MINUTES FOR JANUARY 26th 2017
Voting Members in Attendance: Maryam Zar, George Wolfberg, Chris Spitz [acting Secretary], Richard Cohen, Sue Kohl, Peter Culhane, David Kaplan, Reza Akef, Rick Mills, David Card, Barbara Marinacci, Dick Wulliger, Danielle Samulon, Cathy Russell, Lou Kamer, Rick McGeagh, Gilbert Dembo
Voting Alternates: Susan Payne, Kelly Comras, Barbara Kohn
Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: David Peterson, Doria Anselmo, Andy Frew, Quentin Fleming, Matthew Rodman, Ron Dean, Leah Cox, Carol Bruch
1. Certification of Quorum. The Chair Maryam Zar called the meeting to order at 7: 04pm and certified that a quorum was present.
2. Reading of Community Council’s Mission. Maryam read the Mission Statement.
3. Introduction of the Board and Audience. The Board and audience were introduced.
4. Approval of Minutes & Upcoming Meetings. 1) Approval of Minutes: Maryam approved the minutes of January 12, 2017 as corrected. 2) Upcoming meetings: 2/9/17. Shell Station owner/developer (Kohanoff); tentative discussions on the table for a Candidates forum for City Council District 11 Candidates. 2/23/17. Caruso Village Project construction update (tentative),
5. Consideration of Agenda. Maryam reported that the agenda is as distributed.
6. Treasurer’s Report. Richard Cohen reported that we have a bank balance of $39,873.66. We are getting close to a final tally on the Gala. The dinner lost $429, but the tribute book and auction brought in $7,147, for net proceeds of about $6718 to date.
7. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
7.1. From the Chair.
7.1.1. Announcement of New EC members.
Maryam announced that two Executive Committee members have been approved by the officers. They are David Kaplan (area/elected representative; retaining his prior EC membership) and Susan Payne (organizational representative). The other members of the Executive Committee are the four officers and the Chair/President Emeritus. The appointments were pursuant to the PPCC Bylaws, Art. V.3.A.
7.1.2. Caruso Village Project Construction Signage.
Maryam stated that the signage was being questioned by some and has been brought to the attention of Caruso and City officials. The City has said that a complaint must be brought to LADBS. This is not an action item for today. We have investigated and learned that Caruso believes the signage is within its rights. David Kaplan: He spoke with Michael Gazzano of Caruso, who has had conversations with a few others who have brought this to Caruso’s attention. They attempted to come to a satisfactory conclusion with those who are complaining but were unable to do so. At this point Caruso believes the construction signage is permitted under the MND for the project. David Peterson: Many people are in favor of the signage. David Kaplan: He was told that some people are complaining and others think the signage is fine. Peter Culhane: This is temporary; the construction signs will be gone in a year or so. Lou Kamer: He has spoken with some in support and some who have issues. One of the solutions may be that Caruso would alter the signs the next time they are updated, to show new tenants; this could be done in conjunction with the community, for example, schools might have contests for art to be selected so the signs would not just be promotion for the company but a link to the community. They are looking for a solution. David Kaplan: Michael Gazzano told him that these possibilities were discussed but have not been satisfactory thus far to those complaining; there is no agreement at this point in time. Susan Payne: How many are complaining? Maryam: We don’t know if it is more than a small number. Stuart Muller: Stuart announced that he has been appointed by the DRB to head up signage for the DRB; he invited community members to talk to him about any sign issues.
7.1.3. PPCC fundraising and possibilities for using funds to support the community.
Maryam explained that we have been raising money for the last few years; the Gala has been the principal fundraising mechanism. She has been considering a spring community gathering/fundraiser. Maryam asked for everyone on the board to think about what we want to do if we start to raise more money. She stated that we might want to support other community organizations with monetary awards and believes this is within our bylaws. We will have board discussion about this at a future meeting.
7.1.4. Palisades Recreation Center Park Advisory Board public meeting.
Maryam attended to present an idea for a community garden in the center circle. She was told that this area would likely be used for a parking lot in the future, so it would probably not be a good location. The PAB liked the idea for a community garden and suggested the possibility of using an area around the Bocce courts. The idea has been introduced.
7.1.5. Shell station – clarifying issues on the table at PPCC. Maryam stated that we are taking up this matter at our Feb. 9 meeting. The DRB has concluded its review and submitted findings. The PPCC board will now take up only two things: 1) hours of operation and 2) alcohol sales. We will not consider anything else.
7.1.6. PPTFH Meeting Recap.
Maryam advised that the Homeless Count occurred this morning and went well. There are fewer homeless than last year. The Count was very well organized, there were no glitches and it was the 3rd count completed. PPTFH has met with OPCC for a one-year review and the results have been great; OPCC has engaged many people. Thirty were taken off the streets and more than a dozen have been housed. Sue Kohl: Where are the people who were not housed or taken off streets? Maryam: Many are transients; the OPCC team has engaged more than 90, who as a result are not free agents any longer; the team is conversing with them and some are accepting some form of service. The intermediate goal is to engage with the homeless and keep tabs on them.
7.1.7. Naming de facto Co-Chairs of Communications Committee, Chris Spitz/Maryam Zar, and call for volunteers. Maryam and Chris described the tasks that they have been handling, including social media, email and website postings, and asked for volunteers.
7.1.8. West LA VA Neighbors Community Roundtable. Maryam explained that we had a representative there who reported back that all was well. Janet Turner of Congressman Lieu’s office will report further.
7.2. From Officers.
7.2.1. Chris Spitz (Chair Emeritus) – WRAC Officer update. Chris announced that Maryam has been elected by the leadership of the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils (WRAC) as Vice-Chair of WRAC. Chris and Maryam both reported that the WRAC leadership has praised PPCC for its important work on issues affecting not only the Palisades but the entire Westside of Los Angeles.
7.2.2. Richard Cohen (Treasurer) re C-PAB.
He attended the meeting this week with our local LAPD Captain Tina Nieto. She reported that everyday there are protests at the Federal Building, which are taking away lots of resources; most SLOs are being pulled out for that duty. The Captain explained that handling of protests is not what it used to be; police meet with organizers in advance regarding who will be arrested and when, then they engage in arrests politely. If there is struggling, it is played for the camera. LAPD policy is not to play to the camera. The Captain says that crime is down substantially, but this may be due to heavy rains. She commented on Councilman Bonin’s plan to put more police on the streets: sworn officers would be pulled off desk duty and put on special teams. The problem is that 20% of LAPD officers are on medical light duty at any time, that’s why they’re on desk duty. She is not sure what will happen with this.
7.2.3. George Wolfberg (Vice-Chair).
Yesterday the City installed a bus bench on Entrada at Stassi Lane. He thanked Debbie Dyner Harris of CD11 and the project manager, Ferdy Chan. Regarding the FAA /workshop at Palisades High School: Many federal employees were in the room, along with representatives of Congressman Lieu, Councilman Bonin and more. The FAA representatives showed the attendees what the new NextGen plan is. The plan will start rolling out in April. Under the plan the airplanes will go by GPS rather than radar. There was discussion about the methods to be used to reduce airplane noise.
7.3. From At-Large and Area Reps — All reports deferred (except for reports regarding downed trees, which were discussed during Item 7.5.2).
7.4. From Organizational Reps.
7.4.1. Susan Payne (Chamber of Commerce) – Deferred.
7.4.2. Barbara Marinacci (Palisades Beautiful) – Deferred.
7.4.3. David Card (Rotary Club). David gave information about the Rustic Canyon Recreation Center Kids Night Out & Galentines Day for Women, both events on Feb. 11, 2017 at Rustic Canyon.
7.4.4. Rick McGeagh (PPBA) – Deferred.
7.4.5. Sarah Conner (PPRA) — Not present; deferred.
7.5. From Governmental Representatives.
7.5.1. Los Angeles Police Department (“LAPD”) – Not present.
7.5.2. Sharon Shapiro – Office of Councilman Mike Bonin, Field Deputy.
Sharon reported that many people volunteered at the Homeless Count; she thanked everyone who was there. The numbers are down overall. On behalf of Councilman Bonin she congratulated the new Chamber Chair Susan Payne and new Chamber board; she also thanked Adam Glazer for serving two terms as Chamber Chair. Regarding Mike’s introduction of a new police plan: there are a number of able-bodied sworn officers taking desk positions and he is asking for LAPD to look at the system similar to the system used by LAFD. She will send additional information. Regarding Sidewalk Vending: This will be heard on Jan. 31. What is being considered is a framework for a policy going forward, not an actual ordinance, which has not yet been drafted. The Entrada sidewalk project has been delayed due to rains; it will start again soon and they will be working overtime. She noted that there have been questions regarding LAMC sec. 85.02, the Code section dealing with vehicular dwelling. This is tied to zoning. There is no ability to live in a vehicle within 500 ft. of sensitive uses. There is no vehicle dwelling between 9pm-6am in residential zones. A map has been released but may not be entirely accurate. Mike is asking the City Attorney to look at use as well as zoning. The map will be changing. Danielle Samulon: There are downed trees in Area 3; this is unsafe; is there a timetable to remove them? Sharon: The City is swamped with many similar situations; there are very few emergency crews; her office will try to get Urban Forestry out. The priority is to make the lane passable. Sue Kohl: Many trees came down in Area 5 as well. Trees aren’t trimmed regularly. Sharon: The City only has resources for emergency situations. Mike does want proactive trimming; she assured us that we will get more trimming before the end of March. David Card: More trees have fallen on Bienveneda, and he asked for a warning light. Barbara Kohn: Regarding the map that will be changing, what will be changing exactly? Sharon: Some streets are coded incorrectly; she can’t say offhand which ones. Some are near sensitive uses that were not coded accurately. Chris Spitz: Residents are concerned about enforcement issues going forward. Maryam: PPCC will take this up on Feb. 23rd with SLO Michael Moore. Neighborhood Prosecutor Veronica de la Cruz Robles: She advised that enforcement is not tied to the map, which is illustrative only, but is based on the language of the Code itself. LAPD officers can decide on scene as to whether the activity is allowed.
7.5.3. Janet Turner – Office of Congressman Ted Lieu, Field Deputy.
The Congressman is sponsoring an art competition for high school students; they have until early April to submit applications. The 1st place winner will receive a trip to Washington, D.C. and their artwork will be exhibited in the Capitol. Each year there is a bipartisan Service Academy Day. This year it is on Feb. 12 from 1-4pm at LA Air Force Base, 400 N. Douglas St. El Segundo. Regarding the FAA matter: Congressman Lieu is a member of the Congressional Quiet Skies Coalition and supports efforts to keep airplane noise to a minimum. Regarding the WLA VA Neighbors Community Roundtable: The Master plan called for a Community Veteran Engagement board. The Board has been elected and will create a WLA campus subcommittee. Community members can apply to be on the subcommittee. The 1st town hall to introduce this will be in late Feb. or early March. Regarding the Brentwood dog park: half of the park is going away because the City is creating another dog park about ½ mile away at Westwood Recreation Center. The other half will stay in Brentwood.
7.5.4. Veronica de la Cruz Robles – Office of the City Attorney, Mike Feuer. Veronica reported that she continues to work with the Task Force on Homelessness. As our Neighborhood Prosecutor, Veronica also explained highlights of the marijuana law (see Item 11.1 below).
7.5.5. Daniel Tamm — Officer of Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Daniel gave remarks on the Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement. He explained that the purpose of the Office is to bring City Hall to the neighborhoods. The Mayor is happy to come to events in the Palisades and wants to do a better job at dialogue with communities. Daniel gave some examples of the Mayor’s engagement. George Wolfberg: Is the 311 number active 24 hours a day? Daniel: No. This is a problem, for example, for people who may have their car towed mistakenly after 10pm and the signage directs people to call 311. Daniel said that he will put this in his report to the Mayor.
7.6. From PPCC Advisors – None.
8. Reports from Committees — None.
9. General Public Comment.
Joe of Bryan’s Smile. This is a drug prevention program, which educates youth ages 10-18 and families on drug dangers. They attempt to open up lines of communication and have done work at Paul Revere and other area schools.
10. Old Business — None.
11. New Business.
11.1. Potential impact of marijuana and/or marijuana laws on our area schools and teens.
Presenting: Cori Cross, MD & Jill Piscatella, along with Veronica de la Cruz Robles. Veronica: Prop 64 passed and will become effective Nov. 9. As of Nov. 9 smoking marijuana in public places by persons over 21 is allowed and is not a crime; it is allowed anywhere smoking is allowed. It is not a crime to smoke in public. Under 18: it’s an infraction. If between 18-20: an infraction and not a misdemeanor. The law allows marijuana possession up to 1 oz. by persons 21 and over, and it is legal under certain conditions. Persons can cultivate up to 6 plants under certain conditions in private residences. Sue Kohl: How will this be enforced around schools? Veronica: There are laws prohibiting possession around schools. She explained the rules and penalties for various offenses, and stressed that marijuana is not the same as yesteryear; it is much stronger and parents should be aware for our kids. It is no longer a felony to sell on school grounds. Maryam: Is it practical for us to ask for more support for this issue from LAPD, since it is a misdemeanor only? Veronica: LAPD can still move forward with a misdemeanor. Also, it can still be a felony if large quantities are offered for sale rather than personal use. Carol Bruch: How is marijuana different now? Veronica: It is stronger. Lou Kamer: At what point will the City be thinking about new dispensaries or shops opening? Veronica: There are still officers working on illegal pot shops and there are special marijuana prosecutors who are working on illegal dispensaries under Prop D. They are using zoning laws. There are no locations in the Palisades under Prop D. Dick Wulliger: How will this be handled vis a vis the federal government? Veronica: The City recognizes it is a federal offense but has to also recognize that Prop 64 has passed. The federal government will take care of larger grower issues. Audience (Allison Holdorf Polhill): Pali High has an officer on the grounds who can take action if there is information that a child has drugs or a sale is going on. People need to speak up.
Dr. Corrine Cross: She is a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital LA. Jill Piscatella is Senior VP of a youth education foundation for the DEA in Washington, D.C. Dr. Cross: She explained that pot now has a much higher THC level. It is a completely different drug than yesteryear. She is worried about children who may be chronic users. Developing brains are different from adult brains. The consequences of higher TCH levels include: clinical depression and bipolar disease as children grow older. She cited specifics and statistics regarding the impact of marijuana use. The studies show very negative effects on intellectual function as a result of chronic use. There are drops in the average IQ levels, which are not reversible in children. Dr. Cross advocates for a strong safe zone around schools, with a 1-mile distance prohibition for pot shops.
David Peterson: Is the federal government enforcing federal law in Colorado and other sates where marijuana has been legalized? Jill Piscatella: They are focusing on trying to shut down bigger operations. Veronica: There are consequences for driving under the influence, including the same penalties as with alcohol, although there is currently no reliable test of TCH levels. David Kaplan: Right now pot shops are prohibited 1000 ft. from schools; is our commercial area subject to having pot shops? Veronica discussed Prop D and its interface with the new law.
Reza Akef: Wants to be fair and balanced. A discussion ensued about hazards, use, zoning, Prop D, etc. Gil Dembo: Wants Mike Bonin to bring to City Council a measure to regulate this and impose a 1-mile distance from schools. Maryam: This was agendized only as a discussion item. Quentin Fleming: There is imaging showing brain development until the mid – late twenties. Richard Cohen read from Prop 64 and explained that the new law already imposes a 600 ft. limitation from schools and other sensitive locations. He also read other provisions of the law for education, drug treatment programs and the like, and reminded everyone that the voters of the state have spoken. Audience member: Some young people were in the audience and left before this discussion began; this should have been discussed earlier. Pali High student Griffin: He wishes greater emphasis can be placed on education programs. His friends don’t know about the things that chronic marijuana use can lead to. Dr. Cross: The problem is funding education programs. It all comes down to parents. Audience (Daphne Gronich): This is an issue for the Chamber and BID; store owners don’t have to rent to pot shops. Veronica: Her office has a tobacco unit with one prosecutor; maybe this can expand with marijuana. Barbara Kohn asked a question about licensing. Veronica: There will probably be new regulations. Audience: Question asked about other elements in marijuana; what is the other beneficial compound? Dr. Cross: CDD (the “good” compound) is being engineered out to create higher TCH levels. Davd Kaplan: We should do what we can to keep pot shops from opening up here. Rick McGeagh: Some of his private clients in commercial real estate are now inquiring about the possibility of getting higher rents from pot shop tenants. His institutional clients aren’t interested. Property owners in the Palisades might listen to us.
12. Adjournment. Maryam adjourned the meeting at 9:03pm.