MINUTES FROM JUNE 23rd 2022
Voting Members in Attendance: David Card, Richard Cohen, Chris Spitz, Joanna Spak, Sue Kohl, Steve Cron, Maryam Zar,* Alan Goldsmith, Karen Ridgley, Brenda Theveny, Cliff Roberts, Ryan Craig, Beth-Holden Garland, Andy Frew, Janet Anderson, Matt Quiat (*Partial attendance/late arrival)
Voting Alternates: Rick McGeagh, Michael Edlen, Andrew Wolfberg
Non-voting Advisors and Alternates: Jack Coleman, Mary Mueller, Marilyn Wexler, Kimberly Bloom, Lee Anne Sanderson, Cathy Russell, Richard Blumenberg
1. Call to order and reading of Mission Statement. The Chair called the meeting to order at 6:00pm. 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 June 9, 2022 were approved. Upcoming meetings: 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. August 11, 2022: Area & At-large Representative Candidates Forum (if needed); 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 Treasurer Richard Cohen reported that PPCC’s balance is $55,226.25. In the past two weeks on behalf of PPCC he has paid PAPA (the Fourth of July Parade people) $750, so that the Citizen of the Year and a Spark Plug awardee can ride in the parade, as is customary.
The Treasurer explained that this was his final report as Treasurer of PPCC. It was also the meeting at which the Treasurer is required to provide a year-end recap of financial performance. Technical advisor Alex Ponting displayed the report on screen and the Treasurer noted that it will be appended to the minutes.
He further explained: PPCC ended the year with $16,442 more than we started. This was entirely due to the fact that we raised over $26,000 for legal costs associated with fighting against locating homeless accommodations at Will Rogers State Beach. However, we only spent $1,744 in legal costs.
The Citizen of the Year event, rather than being a fundraising event, had a net cost of about $4,000. In contrast to all prior years there was no attempt to sell sponsorships or otherwise solicit donations and the food and beverage at the Bel Air Bay Club was costly.
Ordinary operating expenses amounted to $4,473 which is typical. Our largest cost was insurance.
The summary of our year in finance was that PPCC raised $24,000 more than was required for legal costs, spent $4,000 on the Citizen of the Year event and another $4,000 on ordinary costs – thus leaving us with $16,000 more than we started the year with. The balance as of June 1 is approximately $56,000. This reporting is required by the bylaws as of June 1. Since June 1, the Treasurer paid the $750 to PAPA so that is the reason why PPCC’s current balance is slightly less than $56,000.
The Chair thanked the Treasurer for his excellent report.
7. General Public Comment – None.
8. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
8.1. From the Chair/Presiding Officer.
8.1.1. Announcement of incumbent Area & At-large Representatives running for re–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 (i.e., by 5pm on 6/23); per PPCC bylaws, incumbents who do not timely submit written notification are deemed conclusively not to be running.
The Chair announced that the incumbent Representatives running for re-election are: Steve Cron (Area 2); Haldis Toppel (Area 3); Karen Ridgley (Area 4); Reza Akef (Area 8); and Alan Goldsmith (At-large). Incumbent Representatives in the following areas are not running: Areas 1, 5, 6 and 7. He thanked all who are running and those who will be leaving at the end of their terms: Sue Kohl, Matt Quiat & Joanna Spak. All seats are open for anyone who wants to run. The election will be held in August. More information will be distributed in the next few weeks.
8.1.2. Appointment of Election Committee for the PPCC Area & At-large Representatives Election. Election information (Notice of Election Nominations to be distributed 7/7).
In consultation with Maryam Zar (Chair Emeritus and President-Elect), the Chair has appointed the following members of the Election Committee to oversee the election this summer: Jenny Li (Committee Chair); David Card, Ryan Craig, Michael Edlen and Joanna Spak. The President-Elect and Legal Advisor will be ex officio, non-voting members, per the bylaws.
A Notice of Election Nominations, with information about how to become a candidate in the Elected Representatives Election, will be distributed to the public and posted on the PPCC website on or before July 7th. The Chair encourages Palisadians to run in the election.
8.1.3. LAPD Beach Detail update:
The letter linked in the agenda was sent to CD 11. We have learned that our request was declined. However, LAPD West LA Division Commanding Officer, Capt. Jonathan Tom, has advised PPTFH that he has been able to make administrative changes and is assigning two additional officers to the Palisades Beach Detail this summer. There will be a total of four Beach Detail officers this summer.
8.1.4. July 4th Palisades Parade & Fireworks update.
The 5K/10K Run, Parade and Fireworks are all returning this year. PPCC will participate in the Parade, with our Citizen of the Year Chris Spitz and Golden Sparkplug Krishna Thangavelu both riding in a car driven by Vice-Chair David Kaplan. The Chair acknowledged and thanked all the award winners. We hope to see everyone at the parade.
8.1.5. (New agenda item) Emergency Card. The American Legion Palisades Post 283 has produced an Emergency Card, with contact information for use in emergency situations, which has been distributed to all Palisades households. This was spearheaded by Commander Jim Craig. A copy can also be downloaded from the Legion’s website: [https://www.alpost283.com/safety].
8.1.6. (New agenda item) Thanks to outgoing board members. The Chair expressed thanks to all the officers and Executive Committee members who are leaving these positions for their service to PPCC: David Kaplan, Chris Spitz, Richard Cohen, John Padden and Joanna Spak (who will not be running again for Area 1 Representative). The Secretary also thanked the Chair for his service over the last two+ years and stated that it has been her privilege and honor to serve PPCC and the community for the past 14 years. She also expressed personal thanks to the Vice-Chair and Treasurer for their service and invaluable support and guidance over the years.
8.2. From Officers.
8.2.1. Chris Spitz (Secretary). STAP and LAMC revisions, other legislation update. See report: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Legislation-Updates-as-of-6-17-22.pdf
The Secretary summarized her report and provided current updates for several of the items:
STAP/LAMC revisions: This matter has not yet been scheduled for hearing in any of the committees to which it was assigned. Meanwhile, today a representative of the street furniture vendor (Tranzito-Vector) contacted the WRAC Chair and the Secretary (as Vice-Chair of WRAC) and proposed to give a presentation at a WRAC meeting; this has not yet been scheduled, but the representative indicated that he would also like to present at an upcoming PPCC meeting. The Secretary advised the representative that she would introduce him to the Chair and President-Elect so that a possible presentation could be arranged. She also advised him of PPCC’s position against digital advertising and our insistence that all applicable zoning restrictions be followed (Coastal permitting requirements and the Mobility Element’s prohibition on advertising in the PROW on or near Scenic Highways).
BMO Extension: The Planning Dept. has not yet acted as we have requested, but today, Jason Douglas (CD 11 Planning Director) provided maps prepared by the Planning Dept. to PPCC LUC Chair Howard Robinson (which he had been requesting for months). These maps show the areas where the so-called “donut hole” applies in the Palisades (properties in coastal, non-hillside, single-family zones where very tall homes are allowed under current zoning rules). Mr. Robinson will review the maps which may eventually be made available to the public via posting on the PPCC website.
Ban on bicycle chop shops: The ordinance passed in City Council on 6/21/22.
Ban on camping near schools: The Council Homelessness & Poverty Committee today passed the proposed ordinance; it will now go to the City Council for a vote.
The Secretary also brought attention to her supplemental report on the proposed Wildlife District Ordinance which had been distributed to the board prior to the meeting. [See:
The Secretary encouraged board members to continue to monitor this ordinance as well as the other legislation and motions referenced in her report.
Joanna Spak (Area 1 Representative) reminded everyone of an additional piece of legislation to monitor. Namely, a motion by CM Koretz that was approved in City Council in February 2022 and that pertains to the drafting of an ordinance for the rollout of SB 9 (two residential units per lot/lot splits in single-family zones) in the City of Los Angeles (CF 21-1414). In the motion, CM Koretz calls for, among other things, consideration for fire zones. City Council requested that LA City Planning deliver a memorandum in 90 days and a draft ordinance in 20 days. These two items are still outstanding.
8.3. From Area and At-large Representatives.
8.3.1. Steve Cron (Area 2 Representative) reported on an article in the Palisadian-Post regarding penalties recently assessed by the Coastal Commission against the Highlands developer, arising from the deplorable conditions at the trailhead. The article was shown on the screen. The Chair noted the letters that PPCC had written regarding this matter. The Secretary recommended that board members read the staff report in the Coastal Commission agenda for the May meeting, which provides an interesting history of the Highlands project and the complicated situation involving the trailhead. The President-Elect (remarks after late arrival) noted that this matter had been on PPCC’s radar for a long time.
8.3.2. Alan Goldsmith (At-large Representative) brought up an issue involving the inability to obtain liability insurance for property in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone. He also announced that Izzy’s Deli in Santa Monica has closed; the proprietor Izzy is a resident of the Palisades and has retired.
8.4. From Organizational Representatives.
8.4.1. Brenda Theveny (TCA) announced that James Alexakis is the new President of TCA and Gil Dembo is President Emeritus. TCA’s new representatives to PPCC as of July 1 will be Shirley Haggstrom (primary) and Richard Cohen (alternate). Both are past PPCC Chairs. The Secretary thanked Ms. Theveny for her many years of service to PPCC.
8.5. From Government Offices / Representatives – Contact information available at: http://pacpalicc.org/index.php/government-contacts/
8.5.1. LAFD Assistant Chief Dean Zipperman and Deputy Chief/West Bureau Commander Richard Fields IV. See Item 11.1 below.
The Chair welcomed the Chiefs. Chief Zipperman spoke first and stated that he and Chief Richards will work together to make sure this group gets what we need. He has been assigned to West Bureau for the past two and a half years; he worked with former West Bureau Chief Armando Hogan and is familiar with the Palisades’ homeowner and community groups. The goal is to continue working in collaboration with Palisadians and LAPD to make sure our safety remains protected. Chief Zimmerman was an incident commander during the Palisades Fire and is familiar with our area. He wishes to move forward and prepare for future evacuation drills and other interactive events. He noted that Battalion 9 oversees all of our areas and that the firefighters in Stations 69 and 23 are amazing. His biggest concern is the danger to wildland based on weather and anticipated weather factors. He attended a meeting with members of NOAH and all fire chiefs in our local areas; they were given a grim outlook based on expected future weather. We’re in a La Nina season and will be in it for quite some time, going into the next winter. There will be little or no rainfall and we’ll need to be concerned about brush and the overall dryness of fuel.
Chief Zimmerman is working with Battalion 9 and LAPD West LA Division to establish protocols for public safety. They are looking at threats and trying to identify risks. They are also looking at maintenance of our fire roads. He is working with Recreation & Parks and the LAFD wildland fuel unit on fire roads. He also worked with LAPD last year in preparing for evacuation of the Palisades and Brentwood, and is working on training exercises with LAPD. This is great collaboration and training for both agencies. He is also working with the LA County Fire Department to establish operational procedures and process. They are looking at hazards within the area and infrastructure along the corridor, such as Mount St. Mary’s and the Getty. They are also looking at the homeless population that may be residing in the area. He was at the command post recently at Will Rogers State Beach for the joint task force exercise; he commended everyone who participated in the event and thanked the homeless task force for its work. He will be working with Chief Fields to determine what they can do to support us in terms of evacuation drills.
Chief Fields: He is just starting to get his feet wet in West Bureau. He is a native Angeleno and is honored to be a part of LAFD. He takes to heart the value of community partnership and respects engaged Angelenos. He also commended residents for our resilience in emergencies and wants to partner with us on fire safety matters. He then took questions.
The Chair: What is the status of brush clearance inspections? Can we get an evacuation drill here (as had been planned before COVID)? Why shouldn’t we be firing off fireworks? Chief Fields: The fireworks answer is obvious – it is like striking a match. It has never been legal in the City to set off fireworks. Everyone knows this. A lot of time is spent in sharing that message with the public. Detection and reporting are important to minimize the damage from fireworks. As to an evacuation drill: He is open to getting those conversations going again. He wants to know what we hope to get out of it and what the objectives are. A lot of what LAFD does is education about fire behavior. He wants to explore all avenues to make sure the main objective is met, that is, making people safe. Evacuation may create even greater issue with clogged streets, vehicles rushing to leave, firefighters attempting to come into the area, and other conditions. As to brush clearance: LAFD’s primary objective is to inspect; it does not clear brush. LAFD gives information to homeowners as to how to clear brush. The enforcement responsibility is growing but the number of people available to do enforcement work is slightly reduced. LAFD has a pretty extensive drone program and is starting to use drones in inspections, especially areas that difficult to access such as hillsides. The brush task force is behind in coming out to address problem conditions but he’ll make contact with the head of the brush clearance unit to get updates on where this work stands. If there are problematic areas around you, let LAFD know so that it can focus attention on those areas.
Rick McGeagh (Area 7 1st Alternate): He has been working to clear brush that grows along Sunset Blvd. between Will Rogers Road and the switch back road. Former West Bureau Chief Hogan oversaw brush clearance of that area two years ago. The brush has overgrown again and is now of serious concern. Mr. McGeagh sees evidence of discarded cigarettes from cars speeding by on Sunset. He requested that Chief Zimmerman come out and look at the situation. Chief Zimmerman: He will look into it and see if we can get brush clearance expedited.
Steve Cron: The Highlands area is unique. It is completely surrounded by forest and we are up against fresh firewood. Chief Hogan previously came out and looked at the area and the available escape routes. There is one main road in and out of the Highlands. He would like to show Chief Fields around the area. Chief Fields: He has been assigned to Battalion 9 during his career; he knows the Highlands and also the brush area on Sunset Blvd. near Will Rogers State Park but will take up Mr. Cron on the offer for a tour. The Chair: The Chiefs should come and see the work of the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness, which frequently sees evidence of fires from homeless activities.
Michael Edlen (Area 3 2nd Alternate): He suggests that the Chiefs should also take a tour of Santa Inez Canyon, a portion of which is located near Marquez Elementary School.
The chair thanked both of the Chiefs for the introduction and for speaking with PPCC.
8.5.2. Jasmine Dowlatshahi (Park Director, Palisades Recreation Center). The Chair welcomed Ms. Dowlatshahi, who reported that all was going great at the Recreation Center. She has been there since March 22 and has worked to improve the inside and outside of the facility, including putting in many work orders. A new volleyball league will start in the Fall and basketball is year-round. There will be a tea party next week for children six years old and under, and ballet classes are back at the Center. There will also be new score boards and equipment. This is her 22nd year with the City of Los Angeles. The Chair thanked Ms. Dowlatshahi and noted how pleased the community is with the new Director. The President-Elect (remarks after late arrival) also thanked Ms. Dowlatshahi for her update and noted that she has put in dozens of work orders to improve the facility.
8.5.3. Isabella Dennis (CD 11 Brentwood-Palisades Deputy) and Noah Fleishman (CD 11 District Director).
The Chair welcomed Ms. Dennis. She provided a brief background of her education and experience in Southern California, and explained that she has been working at CD 11 since November 2021. She is looking forward to working with us. Noah Fleishman then gave an area report which he noted will be his last report to PPCC: There is a new stop sign at Almar and Miami Way. Fireworks are illegal in Los Angeles. There is a hotline to report fireworks. He thanked all the outgoing board members. The Chair: Thank you to Jason Douglas (CD 11 Planning Director) for providing maps showing the “donut hole” in the zoning for coastal, non-hillside, single-family areas. The unpermitted public use of the Longworth maintenance gate at the Riviera Country Club is still a problem for the neighborhood and is getting worse. This is a public safety issue. The Club has refused to respond to the letter from the Planning Dept. of July 9, 2021, directing the Club to file a plan approval application. How can we obtain enforcement? Mr. Fleishman: He will have to get back to Jason Douglas as to what the next step will be regarding enforcement. Andrew Wolfberg (Area 8 1st Alternate): It is a sad state of affairs that the City hasn’t stepped forward and there is no enforcement. The City Attorney should be doing something about enforcement. The Secretary: She agrees with Mr. Wolfberg. PPCC has been expressing concerns about this situation for several years and noted that if the City won’t enforce the rules then neighbors may have to consider legal action. Veronica de la Cruz (Deputy City Attorney/Neighborhood Prosecutor: Has this matter been referred to her office for prosecution? Mr. Fleishman: It has not been referred to the City Attorney. A Code violation has not yet occurred. If an inspector goes out and cites the owner for a violation then enforcement can be requested. Further discussion ensued about the Planning Dept.’s directive, the Club’s refusal to comply, whether a violation has occurred and the lack of enforcement. The President-Elect (remarks after late arrival) also explained that PPCC has a long history of expressing concern about the public use of the maintenance gate. As past Chair she participated in discussions with Club management about the situation. PPCC will continue to monitor.
The Secretary: At the last meeting the At-large Representative asked a question about the work being done on the Caltrans area along PCH between Potrero Canyon and Temescal Canyon Blvd. Mr. Fleishman had said he would look into it. Has he done so and does he know what this work is about? Mr. Fleishman: He hasn’t done so and doesn’t know what the work is about; he suggests that since it is not work being done by the City we should speak with staff of either State Senator Allen or Assemblymember Bloom. Karen Ridgley (Area 4 Representative): What is Ms. Dennis’ phone number? Ms. Dennis: 310-387-8267. The Secretary: She will also post the number on the PPCC website. Ms. Ridgley: What are the differences between the Constituent Advocate (Anais Gonzalez) and the Palisades Field Deputy (Ms. Dennis)? Mr. Fleishman: Ms. Gonzalez handles specific projects whereas Ms. Dennis deals with broader community issues.
8.5.4. LAPD SLO Brian Espin. SLO Espin related that the community is still doing well crime-wise; we are below average in crimes from last year. Property crimes are in the negative (-25% from last year). Violent crime is up over last year; there was a recent robbery at one of the gas stations. There were two robberies last year, this year we have had four robberies. Fireworks are illegal. Call the non-emergency number or 9-1-1 to report illegal use of fireworks. He wished everyone a happy 4th of July. SLO Espin will participate in all three events: he will be in the Run, at the Parade and at the Fireworks.
8.5.5. Zac Gaidzik (West-Metro LA Field Deputy, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl). Mr. Gaidzik described various motions and actions taken by the County Supervisors, including motions by Supervisor Kuehl to make the PLACE program permanent and to establish gender-affirming healthcare in the County; the Board’s adoption of the LA River Master Plan; and the ongoing work on the West LA Commons project, which Mr. Gaidzik explained is in the initial EIR scoping phase.
8.6. From PPCC Advisors.
8.6.1. Jack Coleman (Youth). The Chair thanked the Youth Advisor for all of his help. Jack Coleman noted that this is his last meeting and it has been rewarding and fulfilling to serve on PPCC for the last two years, especially his work on the Candidates Forum and the video related to the proposal for housing the homeless on Will Rogers State Beach. He thanked the Chair and Secretary for their support and for giving him college recommendations. He will be attending Dartmouth College and is still available via email. The President-Elect thanked the outgoing Youth Advisor and asked him to submit a review of his work and tasks so as to serve as a roadmap/guide for future youth advisors. The Secretary also thanked him for his service.
8.6.2. Patti Post (Transportation). Update on Gladstones project. See report: http://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Update-on-Gladstones-Project6-23-1.pdf
The Chair summarized the report as Ms. Post was unable to attend. He emphasized the importance of having a bus turnaround service at the parking lot in this location. The developer’s representative has confirmed that the chosen plan does provide for a bus turnaround.
9. Reports from Committees – None.
10. Old Business – None.
11. New Business.
11.1. Introduction to new LAFD West Bureau command: Assistant Chief Dean Zipperman and Deputy Chief/West Bureau Commander Richard Fields IV. See Item 8.5.1 above.
11.2. Motion to support Council File 20-1376-S3 (Buscaino)/proposed ban on camping near libraries, sponsored by the Executive Committee. See Attachment (background & motion text).
The Chair introduced and read the motion. No second was necessary as the motion was made by a committee of more than one voting member. The Secretary briefly summarized the background for the motion. Discussion was called. Andrew Wolfberg (Area 8 1st Alternate): Will there be any problem with the consent decree? The Secretary: This motion calls for the City Attorney to draft an ordinance; the City Attorney did so in connection with a similar motion to ban camping in the PROW near schools and has issued a report which she understands addressed any issues involving consent decrees, the Boise case and/or compliance with all legal requirements. If the motion passes the City Attorney will draft an ordinance and prepare a similar report in this case as well.
Quorum was then re-established and a vote was taken: Result: Unanimous in favor of the motion.
12. Adjournment. The meeting was adjourned at 7:55 pm.
ATTACHMENT – Item 6:
|PPCC Treasurer’s Report May 31, 2021 – June 1, 2022|
Beginning Balance 5/31/2021
|Ending Balance 6/1/2022||$56,024|
Increase in Funds
Contributions – Legal
|Legal Expenses Related to Homeless at Beach||$1,744|
|Surplus Legal Donations||$24,453|
Contributions – Other
Citizen of the Year Revenue
|Citizen of the Year Expenses||$6,323|
|Loss on Citizen Dinner||-$4,003|
|P.O. Box Rental||$216|
|Web Services and Tech Support||$1,593|
Total Ordinary Expenses
Legal Donations Less Legal Expense, Plus Misc Donations,
|Less CoY Loss, Less Ordinary Expenses = Increase in Funds for the Year||
ATTACHMENT – Item 11.2:
“Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) strongly supports the motion in Council File 20-1376-S3 (Buscaino) for an ordinance amending LAMC Sections 41.18 and 56.01 to prohibit sitting, lying, sleeping, and storing personal property in or upon any street, sidewalk or other public-right-of-way within 500 ft. of a library.”