MINUTES FOR MARCH 28th 2019
Voting Members in Attendance: George Wolfberg, Peter F. Culhane, Richard G. Cohen, Chris Spitz, David Kaplan, Rick Mills, Joanna Spak, Sue Kohl, Steve Cron, Haldis Toppel, Richard Blumenberg, Brenda Theveny, Reza Akef, Duke Ostendorf, Bill Bruns, Dick Wulliger, Alan Goldsmith
Voting Alternates: Cathi Ruddy, Marissa Hermer
Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: Kelly Comras, David Card, Sharon Kilbride, Mary Mueller, 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. Kelly Comras 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 3/14/19 were deemed approved as corrected. 2) Upcoming Meetings –April 11, 2019: Topic: appointment of Nominating Committee for candidates for officer seats; additional topics to be announced. Note: the 4/11 meeting must end at 8pm. April 25, 2019: Topic: Discussion about development of a workable street tree policy for Pacific Palisades.
5. Consideration of Agenda. The Chair announced that the agenda is as distributed. The Mayor’s representative Ami Fields-Meyer may be late and taken out of order.
6. Treasurer’s Report. Treasurer Richard Cohen reported that the Council’s bank balance is $41,731. The most significant transaction was payment of our general liability policy premium as announced at the last meeting. The Treasurer gave a final accounting of the Awards Gala.He also explained our yearly expenses and the reasons why PPCC needs to retain a reserve fund. See attached “December 2018 Awards Gala Results.”
7. General Public Comment.
7.1. Karen Ridgely (resident) expressed concern and opposition to the proposal to move dumpsters & maintenance from the Recreation Center to Temescal Canyon Park in the area next to the continuation school. Local residents were not notified of this proposal. She has met with the Park Director to let him know their feelings. She encouraged attendance at the next Park Advisory Board meeting on April 17.
7.2. Sue Pascoe (resident) stated that a reader of her blog wants to know what happened to the funds Caruso was supposed to have contributed to Village harmonization. Secretary Chris Spitz [a member of the PRIDE-led harmonization/committee representing PPCC] stated that this has been explained at several previous PPCC meetings and is in PPCC minutes: Caruso is paying for the design work on the harmonization project which is being led by PRIDE. More specific questions about this contribution should be directed to PRIDE President John Padden. The Secretary also stated that she is happy to address this issue further after the meeting.
7.3. Mary Schulz Shanahan (Pacific Palisades Garden Club President) announced that the next Garden Club meeting will take place on April 1 at the Woman’s Club with a speaker about the City’s wildlife and its challenges. In addition, she invited everyone to attend the annual spring PPGC Garden Tour will take place on April 14. More details are on the new Garden Club website [PPGC].
8. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
8.1. From the Chair.
8.1.2. Zoning Code Workshop update. The Chair reported that this educational event co-sponsored by PPCC and BCC will take place on Saturday at 10:30am at Gilbert Hall, Palisades Charter High School. Everyone is encouraged to attend. Our expert speakers will be: Sharon Commins, co-chair of the Zoning Advisory Committee & WRAC-LUPC co-chair; and Tom Rothmann, Principal City Planner & manager of the re:codeLA project.
8.1.1. Board Member opening of agenda. The Chair again honored the first board members to open the agenda of the last meeting with a special hand-crafted gift from the Wolfberg kitchen: a virtual tie – Haldis Toppel and Joanna Spak. Board members are reminded that the agenda may be accessed by clicking on the link and/or button that is always provided within the message distributing the agenda.
8.1.3. WRAC leadership meeting update. The Chair explained that at the meeting last week a motion percolated regarding serious Los Angeles River flood dangers. Even a 50-year flood would be a disaster for the region. Leadership members also learned from Matrix Consulting that a study is being done of LAPD basic car area boundaries. Opinions are being sought on basic car organization. The Chair will attempt to obtain a link to a survey of opinions.
8.1.4. Letter opposing video advertising on for-hire vehicles. The Chair announced that the City Council Transportation Committee has approved Councilmember Blumenfield’s motion which PPCC supports; the motion will now go to the full City Council for a vote (date unknown).
8.2. From Officers.
8.2.1. Chris Spitz (Secretary) announced that Lisa Cahill cannot be here tonight but has written a memo with details about the City’s new dockless mobility (electric scooters & bikes) pilot program which is now posted on the PPCC website [Dockless Mobility Pilot Program].
8.3. From At-Large and Area Representatives.
8.3.1. Rick Mills (Area Four) echoed Karen Ridgely’s comments regarding the proposal to move trash bins to Temescal Canyon near the continuation school. He has heard from a number of residents with concerns regarding the proposal.
8.3.2. Steve Cron (Area Two) reported that last Tuesday there was a successful fire protection meeting at Calvary Christian School. LAFD chiefs Hogan and Saunders spoke and 162 people attended. A video of the meeting is on Nextdoor. He thanked Peter Culhane (PPCC Vice-Chair) and Dave Dwyer (Chair of the Highlands Presidents Council) for their assistance with the meeting. An outstanding concern is the “escape route” at the top of the Highlands. Chief Hogan will return to take a walking tour of the route and see what can be done to improve the situation. In addition, last Sunday a group of about a dozen people spent 3-4 hours collecting trash on Palisades Dr. He thanked Bruce Schwartz (Area Two 2nd alternate) for providing his pick-up truck for trash collection.
8.3.3. Reza Akef (Area Eight) advised that there are a number of slides along Sunset Blvd. between Chautauqua and Allenford which he would like PPCC to address. Debris and slide material have recently blocked a traffic lane; storm drains are also being blocked. He has reported this before to the City but BSS hasn’t responded.
8.3.4. Dave Card (At-large 1st Alternate) explained that fire safety is a Palisades-wide issue. We have had a number of fires affecting the entire community, such as the St. Matthews fire in 1978.
8.3.5. Haldis Toppel (Area Three) stated that her Area also connects to the fire road (”escape route”) at the top of the Highlands and she would like to join in the meeting with the Fire Chief about this issue. She also announced that MKPOA is holding its annual meeting on April 25; the meeting will be a history review. After learning that this date conflicts with the regularly-scheduled PPCC meeting, she replied that MKPOA may change the meeting date to accommodate the PPCC meeting that same night.
8.4. From Organizational Representatives.
8.4.1. Marissa Hermer (Chamber of Commerce Alternate) reported that there will be a Chamber networking event and open house on Wednesday, April 17, at the new St. John’s medical group at 881 Alma Real from 4-7pm. The ribbon cutting will be at 5:30pm. The Chamber recently held a successful networking event at her restaurant, The Draycott. The next breakfast networking event is at Porta Via restaurant on April 30 at 8am, with the next evening event at Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy on May 14 at 5:30pm. In addition, the Chamber will sponsor a new Business & Wellness Fair in the Village on May 19. She also announced that there will be free cocktails at The Draycott for everyone who attends the Garden Club tour. The Draycott is now serving weekend brunch from 11am-3pm on Saturdays and Sundays, and will be having a special brunch for Easter.
8.5. From Government Offices / Representatives.
8.5.1. Janet Turner (District Representative, U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu). The Congressman has introduced a bipartisan bill with Sen. Feinstein and Republican counterparts to increase resources to combat homelessness: the “Fighting Homelessness through Services and Housing Act.” He was also co-sponsor of a bill to make healthcare more affordable and to protect people with pre-existing conditions. He has passed along to the FAA an idea mentioned at a recent past PPCC meeting for an FAA study to include local planes and drones, which was favorably received.
8.5.6. Zac Gaidzik (West-Metro LA Field Deputy, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl). The Board of Supervisors has updated the County restrictions against public smoking on beaches to include electronic cigarettes and cannabis. Other notable motions passed by the Supervisors: a ban on the use of Glyphosate (Round Up); creation of a County-wide micro-loan program for existing and new entrepreneurs and small businesses. They will be updating changes to HUD funding structure and other housing measures. On Tuesday, the Board issued a notice to purchase a previous Canoga park mental health facility for a bridge housing project. There will be a workshop about building fire-resistant homes and communities, with best practices & lessons learned in Australia, on April 9, 6-8:30pm, at Malibu City Hall Council Chambers.
8.5.3. Ami Fields-Meyer (WLA Representative, Mayor Eric Garcetti). Reporting on a slate of environmental issues: 1) By 2035 the City will recycle 100% of its wastewater. More specifics about the program and required infrastructure are expected in the next several months. 2) The City is phasing out the use of natural gas systems at three power plants across the City. As yet there is no full plan as to what energy sources will replace natural gas, but he will return when more specifics are available. 3) The Mayor has a new initiative, “Free Tax Prep LA,” for anyone who can benefit from free tax services.
A brief Q&A then ensued. Regarding solid waste recycling: Are recycled items still being separated? Response: to his knowledge it is still being recycled but he will take a look at that and report back. Regarding the possibility of having “gravity locks” on the blue recycling barrels, he will again look into this. As to whether the City has any diesel vehicles, the Controller Ron Galperin came out with full report on the City’s automobile and vehicle fleet which may answer this question. Regarding recycling of wastewater: Is there someone in charge of this project? Response: the City’s Chief Sustainability Officer has been developing a policy; currently there are 7-8 people on a team dedicated to directing sustainability policy.
8.6. From PPCC Advisors– None.
9. Reports from Committees.
9.1. Bylaws Committee (Richard G. Cohen, Chair). Second Distribution of proposed amendments to the PPCC Bylaws (pertaining primarily to changes & improvements in the elected Representatives’ election process) recommended by the Committee. See 1) Committee Report and 2) “Redline” plus “Clean”draft of proposed amendments, distributed concurrently with the meeting agenda via PPCC email and posted on the PPCC website (“Amendments”). Motion by the Bylaws Committee for Board adoption of Amendments (parts A, B and C below):
- Bylaws Attachment A [voting requirement: majority of members voting (abstentions not counted as votes)].
- Bylaws [voting requirement: 2/3 of members present (abstentions counted as “No” votes)].
- Appendix C – Standing Rules (addition of SR-11) [voting requirement: majority of members present (abstentions counted as “No” votes)].
Committee Chair Richard G. Cohen explained the proposed amendments and motion, and answered questions from the board. [No second was required as the motion was made by a committee of more than one voting member.]
After discussion, a vote was taken on each of parts A, B and C above. Result: unanimous in favor of Motion A; unanimous in favor of Motion B; unanimous in favor of Motion C.
The Committee Chair noted that the Committee is now working on amendments related to discipline and Code of Conduct provisions. This is a complicated topic and is taking more than one meeting for the Committee to address. Bylaws amendments related to this topic will be presented to the Board in due course. The Chair thanked the Bylaws Committee for its careful work in proposing these important revisions.
10. Old Business – None.
11. New Business.
11.1. City of LA Urban Forest Management Plan. Kelly Comras (Area One 2nd Alternate & Landscape Architect).
A number of people have been pushing for the last five years to have an Urban Forest Management Plan (UFMP) developed for Los Angeles. This is a proposal with the ultimate goal of replacing the tree canopy that has been lost to development and other conditions over the years. The City has been responsive, and a year ago a report was funded and written up with three important recommendations: 1) that a Tree Coordinator be put in place for the entire City; 2) that an inventory of all street trees and trees in public places such as parks be developed; and 3) that a data base be developed and implemented to be used by all departments involved. The goal is to achieve coordination with all agencies involved so that they all have access to the same information about City trees. The AIA has issued a white paper supporting the proposal for a UFMP. There is pressure being applied for the City to increase the amount of money in the budget in order to recruit and hire a trained person to become Tree Coordinator. It is suggested that if a budget is approved and this plan goes forward, perhaps the Palisades could be a “Beta tester” for an inventory and data base of all street trees and trees on public land in the Palisades.
Tree People has an online petition where individuals can go on and indicate their support for a UFMP [Petition].
Questions and comments then took place. Reza Akef noted that there should be homeowner education so that trees aren’t cut down or damaged or insufficiently watered. Response: There should be a commitment by homeowners to the care and watering of trees.
Michael Terry (Palisades Beautiful President & Chair, Street Tree Committee): There is a consultant’s report (the “Dudek” report) that refers to the UFMP as an aspirational plan – a plan to make a plan. Response: It is an advocacy plan to advocate for implementation of a UFMP. It was explained that Dudek is a consultant hired by City to do studies on best practices regarding management of our urban forest. The overriding goal of a UFMP is to recover the urban tree canopy that has been lost.
The City hasn’t made a definitive decision on what trees are allowed or not in our area. Bill Bruns (Friends of the Library) related an anecdote about planting Brisbane Box trees years ago which caused problems with roots. Michael Terry advised that this tree is on the current list of approved trees if the parkway is wide enough.
David Card reminded everyone of the April 25th PPCC board meeting, when we will hold a discussion about developing a workable street tree policy for the Palisades.
On April 6 there will be a volunteer clean-up and maintenance of the Los Leones trail from 9am-2pm. [See PPCC Calendar]
11.2. PPTFH Update. Sharon Kilbride, PPCC Homelessness Advisor.
The PPTFH has had many successes and challenges. With funding and support from the community, they employ outreach workers (from the People Concern) who engage with homeless people, including passing out cards with information about available services. From 2016 until now, PPTFH has gotten 104 people or 86% of the homeless population here off the streets. Seventy-two people housed. The outreach workers are very busy. One day a week the workers must visit folks who have been housed to monitor their situations. PPTFH has signed another three-year contract with the People Concern. They need funding so please be generous in donating to PPTFH.
Regarding enforcement, from 2016 to the present they have cleaned up 85 encampments on the hillsides and about 200 camps on the beaches. They have posted restricted entry signs in high fire risk zones. They have offered services to over 900 individuals since 2016. Most of the homeless folks who come to the Palisades are from out of state. It was relatively quiet in January and February because of the cold weather. More people are expected to come over the summer. LAPD Capt. Davalos (WLA Area Commanding Officer) has promised that we will have four beach patrol officers during the summer months (Rusty Redican and his partner plus two additional officers). Officer Redican wants to try and get two more officers, for a possible total of six. It is not certain that we will have more than four beach patrol officers this summer.
The next PPTFH community meeting is next Tuesday April 2 at 7pm in Library. There will be a speaker from the County Dept. of Health Services and others who will speak about the criminal justice system for people with mental health or substance use disorders. Visit the PPTFH website and sign up for the informative bimonthly newsletter.
Question: Are homeless people being shuttled or encouraged to come here from other cities or areas. Response: We don’t really have way to prove this but have heard that this might be the case. Another question was asked about an individual named “Oz” who sometimes sends email messages to PPCC board members complaining about the People Concern. Response: These are just threats. PPTFH is happy with the People Concern.
12. Adjournment. The Chair adjourned the meeting at 8:55pm.
ATTACHMENT: Item 6 (Treasurer’s Report)
December 2018 Awards Gala Results
Revenue (all numbers rounded):
|Dinner tickets||$ 7,300|
Net positive result $9,180