MINUTES FROM JUNE 24th 2021
Voting Members in Attendance: David Card, David Kaplan, Richard Cohen, Chris Spitz, Sue Kohl, Steve Cron, Joanna Spak, Karen Ridgley, Haldis Toppel, Jenny Li, Alan Goldsmith, Beth Holden-Garland, Peter Powell, Craig Natvig, Eric Dugdale, Richard Blumenberg, Brenda Theveny, Jim Kirtley
Voting Alternates: Kevin Niles, Nancy Niles
Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: Jackson Walter,* Patti Post, John Padden, Melanie Bouer, Cindy Kirven, Marilyn Wexler, Kimberly Bloom, Cathy Russell *after appointment; see item 8.1.1 below
1. Call to order and reading of Mission Statement. The Chair David Card called the meeting to order at 6:00 pm. The Chair 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 Presiding Officer called the roll of voting members and certified that there was a quorum.
4. Approval of Minutes. The minutes of June 10, 2021 were approved. Upcoming meetings: July 8, 2021 and August 12, 2021 (topics to be announced). 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 current balance is $53,137.08. Since his last report we have received donations of $570 in checks and $5,050 through PayPal for our beach protection efforts. He has previously reported that we received $14,790 which brings our total beach-related donations to $20,410.
PPCC’s bylaws provide that the Treasurer is to report annually to the Board a statement of revenue and expenses along with a balance sheet. We began the year with $40,441 and ended with a balance of $39,582 for a decrease in funds of $860. Regular contributions amounted to only $777. Total expenses this year totaled $6,402 with the biggest expenses being insurance ($1,583) and web services and support ($3,655). Due to Covid we did not have a holiday gala event to supplement fundraising. A written report will be appended to the minutes. [See Attachment.]
7. General Public Comment — None.
7.1. Elizabeth Lerer (Santa Monica resident): The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District is moving forward with demolition of the historic, WPA-era history building at Santa Monica High School. For more information visit www.savesamohihistory.com. She and many others support preserving the building. She asks the public to get involved. The building has been used in past films. Beth Holden-Garland (PPRA) recommended that film industry groups should be contacted for support and she will be happy to connect with Ms. Lerer to provide contact information.
8. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
8.1. From the Chair/Presiding Officer.
8.1.1. Introduction and request for Board approval of Youth Advisor appointment: Jackson Walter, rising sophomore at Windward School.
The Chair introduced Jackson Walter: He lives in the Highlands, has been in debate for five years, had been an alternate to a state debate competition, is interested in public policy and politics, and worked on the presidential campaign in 2016. Jackson stated that he has become very interested in local political issues, especially since hearing about the Bonin proposal for homeless housing on Will Rogers State Beach. He would like to present the opinions of people his age, let PPCC know what young people are thinking and doing, and represent youth during our meetings. The Board approved his appointment as Youth Advisor. PPCC’s other Youth Advisor Jack Coleman will be a senior next fall at Harvard-Westlake. The Secretary noted that Zennon Ulyate-Crow, previous PPCC Youth Advisor, is outgoing as he has graduated from Pali High. She thanked him for his service.
8.1.2. Alternate Area & At-large Representatives Application Process: Applications now being accepted for Areas Three and Eight 2nd Alternate Representatives (seats currently vacant); see Alternates Application notice:
The Chair announced that we are continuing to encourage all interested and eligible residents 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 deadline to apply is 9am on July 5.
8.2. From Officers
8.2.1. Chris Spitz (Secretary).
The Secretary reported that SB 9 and 10 have now passed in two Assembly committees. We’ll continue to monitor and oppose.
She also reported that representatives of both the City and State Redistricting Commissions gave presentations at the WRAC board meeting this past Monday evening. The Commissions will be getting census data sometime in August and then working on drafting maps of proposed redrawn boundaries for the respective districts. The City’s new district maps must be approved by City Council and be final by the end of December 2021; the deadline for the State maps is the end of February 2022. They both stressed that it will be important for constituents to provide input as to what communities we think we should be located with and where we should be in the new districts. There will be a public hearing for CD 11 on July 12 at 6pm via Zoom. There is a newly-released flyer with details which we will share. PPCC will consider providing input on re-districting as soon as practicable.
The Chair noted that this is an important issue. Pacific Palisades has close ties to Brentwood because of our joint interest in the Brentwood-Pacific Palisades Community Plan and the Charter Schools Complex. We also have shared interests with coastal communities. We will consider submitting comments to the City Redistricting Commission at some point this summer about the communities with whom we share interests and where we think the district boundaries should be drawn. He invited the Board and community members to email PPCC with their comments about the restricting boundaries at email@example.com.
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. Noah Fleishman, (new) CD 11 Palisades Field Deputy.
The Chair introduced the new CD 11 Palisades & Brentwood Field Deputy, Noah Fleishman. Mr. Fleishman briefly described his background. He was born and raised in Westchester and graduated from UCSB. He worked for an affordable housing organization in Massachusetts for the last few years. He returned to Los Angeles and was fortunate to be hired for this position, where he has been on the job for just four days. He will be reaching out to other Pacific Palisades organizations. He is familiar with the Palisades but is excited to learn more and to work with us.
Marilyn Wexler (At-Large 2nd Alternate and SMCCA President): She described SMCCA and noted that the organization represents 500 homes in the Canyon. She suggested that Mr. Fleishman take a tour of Santa Monica and Rustic Canyon with her, and he agreed. The Chair reiterated the differences between the Rustic Canyon area and its Recreation Center compared with the Palisades Recreation Center. The Chair will also arrange a tour of the wider Palisades area with Mr. Fleishman.
Mr. Fleishman further explained that he has spoken with acting SLO Brian Espin, and will be getting introductions to the beach patrol and PPTFH’s Sharon Kilbride. He stated that his number one priority is learning from us. He is also working with LAFD in regard to the fire season and clearance of all the park areas. In addition, he has spoken with the co-organizers of the 4th of July parade and fireworks, Matt Rodman and Daphne Gronich. He will be at the parade and hopes to meet some of us there.
Regarding the Riviera Country Club/Longworth gate matter: CD 11 is still waiting for the Chief Zoning Administrator to sign the required letter, which should go out by the end of this month. Mr. Fleishman will send copies to the two Area 8 representatives who have been very involved with this issue, Reza Akef and Andrew Wolfberg.
Additional comments/questions were directed to Mr. Fleishman. Susan Klein (member of Resilient Palisades): Her organization has several ongoing projects that may involve Mr. Fleishman/CD 11. Alan Goldsmith (At-large Representative): What percentage of his time has been spent dealing with the issue of homelessness? Answer: This is only his fourth day in the position, so this may not be a representative sample, but he has had two calls from constituents dealing with the proposal to place housing on Will Rogers State Beach. Karen Ridgley (Area 4 Representative): Are City employees still being furloughed on Fridays? Answer: No; he will be working every Friday until sundown and some weekends.
8.5.2. Acting LAPD SLO Brian Espin. Officer Espin gave a crime update for the past week. There have been the same issues with vehicle break-ins. On Mandeville Canyon, three cars were stolen with the key fobs left inside. He reiterated: Do not leave valuables in cars. We had a shooting on PCH south of Sunset near Gladstones last weekend. This was probably a road rage or gang-related incident.
8.6. From PPCC Advisors – None.
9. Reports from Committees.
9.2. Executive Committee.
Update re Bonin motion/homeless housing on state beach parking lots/public parks.
The Chair noted that the letters linked in the agenda had been sent. He asked the Secretary to update the Board on developments. The Secretary reported:
1) Our attorney has requested notice of any hearing for a Coastal Development Permit from the Bureau of Engineering, which will be the City agency that would eventually hear this if the proposal goes forward as expected.
2) We expect the CAO’s feasibility study to be completed by sometime in August. It would then be taken up by the City Council and if things go as expected, the project will likely be approved to move forward with required permitting, first with BOE and then with the Coastal Commission. We will continue to submit statements in opposition whenever necessary and appropriate.
3) We’re continuing to research and seek relevant documents, including via additional Public Records Act requests for relevant documents.
4) We’ll be meeting with leaders from other communities to our north in the Santa Monica Mountains and coastal regions.
5) We’re continuing to work with activists and leaders in the Palisades and other Westside communities on these issues. There are many ideas and plans for how best to achieve our common goal and it’s good that many people are contributing their efforts.
6) We’re also seeking support from like-minded, respected environmental organizations.
7) Our new Communications Committee has been meeting and has tentatively decided on an initial public relations action plan, which we hope to report on at the July 8th meeting.
8) We’re also continuing to seek donations toward the PPCC legal fund.
The Chair described the ongoing work of the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness along with our LAPD beach detail to keep our beaches and bluff areas safe. The Secretary emphasized that fires are constantly a problem; one was set just today by a mentally ill homeless individual on the beach under the bridge over PCH in the Castellammare area.
Sissy Vogel (resident of Area 1): She lives near Castellammare and Sunset Blvd. and described a recent incident involving a home intruder with a knife. She has read about what PPCC has been doing regarding homeless issues and thanks us. She is concerned about all the fires. She noted that she has lived here for many years and it’s a different, scary environment now.
10. Old Business – None.
11. New Business.
11.1. Update on Gladstones redevelopment project (by Thomas Tellefsen, representative of the concessionaire). Discussion only.
The Chair welcomed Thomas Tellefsen, representative of the concessionaire, stating that he will provide an update on the project’s status. Mr. Tellefsen explained that he is a Palisades resident who is representing the concessionaire, PCH Beach Associates LLC (PBA). PBA is creating what will be an iconic, Wolfgang Puck/Frank Gehry designed project.
PBA previously presented information and showed project designs at the public community meeting held at Palisades Village before the pandemic. Mr. Tellefsen is unable to share any new graphics today. Due to the impacts of the pandemic, they had to stop the process. They are now undertaking some design changes and have re-started the process. He explained that pre-COVID, PBA was selected by the County in the RFP process for the site’s new concessionaire. They entered into an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement. PBA then began its due diligence, meeting with various relevant agencies, including Caltrans, Metro and the Coastal Commission staff. They looked into environmental issues and the overall viability of the project. Then the pandemic hit and PBA suspended all design and entitlement work. But they have been able to negotiate and begin work on finalizing future required agreements with the County. This includes a 50-year operating (concession) agreement. They are finalizing the agreements with the County now. The agreements require approval of the Board of Supervisors. The project must also go through the CEQA process to determine environmental impacts and possible mitigations. There will then be discretionary permit hearings, including a hearing on the required Coastal Development Permit with the Coastal Commission. PBA is still proceeding with the same vision as shown to the public at the community meeting pre-COVID, but they are making some adjustments to the design. Mr. Tellefsen believes it will be a very special place.
Comments and questions from the Board then ensued. Joanna Spak (Area 1 Representative): Residents of her area are excited about the new restaurant, but are concerned about noise from outdoor events taking place on patios, and lights in the parking lot and on the building. What can he do to address these concerns? Answer: These concerns were raised with him in the prior community meeting; they are attempting to address these issues during the redesign. Mr. Tellefsen will meet with Area 1 community members to address their concerns. PBA is working to try and resolve these issues.
Patti Post (PPCC Transportation Advisor): The community is interested in having a bus turnaround in the parking lot at that location. Is that still feasible and will this be included in the plans? Answer: It was a requirement of the RFP; everyone interested in becoming a concessionaire had to agree to be ready and willing to provide the bus turnaround. Big Blue Bus and Metro were involved and provided plans for a turnaround. PBA fully intends to include this feature, but he doesn’t have more detail at the moment. He will have a meeting with Big Blue Bus, Metro and Caltrans to discuss options and to make sure the options under consideration work for all the relevant agencies.
Ms. Post: Could the bus turnaround be constructed before the rest of construction? Answer: This is definitely doable from his perspective, but he doesn’t know what the agencies’ internal process is. A curb cut and street/parking realignment may be needed. There may be a hold up on the agencies’ end. Ms. Post then explained why this is needed: The western part of Sunset Blvd. is not served in either direction by any buses now because there is no practical way for them to turn around. The Metro bus does not go west on Sunset Blvd. past Temescal Canyon (at that point it turns on to Temescal Canyon and from there goes to PCH). Only the Big Blue Bus continues on Sunset west from Temescal Canyon but it then turns around at Marquez Pl., so that points farther west, including the Highlands, currently don’t have bus service from Sunset Blvd.
The Chair thanked Mr. Tellefsen for the update and for answering our questions.
11.2. Motion to Support ACA 7 – proposed Constitutional amendment to restore local control over land use decisions (Muratsuchi-Torrance & Glazer-Contra Costa); sponsored by Secretary Chris Spitz. Background information:
[Supplemental background information:
The Secretary explained that she was making a motion for the Board to support a motion recommended by WRAC to support ACA 7, as follows:
“The Westside Regional Alliance of Councils (WRAC) supports Assembly Constitutional Amendment 7 (Muratsuchi/Glazer), which would place on the ballot for voter decision a Constitutional amendment to restore local governmental control over land use, zoning and planning decisions. WRAC has expressed support for local land use control in five of its adopted positions (Oppose SB 827, SB 50, SB 9 and SB 10; Support SB 15).”
She read the motion and asked for a second; David Kaplan (Vice-Chair) seconded. She briefly explained the motion and asked for discussion. The Treasurer noted that this position would be entirely consistent with PPCC’s strong support, expressed repeatedly over the course of several years, for local governmental control over zoning and land use decisions. A vote was then taken. Vote result: Unanimous to support the motion.
12. Adjournment. The meeting was adjourned at 7:13pm.
ATTACHMENT – Item 6:
PPCC Treasurer’s Report June 1, 2020 – May 31, 2021
Balance 6/1/2020 40,441
Balance 5/31/2021 39,582
Decrease in Funds 860
Regular Contributions 777
Tax and Filing Fees 320
P.O. Box Rental 176
Web Services and Tech Support 3,655
Total Operating Expenses 6,402
Operating Loss -5,625
Beach Related Contributions 4,765
Decrease in Funds -860