MINUTES FROM APRIL 13th 2023
1. Call to Order and Reading of Community Council’s Mission. The meeting was called to order at 6:01pm. The PPCC mission was read by Sue Kohl. See PPCC Bylaws: http://pacpalicc.org/index.php/council–bylaws/.
2. Roll-call of Board members and Certification of Quorum.
Voting members present: Maryam Zar, Jenny Li, Beth Holden-Garland, Randy Young, David Card, Murray Levy, Steve Cron, Haldis Toppel, Karen Ridgley, Sue Kohl, Cindy Simon, Julie Silliman, Chris Spitz, John Padden, Nina Kidd, Eric Dugdale, Richard Blumenberg, Shirley Haggstrom, Courtney Macker.
Non-voting members present: Cindi Young, Joanna Spak, Michael Edlen, Daphne Gronich, Andrew Wolfberg, Mary Schultz, Barbara Kohn, Ryan Craig.
3. Introduction of attendees – none.
4. Approval of Minutes: March 23, 2023, were approved as distributed.
5. Consideration of Agenda & Upcoming Meetings: The agenda was considered as distributed.
6. Treasurer’s Report. Randy Young was unable to connect audio, though several attempts were made. The President announced that the Treasurer paid several bills this month, including the renewal of our insurance premium for $1,700 as well as bills to Miracle Data for technology support and the electronic election platform (using Zoho). She said she believes we need to speak as an organization about raising money, not because we need it but because she does not like to see the balance go down, and without some strategy for fundraising, we will not be able to replenish the costs associated with our operating expenses. She noted that the 50th anniversary of PPCC is this year and she suggested (referring to some of Beth Holden-Garland’s suggestions) that we work toward highlighting our work at this moment, and craft a PR campaign around our work. Sue Kohl [Area Five Alternate] suggested a Farmers Market presence. The President and the At-Large Rep [Chris Spitz] noted that PPCC did have a table and a presence at the Sunday Farmers Market, but it was difficult to get people to volunteer to staff the table. She also noted that the Potrero Canyon Oversight Committee (PCOC) also discussed PR and a strategy by which to inform the community about the work we/they do on behalf of the community. Karen Ridgley [Area Four Representative] also noted that people are not sufficiently aware of our work. She suggested posters in café or shop windows informing people of our meetings and our work. She suggested we need an area wide communication system. She said she has information she receives as Area Rep and doesn’t have a tool with which to inform her constituents. The President suggested a community-wide app, which might help inform people by way of new technology.
Chris Spitz [At-large Representative] reminded everyone that we have long attempted to reach out by email to inform people and get more social media traction. She suggested we ask for “donations” in the newsletter or habitually, as we have in the past. Jenny Li [Vice-Chair] agreed and asked to set up a monthly or recurring payment option.
Cindy Simon [Area Six Representative] said we need to be clear about “why” we want to fundraise – what is the point and how will it be used. She also wanted to know how much traffic comes to our website. The President said she can get analytics from the website (as well as the newsletter).
The President suggested we come up with a narrative as to what we do as a CC and all the reasons we are a valuable organization to which donations are important. People may donate simply to sustain our operating expenses, and/or to take action (as was the case with the opposition to Bonin’s efforts to bring homelessness to beach parking areas) or to support our work preserving all that we value about the Palisades.
Diana Danielle [Area Two 2nd Alternate], who is a publicist, suggested the Farmers Market would be a good neighborly personal touch, but we can also harness the power of social media and the press. She suggested we put more stories/articles in the local papers. The President reminded everyone that we have had a Facebook page for about 7 years (she set it up) and that we now have Instagram (Beth Holden-Garland). We had a strategy to build our audience, but we need new ideas and she’d like to set up an “Outreach Committee.” She said we get good coverage from the papers and media, and our social media is a reliable place to be informed about our work. Diana also suggested member highlights. She suggested more website content, more social media content and outreach.
Beth Holden-Garland [Secretary] talked about reconceptualizing our logo and updating our general outreach image. We need to reach out to people more often and ask people to pay into our organization almost like association dues, because we have a track record of delivering for the community.
Some discussion was had about an NC versus a CC, and the President noted that eight years ago we agendized this matter and had presentations and discussions. The board, at the time, agreed to remain a CC and noted all the benefits (including independence). Chris Spitz also reviewed that discussion and noted all the reasons why being a CC is important (including retaining the ability to speak directly to state lawmakers, which NCs are precluded from doing). The President also noted that city funding which is supposed to flow to NCs does not always flow (in her experience as former Chair of the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils (WRAC) which Chris Spitz now Vice-Chairs. Sue Kohl recalled that discussion and reminded everyone that there is real value in the work we do. She urged that everyone on the PPCC donate and be reminded to do so.
Mary Schultz shared the Pacific Palisades Garden Club’s (PPGC) challenges with outreach and said she’d be happy to join the Outreach Committee. Karen Ridgley suggested we work though PTAs. The President invited Alisa Wolfson and Daphne Gronich to speak about this, but she noted that, while parent groups do a great deal of outreach to raise money, they are limited in the messaging that they are able to push out on behalf of the community. Alisa Wolfson, the Education Alternate, noted that unless it pertains specifically to the school, information is hard to put in their communication, but some community news can probably be done in that way.
Cindy Kirven, co-President of the Village Green, announced that at their quarterly board meeting they resolved to extend an invitation to the PPCC to celebrate alongside them in August for a program that includes a history of the Palisades, art, awareness raising, and a general celebration of the “Sweet and the Serious.” The President thanked Cindy and the Village Green board and welcomed the opportunity to work together.
The President said she would form an Outreach Committee to work on both fundraising as well as the 50th anniversary. Julie Silliman informed the board that Rustic Canyon will also be celebrating their 100th anniversary and the Pacific Palisades Historical Society is celebrating 50 years. The President suggested we might use a survey platform (perhaps Zoho) to see what the Community would like to do by way of a joint community celebration and pledged to reach out to members to form an Outreach Committee.
7. General Public Comment – none.
8. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
8.1. From the Chair/Presiding Officer. All deferred.
8.2. From Officers and Chair Emeritus.
8.2.1. Jenny Li [Vice-Chair] – none.
8.2.2. David Card [Chair Emeritus] – none.
8.2.3. Beth Holden-Garland [Secretary]. Reminded everyone to visit our social media on Instagram and Facebook and shared an idea about posting emergency preparedness resources in various posts, at different intervals, on our social media.
8.3. From At-Large and Area Representatives.
8.3.1. Karen Ridgley, Area Four Representative, reported that the City finally cleared 17.6 tons of illegally dumped wood from Temescal Canyon Roadside this week after she went beyond 311 and called Luis Moreno, Supervisor of Sanitation, directly. Cindy Kirven showed video and pictures she had taken which displays company names and license plates of the violators. The information was sent to SLO Espin, and the board said they hoped this would make a difference. The President said she would share it with the Council Office for action. She also said community outreach and a community awareness campaign might help inform people not to dump or take the wood.
8.3.2. Steve Cron, Area Two Representative, announced that the CA Coastal Commission had a hearing about the trailhead restroom facilities in the Highlands. This has been a long-standing issue for the Palisades, and the Community Council has taken a position on the matter, asking for City and State agencies to take control of the rest area and manage it as a public resource. Steve said he and Shirley Haggstrom (representing TCA, the oldest environmental organization in the Palisades) both spoke at the meeting, noting the unkempt state of the bathrooms and facilities at the trailhead and the need for the Coastal Commission to act in defense of public safety. The result of the hearing was a Consent Agreement, that was entered into with the company that owns the facility to transfer title to the City of LA. The City of LA has been tasked to find a nonprofit entity to take over the management of that bathroom and transform it to a hygienic set of facilities at the trailhead. “Today was a fantastic conclusion to this saga.” The President also acknowledged the role of the TCA in this process, and Shirley Haggstrom, TCA rep, noted their ongoing support of this outcome.
8.3.3. Murray Levy, Area One Representative, reported that lack of traffic and parking rules enforcement on PCH led to a deadly accident this weekend. In addition, he notified the board of a planned large-scale excavation and development in Area 1, with a hearing planned for April 19th. See new business item below.
8.3.4. Cindy Simon, Area Six Representative, reported her findings regarding Potrero Canyon, including slope slippage repairs that she has identified, graffiti clean-up, the maintenance of the self-cleaning bathrooms, the importance of weeding (which the PCOC is attempting to monitor) and the need to keep dogs on a leash. The President asked Cindy to provide regular updates about what she sees on her daily walks in the canyon, her endless efforts to improve the park, and her talks with both City engineers/workers and residents who are in the park, in order to monitor improvements and repairs, and use and enjoyment, as the Park evolves. Cindy informed the board that people seem to be enjoying the park. Dogs off leash continues to be an issue (particularly on the grassy lawn) and the President said again that community outreach and an informational campaign may benefit Potrero Canyon Park. Dave Card [Chair Emeritus] also thanked Cindy Simon, and suggested that the tiered erosion remedy the city has undertaken (per photos shown by Cindy Simon), will help with down-slope water drainage and help secure the hillside. He also suggested that the community might wish to write to the Council Office in support of a Palisades Dog Park, in order to help curb dogs off leash at Potrero Canyon Park.
8.3.5. Julie Silliman, Area Seven Representative. SM Canyon Association in-person annual meeting with Traci Park and Randy Young on May 9th, from 7 – 9pm.
Dave Card informed the board that Rustic Canyon is celebrating its 100th anniversary in May (opening the time capsule) and again in October. And Rustic Canyon will have a clean-up on April 22, from 11am to 3pm.
The President noted that this represented yet another element of a huge community celebration and asked Julie, Dave and Cindy Kirven to come together to plan a big community celebration, in conjunction with her and other organizations.
8.4. From Organizational Representatives
8.4.1. Ryan Craig, Resilient Palisades, announced an Earth Day Celebration on Sunday, April 13th, from 8am to noon, at The Village Green. It will be a morning of fun and education of all things eco-friendly. There will be vegan food, info on native plants, gas leaf blowers and give away of kitchen pails for composting. He asked all to join in and celebrate Earth Day.
8.5. From Government Offices / Representatives
8.5.1. Jose Bermudez, LAPD Pacific Palisades Beach Detail officer, announced that LAPD has implemented foot beats at Potrero Canyon. They have noticed many dogs off leash and are being challenged with enforcement. He said they have been verbally warning people but will begin to cite for the violation, because it is unsafe.
He noted the new information that has been made available surrounding the illegal dumping at Temescal Canyon Road will help LAPD issue citations. Also asked Palisadians to warn or inform their own brush clearance contractors not to drop any wood in the Palisades. He said there is a cost to dumping elsewhere so perhaps companies either don’t know or are taking advantage of this unmonitored dumping site, but communication and awareness can help. The President noted that here again, community awareness and a community interface will be very helpful.
Crime report: There was a robbery with a firearm. The Robbery/Homicide detectives have taken over the investigation. As of now, there is no threat to the location, but investigation is ongoing. Officer Bermudez reviewed more of the weekly crime report and reported that another burglary suspect was arrested and charged with a hate crime. This will now be a felony crime.
8.6. From PPCC Advisors and WRAC Representatives – none.
9. Reports from Committees.
9.1. The Potrero Canyon Oversight Committee (PCOC). Jenny Li reported that work on communication continues to be done and updates can be seen on the tab on the website. She thanked Chris Spitz for her efforts ensuring updates are drafted and posted.
10. Old Business – none.
11. New Business:
11.1. Discussion & Vote [Bylaws Amendments].
Bylaws Committee Vice-Chair, Andrew Wolfberg, presented the first distribution of the Bylaws Committee proposed amendments to PPCC Bylaws Appendix, adding Palisades Forestry Committee (PFC) and Palisades Americanism Parade Association (PAPA) to our organizational rotations. He explained that Committee members Andy Frew and David Card recused themselves from Bylaws Committee deliberations because each is a member of one of the organizations at issue for this proposed amendment. He further explained that the President had affirmed that Palisades Beautiful no longer satisfied the requisite organizational structure to remain in Appendix A and would therefore be removed upon admission of the PAPA and PFC to the Service Clubs and Culture & Aesthetics categories, respectively. This would create two categories that each have four rotating organizational members, as reflected in Appendix A. Andrew explained that a 2/3rds majority vote is required to pass any amendment to the Bylaws, including this vote to amend Appendix A.
The Bylaws Committee motion and vote for Board adoption of amendments will take place during the second distribution of the proposed amendments, on April 27th, 2022. The following documents were distributed concurrently with the meeting agenda, and posted to our website alongside email notification to all board members:
1) Committee Report: https://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/04-07-2023-Report-of-PPCC-Bylaws-Committee.pdf (and see below – Attachment).
2) Amendments “Redline”: https://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Red-Line-PPCC-BYLAWS.-4.2023.pdf (The President noted the typographic error in Palisades Americanism Parade Association.)
3) Amendments “Clean”: https://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Clean-copy-PPCC-BYLAWS.-4.2023.pdf (The President noted the typographic error in Palisades Americanism Parade Association.)
The President reiterated that she had reached out to Palisades Beautiful and informed them that she would be talking them out of Appendix A, but would welcome them – or any Palisades organization – back with an application to join our board at any time.
11.2. Discussion and Possible Motion [Area One Development].
Area One Primary Rep, Murray Levy, and Alternate, Cindi Young, reported that the residents of the area are being impacted by a massive development that was approved at a Planning Commission meeting last September. The HOA has appealed this ruling and a hearing is set for Wednesday, April 19th. The location of the proposed development is on the site of a massive landslide. Murray and Cindi cite large scale excavation that will block roadways and entirely isolate people in the neighborhood. The two Representatives ask the PPCC to support their request for an EIR and urge the City to be mindful of the narrow hillside streets that will be encumbered by the massive scale of excavation and construction. This is the main artery in and out of the entire neighborhood of Castellammare. They also cite the unsafe conditions and the landslide characteristics of the hillside location for the development, and urge the City to support an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Cindy informed the board that there is currently only an MND on file, and the city has not required more. She also described that there will be a retaining wall constructed next to the bulkhead, and that this will jeopardize the integrity of and access to the bulkhead and pose a threat to the safety of the entire community. She notes that they are not against development, but expect the City to ensure that it is done responsibly.
Murray noted the “insanity” of building large houses on an active landslide.
The President noted that PPCC does not generally take positions on private building projects, but we do ask all developers/builders and the city to adhere to all regulations and ordinances in place and to scrupulously enforce them, making sure that any excavation is done in a way that protects the streets and the public right of way, as well as the integrity of access routes to and from communities.
She also noted that the protection of hillside streets in the VHFHSZs is a priority not just for PPCC but for the Council Office, as she has learned in conversations with Jeff Khau, the new Planning Deputy at CD11. These are narrow hillside streets that are easily encumbered, which impacts public safety from the standpoint of emergency vehicle access as well as evacuation in the event of a fire – a threat that lingers over the entire Palisades, which sits within a VHFHSZ.
The PPCC unanimously approved the motion proposed by Murray Levy, Area One Primary Rep, and seconded by Chris Spitz and Barbara Kohn concurrently. Barbara Kohn, Historical Society Alternate and Area One resident, cited geological studies indicating the danger of building in this landslide area. She urged members to drive up to the area and take a look at the site as well as the conditions surrounding the site. She urged that all members support the motion. Shirley Haggstrom [TCA] also spoke in support of the motion and said she was appalled that anyone might consider building anything in that section of Tramonto, which would imperil hundreds of homes. Haldis Toppel [Area 3 Representative) also spoke in support of the motion.
Daphne Gronich [Area Four 2nd Alternate] suggested that the community be mobilized to attend the meeting (even virtually) and speak in opposition (compared it to the Marquette matter when dozens of community members showed up to the hearing). She further suggested that an EIR should be required for this project, based on her past experience with a project on Marquette Street (which this Council took-up while Zar was Chair in 2017 and Councilmember Bonin represented CD11).
The President proposed a friendly amendment to require an EIR. Barbara Kohn and Murray Levy spoke in favor of demanding an EIR. The amendment was made by Steve Cron and seconded by Shirley Haggstrom. The board unanimously approved the friendly amendment, and the language was added to the proposed motion.
Motion passed unanimously:
“In light of the huge excavation and development project anticipated on the hillside street of Tramonto, on the site of landslides with a possible impact on public safety with small hillside roads blocked for extended periods of time, and perhaps even lanes of PCH, PPCC requests an EIR for this project and urges the Hearing Officer to take all necessary steps to protect these two public roads from damage caused by excavation, and that time limits be enforced by LADBS.”
12. Adjournment – the meeting was adjourned at 8:15pm.
[Attachment — Item 11.1:]
Report of PPCC Bylaws Committee – April 7, 2023
Committee members: Andrew Wolfberg, Haldis Toppel, Randy Young, and Maryam Zar (ex officio). David Card and Andy Frew recused themselves due to conflicts as board members of PFC and PAPA, respectively.
The PPCC Bylaws govern how we are organized and operate: what we do and how we do it. The Mission Statement read at the start of each PPCC Board meeting comes verbatim from our Bylaws. The Bylaws have been incrementally changed numerous times over the years, most recently in September 2022.
The Bylaws include several appendices, including Appendix A – Organizations Eligible to Send Representatives. Appendix A was last revised in September 2022.
Appendix A must be updated to reflect the addition of the Palisades Forestry Committee (PFC) and Palisades Americanism Parade Association (PAPA). Further, it has been expressed by the Board Chair that Palisades Beautiful is no longer qualified, per our certification process, to participate in PPCC as an active Palisades-based organization.
Bylaws Committee members David Card and Andy Frew recused themselves from discussions regarding the placement of PFC and PAPA due to their positions as board members with PFC (David Card) and PAPA (Andy Frew).
The Bylaws Committee recommends the following changes to Appendix A, and accordingly proposes that the PPCC Board adopt the amendments to Appendix A summarized below:
- Add Palisades Forestry Committee to Culture and Aesthetics
- Add Palisades Americanism Parade Association to Service Clubs
- Remove Palisades Beautiful from Culture and AestheticsThese changes will create two categories of four organizations rotating in the category of Culture and Aesthetics as well as Service Clubs.
The Bylaws Committee moves that the recommended amendments be adopted by the Board. Voting will take place after discussion at the Board meeting on April 27, 2023 (the time of the required second distribution of proposed Bylaws amendments). Separate votes will be taken on the proposed amendments as presented in the above three bullet points.
A 2/3 vote of Board members present is required for adoption of amendments to the Bylaws, including Appendix A (see Art. XII.2.B; abstentions under the “members present” standard effectively count as “No” votes).
A link to Appendix A is being sent to each Board member for review and have been published on our website: a “redline” (red font/strikeout) version, with each recommended change in red font, and a final “clean” draft for voting purposes.