MINUTES FOR JANUARY 24th 2019
Voting Members in Attendance: George Wolfberg, Richard Cohen (acting Secretary), Sue Kohl, David Kaplan, Rick Mills, Joanna Spak, Steve Cron, Steve Boyers, Alan Goldsmith, Dick Wulliger, Duke Ostendorf, Ellie Jenkins, Brenda Theveny
Voting Alternates: Barbara Marinacci, John Padden, Barbara Kohn, Cathi Ruddy
Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: Miriam Schulman, Allison Holdorf Polhill, Sharon Kilbride, Melanie Bouer, David Card, David Peterson, Jan Ostendorf
1. Certification of Quorum. The Chair George Wolfberg called the meeting to order at 7:00pm and certified that a quorum was present.
2. Reading of Community Council’s Mission. Dick Wulliger read the Council’s Mission.
3. Introduction of the Board and Audience. The board and audience were introduced.
4. Approval of Minutes & Upcoming Meetings. 1) Approval of Minutes – the minutes of 1/10/19 were approved. 2) Upcoming Meetings –February 14, 2019: 1) PRIDE President and rep to PPCC John Padden (Village beautification/ harmonization plans); 2) WRAC-recommended motion re Senate Bill 50. February 28, 2019: 1) Adel H. Hagekhalil, Executive Director & General Manager, Bureau of Street Services (Street Services information and Q&A); 2) CD 11 Transportation Deputy Eric Bruins (Bonin motion re electric scooters & LADOT “Vision Zero” report); 3) Pastor Kenneth Davis, Palisades Lutheran Church (Feed My Starving Children). Other topics to be announced.
5. Consideration of Agenda. The Chair announced that the agenda is as distributed.
6. Treasurer’s Report. Treasurer Richard Cohen reported that the Council’s bank balance is $41,112. With respect to the Gala’s finances: We have received but not yet deposited $900 of additional program advertising revenue and still have about $1,200 additional outstanding. He will report more on the Gala finances at a later date.
7. General Public Comment.
7.1. Patrick Hart (resident). Regarding Potrero Canyon, the pumping station site has been a residence for homeless and will be destroyed. There are some historical aspects that should be preserved and recorded, in his opinion. The Chair will reach out to the City Engineer.
8. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
8.1. From the Chair.
The Chair thanked Richard Cohen for stepping in to take this evening’s minutes as Secretary Chris Spitz was called away this evening.
The Chair also congratulated Richard Blumenberg (Civic League representative) upon his election as Chair of the Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce.
The Chair noted his pledge to get agenda materials out to the board allowing ample time over the weekend before each meeting for board and community members to familiarize themselves with the agenda items. The Chair and Secretary have been able to keep that pledge and this evening the Chair honored the first board member to open this week’s agenda with a special hand-crafted gift from the Wolfberg kitchen: Sue Kohl.
8.1.1. Highlands Trailhead Letter. In late November the PPCC Executive Committee approved a letter supporting the Coastal Commission’s efforts to effect repair of the deplorable conditions at the restrooms and parking lot located at16701 Via Costa and ensure the safety of the Temescal Ridge Trail access point. Thanks to Steve Cron for keeping up the pressure on all the involved officials. The letter has been posted and there will be a link in the meeting minutes. See 11/29/18 Letter to Coastal Commission approved by the Executive Committee.
8.1.2. WRAC Leadership Meeting 1/16. WRAC leadership voted to recommend that member-councils consider a motion that had been proposed by the WRAC Land Use & Planning Committee, opposing Senate Bill 50 (Wiener). This bill – the so-called “transit-rich and job-rich” bonus housing bill — is a do-over of a prior bill from Sen. Wiener, SB 827, which PPCC opposed and was killed in committee last year. The proposed motion is supported unanimously by the PPCC Executive Committee and will be on the PPCC meeting agenda for 2/14/19. Information about the motion and SB 50 has been provided to PPCC board members in order to prepare for a thoughtful discussion at the next meeting: Proposed SB 50 Motion; WRAC-LUPC Talking Points and SB 50 Text.
8.1.3. Potrero Canyon Groundbreaking 1/22. Groundbreaking for the long-awaited final phases of construction for Potrero Canyon Park took place on January 22. Public officials, Potrero Canyon Community Advisory Committee members, and PPCC & PAB board members joined in the ceremonies to celebrate the start of the 600,000 cubic yard grading phase. The attendees received a commitment from Councilman Bonin, the City Engineer and Rec and Parks that the final phase of park development — landscaping of the canyon — will soon be placed out to bid so that growing of the specified plants may begin. Also, Councilman Bonin pledged his support for funding of a key piece of the park, a bridge for safe passage over the Coast Highway. When completed, Potrero Canyon will be a beautiful passive park with trails and lookouts to be enjoyed by all.
8.1.4. Zoning Code Workshop. Reminder: PPCC and BCC will co-host a community workshop on how to access the new Zoning Code on March 30, 2019 at 10:30am at Gilbert Hall, Palisades Charter High School. More details to come.
8.2. From Officers– None.
8.3. From At-Large and Area Representatives.
8.3.1. David Card (At-large First Alternate). Go Rams!
8.3.2. Rick Mills (Area Four Representative). Thanks to Sue Pascoe and Circling the News for calling to the community’s attention the proposed new location of dumpsters below the continuation school in the swampy area.
8.4. From Organizational Representatives.
8.4.1. Dick Wulliger (Historical Society). The Democratic Club will meet this Sunday at 2pm.
8.5. From Government Offices / Representatives.
8.5.1. LAPD Captain III Vic Davalos, new West LA Area Commanding Officer(see item 11.1 below) – Not in attendance. Michael Moore (LAPD Senior Lead Officer) was in attendance and reported that crime is down. He advised everyone to remember to set your alarms. He also described a break-in that resulted in a purse and car theft while the family was upstairs. If you hear a “thump,” that may be the miscreants entering your house; listening for a second thump will be too late.
8.5.2. Deputy Fire Chief Armando Hogan, LAFD West Bureau Operations(see item 11.2 below).
8.5.3. Council District 11 (Mike Bonin) District Director Krista Phipps (see item 11.3 below).
8.5.4. Reporting in the absence of Janet Turner (District Representative, Congressman Ted Lieu), the Chair announced that Rep. Lieu is hosting Service Academy Day on February 16. A handout was made available to anyone interested.
8.6. From PPCC Advisors.
8.6.1. Allison Holdorf Polhill (Education). The six-day strike ended on Tuesday, with the Mayor mediating the settlement. The teachers had seven days of lost pay and will now receive a 3% retroactive pay raise from 2017, with 6% going forward; various school services will receive additional funding. As to whether there would be limits on charter schools, Allison explained this is not settled, but the issue is pending and will be considered in the near future. There would be a resolution asking the state for a moratorium on charters. Responding to a question about lottery revenue, she stated that she believes the lottery did not actually add revenue but replaced other funds.
8.6.2. Sharon Kilbride (Homelessness). PPTFH volunteers found 28 new camps that have been cleaned up. There are now two active camps across from the Lake Shrine that volunteers could not access because it is private property. The Palisades is now looking very good. Most homeless people are now living in their cars – perhaps 37 or 38. As to the January 23 Homeless Count: the total number counted this year was about 70, which Sharon believes is somewhat less than last year.
9. Reports from Committees – None.
10. Old Business – None.
11. New Business.
11.1. LAPD Captain III Vic Davalos, new West LA Area Commanding Officer– Not in attendance.
11.2. Deputy Fire Chief Armando Hogan, LAFD West Bureau Operations. Presentation on fire safety and lessons learned from the Woolsey Fire.
Deputy Chief Hogan of LAFD West Bureau Operations attended along with other LAFD personnel. He introduced Capt. Tom Kitahata of Station 69 who introduced other LAFD captains in the West area. Capt. Kitahata explained the LAFD’s wildfire action plan, Ready, Set, Go! He and his family live near Thousand Oaks, he was at the Woolsey fire and he had neighbors who lost houses. He described his family evacuating and noted the speed of the advancing Woolsey fire as unlike anything he had witnessed in over 31 years of firefighting. He was amazed at how quickly the fire came across the mountains and threatened his community.
Deputy Chief Hogan presented a PowerPoint explaining the department’s wildfire containment procedures and brush clearance requirements. He explained that Battalion Chief Percy Jones would likely be the Incident Commander in a wildfire. He would take control and would be the first to arrive and understand the situation. He would direct resources to address the objectives. Where is the fire going and what is the rate of spread? They try to outflank the fire and keep it narrow. The commander would coordinate with other agencies.
The public should create a defensible space – a 200 foot buffer of no brush. LAFD uses helicopters for command as well as water dropping. They endeavor to contain the fire in a “box” that defines the fire containment limits. Drones are used to spot any hot-spots.
West Bureau Assistant Chief Orin Saunders explained the “Wifire” fire mapping tool that helps to predict fire behavior based upon wind speed, direction and humidity. It is used to aid in planning. LAFD urges people to evacuate about two hours ahead of danger. If down to 30 minutes of warning one would shelter in place and resources would be applied to help protect lives and property. LAPD does the evacuations.
“NotifyLA” is a service for phones that will alert you to pending evacuations and other essential news. The public should subscribe to receive push notifications to mobile or landlines. An Evacuation Order is mandatory, and an Evacuation Warning is advance warning. It is best to evacuate early because leaving late diverts resources that could be better utilized to stop the fire. You can leave your pets and advise the firefighters at the command center and they will pick up your pets. Please have your pets chipped so unification is facilitated.
Questions & answers then ensued: Reverse lanes may be needed quickly on Sunset or PCH. There was a long delay with the Woolsey fire. Will we have such delays? Answer: PCH was a barrier to prevent fire spread. It took time for the various agencies to coordinate. Fire trucks may be coming in while evacuees may be leaving.
Is it possible to get real time fire and evacuation maps? No, because the fire and the plan changes based upon circumstances. Generally, it takes a day or so until detailed maps are made public. Refer to NotifyLA for road closures and evacuation areas.
Are there controlled burns in our area? No, not in LA City. Prevention is based upon brush clearance. LAFD cites violators and works with other agencies such as LADWP, MRCA, to urge compliance.
See LAFD.org, click on fire education and you can find the Ready, Set, Go! plan and other relevant fire safety information.
Steve Cron (Area 2 Rep) expressed concern about the Highlands. Response: The LAFD will meet and discuss preparedness and evacuation plans after consultation on the ground.
David Card (At-large First Alternate) expressed concern about Marquez Knolls. He noted that the last burn was 1977/1978. Response: The LAFD is aware. Wind driven events can be very dangerous.
State Parks, MRCA and LADWP each maintain their own properties and their fire roads. LAFD does not maintain fire roads.
The Chair thanked the LAFD for and audience members for participating.
11.3. Council District 11 (Mike Bonin) District Director Krista Phipps.
Ms. Phipps noted the questions asked of LAFD and will attempt to address these issues with the community in the future. She indicated she may return to a future PPCC meeting with a new area expert as the old expert has recently taken a new job. Please share questions with Lisa Cahill to move toward forming a task force.
12. Adjournment. The Chair adjourned the meeting at 8:36 pm.