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MINUTES FOR NOVEMBER 9th 2017
Voting Members in Attendance: Maryam Zar, George Wolfberg, Allison Polhill, Richard Cohen, Chris Spitz, David Kaplan, Sue Kohl, Rick Mills, Peter Culhane, Lou Kamer, Rick Mills, Richard Wulliger, Janet Anderson, Gil Dembo, David Card, Reza Akef
Voting Alternates: Brian Deming, Barbara Kohn, Susan Payne, Jenny Hope Cote
Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: Jody Margulies, Carol Bruch, Brenda Theveny, Sharon Kilbride, Harris Culhane
1. Certification of Quorum. Chair Maryam Zar called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm and certified that a quorum was present.
2. Reading of Community Council’s Mission. Chair 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: Chair deemed the minutes of October 26, 2017, approved as distributed. 2) Upcoming meetings: December 14, 2017. Holiday Meeting and Awards Gala at Gladstones.
5. Consideration of Agenda. Chair announced that the agenda was as distributed.
6. Treasurer’s Report. Richard Cohen (Treasurer) reported that PPCC has a bank account balance of $37,686.40. There were no significant transactions since the last meeting.
7. General Public Comment on local issues – None.
8. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
8.1. From the Chair.
8.1.1. Chair announced that the Holiday Meeting & Awards Gala celebrating the 2017 Awards Honorees with take place on December 14, 2017 at Gladstones. Additional information and invitations will be coming soon.
8.2. From Officers.
8.2.1. George Wolfberg (Vice-Chair) reported that the City has approved the Coastal Development Permit allowing the beach curfew to continue, with conditions that were not described in the notice we received. The deadline to file an appeal is November 20, 2017.
Regarding Potrero Canyon, George explained that there is a Planning Dept. Zoning Information (ZI) Bulletin that applies to all Canyon rim properties and prevents owners from erecting massive retaining walls or structures on the rim. PPCC supports the ZI Bulletin. The City recently mistakenly issued a building permit for a homeowner to erect structures on the rim in violation of the ZI Bulletin; we understand that the permit has been or may be revoked, but construction appears to be continuing.
8.3. From At-Large and Area Reps.
8.3.1. Brian Deming (Area 3 Second Alternate) reported that the owners of the former Bernheimer Gardens property have completely cleared the brush. Three homes rather than four will be constructed on the lot. Responding to an inquiry from Peter Culhane, Brian stated that he will ask the owners to clear the curb along Sunset Blvd. Brian also announced that the pole top distributing station adjacent to the property has been powered up.
8.3.2. Lou Kamer (At Large Rep) announced that MADD has been making resources available to teens regarding cannabis.
He also stated that he is interested in knowing how reps communicate with their constituents. He is aware that Sue Kohl regularly communicates via email with Area 5 residents. Peter Culhane stated that in Area 2, the Summit Club (the largest Highlands HOA) has set up a reverse 911 system to alert residents in case of emergencies; other Highlands HOAs may also be participating. David Kaplan stated that he communicates with the Huntington HOA and other residents via email. He explained that not all reps have organized HOAs in their areas. Chris Spitz reported that Cathy Russell regularly participates in SMCCA meetings and communicates with residents. There was brief discussion about ways in which PPCC can communicate with Palisadians about emergencies and matters of interest. Jenny Hope Cote offered to assist with communications.
8.4. From Organizational Reps.
8.4.1. Susan Payne (Chamber of Commerce) stated that the November 7 Genesis Open event at the Luxe Hotel was a success. She announced upcoming Chamber-sponsored events: The day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday 11/24 through Sunday 11/26 – Shop Local in the Palisades. Friday 12/1 – Holiday Ho Ho Ho featuring Santa Claus at Antioch & Swarthmore in the Village. Saturday 1/20/18: Kevin Nealon & Friends Comedy Event at the Woman’s Club, honoring Arnie Wishnick.
8.4.2. Sandy Eddy (Friends of the Library) announced that the Friends will sponsor a Library Parking Lot Book Sale on December 9 from 9am-3pm. No book donations will be accepted in December and January. They will begin accepting donations again in Feb. 2018. The proposed new store within the library has been stuck in the City Attorney’s office. The Woman’s Club Home Tour & Boutique will take place this Sunday, November 12.
8.4.3. Gil Dembo (TCA) reported that TCA will hold its annual meeting on December 4 at 7pm in the Temescal Canyon Dining Hall. Sen. Ben Allen will speak on the Santa Monica Mountains.
8.4.4. David Card (American Legion).
David reminded everyone that Veterans Day is on November 11. American Legion Post 283 members will give brief Veterans Day talks to local classes and school assemblies. There will be a ceremony at the National Cemetery in Brentwood/Westwood. It’s also traditional to fly the American flag. David reported that he is working with a Boy Scout to improve a median on Sunset at Las Lomas. He also announced that there will be a ceremony honoring Sgt. Henry Johnson, the first African American soldier to fight in World War I at the National Cemetery tomorrow afternoon at 5 pm. There will be an Open House in Bldg. 3 on Saturday from 11-2 pm to raise monies to fix the church. David explained the custom of wearing poppy lapel pins in remembrance of the armistice at the end of WWI. He then recited a famous poem associated with WWI and the armistice: “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae (“In Flanders fields the poppies grow, between the crosses row on row. . . .”).
8.5. From Government Offices/Representatives.
8.5.1. In the absence of Janet Turner, District Representative for Congressman Ted Lieu, Chair announced there will be a Town Hall hosted by Congressman Lieu at the Wadsworth Theatre, November 10, from 2-3:30 pm.
8.5.2. Neighborhood Prosecutor Veronica de La Cruz-Robles reported that other neighborhoods are curious about the success of the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness (PPTFH). She discussed a Citation Clinic to assist individuals to be gainfully employed.
8.5.3. Lisa Cahill, Brentwood-Palisades Field Deputy for Councilman Mike Bonin/CD11, discussed a protective tree ordinance. She also reported that the Highlands catchment basins project is almost coming to a conclusion, and that signs against wood dumping on Temescal Canyon have been effective. Councilman Bonin has been to sites where workers were not following work hour permits and there is a holiday moratorium on road construction.
8.6. From PPCC Advisors – None.
9. Reports from Committees.
9.1. Awards Selection Committee (George Wolfberg, Chair).
George announced the 2017 Honorees: Citizen of the Year Bruce Schwartz; Golden Sparkplugs Matthew Rodman, Tom Creed, Marie Steckmest and Debbie Warfel; Pride of the Palisades Nancy Klopper. George explained each of their accomplishments and read from the attached Committee Report. He also encouraged attendance at the Awards Gala on December 14.
10. Old Business – None.
11. New Business.
11.1. Report from Oversight Committee and Enforcement Committee of the PPTFH.
Sharon Kilbride, PPCC Homelessness Advisor and PPTFH board member, reported that the Enforcement Committee monitors from Santa Monica Canyon to Castellammare. Every Monday except the 4th Monday of each month the Enforcement Committee task force is out monitoring the homeless population with Recreation and Parks. The homeless count is down 50% in Pacific Palisades. Since 2015, outreach has decreased the amount of homeless encampments. Tom Creed has helped significantly to track the encampments. Sharon also announced that on November 13 from 7-8:30 pm, PPTFH will hold a community meeting at the Palisades Branch Library featuring three formerly homeless individuals who will share their experiences.
12. Adjournment. Chair adjourned the meeting at 8:35 pm.
ATTACHMENT: ITEM 9.1 – AWARDS SELECTION COMMITTEE REPORT
COMMUNITY COUNCIL 2017 AWARD WINNERS
Six dedicated Palisadians will be honored at the Pacific Palisades Community Council annual holiday party on December 14 at Gladstones Restaurant.
Bruce Schwartz has been named “Citizen of the Year,” continuing a steady stream of dedicated residents honored since 1947. Bruce was instrumental in initiating the “Safety on Sunset” program in 2012, receiving a Golden Sparkplug for his efforts. Bruce has been the Homeless Task Force liaison to the Fire Department and was the driving force behind obtaining and installing signs to prevent trespassing and camping in hazardous hillside areas. He has repeatedly helped former PPCC Citizen of the Year Sharon Kilbride with homeless cleanup efforts in our commercial village and other areas of the Palisades. Bruce is president of PRIDE and has single-handedly planted flowers at forlorn medians and bus stops in the community. He has also supported a variety of other community improvement projects including spearheading the Fire Hazard signs along the bluffs and helping nudge the city to clean-up of dangerous swales with standing water along Palisades Drive. Bruce is a selfless, unsung hero of our community and a most worthy Citizen of the Year.
Matthew Rodman has been an extraordinary advocate for student safety during congested student drop-off periods, personally directing traffic every school morning in front of the school. Matthew also worked with the school district and several bus operators to get more students onto buses, reducing daily car trips by 543 during the current school year, a stunning accomplishment. Mathew also assists from morning to evening with the 4th of July Parade, concert and fireworks and the PPCC is honored to present him with a Golden Sparkplug Award.
Marie Steckmest, a community icon, former Citizen of the Year and Golden Sparkplug winner, once again will receive a Golden Sparkplug Award for creating a robust garden program at Marquez School and integrating it with each grade level curriculum. Marie’s work creates excitement and awareness for sustainable living and environmental mindfulness, while also teaching the kids to grow, compost and mulch. Yes, Children enjoy pulling weeds and eating the vegetables they have grown in the raised beds on the schoolyard, thanks to “Miss Marie!”
Debbie Warfel woke up one morning to the sounds of low-flying commercial aircraft heading toward LAX over Pacific Palisades. The FAA’s Next-Gen is a gps-guided system that replaces the old radar system. It is supposed to save fuel through more accurate flight patterns, but the result has been many flights “short-cutting” across our community at lower altitudes than past practice. Debbie sprang into action, quickly learning that the FAA had closed comment on the new program and who knew there would be such a dramatic change in flight paths? Nevertheless, Debbie contacted the FAA, LAX Noise Roundtable, and numerous elected officials including our representatives in Congress. She worked through the Santa Monica Canyon Civic Association to raise the funds to hire an aviation attorney to represent us with the FAA. Just this past week, Senator Feinstein wrote a strongly worded letter of support to the FAA. Debbie’s lawyers are working through the federal court in Washington DC to reach an amicable settlement. Debbie is a worthy Golden Sparkplug Award honoree.
Tom Creed noticed that when local homeless people accepted services to transition out of homelessness, a massive amount of detritus remained on our hillsides posing a fire hazard to the community. Tom mapped out all the encampments and spent countless days on cleanup duty. He initiated project CLEANup to marshal the resources needed to accomplish this major effort. He designed an email account and recruited 30 volunteers to remove all 19 abandoned encampments along Temescal Canyon Rd., filling a 40-yard dumpster. Among the members of the cleanup team were representatives from the City, and a formerly homeless man from the Palisades! For springing into action and making our community cleaner and safer, Tom is well deserving of a Golden Sparkplug Award.
Nancy Klopper, a long-time Palisadian has been selected for the Pride of the Palsades Award. You may recall that LA Times columnist Steve Lopez wrote a heart wrenching piece about Nancy’s work in tracking down the Norwegian parents of a severely mentally ill homeless woman nicknamed “Pretty Blonde.” In a way, that was the easy part. In order to complete a family reunion, the parents, who thought their daughter might be dead, had to be flown to LA, reunited and housed while their daughter was treated, pro-bono, at UCLA Hospital and upon completion of treatment, all flown back to Europe with a UCLA caregiver assisting. None of this would have happened without Nancy’s connective reach and tireless work. Her efforts were discouraged at first, but she persevered and the homeless woman code named “Pretty Blonde” is now in the care of her family. Nancy also has been a valued behind-the-scenes PAPA volunteer for 4th of July Parade. For her strong community spirit as well as perseverance in the face of challenges dealing with a chronically homeless and mentally ill woman, Nancy is most deserving of the Pride of the Palisades Award. This is not an annual award and it takes a special person like Nancy to earn this special recognition.