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MINUTES FROM OCTOBER 22nd 2020
Meeting held via Zoom videoconference
Voting Members in Attendance: David Card, David Kaplan, Richard Cohen, Chris Spitz, Matthew Quiat, Jenny Li, Karen Ridgley, Joanna Spak, Sue Kohl, Brenda Theveny, Craig Natvig, Beth Holden-Garland, Alan Goldsmith, Steve Cron, Maryam Zar, Haldis Toppel, Dick Wulliger, Fay Vahdani, Richard Blumenberg, Reza Akef* (*after election; see item 9.1 below)
Voting Alternates: Kevin Niles
Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: Sharon Kilbride, Patti Post, Zennon Ulyate-Crow, Melanie Bouer,* Rick McGeagh,* Mary Mueller,* Karyn Weber,* Cindy Kirven,* Judy Orsini,* Danielle Samulon,* Nancy Niles,* James Bierman,* Andrew Wolfberg* (*after election; see item 9.1 below)
1. Call to order and reading of Mission Statement. The Chair David Card called the meeting to order at 5:30pm. Sue Kohl read the Mission Statement.
2. Introduction of Zoom engineer. The Chair welcomed everyone and introduced the technical engineer Alex Ponting. Introductions of the Board and audience were deferred.
3. Roll call of voting members and certification of quorum. The Chair called the roll of voting members and certified that there was a quorum.
4. Approval of Minutes. The minutes of October 8, 2020 were approved as corrected. Upcoming meetings: November 12, 2020: topics to be announced. There is one PPCC meeting only in each of the months of November and December, on the 2nd Thursday of the month. The Holiday Awards event is normally held on the December meeting date, but will not be held this year. An announcement will be made at the November 12 meeting as to whether a board meeting will be held in December.
5. Consideration of Agenda. Agenda items may be taken out of order at the discretion of the Chair.
6. Treasurer’s Report.
The Treasurer Richard G. Cohen reported that PPCC’s cash balance is $38,258.05. He is pleased to report that we have completed the annual cycle of tax and compliance reporting. This week we filed our California Attorney General/Registry of Charitable Trusts Form RRF-1 annual registration. We also filed our IRS Form 990-N and our California Franchise Tax Board Form 199-N. A couple of weeks ago, the Treasurer filed our Form SI-100, a biannual report with the California Secretary of State. We have now completed our annual compliance cycle which is based off of our fiscal year ending September 30 – so we were quite prompt this year.
7. General Public Comment.
7.1. Lou Kamer (resident) asked whether we would consider recording PPCC Zoom meetings. The Chair replied that we are not considering recording the minutes since, among other things, this would increase the Secretary’s workload. PPCC’s detailed meeting minutes are publicly posted on the website.
8. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
8.1. From the Chair/Presiding Officer.
8.1.1. Update on status of Ryu-Koretz motion for an ICO/temporary construction halt; E.C. letter sent 10/10/20:
This motion has not yet been voted on by the City Council; it will be heard in the Council Planning & Land Use (PLUM) Committee on October 29, 2020.
8.1.2. Update on status of Ryu-Bonin motion to update BMO-BHO (opposition to proposed citywide cap on home size); E.C. supplemental letter sent 10/13/20:
Amendment to Motion: https://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2020/20-1098_misc_amend_10-14-20.pdf
The Chair is pleased to report that PPCC’s strong advocacy was successful. After we submitted two letters explaining our opposition to the portion of the motion seeking to impose a citywide cap on home size, Councilmembers Ryu and Bonin thought the matter through again and introduced an amendment which eliminated that provision. The motion passed in City Council as amended and the Planning Dept. is now directed to prepare a report on the requested zoning updates that will not include a citywide cap on home size.
8.1.3. Update on status of Bonin motion regarding land use & planning related to the VHFHSZ and evacuation routes. E.C. letter sent 10/10/20:
This motion has not yet been voted on by City Council; it passed in the Council Public Safety Committee and was then referred to the PLUM Committee (hearing not yet set).
8.1.4. Update on status of Ryu-Koretz motion to expand the Hillside Construction Regulation District Ordinance/Pilot Program citywide. E.C. letter sent 9/30/20:
This motion passed in the PLUM Committee recently; it will now go to the City Council for a vote (hearing date not yet set).
8.1.5. Update on letter sent 10/9/20 regarding tree replacements at 15539 W. Via de Las Olas:
PPCC’s position letter was submitted to City officials on October 9. We will update the board when we learn of the status.
8.1.6. New item: Palisades Beach Detail. We have received word that LAPD Capt. Tom is concerned that with the budget cuts, our critical LAPD Beach Detail may be in jeopardy. PPCC and PPTFH are requesting that sufficient funding be provided to retain the Detail. On October 21, 2020, the Executive Committee submitted a letter to the Mayor and Councilmember Bonin making this request. The letter has been forwarded to board members and is posted on the PPCC website. [See:
8.2. From Officers.
8.2.1. Chris Spitz (Secretary). Update on 10/19 Westside Regional Alliance of Councils (WRAC) leadership meeting – Deferred.
8.3. From Area and At-large Representatives – None.
8.4. From Organizational Representatives – None.
8.5. From Government Offices / Representatives. Contact information available at: https://pacpalicc.org/index.php/government-contacts/
8.5.1. Janet Turner, District Representative, U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu. Ms. Turner announced that the Congressman will hold a special “Conversations with Veterans” event on Facebook on November 8, 2020 from 2-3:30pm. All are invited. She will send a flyer.
8.5.2. Tim Fremaux, LADOT Senior Transportation Engineer, and Eric Bruins, CD11 Transportation Director (see Item 11.1 below).
8.6. From PPCC Advisors – Deferred.
9. Reports from Committees.
9.1. Three Chairs Committee (Maryam Zar, Committee Chair; Chris Spitz & Randy Young). Announcement of nominees and possible board election of Alternate Area and At-large Representatives.
The Committee Chair introduced each of the nominees for 1st position Alternates and read their brief background statements. She asked if any board member wished to discuss any nominee. No one asked for discussion. Secretary Chris Spitz then moved on behalf of the Committee for the board to approve and elect all nominees for 1st position (no second required because the motion was made by a committee of at least two voting members); vote taken. Vote: unanimous. All 1st position nominees were approved and elected as 1st Alternate representatives for their respective Areas.
The same process was repeated for all 2nd position Alternate nominees. No discussion; motion for approval and election made; vote taken. Vote: unanimous. All 2nd position nominees were approved and elected as 2nd Alternate representatives for their respective Areas. See attached lists of all nominees & background statements.
The Committee Chair thanked her fellow Committee members. The Chair then announced that because the Area 8 Primary representative position is vacant, Reza Akef is now promoted to the Primary representative position and Andrew Wolfberg is promoted to the 1st Alternate position, per PPCC’s bylaws (Art. VIII.1.C and Standing Rule 7).
10. Old Business.
10.1. (Tentative) LADWP update on power pole replacement project/environmental mitigation plan.
The Chair announced that action by PPCC on the project is unnecessary at this time as the environmental mitigation plan is being addressed and the pole replacement will not occur for some time. We will continue to monitor.
11. New Business.
11.1. Presentation on improvements to Chautauqua/PCH and Chautauqua/Sunset intersections. Speakers: Tim Fremaux, LADOT Senior Transportation Engineer and EricBruins, CD11 Transportation Director.
Eric Bruins spoke first, announcing that the intersection of Chautauqua & Sunset is under construction for the installation of a long-awaited left-turn signal, for cars coming from the east on Sunset and making a left turn (south) on Chautauqua. The signal should address the primary cause of collisions at that intersection. Residents have been expressing concerns since the fatal motorcycle collision in 2017 and the signal is finally under construction. He then advised that Tim Fremaux, an LADOT Senior Transportation Engineer, will speak about the other problematic intersection at Chautauqua & PCH. He explained that the intersection has a confusing arrangement, with drivers ending up in the wrong lane when seeking to turn left onto PCH from Chautauqua. Mr. Fremaux will present details about what LADOT has come up with and will take input from the community.
Tim Fremaux presented an engineering drawing of the intersection which was shown to meeting participants virtually. He described this as a “Geometric Plan” which lays out markings on the roadway for improvements in the intersection. He described the markings while zooming in on various portions of the plan as he spoke. [See the drawing on the PPCC website at: https://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/A-79xx-Model.pdf.]
Mr. Fremaux explained that LADOT first wants to address pedestrian safety concerns involving the two lanes on PCH westbound that currently allow right turns onto both W. Channel Road and Chautauqua. He stated that allowing these lanes both to be used for such turns presents a safety issue for pedestrians crossing W. Channel Rd. and that this configuration is not permitted in most other areas of Los Angeles. LADOT proposes to mark the right-hand lane closest to the curb side of the roadway [the “curb” lane, which begins after the Entrada intersection] so that right turns from the “curb” lane would only be allowed onto W. Channel Rd., not onto Chautauqua; the other lane to the immediate left of the “curb” lane [the “option” lane] would allow drivers the option of continuing on PCH or turning right onto Chautauqua (not W. Channel Rd.).
Several board members reacted negatively to this proposal, explaining that traffic is routinely backed up on PCH westbound at this intersection during peak hours, causing significant delays. Since traffic flows more swiftly in the “curb” lane, in order to avoid long delays many community members returning home to areas of the Palisades other than Santa Monica Canyon use the “curb” lane rather than the “option” lane to turn right onto Chautauqua from PCH. It was remarked that pedestrians are rarely seen crossing W. Channel Rd. The opinion of those who spoke, in general, was that eliminating the option for drivers in the “curb” lane to turn right onto Chautauqua (i.e., limiting right turns only onto W. Channel Rd.) was a detriment to the community rather than a material improvement of the intersection. Speakers at the meeting clearly indicated that they believe pedestrian safety on W. Channel Rd. at this intersection is not the most pressing issue. No one spoke in support of this proposal.
Speakers stressed that the biggest public safety problem – about which the community has long expressed concerns — involves the frequent inappropriate and illegal left-turns made by drivers coming through the intersection from Chautauqua southbound. Specifically, speakers explained that drivers routinely use the southbound lane on Chautauqua farthest from the curb to turn left illegally onto PCH instead of making a u-turn onto W. Channel Rd., as required from that lane. Cars making these illegal turns veer unsafely onto PCH, causing cars that are legally turning left onto PCH from the “curb” lane southbound on Chautauqua to pause or even stop to avoid collisions due to the illegal maneuvers by other drivers. This in turn causes traffic delays at the intersection, which can become significant during peak travel hours. Some speakers expressed that they believe drivers deliberately make these improper turns regardless of signage or warnings, while others indicated that more prominent signage or other measures should be put in place to help deter the illegal turns.
Focusing on the engineering drawing, Mr. Fremaux explained various lane markings and signage which LADOT proposes to try and improve this situation at the intersection. He acknowledged that previous markings painted by LADOT in lanes at upper locations on Chautauqua southbound have been insufficient. He also requested additional input from meeting attendees for solutions to the problem.
Numerous speakers offered various solutions, including placing bollards at strategic locations and installing light reflectors or other raised “bumps” in the roadway to deter drivers from using the wrong lane to turn left onto PCH. Other suggestions included improved signage, such as placing a large overhead sign on the traffic signal on PCH facing drivers coming downhill from Chautauqua; possibly widening lanes or shortening roadways; adding camera enforcement; increasing enforcement; adjusting traffic signal timing to reduce back-up and delays on Chautauqua during peak hours; adjusting traffic flow by making some streets in the vicinity of the intersection one-way only; and/or adding a dedicated bus lane in order to improve conditions for bus travel.
Mr. Fremaux explained that PCH is within the jurisdiction of Caltrans, which will not allow bumps or bollards that would impede traffic crossing on PCH. He also stated that camera-enforcement is no longer allowed in the City of Los Angeles. He believes placing a large sign on the traffic signal on PCH and/or other suggested measures may be a good idea but he cautioned that Caltrans may not allow such measures. He indicated he would look into the various suggestions and would communicate with Caltrans to ascertain what would or would not be possible for areas within Caltrans’ jurisdiction. He invited community members to contact him with follow-up concerns or suggestions [firstname.lastname@example.org]. The Chair thanked Mr. Fremaux for his presentation.
11.2. Motion recommended to member-councils by the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils (WRAC) – Eliminate Gut-and-Amend bill process – Deferred.
12. Adjournment. The meeting was adjourned at 6:46 pm.
ATTACHMENT: Item 9.1 – 2020 Alternate Area & At-large Representative Nominees
Judy Orsini 1st
Kelly Comras 2nd
Melanie Bouer 1st
Bruce Schwartz 2nd
Danielle Samulon 1st
Nancy Niles 2nd
Rick Mills 1st
Lee Anne Sanderson 2nd
Kimberly Bloom 1st
James Bierman 2nd
Karyn Weber 1st
Cindy Kirven 2nd
Rick McGeagh 1st
Cathy Russell 2nd
Reza Akef 1st
Andrew Wolfberg 2nd
Mary Mueller 1st
Marilyn Wexler 2nd
1st Position Alternate Nominees – 2020
Area One: Judy Orsini
Judy has resided in Area One for 42 years. She is a realtor of many years and has worked closely with presidents of the Castellammare Homeowners Association to provide information and advice on real estate matters. She has given the real estate report at the Association’s annual meeting for the last thirteen years. She believes that issues such as wildfire protection, supporting the good work of PPTFH, and maintaining the integrity of CC&Rs are all important. She has a good sense of the residents’ vision for the community and believes that will help her in serving as Area One 1st Alternate.
Area Two: Melanie Bouer
Melanie has been the Area Two 1st Alternate for the last two years. She is a 32-year resident of the Highlands, and has enjoyed working with PPCC and the Area Two primary representative Steve Cron. She is concerned about issues such as large-scale development, crime and traffic congestion, and protection of coastal resources and parks. She is very interested in continuing to serve the community as Area Two 1st Alternate.
Area Three: Danielle Samulon
Danielle served from 2016-2018 as the elected Area Three Primary representative and for the past two years has been Area Three 1st Alternate. She is a third generation Palisadian, mom, lawyer and volunteer with deep roots in the community. She grew up in the Palisades and has lived here for nearly a decade with her husband and children. Danielle understands the concerns of her fellow residents and wishes to continue working on the many issues of concern to constituents as Area Three 1st Alternate.
Area Four: Rick Mills
Rick was the respected Area Four Primary representative for six years, from 2014-2020. He has resided in Area Four for more than three decades and was previously Chair of the Pacific Palisades Design Review Board. He has been a member of the PPCC Land Use Committee and is very knowledgeable about the issues facing our community. He will bring valuable expertise and perspectives to PPCC as Area Four 1st Alternate.
Area Five: Kimberly Bloom
Kimberly first moved to the Palisades Highlands as a graduate student in 1981 and fell in love with the community. After a hiatus living elsewhere, she and her husband returned to the Palisades in 1993 and they have resided with their son in the Alphabet Streets ever since. She has been an active member of St. Matthews Episcopal Church, where she has chaired the Youth Group and numerous events. She organized and co-led a cancer support group and also produced a successful comedy show fundraiser for the YMCA. She loves the Palisades community and the Alphabet Streets and looks forward to serving as Area Five 1st Alternate.
Area Six: Karyn Weber
Karyn has lived with her husband and children in Area 6 for almost 19 years. She has previously served on the PPCC board as PPCC Secretary, Area 6 Alternate and PPRA’s Alternate representative. She wishes to keep the small town feel of the neighborhood where her children grew up while improving certain aspects, including the park and recreation center, the farmer’s market and our infrastructure such as streets, development, parks and hiking trails. As Area Six 1st Alternate, she would also like to help bring a voice for teens, as they are a large part of our community but are often unrepresented.
Area Seven: Rick McGeagh
Rick has resided with his family in the Will Rogers State Park neighborhood for over 22 years. He has been a PPCC member for twelve years, representing the Pacific Palisades Baseball Association in the Recreation category. He has also served on the PPBA board for twelve years and the Palisades Park Advisory Board for five years. Rick campaigned for and successfully engaged Mike Bonin’s office and park rangers in clearing the overgrown brush on the north side of Sunset Blvd. between Will Rogers State Park Rd. and Evans Rd. This summer, LAFD Deputy Chief Hogan included Area Seven on the LAFD brush clearance plan, calling it “Rick’s Project.” During COVID-19, Rick himself regularly clears Will Rogers State Park Rd., filling a green trash can with leaves weekly. He looks forward to serving Area Seven as the First Alternate.
Area Eight: Reza Akef
Reza has been a resident of Area Eight for 25 years and was honored to represent the Area as Primary representative for the last eight years. He loves the Polo Fields and believes that we need to protect our quality of life. He has defended the community on issues such as the golf tournament, Paul Revere MS and local student enrollment at Canyon Elementary. His professional career has ranged from government to private sectors and he understands the intricate working dynamic with the City to get results for the community.
At-large: Mary Mueller
Mary has served admirably as the At-large 1st Alternate for the past two years. She is a 25-year Palisades resident and a Marketing Partnership executive in the entertainment and sports industry. She operates a business located in Pacific Palisades and her two grown children were raised in the Palisades and still work here. She served as the able Chair of PPCC’s Awards Event Committee last year and wishes to continue serving PPCC and the community as At-large 1st Alternate.
2nd Position Alternate Nominees — 2020
Area One: Kelly Comras
Kelly has served reliably as Area One 2nd Alternate for the last four years; for four years before that, she was the elected Primary representative. She is a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects and a member of the PPCC Palisades Forestry Committee. Kelly is very familiar with PPCC’s Mission and process as well as her area’s concerns, and wishes to continue serving constituents so that they have a clear understanding of how to participate in local planning, building and safety, coastal development and other issues.
Area Two: Bruce Schwartz
Bruce is a long-time Highlands resident and realtor with Palisades Realty. He has been the Area Two 2nd Alternate for the last two years and previously served as PRIDE’s representative to PPCC. Bruce received a Golden Sparkplug Award in 2013 and was honored as PPCC’s 2018 Citizen of the Year for his extraordinary record of volunteer service to the community. His many substantial contributions to the safety and beauty of the Highlands and the entire Palisades community are widely-known and appreciated. Bruce wishes to continue serving the community as Area Two 2nd Alternate.
Area Three: Nancy Niles
Nancy has lived in Pacific Palisades for 43 years and in Area Three since 1985. She is the respected President of the Pacific Palisades Woman’s Club and served in the past on the PPCC board as the service club representative for the Woman’s Club. This fall, she was a member of the PPCC Election Committee, which oversaw the election of our Area and At-large representatives. She is happy to serve as the Area Three 2nd Alternate with the Primary representative Haldis Toppel.
Area Four: Lee Anne Sanderson
Lee Anne is an over 37-year resident of Area Four, where she has raised her children and participated in numerous local Palisades youth programs. She has been involved for many years directly in efforts to improve public safety and the quality of life in Area Four. She has been a Block Captain, has raised funds to install Neighborhood Crime Watch signs, and has worked with Mike Bonin’s deputies on matters such as COVID-19 safety, automotive speeding/racing, fire hazards on the bluff, graffiti, trash, stolen signage and noise and party nuisances. Lee Ann supports PPCC’s Mission and wishes to serve Area Four as the 2nd Alternate to PPCC.
Area Five: James Bierman
James is a seven-year resident of the Palisades who moved with his wife and two young children to their new home in the Alphabet Streets three months ago. He received an MBA from UCLA and works in life sciences consulting. He is very committed to the future of the community which he believes is built for family, and wants to make sure that it continues to grow in a way that is great for residents and the future of our children. James is most interested in ensuring that the Palisades has a viable sustainable economic profile and looks forward to contributing to the community as Area Five 2nd Alternate.
Area Six: Cindy Kirven
Cindy has lived with her family in Pacific Palisades for 37 years and in Area 6 for six years. A retired COO of a film production company, she is a member of the Garden Club, a Village Green volunteer, and serves as Chair of the PPCC Palisades Forestry Committee. She has specific expertise applicable in communication, organization and collaboration. Cindy recognizes the unique representational needs of Area 6, which includes the Huntington and Via Mesa neighborhoods, as well as the bluffs, the southern business district, the Recreation Center and George Wolfberg Park at Potrero Canyon. As Area Six 2nd Alternate, she hopes to bring her skills and expertise to helping keep the community safe, beautiful and neighborly.
Area Seven: Cathy Russell
Cathy is a 40+-year Area Seven resident who has served on the PPCC Board for the last 12 years, first as the respected Area Seven Primary representative and then as 1st Alternate representative. She wishes to continue working hard on the many issues that present themselves, including traffic concerns, homelessness, tree preservation, wildfires and safety. Cathy is very grateful to have been part of PPCC and wishes to continue to contribute to its ongoing mission. She observes: “In these difficult times, it is important to take care of our community and each other.”
Area Eight: Andrew Wolfberg
Andrew has served as the dependable Area Eight 1st Alternate for the last four years. He has also served as Primary representative as well as PPCC Vice-President for one term and as a member of the PPCC Bylaws Committee. He is an estate planning attorney who grew up in the Palisades and has lived in his home with his wife and children in the Polo Fields for ten years. Andrew is particularly interested in the effects that Paul Revere and other public schools have on their surrounding neighborhoods.
At-large: Marilyn Wexler
Marilyn has been the reliable PPCC Area Seven 2nd Alternate for the past four years. She is a 30-year resident, has served on the board of the Santa Monica Canyon Civic Association (SMCCA) for 15 years, and for the past eight years has served as the respected President of SMCCA. She also sits on the PPCC Palisades Forestry Committee which she believes will be an invaluable asset to all of the Palisades community. Marilyn wishes to continue serving the community as the At-large 2nd Alternate.