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Voting Members in Attendance:  David Card, Richard Cohen, Chris Spitz, David Kaplan, Joanna Spak, Sue Kohl, Haldis Toppel, Steve Cron, Rick Mills, Brenda Theveny, Barbara Marinacci, Jan Ostendorf, Fay Vahdani, John Padden, Dick Wulliger, Rick McGeagh, David Peterson [after approval of David Kaplan as Vice-Chair, per Item 8.1.1 below]

Voting Alternates:  Mary Mueller, Marilyn Wexler

Non-voting Advisors and Alternates:  Miriam Schulman, Bruce Schwartz, Quentin Fleming, Susan Orenstein, Craig Natvig, Melanie Bouer, Beth Holden Garland, Richard Blumenberg

1.    Certification of Quorum.  Chair David Card called the meeting to order at 6:01pm and certified that a quorum was present.

2.    Reading of Community Council’s Mission.  Richard Cohen 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 – the minutes of 1/23/20 were deemed approved.  2) Upcoming Meetings – February 27, 2020:  Guest Speaker – LAUSD Board Member Nick Melvoin.  March 12, 2020:  LADWP presentation on water & power rates & billing.  March 26, 2020: (1) Guest Speaker – LA City Controller Ron Galperin; (2) New: CD11, LADOT & Caltrans presentation on potential improvements to the PCH & Chautauqua intersection.

5.    Consideration of Agenda.  The agenda was considered.

6.    Treasurer’s Report.  The Treasurer Richard Cohen reported that the Council’s bank balance is $42,107.44.  Since the last PPCC meeting we have received $1,252.28 from nineteen donations ranging from $25 to $100.  The Treasurer has paid the renewal premium for our Directors and Officers Liability Insurance which renews on March 7 in the amount of $536.30.  We have not yet received the renewal quote for our General Liability insurance but expect the renewal quote soon.

7.    General Public Comment.

7.1.    Janet Turner (resident).  On Monday, February 24, there will be a free event on the upcoming census, from 6:30-7:30pm at the Library. She will provide information to the Secretary.

8.    Reports, Announcements and Concerns.

8.1.    From the Chair (Presiding Officer).

8.1.1.    Vacant Vice-Chair seat; nomination & board approval of Vice-Chair (Bylaws, Art. VII.4.E). The Chair nominated David Kaplan, Area 6 Representative, for the position of PPCC Vice-Chair.  The Secretary noted that David Kaplan has been a respected member of the Board since 2014 and has shown exemplary leadership in a variety of roles, including serving on the Executive & Bylaws Committees and chairing the Village Project LUC and the recent Awards Selection Committee.The Chaircalled for a vote of the Board to approve David Kaplan as PPCC Vice-Chair.  Result:  Unanimous board approval.  Upon the election of the Vice-Chair, the former Area 6 1st Alternate, David Peterson, became the primary Area 6 Representative and the former 2nd Alternate, Jason Sklar, became the Area 6 1st Alternate.

8.1.2.    Chair Emeritus seat (Bylaws, Art. V.1.A-B).  Upon the passing of George Wolfberg, immediate past Chair Maryam Zar became PPCC Chair Emeritus.

8.1.3.    Vacant 2nd Alternate Area Representative seats; applications to be accepted.  PPCC is now accepting applications for the open Areas 4 and 6 2nd Alternate seats. A notice will be distributed via PPCC email on February 14, with information about eligibility and how to apply. Interested residents of Areas 4 and 6 are invited to apply.  The deadline is March 15.  [See:]

8.1.4.    New Board and Committee appointments.

a) Organizational Member appointments: Chamber of Commerce (reversing positions of primary and alternate representatives; congratulations Sarah Knauer, new Chamber Chair).  The Chamber has appointed Fay Vahdani as its primary representative and Sarah Knauer (the Chamber’s new Chair) as its alternate representative on the PPCC Board.

b) Chair’s appointments: Palisades Forestry Committee (PFC) Chair; other Committee members, advisors & liaisons (see current listings:  The Chair has appointed Cindy Kirven as Chair of the PFC. Cindy has been a respected member of the PFC; she is also a board member of the Pacific Palisades Garden Club and a long-time Palisades resident. The Chair has also appointed Mary Shultz, Garden Club president, and Lisa V., tree activist, as voting members of the PFC. All other Committee, advisor & liaison appointments continue as set forth in the listings on the PPCC website Leadership pages.

8.1.5.    Updates on fire evacuation drill. CD-11-sponsored Evacuation Drill Committee.  Plans are underway for a fire evacuation drill this May in the Palisades’ hillside neighborhoods north of Sunset in Areas 1, 2 & 3.  The drill will be managed by LAFD, led by Deputy Chief Armando Hogan (West Bureau Commander). CD11 has formed an Evacuation Drill Committee, composed of volunteer community leaders & residents [see members in the list linked above].  Pali High will be the staging area and command post.  There will also be a resource fair.  The Committee will provide input in planning the drill and may provide “day of” assistance. The drill date had been set for May 16, but the Treasurer noted that this is a conflict with the St. Matthews Fair.  The Chair indicated he will bring this to the attention of Chief Hogan.  Marilyn Wexler (Area 7 2nd Alternate) would like to have a fire evacuation drill in Area 7 as well.  She was advised to speak with CD11 Deputy Lisa Cahill.  Ms. Cahill explained that Mandeville Canyon residents organized their own drill last year and brought in LAFD to coordinate and manage the drill. Chief Hogan has decided he would like to do drills in May and November, alternating between 3 different council districts (11, 5 and 4).  Residents should work with Lisa Cahill regarding a possible subsequent drill for their areas.

8.1.6.    Update on Potrero Canyon rim development (15245 DePauw; see prior PPCC position letter: RAPC resolution passed on 1/27/20:  The Chair attended the WLA APC appeal hearing on February 5 and testified on behalf of PPCC in opposition to the deck development.  Rob Weber spoke on behalf of the Potrero Canyon Community Advisory Committee (PCCAC); Recreation and Parks Commissioner Joe Halper also spoke as an individual against the development. They testified in support of an appeal by the neighbors seeking to overturn a lower decision by the ZA to grant an “after the fact” Coastal Development Permit for a large deck built by the property owner that hovers over the canyon slope.  The Chair explained the work that the PPCAC did to develop the Planning Dept. ZI bulletin which provides guidelines for Canyon rim development. City law and Coastal Commission regulations also prohibit downslope development. The result: a unanimous vote by the WLA APC to grant the appeal, denying the homeowners a Coastal Development Permit for the huge deck. The Commissioners indicated they would not approve an after the fact permit. It is unclear whether a tear down order has been or will be issued. We are awaiting issuance of the written decision.  Lisa Cahill stated that she understands that the appeals are over and the next step could be litigation by the property owner.

8.1.7.    American Legion Oratorical Contest.This event took place at the District level last Sunday in the Palisades. Danielle Wilson won the event at the local and also the District levels.  She has received checks for $400 and $500.  The final winner will receive a $20,000 scholarship check.  The next level of the contest will take place on February 23 at 8:30am in Panorama City at Legion Post 817.

8.2.    From Officers

8.2.1.    Chris Spitz (Secretary).  SB 50 and other legislation update.  The Secretary explained that she had prepared a written update which was distributed to the Board and posted on the PPCC website prior to the meeting: She briefly summarized the information in her update.  She also reported that in response to her message regarding AB 1279, Assemblymember Bloom has advised that the bill is being amended, although it is unclear if the amendments will address our concerns. After the bill is updated, his staff will discuss and hopefully address our concerns.  We and Brentwood CC will continue to press for an unconditional exemption from increased density mandates for all Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone areas.

8.2.2.    Richard Cohen (Treasurer). West LA Community-Police Advisory Board (C-PAB) Update. The Treasurer is a member of the C-PAB & has been attending the meetings regularly for many years; other PPCC Board members attend as well, including Haldis Toppel.  He reported that the West Los Angeles Police Station has a new Captain: Captain III Jonathan Tom.  At the recent C-PAB meeting, the Treasurer introduced himself privately and chatted with the new Captain.  He asked for assurance that Capt. Tom was aware of the long-standing and hard-fought commitment of LAPD to Pacific Palisades to keep a patrol car in our neighborhood 24/7.  The Captain said “yes” but explained that exigent circumstances could interfere.  Still, he agreed that our car was supposed to be the last car to be pulled out. It was reported at C-PAB that crime in West L.A., which includes the Palisades area, is down substantially in 2019 vs 2018.  Homicide is down 50% (1 vs 2), rape is down 14.3 (54 vs 63), robbery is down 30.2% (201 vs 288), burglary is down 25.8% (1078 vs 1453).  Overall part one crime was down 13.3%.  David Peterson(Area 6 Representative): Capt. Tom recently went out with LAPD Officer Rusty Redican, Sharon Kilbride, other PPTFH members and Michelle Bisnoff (Brentwood CC Chair), looking at the homeless situation in our bluffs locations.  It was very encouraging that the Captain took the time to go out and take a look at what is going on in our area.  The Treasurer: Capt. Tom says that homelessness is the new No. 1 priority for LAPD.  Sue Kohl(Area 5 Representative):  What is meant by “our car”?  The Treasurer: This refers to the car that patrols Pacific Palisades. Each area has its own defined patrol area and a car designated to that area, along with a dedicated Senior Lead Officer.  The Palisades has had a designated patrol car for about 10 years.  The car can’t always be located immediately because it can be engaged on another call, or called out in an emergency to another area. It is also used after arrests to take arrestees for booking at the Van Nuys station, and that process takes the car out of commission.  David Kaplan(Vice-Chair):  Where does the Palisades fit in with the percentages of crime for the Westside?  The Treasurer: He hasn’t seen a finer break down.  Sarah Shmerling(Palisadian Post): She has seen the figures; most crime stats are down in our area except for grand theft auto.  Christine Card(resident):  There is an app called Citizens which notifies you when a crime occurs in real time.  The Treasurer: LAPD online also has interactive crime maps on the website.

8.3.    From At-Large and Area Representatives.

8.3.1.    Rick Mills (Area 4 Representative).  He suggested that we should think in advance of questions to ask Nick Melvoin, LAUSD Board Member, who will be our guest speaker on February 27. Residents are concerned about the Marquez playground being closed for weekend use.  He will address that issue with Mr. Melvoin at the next meeting.  Let Allison Polhill (Mr. Melvoin’s assistant and PPCC Education Advisor) know ahead of time of your questions, if possible.

8.3.2.    Steve Cron (Area 2 Representative).  As result of rains and recent fires, there is a lot of debris along Palisades Dr., which goes into the drains along the roadside.  There has been a debate about who is responsible for the clean-up (the City or County).  Mike Bonin has now acknowledged that the City is responsible and they will take care of and remove the debris. Regarding the infamous trailhead bathroom situation: Heather Johnson of the Coastal Commission has provided assurances that this will be on the agenda for the Commission’s April meeting in Ventura.  The Commission wants to make the owner responsible for fixing up the situation.  On March 1, resident-volunteers will do the semi-annual clean-up of Palisades Dr.

8.3.3.    Haldis Toppel (Area 3 Representative).  We have been informed by CD11 of a request to vacate a portion of a public street, at the end of Via Santa Inez in Area 3. This is in an unstable geological area.  The issue may come to the LUC and/or PPCC in the future.

8.4.    From Organizational Representatives.

8.4.1.    Richard Wulliger (Historical Society).  There will be an interesting Historical Society talk on Wednesday, February 26, at 7pm in Theatre Palisades.  The topic is “100 Years of Fire in the Santa Monica Mountains.” He escribed the event and the speakers. Admission is free and all are welcome.

8.4.2.    Fay Vahdani (Chamber of Commerce).  The next Chamber networking meeting will take place at Porta Via Palisades on February 26 at 8am.

8.4.3.    John Padden (PRIDE).  All of the tiles formerly on Swarthmore have been transferred to bricks on Sunset Blvd. About1300-1400 bricks have now been installed, including old and new bricks. Community members can go on the PRIDE website,, to locate your bricks.  Click on the brick on the landing page and it will direct you how to find your brick.  Some people have requested new bricks.  The window for new bricks is closed right now and they cannot take any new orders; however, they may be able to include new bricks in another location in the future.

8.5.    From Government Offices / Representatives.

8.5.1.    Lisa Cahill (CD11).  Most of what she had wanted to cover in her report was already discussed earlier in the meeting but she is happy to answer questions.  The Chair:  What portion of Via Santa Inez is requested to be vacated?  Ms. Cahill:  The best she can determine is the paved section.  One large home will be built, but she doesn’t know the status of the development.  This issue only came to her office a day and half ago and they are still trying to get information.  Haldis Toppel(Area 3 Representative):  Is it the entirety of Via Santa Inez or just the last portion?  Ms. Cahill:  Just the last portion, about 100 ft. in length by 40 ft. (the road width).  This would not affect neighboring homes other than the loss of street parking and there would be a large gate for the new home. There will be a recommendation from the CD11 staff reflecting community concerns.  This will be heard in City Council tomorrow morning.

8.6.    From PPCC Advisors.

8.6.1.    Patti Post (Transportation Advisor). Gladstones bus turnaround update. Brief discussion only. See:

In the absence of the Transportation Advisor, the Chair summarized her report.  He described the situation with current bus routes and the history of the bus turnaround. We will follow up with the County and the concessionaire to make sure the turnaround will be in the plan that goes to the Coastal Commission. There will be public hearings in the future as regulators take a look at the Gladstones Redevelopment Project. Marilyn Wexler(Area 7 2nd alternate):  With George Wolfberg’s passing, who from PPCC is now attending PCH Task Force meetings? The Chair:  Patti Post is the lead and she attends whenever she can; the Chair will be the alternate.  The meetings are infrequent and he is trying to get information about the next Task Force meeting. The Treasurer is also on the list to attend.

9.    Reports from Committees.

9.1.    Bylaws Committee (Richard G. Cohen, Chair).  Proposed amendments to Attachment A (Election Procedure for Elected Representatives) to the PPCC Bylaws, recommended by the Committee (technical revisions related to filing deadlines; “Amendments”). Motion by the Bylaws Committee for board adoption of Amendments. See the following documents distributed concurrently with the meeting agenda via PPCC email and posted on the website:
1) Committee Report:
2) Amendments “Redline”:
3) Amendments “Clean”:

Committee Chair Cohen explained the proposed Amendments as set forth in the Committee Report and in the above “Redline” and “Clean” versions.  He then moved on behalf of the Committee for board adoption of the proposed Amendments [no second was required as the motion was made by a committee of more than one voting member].  The Chair invited discussion from the board.  There were no questions or comments.  A vote was taken.  Result:  Unanimous in favor of the motion.

9.2.    Palisades Forestry Committee (PFC).  PFC-recommended PPCC position letter re Sidewalk Repair Program (Street Tree Removals) Draft EIR. DEIR comment deadline: 2/24/20. Motion for Board approval of position letter (see attachment below). Background information:

The Chair explained that in the absence of the PFC Chair, he would be making the PFC presentation and introducing the motion; for this reason, he “handed the gavel” to Vice-Chair David Kaplan to serve as Presiding Officer for Item 9.2.  The Chair moved for Board approval of the position letter as attached below; second by Marilyn Wexler (Area 7 2nd Alternate).   The Chair explained the background for this motion and summarized what the letter is requesting.  The Presiding Officer then invited discussion. David Peterson:  What will be done about planting trees with roots that would destroy sidewalks?  The Chair:  Providing for a root barrier is standard operating procedure for Urban Forestry.  Lisa Cahill: This issue is already taken care of; trees will not be planted with invasive root structures.  Barbara Marinacci(Garden Club):  She is concerned about the width of sidewalks on lower Palisades Dr. that are not compliant with ADA requirements. Ms. Cahill: Sidewalks will need to be called in for repair. Following discussion, a vote was taken.  Result:  Unanimous in favor of the motion.

The Chair then resumed presiding over the meeting.

10.    Old Business.

10.1.    Continuing discussion: PPCC Operations (as time allows).

a) Awards event assistance/management. Had meeting with Woman’s Club and discussed some ideas and timing ideas.  The Chair explained that the Executive Committee will be discussing possible new ideas for the timing of nominations and management of the event and will report back to the board with any proposed changes.

b) Volunteer to assist Secretary with administrative tasks. The Chair announced that the new PFC Chair, Cindy Kirven, has graciously offered to assist the Secretary with many of her tasks. The Executive Committee has unanimously approved this assistance.

c) Fundraising/outreach/digital platforms. Rick Mills (Area 4 Representative) thanked the Secretary for sending the fundraising email to Board members. He has forwarded the message to his email lists and he asked other members to please forward the message to their respective email lists.

11.    New Business.

11.1.    Remembering George WolfbergDiscussion only.

The Chair invited the Board and community to share fond memories of George. The Secretaryread aloud an email message to PPCC from past PPCC Secretary Michael Soneff, relating his experience of George’s kindness and expressing condolences.  She also noted email messages of praise and sympathy from Brentwood Community Council (Chair Michelle Bisnoff) and Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council (Chair Robin Greenberg), and she explained that many other individual leaders throughout the City have expressed similar messages. She noted that these messages express her own views as well. Other individuals who spoke at the meeting included:  Haldis Toppel(spoke about working with George who was always a smiling presence at City Hall) and Marilyn Wexler(spoke about the many communications she has received as president of SMCCA from members and residents praising George).  The Chairnoted the extensive Los Angeles Times obituary and he also remarked on his own experiences with George, focusing especially on their work together on the PCCAC and Potrero Canyon.  Lisa Cahillrelated that George stood out as really special among all the people she’s worked with.  He was a great example to all and great leader in the community. His was a life well-lived.

11.2.    Resolution to support naming Potrero Canyon Park in honor of George Wolfberg – recommended by the Executive Committee. The Chair explained that the recommended resolution (“Resolution”) [attached below]was distributed to the board and posted on the PPCC website in advance of the meeting.  He introduced a motion on behalf of the Executive Committee for adoption of the Resolution by the board [no second was required as the motion was made by a committee of more than one voting member].  The Chair then called for discussion.  Comments were brief and in support of the Resolution.  A vote was then taken.  Result: unanimous in favor of the motion.  The Chair noted that Commissioner Joe Halper has requested that we forward the Resolution to the Board of Recreation and Parks Commissioners. The Organizational members are asked to consider writing their own individual letters of support. The Secretary will send forwarding information for the letters.

12.    Adjournment.  The Chair adjourned the meeting at 7:28pm.



Item 9.2 – PPCC Position Letter re Sidewalk Repair Program (Street Tree Removals) Draft EIR.

February __, 2020

Via e-mail
Shilpa Gupta, Environmental Supervisor I
City of Los Angeles Public Works, Bureau of Engineering
Environmental Management Group
1149 S Broadway, Suite 600, Mail Stop 939
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Re: Public Comments on the Sidewalk Repair Program Draft Environmental Impact Report

Dear Ms. Gupta,

The City of Los Angeles (City) prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to evaluate the potential environmental effects of the proposed Sidewalk Repair Program (SRP). The City is requesting input on the Draft EIR from public agencies, residents, and other interested project stakeholders

Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) has been the most broad-based organization and voice of the Palisades community since 1973.

In Spring 2019, PPCC formed the Palisades Forestry Committee (PFC), consisting of landscape professionals, community organizations, tree advocates and local government officials (including advisors UFD Superintendent Stephen Du Prey and CD11 Palisades-Brentwood Deputy Lisa Cahill), with the goal of facilitating the preservation and enhancement of our urban forest and its canopy by working in conjunction with the Urban Forestry Division of StreetsLA (UFD).

The PPCC Board and PFC members recognize that trees are a critical part of the City’s infrastructure, and vital to our health. Based on the PFC’s recommendation, after discussion at the regularly scheduled public Board Meeting on February 13, the PPCC Board voted [unanimously] to request:

1) a minimum 60-day extension in the public comment period as it is not possible for the working public to read, adequately analyze, and prepare meaningful comments given:

  • The Bureau of Engineering (BOE) spent three years preparing the Draft EIR
  • The EIR comprises more than 1,680 pages
  • Hard copies are not available to the public (public libraries have only one copy that cannot be borrowed)
  • The 60 days comment period began during the holidays without advance notice
  • Neighborhood and Community Councils hold, for the most part, monthly meetings and topics must be agendized and agendas posted in advance
  • The public meetings are only beginning on January 29, 2020

2) that the Sidewalk Repair Program Draft EIR address the following:

  • There shall be no net canopy loss throughout the duration of the program.
  • Alternative sidewalk designs as are currently being installed in other cities (bridging, bulb outs, meandering, narrowing, flexible joints, etc.), must be adopted.
  • The longest-lived, largest-growing, and lowest-maintenance tree species must be replaced with species of equal size at maturity.
  • Tree removals require due process. While the current policy of 30 days notice isn’t sufficient, the SRP shall not exacerbate it by expediting administration of removals.
  • Public input from neighbors and other stakeholders shall be sought and encouraged, not reduced.
  • Program strategy needs to include the recommendations of the 2018 Dudek First Steps report.
  • Program should prioritize sidewalk repairs that do not require tree removals while newly planted saplings grow.
  • Should clarify that Historic Cultural Monument trees would be protected.
  • Care and irrigation of new young trees shall be expanded beyond 3 years.
  • SRP shall evaluate shading around key areas for pedestrian movement and walkability and impacts on traffic calming.
  • Ecological impacts of climate change and the relationship with urban ecosystems, including resilience (ability to recover from stress/impacts), resistance (ability to withstand stress/impacts), and responsiveness (ability to adapt and change in response to stress/impacts) shall be considered.
  • Tree inspectors shall have expertise and training in nesting birds and tree cavities.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this matter and for including this input as necessary information that needs to be evaluated and included in the Sidewalk Repair Program Draft EIR.


David Card
Chair, Pacific Palisades Community Council

cc:       Stephen Du Prey, Superintendent, Urban Forestry Division, StreetsLA

Lisa Cahill, Palisades-Brentwood Deputy, CD11

Item 11.2 — Resolution to support naming Potrero Canyon Park in honor of George Wolfberg

Resolution: In Honor of George Wolfberg, Name the New Park in Pacific Palisades “George Wolfberg Park at Potrero Canyon”
Presented to the February 13, 2020 PPCC meeting

Whereas, Potrero Canyon in Pacific Palisades is soon to become a new L.A. City park, after many decades of fill, grading, and design;

Whereas, in 2004 the Los Angeles City Council, with the concurrence of the Mayor and the advice of the Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC), appointed the Potrero Canyon Community Advisory Committee (“Advisory Committee”) at the request of Council Member Cindy Miscikowski;

Whereas, after three years of sometimes contentious monthly public meetings, in 2008 the Advisory Committee issued its Report to the Recreation and Parks Department and Bureau of Engineering on the Pacific Palisades community’s consensus for the design and recommended uses for the new 46 acre, mile long, passive park: trails through the restored riparian canyon, from the existing Recreation Center to the curb of Pacific Coast Highway;

Whereas, George Wolfberg, as the Chair of the Advisory Committee, led the community discussion and analysis of the proposed park, crafted the nearly unanimously approved Report, and consistently and persistently offered advice and guidance to BOE and RAP in the subsequent years in the development of the park;

Whereas, George Wolfberg’s leadership was invaluable in representing the wishes of the Pacific Palisades community and in encouraging the completion of the park;

Whereas, George Wolfberg has been the exemplary community leader as Chair of the PPCC for several terms and a long time officer, President for years of the Santa Monica Canyon Civic Association, a National Soccer Referee for AYSO, a board member of the Rustic Canyon Park Advisory Board, and in many other community volunteer leadership capacities;

Whereas, George Wolfberg has been honored with the PPCC Community Service Award (2008), Citizen of the Year (2011), and just weeks ago Pride of the Palisades (2019);

Whereas, with George’s passing on February 5, 2020, the PPCC – as the broad-based reflection of the Pacific Palisades community – wishes to honor George Wolfberg by naming the new park after him;

Now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the Pacific Palisades Community Council strongly supports the motion by Councilmember Mike Bonin to name the new Potrero Canyon park in Pacific Palisades in honor of George Wolfberg, as “George Wolfberg Park at Potrero Canyon.”

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