the sufficiency of funds for this purpose, the counsel to be retained, and the nature and extent of the action/s to be taken in this regard; the Executive Committee to report to the Board regularly on all actions taken. Board approval to be sought prior to filing any lawsuit.

The Chair read the motion.  No second was needed as the motion was made by a committee of more than one voting board member.  He noted that the officers would be speaking to a lawyer tomorrow and will report back to the board.   He also explained that this motion is important to pass, as there is a need for the Executive Committee to react and act quickly. Discussion then ensued.

Nancy Niles (Area 3 1st Alternate):  PPRA has also retained counsel.  Are we being efficient here?  The Chair:  We are hiring our own council to advise us on what the law is and we are asking for advice and counsel for PPCC.  This is not just for litigation; we need our own attorney to give us the best advice for PPCC.

Steve Cron (Area 2 Representative):  He still doesn’t understand why the Executive Committee isn’t talking with PPRA and is considering hiring a different attorney.  Mr. Cron is also on the PPRA board.  The Chair:  He and Mr. Cron have previously spoken about this; the Chair has explained the reasons why PPCC needs its own attorney. If the concern is donations for legal fees, there are sufficient resources in this community for donations to more than one organization.  The Secretary:  PPRA and PPCC have different processes.  We both have the same goal and want the same outcome but PPRA is not subject to the same rules as PPCC.  PPCC is more transparent, holds public meetings and reports on how it arrives at its actions, which PPRA does not.  PPRA is a member of PPCC.  PPCC is the overall umbrella organization and we have heard from other community members who are asking PPCC to be the lead in any legal effort.  PPCC must retain its own legal counsel for advice.

Beth Holden-Garland (PPRA):  She has donated to both legal funds.  We need to support both PPCC and PPRA.  The respective lawyers may make different legal points which may be helpful to achieving our goal.  We all have the same concerns and want the same result; we should get behind both organizations.

A vote was then taken.  Result:  Unanimous in support of the motion.

10.    Old Business – None.

11.     New Business. 

11.1.    Guest Speaker:  Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin.  Presentation and Q&A.

The Chair introduced and welcomed LA City Controller Ron Galperin.  Controller Galperin stated that he would be speaking about his office, what his work is, where the City stands fiscally and where we are with the pandemic.  He explained what he has attempted to accomplish, which started with the Open Data Initiative.  He has been guided by the three “T’s”:  transparency, trust and transformation.  Regarding the City’s finances: Last year revenue sources came under stress.  The City did see revenues from property taxes.  The City is running shortfalls since it can’t run deficits, which only applies to the federal government.  They have been making up shortfalls in certain ways such as salary cuts.  The City has also had an influx of federal dollars, such as CARES Act funding.  There were some reductions in LAPD, which in large part are being restored in the new budget starting on July 1.

All of this is laid out on the Controller’s website.  He showed a slideshow of City spending, focusing on COVID-19 spending over the year.  He also showed a slide of the COVID-19 resource hub, as well as various maps related to different topics impacting taxpayers, such as 311 calls, food insecurity and illegal dumping.  He discussed his ideas for reducing illegal dumping, and also mentioned LGBTQ and equity services.

Regarding the crisis of homelessness:  Controller Galperin has been a critic of how the City and County have handled this matter.  Although billions of dollars have been spent, have we gotten our money’s worth when three people a day are dying on the streets and it’s impacting everyone’s quality of life?  He has issued several reports and recommendations, including one about LAHSA, recommending many needed changes.  He has also looked at Prop. HHH and his office is doing annual audits on this and believes it’s a huge priority. The City has issued $362,000,000 in bonds and has created only about 500 supportive housing units so far.  The cost per unit is $550,000-$750,000.  He has mapped out all of the projects and detailed all the costs.  Even if 10,000 units were built right now, which isn’t possible, this would still  not solve the crisis. Only New York has more homeless persons than we do, but we have vastly more people living in tents on the streets.  The tents have become a problem in and of themselves. There are many problems in terms of mental illness, sanitation and more.  He believes we should use utilize properties that the City owns, but he doesn’t think all properties are suitable.  There are many properties that we can use, but not every property is appropriate.  This is testimony that he gave today in the hearing in the federal case before Judge Carter.  The Controller noted that he must be careful about what he says since the City is a defendant.  He believes we need more urgency, more clarity of purpose and thoughtful enforcement. He hopes there will be more targeted opportunities for transitional housing, reasonable enforcement of sidewalk camping and getting people into healthy situations.

The Controller stated that he has very serious questions about the beach being an appropriate location.  It’s a place where there are high winds and things blowing onto PCH, which is not the most thoughtful place for an encampment.  He does believe there are a number of other places that can be used to get people off the sidewalk.

The Chair:  We have been actively fighting this motion to place homeless housing on Will Rogers State Beach.  PPCC’s numerous letters are posted on our website.  We are not NIMBYs.  We have done much to address homelessness for at least five years.  When homeless tents started to grow on the beach, we started a PPCC committee to implement best practices to deal with the homeless.  That committee spun off to become its own 501(c)3, named the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness – PPTFH.  PPTFH is a well-known and highly-respected organization that has had much success with their efforts. With the help of substantial donations from the community, PPTFH volunteers work with outreach workers and LAPD, they offer services and they lend a helping hand to the homeless.  Some individuals resist and some are in violation of the rules.  But this has been successful.  Over ninety individuals have been brought into housing and given services.  That is a great homegrown effort.  We don’t want to see an increase in the numbers caused by more camping at the beach, which is what started PPTFH in the first place.  Overnight dwelling is not allowed on the beach or the beach parking lot.  The beach and the lot are one.  PCH has six lanes of traffic with speeding vehicles. Homeless individuals now jaywalk across PCH, causing people to be hit and even killed.  Allowing homeless to dwell here will cause more accidents and impede the free flow of traffic for thousands of commuters.  The beach is for everyone in the whole City, County and beyond. Tourists from all over the world come to this beautiful beach. The bike path parallels right next to the parking lot and goes into the lot at the headquarters of the County Lifeguards.  According to CM Bonin this is the proposed site for homeless housing.  There is a confluence of people and activities at that location.  This is where the Junior Lifeguards, summer camps and volleyball groups gather. There were two wildfires in the Palisades in the last couple of weeks, the last one right across the street from this lot. The Will Rogers State Beach parking lot is the default staging, command and evacuation area during wildfire events for all of the communities in the Santa Monica Mountains.  We are opposed to using any public park and any public beach or beach parking lot for homeless housing.

 Jenny Li (Area 7 Representative):  Please talk about some places that you view as better alternatives for temporary housing; how can the public get involved in making suggestions or about learning what is being considered?   Mr. Galperin:  He created the “property panel” on his website, which he then discussed.  His auditors are going through the list of properties and trying to determine which are the most thoughtful and suitable.  They will be doing site visits to see what may be appropriate or not.  An example may be parking lots which the City may already be using to park City trucks.  Considerations they will take into account include proximity to transportation and other resources, fire and pollution issues, FAA compliance, Coastal Commission permitting requirements and the like. His office is trying to come up with a list of what properties the City has, and whether they can be used for homeless housing, which may be provided to Judge Carter.

Reza Akef (Area 8 Representative):  Reports have mentioned that the City Attorney has included the Will Rogers parking lot as part of the total housing count for this year presented to Judge Carter, even though it’s supposed to be part of a feasibility study now being done by the CAO and we don’t know if it will be found to be feasible.   Mr. Galperin:  He is not involved with the CAO’s feasibility study and hasn’t seen what’s been filed in the federal lawsuit.  The Controller’s study will be an independent report that looks more broadly at all of the City’s properties. The study will not include beaches.  Mr. Akef:  He has offered land in CD 5 to be used for 100% affordable housing and has received no response.  Soft costs are very high and he would like the Controller’s help.  Mr. Galperin:  The building costs are outrageous and unacceptable.  It is correct that the system has extensive bureaucratic rules which require developers to hire consultants and that has raised the cost.  Due to these rules and costs, only a limited number of developers can build these types of projects.  The result becomes very incestuous.  He thinks it’s key for that system to be changed.  He has advocated for a municipal development corporation to provide advice to developers who want to build these types of projects.

Eric Dugdale (PP Historical Society):  He is concerned about small fires quickly burning thousands of acres.  Fires have recently been caused by arsonists or by those creating fires in our bluffs and hillside areas to warm themselves or for cooking.  This is very dangerous.  The beach parking lot across from fire-prone bluffs is an inappropriate and unsafe place for anyone to live and possibly set fires.

The Chair:  This would be a good time to show a few historical photos.  He then showed screen shots of photos of Will Rogers State Beach from the 1940s, when the beach was first opened to public access after being given to the State of California following Will Rogers’ and his widow’s deaths.  Some of the photos depict individuals happily taking down and rolling away the previous fencing that had prevented public access to the beach when it was the private property of Will Rogers.  One photo showed the Chair’s mother on the beach with her baby son, the Chair!

Joe Halper (resident and Commissioner, City Board of Recreation and Parks Commissioners):  He explained that the Board of Commissioners is responsible for approving development of any kind for the use of park property.  There is an exception in the rules that may allow the use of City parks for homeless housing for a three-year period, if approved by the Board of Commissioners.

LAPD Officer Rusty Redican:  He explained that he is attending the meeting as a private citizen.  He thanked the Controller for his pragmatism and transparency.  Officer Redican offered to help the effort by providing some of the information that he has about mitigating these issues.   Mr. Galperin:  Thank you for your service.  Our officers are put into a very difficult situation with homelessness.  They play an important role in keeping us safe.

John Padden (PRIDE):  He is concerned about the cost per unit to build homeless housing.  Can the Controller address the recent report that came out about the cost being $2,600 per unit for pilot program tents?  Mr. Galperin:  He agrees it’s an expense that doesn’t make sense.  He would like to see if we can slice the cost considerably by doing something other than a pilot project.  There was a famous New Yorker piece several years ago, called “Million Dollar Murray,” about the costs associated with helping the homeless.  The cost was found in that case to be almost $1,000,000, yet the subject of the story, Murray, ended up tragically dying on the street.

Sue Kohl (Area 5 Representative):  She wanted to give a shout out to Officer Redican for all his good work.  Her question for the Controller:  How exactly will the City’s feasibility study be done and what will it cost?  Mr. Galperin:  That study is being done internally by the City.  It is a different study than the one his office is conducting that may go to Judge Carter. He isn’t involved with the City’s feasibility study which is being conducted pursuant to the motion by CM Bonin.  Ms. Kohl:  Will we be able to see what is being done with the City’s feasibility study?  Mr. Galperin:  You will need to speak with the Councilmember about this.

Krishna Thangavelu (resident):  There is a need for regional collaboration between the County and all the cities in Los Angeles.  She referenced the scale of the problem and asked: Can the Controller pull together a task force that can address how to get us out of the gridlock?  Mr. Galperin:  That’s the essential question.  He sees a real disconnect.  The cities and the County operate in their own worlds.  Each can’t solve the problem by themselves.  They need to collaborate for solutions.  This needs to be more formalized and centralized.  Some entities may have to give up some of their power. There is no solution that will make everyone happy.  We need to get on the same page in order to move forward.  We need to find a pragmatic set of solutions that will work for as many people as possible.

Controller Galperin then thanked his staff for all their work on these issues and in preparing his office’s reports.  The Chair thanked Controller Galperin for his interesting presentation and for answering our questions.

Officer Candidate Nominations – Last Call:  During the Q&A with the Controller, at 7:15pm, the Chair asked if there were any additional nominations of officer candidates from the board.  There were none.  He stated that as a result, the sole candidates for officer positions are the current officers, as nominated by the Nominating Committee. The officers’ election will occur at the next meeting on June 10, 2021.

12.     Adjournment.   The meeting was adjourned at 7:52pm.

_________________________

Return to top of page

MINUTES FROM JUNE 10th 202

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

Voting Alternates:  Andrew Wolfberg, Rick McGeagh, Kevin Niles

Non-voting Advisors and Alternates:  Rob Weber, Nancy Niles, Cindy Kirven, Kimberly Bloom, Cathy Russell

1.    Call to order and reading of Mission Statement.  The Vice-Chair, presiding in the absence of the Chair, called the meeting to order at 6:00 pm.  David Kaplan read the Mission Statement.

2.    Introduction of Zoom engineer.  The Vice-Chair (Presiding Officer) welcomed everyone and introduced the technical engineer Alex Ponting.  Introductions of the Board and audience were deferred.

3.    Roll call of voting members and certification of quorum.  The Presiding Officer called the roll of voting members and certified that there was a quorum.

4.    Approval of Minutes.  The minutes of May 27, 2021 were approved. Upcoming meetings: June 24, 2021:  Update on Gladstones redevelopment project (by Thomas Tellefsen, representative of the concessionaire). Summer meeting dates:  July 8, 2021 and August 12, 2021. There is one meeting only in each of the months of July and August.

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

6.    Treasurer’s Report.  The Treasurer Richard G. Cohen reported that PPCC’s cash balance is $47,606.71.  Since the last report we have received contributions of just over $10,000, bringing our contribution total to about $13,500 for the past couple of months.  The largest donation was $5,000 from an anonymous donor.

7.    General Public Comment.

7.1.    None

8.    Reports, Announcements and Concerns.

8.1.    From the Chair/Presiding Officer.

8.1.1.    CF 20-0328 – Robotic “personal delivery devices” (PDDs). See Item 8.5.1 below. 5/28 Letter: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/PPCC-Letter-re-PDDs-5-28-21.pdf

The Presiding Officer reported that the above letter has been sent and filed with the City.  He then introduced Eric Bruins for his report.  See Item 8.5.1 below.

8.1.2.    Alternate Area & At-large Representatives Application Process: Appointment of Three Chairs Committee (Bylaws, Art. VIII.3.C and D). Applications now being accepted for Areas Three and Eight 2nd Alternate Representatives (seats currently vacant); see Alternates Application notice: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Alternate-Application-Notice-2021-Areas-3-8.pdf

The Presiding Officer explained that the Chair has appointed the Three Chairs Committee to oversee the application process for Alternate Area Representatives.  They are:  Chris Spitz, Committee Chair; Richard Cohen and Steve Boyers.  All are past Chairs, per the bylaws.  The Three Chairs Committee reviews the applications and makes nominations to the Board. All interested and eligible residents are encouraged to apply for the two currently vacant seats:  Areas 3 and 8 2nd Alternate Representatives.  A link to information about how to apply is included in the agenda and is also posted on the PPCC website.  The Secretary noted that the deadline to apply is 9am on July 5.

8.2.    From Officers

8.2.1.    Chris Spitz (Secretary).
The Secretary has learned that SB 9, the housing density bill we oppose and that passed in the Senate, has now passed in the first Assembly committee to hear the bill, the Local Government Committee. Assemblymember Bloom is a member and he was a No Vote Recorded, similar to an abstain.  It’s now heading to the Assembly Housing Committee.  SB 10 has also now passed in the Senate and is awaiting committee assignment in the Assembly.  Senators Allen and Stern both voted No on 10 in the Senate and we have thanked them for their No votes.  We’ll continue to monitor.

8.3.    From Area and At-large Representatives.

8.3.1.    Steve Cron (Area 2 Representative) updated the Board on the situation involving the Highlands trailhead bathrooms, a situation that we had last discussed before the pandemic.  The property is currently owned by someone on the East Coast and is in terrible state.  The bathrooms are located on the edge of the Summit HOA.  They continue to be in a unsanitary and unsafe condition and a prime fire hazard. About 15 months ago he was told that the Coastal Commission would put this on an upcoming agenda but then it went off-calendar due to the pandemic. The Chair has now written an updated letter to the Commission and other officials: [See:  http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/PPCC-Highlands-Bathroom-Letter.pdf].

8.3.2.    Rick McGeagh (Area 7 1st Alternate) noted that homeless persons have been seen in the Will Rogers State Park area. An individual placed a tent on the road leading to the Park.  Park Rangers displaced this person but there is concern about more homeless persons  migrating to the State Park area.

8.3.3.    Karen Ridgley (Area 4 Representative) explained that an act of vandalism recently occurred at the Asilomar view park.  A memorial bench was cracked off its metal base.  She would also like information on how to obtain speed humps on Asilomar; should she contact Eric Bruins or LADOT?  The Secretary suggested she should visit the LADOT website or contact Mr. Bruins; a link to the PPCC government representative contact page is in the agenda.

8.4.    From Organizational Representatives

8.4.1.    Jim Kirtley (YMCA).  The Y is now open in the mornings and afternoons and they are operating the summer camp.  He encouraged registrants for the camp.

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

8.5.1.    Eric Bruins, Transportation Deputy, CD11. Update on regulation of PDDs.

Eric Bruins was introduced.   He noted that he and the Board had discussed this issue about a month ago.  He was attending this evening to provide more details about the proposed program.  A report was issued by LADOT and heard in the Council Transportation and Public Works Committees.  The goal is to get regulations in place by the end of the month.  There’s a gap in state law that allows Personal Delivery Devices (PDDs) to operate absent local regulation. The City wants to institute appropriate regulation, including: mandatory compliance with insurance; a requirement that PDDs operate only on crosswalks and not on streets unless there is no sidewalk; a rule that PDDs must yield to pedestrians; a prohibition on parking on sidewalks and a requirement that they be stored or parked on private property.  There will be no clutter in parkways or sidewalks like there is with scooters.  If a PDD becomes inoperable it must be removed within two hours.  There will be a limit on the number of devices in each neighborhood (75). There is an “early consultation” requirement:  companies will be required to talk to the Community Council before deployment to take into account our concerns.  The companies must deploy PDDs in lower-income neighborhoods.  They must also pay a fee.  Advertising will be limited on the devices; it is not meant to be a revenue stream, but PDDs will be allowed to say what they are delivering, e.g, “KaynDave’s.”  They must provide mobility data to LADOT.

The Secretary:  The PPCC Executive Committee had written a letter to the Transportation Committee asking among other things for an opt-in or opt-out provision (see: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/PPCC-Letter-re-PDDs-5-28-21.pdf). Please explain the status with our request for such a provision.  Bruins:  We don’t do that type of provision in the City.  We are trying to make this tailored to specific neighborhood needs.  The regulations will require the companies to speak with councils about the community’s concerns during “early consultation,” before deployment.

Karen Ridgley:  Can the devices read signals at street crossings?  Bruins:  We don’t see fully autonomous PDDs being widely deployed at this time.  The technology isn’t there yet and probably won’t be there for many years.  The current devices will have live video feed and a pilot in a remote location maneuvering the device.  The pilot can cause the device to avoid obstacles and read signals.  Q:  Will there be one person handling multiple devices?  Bruins:  We expect each company to hire and train people to properly handle the devices.  They will be employees of the company, not gig workers.  He is not aware of any company that has gone beyond a 1:1 ratio in operating the devices.

Eric Dugdale (PP Historical Society). The Palisades doesn’t have sidewalks everywhere and we also have hills.  We will be giving up our sidewalks to these devices.  He thinks the idea is unrealistic here.

Steve Cron:  Are there any studies showing 1) how many people were put out of work because of these devices; and 2) the rate of injuries tied to robots?  Bruins:  This is a new technology; we don’t yet have academic studies.  Anecdotally, Santa Monica has now allowed PDDs everywhere citywide, after first starting out just in the downtown area.  They found that this was beneficial to workers because it eliminated bad gig jobs.   The key:  Santa Monica found that as they were able to reduce delivery costs, the restaurants were able to grow and hire more people.

The Treasurer:  Will PDDs have microphones in order to hear horns honking at them, and will they be required to have license plates in order to identify them?  Bruins:  He is pretty sure that an identifier is required in the rules, i.e., there must be a readable identifier on the device.  He doesn’t know about microphones.  That is something we should ask the company about during “early consultation” with the community.

Andrew Wolfberg:  What is the top speed of the devices?  Bruins:  5 MPH on the sidewalk.  This can be exceeded up to 15 MPH, but only if there is no sidewalk and the device must travel on the street, which in most cases will be on side streets.  StreetsLA will monitor and do enforcement.

Alan Goldsmith (At-large Representative):  Cyclists are already under stress from drivers; he is concerned about another possible obstacle for cyclists.

Nancy Niles (Area 3 1st Alternate):  Will there be a mapping of routes?  Any there any plans to operate in the hills?  Bruins: This will be part of the plan for each neighborhood, to be discussed during the “early consultation.”  They will focus on a 1-2 mile range from each restaurant.  There will be a fee imposed for sidewalk maintenance.

Richard Blumenberg (PP Civic League):  Will PDDs be electric or gas-powered?  Bruins:  All electric.

The Presiding Officer thanked Mr. Bruins.

8.5.2.    Len Nguyen, CD 11 Field Deputy, gave the following updates:

1)  There will be a City Redistricting Commission public meeting for CD 11 in July or August.  No date has been set yet but he will let us know.

2)   The Councilmember thanks LAFD for their tremendous work on Palisades fire.

3)   A number of streets were slurried this month in the Palisades.

4)   Regarding the Riviera Country Club-Longworth gate issue:  He has been sharing the video he received of cars entering and exiting the gate with the Planning Dept.  A letter has been drafted and is awaiting final approval from management.

5)   He is still working on the signs for Asilomar.  He will share information about the speed hump program with Karen Ridgley.  It’s a competitive process.

6)   A new permanent CD 11 field deputy for the Palisades is likely to be on board by our next meeting.  He will try to prepare this individual and make the introduction.

Andrew Wolfberg (Area 8 1st Alternate) thanked Mr. Nguyen for his hard work on the Longworth gate issue and looks forward to seeing the letter.

8.5.2.  Acting LAPD SLO Brian Espin.

Officer Espin reported that he has been away but things have been looking good for the last week.  He did get information on the vandalism with the Asilomar bench.  If anyone has video let him know.  We have had a few vehicle thefts on the beach.  These usually involve beachgoers/surfers putting car keys under the wheel well. Some of the opportunists will feel underneath and will open the car and ransack.  He reminded us:  Don’t leave anything valuable in the car; don’t hide your keys, keep them with you.  Officer Espin’s biggest fear right now: If encampments are cleared out in Venice, some of the homeless individuals will refuse housing and will migrate north to the Palisades.  LAPD will monitor.  The program here in the Palisades is super successful.  Officers Yi and Margin are doing awesome work with PPTFH. There have also been several construction site burglaries: some people are stealing tools or materials at construction sites.  It’s important to keep everything locked up.  LAPD response is stepped up if the property owner has installed a security camera such as a Ring or other device; the owner can describe to the police what they are seeing, and this instant notification helps the LAPD.

8.6.    From PPCC Advisors.

8.61.  Sharon Kilbride (PPCC Homelessness Advisor and PPTFH Co-President).

Ms. Kilbride reported first on the PPTFH results in May.  They have had an uptick of service resistant individuals coming from other areas or encampments that were dispersed.  There is increasing evidence of mental illness and substance abuse in the Palisades homeless population. PPTFH volunteers engaged with 63 new individuals in the month of May. The PPTFH help line is being flooded by Palisadians and PPTFH volunteers have been super busy.  Forty-one camps in the beaches and bluffs were cleaned up in May.  Just today, two camps in the lower Via bluff area were cleaned up.  One individual they encountered had a felony warrant.  Police escorted out the other individual.  They are finding more discarded needles indicating increased meth usage.  PPTFH volunteers are also seeing individuals moving to the Palisades from Venice.

Ms. Kilbride also reported on the successful encampment hillside task force that took place on June 1, 2021. This was a multi-jurisdictional effort put together by Capt. Jonathan Tom for fire prevention.  The task force included about 55 people from many agencies, including LAPD, the County Sheriff, City and State Park Rangers, personnel from the Mountains, Recreation and Conservation Authority, PPTFH volunteers and outreach workers.  They canvassed all areas of the Palisades, working in four different groups.  Captain Tom hopes to repeat the effort periodically, at least two times a year or more frequently if needed.  They found two individuals who were cited for illegal activity.  There will also be four LAPD officers assigned to the beach detail in the summer months this year.  Officer Rusty Redican will return on June 22.   She reminded everyone to call 911 if you see persons camping in the hillsides.  Community members can also call or email PPTFH (pacpalihtf@gmail.com).

9.    Reports from Committees.

9.2.    Executive Committee.

Update re Bonin motion/homeless housing on state beach parking lots/ public parks.

5/25 Email Letter: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Will-Rogers-State-Beach.pdf

5/29 Letter to Editor, LAT: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Letter-to-the-Editor-LAT.pdf

The Presiding Officer announced that the Executive Committee is happy to report that it has retained Dean Wallraff, Executive Director of Advocates for the Environment, as PPCC’s attorney in connection with our opposition to the proposal to use the Will Rogers State Beach parking lot for homeless housing.  Mr. Walraff is an environmental attorney with extensive experience in CEQA and Coastal law.  He has successfully represented community groups and non-profits in significant cases, including the Sierra Club in litigation to oppose the widely-publicized Malibu “Sweetwater” project proposed by U2 guitarist The Edge, as well as NGOs who challenged the huge Newhall Ranch development on environmental grounds.  We are very pleased to be working with Mr. Wallraff.

The Executive Committee has also submitted a strong letter to the City Administrative Officer (CAO) who is conducting the evaluation of the sites proposed in the Bonin motion. The letter includes an extensive discussion of the many factors demonstrating the infeasibility of the WRSB parking lot for homeless housing.  We will continue to closely monitor the progress of this matter with the CAO’s office.  (See PPCC letter to the CAO at:

http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/PPCC-Letter-to-CAO.pdf.)

10.    Old Business – None.

11.    New Business. 

11.1.    Election of PPCC Officers, 2021-2022 Term (all offices uncontested). Candidates: Chair – David Card; Vice-Chair – David Kaplan; Treasurer – Richard G. Cohen; Secretary – Chris Spitz. Election Procedure: The election may be by Board acclamation or, in lieu of acclamation, the Board will vote by roll-call (voice) vote (alternative procedure to secret ballot, authorized by the Executive Committee due to exigent circumstances/in-person meeting infeasible). Bylaws, Art. VII.4.A; Art. IX.1.C (Executive Committee determination 1/18/21 – exigent circumstances indefinite).

The Presiding Officer asked if there were any objections to electing the officers by acclamation.  There were no objections.  He therefore deemed all officers elected for the 2021-2022 term.  The Treasurer thanked the Board for supporting the officers.

11.2.    WRAC-recommended motions regarding homelessness and land use matters (support for motions A-C below; sponsored in PPCC by Secretary Chris Spitz, WRAC Vice-Chair and PPCC rep to WRAC). See Attachment below for background information and text of motions.

Motion A:  The Secretary stated that she was making this motion recommended by WRAC for the Board to support, as indicated in the Attachment.  She read the motion and asked for a second; Matt Quiat (Area 6 Representative) seconded. She briefly explained the motion and discussion ensued.  Following discussion, a vote was taken.  Vote result:  Unanimous to support Motion A.

Motions B and C:  The Secretary then stated that she was making these motions recommended by WRAC for the Board to support, as indicated in the Attachment. She first read and briefly explained Motion B and asked for a second; Joanna Spak (Area 1 Representative) seconded.  During discussion, concerns were raised about the motion, including whether we knew enough about the facts surrounding this motion and possible consequences to take a position at this time.  The Treasurer moved to postpone the motion indefinitely; second by Steve Cron.  A vote was taken on the motion to postpone.  Vote result:  Unanimous to postpone Motion B.

Motion C: The Secretary next explained Motion C and asked for a second; the Treasurer seconded.  Following discussion, a vote was taken. Vote result:  Unanimous to support Motion C.

12.    Adjournment.   The meeting was adjourned at 7:22pm.

ATTACHMENTS

Item 11.2: WRAC-recommended motions regarding homelessness and land use matters.

A.  Motion to Facilitate Greater Use of 5150 Holds and Conservatorship:

Background information:

https://westsidecouncils.com/motion/motion-to-facilitate-greater-use-of-5150-holds-and-conservatorship/

https://www.pptfh.org/ (5/24 PPTFH webinar replay — Dr. Jonathan Sherin of the County Mental Health Dept.)

Severely mentally ill persons in Los Angeles, who are unable to avail themselves of current public services, are dying on our streets. WRAC demands the City of Los Angeles collaborate with the County of Los Angeles to fully utilize the Lanterman – Petrus – Short Act, including section 5150 and fast-track conservatorships of these individuals, to enable life-saving care. Further, we ask that the city add to its legislative program a demand that the State Legislature provide funds to the county to create as many fully-staffed psychiatric beds as necessary to properly house and treat these individuals.

B.  Request for City Attorney Opinion re Consideration of Developer’s Financial Interest Background information:

https://westsidecouncils.com/motion/request-for-city-attorney-opinion-re-consideration-of-developers-financial-interest/

The Westside Regional Alliance of Councils requests that the City Council direct City Attorney Mike Feuer to provide a legal opinion as to whether or not the City Planning department and commissions have the legal right under State and City laws and ordinances to consider the financial interest of the developer when considering entitlements.

C.  Request for Clarification regarding Cloud/Ghost Kitchens

Background information:

https://westsidecouncils.com/motion/request-for-clarification-regarding-ghost-kitchens/

WHEREAS businesses referred to as “cloud kitchens” or “ghost kitchens” represent a fairly new form of commerce and land use concept, and,

WHEREAS this new business model has the potential to create significant impacts on neighboring business and residential communities, and

WHERAS the City of Los Angeles has not established a specific zoning classification for such businesses, thus creating potential inconsistencies, uncertainty and lack of transparency for applicants, City staff, and those seeking to review these proposed projects, and

WHEREAS the absence of clear classification for cloud/ghost kitchens can result in some being treated as commercial and/or retail uses, while others may be grouped as light manufacturing, and

WHEREAS none of these classifications accurately captures the true nature of these operations, and

WHEREAS cloud kitchen/ghost kitchens are being established in many areas across the City of Los Angeles,

Therefore, be it moved that the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils (WRAC) requests that the City, represented by our Council District, PLUM, the City Council, in coordination with the Departments of Planning and Building and Safety:

  • define what constitutes a Cloud/ghost kitchen, including possible different categories of such operations based upon numbers of kitchens and/or square footage involved,
  • identify criteria for the evaluation of their applications for buildout and permitting, including a process to evaluate potential impacts on their surroundings (noise, odor, traffic and requirements pertaining to factors
  • assess needed infrastructure (adequacy of electric service to area), parking and/or loading zones,

WRAC believes that providing this needed clarification will remove uncertainties as and contribute to the establishment of successful enterprises by creating the structure needed to guide the city’s review and decision-making process.

_________________________

Return to top of page

MINUTES FROM JUNE 24th 2021

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

Voting Alternates:  Kevin Niles, Nancy Niles

Non-voting Advisors and Alternates:  Jackson Walter,* Patti Post, John Padden, Melanie Bouer, Cindy Kirven, Marilyn Wexler, Kimberly Bloom, Cathy Russell  *after appointment; see item 8.1.1 below     

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

3.      Roll call of voting members and certification of quorum.  The Presiding Officer called the roll of voting members and certified that there was a quorum.

4.    Approval of Minutes.  The minutes of June 10, 2021 were approved. Upcoming meetings: July 8, 2021 and August 12, 2021 (topics to be announced). There is one meeting only in each of the months of July and August.

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

6.    Treasurer’s Report.  The Treasurer Richard G. Cohen reported that PPCC’s current balance is $53,137.08.  Since his last report we have received donations of $570 in checks and $5,050 through PayPal for our beach protection efforts.  He has previously reported that we received $14,790 which brings our total beach-related donations to $20,410.

PPCC’s bylaws provide that the Treasurer is to report annually to the Board a statement of revenue and expenses along with a balance sheet.  We began the year with $40,441 and ended with a balance of $39,582 for a decrease in funds of $860.  Regular contributions amounted to only $777.  Total expenses this year totaled $6,402 with the biggest expenses being insurance ($1,583) and web services and support ($3,655).  Due to Covid we did not have a holiday gala event to supplement fundraising.  A written report will be appended to the minutes. [See Attachment.]

7.    General Public Comment — None.

7.1.    Elizabeth Lerer (Santa Monica resident):  The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District is moving forward with demolition of the historic, WPA-era history building at Santa Monica High School.  For more information visit www.savesamohihistory.com. She and many others support preserving the building.  She asks the public to get involved.  The building has been used in past films. Beth Holden-Garland (PPRA) recommended that film industry groups should be contacted for support and she will be happy to connect with Ms. Lerer to provide contact information.

8.    Reports, Announcements and Concerns.

8.1.    From the Chair/Presiding Officer.

8.1.1.   Introduction and request for Board approval of Youth Advisor appointment: Jackson Walter, rising sophomore at Windward School.

The Chair introduced Jackson Walter:  He lives in the Highlands, has been in debate for five years, had been an alternate to a state debate competition, is interested in public policy and politics, and worked on the presidential campaign in 2016.  Jackson stated that he has become very interested in local political issues, especially since hearing about the Bonin proposal for homeless housing on Will Rogers State Beach.  He would like to present the opinions of people his age, let PPCC know what young people are thinking and doing, and represent youth during our meetings.  The Board approved his appointment as Youth Advisor.  PPCC’s other Youth Advisor Jack Coleman will be a senior next fall at Harvard-Westlake. The Secretary noted that Zennon Ulyate-Crow, previous PPCC Youth Advisor, is outgoing as he has graduated from Pali High.  She thanked him for his service.

8.1.2.    Alternate Area & At-large Representatives Application Process: Applications now being accepted for Areas Three and Eight 2nd Alternate Representatives (seats currently vacant); see Alternates Application notice:
http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Alternate-Application-Notice-2021-Areas-3-8.pdf

The Chair announced that we are continuing to encourage all interested and eligible residents to apply for the two currently vacant seats:  Areas 3 and 8 2nd Alternate Representatives.  A link to information about how to apply is included in the agenda and is also posted on the PPCC website.  The deadline to apply is 9am on July 5.

8.2.    From Officers

8.2.1.    Chris Spitz (Secretary).

The Secretary reported that SB 9 and 10 have now passed in two Assembly committees.  We’ll continue to monitor and oppose.

She also reported that representatives of both the City and State Redistricting Commissions gave presentations at the WRAC board meeting this past Monday evening.  The Commissions will be getting census data sometime in August and then working on drafting maps of proposed redrawn boundaries for the respective districts. The City’s new district maps must be approved by City Council and be final by the end of December 2021; the deadline for the State maps is the end of February 2022. They both stressed that it will be important for constituents to provide input as to what communities we think we should be located with and where we should be in the new districts.  There will be a public hearing for CD 11 on July 12 at 6pm via Zoom.  There is a newly-released flyer with details which we will share.  PPCC will consider providing input on re-districting as soon as practicable.

The Chair noted that this is an important issue. Pacific Palisades has close ties to Brentwood because of our joint interest in the Brentwood-Pacific Palisades Community Plan and the Charter Schools Complex.  We also have shared interests with coastal communities.  We will consider submitting comments to the City Redistricting Commission at some point this summer about the communities with whom we share interests and where we think the district boundaries should be drawn.  He invited the Board and community members to email PPCC with their comments about the restricting boundaries at info@pacpalicc.org.

8.3.    From Area and At-large Representatives – None.

8.4.    From Organizational Representatives – None.

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

8.5.1.    Noah Fleishman, (new) CD 11 Palisades Field Deputy.

The Chair introduced the new CD 11 Palisades & Brentwood Field Deputy, Noah Fleishman.  Mr. Fleishman briefly described his background.  He was born and raised in Westchester and graduated from UCSB. He worked for an affordable housing organization in Massachusetts for the last few years.  He returned to Los Angeles and was fortunate to be hired for this position, where he has been on the job for just four days.  He will be reaching out to other Pacific Palisades organizations.  He is familiar with the Palisades but is excited to learn more and to work with us.

Marilyn Wexler (At-Large 2nd Alternate and SMCCA President):  She described SMCCA and noted that the organization represents 500 homes in the Canyon.  She suggested that Mr. Fleishman take a tour of Santa Monica and Rustic Canyon with her, and he agreed.  The Chair reiterated the differences between the Rustic Canyon area and its Recreation Center compared with the Palisades Recreation Center. The Chair will also arrange a tour of the wider Palisades area with Mr. Fleishman.

Mr. Fleishman further explained that he has spoken with acting SLO Brian Espin, and will be getting introductions to the beach patrol and PPTFH’s Sharon Kilbride. He stated that his number one priority is learning from us.  He is also working with LAFD in regard to the fire season and clearance of all the park areas. In addition, he has spoken with the co-organizers of the 4th of July parade and fireworks, Matt Rodman and Daphne Gronich. He will be at the parade and hopes to meet some of us there.

Regarding the Riviera Country Club/Longworth gate matter:  CD 11 is still waiting for the Chief Zoning Administrator to sign the required letter, which should go out by the end of this month.  Mr. Fleishman will send copies to the two Area 8 representatives who have been very involved with this issue, Reza Akef and Andrew Wolfberg.

Additional comments/questions were directed to Mr. Fleishman. Susan Klein (member of Resilient Palisades): Her organization has several ongoing projects that may involve Mr. Fleishman/CD 11.  Alan Goldsmith (At-large Representative):  What percentage of his time has been spent dealing with the issue of homelessness?  Answer:  This is only his fourth day in the position, so this may not be a representative sample, but he has had two calls from constituents dealing with the proposal to place housing on Will Rogers State Beach.  Karen Ridgley (Area 4 Representative):  Are City employees still being furloughed on Fridays? Answer:  No; he will be working every Friday until sundown and some weekends.

8.5.2.  Acting LAPD SLO Brian Espin.   Officer Espin gave a crime update for the past week.  There have been the same issues with vehicle break-ins.  On Mandeville Canyon, three cars were stolen with the key fobs left inside.  He reiterated:  Do not leave valuables in cars.  We had a shooting on PCH south of Sunset near Gladstones last weekend.  This was probably a road rage or gang-related incident.

8.6.    From PPCC Advisors – None.

9.    Reports from Committees.

9.2.    Executive Committee.

Update re Bonin motion/homeless housing on state beach parking lots/public parks.

6/16/21 email letter: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Email-to-State-Will-Rogers-State-Beach.pdf

6/17/21 letter: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/PPCC-Supp-Letter-to-CAO.pdf

The Chair noted that the letters linked in the agenda had been sent.  He asked the Secretary to update the Board on developments. The Secretary reported:

1)  Our attorney has requested notice of any hearing for a Coastal Development Permit from the Bureau of Engineering, which will be the City agency that would eventually hear this if the proposal goes forward as expected.
2)  We expect the CAO’s feasibility study to be completed by sometime in August. It would then be taken up by the City Council and if things go as expected, the project will likely be approved to move forward with required permitting, first with BOE and then with the Coastal Commission.  We will continue to submit statements in opposition whenever necessary and appropriate.

3)  We’re continuing to research and seek relevant documents, including via additional Public Records Act requests for relevant documents.

4)  We’ll be meeting with leaders from other communities to our north in the Santa Monica Mountains and coastal regions.
5)  We’re continuing to work with activists and leaders in the Palisades and other Westside communities on these issues. There are many ideas and plans for how best to achieve our common goal and it’s good that many people are contributing their efforts.

6)  We’re also seeking support from like-minded, respected environmental organizations.

7)  Our new Communications Committee has been meeting and has tentatively decided on an initial public relations action plan, which we hope to report on at the July 8th meeting.

8)  We’re also continuing to seek donations toward the PPCC legal fund.

The Chair described the ongoing work of the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness along with our LAPD beach detail to keep our beaches and bluff areas safe.  The Secretary emphasized that fires are constantly a problem; one was set just today by a mentally ill homeless individual on the beach under the bridge over PCH in the Castellammare area.

Sissy Vogel (resident of Area 1):  She lives near Castellammare and Sunset Blvd. and described a recent incident involving a home intruder with a knife.  She has read about what PPCC has been doing regarding homeless issues and thanks us.  She is concerned about all the fires.  She noted that she has lived here for many years and it’s a different, scary environment now. 

10.    Old Business – None.

11.    New Business. 

11.1.    Update on Gladstones redevelopment project (by Thomas Tellefsen, representative of the concessionaire).  Discussion only.

The Chair welcomed Thomas Tellefsen, representative of the concessionaire, stating that he will provide an update on the project’s status.  Mr. Tellefsen explained that he is a Palisades resident who is representing the concessionaire, PCH Beach Associates LLC (PBA).  PBA is creating what will be an iconic, Wolfgang Puck/Frank Gehry designed project.

PBA previously presented information and showed project designs at the public community meeting held at Palisades Village before the pandemic. Mr. Tellefsen is unable to share any new graphics today.  Due to the impacts of the pandemic, they had to stop the process.  They are now undertaking some design changes and have re-started the process.  He explained that pre-COVID, PBA was selected by the County in the RFP process for the site’s new concessionaire.  They entered into an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement.  PBA then began its due diligence, meeting with various relevant agencies, including Caltrans, Metro and the Coastal Commission staff.  They looked into environmental issues and the overall viability of the project.  Then the pandemic hit and PBA suspended all design and entitlement work.  But they have been able to negotiate and begin work on finalizing future required agreements with the County. This includes a 50-year operating (concession) agreement.  They are finalizing the agreements with the County now.  The agreements require approval of the Board of Supervisors.  The project must also go through the CEQA process to determine environmental impacts and possible mitigations.  There will then be discretionary permit hearings, including a hearing on the required Coastal Development Permit with the Coastal Commission.  PBA is still proceeding with the same vision as shown to the public at the community meeting pre-COVID, but they are making some adjustments to the design.  Mr. Tellefsen believes it will be a very special place.

Comments and questions from the Board then ensued.  Joanna Spak (Area 1 Representative):  Residents of her area are excited about the new restaurant, but are concerned about noise from outdoor events taking place on patios, and lights in the parking lot and on the building.  What can he do to address these concerns?  Answer:  These concerns were raised with him in the prior community meeting; they are attempting to address these issues during the redesign.  Mr. Tellefsen will meet with Area 1 community members to address their concerns.  PBA is working to try and resolve these issues.

Patti Post (PPCC Transportation Advisor):  The community is interested in having a bus turnaround in the parking lot at that location.  Is that still feasible and will this be included in the plans?  Answer:  It was a requirement of the RFP; everyone interested in becoming a concessionaire had to agree to be ready and willing to provide the bus turnaround.  Big Blue Bus and Metro were involved and provided plans for a turnaround.  PBA fully intends to include this feature, but he doesn’t have more detail at the moment. He will have a meeting with Big Blue Bus, Metro and Caltrans to discuss options and to make sure the options under consideration work for all the relevant agencies.

Ms. Post:  Could the bus turnaround be constructed before the rest of construction?  Answer:  This is definitely doable from his perspective, but he doesn’t know what the agencies’ internal process is.  A curb cut and street/parking realignment may be needed.  There may be a hold up on the agencies’ end.  Ms. Post then explained why this is needed:  The western part of Sunset Blvd. is not served in either direction by any buses now because there is no practical way for them to turn around.  The Metro bus does not go west on Sunset Blvd. past Temescal Canyon (at that point it turns on to Temescal Canyon and from there goes to PCH). Only the Big Blue Bus continues on Sunset west from Temescal Canyon but it then turns around at Marquez Pl., so that points farther west, including the Highlands, currently don’t have bus service from Sunset Blvd.

The Chair thanked Mr. Tellefsen for the update and for answering our questions.

11.2.    Motion to Support ACA 7 – proposed Constitutional amendment to restore local control over land use decisions (Muratsuchi-Torrance & Glazer-Contra Costa); sponsored by Secretary Chris Spitz. Background information:
http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Background-Info-PPCC-Support-ACA-7.pdf

[Supplemental background information:
https://westsidecouncils.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Background-Info.-Support-ACA-7.pdf]

The Secretary explained that she was making a motion for the Board to support a motion recommended by WRAC to support ACA 7, as follows:

“The Westside Regional Alliance of Councils (WRAC) supports Assembly Constitutional Amendment 7 (Muratsuchi/Glazer), which would place on the ballot for voter decision a Constitutional amendment to restore local governmental control over land use, zoning and planning decisions.  WRAC has expressed support for local land use control in five of its adopted positions (Oppose SB 827, SB 50, SB 9 and SB 10; Support SB 15).”

She read the motion and asked for a second; David Kaplan (Vice-Chair) seconded. She briefly explained the motion and asked for discussion.  The Treasurer noted that this position would be entirely consistent with PPCC’s strong support, expressed repeatedly over the course of several years, for local governmental control over zoning and land use decisions. A vote was then taken.  Vote result:  Unanimous to support the motion.

12.    Adjournment.    The meeting was adjourned at 7:13pm.

ATTACHMENT – Item 6:

PPCC Treasurer’s Report June 1, 2020 – May 31, 2021

Balance 6/1/2020                                                                                                        40,441

Balance 5/31/2021                                                                                                      39,582

Decrease in Funds                                                                                                           860

Regular Contributions                                                                                                     777

Zoom                                                                                                                                   241

Insurance                                                                                                                        1,583

Mailchimp                                                                                                                          427

Tax and Filing Fees                                                                                                         320

P.O. Box Rental                                                                                                                176

Web Services and Tech Support                                                                                3,655

Total Operating Expenses                                                                                           6,402

Operating Loss                                                                                                             -5,625

Beach Related Contributions                                                                                      4,765

Decrease in Funds                                                                                                          -860

_________________________

Return to top of page

MINUTES FROM JULY 8th 2021

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

Voting Alternates:  Melanie Bouer

Non-voting Advisors and Alternates:  Michael Edlen,* Rob Weber, Jack Coleman, Jackson Walter, John Padden, Marilyn Wexler, Cathy Russell, Rick McGeagh, Mary Mueller, Nancy Niles, Janet Anderson  *after appointment; see item 8.1.1 below  

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

2.    Introduction of Zoom engineer.  Introductions were deferred.

3.    Roll call of voting members and certification of quorum.  The Presiding Officer called the roll of voting members and certified that there was a quorum.

4.    Approval of Minutes.  The minutes of June 24, 2021 were approved. Upcoming meetings: August 12, 2021: continuing discussion/possible Board action regarding comments on redistricting boundaries.  September 9 and September 23: 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 G. Cohen reported that PPCC’s balance is $58,435.65.  Since his last report we have received $7,000 in donations.  He had previously reported receipt of $20,410, which brings our total recent donations to approximately $27,400.  There were no other significant transactions since the last report.

7.    General Public Comment — None.

8.    Reports, Announcements and Concerns.

8.1.    From the Chair/Presiding Officer.

8.1.1.    Beginning of the 2021-2022 term: appointment/re-appointment of Advisors and Committees; request for Board approval of Legal and Youth Advisors. See: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/PPCC-Committees-Advisors-2021-2022R.pdf.

The Chair reported that we have begun PPCC’s new administrative year, which runs from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.  It is now time for the Chair to appoint or reappoint committees and advisors.  He has appointed the committee members and advisors named on the document linked in the agenda, with some additions:  Jack Coleman has been added as a member of the Communications Committee and David Kaplan has been added as a member of the Community Plan Update/Redistricting Committee (the Committee is now combined under that name).  In addition, Nancy Niles and Bruce Schwartz were added as members, and CD 11 Deputy Noah Fleishman was added as an advisor replacing Len Nguyen, to the Palisades Forestry Committee.  Per PPCC’s Bylaws, the Chair requested Board approval for reappointment of Rob Weber as PPCC Legal Advisor and Jack Coleman and Jackson Walter as PPCC Youth Advisors.  The Board unanimously approved their reappointment.

8.1.2.    George Wolfberg Park at Potrero Canyon – update re the landscape contract and State funding for the pedestrian bridge. See prior update, 4/2/21:

http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Pedestrian-Overcrossing-PCH-R.pdf (note: the referenced application for federal funding was never submitted).

The Chair reported that park landscaping is going forward, which will include hardscape additions.  The landscaping start date is July 12.  Parking spaces will be added in front of the old gym, in the turning circle area. There are plans to irrigate and plant the turning circle.  The park is expected to be finished in about 10 months.  The legislature has approved the State budget, which includes $11 million in funding to build the pedestrian bridge from Will Rogers State Beach to the south entrance of the park.  The Chair briefly explained the safety issues and the need for the bridge.  He is hopeful that the bridge can get designed and funded quickly.  The Chair thanked Sen. Ben Allen and Asm. Richard Bloom, who made bridge funding a priority.

8.2.    From Officers

8.2.1.    Chris Spitz (Secretary).   She announced that Bob Benton has been appointed as the alternate representative for the Chamber of Commerce, replacing Sarah Knauer in that position.  Fay Vahdani will remain as primary representative.  The Secretary thanked Ms. Knauer for her service to PPCC.

8.3.    From Area and At-large Representatives.

8.3.1.    Reza Akef (Area 8 Representative). Area 8 is still awaiting the City Planning Dept. letter which was supposed to come from CD11 and the Planning Dept.  The neighbors are very concerned about the Riviera County Club’s unauthorized use of the Longworth Gate.   A declaration is needed from the City setting forth the limitations on the use.

8.3.2.    Rick McGeagh (Area 7 Alternate). PPBA is hosting the regional All-Stars tournament at the Field of Dreams this weekend.

8.4.    From Organizational Representatives – None.

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

8.5.1.    Noah Fleishman, CD 11 Palisades Field Deputy.

Mr. Fleishman remarked that the 4th of July Parade was successful.  He gave a shout out to the PAPA committee and in particular to Daphne Gronich and Matthew Rodman.  He has spoken with PPCC’s Chair about fire safety.  There was a residential fire this morning on Paseo Miramar.  This was primarily inside the structure and the fire was controlled before spreading to the brush.  No one was injured.   Six streets in the Palisades will be repaved this week, with some restriping and bike path additions; there will be no removal of parking spots.  He has a call tomorrow with the heads of all libraries on the Westside to figure out how to open the branches quickly.  There will be a City redistricting meeting this Monday, July 12.  Regarding the Riviera Country Club gate matter:  He was been told that the letter was supposed to have been sent at the end of June.  He will get back to Planning for an update.  The Chair asked Mr. Fleishman to expedite the request, as this is an illegal use and needs to stop.  Mr. Fleishman stated that he will pressure the Planning Dept.

8.5.2.    Janet Turner, Field Director, U.S. RepresentativeTed Lieu.

Ms. Turner reported that Rep. Lieu and Sen. Padilla wrote a letter to Governor Newsom, asking that he put $1 billion in the State budget every year to go towards homelessness.  The American Rescue Plan has provided over 3,000 vouchers for housing for the homeless in the City of Los Angeles.  Neighboring cities have their own allotments for housing.

8.5.3.    LAPD Officer Brian Espin (acting SLO).

Officer Espin noted that the 4th of July parade and fireworks were amazing.  He reported that the Palisades is doing well in terms of crime.  We have had a few vehicle thefts in Los Leones.  He asked everyone to pass the word around not to leave keys in your car.  There was a shooting on PCH on July 15th near Gladstones.  The incident escalated from a verbal then to a physical altercation, then guns started shooting.  The victim was shot in the leg. No one called the police.  LAPD only learned about the incident when Pacific Division was notified that a shooting had taken place in the area because the victim had been hospitalized.

Officer Espin also explained that he is working with Caltrans on possible repainting of sections of PCH that he feels need to be addressed for public safety.  The parking signs are faded or vandalized and should be replaced with newer, clear signs.  He would also like to paint portions of PCH red when there are existing restrictions, mainly the portion coming from Getty Villa.   He was asked about appointment of the Palisades SLO.  Officer Espin is one of the SLO appointee announcements.  There will be a deployment meeting next week.  He hasn’t been assigned yet to an area.  The other SLO appointee is Officer James Allen.

8.6.    From PPCC Advisors – None.

9.    Reports from Committees.

9.2.    Executive Committee.  Update re Bonin motion/homeless housing on state beach parking lots/public parks (CF 21-0350) and “anti-camping” ordinance (CF 20-1376). See E.C. letter of 6/26/21:

http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/PPCC-Letter-Support-CF20-1376.pdf.

The Chair and Secretary updated the board on events that had occurred to date related to the matters referenced on the agenda.  They summarized a written document that had been sent earlier to the Board, “Update on Developments”:

http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Update-on-Developments.pdf

The Chair also discussed the history of the area with Eric Dugdale (PP Historical Society), including the fact that the area of the parking lot where proposed homeless housing would be sited was once the site of the “Long Wharf” (monument marker is now placed at the site).

Haldis Toppel (Area 3 Representative) asked about the status of LAPD Beach Detail Officer Rusty Redican.  Officer Redican was in attendance.  He explained that he loves the Palisades and is extremely appreciative of the foundation of trust and reliability that he has developed with the community.  He stated that while he cannot stay with LAPD at this point, he believes we will need more officers in this area, especially when the bridge is built.

Nina Madok (resident) announced that a new 501(c)3 organization has been formed to fight the Bonin proposal – Beaches and Parks 4 All. They will not be engaging in PPCC-type work.  They will be doing lobbying and working to inform our elected officials why the beaches and parks should be open for all.  They will also be presenting an alternative feasibility study showing actual impacts.

9.2.    Three Chairs Committee (Chris Spitz, Committee Chair; Richard G. Cohen & Steve Boyers, Members). Nomination of 2nd Alternate Representatives, Areas 3 and 8; election by the Board.

The Committee Chair announced that the Committee was nominating Michael Edlen as the nominee for the 2nd Alternate Area 3 Representative.  She explained that there were multiple applicants who were all well-qualified and the decision was difficult for that reason.  She thanked all the applicants.  She summarized Mr. Edlen’s qualifications, including his work for many years as a well-known and respected realtor in the Palisades as well as his many philanthropic endeavors.  She then requested a vote by the Board to approve Mr. Edlen as the 2nd Alternate Area 3 Representative.  A vote was taken.  Result:  Unanimous approval.

The Committee Chair also announced that unfortunately, there were no applicants for the Area 8 2nd Alternate position.  That seat will remain vacant until someone eligible comes forward to apply.

10.    Old Business – None.

11.    New Business. 

11.1.    Guest speaker: Senator Ben Allen.  Discussion only.

The Chair introduced Senator Allen.  The Senator stated that it was a pleasure to see everyone, and that he would begin by discussing big picture issues in Sacramento.  He is happy with the pace of vaccine distribution, although some portions of population are more difficult to convince. Seventy-five percent of the population over the age of 12 has received at least one shot.  The hospital and death rates are the lowest since the start of the pandemic.  Most businesses have now reopened.  In regard to the budget, we have been greatly impacted by the stock market and now, due to the strength of the market and the economy, there’s a lot of money in the budget. Budget items include $10 billion in COVID relief and $12 billion to address homelessness.  Public education funding will go up across the board.  There is also funding for tourism and TV and film tax credits to keep production here, as well as funding for the arts/creative sector.  Additionally, there is resiliency funding related to climate change and wildfires.  There are also victories for the Palisades and coastal communities.  He was able to get $2 million for maintenance and any needed project upgrades at Topanga and Will Rogers Parks. He worked closely with the PPCC Chair and Joe Halper on the Potrero Canyon park, specifically on the missing link:  getting safely from the park to the beach.  There is $11 million in the budget in funding for building the bridge.  The Senator thanks PPCC for its years of support for this project.  Construction will commence in the months ahead.

The Chair:  Where will funding for the bridge go – to Caltrans or the City of LA?  Sen. Allen: It will go to the City but with a Caltrans component; he will get more details about the funding for us.  There will be a follow-on bill within a month or two.  A question was asked:  Where does the bridge start and end?  The Chair:  BOE did a study and had a conceptual design – the ramps will be ADA compliant, with the bridge’s end spot in a little triangle of dirt next to a bathroom at the lifeguard headquarters.  This shouldn’t take away any parking spaces.  On the bluff side it will switch back or will be one long ramp, ending near the mouth of the canyon at the south end.

The Secretary:  PPCC opposes the motion to place homeless housing at Will Rogers State Beach.  We know that the Senator supports our beaches, parks and natural resources.  Can he intercede on our behalf with the State park officials to stop this from moving forward?  Sen. Allen:  He understands that this is now being studied for feasibility.  His perspective is that public access to the coastline is important.  He knows the parking lot is used for fire command and staging.  He thinks there are lots of problems with the proposal. He would be surprised if the CAO came back with a finding of feasibility.  He has expressed concerns but is operating under the assumption that the City is unlikely to suggest moving forward. The Secretary:  We have seen through documents produced in response to our Public Requests Act requests that the City and County were working on completing the feasibility study months before the motion was even brought in City Council.  Sen. Allen:  We should connect offline on this issue. He would like to know more. He asked whether we have had conversations with CM Bonin’s office.  The Chair:  CM Bonin came to our meeting on April 8 and basically surprised us with this proposal. Unknown to us at the time, the Councilmember and his staff had been meeting with officials for almost a year about this matter, including with Coastal Commission staff.

The Treasurer:  Can we count on you publicly stating your opposition to this proposal?  Sen. Allen:  He has problems with this but wants to look at all the data and the proposal before making a hard commitment.  He will meet with us offline.  The Treasurer:  We believe the next few weeks are very important; your connections are very important and we hope you can squelch this.  Sen. Allen:  He will try to meet with Assemblymember Bloom and coordinate with him as well.

Beth Holden-Garland (PPRA):  We have strongly expressed all our concerns. Our Councilmember is not on the same page as his constituents.

Nina Madok:  She reiterated the information about the new organization, Beaches and Parks 4 All.  They are advocating for free public access to all of our beaches and parks.  She would be happy to meet with the Senator to discuss the work that has been done; she would like to present information on the impact of this proposal.

Eric Dugdale:  He is concerned about bridge location if homeless housing would also be placed next to the bridge.

Sen. Allen:  He looks forward to our meeting and learning more; he hears our concerns.

The Chair thanked Sen. Allen for speaking with us and for helping to secure funding for the pedestrian bridge.

11.2.    (Tentative/as time allows) City Redistricting Discussion – “Communities of interest” and other factors relevant to redrawing the City Council district boundaries for Pacific Palisades.   The matter was deferred due to lack of time.

12.     Adjournment.   The meeting was adjourned at 7:35 pm.

_________________________

Return to top of page

MINUTES FROM August 12th 2021

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

Voting Alternates:  Cindy Kirven, Kevin Niles

Non-voting Advisors and Alternates:  Michael Edlen, Jack Coleman, Rick McGeagh, Mary Mueller

1.    Call to order and reading of Mission Statement.  The Vice-Chair David Kaplan (presiding in the absence of the Chair) called the meeting to order at 6:01 pm.   The Vice-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 Presiding Officer called the roll of voting members and certified that there was a quorum.

4.    Approval of Minutes.  The minutes of July 8, 2021 were approved. Upcoming meetings: September 9: (Tentative) LAUSD Update by Allison Polhill, Chief Advisor and District Director for LAUSD Board Member Nick Melvoin; September 23: 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 G. Cohen reported that PPCC’s balance is $61,409.75.  Since his last report we have received approximately $3,000 in donations, bringing our total donations to approximately $30,000.

7.    General Public Comment.

7.1.    Steve Sann (Chair, Westwood Community Council) commented that Westwood Community Council and the entire WRAC board wish to express deep gratitude to PPCC for its strong advocacy to protect Will Rogers State Beach, a critical regional asset.  He also thanked the Secretary Chris Spitz for her extensive efforts in this regard.

8.    Reports, Announcements and Concerns.

8.1.    From the Chair/Presiding Officer.

8.1.1.    Riviera Country Club – Planning Dept. Letter of Communication. See: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Riviera-Letter-of-Communication.pdf.

The Presiding Officer announced that the letter that PPCC and the community had requested from the Planning Dept. regarding use of the Riviera Country Club service gates and other uses had been received.

8.2.    From Officers – None.

8.3.    From Area and At-large Representatives.

8.3.1.    Haldis Toppel (Area 3 Representative).  See remarks in item 9.3 below.

8.4.    From Organizational Representatives.

8.4.1.    Beth Holden Garland (PPRA) extended congratulations to all for the successful effort to protect Will Rogers State Beach.  She thanked the PPCC Secretary as well as PPRA President Jessica Rogers, PPRA Board member Steve Cron (also PPCC Area 2 Representative) and other people who had been working on this effort behind the scenes.

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

8.5.1.    Noah Fleishman, CD 11 Palisades Field Deputy.

Mr. Fleishman commended the Secretary and the Executive Committee for organizational efforts in regard to the motion proposing the state beaches and parks for use for homeless housing; CD 11 has received all the PPCC letters.  The two state beach sites were found infeasible because they are not cost-effective.  He described the sites identified in the motion that remain and are continuing to be evaluated.   He also described efforts supported by Councilmember Bonin to address the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles, including “Encampment to Home” and Project Room Key.  He denied that there was a cost to taxpayers for the City to produce the feasibility study; according to Mr. Fleishman the only cost was existing staff time.

Mr. Fleishman reported on additional matters:  LADOT has made upgrades to intersections to make it safer for kids to walk to school.  Bollards were placed in certain locations which shortened crosswalks and prevented people from parking in red zones and making illegal right turns.  He was able to take a tour of Potrero; the landscaping phase started July 12.  Metro in coordination with Caltrans is converting HOV lanes on the 405 Freeway to Express lanes.  Residents should make graffiti reporting and removal requests via the MyLA311 app or call 311. The Councilmember is redesigning the CD 11 newsletter.

Q&A then ensued:  Sue Pascoe (resident):  How high is the fence around the park at Potrero Canyon?  Mr. Fleishman:  The perimeter fence will be a 4 ft. high, vinyl-coated chain link fence.  At the park entrances the fence will be 6 ft. high with a timer on locks.   Steve Cron (Area 2 Representative):  When is the estimated completion of the park?  Mr. Fleishman:  Approximately May 2022.

Alan Goldsmith (At-large Representative):  Is CD 11 doing anything about the routine traffic jams on the 10 Freeway eastbound ramp to the 405 Freeway southbound.  Mr. Fleishman:  This issue is more related to Caltrans; he does not believe it is within CD 11 jurisdiction.

Karen Ridgley (Area 4 Representative):  What is being done about wood dumping on Temescal Canyon Rd.?  Mr. Fleishman:  He and other CD 11 staff rented a General Services truck and went to the site themselves and cleaned it up.  On an ongoing basis, residents should send in 311 requests with photos.  Forward your requests to Mr. Fleishman and he will try and get them expedited.  He is also working on getting larger signs made up to make it clear that dumping is prohibited; this is a priority project for him.

A resident raised a question about the status of the W. Channel Rd. repaving project.  Mr. Fleishman replied that it’s been stalled and is awaiting a Caltrans permit.

8.5.2.    Zac Gaidzik (Metro/West LA Representative, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl).

Mr. Gaidzik thanked the Secretary for her research into the status of Will Rogers State Beach.  He noted that the Board of Supervisors has approved the use of funds from the American Rescue Act for various issues.  He explained that the Supervisor’s motion regarding homeless encampments in the VHFHSZ in unincorporated areas was passed by the Board of Supervisors.  Regarding COVID, he stated that there has been an increase in cases involving the Delta variant.  He advised that masks and vaccines important tools and he urged everyone to get vaccinated.

8.6.    From PPCC Advisors.

8.6.1.    Sharon Kilbride (Homelessness Advisor & PPTFH Co-President) reported that there are more new homeless individuals traveling to the Palisades.  In July, PPTFH encountered 79 homeless individuals. Fifty abandoned camps were cleaned up in the bluffs, and thirteen car-dwellers were offered services. She emphasized that many homeless travelers come through in July and PPTFH is seeing more people with mental illness.  They are also seeing several areas with fire materials in place or fires being started in brushy areas and on the beach as well.  Beginning on September 1, we will have only two beach patrol officers:  Rusty Redican and Adam Margin.  Due to budget cuts, we will lose the other three officers who had been assigned during the summer.

Ms. Kilbride also described recent incidents of illegal activities: A car dweller somehow got his vehicle into the Potrero area.  He was told to leave and the gate is now locked up.  There was also an incident involving a homeless person with a wrench who was attacking passersby on the beach bike path.  Passersby called 911 and the man was arrested and charged with  assault with a deadly weapon.  Last night another homeless person who has started fires in Temescal Gateway Park was found and arrested. This person is a known “fire bug” with mental illness issues who is now in custody.  Ms. Kilbride also noted that we are experiencing more homeless people crossing or wandering onto PCH in the area where the tiny homes were proposed to be located: two such individuals were recently taken to the hospital after being struck by vehicles.

9.    Reports from Committees.

9.1.    Executive Committee.  Update re Bonin motion/homeless housing on state beach parking lots/public parks (CF 21-0350).  See Beach Survey Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9N3eTyd8Uw.  See also E.C. letters:

7/06/21:  http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/PPCC-Letter-State-Agencies1.pdf

7/12/21:  http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/PPCC-Supp-Letter-CAO2.pdf

7/15/21:  http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/PPCC-Supp-Letter-State-Agencies.pdf

7/19/21:  http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/PPCC-Supp-Letter-State-Agencies-2.pdf

7/24/21:  http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/PPCC-Supp-Letter-State-Agencies-3.pdf

7/24/21:  http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/WRSB-General-Plan.pdf

7/26/21:  http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/PPCC-Supp-Letter-CAO3.pdf

7/30/21:  http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/PPCC-Letter-CAO-City-Council.pdf

8/03/21:  http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/PPCC-Letter-City-Council-CAO-2.pdf

8/05/21:  http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Email-letter-to-Supervisors.pdf

The Presiding Officer and Secretary updated the Board on events that had occurred to date related to the matters referenced on the agenda. The Presiding Officer noted that additional letters had been sent to public officials since the agenda was distributed.  [Additional letters:

8/06/21:  http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/PPCC-Letter-City-Council-CAO-3.pdf

8/09/21:  http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/PPCC-Letter-City-Council-CAO-4.pdf

8/11/21:  http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/PPCC-Final-Letter-CAO.pdf]

The Presiding Officer remarked that everyone knows by now that the CAO has issued a report finding that Will Rogers State Beach is infeasible and has effectively been eliminated for homeless housing.  He thanked the Communications Committee, and in particular Peggy Holter and Jack Coleman, for producing the very effective video of beach visitors.  He also stated that the Secretary Chris Spitz deserves our lasting thanks for her sustained efforts to research the law and facts and draft the many letters which we believe led to the finding of infeasibility.

The Secretary thanked the Presiding Officer for his recognition and explained that this has been a great deal of work for the last four months, in which she learned something new, important and relevant to this issue almost every day.  She is relieved with the report’s finding of infeasibility, although unfortunately it doesn’t acknowledge any of the significant factors that PPCC brought to the CAO’s attention. She also thanked the many Palisades organizations and individuals who actively participated in the effort to protect the state beaches and public parks, including the Chamber of Commerce, PPRA, the PP Civic League, SMCCA, PPTFH, Krishna Thangavelu, Nina Madok and Erin Banks, as well as Lucy Hann (community leader from Playa del Rey).

Alan Goldsmith (At-large Representative) asked whether the funds donated for legal purposes would be refunded or earmarked for other purposes.  The Treasurer stated that we have already expressly advised that donations are nonrefundable. The issue of how best to manage these funds consistent with PPCC’s mission will be discussed in the Executive Committee and may eventually be brought to the Board for discussion.

9.2.    Communications Committee.  Update on efforts to date (see Beach Survey Video linked above).   [See remarks in Item 9.1 above.]

9.3.    Land Use Committee (Howard Robinson, Chair).  (Tentative) Update on research: Marquez/Ida project & related non-hillside Coastal area zoning; report on residential zoning in the Palisades.

The Presiding Officer announced that Howard Robinson is not able to be at the meeting and there will be no report tonight.  The final report to the Board will be made in October.  Mr. Robinson and the Land Use Committee believe that the house on Marquez & Ida in Area 3 is being built in accordance with current zoning.  How this might be changed in the future will be a part of the October report.

Haldis Toppel (Area 3 Representative) discussed her understanding of the zoning situation.  There are 40-year-old code provisions, including a 45 ft. height limit, that allow taller and larger homes to be built in the non-hillside Coastal zone areas.  Ms. Toppel has spoken with Mr. Robinson and understands that the final report on zoning will come out in October, but she requests that as soon as possible, PPCC publish the portion of the report that addresses the rules allowing large houses such as the one at Marquez & Ida be built (even if the full report is delayed beyond October).  She also requests that the PPCC Board vote to determine that it is community opinion that the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance (BMO) should be applied to non-hillside Coastal areas, and that the Board then encourage Councilmember Bonin to expedite his motion in City Council to apply the BMO to non-hillside Coastal areas.

9.4.    Community Plan Update/Redistricting Committee (CPU/RC).   Committee recommendation concerning PPCC statement on City redistricting boundaries; motion by the Committee for Board approval of the following “Community Interest Statement” (see also item 11.1 below):

http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/7-24-21-Draft-Community-Interest-Statement.pdf.

The Secretary introduced the motion on behalf of the Committee.  No second was necessary since the motion was brought by more than one voting board member.  She briefly explained the motion and noted that the full text of the proposed statement was set forth in the agenda link, and asked for discussion.  There was no discussion.  The Presiding Officer asked if there were any objections to the proposed statement.  There were no objections.  Result:  The Presiding Officer declared that the proposed statement was approved by unanimous consent of the Board.

10.    Old Business – None.

11.    New Business. 

11.1.    Motion for Board approval of “Community Interest Statement,” sponsored by the CPU/RC.  See item 9.4 above.

11.2.    Motion to support WRAC-recommended motion regarding EV charging stations, sponsored in PPCC by the Executive Committee.  See attachment below for motion text and background. 

The Treasurer introduced the motion on behalf of the Executive Committee.  No second was necessary since the motion was brought by more than one voting board member.  He read and briefly explained the motion as set forth in the attachment below, and asked for discussion.  Reza Akef (Area 8 Representative) remarked that charging stations take away parking spaces with meters.  The Treasurer noted that the motion was about adding clear signage to existing charging stations spaces so that people with non-EVs will not inadvertently park in these spaces.  There was no other discussion. The Presiding Officer then asked if there were any objections to the motion.  There were no objections.  Result:  The Presiding Officer declared that the motion was approved by unanimous consent of the Board.

11.3.  Motion to support WRAC-recommended motion for station on the UCLA campus as part of Metro’s Sepulveda Transit Corridor Projectsponsored in PPCC by the Executive Committee.  See attachment below for motion text and background.

The Secretary introduced the motion on behalf of the Committee.  No second was necessary since the motion was brought by more than one voting board member.  She briefly explained the motion and noted that the full text was set forth in the agenda attached below.  She also remarked that the motion had been unanimously approved by the WRAC board, including herself, for recommendation out to member councils, and that it was hoped that there would be unanimous support from WRAC member councils.  She then asked for discussion.

Karen McClain (UCLA staff representative):  She has been working with WRAC on this matter in order to gain support for the Metro station being placed directly on campus.  The station will likely be the most used station in the entire Metro system.

Steve Sann (Westwood Community Council Chair).   He was one of the principal drafters of the motion.  Six WRAC member councils have already passed the motion.  This will be one of the most impactful projects on the Westside of Los Angeles.  The station on the UCLA campus would be used by thousands of individuals coming to the campus regularly, including visitors to the hospital and to cultural events, university staff as well as students.

Steve Cron (Area 2 Representative):  Where on the campus would the station be built?  KarenMcClain:  At the Gateway Plaza – the turnaround by the Luskin Conference Center and near Ackerman Union.

The Treasurer:  He has spoken with PPCC’s Transportation Advisor Patti Post. UCLA is the largest trip generator of all entities in the region; it makes sense to have a station on campus which will benefit traffic flow on the entire Westside.

Steve Cron:  Will the extension on to the campus be above or below ground?   Steve Sann:  The extension would be underground – it would connect underground to the Purple Line at Wilshire and Westwood.  If a monorail option is chosen, it could emerge out of the tunnel and connect to the monorail.  Ridership of the Sepulveda Corridor Transit line will greatly exceed the ridership of other current subway lines.

The Presiding Officer then asked if there were any objections to the motion.  There were no objections.  Result:  The Presiding Officer declared that the motion was approved by unanimous consent of the Board.

12.    Adjournment.    The meeting was adjourned at 7:09 pm.

Attachments

Item 11.2 (support for WRAC-recommended motion regarding EV charging stations)

Background information:

https://westsidecouncils.com/motion/request-for-improved-signage-enforcement-re-ev-charging-stations/

Motion text:

The Westside Regional Alliance of Councils requests that the city of Los Angeles improves signage in electric vehicle charging locations to discourage non-charging vehicles (both ICE and EVs) from parking there.  It further requests that the city issue a warning ticket and subsequent fine to any vehicle owners who repeatedly park in these spots illegally once adequate signage is installed.

Item 11.3 (support for WRAC-recommended motion for station on the UCLA campus as part of Metro’s Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project)

Background information:

https://westsidecouncils.com/motion/support-for-station-at-the-ucla-campus-for-metros-sepulveda-pass-corridor-project/

Motion Text:

The Westside Regional Alliance of Councils (WRAC) strongly echos the sentiments expressed by numerous elected officials, neighborhood organizations, community groups, business associations, and many local citizens who urge that Metro must include a Station located directly on the UCLA campus as part of this pivotal transportation corridor project — specifically a one-seat ride from the San Fernando Valley directly to UCLA, hewing to Metro’s original proposal which suggested a 16-minute travel time for that segment, the fastest connection between the Valley and Westside and one that directly links people to where they want to go. This would be one of the most heavily trafficked Metro stops in the State, and would be the busiest non-transfer station in Metro’s system.

 The Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project is part of the Measure M expenditure plan, with approximately $5.7 billion for new transit service to connect the San Fernando Valley and the Westside, scheduled to open by 2033-35. Approximately $3.8 billion is allocated to extend that service from the Westside to LAX with a 2057-59 opening date.

Metro is making strides to improve travel between the San Fernando Valley, the Westside and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The natural barrier created by the Santa Monica Mountains means that most people traveling between these areas are funneled primarily onto the I-405 Freeway, already ranked as one of the most heavily congested urban highways in the nation. More than 400,000 people travel through this area every day to commute to work, school, and other destinations along the freeway and beyond.

Having a Metro Station located directly on the UCLA campus would also help transport the tens of thousands of individuals who travel to UCLA on a daily -basis, including: UCLA students, staff, faculty, medical personnel, patients, and campus visitors. Not having a Metro Station on the UCLA Campus would be a sorely missed opportunity, and have significant negative impacts on the West L.A. region and regional traffic congestion for decades to come. An on-campus UCLA Station also presents the opportunity to connect the Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project to the Metro Purple Line Subway Station Extension, which will have a Westwood/UCLA Station located at Wilshire & Westwood Boulevards.  Additionally, without a one-seat ride to the Valley, ridership would be significantly hindered, thereby negatively impacting Metro’s farebox recovery methods.

To provide this essential connectivity between transit lines in the San Fernando Valley and the City, to provide the critical “first mile, last mile” link between the Wilshire Purple Line Subway and the UCLA campus, and to build a robust transportation system that will serve transit riders for many decades to come, we also urge the Metro Board to ensure that the Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project also connect directly from the on-campus UCLA Station to the Westwood/UCLA Purple Line Subway Station at Wilshire Boulevard, to connect these two major north-south and east-west transit corridors.

_________________________

Return to top of page

MINUTES FROM SEPTEMBER 9th 2021 (pending)

 

_________________________

Return to top of page