MINUTES FROM AUGUST 12th 2021
Voting Members in Attendance: David Kaplan, Richard Cohen, Chris Spitz, Joanna Spak, Steve Cron, Sue Kohl, Karen Ridgley, Haldis Toppel, Jenny Li, Alan Goldsmith, Beth Holden-Garland, Craig Natvig, Richard Blumenberg, Brenda Theveny, Jim Kirtley, Reza Akef, Fay Vahdani
Voting Alternates: Cindy Kirven, Kevin Niles
Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: Michael Edlen, Jack Coleman, Rick McGeagh, Mary Mueller
1. Call to order and reading of Mission Statement. The Vice-Chair David Kaplan (presiding in the absence of the Chair) called the meeting to order at 6:01 pm. The Vice-Chair read the Mission Statement.
2. Introduction of Zoom engineer. Zoom engineer Alex Ponting was introduced.
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 July 8, 2021 were approved. Upcoming meetings: September 9: (Tentative) LAUSD Update by Allison Polhill, Chief Advisor and District Director for LAUSD Board Member Nick Melvoin; September 23: topics to be announced.
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 balance is $61,409.75. Since his last report we have received approximately $3,000 in donations, bringing our total donations to approximately $30,000.
7. General Public Comment.
7.1. Steve Sann (Chair, Westwood Community Council) commented that Westwood Community Council and the entire WRAC board wish to express deep gratitude to PPCC for its strong advocacy to protect Will Rogers State Beach, a critical regional asset. He also thanked the Secretary Chris Spitz for her extensive efforts in this regard.
8. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
8.1. From the Chair/Presiding Officer.
8.1.1. Riviera Country Club – Planning Dept. Letter of Communication. See: https://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Riviera-Letter-of-Communication.pdf.
The Presiding Officer announced that the letter that PPCC and the community had requested from the Planning Dept. regarding use of the Riviera Country Club service gates and other uses had been received.
8.2. From Officers – None.
8.3. From Area and At-large Representatives.
8.3.1. Haldis Toppel (Area 3 Representative). See remarks in item 9.3 below.
8.4. From Organizational Representatives.
8.4.1. Beth Holden Garland (PPRA) extended congratulations to all for the successful effort to protect Will Rogers State Beach. She thanked the PPCC Secretary as well as PPRA President Jessica Rogers, PPRA Board member Steve Cron (also PPCC Area 2 Representative) and other people who had been working on this effort behind the scenes.
8.5. From Government Offices / Representatives. Contact information available at: https://pacpalicc.org/index.php/government-contacts/
8.5.1. Noah Fleishman, CD 11 Palisades Field Deputy.
Mr. Fleishman commended the Secretary and the Executive Committee for organizational efforts in regard to the motion proposing the state beaches and parks for use for homeless housing; CD 11 has received all the PPCC letters. The two state beach sites were found infeasible because they are not cost-effective. He described the sites identified in the motion that remain and are continuing to be evaluated. He also described efforts supported by Councilmember Bonin to address the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles, including “Encampment to Home” and Project Room Key. He denied that there was a cost to taxpayers for the City to produce the feasibility study; according to Mr. Fleishman the only cost was existing staff time.
Mr. Fleishman reported on additional matters: LADOT has made upgrades to intersections to make it safer for kids to walk to school. Bollards were placed in certain locations which shortened crosswalks and prevented people from parking in red zones and making illegal right turns. He was able to take a tour of Potrero; the landscaping phase started July 12. Metro in coordination with Caltrans is converting HOV lanes on the 405 Freeway to Express lanes. Residents should make graffiti reporting and removal requests via the MyLA311 app or call 311. The Councilmember is redesigning the CD 11 newsletter.
Q&A then ensued: Sue Pascoe (resident): How high is the fence around the park at Potrero Canyon? Mr. Fleishman: The perimeter fence will be a 4 ft. high, vinyl-coated chain link fence. At the park entrances the fence will be 6 ft. high with a timer on locks. Steve Cron (Area 2 Representative): When is the estimated completion of the park? Mr. Fleishman: Approximately May 2022.
Alan Goldsmith (At-large Representative): Is CD 11 doing anything about the routine traffic jams on the 10 Freeway eastbound ramp to the 405 Freeway southbound. Mr. Fleishman: This issue is more related to Caltrans; he does not believe it is within CD 11 jurisdiction.
Karen Ridgley (Area 4 Representative): What is being done about wood dumping on Temescal Canyon Rd.? Mr. Fleishman: He and other CD 11 staff rented a General Services truck and went to the site themselves and cleaned it up. On an ongoing basis, residents should send in 311 requests with photos. Forward your requests to Mr. Fleishman and he will try and get them expedited. He is also working on getting larger signs made up to make it clear that dumping is prohibited; this is a priority project for him.
A resident raised a question about the status of the W. Channel Rd. repaving project. Mr. Fleishman replied that it’s been stalled and is awaiting a Caltrans permit.
8.5.2. Zac Gaidzik (Metro/West LA Representative, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl).
Mr. Gaidzik thanked the Secretary for her research into the status of Will Rogers State Beach. He noted that the Board of Supervisors has approved the use of funds from the American Rescue Act for various issues. He explained that the Supervisor’s motion regarding homeless encampments in the VHFHSZ in unincorporated areas was passed by the Board of Supervisors. Regarding COVID, he stated that there has been an increase in cases involving the Delta variant. He advised that masks and vaccines important tools and he urged everyone to get vaccinated.
8.6. From PPCC Advisors.
8.6.1. Sharon Kilbride (Homelessness Advisor & PPTFH Co-President) reported that there are more new homeless individuals traveling to the Palisades. In July, PPTFH encountered 79 homeless individuals. Fifty abandoned camps were cleaned up in the bluffs, and thirteen car-dwellers were offered services. She emphasized that many homeless travelers come through in July and PPTFH is seeing more people with mental illness. They are also seeing several areas with fire materials in place or fires being started in brushy areas and on the beach as well. Beginning on September 1, we will have only two beach patrol officers: Rusty Redican and Adam Margin. Due to budget cuts, we will lose the other three officers who had been assigned during the summer.
Ms. Kilbride also described recent incidents of illegal activities: A car dweller somehow got his vehicle into the Potrero area. He was told to leave and the gate is now locked up. There was also an incident involving a homeless person with a wrench who was attacking passersby on the beach bike path. Passersby called 911 and the man was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon. Last night another homeless person who has started fires in Temescal Gateway Park was found and arrested. This person is a known “fire bug” with mental illness issues who is now in custody. Ms. Kilbride also noted that we are experiencing more homeless people crossing or wandering onto PCH in the area where the tiny homes were proposed to be located: two such individuals were recently taken to the hospital after being struck by vehicles.
9. Reports from Committees.
9.1. Executive Committee. Update re Bonin motion/homeless housing on state beach parking lots/public parks (CF 21-0350). See Beach Survey Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9N3eTyd8Uw. See also E.C. letters:
The Presiding Officer and Secretary updated the Board on events that had occurred to date related to the matters referenced on the agenda. The Presiding Officer noted that additional letters had been sent to public officials since the agenda was distributed. [Additional letters:
The Presiding Officer remarked that everyone knows by now that the CAO has issued a report finding that Will Rogers State Beach is infeasible and has effectively been eliminated for homeless housing. He thanked the Communications Committee, and in particular Peggy Holter and Jack Coleman, for producing the very effective video of beach visitors. He also stated that the Secretary Chris Spitz deserves our lasting thanks for her sustained efforts to research the law and facts and draft the many letters which we believe led to the finding of infeasibility.
The Secretary thanked the Presiding Officer for his recognition and explained that this has been a great deal of work for the last four months, in which she learned something new, important and relevant to this issue almost every day. She is relieved with the report’s finding of infeasibility, although unfortunately it doesn’t acknowledge any of the significant factors that PPCC brought to the CAO’s attention. She also thanked the many Palisades organizations and individuals who actively participated in the effort to protect the state beaches and public parks, including the Chamber of Commerce, PPRA, the PP Civic League, SMCCA, PPTFH, Krishna Thangavelu, Nina Madok and Erin Banks, as well as Lucy Hann (community leader from Playa del Rey).
Alan Goldsmith (At-large Representative) asked whether the funds donated for legal purposes would be refunded or earmarked for other purposes. The Treasurer stated that we have already expressly advised that donations are nonrefundable. The issue of how best to manage these funds consistent with PPCC’s mission will be discussed in the Executive Committee and may eventually be brought to the Board for discussion.
9.2. Communications Committee. Update on efforts to date (see Beach Survey Video linked above). [See remarks in Item 9.1 above.]
9.3. Land Use Committee (Howard Robinson, Chair). (Tentative) Update on research: Marquez/Ida project & related non-hillside Coastal area zoning; report on residential zoning in the Palisades.
The Presiding Officer announced that Howard Robinson is not able to be at the meeting and there will be no report tonight. The final report to the Board will be made in October. Mr. Robinson and the Land Use Committee believe that the house on Marquez & Ida in Area 3 is being built in accordance with current zoning. How this might be changed in the future will be a part of the October report.
Haldis Toppel (Area 3 Representative) discussed her understanding of the zoning situation. There are 40-year-old code provisions, including a 45 ft. height limit, that allow taller and larger homes to be built in the non-hillside Coastal zone areas. Ms. Toppel has spoken with Mr. Robinson and understands that the final report on zoning will come out in October, but she requests that as soon as possible, PPCC publish the portion of the report that addresses the rules allowing large houses such as the one at Marquez & Ida be built (even if the full report is delayed beyond October). She also requests that the PPCC Board vote to determine that it is community opinion that the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance (BMO) should be applied to non-hillside Coastal areas, and that the Board then encourage Councilmember Bonin to expedite his motion in City Council to apply the BMO to non-hillside Coastal areas.
9.4. Community Plan Update/Redistricting Committee (CPU/RC). Committee recommendation concerning PPCC statement on City redistricting boundaries; motion by the Committee for Board approval of the following “Community Interest Statement” (see also item 11.1 below):
The Secretary introduced the motion on behalf of the Committee. No second was necessary since the motion was brought by more than one voting board member. She briefly explained the motion and noted that the full text of the proposed statement was set forth in the agenda link, and asked for discussion. There was no discussion. The Presiding Officer asked if there were any objections to the proposed statement. There were no objections. Result: The Presiding Officer declared that the proposed statement was approved by unanimous consent of the Board.
10. Old Business – None.
11. New Business.
11.1. Motion for Board approval of “Community Interest Statement,” sponsored by the CPU/RC. See item 9.4 above.
11.2. Motion to support WRAC-recommended motion regarding EV charging stations, sponsored in PPCC by the Executive Committee. See attachment below for motion text and background.
The Treasurer introduced the motion on behalf of the Executive Committee. No second was necessary since the motion was brought by more than one voting board member. He read and briefly explained the motion as set forth in the attachment below, and asked for discussion. Reza Akef (Area 8 Representative) remarked that charging stations take away parking spaces with meters. The Treasurer noted that the motion was about adding clear signage to existing charging stations spaces so that people with non-EVs will not inadvertently park in these spaces. There was no other discussion. The Presiding Officer then asked if there were any objections to the motion. There were no objections. Result: The Presiding Officer declared that the motion was approved by unanimous consent of the Board.
11.3. Motion to support WRAC-recommended motion for station on the UCLA campus as part of Metro’s Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project, sponsored in PPCC by the Executive Committee. See attachment below for motion text and background.
The Secretary introduced the motion on behalf of the Committee. No second was necessary since the motion was brought by more than one voting board member. She briefly explained the motion and noted that the full text was set forth in the agenda attached below. She also remarked that the motion had been unanimously approved by the WRAC board, including herself, for recommendation out to member councils, and that it was hoped that there would be unanimous support from WRAC member councils. She then asked for discussion.
Karen McClain (UCLA staff representative): She has been working with WRAC on this matter in order to gain support for the Metro station being placed directly on campus. The station will likely be the most used station in the entire Metro system.
Steve Sann (Westwood Community Council Chair). He was one of the principal drafters of the motion. Six WRAC member councils have already passed the motion. This will be one of the most impactful projects on the Westside of Los Angeles. The station on the UCLA campus would be used by thousands of individuals coming to the campus regularly, including visitors to the hospital and to cultural events, university staff as well as students.
Steve Cron (Area 2 Representative): Where on the campus would the station be built? KarenMcClain: At the Gateway Plaza – the turnaround by the Luskin Conference Center and near Ackerman Union.
The Treasurer: He has spoken with PPCC’s Transportation Advisor Patti Post. UCLA is the largest trip generator of all entities in the region; it makes sense to have a station on campus which will benefit traffic flow on the entire Westside.
Steve Cron: Will the extension on to the campus be above or below ground? Steve Sann: The extension would be underground – it would connect underground to the Purple Line at Wilshire and Westwood. If a monorail option is chosen, it could emerge out of the tunnel and connect to the monorail. Ridership of the Sepulveda Corridor Transit line will greatly exceed the ridership of other current subway lines.
The Presiding Officer then asked if there were any objections to the motion. There were no objections. Result: The Presiding Officer declared that the motion was approved by unanimous consent of the Board.
12. Adjournment. The meeting was adjourned at 7:09 pm.
Item 11.2 (support for WRAC-recommended motion regarding EV charging stations)
The Westside Regional Alliance of Councils requests that the city of Los Angeles improves signage in electric vehicle charging locations to discourage non-charging vehicles (both ICE and EVs) from parking there. It further requests that the city issue a warning ticket and subsequent fine to any vehicle owners who repeatedly park in these spots illegally once adequate signage is installed.
Item 11.3 (support for WRAC-recommended motion for station on the UCLA campus as part of Metro’s Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project)
The Westside Regional Alliance of Councils (WRAC) strongly echos the sentiments expressed by numerous elected officials, neighborhood organizations, community groups, business associations, and many local citizens who urge that Metro must include a Station located directly on the UCLA campus as part of this pivotal transportation corridor project — specifically a one-seat ride from the San Fernando Valley directly to UCLA, hewing to Metro’s original proposal which suggested a 16-minute travel time for that segment, the fastest connection between the Valley and Westside and one that directly links people to where they want to go. This would be one of the most heavily trafficked Metro stops in the State, and would be the busiest non-transfer station in Metro’s system.
The Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project is part of the Measure M expenditure plan, with approximately $5.7 billion for new transit service to connect the San Fernando Valley and the Westside, scheduled to open by 2033-35. Approximately $3.8 billion is allocated to extend that service from the Westside to LAX with a 2057-59 opening date.
Metro is making strides to improve travel between the San Fernando Valley, the Westside and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The natural barrier created by the Santa Monica Mountains means that most people traveling between these areas are funneled primarily onto the I-405 Freeway, already ranked as one of the most heavily congested urban highways in the nation. More than 400,000 people travel through this area every day to commute to work, school, and other destinations along the freeway and beyond.
Having a Metro Station located directly on the UCLA campus would also help transport the tens of thousands of individuals who travel to UCLA on a daily -basis, including: UCLA students, staff, faculty, medical personnel, patients, and campus visitors. Not having a Metro Station on the UCLA Campus would be a sorely missed opportunity, and have significant negative impacts on the West L.A. region and regional traffic congestion for decades to come. An on-campus UCLA Station also presents the opportunity to connect the Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project to the Metro Purple Line Subway Station Extension, which will have a Westwood/UCLA Station located at Wilshire & Westwood Boulevards. Additionally, without a one-seat ride to the Valley, ridership would be significantly hindered, thereby negatively impacting Metro’s farebox recovery methods.
To provide this essential connectivity between transit lines in the San Fernando Valley and the City, to provide the critical “first mile, last mile” link between the Wilshire Purple Line Subway and the UCLA campus, and to build a robust transportation system that will serve transit riders for many decades to come, we also urge the Metro Board to ensure that the Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project also connect directly from the on-campus UCLA Station to the Westwood/UCLA Purple Line Subway Station at Wilshire Boulevard, to connect these two major north-south and east-west transit corridors.