MINUTES FROM JUNE 10th 2021
Voting Members in Attendance: David Kaplan, Richard Cohen, Chris Spitz, Sue Kohl, Steve Cron, Joanna Spak, Karen Ridgley, Haldis Toppel, Alan Goldsmith, Beth Holden-Garland, Peter Powell, Craig Natvig, Eric Dugdale, Richard Blumenberg, Brenda Theveny, Jim Kirtley, Fay Vahdani
Voting Alternates: Andrew Wolfberg, Rick McGeagh, Kevin Niles
Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: Rob Weber, Nancy Niles, Cindy Kirven, Kimberly Bloom, Cathy Russell
1. Call to order and reading of Mission Statement. The Vice-Chair, presiding in the absence of the Chair, called the meeting to order at 6:00 pm. David Kaplan read the Mission Statement.
2. Introduction of Zoom engineer. The Vice-Chair (Presiding Officer) 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 Presiding Officer called the roll of voting members and certified that there was a quorum.
4. Approval of Minutes. The minutes of May 27, 2021 were approved. Upcoming meetings: June 24, 2021: Update on Gladstones redevelopment project (by Thomas Tellefsen, representative of the concessionaire). Summer meeting dates: July 8, 2021 and August 12, 2021. There is one meeting only in each of the months of July and August.
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 $47,606.71. Since the last report we have received contributions of just over $10,000, bringing our contribution total to about $13,500 for the past couple of months. The largest donation was $5,000 from an anonymous donor.
7. General Public Comment.
8. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
8.1. From the Chair/Presiding Officer.
8.1.1. CF 20-0328 – Robotic “personal delivery devices” (PDDs). See Item 8.5.1 below. 5/28 Letter: https://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/PPCC-Letter-re-PDDs-5-28-21.pdf
The Presiding Officer reported that the above letter has been sent and filed with the City. He then introduced Eric Bruins for his report. See Item 8.5.1 below.
8.1.2. Alternate Area & At-large Representatives Application Process: Appointment of Three Chairs Committee (Bylaws, Art. VIII.3.C and D). Applications now being accepted for Areas Three and Eight 2nd Alternate Representatives (seats currently vacant); see Alternates Application notice: https://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Alternate-Application-Notice-2021-Areas-3-8.pdf
The Presiding Officer explained that the Chair has appointed the Three Chairs Committee to oversee the application process for Alternate Area Representatives. They are: Chris Spitz, Committee Chair; Richard Cohen and Steve Boyers. All are past Chairs, per the bylaws. The Three Chairs Committee reviews the applications and makes nominations to the Board. All interested and eligible residents are encouraged to apply for the two currently vacant seats: Areas 3 and 8 2nd Alternate Representatives. A link to information about how to apply is included in the agenda and is also posted on the PPCC website. The Secretary noted that the deadline to apply is 9am on July 5.
8.2. From Officers
8.2.1. Chris Spitz (Secretary).
The Secretary has learned that SB 9, the housing density bill we oppose and that passed in the Senate, has now passed in the first Assembly committee to hear the bill, the Local Government Committee. Assemblymember Bloom is a member and he was a No Vote Recorded, similar to an abstain. It’s now heading to the Assembly Housing Committee. SB 10 has also now passed in the Senate and is awaiting committee assignment in the Assembly. Senators Allen and Stern both voted No on 10 in the Senate and we have thanked them for their No votes. We’ll continue to monitor.
8.3. From Area and At-large Representatives.
8.3.1. Steve Cron (Area 2 Representative) updated the Board on the situation involving the Highlands trailhead bathrooms, a situation that we had last discussed before the pandemic. The property is currently owned by someone on the East Coast and is in terrible state. The bathrooms are located on the edge of the Summit HOA. They continue to be in a unsanitary and unsafe condition and a prime fire hazard. About 15 months ago he was told that the Coastal Commission would put this on an upcoming agenda but then it went off-calendar due to the pandemic. The Chair has now written an updated letter to the Commission and other officials: [See: https://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/PPCC-Highlands-Bathroom-Letter.pdf].
8.3.2. Rick McGeagh (Area 7 1st Alternate) noted that homeless persons have been seen in the Will Rogers State Park area. An individual placed a tent on the road leading to the Park. Park Rangers displaced this person but there is concern about more homeless persons migrating to the State Park area.
8.3.3. Karen Ridgley (Area 4 Representative) explained that an act of vandalism recently occurred at the Asilomar view park. A memorial bench was cracked off its metal base. She would also like information on how to obtain speed humps on Asilomar; should she contact Eric Bruins or LADOT? The Secretary suggested she should visit the LADOT website or contact Mr. Bruins; a link to the PPCC government representative contact page is in the agenda.
8.4. From Organizational Representatives
8.4.1. Jim Kirtley (YMCA). The Y is now open in the mornings and afternoons and they are operating the summer camp. He encouraged registrants for the camp.
8.5. From Government Offices / Representatives. Contact information available at: https://pacpalicc.org/index.php/government-contacts/
8.5.1. Eric Bruins, Transportation Deputy, CD11. Update on regulation of PDDs.
Eric Bruins was introduced. He noted that he and the Board had discussed this issue about a month ago. He was attending this evening to provide more details about the proposed program. A report was issued by LADOT and heard in the Council Transportation and Public Works Committees. The goal is to get regulations in place by the end of the month. There’s a gap in state law that allows Personal Delivery Devices (PDDs) to operate absent local regulation. The City wants to institute appropriate regulation, including: mandatory compliance with insurance; a requirement that PDDs operate only on crosswalks and not on streets unless there is no sidewalk; a rule that PDDs must yield to pedestrians; a prohibition on parking on sidewalks and a requirement that they be stored or parked on private property. There will be no clutter in parkways or sidewalks like there is with scooters. If a PDD becomes inoperable it must be removed within two hours. There will be a limit on the number of devices in each neighborhood (75). There is an “early consultation” requirement: companies will be required to talk to the Community Council before deployment to take into account our concerns. The companies must deploy PDDs in lower-income neighborhoods. They must also pay a fee. Advertising will be limited on the devices; it is not meant to be a revenue stream, but PDDs will be allowed to say what they are delivering, e.g, “KaynDave’s.” They must provide mobility data to LADOT.
The Secretary: The PPCC Executive Committee had written a letter to the Transportation Committee asking among other things for an opt-in or opt-out provision (see: https://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/PPCC-Letter-re-PDDs-5-28-21.pdf). Please explain the status with our request for such a provision. Bruins: We don’t do that type of provision in the City. We are trying to make this tailored to specific neighborhood needs. The regulations will require the companies to speak with councils about the community’s concerns during “early consultation,” before deployment.
Karen Ridgley: Can the devices read signals at street crossings? Bruins: We don’t see fully autonomous PDDs being widely deployed at this time. The technology isn’t there yet and probably won’t be there for many years. The current devices will have live video feed and a pilot in a remote location maneuvering the device. The pilot can cause the device to avoid obstacles and read signals. Q: Will there be one person handling multiple devices? Bruins: We expect each company to hire and train people to properly handle the devices. They will be employees of the company, not gig workers. He is not aware of any company that has gone beyond a 1:1 ratio in operating the devices.
Eric Dugdale (PP Historical Society). The Palisades doesn’t have sidewalks everywhere and we also have hills. We will be giving up our sidewalks to these devices. He thinks the idea is unrealistic here.
Steve Cron: Are there any studies showing 1) how many people were put out of work because of these devices; and 2) the rate of injuries tied to robots? Bruins: This is a new technology; we don’t yet have academic studies. Anecdotally, Santa Monica has now allowed PDDs everywhere citywide, after first starting out just in the downtown area. They found that this was beneficial to workers because it eliminated bad gig jobs. The key: Santa Monica found that as they were able to reduce delivery costs, the restaurants were able to grow and hire more people.
The Treasurer: Will PDDs have microphones in order to hear horns honking at them, and will they be required to have license plates in order to identify them? Bruins: He is pretty sure that an identifier is required in the rules, i.e., there must be a readable identifier on the device. He doesn’t know about microphones. That is something we should ask the company about during “early consultation” with the community.
Andrew Wolfberg: What is the top speed of the devices? Bruins: 5 MPH on the sidewalk. This can be exceeded up to 15 MPH, but only if there is no sidewalk and the device must travel on the street, which in most cases will be on side streets. StreetsLA will monitor and do enforcement.
Alan Goldsmith (At-large Representative): Cyclists are already under stress from drivers; he is concerned about another possible obstacle for cyclists.
Nancy Niles (Area 3 1st Alternate): Will there be a mapping of routes? Any there any plans to operate in the hills? Bruins: This will be part of the plan for each neighborhood, to be discussed during the “early consultation.” They will focus on a 1-2 mile range from each restaurant. There will be a fee imposed for sidewalk maintenance.
Richard Blumenberg (PP Civic League): Will PDDs be electric or gas-powered? Bruins: All electric.
The Presiding Officer thanked Mr. Bruins.
8.5.2. Len Nguyen, CD 11 Field Deputy, gave the following updates:
1) There will be a City Redistricting Commission public meeting for CD 11 in July or August. No date has been set yet but he will let us know.
2) The Councilmember thanks LAFD for their tremendous work on Palisades fire.
3) A number of streets were slurried this month in the Palisades.
4) Regarding the Riviera Country Club-Longworth gate issue: He has been sharing the video he received of cars entering and exiting the gate with the Planning Dept. A letter has been drafted and is awaiting final approval from management.
5) He is still working on the signs for Asilomar. He will share information about the speed hump program with Karen Ridgley. It’s a competitive process.
6) A new permanent CD 11 field deputy for the Palisades is likely to be on board by our next meeting. He will try to prepare this individual and make the introduction.
Andrew Wolfberg (Area 8 1st Alternate) thanked Mr. Nguyen for his hard work on the Longworth gate issue and looks forward to seeing the letter.
8.5.2. Acting LAPD SLO Brian Espin.
Officer Espin reported that he has been away but things have been looking good for the last week. He did get information on the vandalism with the Asilomar bench. If anyone has video let him know. We have had a few vehicle thefts on the beach. These usually involve beachgoers/surfers putting car keys under the wheel well. Some of the opportunists will feel underneath and will open the car and ransack. He reminded us: Don’t leave anything valuable in the car; don’t hide your keys, keep them with you. Officer Espin’s biggest fear right now: If encampments are cleared out in Venice, some of the homeless individuals will refuse housing and will migrate north to the Palisades. LAPD will monitor. The program here in the Palisades is super successful. Officers Yi and Margin are doing awesome work with PPTFH. There have also been several construction site burglaries: some people are stealing tools or materials at construction sites. It’s important to keep everything locked up. LAPD response is stepped up if the property owner has installed a security camera such as a Ring or other device; the owner can describe to the police what they are seeing, and this instant notification helps the LAPD.
8.6. From PPCC Advisors.
8.61. Sharon Kilbride (PPCC Homelessness Advisor and PPTFH Co-President).
Ms. Kilbride reported first on the PPTFH results in May. They have had an uptick of service resistant individuals coming from other areas or encampments that were dispersed. There is increasing evidence of mental illness and substance abuse in the Palisades homeless population. PPTFH volunteers engaged with 63 new individuals in the month of May. The PPTFH help line is being flooded by Palisadians and PPTFH volunteers have been super busy. Forty-one camps in the beaches and bluffs were cleaned up in May. Just today, two camps in the lower Via bluff area were cleaned up. One individual they encountered had a felony warrant. Police escorted out the other individual. They are finding more discarded needles indicating increased meth usage. PPTFH volunteers are also seeing individuals moving to the Palisades from Venice.
Ms. Kilbride also reported on the successful encampment hillside task force that took place on June 1, 2021. This was a multi-jurisdictional effort put together by Capt. Jonathan Tom for fire prevention. The task force included about 55 people from many agencies, including LAPD, the County Sheriff, City and State Park Rangers, personnel from the Mountains, Recreation and Conservation Authority, PPTFH volunteers and outreach workers. They canvassed all areas of the Palisades, working in four different groups. Captain Tom hopes to repeat the effort periodically, at least two times a year or more frequently if needed. They found two individuals who were cited for illegal activity. There will also be four LAPD officers assigned to the beach detail in the summer months this year. Officer Rusty Redican will return on June 22. She reminded everyone to call 911 if you see persons camping in the hillsides. Community members can also call or email PPTFH (email@example.com).
9. Reports from Committees.
9.2. Executive Committee.
Update re Bonin motion/homeless housing on state beach parking lots/ public parks.
5/25 Email Letter: https://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Will-Rogers-State-Beach.pdf
5/29 Letter to Editor, LAT: https://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Letter-to-the-Editor-LAT.pdf
The Presiding Officer announced that the Executive Committee is happy to report that it has retained Dean Wallraff, Executive Director of Advocates for the Environment, as PPCC’s attorney in connection with our opposition to the proposal to use the Will Rogers State Beach parking lot for homeless housing. Mr. Walraff is an environmental attorney with extensive experience in CEQA and Coastal law. He has successfully represented community groups and non-profits in significant cases, including the Sierra Club in litigation to oppose the widely-publicized Malibu “Sweetwater” project proposed by U2 guitarist The Edge, as well as NGOs who challenged the huge Newhall Ranch development on environmental grounds. We are very pleased to be working with Mr. Wallraff.
The Executive Committee has also submitted a strong letter to the City Administrative Officer (CAO) who is conducting the evaluation of the sites proposed in the Bonin motion. The letter includes an extensive discussion of the many factors demonstrating the infeasibility of the WRSB parking lot for homeless housing. We will continue to closely monitor the progress of this matter with the CAO’s office. (See PPCC letter to the CAO at:
10. Old Business – None.
11. New Business.
11.1. Election of PPCC Officers, 2021-2022 Term (all offices uncontested). Candidates: Chair – David Card; Vice-Chair – David Kaplan; Treasurer – Richard G. Cohen; Secretary – Chris Spitz. Election Procedure: The election may be by Board acclamation or, in lieu of acclamation, the Board will vote by roll-call (voice) vote (alternative procedure to secret ballot, authorized by the Executive Committee due to exigent circumstances/in-person meeting infeasible). Bylaws, Art. VII.4.A; Art. IX.1.C (Executive Committee determination 1/18/21 – exigent circumstances indefinite).
The Presiding Officer asked if there were any objections to electing the officers by acclamation. There were no objections. He therefore deemed all officers elected for the 2021-2022 term. The Treasurer thanked the Board for supporting the officers.
11.2. WRAC-recommended motions regarding homelessness and land use matters (support for motions A-C below; sponsored in PPCC by Secretary Chris Spitz, WRAC Vice-Chair and PPCC rep to WRAC). See Attachment below for background information and text of motions.
Motion A: The Secretary stated that she was making this motion recommended by WRAC for the Board to support, as indicated in the Attachment. She read the motion and asked for a second; Matt Quiat (Area 6 Representative) seconded. She briefly explained the motion and discussion ensued. Following discussion, a vote was taken. Vote result: Unanimous to support Motion A.
Motions B and C: The Secretary then stated that she was making these motions recommended by WRAC for the Board to support, as indicated in the Attachment. She first read and briefly explained Motion B and asked for a second; Joanna Spak (Area 1 Representative) seconded. During discussion, concerns were raised about the motion, including whether we knew enough about the facts surrounding this motion and possible consequences to take a position at this time. The Treasurer moved to postpone the motion indefinitely; second by Steve Cron. A vote was taken on the motion to postpone. Vote result: Unanimous to postpone Motion B.
Motion C: The Secretary next explained Motion C and asked for a second; the Treasurer seconded. Following discussion, a vote was taken. Vote result: Unanimous to support Motion C.
12. Adjournment. The meeting was adjourned at 7:22pm.
Item 11.2: WRAC-recommended motions regarding homelessness and land use matters.
A. Motion to Facilitate Greater Use of 5150 Holds and Conservatorship:
https://www.pptfh.org/ (5/24 PPTFH webinar replay — Dr. Jonathan Sherin of the County Mental Health Dept.)
Severely mentally ill persons in Los Angeles, who are unable to avail themselves of current public services, are dying on our streets. WRAC demands the City of Los Angeles collaborate with the County of Los Angeles to fully utilize the Lanterman – Petrus – Short Act, including section 5150 and fast-track conservatorships of these individuals, to enable life-saving care. Further, we ask that the city add to its legislative program a demand that the State Legislature provide funds to the county to create as many fully-staffed psychiatric beds as necessary to properly house and treat these individuals.
B. Request for City Attorney Opinion re Consideration of Developer’s Financial Interest Background information:
The Westside Regional Alliance of Councils requests that the City Council direct City Attorney Mike Feuer to provide a legal opinion as to whether or not the City Planning department and commissions have the legal right under State and City laws and ordinances to consider the financial interest of the developer when considering entitlements.
C. Request for Clarification regarding Cloud/Ghost Kitchens
WHEREAS businesses referred to as “cloud kitchens” or “ghost kitchens” represent a fairly new form of commerce and land use concept, and,
WHEREAS this new business model has the potential to create significant impacts on neighboring business and residential communities, and
WHERAS the City of Los Angeles has not established a specific zoning classification for such businesses, thus creating potential inconsistencies, uncertainty and lack of transparency for applicants, City staff, and those seeking to review these proposed projects, and
WHEREAS the absence of clear classification for cloud/ghost kitchens can result in some being treated as commercial and/or retail uses, while others may be grouped as light manufacturing, and
WHEREAS none of these classifications accurately captures the true nature of these operations, and
WHEREAS cloud kitchen/ghost kitchens are being established in many areas across the City of Los Angeles,
Therefore, be it moved that the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils (WRAC) requests that the City, represented by our Council District, PLUM, the City Council, in coordination with the Departments of Planning and Building and Safety:
- define what constitutes a Cloud/ghost kitchen, including possible different categories of such operations based upon numbers of kitchens and/or square footage involved,
- identify criteria for the evaluation of their applications for buildout and permitting, including a process to evaluate potential impacts on their surroundings (noise, odor, traffic and requirements pertaining to factors
- assess needed infrastructure (adequacy of electric service to area), parking and/or loading zones,
WRAC believes that providing this needed clarification will remove uncertainties as and contribute to the establishment of successful enterprises by creating the structure needed to guide the city’s review and decision-making process.