MINUTES FROM FEBRUARY 27th 2020
Voting Members in Attendance: David Kaplan, Chris Spitz, Joanna Spak, Sue Kohl, Haldis Toppel, Steve Cron, David Peterson, Steve Boyers, Rick Mills, Brenda Theveny, Barbara Marinacci, Fay Vahdani, Dick Wulliger, Jan Ostendorf, Cathi Ruddy
Voting Alternates: Quentin Fleming, Richard Blumenberg
Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: Bruce Schwartz, Miriam Schulman, Cathy Russell
1. Certification of Quorum. In the absence of the Chair, Vice-Chair David Kaplan called the meeting to order at 6:05pm and certified that a quorum was present.
2. Reading of Community Council’s Mission. Sue Kohl 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 2/13/20 were deemed approved as corrected; the Secretary will correct the final 2/13/20 minutes to state that the minutes of 1/23/20 (not 2/13/20) had been approved at the 2/13/20 meeting. 2) Upcoming Meetings– March 12, 2020: (1) Introduction of new LAPD West Division Commanding Officer Captain III Jonathan Tom; (2) LADWP presentation on water & power rates and billing. March 26, 2020: (1) Guest Speaker – LA City Controller Ron Galperin; (2) CD11, LADOT & Caltrans presentation on potential improvements to the PCH & Chautauqua intersection; (3) Possible nomination & Board election of Areas 4 and 6 Alternate representatives.
5. Consideration of Agenda. The agenda was considered.
6. Treasurer’s Report. In the absence of the Treasurer, the Secretary gave the Treasurer’s report: The Council’s bank balance is $42,182.44. There have been no significant transactions since the last report.
7. General Public Comment.
7.1. Rose Reed (resident). She has granddaughters who attend Canyon School and Paul Revere. She noted that four LAUSD Board members (not Nick Melvoin) are up for election and that these Board members will make decisions that affect students in all districts. She would like everyone to ask their friends who live in other LAUSD districts to vote. She attempted to name the Board members for whom she would like people to vote, but on a point of order by Steve Cron (Area 2 Representative), the Presiding Officer reminded Ms. Reed and the audience that candidate advocacy and political speeches are not permitted at PPCC meetings.
7.1.2. Bill Armistead (resident). He lives adjacent to Palisades Recreation Center and the area where the Veterans Gardens project is to be constructed. He and other neighbors have serious fire safety and environmental concerns related to the six charcoal grills planned for that area of the park. He explained their concerns, including risk of fire due to open flames near flammable Eucalyptus trees and emissions from the charcoal grills. He and other neighbors have alerted Councilmember Bonin and the Dept. of Recreation and Parks to their concerns. The Presiding Officer noted that this topic was not on the agenda for February 27 but may be agendized for a future meeting.
8. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
8.1. From the Chair (Presiding Officer).
8.1.1. George Wolfberg/Potrero Canyon naming resolution letter: https://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Naming-Potrero-Canyon-Park-LetterR.pdf.
We submitted a letter to the Recreation & Parks Commissioners and also RAP General Manager Mike Shull on February 19, advising them of our resolution strongly supporting Councilmember Bonin’s motion to name the park in Potrero Canyon after George Wolfberg in City Council. The letter is posted on the PPCC website and a link was in the agenda. Councilmember Bonin’s motion has been brought in City Council and is now before the Council “HENPAR” (parks) committee. We have also filed our Resolution in support of the motion in the City Council file. No date is scheduled yet but we are hopeful the motion will soon pass in committee and then in the full Council.
8.1.2. Sidewalk Repair Program DEIR comment letter: https://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Letter-on-Sidewalk-DEIR.pdf.
We submitted our comment letter on the Sidewalk Repair Program on February 17. We have since received a response from the City that the deadline to comment has been extended, pursuant to our and other organizations’ requests, for 60 days or until April 24. This will give more time for other councils and groups to provide input. The letter has been posted on the PPCC website and a link was in the agenda.
8.1.3. Areas 4 & 6 2nd Alternate Representative applications. Deadline for submission: 5pm on March 15, 2020. Residents of Areas 4 and 6 are invited to submit applications for the open 2nd Alternate positions. A link to the “Alternates Application Notice,” with information on how to apply, is posted on the PPCC website.
8.1.4. New: Palisades Wildfire Evacuation Drill. LAFD Deputy Chief Armando Hogan has advised us that the upcoming Wildfire Evacuation Drill has been scheduled for Saturday June 13, 2020. Stay tuned for more details to come.
8.1.5. New: 1270 N. Marinette Rd. PPCC recently learned about a City Planning Dept. hearing on February 27, regarding a development project proposed for 1270 N. Marinette Rd. This involves an application for a 4-lot subdivision parcel map; other proposals include demolition of the existing home, construction of four new homes and retaining walls, extension of the existing public street for legal & physical access, grading (with no export of soil) and removal & replacement of ten protected and 53 unprotected “significant” trees. The Executive Committee approved a letter by the Chair requesting that all applicable laws be strictly applied, per PPCC’s Guiding Principles. See: https://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/PPCC-Letter-re-1270-MarinetteR.pdf. The hearing officer has held the file open until March 31, at our request, to allow possible additional public comment. The PPCC Land Use Committee (LUC) will meet on March 4 at the Palisades Branch Library to consider the project; the PPCC Palisades Forestry Committee is also reviewing the tree removal proposals.
8.1.6. New: LUC Appointment. The Chair has appointed Vice-Chair David Kaplan as an additional member of the LUC.
8.2. From Officers
8.2.1. Chris Spitz (Secretary). WRAC leadership 2/19 meeting update; legislation update. The Secretary reported:
1) She attended the last WRAC meeting. Featured speakers were the new LAPD West Division Commanding Officer, Captain III Jonathan Tom, and City Attorney Mike Feuer. Capt. Tom was very impressive and it will be good for the Board and community to learn more about him when he attends the next PPCC meeting. The City Attorney spoke about his work on behalf of the City and his proposals to address homelessness. No action was taken at the meeting.
2) Regarding legislation, we are still awaiting new or revised housing bills with provisions similar to SB 50 from Senator Wiener and other legislators, as well as expected amendments to AB 1279 from Assemblymember Bloom. These bills will potentially mandate increased density in the Palisades’ single-family zones. We will continue to monitor and to request a clear, unconditional exemption for the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone in all cases of proposed mandates for increased density in our single-family neighborhoods.
3) We received a message from CD11 Transportation Deputy Eric Bruins on February 20, giving an update on the Parking Meter Revenue Local Return Pilot Program. The Secretary explained that under this program, fifteen percent (15%) of all meter revenues in the BID area (the central commercial district of the Palisades), or around $65,000 annually, will be earmarked and the BID will be in charge of outreach to the community for input on streetscape improvements. Before his illness this summer, past Chair George Wolfberg had been seeking to move the program along and had offered to have PPCC assist the BID in the public outreach process and in implementing the program. As reflected in PPCC’s minutes, this offer was well-received by the BID members. Since then, we have been awaiting word on the City’s staffing of the program, which must occur as a next step before the BID’s outreach process begins. The Secretary read from Mr. Bruins’ message, in which he explained “good” news and new expectations on timing. See attachment. David Peterson (PRIDE) stated that the BID is subject to and will comply with the Brown Act, and that PPCC’s role would be to provide input with respect to community wishes about the use of the funds for possible streetscape improvements.
8.3. From At-Large and Area Representatives.
8.3.1. Steve Cron (Area 2 Representative). This Sunday at 10am, volunteers will meet at Starbucks in the Highlands for the semi-annual clean-up of Palisades Dr. Bruce Schwartz will be there with his truck to carry debris away. He thanked Lisa Cahill and Mike Bonin’s office for having the drains along Palisades Dr. cleared out. He also noted that he and Maryam Zar recently interviewed LAPD Capt. Tom for their Palisades Podcast and they found the Captain to be an amazing person.
8.3.2. Rick Mills (Area 4 Representative). After extensive delays the project to stabilize the bluffs on Asilomar has begun. He described the process. There will be a test on the block next to where the landslide occurred. The testing will go on for next couple of months. If the testing works, then the actual stabilization work will begin on Asilomar.
8.4. From Organizational Representatives.
8.4.1. Dick Wulliger (PP Historical Society). Last night at Theatre Palisades the Historical Society sponsored a talk on “The Fires of the Santa Monica Mountains.” He described the event and the speakers. There was a full house, the audience was very interested and knowledgeable and the event was a big success.
8.5. From Government Offices / Representatives.
8.5.1. LAPD SLO Michael Moore.
Officer Moore reported that crime in the Palisades is up slightly. Since last year we are up 3 robberies, 5 burglaries, 7 car robberies and 3 thefts. He asked everyone to spread the LAPD message: “Lock it, hide it, keep it!” Q&A ensued. Q: Is there a pattern as to who is committing crimes? A: There is no certainty about repeat offenders. On Los Leones one person is committing crimes over & over again. The police catch many offenders after the fact because of stolen credit card use. Q: Can signs be put up to warn hikers about car break- ins? A: Warning signs have already been made up and LAPD is working on getting City approval for the signs to be posted. The signs will be bright orange and are not attractive. Q: Can he address recent activity on Greentree in Rustic Canyon, where someone has been throwing stones at houses? A: There was an incident with a homeless man doing bizarre things at Erewhon Market. This man got away and may have been the person who was acting bizarrely on Greentree. Q: Is SLO Moore aware of drivers spinning donuts on Palisades Dr.? A: The police had an idea about the identity of the primary offender; SLO Moore spoke to the parents of that person and he believes this activity has now stopped.
8.5.2. Allison Holdorff Polhill (Chief Advisor & District Director, LAUSD District 4 Board Member Nick Melvoin, and PPCC Education Advisor).
Ms. Polhill explained that Nick Melvoin was unable to attend tonight but will now be speaking at our April 23 meeting. She thanked PPCC for accommodating his schedule. Ms. Polhill is Mr. Melvoin’s Chief Advisor and District Director. The District oversees 150 schools including the entire Palisades Complex. Westchester-Playa and Mar Vista hold large celebrations annually to award Teacher of the Year honors for schools in their areas. Mr. Melvoin and the District have now decided to bring the 2019-220 Teacher of the Year award ceremony to the Palisades-Brentwood area. They are considering holding this on an evening in May and are looking for a location. Mike Bonin’s office and Ted Lieu’s office are on board. The District has sent out letters to all principals of public and private schools in the Palisades and Brentwood. One teacher will be nominated per each elementary, middle and high school, except that Revere and Pali High can nominate two teachers each since they are so large. A question was asked about funds to help pay for busing. Ms. Polhill explained that LAUSD stopped funding transportation for Pali High because it is an independent charter school. She has been working with the administrative staff and Councilmember Bonin’s office to try and maintain diversity and subsidize transportation in some way. These are important issues to Nick and he strongly supports diversity. Another question was asked as to whether teachers’ unions are opposed to Prop 13 on the ballot (bond for education). Ms. Polhill stated that the District cannot advocate for or against ballot measures. She has not heard that unions are opposing and she personally knows teachers who support the proposition.
8.6. From PPCC Advisors – see Item 8.5.2 above.
9. Reports from Committees – None.
10. Old Business – None.
11. New Business.
11.1. LAUSD Board Member Nick Melvoin (unable to attend). Presentation rescheduled for April 23, 2020.
12. Adjournment. The Presiding Officer adjourned the meeting at 6:50pm.
ATTACHMENT – Item 8.2.1(3):
Message from Eric Bruins, CD 11 Transportation Deputy re Parking Meter Revenue Local Return Pilot Program – 2/20/20
“First, the good news. Council appropriated the funding for this program, and that funding has been accumulating. So when we do start, the BID will have access to the accumulated balance since program authorization, not just the annual estimated annual revenue moving forward. Most importantly, this delay in program start will not result in fewer dollars flowing to projects in the Palisades.
Second, the new expectations. We have been pushing very hard to get the program manager position filled at LADOT. (To be 100% clear: this is a civil service position within LADOT’s parking division, not our office, and must go through normal civil service hiring procedures.) Our expectation is that this program will be staffed and begin this spring. I will continue to communicate with LADOT and Lisa and I will keep the community updated with the latest information.”