MINUTES FROM JANUARY 26th 2023
1. Call to Order and Reading of Community Council’s Mission.
The President called the meeting to order at 6:03pm. Karen Ridgley read the PPCC Mission Statement.
2. Roll-call of Board members and Certification of Quorum.
Voting members present: Maryam Zar, David Card, Jenny Li, Beth Holden-Garland, Randy Young, Murray Levy, Diana Danielle, Haldis Toppel, Karen Ridgley, Kimberly Bloom, Quentin Fleming, Julie Silliman, Rick McGeagh, Chris Spitz, John Padden, Nina Kidd, Greg Heidt, Richard Blumenberg, Shirley Haggstrom, Courtney Macker.
Non-voting Alternates present: Kevin Niles, Joanna Spak, Michael Edlen, Nancy Niles, Daphne Gronich, Sue Kohl.
3. Introduction of attendees.
The President noted Deborah Hong from LADWP and Alex Helou, Assistant Director at LA Sanitation, as attending the meeting and making presentations.
4. Approval of Minutes: The January 12, 2023 minutes were approved with one amendment which was to correct that language of the IKE motion which passed at the last meeting.
5. Consideration of Agenda & Upcoming Meetings:
The agenda was considered as presented. The President noted highlights of upcoming meetings: February 9: Congressman Brad Sherman, Donna Arrechea – LA City 311 App.
March 23: Presentation by Brian Hale, LADOT Chief of Parking Enforcement and Tim Fremaux, Sr. Transportation Engineer, LADOT – to discuss parking issues as well as crosswalks and updates on intersections. The President reminded the board to send in their questions for Donna Arrechea.
6. Treasurer’s Report.
Randy Young reported that all expenses from the Holiday event have been paid and our account balance is $54,250. Next month he will take the finances to get our filing done for end of year tax returns.
7. General Public Comment. None
8. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
8.1. From the Chair/Presiding Officer.
8.1.1. The President informed the board that the Department of Cannabis Regulation will be notifying PPCC (and BCC) when businesses receive temporary approvals to operate in our community. This was noticed to us by CM Traci Park’s office to whom we had made this request (following the “Cookies” cannabis dispensary which opened on San Vicente Blvd., in Brentwood).
8.1.2. The President announced that she would be appointing three members to the Joint BCC Committee to work on all common matters related to cannabis dispensaries. BCC has appointed four people. Haldis Toppel (Area 3 Rep) volunteered for PPCC.
8.1.3. The President provided a recap of the PAB board meeting which took place the day before. She informed the board that per RAP, the park staff had contacted County Vector Control, and someone had come out and tested the water. They had determined that the recent rains had flushed out the standing water and there was no trace of mosquitos or evidence of staid water at the time of the visit. But the water was treated, and plans are in place for regular vector control visits until further notice.
The PAB board was also told that various instances and locations of soil slippage were known to the BOE team and were being addressed. RAP informed the PAB board that the contractor had not yet taken over park management from LA BOE, but when they do, Maintenance Supervisor, Robert Buenrostro, will be reporting to the PAB regularly.
On the topic of park ranger support, the PAB moved to ask that Potrero Park be deemed a “Regional Park” and with it, receive all the resources available and appropriate for such a designation, including ranger support (and Quimby money for ADA compliant bathrooms). Bathrooms, fencing and other matters were also noted and being addressed.
8.1.4. The President said she was going to impart to the board her contemporaneous impression of the LADWP scoping meeting after having listened to the public event, but in light of DWP’s announcement tonight thinks it is now not necessary.
8.1.5. The President encouraged all to write-in as public comment to council file 23-4118-S1 at: https://cityclerk.lacity.org/publiccomment/?cfnumber=23-4118-S1 which designates “prohibited locations” for the enforcement of 41.18. (the amended version of which no longer requires prohibited locations to be specified as a requisite for enforcement), and said PPCC had written its own letter as well. [See: https://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/PPCC-41.18-further-letter.pdf.]
8.1.6. The President provided an update regarding conversations with State officials since our last meeting and the motion to get our State reps to help bring the City and Caltrans together over the lateral trail (plan and costs). She announced that she and two other Board members had met with Sen. Ben Allen’s staff to review the lateral trail and to go over what we need from them in order to bring everyone together — especially, to get Caltrans and the City to enter into a collaborative agreement so that BOE can have access to assess the feasibility of the trail and provide to this community an estimate of time and costs.
8.1.7. Formation of Potrero Canyon Community Committee (for monitoring or oversight) to monitor issues in the canyon and to streamline communication with the City so that the City knows what those issues are and can address them as they arise.
- Jenny Li (Vice-President)
- Dave Card (Chair Emeritus)
- Chris Spitz (At-large Rep)
- Rob Weber (Legal Advisor)
- Julie Silliman (Area 7 Rep)
- Cindy Simon (Area 6 Rep)
- Caroline Wittcoff (West rim resident)
- Sue Kohl (Area 5 1st Alternate)
- Rick McGeagh (PPBA Rep & Area 7 1st Alternate)
- John Padden (Palisades PRIDE Rep)
8.1.8. The President proposed a discussion of formation of a Street Services Priority Committee comprised of Area reps (a similar committee was formed in 2005 and was very effective). The consensus was to wait until the upcoming discussion with Donna Arrechea from LA 311 to see if this committee would be useful or if the 311 app is now effective enough that we do not need a prioritizing committee, since things have changed so much. Rick McGeagh said the city street leading up to the Palisades Recreation Center needs paving and was wondering if we were to have a list of priorities, could we hasten these street services. There was another huge pothole in front of the American Legion and the post office. Brian Espin suggests we continue to use the 311 app, which records all submissions.
8.1.9. The President offered her own, as well as the community’s, heartfelt condolences on the passing of David Morena, who was one of the founders of the PPTFH, and spearheaded the very first PIT Count held by Pacific Palisades, exceeding expectations and setting the standard for homeless count organization. He will be missed and we offer our deepest sympathies to Kim Clary and her family. Our condolences to Kim Clary, the community and to PPTFH.
8.2. From Officers
8.2.1. Jenny Li (Vice-President) reported that she had met with the new joint Palisades/Malibu Chamber Vice President, Robyn Ritter Simon, and announced that they are looking for Palisadian board members. Jenny suggested that Palisadians get involved and become members. She offered people to email her for more information and to be put in touch with the new chamber people.
8.2.2. Beth Holden-Garland (Secretary) reported that we have set up an Instagram account for PPCC (@pacPalicc), and encouraged everyone to click over and follow us.
8.3. From At-Large and Area Representatives – None.
8.4. From Organizational Representatives
8.4.1. Rick McGeagh (PPBA Rep) announced that PPBA had a record number of kids participating in evaluations, and that baseball season will begin (with 520 kids participating) on Feb 11th and the pancake breakfast will be on March 18.
8.4.2. Shirley Haggstrom (TCA Rep) invited everyone to join TCA on Sunday, January 29 for an historic hike to Murphy Ranch (about four miles). Bring water and a snack, and wear sturdy shoes. Meet on Latimer Rd., see also https://temcanyon.org .
8.5. From Government Offices / Representatives
8.5.1. Brian Espin, LAPD Senior Lead Officer for Pacific Palisades, reported that there have been five burglaries reported so far in January, and that is higher than the same month last year. Please be vigilant, make sure you lock doors and clear areas that may provide climbing or scaling opportunities to upstairs or balconies. Tesla vehicles have recording feature (sentry mode) that can be helpful in solving crimes. Please leave those on. Courtney Macker (PPRA Rep) reported on RVs on Via Floresta. Brian Espin said he would drive over and make sure he is informed and aware.
8.5.2. Michael Amster, CD11 Field Deputy, Councilmember Traci Park, introduced himself to the community, and said he just started on Friday after working for ASM Mike Fong. He feels “an amazing energy” at the Councilmember’s office and pledged he would be active in Pacific Palisades and Brentwood. He announced that the CD11 office has already housed over 100 people in Venice and is working hard to impact homelessness. He will be helping us with city services and attending PPCC meetings going forward. He pledged his support and attention to our two communities.
8.5.3. Taleen Keuroghlian, Congressman Brad Sherman, Field Representative for the area, introduced herself and explained that the Palisades is a new neighborhood for Congressman Brad Sherman. Described their field services out of the Sherman Oaks office and invited all to the Telephone Town Hall on February 2nd. Confirmed that Congressman Sherman will be at the next PPCC meeting and will be taking questions.
8.6. From PPCC Advisors and WRAC Representatives – None.
9. Reports from Committees.
9.1. Holiday Event Committee. Haldis Toppel, Committee Chair, reported that the 2022 Holiday and Gala event was a success and made back most of its expenditures. The committee had budgeted selling 130 tickets and sold 96. The event emerged with a $400 loss. A detailed report of costs and income has been sent to Randy Young, Treasurer and will be studied for next year. Haldis thanked the members of the Event Committee and the board for their support. The President said she made up for the $400 shortfall in real time with an online donation.
10. Old Business – None.
11. New Business.
11.1. Smoking on film/movie sets.
Larry Watts, Brentwood Community Council (BCC) Vice Chairman, made a presentation to the board regarding the widespread smoking that is common on film sets. He informed the board that a BCC board member had seen someone smoking on a film set in a Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone in Brentwood and brought this to the attention of the off-duty LAPD officer providing security on the set. The Officer ignored the violation and said enforcing the ordinance was “not his job.” Mr. Watts informed us that permits issued by FilmLA include language requiring film production companies to comply with applicable laws and regulations, but enforcement of LAMC § 57.4908.6, which prohibits smoking, seems to slip through the cracks.
Chris Spitz (PPCC At-large Rep) made a motion for PPCC to consider [see text below]. Maryam Zar seconded the motion. Chris Spitz announced that the BCC, PPCC and Bel Air-Beverly Crest NC have each adopted similar resolutions urging the City to bring this matter to the attention of film set crews and managers. Larry Watts informed PPCC about the recent motion passed by BCC, prohibiting smoking on film sets in/near the VHFHSZs and asking the City’s Film Coordinator and Industry Liaison to ensure proper enforcement of no smoking on film sets, through the authority of the Motion Picture and Television Manager.
A vote was taken and the motion below passed unanimously by the PPCC board, as follows:
“WHEREAS the entirety of Pacific Palisades is in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone (VHFHSZ);
WHEREAS outdoor smoking is prohibited in the VHFHSZ;
WHEREAS, permits for film shoots are regularly issued by FilmLA for locations within a VHFHSZ;
WHEREAS, film permits can and do contain special conditions for numerous locations within the City;
WHEREAS, there are currently no special conditions limiting smoking included in film permits issued by FilmLA for locations within a VHFHSZ; and
WHEREAS, the Board of Public Works has a dedicated Motion Picture and Television Manager, to act as the FilmLA contract administrator;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) urges the Motion Picture and Television Manager for the Board of Public Works to require FilmLA to include a specific no outdoor smoking prohibition in all film permits issued for locations within a VHFHSZ.”
11.2. George Wolfberg Park at Potrero Canyon (GWPPC).
The President brought up discussion and possible motion on the two issues below.
A) Signage: Linking QR code to GWPPC family information and signage.
B) Biking – Electric, battery operated or motorized bikes and scooters to be prohibited; pedal bikes and non-motorized scooters allowed only on the 12-ft. wide, main pedestrian trail (“no motorized vehicles” LAMC section added to the signage).
C) Wires and plastic pipe(s) sticking out along the pedestrian pathway – city to address.
Dave Card suggested that we table these items and, instead, send them to the newly formed oversight committee to discuss these issues in a complete way and bring recommendations/committee consensus to the PPCC board. Chris Spitz concurred. Julie Silliman says it’s clear that some additional park signs are needed because prohibited behavior is occurring at the park, but the signs need to be coordinated with what’s already there so we don’t have too much signage. Tone and visuals are important and QR codes are a good thing to have on signs and can be helpful as a tool to offer additional information. In our case, it might be an issue to see what website to connect to: LA City’s website or the Wolfberg family website which is also linked on our website and which Dianne Wolfberg (resident; in attendance) also put in the chat. The President suggested that this will be discussed at the new committee with suggestions/recommendations brought to the board. Dave Card concurred that we should guard against “sign pollution”, and all agreed that these issues should go to the new committee for discussion. Diane Wolfberg also suggested that we keep photographs of the development/evolution of the park and its plantings as they grow.
11.3. Alex Helou, LA Sanitation.
Mr. Helou and Paul Cobian of LA Sanitation gave a Power Point presentation on recycling and the new curbside composting program. [See the presentation here: https://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/Pacific-Palisades-CC-01262023.pdf.]
11.4. Deborah Hong, LADWP Community Affairs Liaison.
Ms. Hong announced that she would turn the presentation over to Katherine Rubin, LADWP Director of Environmental Affairs. The presentation was intended to be focused on the impending Environmental Study on the proposed substation at the property owned by LADWP on Marquez Avenue, next to Marquez Charter Elementary School. However, Ms. Rubin read a statement announcing that there would be no presentation because LADWP was going back to “model the options” for Pacific Palisades, and would return to the community and work with us to consider a substation in the Palisades, because the community needs the provision of reliable electricity. The President allowed board and public comment, nonetheless. Before closing their presentation time, LADWP made clear that they did not make a presentation at PPCC on this day because they would not be going forward with the Environmental Study for the proposed Marquez site for a substation, and while they did not say the location was no longer an option, they did say that they were listening to the community feedback and were going to “remodel” their options. Ms. Rubin encouraged everyone to continue to comment at DS104.CEQA@ladwp.com, and to please include name and email. [See the video of the announcement and Q/A here: https://youtu.be/kqfm06cxutQ.]
12. Adjournment. The President adjourned the meeting at 8:10pm.