MINUTES FROM JANUARY 25th 2024
1. Call to Order and Reading of Community Council’s Mission.
The meeting was called to order at 6:02PM and Chris Spitz read the PPCC mission.
2. Roll-call of Board members and Certification of Quorum.
Voting Board members: Maryam Zar, Sue Kohl, Jenny Li, Beth Holden-Garland, Dave Card, Cindi Young, Steve Cron, Michael Edlen, Daphne Gronich, Kimberly Bloom, Cindy Simon, Julie Silliman, Andrew Wolfberg, Chris Spitz, John Padden, Aileen Haugh, Alisa Wolfson (present for part of the meeting), Barbara Kohn, Genevieve Bostic, Ryan Craig, Gabrielle Gottlieb, Jessica Rogers.
Non-voting Board members: Joanna Spak, Quentin Fleming, Harlan Hogue, Alan Goldsmith, Rick McGeagh, Andy Frew, James Alexakis, Hagop Tchakerian, Bruce Schwartz.
The President certified that we have quorum.
3. Introduction of attendees: none [no special attendees]
4. Approval of Minutes. The January 11, 2024 minutes were approved.
5. Consideration of Agenda & Upcoming Meetings.
The agenda was considered as presented.
6. Treasurer’s Report.
The Treasurer reported that the account balance at US bank stands at $51,435.43. Most banking activity surrounded the holiday event. We have recently paid $1000 to our accountant. She reported that the Holiday event netted $7958.84, largely from tickets sales, auction and program advertising.
7. General Public Comment. There was no general public comment.
8. Reports, Announcements and Concerns.
8.1. From the Chair/Presiding Officer.
8.1.1. The President reported on previous letters sent since the last meeting and said she had followed up with CD11 and DOT regarding the Canyon School crossing guard as well as the linked letter: https://mcusercontent.com/e67def3ada76c274bac379123/files/f8e178fa-d9dc-cec7-7b28-d680fe95fdcc/In_support_of_Dog_Park_2024.01.pdf
8.1.2. The president updated the board regarding public safety matters including cameras for open spaces. She plans to speak to LA Parks Foundation for cameras and has spoken to Flock for Condor cameras. Flock looks like it will be affordable for us. RAP has also price quoted foot patrols for us using a RAP vendor. Community funding seems to be a possibility, but RAP has advised that we may need to use their technology and camera resources in order to install cameras in the Park. The President will be meeting with RAP camera team in the upcoming week, alongside Sue Kohl and Michael Edlen.
8.1.3. The President announced that the outreach process for Potrero Canyon Park bridge project will begin in February. She also updated the board that the Potrero Canyon Park signs (which PPCC approved) have been printed and are awaiting installation.
8.1.4. The President updated the board regarding her conversation with new CD11 Dis.t Dir., Juan Fregoso, who has promised to work on amassing a coastal public safety team that includes Rangers, sanitation, LAPD and more, specifically for the coastline. The President said she is looking into council files to see what kind of support she can find for Potrero Canyon Ranger support. She has found a Council File that she and others are chasing to bring to fruition.
8.1.5. The President announced that the Board of Recreation and Parks Commissioners will meet at the Palisades Recreation Center on March 21, 2024. She urged Palisadians to attend. She and Dave Card also informed the board that the RAP Commission approved Measure A funds for the Palisades Dog Park (advocated for by PPCC and the Council Office), at the south end of Temescal Park.
8.1.6. The President reported that there are talks underway regarding a community garden in perhaps two places: one traditional one in the flat area adjacent to the playground and one native garden (suggested by Valerie Serna of Resilient Palisades) in the front area of the Park that is concave and lacking in sunlight, but is the site of many adverse youth activities that have concerned the community. Park Director Jasmine Dowlatshahi and CD11 Field Deputy Michael Amster believe using that space for a community garden will deter that activity.
8.1.7. The President updated the board on the status of CF 15-0389-S2 which seeks to confer preferential status to PPCC and BCC at City hearings & proceedings.
8.2. From Officers and Chair Emeritus.
8.2.1. Sue Kohl, Vice President, reported that talks continue with Flock regarding the Condor cameras. She had a call with them where some information was exchanged and the conversation continues, depending on what Rap allows. She also reported that the homeless count convened at Corpus Christi Church a few mornings ago, very early, and it went very well.
Cindi Young added that it went very well. Breakfast was donated for all, PPTFH outreach team from The People Concern also participated. The count seemed to reveal a few more homeless people than last year – this includes the beach area, although LAHSA had asked that the beach not be counted. The full count will be made available to the public in June.
8.2.2. Beth Holden-Garland, Secretary had no updates, but did voice her support for the community garden idea.
8.2.3. Dave Card, Chair Emeritus gave his updates above, in conjunction with the President. He also informed the board about city workshops around a master plan for the city’s tree canopy and its development. He encouraged the community and residents to visit the planning department website, as well as the last PPCC newsletter, to see how they can connect by zoom and in-person to join workshops.
Dave Card also asked for Michael Amster to give due attention to the retaining wall at the Palisades Recreation Center which seemed to be cracking.
8.3. From At-Large and Area Representatives.
8.3.1. Cindi Young, Area One 1st Alternate gave an update on the homeless count. See above.
8.3.2. Murray Levy, Area One primary was not present
8.3.3. Daphne Gronich, Area Four 2nd Alternate reported that a couple of residents on Lower Las Casas have complained about water and flooding from Sunset, where water pooled 3-4 feet out into the street, and they asked for storm drains to be checked. They’d like to have someone from BOE look at it and add storm drain access along the block so that water runs off better, before the water picks up speed and misses the one and only storm drain. She will take pictures of future rains to demonstrate the problem.
Daphne then invited an area resident to speak about a landslide that came down the bluffs and blocked the driveway to and from the Palisades Bowl mobile home area. It was reported that RAP provided sandbags in anticipation of the rains, which were helpful, but residents surveyed the area and found that there is a big storm drain that has a plastic-coated thick mesh covering it. EPA standards require a double netted mesh protection, but the concern is that if these are placed in a crooked manner, they create a barrier which prevents the water from draining. That may be what is happening, resulting in the water jumping the curb and descending upon the bowl residential area. The Bowl manager has pledged to keep the area cleared and tidy, so as to help the drain area clearance, and keep the downhill runoff to a minimum. The President asked if residents feel supported by city agencies and if they need help. She was told residents did feel supported but thought there needed to be better communication between city agencies. The President asked Michael Amster if he needs us to write to him with a review of all areas in the Palisades that need BOE attention due to settling roads or curbs that needs repair attention. He said that would be helpful and that he will have more to report at the next meeting, but that these are issues of funding and resource allocation, as well as getting multiple city agencies to come to together depending on the issues.
8.3.4. Chris Spitz, PPCC At-Large Rep, mentioned areas on Via de Las Olas as well as the area closer to Friends Street (Potrero Canyon Access Road) which have had emergency tape marking them for much needed BOE attention for more than a year. BOE has recommended capital funding for improvements, but there is no news as to when the remediation will take place or with what funding. There was consensus that city agencies need to collaborate and take these street and bluff repairs seriously. She also said there would be a leaf blower motion, forthcoming.
8.4. From Organizational Representatives.
8.4.1. Jessica Rogers of PPRA reported that they have been in contact with LAPD to install no parking signs along Sunset and Palisades Drive in order to be able to enforce no parking/vehicular dwelling laws along those roads.
8.4.2. John Padden reported that PRIDE had installed a community clock at the corner of Sunset and Swarthmore, on the US Bank property, and was looking forward to the dedication event planned for Sunday, January 28th. He reported that the clock had been very well received by the community and he looked forward to seeing everyone at the ceremony, to be MC’d by Sam Lagana, along with pizza and sparkling cider. The president shared the informational flyer.
8.5. From Government Offices / Representatives.
8.5.1. Brian Espin, Senior Lead Officer (SLO), Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) reported that he sent out his crime update but wanted to report an increase in vehicle related crimes along the beach area. There is video footage and photographs of possible suspects, so an undercover operation is currently being considered. He will continue to update us. He reminded everyone not to leave wallets in cars while walking, surfing or enjoying the beach since those will be stolen and used while owners are enjoying the beach. He also suggested, again, not leaving keys on tires or generally leaving anything visible on car seats, even at night.
8.5.2. Michael Amster, CD11 Field Deputy, Pacific Palisades & Brentwood shared that CM Park introduced a motion to recognize Community Councils at city agencies. He announced a tree trimming and community clan-up event at the Brentwood Science magnet school – he invited everyone to attend. He said there will be others, and Pacific Palisades would certainly have one, as well. He reported that the Sunset Boulevard pothole is being addressed. He also announced that the prospects for a crossing guard for The Canyon School are slim. Canyon School is ranked very low in the priority list of LADOT for crossing guards. The President said she had communicated, since the last meeting, with LADOT and the Council Office that Canyon School construction had begun and that the need for a crossing guard at Canyon was even more urgent. She had flagged the matter saying the school is now experiencing a dangerous confluence of traffic elements that make it all the more urgent to have a crossing guard at the site. She asked that LADOT revisit the crossing guard matter and prioritize the hiring as pedestrians, passenger vehicles, mass transit busses, commercial trucks and now construction vehicles converge upon the school daily, adding to the flow and frequency of traffic.
A conversation ensued regarding the importance of impressing upon the City and LADOT how important it is to fill job vacancies in the Palisades when there are willing people to fill them, since it is difficult to fill thee spots as travel to the Palisades can be difficult for the usual applicant. Dave Card asked to see the list of criteria that comprise the priority determination for schools rankled high in need of crossing guards and Chris Spitz asked for the Councilwoman to interject herself into the situation and advocate for filling this important role, in person. Michael Amster said he would continue to escalate the matter. They will also explore other ways to increase safety on Entrada.
8.5.3. Radmehr Nowroozi, SD 24, Field Representative for Palisades, Brentwood and Westwood reported about street vending bills and the legislative regulatory landscape surrounding this microbusiness. In 2018 SB946 decriminalized and simplified street vending in CA. It said local authorities could no longer prevent vendors on sidewalks (public rights of way) unless the community health, safety or welfare was at risk, nor could they regulate the number of vendors in each community. It also limited the ways in which vendors could be cited (limiting fines) only if the health, safety or welfare of the community is at risk. Citations cannot carry serious charges – they must not be misdemeanors or felonies. This became a problem in SM with fire as well as health and public safety risks on and near the SM Pier. SB 1290 was an attempt by Sen Allen to bring about narrowly tailored enforcement mechanisms to protect the public health safety and welfare. It died due to push back from those who advocate for street vendors. SB 972 later passed decriminalizing sidewalk vending by creating a new category for retail food vending, but although Sen Allen voted for it, it did not adopt any of Sen Allen’s public safety provisions (which he had hoped would be incorporated into the bill). These bills have together created a landscape where local government has very few means by which to enforce limitations on street vending in their communities. Currently, the only enforcement and citation mechanism is with the County’s food safety regulators, per county health codes.
The president explained that this update was prompted by a concern on the part of some board members about street vendors on sunset boulevard, in front of Ralph’s in Pacific Palisades. The President learned that Ralph’s had issued a cease-and-desist order to these vendors and they had moved. Still, community members were interested to learn more about street vending laws, and so she asked Rad and Michael to provide the board with pertinent information.
Michael explained that if residents are concerned with the health and safety of the food being sold, they must contact the county department of public health; if residents are concerned about the obstruction of the public right of way (PROW) they must contact BSS (311 request) and the vendor would be obligated to show their permit to the BSS investigator; if residents are concerned about the threat of fire they should contact LAFD.
Chris shared that the city issues permits to food vendors, who must ensure that there is 5 feet of space for passage along with certain health approved elements at their stands/carts. She said years ago, PPCC took a position against street vending bills in the interest of seeing more local control. She said that fees would be even further reduced, according to the information from the CAO in connection with a recent motion in City Council. She asked what would happen if these vendors are cited and citations are not paid. Brian Espin responded with personal experience during enforcement, saying that the food items can be confiscated (discarded), but not the equipment. The vendor can appeal the citation, but nothing stops them from coming back the next day, and setting up again. He said the health department can confiscate the food but since there is no real penalty that comes with the citation, vendors do often return to the same locations, called ‘hot spots”, where the income is lucrative.
The President thanked everyone and acknowledged the need to create income and small business opportunities for traditionally underserved communities, but added that local control was important and that she would venture to guess that if Sen. Allen were to float another bill to bring back commonsense controls, the PPCC and others would be inclined to support more local control. Rad Nowroozi thanked the PPCC and reiterated that most vendors are good faith actors taking advantage of new business opportunities within the confines of the law.
8.5.4. Skylar Payab, AD 42, Field Deputy for Pacific Palisades & Brentwood, was not present.
8.5.5. Marian Ensley, West Area Field Deputy for Mayor Karen Bass, was not present.
8.5.6. Zac Gaidzik, Coastal and Westside Field Deputy for County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath, was not present.
8.6. From PPCC Advisors and WRAC Representatives.
8.6.1. WRAC updates were tabled
8.6.2. PCH Taskforce meeting update from Lou Kamer, PPCC Transportation Advisor, was not given.
9. Reports from PPCC Committees and community groups.
9.1. Committee of the Three Chairs – Card, Spitz, Zar
9.1.1. Nomination of Area Eight 2nd Alternate for board affirmation was deferred to the next meeting.
9.2. PPCC Land Use Committee (LUC) — Steve Cron and Chris Spitz, co-chairs.
9.2.1. The LUC recommended a letter for board approval, putting forth suggested solutions to hillside construction problems to be sent to the Council Office. The letter was approved unanimously. (See the letter here: https://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/PPCC-Hillside-Construction-Letter.pdf )
10. Old Business: there was no old business.
11. New Business:
[11.1. Motions re Vehicle Dwelling & Parking]. Chris Spitz, At-large primary representative made the following two Motions regarding vehicle Dwelling & Parking. The board approved both motions.
11.1.1. Pacific Palisades Community Council supports CF 23-0914 (Park), which calls for recommendations for a citywide program to designate streets where RVs/oversize vehicles can safely park with access to services, including housing navigation, portable restrooms, automotive repair and septic tank disposal, and would also restrict RV parking in residential areas, commercial corridors and other sensitive areas.
This motion was seconded by Sue Kohl and passed unanimously.
11.1.2. Pacific Palisades Community Council requests that the restriction in LAMC Sec. 41.18 on camping near sensitive uses be defined to include dwelling in vehicles of all sizes as well as all forms of camping within 500 feet of sensitive uses, including libraries, parks, schools and day-care centers, and that Councilwoman Park bring a motion in City Council to amend LAMC 41.18 for this purpose.
This motion was seconded by Kimberly Bloom and passed with one abstention.
12. Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 8:30PM, without objection.