MINUTES FROM JULY 27th 2023
1. Call to Order and Reading of Community Council’s Mission.
The meeting was called to order at 6:33 PM. Sue Kohl read the Community Council Mission.
2. Roll-call of Board members and Certification of Quorum.
The President called roll and certified that there was quorum.
Voting members present: Maryam Zar, Sue Kohl, Beth Holden-Garland, Jenny Li, David Card, Murray Levy, Steve Cron, Bruce Schwartz, Michael Edlen, Lee Anne Sanderson, Kimberly Bloom, Cindy Simon, Julie Silliman, Reza Akef, Chris Spitz, Nina Kidd, Barbara Kohn, Kevin Niles, Rick McGeagh, Shirley Haggstrom, Bill Skinner.
Non-voting members present: Cindi Young, Joanna Spak, Quentin Fleming, Genevieve Bostik, Mary Schulz, Ryan Craig.
3. Introduction of attendees – none
4. Approval of Minutes: June 22, 2023 minutes were approved as distributed.
5. Consideration of Agenda & Upcoming Meetings:
The agenda was considered as distributed.
6. Treasurer’s Report.
The Treasurer, Jenny Li, reported that our bank balance is $42,691. She informed the board (in case anyone was unaware) that we have one bank account at the Palisades Branch of US Bank. We also have a PayPal account which receives donations that are then transferred to our main bank account at US Bank. She reported that we had two expenses in the month of July, and those were a payment made to PAPA for 4th of July participation, and the annual fee for our P.O.Box at the Palisades post office. We had two small donations that came in through Pay Pal.
She asked the board for input on what they’d like to see the Treasurer report, so she knows the depth with which the board would like to be informed. She said the President has asked for a budget going forward, which she will be working on and proceeded to inform the board of our major expense items/categories (these can be expected to continue). They include insurance (liability and D/O), accountant costs, technology costs, occasional advertising costs associated with events, printing and signage costs (this year we created a new logo but the President donated the funds), communication costs associated with MailChimp platform for newsletters, Zoom platform expenses for remote meeting, and our habitual 4th of July participation. The technology category is our major expense, she said. This includes payments to Miracle Data, our server and tech support provider for emails and website hosting/maintenance. She noted that we now have a VP, Treasurer, President and Info email accounts in order to keep organized digital files so that we can have institutional communication and preservation for each new officer who takes over the roles with annual officer elections. Last year, we had $11,630 in operating costs. There will be different costs this year (holiday event, possible app, advertising to raise awareness, 50th anniversary celebration tec…), and we will need to raise money. We have very little income, with only two recurring donations right now. We need to have more people signing up for monthly donations and have a strategy for fundraising.
The Treasurer pledged to continue to keep the board abreast of the Treasury and make more robust reports to the board than has traditionally been done, so as to vest board members in our financial wellbeing and help drive donations and fundraising. She is happy to get input from the board regarding the budget.
The President thanked Jenny for this robust report and reiterated to the board that she has asked the Treasurer to work with her on a budget that they can present to the board. She said, in her experience at the helm of other boards, this is standard practice and she believes it will help inform the board in a manner that will be productive. Expenses that are extraordinary or beyond the scope of the approved budget (once it is presented to the board and approved) will be noticed to the board before being undertaken, and in this manner, we will all be vested in the wellbeing of our treasury and general funding/fundraising needs.
There was discussion of our Zoom account fee. The President said Zoom is the only platform that is user-friendly and accessible to all, so far, making meeting possible. The cost is high because we have paid incrementally for the ability to hold webinars and host more than 100 (now up to 500) people. The President suggested a possible Special Meeting on fundraising and finance matters. There was no objection.
7. General Public Comment.
There was no public comment.
8. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
8.1. From the Chair/Presiding Officer
8.1.1. The President announced that a letter was written to oppose the hastened timeline for digital billboard advertising review and by City Planning. See https://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/extend-comment-for-billboard-blight.pdf
8.1.2. The president updated the board with respect to Temescal Canyon Rd. repairs, stating that the Council Office has informed her that they would be looking to secure funding for the substantive repairs suggested by BOE, which includes lifting the asphalt, installing a subterranean drainage pipe, and the subsequently re-laying the roadway, to the tune of nearly $1M. No funding source had yet been identified.
8.1.3. The President announced that she had met with the new LAPD Captain, Rich Gabaldon, who had been appointed to the West LA Command following the departure of Capt. Heredia, who had been promoted to the Hollywood Division. She said they had discussed Palisadian priorities and been given an assurance that no resources would be diverted. He pledged that the beach detail would remain and that our basic car would be the last to be removed in response to another call, elsewhere on the westside. He was very supportive of devising a way to create a stop-in-station (or a workstation) for LAPD in the Palisades, as well as pole-top cameras. The new Captain will join PPCC in early September for a meet and greet with the community.
8.1.4. The President announced a tentative plan to partner with BCC for a fall community meeting on Cannabis regulation, LAPD crime prevention and traffic mitigation as school starts (buses and car traffic). She announced that we may do some joint fire drills with Brentwood and that the initiative to enforce no smoking on film sets is going forward, with now an agreement where we are made aware of filing in our communities in advance of the day, and we are able to let the SLO for each community know so they can be prepared to enforce laws impacting VHFHSZs. The President said the idea to collaborate with BCC on specific issues has proven to be a good strategy that is garnering results.
8.1.5. The President informed the board that 50th Celebration will be community centric event at Simon Meadow, and not a carnival (this will coast less and celebrate more). She asked the board for affirmation. The board agreed. The president said the board can look for more information coming soon.
8.1.6. She said the Potrero Canyon Oversight Committee (PCOC) is meeting monthly with Gaby Medina from CD11. We have been informed that the contractor for the pre-design phase has been selected and that meaningful outreach to all Palisadian organizations and leaders can be expected. PPCC has sent a list (complied diligently by Chris Spitz) of organizations to the Council Office, which we have asked them to forward to the contractor to use in outreach (or share with any entity they hire to conduct the community outreach and feedback component of the pre-design phase). We have been assured that this process will be meaningful and robust so as to garner the feedback of the community and stakeholders who feel they have never properly contemplated or been able to comment on, the proposed project to connect Potrero Canyon to the county beach parking lot, via direct bridge access. She also announced that money has also been secured through the Mayor’s budget for BOE to begin outreach and a study for the feasibility of the lateral trail. State money will be funding the predesign phase of the bridge project. Chris Spitz added that the “Potrero” tab on our website is updated often, and suggested people check there. The President thanked Chris, Cindy Simon and Dave Card for all that they’ve done, and continue to do, to help us watch over Potrero Canyon and keep it safe for all. She mentioned the committee having dealt with standing water, the ongoing matter of graffiti, the persistent malfunction of lock mechanisms on gates and more. She reported some offensive graffiti spray painted over the weekend on the large gym building at the Rec Center and that RAP mobilized their paint and removal crew quickly to address the graffiti. We now know they can mobilize quickly if they must.
8.1.7. She further announced that she, along with Julie Silliman and Dave Card (both of the sign committee of the PCOC) attended the last RAP Commission meeting to introduce the new Commissioners to the Palisades, and ask them to (a) affirm the proposed signs for the Park, and (b) to visit us in the Palisades, perhaps even hold a meeting at our Rec Center, in order to see our Park(s) first hand and appreciate the work we do, as well as be prepared for what we may ask in the future (as coastal access unfolds). She announced that Sonya Young Jimenez is working with RAP Commission staff to agendize the sign matter. Dave Card announced that BOE is testing the recirculating pump at Potrero Canyon, so we may see some standing water as a result of that testing, but it is good news that the pump has advanced to the state of being tested.
8.1.8. The President informed the board that Organizational Reps will rotate in September and she has reached out to all organizations to secure their certificates and be duly represented on our board (two standing categories remaining with non-rotating members).
8.1.9. The President updated the board on the subject of her long-suggested Pole-top camera in our open spaces pilot, about which she said she had a discussion with ASM Irwin, who was very supportive. ASM Irwin indicated that she would welcome the pilot and suggested we find an internet based camera system that is triggered by motion (such as RING) so there would be no need for real time monitoring or any invasion of privacy issue (though she said she’d check with state attorneys and affirm that there is no expectation of privacy in a public park setting). She suggested that the cameras would serve as a deterrent for would be bad actors and provide a tool for after the fact identification or law enforcement tools to enforce laws in our Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones in open spaces. The President said LAPD (Espin and Gabaldon) were both also in favor of the pole tops as a private/public partnership pilot, and that Traci Park had pledged to work with us (at the meeting on June 22nd – a recording of which is posted on our YouTube).
8.1.10. The President said that some Committees and Advisors were reassigned and that more would be forthcoming. She directed people to check the PPCC website for updates.
8.1.11. The President asked the board to affirm continuing to meet on the remote zoom platform. She asked if the board would agree to meeting in person at times, perhaps quarterly when we have important guests or matters to discuss. The board affirmed meeting remotely for now and meeting in person perhaps quarterly.
8.1.12. The resident offered a PAB Board meeting update where she announced Haldis Toppel had committed to a $10,000 donation from her family toward a volleyball program at the Palisades Rec Center. She also said the PAB board has lent their support to the possibility of a pole top camera pilot for Potrero Canyon and the Pali Rec Center. They had also contemplated a perimeter fence around the Park which could be locked after hours, as well as new considerations for pickle ball and tennis court management.
8.1.13. The President reported that she, along with David Card and Julie Silliman, had attended the last RAP Commission meeting and had spoken during Public Comment about the need for the RAP Board of Commissioners to visit the Palisades and our parks, especially the new and vast Potrero Canyon, as well as urging them to consider and approve our proposed signs for he George Wolfberg Park at Potrero Canyon. (see more above under Potrero updates).
8.2. From Officers and Chair Emeritus.
8.2.1. Sue Kohl, VP, stated that she had attended a webinar on homelessness hosted by Traci Park and realized there was terminology surrounding homelessness with which she was unfamiliar. She assumed most people were equally unfamiliar and she suggested we develop a glossary of terms. Chris Spitz has developed that list and has now posted that Glossary of Terms on our website, under resources: https://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Glossary-HomelessnessR.pdf
8.2.2. Dave Card, Chair Emeritus, announced an update regarding a draft City Ordinance to prohibit planting or sale of non-native plants in Los Angeles. The motion was presented by Paul Koretz and Mitch O’Farrell (neither of whom now serve on LA City Council) and asked for an ordinance that would prohibit planting anything other than those species which are native to the area. See the motion here: https://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2022/22-1469_misc_11-22-22.pdf. David Card informed the board that the Palisades Forestry Committee (PFC) and other organizations opposed the motion. He asked for PPCC to also oppose when the time comes (when a draft ordinance is presented for comment). He said we wish to increase diversity in an appropriate way to enrich the City’s tree canopy.
8.2.3. Beth Holden-Garland, board Secretary, updated the board on the new PPCC logo and reported on the continued development of social media. She described the logo and congratulated the board on a fabulous new 50th year logo, depicting the sea, the mountains, the sun and the palm trees in a uniquely Palisadian way. She suggested everyone engage with our social media and encourage others to do so as well. She said she will be posting emergency preparedness information in an engaging way, in order to get more traction on this important matter. The President showed the board the new logo and explained that about 10 members of the board helped develop and perfect this logo, with a graphic designer named Jilleen Hohle.
8.3. From At-Large and Area Representatives.
8.3.1. Steve Cron, Area Two representative, announced a Pacific Palisades Democratic Club (PPDC) garden party upcoming on August 6th, where Councilwoman Traci Park, County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath, Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin and Congressman Brad Sherman will be present. He invited all to go on the PPDC website and sign up to attend.
8.3.2. Murray Levy, Area One Primary Representative, announced that he has been at the PPCC Farmers Market table asking for suggestions. He reported that one young woman who walks in Potrero Canyon Park suggested replacing the open trash cans with covered trash cans to prevent crows/other creatures from diving into the open cans. He also reported that some people worry about mansionization and he’d like to hold Traci Park to a promise she made on the campaign trail to consider lowering height limits in the Palisades, from the existing 45 foot limit to something less. He suggested we may want to investigate this. Steve Cron said the LUC is looking at this complex issues.
8.3.3. Chris Spitz, At-large Representative, reported that SB423 and SB4 are passing their way through the legislature. Both bills are opposed by PPCC (the CA Coastal Commission also opposes SB423) because they would streamline development without proper coastal review. New developments include the notable fact that the Bill’s author, Sen Wiener, has agreed to amend the bill in a way that would insert safeguards tied into coastal review in lieu of ministerial streamlining. Sen Wiener proposes that areas in the coastal zone that do not have a certified coastal plan will be exempt. He is also proposing clarifying that the legislature will consult with various departments, experts and local stakeholders before streamlined approval of any development in the VHFHSZ, aimed at increased density.
8.4. From Organizational Representatives.
8.4.1. Resilient Palisades representative, Ryan Craig – not present but see the LAUSD update.
8.5. From Government Offices / Representatives.
8.5.1. State – not present.
8.5.2. City Council Field Deputy for Council District 11, Michael Amster, reported that CM Traci Park was working with City and County lawmakers to resolve long standing issues having to so with homelessness. She has introduced a motion to draft an ordinance to address van lords and illegal RVs. She recently led the passing of a Resolution to support SB 43. She also passed a Motion with respect to “care courts”, specifically for the city to study its role on implementing Care Courts. She continues to clean up encampments in the district, and is making real impact in dismantling encampments that have been entrenched, in some cases, for decades.
He announced a call with FILM LA with respect to smoking in the VHFHJSZs. PPCC President, along with BCC President will be on the call.
He announced that the Palisades Dog Park and Palisades Rec Center playground and bathroom improvements remain a priority for the Councilmember, and will seek community input on the allocation of Quimby versus Measure A funding.
He mentioned water access at the Palisades Bowl due to broken pipes. He will be working with his State counterparts on this matter since mobile home parks are regulated by state laws.
He mentioned Tahitian Terrace brush clearance issues which he will be addressing in the next week, alongside LAFD brush unit. Michael is getting a dumpster to the site so that all the debris can be removed and placed in the bin for hauling.
He reported that he has been addressing issues along Palisades Drive relating to the hauling of cleared brush. He will be working with RAP to get equipment to the site and haul away the brush collection/clearance.
Regarding the Pacific Palisades Design Review Board, he is interviewing three new people for appointment to that important board.
Dave Card and the President asked him to check on with Traci Park on how she feels about the native Tree Planting/Biodiversity Motion and draft ordinance. He said he would follow up.
Lee Anne Sanderson offered to donate bottles of water to Palisades Bowl residents.
Chris Spitz asked about the Via de las OIas bluffs related to water seepage along the bluff and the slide a few months ago (for which emergency tape is still up). She asked if we could count on having the city’s geotechnical engineers come out and assess the safety of these bluffs/slide area.
8.5.3. County – not present.
8.5.4. LAPD SLO for Pacific Palisades, Brian Espin, reported that he had just sent out the crime maps/report to all. The 4th of July weekend brought a huge rash of stolen vehicles. He met with detectives and saw no pattern or connection, but they held two operations in the palisades using undercover units. They yielded nothing. They continue to work on seeing trends and identifying suspicious activity to try and combat the thefts. Detectives believe it was simply a fluke trend for stolen vehicles over the holiday weekend. The stats bumped up our area theft percentage by 50% YTD (22 last year/2022 versus 33 this year/2023). Vehicle break-ins are still high. Please lock doors and do not leave anything visible in the car!
The President announced that she and Brian had met with new West LA Captain and talked about the car break-ins, as well as increased assaults on the crime report. Was there a pattern, she asked. SLO Espin said there was no identifiable trends but said in affirmation of the President’s suggestion of cameras on pole tops, that he would very much welcome seeing pole top cameras in our parks and open spaces.
8.5.5. Allison Holdorff [Polhill], LAUSD VP Nick Melvoin’s District Director and Sr. Advisor, reported on school start dates across the Palisades Charter Complex, as well as a report about chemical-based landscaping. She pledged that the District has not used chemical based compounds on school grounds since 2002, and will oppose any use nearby. This was a matter that had been brought to the attention of PPCC President, Maryam Zar, by Ryan Craig of Resilient Palisades, and she had alerted Allison. Allison reported that she had followed up by contact LADWP, which had been using the chemical compound at the open property they own adjacent to Marquez Elementary and was not able to receive an assurance from LADWP that they would cease using the compound. The President asked her to keep the PPCC board informed so we could interject out voice in support of LAUSD’s position, asking that this objectionable compound is not used near schools.
Allison further announced Dr. Shuntell Anthony as the new Principal for Paul Revere Middle School. She also noted the bungalow construction pending for Canyon Elementary School (currently waiting for Coastal Commission approval). She also announced a pending grass and landscaping project for Palisades Elementary.
8.6. From PPCC Committees, Advisors and WRAC Representatives.
8.6.1. K.C. Soll [Emergency Preparedness Advisor] reported to the board about SOS products and the 30 gallon drum of water which continue to be essential to emergency preparedness planning. Joanna Spak said she had followed that advice and purchased a 55 gallon drum for long-term water storage. Encouraged others to do the same. K.C. suggested she can help rent a truck and help community members transport the drums to their homes in the Palisades. The President encouraged all to prepare for emergency and take the advice of our Emergency Preparedness Advisor to heart.
9. Reports from PPCC Committees.
[9.1.] Committee of Three Chairs. Chair David Card reported that applications are open for the 2nd Alternate for Area 5 position. The application period will be open for 30 days, with an August 20th deadline. The notice went out on Friday July 21st. Link to notice was announced: https://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/PPCC-Alternates-App.Notice-2023-2.pdf
10. Old Business.
The President announced that she would like to offer the board a review of the 15245 W. De Pauw Street project and all its applications for additional structure(s) to be built on the property overhanging Potrero Canyon and the attendant bluffs. She suggested David Card take the lead on informing the board so that if we (as a board or through EC action) restate our position based on previous positions taken, the board is aware and agrees with continuing this position.
Dave Card undertook a review of the applications for amended Coastal Development Permit (CDP) at 15245 W. De Pauw Street. PPCC has opposed applications for after-the-fact amendments to the CDP for this project over the years, most recently with our April 24, 2023 letter to Planning Department (members can see the letter online). The West Los Angeles Area Planning Commission denied the prior amendment application for this project in 2020 (determination was attached to the agenda). The owner has now applied again in two separate applications, the first of which will be heard by WLA APC on August 7, 2023. As said, PPCC has historically opposed this. We will oppose again, unless there is objection. There was no objection. The president said she would be penning a letter to comment on an upcoming August 7th hearing on the new application by the homeowner to build yet another structure, without having taken down the first violative structure. She informed the board that there would be an “advisement period” for the new file number which will be open for comment before any decision has been made, but that we may wish to comment earlier/pre-emptively on the new application (with a new case number). Chris Spitz and Dave Card agreed. We will be continuing with the position we’ve had since at least 2019, per consent of the board.
11. New Business – none.
12. Adjournment – the meeting was adjourned at 8:22PM.