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MINUTES FOR MAY 12th, 2016

Voting Members in Attendance:  Chris Spitz, Maryam Zar, Jennifer Malaret, Richard Cohen, Reza Akef, Sue Kohl, Bruce Schwartz, Barbara Marinacci, Gilbert Dembo, Stuart Muller, Richard Wulliger, Sarah Rena Conner, Janet Anderson, George Wolfberg, Peter Culhane, Greg Sinaiko, Rick Lemmo, Todd Wadler, Rick Mills and Cathy Russell.

Voting Alternates:  Kevin Niles. 

Non-voting Advisors and Alternates:  Quentin Fleming, Carol Bruch, Michael Soneff, David Kaplan and Donna Vaccarino.

Start of Business Meeting

1.    Reading of Community Council’s Mission.  Richard Cohen read the Mission Statement.

2.    Call to Order and Introduction of the Board and Audience.  Chris Spitz called the meeting to order at 7:02 pm. Introduction of the Board and audience.

3.    Certification of Quorum.  Chris certified that a quorum was present at 7:06 pm.

4.    Adoption of Minutes/Upcoming Meetings.  Chris deemed the April 14, 2016 and April 28, 2016 minutes approved as corrected. Upcoming meetings: 5/26/16. 1) Presentations/Q&A with Civic League President Richard Blumenberg on new Baseline Mansionization-Baseline Hillside Ordinance (“BMO-BHO”) amendments. 2) Spotlight on Organizations: Pacific Palisades Garden Club, Rotary Club. 3) Close of Board member nominations for officer candidates. 6/9/16. 1) Officer candidates forum (if necessary). 2) Election of officers for 2016-2017 term.

5.    Consideration of Agenda.  The President considered the agenda.

6.    Treasurer’s Report.  Richard Cohen reported the financial status as of May 12, 2016. The total account balances equal $36,278.94 Richard stated that PPCC paid $580 to improve its website, $600 was paid to PAPA for the July, 2016 parade, and (as reported before) PPCC’s general liability and D&O insurance had been renewed. Finally, PPCC renewed its P.O. Box.

7.    Reports, Announcements and Concerns. 

7.1.    Announcements from the President, Chris Spitz.

7.1.1.    LADWP Pole-Top Distributing Stations (PTDS).

Chris reported that LADWP has selected the following temporary PTDS locations: Sunset Blvd. near Marquez Ave. (known as the Bernheimer lot); Temescal Canyon Blvd. south of Sunset; expected installation June 2016. More information can be found at:

7.1.    Village Starbucks CUB.  Chris reported that the determination letter was pending as of agenda distribution.

7.1.3.    BMO-BHO Amendments.  For details regarding proposed new amendments, see: Prior PPCC position letter: Further discussion at PPCC on 5/26/16. Comment deadline 6/10/16.

7.1.4.    Palisades Alliance for Seniors update.

Chris reported that bi-monthly public meetings will be held 10:30am 12:30pm at the Palisades branch library (2nd and 4th Monday of each month). Next meeting: May 23 (topic to be announced). Monthly coordinating meeting: May 25, 4pm, Palisades High School, room D-107. All are invited to the Alliance meetings.

7.1.5.    Elected Representatives Election, Summer 2016.

Chris reported that incumbent elected representatives must notify the President in writing prior to 6/9/16 (first Board meeting in June) whether or not they will run for re-election to PPCC’s Board. (Bylaws, Attachment A, Sec. 3.D.2). Additional elected representative election information will be forthcoming.

7.2.    Announcements from Governmental Representatives Representatives (Note: Contact information at:

7.2.1.    Los Angeles Police Department (“LAPD”) – SLO Officer Moore.

SLO Moore in attendance. SLO Moore reported (1) there is a problem with persons who surf and leave their keys hidden on their vehicle because then their cars get stolen. If anyone notices an increase in stolen vehicles this activity is occurring mostly on PCH. Any credit cards left in the cars are being maxed out at stores. (2) LAPD is encouraging SLOs to matriculate and train; presenting to forums like PPCC is part of that so we may be seeing additional LAPD officers at our meeting. (3) Bruce Schwartz and Maryam Zar thanked LAPD for their work relative to the homeless issue.

7.2.2.    Los Angeles City Council, District 11; Councilmember Mike Bonin’s Office.

Sharon Shapiro, Field Deputy. Sharon not in attendance.  Chris Spitz read the notes submitted: (1) Fire Service Day is May 14th and everyone is encouraged to support our local fire stations. (2) EXPO Line Phase 2 – free rides May 20th and 21st. (3) LADWP Pole Tops – Councilmember Bonin understands the importance of this issue as PPCC has reported extensively on this issue. Stuart Muller opposed the Temescal Canyon PTDS location, noting that LADWP owns the land in Marquez and the PTDS should go there. (4) Please support the Chamber of Commerce Expo.

7.2.3.    Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.  Daniel Tamm, Westside Area Representative, Mayor’s Interfaith Liaison — None in attendance.

7.2.4.    California State Assembly, Office of Assemblymember Richard Bloom.  Stephanie Cohen, Field Representative — None in attendance.

7.2.5.    California State Senate, Office of State Senator Ben Allen.  Lila Kalaf, District Representative — None in attendance.

7.2.6.    United States Congress, Office of Congressman Ted Lieu.

Janet Turner, District Representative.  Janet Turner stated (1) Frontier customers (previously Verizon) are reporting service outages and slowdowns. Affected persons should call the Congressman’s Office; contact information is available on the web and via PPCC’s website. Reza Akef (Area 8) asked for a response regarding a prior report of an exposed phone line on Amalfi Drive belonging to Verizon. Reza reported that despite Councilmember Bonin’s efforts Verizon is not responding. Janet asked for an email. (2) USPS problems caused the Congressman to go right to the head of the USPS to ask for help. USPIS which is the special inspection arm will be collaborating more with local authorities. Mail delivery problems in general were discussed and USPS will be considering adding additional personnel.

7.3.    Announcements from Board Members and Advisors.                                                        

7.3.1.     Officers/Area Representatives.

(1) Maryam Zar announced that “Fire Service Day” is May 14, 2016, which will be a local event at Fire Station 69 to name the Honorary Pacific Palisades Fire Chief. Chris asked the board and public to attend and congratulate both the local firefighters and PPCC’s VP Maryam Zar who will be named the new Honorary Chief. (2) George Wolfberg reported on the PCH Taskforce. The California Incline is over 90% complete and work continues for the replacement pedestrian overpass. Forming and concrete should be completed prior to the reopening of the Incline expected on July 2, 2016, with the grand opening to follow later in July. Potrero plans are nearly complete and will be reviewed by LADBS, Coastal Commission, CalTrans, etc. 125,000 cubic yards of fill will be needed in addition to the dirt stockpiled on-site. Some sort of pedestrian crossing will be provided, maybe a bridge. There are still some properties left to be sold to raise the $5-$6 million needed for this crossing. CalTrans is set to put in a proper signal where flashing lights are now along with a left turn where the Bel Air Bay Club is now. (3) Reza Akef (Area 8) reported on the recent BMO/BHO hearing in West Los Angeles in which many residents from Pacific Palisades turned out. Every other part of LA that is not R-1 got a compromise and areas that are R-1 did not. The Civic League will be presenting to PPCC at the next meeting. Communities that are not R1 got to keep their bonuses, larger houses, etc. Garage conversions here are not a large problem but the Palisades will be losing bonuses. There has been no economic analysis made and it is important to analyze this draft ordinance because it will really change the aesthetics of what can be built in this community. (4) Stuart Muller (Area 6) stated that there is planning for an update of the Clearwater Mural (1988) which needs more fundraising.

7.3.2.    Organizational Representatives – Report on Behalf of Organizations.

(1) Richard Wulliger (Historical Society) stated it was sponsoring a talk by Kelly Comras on 5/23/2016 at Theatre Palisades, 7 p.m., based on her book about Ruth Shelhorn. (2) Janet Anderson (AYSO) reported that she attended the VA Roundtable on 5/2/2016 with Congressman Lieu and other involved constituencies. There will be a tour of the VA Property on May 16th at 5 p.m. Legislation needs to be passed and then there is a plan to get transitional housing going right away. The Park Advisory Meeting was on May 4th to discuss the plan for the canyon park including a possible dog park in Pacific Palisades. Janet thanked everyone for their suggestions with the AYSO/Paul Revere issue and efforts are on-going to work out an agreeable arrangement. (3) Gil Dembo (TCA) announced that PAPA is looking for support toward the July 4th, 2016 parade.

7.3.3.    PPCC Advisors — None.

7.3.4.    Board Members, Other Reports — None.

8.    Reports from Committees.

8.1.    Nominating Committee (Sue Kohl, Chair; Dick Wulliger, Peter Culhane).

Sue announced the Committee’s nominations for PPCC officers, 2016-2017 term. See Nomination Statements below. Chris announced that nominations by voting Board members of other eligible candidates are open until 15 minutes before the close of Board meeting on May 26, 2016. Voting Board members may self-nominate. A candidates’ forum (if necessary) and election of PPCC officers will take place on June 9, 2016. Chris thanked the committee for their hard work and nominations. Dick Wulliger thanked the committee for doing a wonderful job and commended Maryam Zar for her many recent awards.

8.2.    VPLUC (David Kaplan, Chair).  Village Project update. David reported that the City Council PLUM Committee hearing date has not yet been scheduled.

9.    Old Business.

9.1.    Home Sharing (Short Term Rentals) Ordinance.

Presentation/Q&A with CD 11 Planning Director Tricia Keane.  See: Prior PPCC position letters: Presentation: Tricia Keane gave an overview of the draft home sharing ordinance recently released. The Planning Department believes the ordinance released on April 15, 2016 is the result of a handful of motions introduced over the last 18 months asking for the City to look at various aspects of the “sharing economy.” Bonin and Wesson directed Planning to look at home sharing in certain situations and to ensure enforcement; the policy behind the motions was to preserve housing in the City. The number of housing units available in the City of Los Angeles does not keep up with demand. The City Council is committed to finding long term units for people to live in but recognizes that short term housing plays an important role for some to stay in their homes with “good home sharing.” “Bad home sharing” would be conversion of entire buildings to short term occupancies. Important points of the draft proposed: (1) simple on-line registration, (2) the owner has to live there, (3) no short term rentals in rent stabilization units, affordable housing, otherwise income restricted, etc. to protect affordable housing, (4) 90 days per year for home sharing in your primary residence, (5) platforms as well as hosts have to follow the rules, and (6) fines are established for hosts and platforms, and expansion of ACE to cover short term housing violations as well. The best way to submit comments is directly to the Planning Department by June 6th. Comments will be incorporated into the staff report before the CPC, expected June 23, 2016. Saturday May 21st there will be a hearing downtown in one of the larger auditoriums, Deaton Auditorium. is the planner to whom comments should be directed. Planning staff will also be attending the next WRAC leadership meeting. Discussion:  Chris Spitz read the previous motion from PPCC Board on the issue, including safeguards called for that are not in the ordinance. (a) PPCC wanted a cap of 30 days not 90 days. Many hosts want a longer cap but are otherwise comfortable with the ordinance. This likely is the main sticking point. (b) PPCC wanted a further definition of primary residence. Tricia stated there will be implementation guidelines around the ordinance to be coming later and the benefit is that this document can be updated later. The City is still looking at programs from other cities and financial institutions for language relating to proof of residency. (c) PPCC wanted a notice provision to neighbors within 500 feet. This is not included because it was considered an obstacle to persons being willing to register. (d) PPCC wanted a right of appeal by adversely affected residents. Tricia confirmed there is not a direct right of appeal in the ordinance but there is a section to allow for suspension or revocation of a registration (registrations are good for 2 years) and there is a hearing associated with that. If a revocation is issued, then a host cannot re-register for three years. Chris asked who initiates the process – a resident, the City, etc.? Tricia stated that she would look into this section. (e) PPCC wanted a private right of action by adversely affected residents. CD11 pushed for this to be included in the ordinance and the feedback was that this did not have widespread support; hence the City opted to put in greater tools for City enforcement. Tricia is not confident there is support throughout the City for this to be included. Discussion: (1) will the City be hiring additional ACE inspectors and to which departments will they be hired? Enforcement will be Housing, LADBS and Planning. There is discussion about proactive enforcement, not just reactive. Will there be a database that residents can access to see if STRs are registered? (2) Is there a bed tax required? Yes, they are subject to the transit occupancy tax (TOT). Those monies go to the affordable housing trust fund. CD11 believes it should go to both enforcement and affordable housing. (3) What are the actual fines proposed for violators? Per the information distributed $500 per day, etc. (4) Has the City been working with the platforms to encourage compliance with this ordinance were it to pass? Tricia said there have been conversations with the platforms. (5) In other areas of the City could it be possible to educate residents on how meaningful the private right of action would be – even if it were to take place in small claims court? The best vehicle for enforcement would be between neighbors and that relates to why the notice requirement within 500 feet makes sense. (6) Will fines be attached to the property like an order of compliance if they are not paid? Tricia did not know, will find out. (7) There is a legitimate reason for short term renting in the Palisades, i.e., the ability of people to rent their houses while they are away because their profession requires it.

10.    New Business.

10.1.    Spotlight on Organizations

(1)  PRIDE.  Presenting:  Bruce Schwartz. Bruce reported that PRIDE was formed over the “don’t mall the Palisades” effort in 1984. As a result, overhead signs were removed and the Design Review Board was appointed. Wally Miller asked to Chair a committee that could form a Business Improvement District (“BID”). Weekly meetings took place and the Landmark Committee was founded to “protect and renew our identity and environment” or PRIDE. PRIDE is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization. PRIDE’s board of directors was formed and was to include the Chamber of Commerce and PPCC. In the 1980’s there was fundraising for the “Swarthmore Avenue Project” that included pocket parks and to address problems with ficus trees uprooting sidewalks. Street furnishings were selected and this improvement campaign continues to this day. Completion of the project was celebrated during a “Walk of PRIDE” event. Today PRIDE is working with Caruso Affiliated to replace the tiles on Swarthmore with the relocation of various street furnishings and a Sunset median being planned. PRIDE is looking at various safety projects (like crosswalks) and other beautification projects within the Palisades.

(2) Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce. Presenting: Rick Lemmo. Rick provided a presentation on the Chamber including dates of establishment and historical membership which began in 1949. For more than six decades time honored traditions have taken place in the Palisades (Ho Ho Ho, Car Show, Expo, Honorary Mayors, Sidewalk Sales, etc.). On May 16, 2016, this year’s Car Show will take place with local business foods, music, petting zoo, Fancy Feet dancers, balloon man, Councilmember Bonin, etc. Rick commended Adam Glazer and Arnie Wishnick for their dedication to the Chamber of Commerce.

10.2.    New PPCC website preview/tutorial (Chris Spitz and Michael Soneff).

Chris and Michael gave a visual presentation of the new website; the public and board members were taken through the various pages. Chris thanked Ted Mackie and Jim Rea for their contributions to the website.

11.    General Public Comment.

11.1.     Sunset Mesa resident – spoke on concerns at the intersection of Sunset and Chautauqua and asked that vegetation be cut down to ground cover level to improve visibility for drivers and pedestrians.

11.2.    Karen Stigler – spoke about the new Palisades Alliance for Seniors meetings in the library; 26 seniors attended the last meeting. There will be another meeting on May 23 on the topic of happiness and vitality for seniors in their later years.

11.3.   A resident – Paul Revere Charter School had a film festival and people are directed to the Palisades News website for a special video on carpooling.

12.    Adjournment.  Chris Spitz adjourned the meeting at 8:59 PM.


President – Maryam Zar

As everyone knows, Maryam has served as PPCC Vice President for the past year and was previously the Education member on our board, representing Paul Revere Middle School. She is also the respected Chair of the Homeless Task Force and has garnered many well-deserved honors for her work in that capacity. Maryam has been a trusted member of the PPCC Executive Committee and has actively served to advance the Council’s and the community’s interest. She organized and raised thousands of dollars for PPCC at our holiday dinner and awards event, she has served as presiding officer when our President has been unavailable, she is our Facebook manager and she also chairs the Communications Committee and has been a member of our Bylaws Committee. As a parent with 3 school-aged children in public elementary, middle and high school, she has been active in our local schools and youth recreation, serving on the board of PRIDE/PTSA for Paul Revere and as AYSO Referee Captain. Our President Chris Spitz greatly relies on Maryam’s judgment, outstanding work ethic and abilities and is thrilled that she has agreed to serve as PPCC’s next leader. The nominating committee is proud to nominate Maryam as President for the 2016-2017 term.

Vice-President – George Wolfberg

George is a past PPCC President who has also served as the elected At Large Representative for almost 12 years. His service to PPCC and the community has been extensive: he is a past Citizen of the Year, Chair of the Potrero Canyon Community Advisory Committee, past President of the Santa Monica Canyon Civic Association and a long-time AYSO referee and coach. He is our representative on the WRAC Land Use and Planning Committee. He has also served on numerous PPCC committees, most notably as a member of the Executive Committee, the Nominating Committee, the Bylaws Committee (on which he served as Chair for many years), the past Land Use Committee and current Village Project Land Use Committee. George has agreed to assist Maryam by serving as Vice-President and we are pleased to nominate him.

Treasurer – Richard Cohen

Richard has been PPCC Treasurer for the past two years. He is a former PPCC President who has served on the Council in many capacities for a dozen years, including as an alternate TCA and Area 3 representative, as Co-Chair or a member of the Bylaws Committee, the Executive Committee, the Nominating Committee, the Three Chairs Committee and the YMCA Committee, and as PPCC liaison to the Police Advisory Board. Richard is uniquely qualified to served as Treasurer, as he is currently a Vice President and Financial Advisor at Morgan Stanley and is also a CPA. We are fortunate that Richard has agreed once again to serve as PPCC Treasurer.

Secretary – Michael Soneff

Before introducing our nominee, I must inform the board that sadly, our extraordinary Secretary Jennifer Malaret has decided that after 5 years of dedicated service she will be unable to continue in that role for the 2016-2017 term. Jennifer is a hard act to follow, but after a considerable search we have found a board member who is fully capable and willing to serve as PPCC Secretary. Michael has served as Second Alternate At-Large Representative for the past two years and, as one of our youngest ever members, has brought a new voice and skills to the Council. He serves on the Communications Committee and designed our new website, which you will learn more about, time permitting, later on this evening. Maryam has worked extensively with Michael on the Homeless Task Force and gives him her strongest endorsement. We are pleased to nominate Michael as PPCC Secretary for the 2016-2017 term.

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