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1.    Call to Order and Reading of Community Council’s Mission.  Vice-President Sue Kohl served asPresiding Officer in the absence of the President.  The Presiding Officer called the meeting to order at 6:02 pm.  Chris Spitz read the Mission Statement.

2.   Roll-call of Board members and Certification of Quorum.  The Presiding Officer called the roll and certified that there was quorum.

Voting members present:  Sue Kohl, Jenny Li, Beth Holden Garland, Dave Card, Murray Levy, Steve Cron, Haldis Toppel, Karen Ridgley, Kimberly Bloom, Cindy Simon, Andrew Wolfberg, Chris Spitz, John Padden, Aileen Haugh, Alisa Wolfson, Eric Dugdale, Kevin Niles, James Alexakis, Gabrielle Gottlieb, Courtney Macker.

Non-voting members present:  Joanna Rodriguez, Joanna Spak, Michael Edlen, LeeAnne Sanderson, Daphne Gronich, Betsy Handler, Quentin Fleming, Andy Frew, Hagop Tchakerian.

3.   Introduction of Attendees.

All board members in attendance in-person were introduced. The Presiding Officer announced that the meeting was preceded by a presentation of Youth art and a viewing of the Exhibit at the Library’s community meeting room, co-hosted by Palisades High School (PCHS) Photography Department and Instructor, Rick Steil, and the Pacific Palisades Library Association (LAPL), with a recognition of the work of the young artists. The exhibit is open until November 23rd, daily from noon to 5PM, and everyone is invited.

The Presiding Officer then welcomed Ranee Katzenstein, Assistant US Attorney, Dept. of Justice, Central District of CA, who introduced herself, gave extensive remarks about common digital and gift card scams (including an explanation of the scam known as “pig butchering”) and answered questions from the audience.  The Presiding Officer thanked Ms. Katzenstein for her important presentation to PPCC.

4.   Approval of Minutes. The minutes of the Special Meeting of October 12, 2023, were approved.

5.   Consideration of Agenda & Upcoming Meetings.

6.   Treasurer’s Report.  The Treasurer Jenny Li reported that PPCC’s account balance is $46,246.51. She also reviewed habitual expenses and two donations since the last meeting.

7.   General Public Comment.

7.1.   Resident Kathleen Botansky, and others, expressed concern about ongoing illegal and dangerous behavior of teens in the Palisades community, particularly incidents occurring at the Recreation Center and in the Village, such as the recent tasering of a female youth by other teens.  They asked what can be done and what police are doing to stop this behavior.  The Presiding Officer noted that this issue is of great concern to PPCC and that LAPD will be providing information about a new strategy to address this conduct.

7.2.   Resident John Alle commented that the community had not received adequate notice of plans to build a bridge across PCH; he also expressed concerns about public safety and about the bridge funding, which he felt would be better used to hire more police officers or to otherwise address public safety in or around Potrero Canyon Park.  The Presiding Officer noted that CD 11 will soon host a public meeting to provide information and obtain input about the bridge and that ample advance notice will be provided to the community [see item 8.1.7 below].

8.   Reports, Announcements and Concerns.

8.1.   From the Chair/Presiding Officer.

8.1.1.  The Presiding Officer acknowledged the Youth Art Exhibit.

8.1.2.   The Presiding Officer announced the names of all Organizational Reps for the term starting on Oct. 1, 2023 through September 30, 2024 [see Attached list below].

8.1.3.   The Presiding Officer explained that LAPD will provide information regarding a new strategy to bring attention to youth conduct in and around the Village and Park.

8.1.4.   The Presiding Officer noted the letter written regarding the October 26 PPCC motion on Metro TCN:  She asked At-large Rep Chris Spitz to provide a further update.  Ms. Spitz reported that the City Council Planning & Land Use Management Committee on Tues. approved the TCN (digital billboard) program, with some amendments.  Several Councilmembers have asked for billboards (particularly non-freeway facing) to be removed from the list.  CM Park has indicated that most comments she has received from CD 11 constituents are opposed to digital billboards.  The City Attorney must report back to the committee with a revised proposed ordinance.  There will still be opportunities for further amendments.  We will continue to monitor.

8.1.5.   The Presiding Officer noted that Area Eight Rep Reza Akef is resigning as of the end of November; information will be forthcoming about changes in representation for the Area.

8.1.6.  The Presiding Officer announced the President’s appointment of the Event Committee to oversee the 2023 Holiday Dinner & Awards Gala on Dec 6th at The Draycott:  Sue Kohl, Cindy Simon, Jenny Li, Chris Spitz, Kimberly Bloom & Maryam Zar [ex officio].

8.1.7.   The Presiding Officer stated that CD 11 will host a community-wide meeting to update and receive feedback on the impending start of the predesign phase for the bridge project; the meeting is now set for December 5th, from 6-7PM. More information to come by letters, email, CD11 newsletter and even door to door canvasing.

8.2.   From Officers and Chair Emeritus.

8.2.1.   Sue Kohl, Vice President – None.

8.2.2.   Beth Holden-Garland, Secretary – None.

8.2.3.   Dave Card, Chair Emeritus – None.

8.3.   From At-Large and Area Representatives.

8.3.1.   Murray Levy, Area One Rep, reported on the upcoming appeal hearing related to the Tramonto/Revello development project.  The appeal will be heard by the West LA Area Planning Commission at 4:30pm at the Palms-Rancho Park Branch Library, 2920 Overland Ave., Los Angeles.  Community members are encouraged to attend.

8.3.2.   Karen Ridgley, Area Four Rep, provided an update on the Asilomar bluffs construction project.  Residents have requested the City move a large construction sign to a less obtrusive location on the bluff.  She stated that residents are concerned about some issues related to construction but are generally glad the work is being done and that the homes on the bluff will be saved from unstable soil.

8.3.3.   Chris Spitz, At-Large Rep, provided two updates:

(a)   SAB Center:  She and Steve Cron (Area Two Rep), Co-Chairs of the PPCC Land Use Committee (LUC), recently met with the proponent of a possible future project on vacant bluff lots owned primarily by the City on Porto Marina Way in Castellammare.  The proponent is a French architect who doesn’t own the property now but wishes to purchase it from the City and then obtain permission to build a headquarters building for her organization, called the SAB center.  She is aware that the property is zoned R-1 and may need a zone change and variances, and that pursuant to our guiding principles, PPCC does not support zone changes or variances except in very rare cases.  She is also aware that the property is on very unstable land, has been subject to landslides and that the public is concerned about geologic instability as well as traffic and emergency access.  With these considerations in mind, she has been advised by CD 11 to see if the community would support her proposal before going forward.  She advised us that if the community does not support this project, she won’t move forward.  Our LUC will hold a public meeting on Tuesday, January 15.  The purpose of the meeting is to provide a forum for the proponent to make a presentation about the proposed project and for the community to give input on whether or not they support the proposal.  The meeting will be at 5pm in a hybrid format, in person at the library and on Zoom.  Additional notice will be sent out prior to the meeting. The community is encouraged to attend.

(b)   Via de las Olas bluff insta.bility:  Residents have expressed serious concerns about landslides on the Via de las Olas bluff and have requested that BOE investigate and provide a report as to what can be done, if anything, to mitigate the unstable geologic conditions. One of the slides is almost two years old and the other dates from almost 6 months ago; to date there is still fencing and/or emergency tape in place and the unsafe conditions are still present.  We have requested that BOE reps attend one of our PPCC meetings in January to provide information.

8.3.4.   Cindy Simon, Area Six Rep, provided information about an event sponsored by the Women’s Civic Action Network, “Let’s Get Ready L.A.,”  to feature a conversation with LAFD Fire Chief Kristin Crowley and LA Emergency Management GM Carol Parks, on the topic of preparing our communities for disaster and recovery. The event will take place on November 14, 2023, 6:30-8pm at 3402 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica [more information at].

8.4.   From Organizational Representatives.

8.5.   From Government Offices / Representatives.

8.5.1.  LAPD Beach Detail Officer Jose Bermudez updated the board in the absence of LAPD SLO Brian Espin. Officer Jose Bermudez spoke about the new task force in the park and along the bluffs.  He reported that some kids are riding bikes that are essentially motorcycles, without headlights or safety equipment.   They are hard to chase, and they must be careful not to possibly cause the kids to hurt themselves by chasing them too fast (because of their unsafe vehicles).  Citations will be issues if the youth are caught.

Officer Bermudez also reminded Palisadians not to leave valuables or things in their cars as thieves will break in and steal them.  An incident of tasering in the park was discussed. Officer Bermudez said they are awaiting a juvenile report.  He further said that youths under 18 are not permitted to be out without an adult, after 10 pm. (“curfew”),

8.5.2.  Michael Amster, CD11 Field Deputy, Pacific Palisades & Brentwood, reported on several matters, including improvement conditions and encampment removals and clean-ups in the District.

He spoke about CD11 progress on homelessness issues and said 500 people have now been brought inside, thanks to help with the Mayor, LAHSA, and St. Josephs.  He has personally put in a lot of time at the Brentwood VA location, and the West LA / Sawtelle area with clean ups.

He spoke about Temescal Canyon Road and that the work is progressing and the road is getting smoothed out.

He reported that he met with the Paseo Miramar Homeowners Association, and believes that parking enforcement should be enforced, and rules of the road obeyed.

He addressed the Tramonto / Revello developments at Castellammare and said their Planning Deputy, Jeff Khau, is the point person regarding that matter on behalf of the Council office.

He mentioned the Asilomar Stabilization project and that pillars are currently being installed to help the ridge.

The Canyon School Crossing Guard vacancy was brought up and discussion ensued regarding the fact that there is a person who is interested in the job, but for some reason is not being approved by LADOT for the position.  PPCC Education Representative and Canyon School parent, Alisa Wolfson, asked for more help to secure the position for the applicant.  It was suggested again that Allison Holdorff-Polhill should be able to help with this.

Michael Amster then answered questions from the board and audience.

8.5.3 – 8.5.6.  Other reports from Government Representatives – deferred due to time constraints.

8.6.   From PPCC Advisors and WRAC Representatives.

8.6.1.  Lou Kamer (Transportation Advisor) provided information about the PCH Task Force and plans by government agencies to address speeding on PCH. He discussed transportation issues and said we are seeing more accidents, and need to conduct speed and traffic surveys in the area, and using the results as data, ask for improvements on the roadway along Sunset Blvd (reflectors, stripes) so drivers can see more ably what they are turning into, which should help somewhat. He also reiterated the importance of smart traffic lights and urged us to use all means we have to get those installed along Sunset and PCH in the Palisades.

9.   Reports from PPCC Committees.

9.1.   PPCC Awards Selection Committee (members Daphne Gronich, Sue Kohl, Beth Holden-Garland, Diana Daniele and Ryan Craig).  The Presiding Officer announced the Awards Honorees for 2023 and provided information about their accomplishments:  Citizen of the Year – Cindy Kirven; Golden Sparkplugs – Laura Schneider, John Dwight, Sara Marti and Steve Cron; Pride of the Palisades – Palisades PRIDE.  [See]

The Presiding Officer and members of the Board and audience congratulated all the awardees for these well-deserved honors.

9.2.   PPCC Land Use Committee (LUC).  [See item 8.3.3(a) above above.]

10.   Old Business – None.

11.   New Business.

11.1.   WRAC-recommended motion, sponsored in PPCC by the Executive Committee.

At the request of the Presiding Officer, Chris Spitz (PPCC At-large Rep and WRAC Vice-Chair) presented the motion, noting that a second was not needed as the motion was made by a committee of more than one voting member.  She read and explained the motion, as follows:

“Re Council File # 21-1230, Housing Element / General Plan / 2021–2029:  Data in the Housing Element and Community Plan Updates demonstrate more than enough capacity and zoning opportunities in our underutilized commercial corridors, public lands and through adaptive reuse to meet State mandates. Our residential neighborhoods have already been rezoned through SB 9 and ADU laws that allow duplexes and ADUs on a single lot.  There is no need to rezone, through overlays or other zoning devices, R1 zones or sensitive, rent-stabilized multifamily housing.

“Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC), a member of the Westside Neighborhood Alliance of Councils (WRAC), opposes the Housing Element’s proposed rezoning and densification of R1 and multi-family neighborhoods beyond what SB9 and ADU laws allow.  We demand that Mayor Bass and all Councilmembers representing WRAC neighborhoods (Park, Yaroslavsky, Hutt and Raman) stand up for our communities and direct the City Planning Department to reject the upzoning of our single-family and sensitive multifamily neighborhoods, and instead, locate all upzoning on our underutilized commercial corridors.” 

A question was asked about the meaning of “commercial corridors,” which was explained referred to underutilized commercial corridors Citywide.  There was no further discussion.  The Presiding Officer called the vote.  Result:  Unanimous in favor of the motion.

12.   Adjournment.  Prior to adjournment, Kimberly Bloom (Area 5 Rep) announced that a flyer had been distributed to all attendees, providing information about a “Fine Wine Fundraiser” to benefit PPCC, with samples of the wine (unopened bottles) available for viewing in the library room until the close of the meeting.  She noted that the fundraiser is being held in connection with the PPCC Awards Gala and that more information will be provided on the website and in notices to the community.   [See].

The Presiding Officer then adjourned the meeting at approximately 7:55pm.

ATTACHMENT, Item 8.1.2 – Names of Organizational Reps:

PPCC Organizational Members/Reps, 2023-24 Term

I.   Business & Commerce

John Padden, PRIDE; Alternate Bruce Schwartz
Alternate org. member (Chamber):  vacant

II.   Culture & Aesthetics

Aileen Haugh, Pacific Palisades Garden Club; Alternate Andy Frew, Theatre Palisades

III.   Education

Alisa Wolfson, Canyon Charter Elementary School; Alternate org. pending

IV.   Historian (PPHS)

Eric Dugdale; Alternate Barbara Kohn

V.   Civic Organizations

Kevin Niles, American Legion; Alternate Richard Blumenberg, PP Civic League

VI.   Recreation

Genevieve Bostic, Palisades-Malibu AYSO; Alternate Janet Anderson, AYSO

VII.       Environment

Ryan Craig, Resilient Palisades; Alternate James Alexakis, Temescal Canyon Association

VIII.      Service Clubs

Gabrielle Gottlieb, Pacific Palisades Woman’s Club; Alternate Hagop Tchakerian, Pacific Palisades Rotary

IX.   Residents Association (PPRA)

Courtney Macker; Alternate Jessica Rogers

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