MINUTES FROM MAY 26th 2022
Voting Members in Attendance: David Card, Chris Spitz, Jenny Li, Joanna Spak, Karen Ridgley, Sue Kohl, Haldis Toppel, Steve Cron, Alan Goldsmith, Maryam Zar, John Padden, Kevin Niles, Brenda Theveny, Cliff Roberts, Ryan Craig, Andy Frew, Janet Anderson
Voting Alternates: Barbara Kohn
Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: Kimberly Bloom, Nancy Niles, Marilyn Wexler, Michael Edlen, Melanie Bouer
1. Call to order and reading of Mission Statement. The Chair David Card called the meeting to order at 6:01 pm. The 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 Chair called the roll of voting members and certified that there was a quorum.
4. Approval of Minutes. The minutes of May 12, 2022 were approved. Upcoming meetings: June 9, 2022: Officers candidate forum (if needed) and Board election of officers (2022-23 term beginning July 1, 2022). June 23, 2022: 1) Appointment of Election Committee for the PPCC Area & At-large Representatives Election; 2) Chair to announce incumbent Area & At-large Representatives running for re-election. July 28, 2022: 1) First meeting of new officers’ term; 2) Chair to announce membership of PPCC committees, liaisons & advisors; 3) Chair to announce names of candidates in the election of Area & At-large Representatives. Other topics to be announced. There is one PPCC 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 Chair gave the report in the absence Treasurer Richard Cohen, who was on vacation. The Treasurer reports that PPCC’s balance is $56,024.21. Since the last report the only payments were for Mailchimp, Zoom and our technical engineer Alex Ponting.
7. General Public Comment.
7.1. Sue Pascoe: Has PPCC ever asked for parking restrictions on Asilomar? The Chair: He is not aware of any official Board motion or letter on this subject; the Area 4 Representatives have been aware of various problems in this area for some time, as reported at past PPCC meetings, and we support the efforts of the Area 4 Representative to find solutions.
8. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
8.1. From the Chair/Presiding Officer.
8.1.1. Board nominations of officer candidates. Nominations accepted until 15 minutes before scheduled close of meeting (7:15pm; Bylaws, Art. VII.2). The Chair called for nominations from the Board. There were no nominations.
8.1.2. PPCC Area & At-large Representatives Election. Deadline for incumbents’ written notification to Chair of intent to run for re-election: one hour before the scheduled start of the June 23rd meeting; incumbents who do not timely submit written notification are deemed conclusively not to be running (see Attachment A to Bylaws, Sec. 3.D.2). The Chair explained the process and reminded incumbent Area and At-large Representatives of the deadline to submit written notice of intent to run for re-election (to be submitted to the Chair, preferably by email, no later than one hour before the scheduled start of the June 23rd meeting).
8.1.3. Update on George Wolfberg Park at Potrero Canyon – trail to Temescal Canyon Rd. The Chair explained that Janet Turner of Congressman Lieu’s office has advised that the application for funding for the trail is being considered. The office asked for more information so the Chair has provided more information to Ms. Turner. Planting in the park has begun which can been seen through the fence on Friends St. There is a complicated underground sprinkler system for irrigation that is temporary until the plants are established. The Secretary: How will the new City watering restrictions affect the planting? The Chair: He asked this question of General Manager Mike Shull but Mr. Shull did not have an answer. The Coastal permit requires that for five years the City is under an obligation to maintain the plants and the riparian restoration upon completion of the landscaping. The sprinklers are now working. Irrigation water is not recycled water.
8.1.4. (New agenda item) North Topanga Canyon Fire Safe Council (NTCFSC) webinar. The Chair attended and thought the webinar was excellent. He related many valuable tips for fire safety which he learned at the webinar, including cleaning out gutters; covering gutters and openings with metal mesh rather than plastic; removing all bird’s nests; sealing around garage doors; creating a five foot buffer zone around the home with no flammable materials, including mulch; caulking all openings greater than 1/8 in.; if a fire is approaching removing all outdoor mats, brooms, implements and furniture that might catch fire; closing fireplace vents when not in use; having gardeners place blown leaves and garden debris in bags to go in bins; replacing wooden fences leading up to the home with metal fencing. The Secretary noted that more information about the NTCFSC is on the PPCC Disaster Readiness webpage.
8.1.5 (New agenda item) Housing Element amendments. These were approved but the changes will likely not significantly impact the Palisades. Joanna Spak (Area 1 Representative) attended the hearing and gave a brief summary. Environmentally sensitive areas such as flood and fire zones remain excluded from rezoning.
8.2. From Officers.
8.2.1. Chris Spitz (Secretary). [See item 8.6 below.]
8.3. From Area and At-large Representatives
8.3.1. Karen Ridgley (Area 4 Representative) thanked Noah Fleishman for his persistence in working with City Sanitation which has recently picked up the logs and debris on the sidewalk and in the street on Temescal Canyon Blvd.
8.3.2. Alan Goldsmith (At-large Representative) thanked Noah Fleishman for arranging for the catch basins along Palisades Dr. in the Highlands to be cleaned out.
8.3.3. Steve Cron (Area 2 Representative) reiterated thanks to Mr. Fleishman for having Sanitation come out with trucks to clean out the culverts along Palisades Dr. He also reported on the Coastal Commission hearing regarding the Highlands trailhead and bathroom saga which he attended; the matter was postponed. The Secretary inquired about the report in the Los Angeles Times about a $6 million penalty being assessed against the Highlands developer, but Mr. Cron stated that he has no information on this since the agenda item was postponed at the hearing he attended. He has inquired but hasn’t received a response.
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 (CD 11 Deputy District Director).
Mr. Fleishman reported on several items: (1) The fencing surrounding a portion of the parking lot in the Palisades Recreation Center (part of the Potrero Canyon project) is technically completed, but there are a couple of curb ramps which will have to be redone since the grade of the ramps did not meet code requirements; this is scheduled for completion in a week or two. The parking lot should be open by July 4th. (2) As to using CD 11 discretionary funds for possible extra officers for the Beach Detail this summer, Mr. Fleishman will bring this up with his supervisors and will attempt to see what more may be needed; he will follow up and get back to us when he has more information. (3) The 405 Transit Corridor plan will have another public comment meeting on June 1st (Mr. Fleishman included a link in the chat). (4) As to Temescal Canyon dumping, he participated in an inspection and determined that the best way to handle the problem is with periodic inspections early in the morning; he suggested that residents file 311 reports if they see dumping; let Karen Ridgley know and she can interface with Mr. Fleishman. (5) The City Council has approved going into Phase 3 of watering restrictions; outdoor automated watering is now limited to two days a week; he described the various restrictions. The Chair: We would like LADWP representatives to come to an upcoming PPCC meeting to answer questions about the watering restrictions; he asked Mr. Fleishman to please contact LADWP community liaison Deborah Hong and encourage LADWP’s attendance.
Questions from the Board and audience: Sue Pascoe: Is the repaving on Temescal Canyon still scheduled for June? Mr. Fleishman: He has to check with Street Services as to the schedule, but this may be rolled over; he will get back to us. Haldis Toppel (Area 3 Representative): A cougar was killed on her property in Marquez Knolls. Residents called Animal Control and they were told they had to drag the animal out to the street for pickup. Could Mr. Fleishman please look into this requirement? Mr. Fleishman: This probably had to do with the animal being on private property; he can look into it and see if that is the policy of Animal Services. Alan Goldsmith: What is the status of waterpipe construction along PCH? He has not seen any digging since April 21st. Mr. Fleishman: This may be a County project to extend waterpipes to Malibu; he will look into it. The Chair: A Eucalyptus tree near LAFD Station 23 needs pruning; he requested that Mr. Fleishman follow up.
Mr. Fleishman then noted that voting in the Citywide election is now open; he described the process. He also reminded everyone that this is a three-day Memorial Day holiday weekend and there are temporary parking restrictions in place on Asilomar. Lastly, Mr. Fleishman thanked the Area and At-large Representatives for giving him a shout-out, and he explained that his last day as Deputy District Director is tomorrow (Friday); after that he will become District Director for CD 11 (official as of Monday). The office is looking for a new Palisades Field Deputy and he’ll let us know the status. He remains interested and involved in the Palisades. Anais Gonzales (CD 11 Constituent Advocate) can be contacted with specific issues. Karen Ridgley: How can I contact Anais Gonzales? Mr. Fleishman: He will put her information in the chat. The Secretary: Ms. Gonzales’ contact information is on the PPCC website under Government Contacts; the link to the Government Contacts webpage is included in every agenda. Board members again thanked Mr. Fleishman and congratulated him on his promotion.
8.5.2. LAPD SLO Brian Espin. The Chair first complimented SLO Espin and LAPD on the coordinated/multi-agency task force event last week, which involved looking for homeless encampments in the bluff and canyon areas and on the beach. It was a full day exercise which included LAPD officers, LAPD motorcycle units, our LAPD Beach Detail, MRCA, CHP, PPTFH volunteers, outreach workers from The People Concern, our Neighborhood Prosecutor and City and State park rangers.
SLO Espin explained that this was the 2nd annual task force. He described the participants and noted that it was a big success. Seven different areas were checked for homeless encampments. The participants were broken up into teams and went to areas where the encampments might be located. One citation was issued for smoking in a fire zone area; they had one contact with a homeless individual in an area of Temescal Canyon Park. Five abandoned encampments were found and cleaned up by volunteers. There were no arrests. They did not find anyone camping. The effort was good for team building and strengthening collaboration. They intend to continue holding these task force events periodically.
Regarding our LAPD Beach Detail: There was some miscommunication about the status which occurred at a C-PAB meeting this past week. During the summer, beach areas such as Venice typically are assigned LAPD “loanees” for extra patrols. This was also done for the Palisades last summer. This year the same request for “loanees” was made, but because of staffing issues they aren’t available here this summer. Officers Bermudez and Margin will still be assigned to our Beach Detail this summer. We will just not have an extra set of officers coming from the outside. However, there is the possibility of obtaining separate funding from the Council office to cover overtime hours for additional “loanee” officers for our area. The Chair: We have learned from our Homelessness Advisor and PPTFH Co-President Sharon Kilbride that it is critical for public safety to have at least two additional officers assigned to the Beach Detail in the summer months because we have an uptick in the number of homeless individuals who are attracted to the beach during the summer, many of whom increasingly suffer from mental illness or addiction. We also have more beach visitors in the summer, including families and children participating in summer camps. We know that the Council office has discretionary funds which might be used to fund overtime for more officers. He asked Mr. Fleishman to look into whether additional funding from CD 11 might be available for this purpose.
8.6. From PPCC Advisors – None.
Chris Spitz (Secretary) thanked outgoing Youth Advisor Jack Coleman, who is graduating from high school, for his outstanding services to PPCC, including his work last year on the video which was used in connection with our opposition to the motion to place homeless housing on Will Rogers State Beach, as well as his technical assistance with the recent PPCC-BCC CD 11 Candidates Forum.
9. Reports from Committees – None.
10. Old Business – None.
11. New Business
11.1. StreetsLA – Sidewalk and Transit Amenities Program (STAP) presentation. StreetsLA presenters: Shirley Lau, Assistant Director & Chief Technical Officer; Lance Oishi, STAP project manager.
The Chair welcomed Ms. Lau and Mr. Oishi. Ms. Lau introduced herself and provided a synopsis of what has occurred with the STAP program and what will happen in the future. The StreetsLA report on the program went to the Board of Public Works (BPW) for hearing on May 11th. Three items were part of the report: 1) adoption of the Initial Study/MND (CEQA requirements); 2) approval of the proposed contract for the STAP program with the vendor, Tranzito-Vector; and 3) approval of revised LA Municipal Code provisions to assist in implementing the program. She provided a link in the chat to a large file with documents related to the matter. The three items in the report were approved by BPW and now require review by the Mayor’s office and the City Administrative Officer (CAO). The matter will move forward to the Council Public Works and Budget & Finance Committees and then to the full City Council by the latter part of June. Her colleague Lance Oishi of StreetsLA is managing this program. He has been the contract administrator of the City’s street furniture program for many years.
Mr. Oishi: He has been working on the street furniture program for 20 years and has attended PPCC meetings in the past. He presented an overview of the new proposed contract. The goals are to provide shade, safety and comfort for transit patrons. StreetsLA wants 75% of all bus riders in each Council District to be able to board a bus from a stop that has shade and shelter. The request for proposal (RFP) process began in November 2020. After review of the proposals, StreetsLA selected the top proposal, from Tranzito-Vector, in August of 2021; the proposed contract then moved forward to the BPW for the first approval. The contract contains various goals for the transit shelters. Tranzito-Vector is a mobility company; they are proposing a suite of functions for shelter locations. These include emergency call features, free Wi Fi, charging devices for cell phones and other digital devices. Lockers, hydration and hand sanitizing stations will be included at some locations. Less than 100 of the new shelters will have scooter docks. Digital elements on the shelters will be managed by a content management system which will be in “real time.” Content and brightness of information panels can be changed remotely, immediately. The City is investing funds to build out this program; it will be self-funded from advertising income. They looked at five factors to determine where the shelters should first be located: 1) bus ridership counts (highest ridership areas); 2) heat exposure/heat index; 3) equity – low-income communities; 4) proximity to trip generators such as work areas, schools, shopping; and 5) stops where riders must wait a long time for bus arrivals. StreetsLA has mapped out where they want to put shelters in preparation for this contract. Shelters will not be located adjacent to single family homes. They will comply with all local zoning code and Specific Plan restrictions. The contract is for 10 years with possible extensions for 2-5-year periods that are “performance-based,” with a potential total of an all-inclusive 20-year contract.
Q&A then ensued. Marilyn Wexler (At-large 2nd Alternate): What is a transit shelter? Mr. Oishi: It is a bus shelter located outdoors, typically a structure of about 10’x15’x5’ with a roof, a bench and a litter receptacle. John Padden (PRIDE): We have explained to Mr. Oishi that we want to keep our current street furniture. Mr. Oishi has told Mr. Padden that he will work with PPCC and PRIDE to keep our furniture. Mr. Oishi sent a map to Mr. Padden who is still unclear what the map represents. Going forward, can we work together to look at each location and can we be confident that we can keep our current furniture? In addition, what about the bus shelters that are not part of the PRIDE street furniture? Which shelters will be in our area? Mr. Oishi: He believes there are three existing shelters in Palisades – two at the intersection of Temescal Canyon & Sunset Blvd. and one at PCH & Sunset. Mr. Padden: Isn’t there a shelter at the intersection of Carey & Sunset? Mr. Oishi: He will take a look. There was another one on Temescal Canyon in front of Palisades High School at one point, but this was removed in connection with renovation of the school entrance. The intent of StreetsLA is to replace existing shelters, but not all sites will be replaced with brand new shelters. They are planning on renewing/revamping 400-500 of the shelters. The timing of replacement will be based on the five factors. In the Palisades, most of the bus stops don’t have a high level of ridership and they are not exposed to the same heat factors. Other areas will be first in line to receive new furniture and shelters. StreetsLA has already achieved its 75% goal in all areas west of the 405. They will eventually upgrade all shelters so that all will match aesthetically. StreetsLA does not have plans to replace our current street furniture. There is no plan to replace anything other than existing bus shelters. Mr. Padden: Will the new shelters have digital displays? We are concerned about visual blight. Mr. Oishi: We haven’t made that determination yet. More than 75% of all shelters will not have digital displays. There are some prohibitions on placing shelters in front of single-family homes and along scenic corridors.
Ms. Lau: Once we have an approved contract with Tranzito-Vector, we will work with the community on keeping the existing street furniture and also on the transit shelter replacements. Mr. Padden: The most important thing for us is that there is advance communication and opportunity for input. Ms. Lau: We will absolutely provide this. She doesn’t see a lot of transit shelters in the Palisades; there may only be three. Mr. Padden: He is happy to meet with Ms. Lau and Mr. Oishi and go out and look at where the shelters are located. The Chair: Following up on the two shelters at the intersection of Sunset & Temescal Canyon and the issue of whether there should be digital displays at this location: There is a great deal of pedestrian usage with the nearby school and park and drivers can be distracted with digital signage. Ms. Lau: Less than 25%, or roughly 700 of the 3000 shelters in the City, will have digital signage. These will be on heavily travelled corridors. We will come out and do outreach with the community before installing any new shelters. The Chair: Sunset Blvd. is a scenic corridor. Ms. Lau: We will be consistent with whatever the City requires in this regard.
The Secretary: Most of the transit shelters here are in the Coastal zone; will you apply for Coastal permits for these shelters? Ms. Lau: We will apply for Coastal permits; we will have to get all required permits for these shelters. The Secretary: She is concerned as well about the proposed changes to the LA Municipal Code, which are vague and appear to allow expanded advertising in the public right of way (PROW), not just in transit shelters, but for any unspecified advertising activities that are approved by the BPW; approval by the City Council would not be required. How do we know what advertising would be allowed and how can we be assured that we will have an opportunity to provide input? We would not wish to see additional advertising structures placed in our medians or other PROW locations, especially along scenic corridors such as Sunset Blvd. and in our Specific Plan areas. Ms. Lau: The revisions would allow other advertising elements, not just in transit shelters. Mr. Oishi: The proposed code revisions are separate from the STAP program. The City Council is considering other types of advertising programs in the PROW, not simply advertising in transit shelters; the code revisions were added to the Council File for the STAP program because that was an existing file which also dealt with a program in the PROW. He explained that historically, there had been prohibitions against allowing any advertising in the PROW other than through the current street furniture contractor, Decaux. The City Council is now pursuing other programs and instructed the City Attorney to draft ordinance provisions that would allow other advertising structures to be placed in the PROW, not limited specifically to transit shelters under the STAP program. These other advertising programs may come about in the future. One that is under consideration now is the Metro bike share program; Metro wants to place advertising on bike stations in the PROW to offset operational costs. Another is a program known as “IKE,” being advanced by the Los Angeles Convention and Tourism Board, to place informational kiosks with advertising in various PROW areas of the City. These new proposed code provisions impact the STAP program and therefore were mentioned and discussed in the CEQA process for STAP. Mr. Fleishman: The BPW is a Brown-Acted body and we can subscribe to obtain 72-hour advance notice of its hearings; in that way residents can learn about and potentially attend hearings and provide verbal comments on any proposed programs. Mr. Oishi: Any new program for advertising in the PROW will need approval by the BPW after a Brown-Acted public hearing. The programs must also go through a CEQA process and there will be opportunity for the public to weigh in on that process; the processes will be public.
Steve Cron: He is concerned with safety at the intersection of Temescal Canyon & Sunset. Adding digital signage in shelters is asking for trouble with all the pedestrians and traffic at that location. Mr. Oishi: 2300+ of the 3000 total proposed transit shelters in the City will have static signage; it is most likely that signage in our bus shelters will be replaced with static signage. The shelters will come with the upgraded features like cell phone chargers and a smaller digital screen or panel containing real time bus arrival information and public messaging for bus riders. This will be akin to a Kindle reader and will not necessarily contain digital advertising. Ms. Lau: We will not put in a new shelter without outreach to the community.
Alan Goldsmith: He would like more details about the plans for outreach to the community. Ms. Lau: StreetsLA will always be involved with the contractor as set forth in the contract; Tranzito-Vector staff would go out and reach out to the community along with City staff and will bring forward any proposed changes for the transit shelters in our area. They will not switch out any shelters without outreach to us. Mr. Goldsmith: What measures will you take to prevent these structures from becoming homeless shelters? Mr. Oishi: Our tool kit for this purpose is limited. StreetsLA reaches out to homeless agencies and has had some success. One thing they can do is to temporarily remove some of the furniture, which they have done on occasion. Mr. Goldsmith: Is it considered inhospitable to install bumps on the benches to prevent sleeping? Mr. Oishi: Some segments of the population during outreach meetings have called this possible solution “hostile architecture;” one thing that StreetsLA has at its disposal is the ability to remove parts of the shelters that might make the location hospitable. Sometimes that is done with piece-by-piece removal of any part that is an attractive nuisance. This method has worked in many situations. Mr. Oishi also suggests the possibility of constructing some shelter benches with different levels of seating heights which would help Seniors and others with mobility issues; this may also inhibit homeless sleeping in the shelters. Regarding the community engagement process: Tranzito-Vector is required under the contract to engage with communities to make sure the shelters will be tailored to the aesthetics of the community. This can be pursued by the Palisades community.
The Chair thanked Ms. Lau and Mr. Oishi for attending and answering our questions.
12. Adjournment. At 7:15pm, the Chair called for any further Board nominations of officer candidates. There were none. The meeting was adjourned at 7:44 pm.