MINUTES FROM JUNE 22nd 2023
1. Call to Order and Reading of Community Council’s Mission.
The meeting was called to order at 6:06PM and Karen Ridgley, Area Four Primary Representative, read the Community Council mission.
2. Roll-call of Board members and Certification of Quorum.
The President took roll and certified that we had quorum.
Voting board members present: Kimberly Bloom, Cindy Simon, Chris Spitz, Karen Ridgley, Murray Levy, Courtney Macker, Julie Silliman, Steve Cron, Jenny Li, Maryam Zar, Randy Young, John Padden, Beth Holden-Garland, Genevieve Bostic, Eric Dugdale, Shirley Haggstrom, Reza Akef.
Non-voting board members present: Sue Kohl, Lee Ann Anderson, Daphne Gronich, Cindi Young, Diana Danielle, Barbara Kohn, Richard Blumenberg, Joanna Spak, Cindy Kirven.
3. Introduction of attendees.
The President welcomed and introduced LA City Councilwoman, Traci Park, who was our guest speaker at this meeting.
Councilmember Traci Park gave a detailed update on the work she has been doing with the city in tandem with Mayor Karen Bass, and suggested constituents visit the new CD11 website (email@example.com), and sign up for weekly newsletters which come out on Saturday mornings, and are aimed at communicating significant updates on legislation, motions, events and important news/information.
She spoke about being understaffed across city agencies, including LAPD, sanitation, and in various areas that we need more hires. She noted that our Field Deputy, Michael Amster, was in attendance, and doing a great job.
She informed us that her committee assignments include chairing the Trade Travel and Tourism Board with LAX in the district making her role even more important given the impact of LAX on the district. The Port of LA and the Van Nuys Airport are also under the purview of that committee. CM Park is also on the Transportation Committee and the Public Safety Board, the Economic and Community Development Committee as well as Government reform Committee. Also serves as the CC designee on the City Claims Board. Heavy Legislative workload. The field team is in Westchester, where she comes to the district on Thursdays (downtown 4 days a week).
She has been working with the mayor to bring Inside Safe to the westside where they housed 100 people in an encampment in Venice. Partnered with the mayor again and successfully housed another 50 people in Del Rey, and again she partnered with SHARE (recovery shared housing model) where they housed another 40 people.
City Council is expecting the LAHSA PIT count, which will show higher homelessness numbers from last year. She is committed to working with LAHSA and St Joseph’s to adjust the response and make adjustments on additional resources to impact homelessness.
She has been working on the city budget and was very much present for budget hearings. She is concerned with where we invest city money and she wants to see more services to constituents, including fire, sanitation and police as well potholes and other services. Despite efforts in investments and recruitment at LAPD, attrition is quicker than recruitment. Staffing levels will probably reduce to 8800, which is critically low for a city our size. This means longer response times and frustration, but she is working on building an infrastructure that helps non-police responses to some calls, with support agencies that are equipped for alternative response teams that are an effective response while LAPD deals with hiring and recruitment. She has decided to keep the Venice Bridge Home open, but it was the right decision to make and with more than 150 beds for homeless individuals being serviced there. She is convinced this was the right decision.
She has designated 12 “Sensitive Use Sites” under LAMC 4.1.18 which bans camping near schools, parks, and libraries. When city teams begin to clear an area/encampment in these zones, they offer housing and services. Once the area is clear of encampments, they use other resources to make sure they are not repopulated. CM Park is using the CARE and CARE+ teams effectively, and advocated for a coastal CARE + team in the city budget this year (similar to what the LA River had). The finding was approved! This represents a great development for our coastal CD11 community as we really needed that funding for our beaches and coastline to remain free of homeless encampments.
RVs are a particular point of concern that she is also tackling. She brought a motion regarding “Van Lords” that are predatory (people buying junk RVs and then renting them to vulnerable people). There are no rental agreements and can’t pass basic portability, safety or environmental inspections. Her motion would set out a set of standards governing RV renting and making sure there are safety protocols in place for our most vulnerable Angelenos. She is also working on the impact of the nationwide drug epidemic that is “making its way south” to Los Angeles. They are looking to evaluate what agencies can do before the problem gets worse in LA.
The CM said she has put together a team to work with City and County Fire and other agencies to evaluate fire risks and address the impact of the Wildfire ordinance on CD11. The team will come to the community with information and for feedback. She is also proactive about evaluating Fire Risks in CD11 and has taken a helicopter tour in order to better understand the legitimate concerns in hillside residents. She suggested following her social media channels on Facebook and Instagram where she keeps the public informed of her work.
She thanked PPCC for the June 10th Public Safety Fair and said other communities were now looking to set up similar for a for public safety event.
PPCC President, M. Zar, asked if there are any 41.18 sites in PP or Brentwood. CM Park said there would be another tranche forthcoming. Michael Amster clarified that 41.18 applies to schools and parks even if not specifically designated.
The President also brought up pole top cameras for our open spaces and asked the CM to work with the community on a public/private partnership to launch a pole top pilot program. LAPD, LAFD and the State ASM seem to think it’s a good idea. There are privacy issues we would have to address but asked what the CM’s thoughts are – would she be open to this idea and help us keep the momentum going on this program? The CM said she believes all ideas are worthy of considering when it comes to public safety initiatives that are spearheaded by the community. She is looking forward to talking more about a partnership, and believes there is precedent that there is no expectation of privacy in public spaces and a camera structure may work.
Chris Spitz (At-Large representative) welcomed CM Park and asked about recidivism of homelessness once people are cleared from encampments (and even housed). CM Park said she has heard the numbers but hasn’t seen reliable data. She has asked for it.
L.A. Sanderson (Area Four Alternate) commented that there are only 12 Park Rangers and that she believes they would like to see staffed with 75 to possibly 80 Park Rangers. The CM said that Rangers are trained in the same way as LAPD, but they are unarmed and there are very few people who are asking to work as part of the Ranger force. Because of the defunding of $150 million from the previous administration, there are serious shortfalls of hiring across all agencies and that impacts the work of the city, including in enforcement in areas such as basic policing as well as human trafficking, sexual assault crimes, and more.
Steve Cron (Area Two Representative) asked about corruption at LA City Council – which seems like a cesspool. Why is it that this happens at City Council? The CM said it is probably multi-faceted, but can say that Council practices are fraught with ethical issues and considerations. That’s why she is glad to be on the Government Reform Committee where they are working on lobbying and elections law. She believes that development and land use decisions are the place where there is most opportunity for peril. But she has no solutions and is looking at all matters with the commitment of bringing on better practices. Entrenched politics also contributes to the problems of corruption.
Before concluding her presentation, Councilwoman Park presented outgoing Treasurer, Randy Young, with a Certificate of recognition from the City of LA and thanked him for his years of service to the community and the PPCC. PPCC President, Maryam Zar, also presented Randy with recognition on behalf of the board for his service as an officer and his years of meaningful contributions to the development and evolution of PPCC. She presented him with an engraved glass paperweight.
See full recording of presentation at: https://youtu.be/D_Mv2tcUVqs.
4. Approval of Minutes: Draft minutes for June 8, 2023 were approved without objection.
5. Consideration of Agenda & Upcoming Meetings.
The President noted that July and August are months where PPCC only holds one regular meeting. Those will be held on July 27th and August 24th. In September, we will begin meeting again on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month.
6. Treasurer’s Report.
The Treasurer reported that PPCC has a balance of 42,211.31 in its checking account. We had $8,540.75 in income, and $20,727.00 of Expenses during this last year. See: https://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/2022-2023-PPCC-Final-Treasury-Report-2023-06-29CSM-1.pdf.
He reported that the year-end analysis shows that we need significant fundraising. He said the holiday event was costly. Our tech costs were also high this year since we held electronic elections and had to adopt a new platform. We also took on two new emails in an effort to create institutional communication within the officer roles, and the tech service fees were high.
He noted that we need to increase interest in the work of the Council so we can garner support and be able to raise money. Community Plans are upon us, and it is important to make the community aware of this important process and raise money around it.
Chris Spitz asked for the balance sheet. Randy had a spread sheet with him and said he will make the balance sheet available by the end of the month of June, e.g. the last day of his term. Jenny Li encouraged people to sign up for recurring donations and support the community. Randy reiterated all the important work the Council does and urged the Council to come up with a fundraising plan that helps inform the public of our work and impact. Cindy Simon said it’s important to have a specific task/project around which to raise money – can’t just ask for money. Karen Ridgley asked about mailing campaigns or some sort of communication mechanism because people don’t know about the PPCC, and as area reps, they must have a way to communicate with the public. The President reiterated her suggestion of a community app – but noted this would require funding.
She also talked about decisions to make regarding finding and the upcoming 50th year celebration of community. She suggested a Special Meeting to talk about funding and fundraising.
7. General Public Comment.
Victoria Escalante from Palisades Highlands discussed concerns of 5G Verizon wireless Tower to be placed on the public right of way, less than 30 feet away from the 100 residential unit on the corner of Sunset and Palisades Dr. The President said there has historically been resistance to cell towers in the Palisades, and we are happy to learn more and take this matter up, if we can. She suggested the LUC might hear this or the neighbors can confer with the at-Large Rep who is well versed in cell tower matters in the Palisades. The neighbors made clear that health is a concern, not aesthetics or cell tower reception, but people’s health. There was a Coast Development hearing, and the outcome is yet unknown. The President suggested they update us on the outcome of the hearing so we can determine what the PPCC can do, if anything.
Linda Tealeaf also spoke in concern of 5G Tower. She said residents of the building at the corner of Sunset and Palisades Drive are concerned about the placement of the tower and urge that it be moved to a safe distance (1,320 feet recommended from residential units) from residents and people living in this area. She asked PPCC for help to keep this cell tower away from the location currently proposed by Verizon. There is not enough time, she said, for the next meeting.
PPCC President, Maryam Zar, said the item is not agendized for action today, but we appreciate being made aware of this issue and are happy to agendize the matter once we learn more information. She asked residents to make her, as well as the Area 2 Reps and the At-large Rep, aware of developments and include her on updates of the situation.
8. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
8.1. From the Chair/Presiding Officer.
8.1.1. The President skipped her announcements in the interest of time. The only announcement she made was that PPCC will be participating in the 4th of July Parade and needs people to walk with the banner, which will perhaps bear the new logo that was on display at the meeting with a newly printed banner.
126.96.36.199. She also announced letters written since the last meeting in keeping with preserving coastal protections. See https://pacpalicc.org/index.php/organizations/ for letters written on this topic.
8.2. From Officers and Chair Emeritus: None.
A8.3. From At-Large and Area Representatives.
8.3.1. Julie Silliman, Area Seven primary Rep, gave a report on Canyon School construction plans. This improvement plan has been in the works for years but construction will begin later this summer. The project will upgrade the kindergarten classrooms, which are now very far apart. The plans address that placement, address ADA accessibility and more. It will result in an enlarged parking lot and a new landscaping as well as a two-story classroom building with kindergarten below and upper classes above. It is nicely designed and most construction is on the Amalfi side. She made a visual presentation and asked everyone to be patient with construction traffic. She will be bringing more updates as construction unfolds.
8.4. From Organizational Representatives: None.
8.5. From Government Offices / Representatives: None.
8.6. From PPCC Advisors and WRAC Representatives: None.
9. Reports from PPCC Committees: None.
10. Old Business: None.
11. New Business.
11.1. Proposed PPCC Motion re SB 4 (Wiener).
Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) opposes SB 4 (Wiener), unless amended to provide the following:
- Zoning for any lot on which a Religious Institution and/or Higher Education Institution seeks to build must be the same as the least restrictive zoning of an adjacent lot.
- Properties in the Coastal Zone are unconditionally exempt from the provisions of SB 4, such that proposed projects in the Coastal Zone must comply with the Coastal Act.
- Properties in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone (VHFHSZ) are unconditionally exempt from the provisions of SB 4, such that the provisions of SB 4 shall not apply to proposed projects in the VHFHSZ.
- PPCC further urges that a resolution be brought forthwith in City Council by Councilwoman Traci Park and/or other Councilmembers, to amend the position taken by the City Council in Council File 23-0002-S30 regarding support for SB 4, and to instead oppose SB 4 unless amended with the provisions set forth in points 1-4 above.
Motion was sponsored by Chris Spitz and seconded by Steve Cron. Passed unanimously.
12. Adjournment – the meeting was adjourned at 7:49 PM.