MINUTES FROM FEBRUARY 9th 2023
1. Call to Order and Reading of Community Council’s Mission.
The meeting was called to order at 6:03pm. Beth Holden-Garland read the Community Council mission.
2. Roll-call of Board members and Certification of Quorum.
The Chair certified that there was quorum.
Voting members in Attendance: Maryam Zar, David Card, Jenny Li, Randy Young, Beth Holden-Garland, Murray Levy, Steve Cron. Haldis Toppel, Karen Ridgley, Kimberly Bloom, Julie Silliman, Reza Akef, Chris Spitz, John Padden, Nina Kidd, Alisa Wolfson, Richard Blumenberg, Shirley Haggstrom, Genevieve Bostic, Courtney Macker, Rick McGeagh.
Non voting board members in attendance: Joanna Spak, Bruce Schwartz, Michael Edlen, Sue Kohl, Daphne Gronich, Ryan Craig, Jessica Rogers.
3. Introduction of attendees.
US Congressman, Brad Sherman
Joey Castruita, LADWP Water Systems Superintendent
4. Approval of Minutes: The January 26, 2023 were approved as presented
5. Consideration of Agenda & Upcoming Meetings.
The agenda was considered as presented.
6. Treasurer’s Report.
Randy Young reported that PPCC has $53,790.63 as of February 1, 2023. The Treasurer reported that he is putting together annual information for our accountant and will go over that at the appropriate time.
7. General Public Comment. None
8. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
8.1. From the Chair/Presiding Officer.
8.1.1. The President announced she’s been informed by the Council Office that Streets LA is willing to meet with us and discuss the elements of the new street furniture/bus shelter program that we would not like to see implemented here in PP.
8.1.2. The President informed everyone that she and a few others have met with ASM Irwin to talk about the need to bring Caltrans and BOE to the table over access and forward plans/engineering foe the lateral trail. She further said that Sen ben Allen’s office had informed her that they had a meeting set up with Caltrans after having discussed joint matters with the office of Traci Park, but Caltrans cancelled that meeting at the last minute. A call is being planned for new updates and both State Assemblymember Irwin, and State Senator Allen are now working and pressing on our behalf to bring the parties together and asses next steps for the lateral trail connecting Potrero Canyon Park to the beach.
8.1.3. The President announced that the first meeting of the Potrero Canyon Park Oversight Committee had convened, and members had laid out the purpose of the committee and the scope of its work. Members worked well together and laid out early goals which include working on signage and ensuring that dogs are not off-leash in the park (detrimental to the habitat and topography) but support the long-planned dog park in the Palisades. A letter has been sent on behalf of the community, following that meeting, and has already been acknowledged. (See letter: https://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/PCOC-letter-1.pdf ).
8.2. From Officers.
8.2.1. Jenny Li, VP, reported that she has set up an email for the Potrero Canyon Oversight Committee (PCOC): firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a repository for emails where we will collect suggestions and input from the community regarding Potrero Canyon, discuss within the committee, and field to the appropriate agencies for maximum effect, engagement and responsiveness. There will be an auto response that writers will receive, and be assured that we have received their communication, and the committee will address their concerns/observations.
Jenny also reported on the Malibu Palisades Chamber but noted that after conversations with the new Chamber folks, there seems to be little traction in the Palisades, even though they’ve been trying outreach among Palisades businesses. Noted that they are looking for Palisadians and encouraged board members to investigate membership. She also suggested that they make a presentation to the board.
Kimberly Bloom commented that the Potrero Committee needs to report to area reps so they can inform their constituents and respond to their queries. She would like to know where to go to see the repairs/improvements that are being down/issues been fixed. The President responded that those replies would come from the Committee, as information becomes available.
Kimberly also suggested that people join the Chamber. She said she’d be joining the Chamber and encouraged all others to do the same. The President suggested that Kimberly Bloom be in touch with the new Chamber leaders so she can help them develop some outreach strategies to Palisadian businesses. She believes the value proposition is the key factor in gaining new members. Suggested we list Chamber members who are Palisadian businesses. The President said that for as long as the Chamber is not a member of the PPCC board, we could not so that, but she would welcome a Chamber presentation to the board.
John Padden reminded all that the character of the Chamber has evolved from the brick-and-mortar presence to an online presence, the question is: what the Chamber is going to be able to do for local businesses. The question is, what is the value proposition?
8.2.2. Beth Holden-Garland, Secretary, reported that Instagram and Facebook are active, and asked all to please follow. We have most recently posted about a Community Clean-up on Saturday, March 4th, from 9 am to noon, hosted by the Palisades Y, the Palisades Ambassadors and the Village Green.
8.4. From At-Large and Area Representatives.
8.4.1. Haldis Toppel, Area Three Rep – spoke about the flooding during the LAWD presentation (see below).
8.4.2. Chris Spitz, At-large Rep – spoke about the need for a letter in support of proposed amendment to the ordinance that would codify PCP as a sunrise to sunset park. She submitted a letter as an individual and the PPCC subsequently submitted a letter to the Neighborhoods and Community Enrichment Committee of City Council (Hernandez, Lee, Hutt) on behalf of the organization, based on past principles. See the letter here: https://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/In-support-of-PC-hours-ordinance.pdf
8.4.3. Karen Ridgley, Area Four Rep – reported that the Asilomar Bluffs had some graffiti sprayed on benches. She reported it to 311 and it has been cleaned. She has also reported the continuing wood/log dump along Temescal Canyon Rd., but has been told she needs an address, which the location does not have. The President said she’d inquire with Donna Arrechea of 311 as to how to flag the request in the appropriate category (illegal dumping without a specific address). Karen Ridgley noted that these dumpings are unsafe as well as a blight.
She also reported that the Asilomar View Park will undergo a major project to stabilize the bluff. A start date has not yet been provided but it will take 270 days to finish. The President shared the power point that was sent to us with respect to the project and the timeline. (See https://pacpalicc.org/index.php/presentations-to-ppcc/ )
8.4.4. Reza Akef, Area Eight Rep, reported a swastika having been spray painted on his construction sight bordering Potrero Canyon. He said the four-foot fence currently installed is an issue because it is a lower height than the private fences that are six feet high, and the step effectively creates a ladder into people’s yards. Reza has discussed this with BOE and they are also worried about this height discrepancy. The issue of fence security, he says, must be addressed.
8.5. From Organizational Representatives.
8.5.1. YMCA – the President reported that a community gardening event will be held at the Village Green, Saturday March 4, 9-noon, sponsored by YMCA and the Palisades Ambassadors
8.5.2. PPBA – Sue Kohl reported that the PPBA breakfast date has been changed to March 11th.
8.5.3. TCA – Shirley Haggstrom and Randy Young reported that TCA hike last week went very well.
8.6. From Government Offices / Representatives.
8.6.1. Brian Espin, LAPD Senior Lead Officer for Pacific Palisades:
SLO Espin reported on the attempted rape at Will Rogers each on Saturday at 6:30pm. A woman was approached by the suspect, put his hand on her mouth and threatened her with sexual assault while brandishing a bladed weapon (knife or box cutter). He forced her to walk up toward the street. She was able to create distance and broke away. The victim struggled away and fled. The suspect returned to the beach without pursuing her. A formal bulletin with a sketch of the perpetrator was created and will be circulated in the detectives’ formal bulletin. The President posted that attached sketch for board members.
Last week, crime was up with 5 burglaries and 6 auto related crimes. Espin spoke with detectives for any trends or patterns. None detected. Detectives have made an arrest on a burglary a few weeks ago, which has turned out to be related to a South End gang. Burglars are disabling power to the house (from back yard access) and disable Wi-Fi cameras. This also limits notifications, so LAPD recommends putting a lock on the area where power feeds into your home Wi-Fi. Mentioned the Sentry mode of Tesla cars again. Those have been helpful to detectives. Also suggest security cameras facing toward the street.
The President asked about a car accident at Paul Revere Middle School involving a student. SLO Espin reported that a student in the crosswalk was hot by a car driven by a parent who was turning right on red struck the child, who sustained severe leg injuries and was transported to the hospital. The President expressed alarm at the incident.
Courtney Macker, Organizational Representative for PPRA was concerned about the attempted rape and questioned why it took so long for SLO Espin to report about the crime and send a bulletin to the community. She said, “this is very alarming and completely unacceptable.” She said the fact that the community knows more than LAPD SLO does, is worrisome. She wanted to know the pepper spray she apparently spared to get away was not included in the report. SLO Espin explained that he received the information form the crime report, which did not mention any pepper spray deployed. Espin explained that he did not interview the victim in order to not retraumatize her since the detectives had already handled the case and spoken to the victim. He admitted that there was a lapse in communication to the community, due to SLO Espin being off duty and in the dessert camping with his son, but that he shared in his report on Monday, all the vetted and allowable information he was given by LAPD command.
Courtney followed up by mentioning that crimemapping.com reported the attempted the rape almost immediately. She asked why it took Espin 12 hours to report. Espin explained that “crimemapping” reflects all filed reports, as they are made. Espin admitted that there was a lapse in communication and understood the frustration and said LAPD command was going to review communications strategy.
The President informed the board that Captain Heredia had reached out to her and admitted that there was a failure of communication and that they would be addressing that. She said she had suggested a community meeting on public safety to report new strategies to the community and also hear community concerns as they work on better, more swift, communications with the community on public safety.
Jessica Rogers, Alternate for PPRA, warned SLO Espin that the community had become used to a “different level of expertise” and communication with the community, and she didn’t feel that he was delivering the same standard of communication. She mentioned that Officer Redican had brought this information to some in the community, and she would like to know if the dedicated beech patrol mentioned by Captain Heredia as having been allocated to the community, is still intact. She restated that there is a shortage of staff at LAPD and she’d like to partner with SLO Espin on public safety but feels that too many things “fall through the cracks.”
SLO Espin confirmed that the beech patrol is dedicated to the Palisades and is in fact still operating in the Palisades. Two of the four officers are now being called away to other high crime areas on the westside, but are still out there, in the Palisades. There were two officers on the beach on the day of the rape incident, but not at the time of the attempted rape.
The President asked SLO Espin to review the officers who are part of the beach patrol. Espin informed the board that they included, Officer Bermudez (P3), Officer Vaije (probationary Officer), Officer Kufian and Officer Liam. SLO Espin made clear that the beach patrol also scours the bluffs and the village.
Kimberly Bloom, Area Five Rep, asked about police activity on Hartzell. SLO Espin had no information but said he would check on it.
Nina Kidd, Organizational Rep for Friends of the Library, asked about mailbox robberies. SLO Espin said these are federal crimes that are handled by the Postmaster.
Francine and Roger Diamond, residents in Area Six, asked for PPCC help in contacting CD11 and Traci Park in order to talk about bluffs erosion – an issue they had brought to her attention during campaigning and after the election, but have been unable to reach her or her staff. Michael Amster, CD11 Brentwood/Pacific Palisades Field Deputy, was on the call and said he would follow up. The President said she would put them in email touch.
Chris Spitz confirmed that she has seen the beach patrol officers on the beach and thanks them for their service. She also informs the board that there are contact numbers for the federal post office on our website.
Krishna Thangavelu, PPCC WRAC PSEPC Committee, suggests there must be a crisis communication methodology that works. Notes that the lifeguard station was also broken into this week, and asks for the county to set up cameras, and asks ultimately, how safe is the beach. She echoes a worry that there isn’t enough policing in the Palisades, which she characterized as “rationing” across an estimated at 26 square miles. Reiterates that the Palisades is vulnerable with Santa Monica and Malibu being better staffed. Would like to push for adequate staffing of LAPD.
8.6.2. Zac Gaidzik, Deputy, County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath, District 3. Not present.
8.6.3. Michael Amster, CD11 Field Deputy, Councilmember Traci Park joins us for the first time to report on CD11 matters. He informed us that the soil slippage at Potrero Canyon Park is being addressed. A RAP Contractor is coming out on Feb 20th for a weeklong set of repairs, with gates closed. He reported that the DRB is looking for new members and the Council Office is looking to help. He mentioned the blockage of fire road access which have been encumbered by private residents, and have created a public safety issue. The President asked him to report back about that. Michael also reported about the Inside Safe initiative in which Traci Park is very involved, providing housing in the form of hotel vouchers and healthcare. They have moved 108 unsheltered people in Venice into temporary housing. Significant progress has also been made in Del Rey with 45 individuals moved into shelter; and trash has been removed from Ballina Wetlands, in partnership with CARE operations.
Francine Diamond reiterated the help they need from CM Park and the Council Office to address the park and bluffs close to their home, where landslides threaten the safety of homes and people. This is along an LA municipal park, and so they really need the city to respond. She mentioned previous assistance from CMs Rosendahl and Bonin through the years and would like to be sure CM Park is also going to be responsive.
The President put Fran and Roger in touch with Michael in real time, and sent the history of the issue to Michael Amster for follow up.
8.6.4. Nancy Frawley, Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin, Deputy. Not present
8.6.5. Rad Nowroozi, State Senator Ben Allen, SD24. Not present.
8.6.6. Taleen Keuroghlian, Congressman Brad Sherman, Deputy. Present and staffing the Congressman, but no comment.
8.6.7. Deborah Hong, Joey Castruita, Nathaniel Bautista, LADWP, reporting on the water main break and sink hole on Lachman Lane and Jacon Way on February 2nd, which resulted in street failure and closures.
Mr. Castruita reported that the pipe which broke was a 12” cast iron pipe which was installed in 1952, causing significant street damage and large amount flooding. Road and water main were repaired that night and temporary patch was done on the street in order to open up traffic. The street was in poor condition after more sinking, but half hour before this report, the permanent paving was completed. The street was excavated and compacted, and final paving was done, and crews completed the work at 6:15pm. They will be back to do some touch up on Marquez Terrace, but those will be done later as smaller jobs. The street is open now and permanent pavement placed.
Mr. Bautista reported that the pipe was 70 years old but still had some useful life left and the likelihood of another break in the area was low. They will continue to monitor and if anything changes, they will expedite the replacement of that main.
The President asked if there were monitors below ground to be able to foresee failures before they happen.
Mr. Castruita responded that LADWP uses modern technology to gauge pressure and other markets below ground to foresee leaks before they happen but have nothing in place that predicts breaks. When they have the chance to open the ground and test a pipe that breaks., they look further to examine the pipe and make an assessment.
Daphne Gronich, Area Four 2nd Alternate commented that street closure signage could be better to forewarn drivers that the road ahead is closed.
Mr. Castruita responded that this road was a challenge, and they could have done better with signage.
Haldis Toppel, Area 3 Primary rep thanked DWP for the quick response and repairs, as it impacted hundreds of homes up the hill that were locked in as a result of the street closure and flooding. She also thanked Michael Amster for being on the scene of February 2nd.
This is the first leak on this pipe in 70 years and if there is another leak they will expedite replacement, but this pipe is not on the 10-year replacement, at present. Mr. Bautista reiterated that pipes are monitored and if performance is compromised, they will correct.
Beth Holden-Garland asked about earthquake safety for these pipes. Mr. Bautista mentioned the various faults in the area and described an aggressive plan to replace pipes. They are adjusting to the threat appropriately and have plans in place.
8.7. From PPCC Advisors and WRAC Representatives.
8.7.1. K. Tanghavelu, PPCC Advisor to WRAC PSEPC, spoke about recent events at Will Rogers Beach. See 8.5.1. discussion above
8.7.2. KC Soll, PPCC Emergency Preparedness Liaison reminded the board that water will become an issue in a major earthquake 9cites the huge earthquake recently in Turkey which has cost tens of thousands of lives). She urges everyone to store water for emergency times. She suggests residents get together with neighbors and make sure that neighborhoods have 55-gallon water barrels (see www.sosproducts.com ) stored for emergency purposes. Also suggested community members take cert classes which will teach skills that might be helpful in an emergency.
8.7.3. Chris Spitz, WRAC VP, reported that there is an environmental group which is trying to prevent LADWP from exercising their water rights at the Mono Basin. There will be an online workshop on February 15th to discuss this issue. Written comments can be submitted up to March 17th. Contact Chris for more information.
9. Reports from Committees.
9.1. Palisades Forestry Committee.
David Card, Committee Chair, reported that they walked El Medio looking for street tree vacancies. This is an ongoing process, and they will reach out to the neighborhood to get people to sign up for free street trees. They are also getting a cost estimate for replacing tress and installing irrigation along the property line between the residents on Alma Real and Palisades Rec Center, since trees are dying there. There is now a funding issue by LADWP for trees throughout the city, but they are working on finding places for new trees, but it will take a while to get them installed by the city.
9.2. Potrero Canyon Oversight Committee.
9.2.1. John Padden, committee member, reported that the PCOC met and decided to act on important current and future issues on the park. There are 11 members on the committee, all with varying degrees of interest and advocacy skill. Our objective is to monitor community input, communicate that in an organized way to the city and to follow up for responsiveness. Our goal is to make sure that before the city hands off to a third-party contractor for maintenance, some of the important community issues are addressed. We will serve as a single point of communication to the City, so please use the email and be assured that we have received your email and will address all issues.
Padden reports that we addressed signage and usage guidelines and help enforce those. Dogs off the leash has been seen and we need to address this. Lastly, maintenance with gates, public safety, soil erosion and other priorities are on the table and being addressed.
10. Old Business.
10.1. [Palisades Dog Park.]. The President introduced discussion of the Palisades Dog Park and reiterated our support, especially in light of the new Potrero Canyon Park opening and people often using the park grounds as areas where they let their dogs off leash. The practice jeopardizes the health of the delicate riparian way and landscaping that is just beginning to take shape at the park, and for that reason, she would like a sense of the board as to enduring support for the dog park, and would like to reiterate the importance of the dog park to the Council Office, as the new CM hears from proponents of the park.
Leslie Campbell spoke about the importance of prioritizing the dog park with Councilmember Traci Park. She said she has spoken to Michael Amster recently, as well as to Traci Park six months ago, and expects to see their support as they make their way through important district issues.
11. New Business.
11.1. Bus Lane Parking Violation. The President noted that this issue is moot.
11.2. US Congressman, Brad Sherman, joined PPCC for a meet and greet. He spoke for approximately 10 minutes laying down his priorities and took questions for Maryam Zar, regarding Iran, Steve Cron regarding Israel, and Krishna Thangavelu regarding public safety and staffing. See the recording on our YouTube site: https://youtu.be/eHCYtP31H_s.
12. Adjournment. The meeting was adjourned at 8:10 pm.