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Unless otherwise noted, all meetings through the current officers’ term (June 30,  2023) held via Zoom videoconference and recorded for secretarial purposes only.

MINUTES FROM JANUARY 12th 2023

1.    Call to Order and Reading of Community Council’s Mission. 
The President called the meeting to order at 6:08pm. Sue Kohl read the PPCC mission.

2.    Roll-call of Board members and Certification of Quorum.
The President called roll and certified that we had quorum.

Voting board members present: Maryam Zar, Randy Young, Jenny Li, Beth HoldenGarland, David Card, Murray Levy, Bruce Schwartz, Haldis Toppel, Karen Ridgley, Kimberly Bloom, Cindy Simon, Julie Silliman, Reza Akef, Chris Spitz, John Padden, Nina Kidd, Greg Heidt, Barbara Kohn, Richard Blumenberg, Shirley Haggstrom, Courtney Macker.

Non-voting board members present: Joanna Spak, Nancy Niles, Michael Edlen, Leeanne Sanderson, Sue Kohl, Rick McGeagh, Kevin Niles.

3.    Introduction of attendees.
The President deferred introduction of all attendees, but did introduce guest speaker: Donna Arrechea, Director, 3-1-1 Call Center. Donna recommended the use of the MY LA 311 services and mobile app to report service requests like park maintenance, trees down, graffiti, tree dumping, etc. Donna was short with time, but willing to come back to attend another meeting and answer questions.  Sidewalks, she said, are generally the homeowner’s responsibility in LA, but the city will step in to make sure sidewalks are accessible. There is a 7 to 10-year request time. The President thanked Ms. Arrechea and invited her to come back to another meeting with questions sent in advance. A comment in the chat said the 311 app has been effective for graffiti removal.  Chris Spitz (At-large rep.) noted that the PPCC website has a link to the 311 app.

4.    Approval of Minutes.
The minutes of November 10, 2022 were approved without objection.

5.    Consideration of Agenda & Upcoming Meetings.
The President noted that on January 26th, we will have a presentation by Alex Helou, Assistant Director at LA Sanitation, as well as Deborah Hong from LADWP.  We might also meet the new CD11 Field Deputy.

6.    Treasurer’s Report.
Following the PPCC Holiday Dinner and Gala event, the bank balance is $55,659.52. This balance is higher than what we began with in July. Thanked Karen Ridgley and Haldis Toppel, Event Committee Co-Chairs, for their help in tallying the income/expenses of the gala.    

7.    General Public Comment — None. 

8.    Reports, Announcements and Concerns.

8.1.    From the Chair/Presiding Officer.

8.1.1.  The President announced that she hosted a walk-through of Potrero Canyon Park with Area and At-large Reps in order to have a more informed conversation around park issues at this, and other, meetings. She will be appointing a committee.

8.1.2.   She announced that she has met with Traci Park and Gaby Medina regarding Palisadian matters, including Potrero issues.

8.1.3.  The President noted that LADWP will present to our Board next time we meet.

8.2.    From Officers.

8.2.1.   Randy Young announced a presentation he will be making about Potrero Canyon on January 17th at 7pm at Theater Palisades for the Historical Society. Reservations are available online.

8.2.2.   From At-Large and Area Representatives.

8.3.1 [numbering incorrect].  Reza Akef, Area 8, announced that February Genesis Golf Open sponsored by the Tiger Woods Foundation is upon us. Please let him know of any issues, poor experiences, concerns about the open.

8.2.3.   Karen Ridgley, Area 4, a tree on Las Casas needs to be removed. Asks, how do we go about getting basic city service to do what is necessary? Also, vehicles are driving up on curbs near Asilomar Park and the curbs are damaged. Need curb repairs. The President said CD11 is hiring a new Palisades field deputy who may help. Also, please call the fire department about dangerous trees.

8.3.    From Organizational Representatives.

8.3.1.   Kevin Niles, American Legion, announced the Grand Opening of the  American Legion: Sat Jan 28th , from 2pm to 6pm at the American Legion location. There will be a street closure from Swarthmore to Alma Real and a ribbon cutting ceremony at 3pm. All are invited. An invitation with a QR code for RSVP has been shared. The President noted that she is not at her usual laptop because of heavy traffic on PCH so she diverted to the home of her parents where she does not have a laptop and is working off her telephone and will not be able to share the invitation on screen but will include it in the minutes. See the invitation [link] below.

8.3.2.   Rick McGeagh, PPBA, announced that the PPBA will be holding evaluations for approximately 500 kids on Saturday January 20th and Sunday January 21st. Also reported a sinkhole in the path around the field. Will be following up with RAP and city maintenance people, and are hoping it is addressed before the next set of rains.

8.4.   From Government Offices / Representatives.

8.4.1.   Brian Espin.  LAPD Senior Lead Officer for Pacific Palisades.
Officer Espin showed us the “heat map” of crime density and gave us a year-on-year report of Palisades crime statistics. He noted that last year we saw an increase in rapes (5 in 2022 versus 3 in 2021). These were not stranger rapes and all involved intoxication of some sort. He said we were higher in robberies at PCH and Sunset Blvd., but lower also in Aggravated Assaults. Problem spots are evenings down by PCH. Burglaries saw an up-tick during the week of Christmas, when we had 8 or 9 in the area. Other than that, we have been trending well for most of the year. He attributes the lower statistics to community vigilance and the Beach Unit with 7 days coverage using 4 officers. They’ve been out each day with PPTFH volunteers and are clearing out encampments. Bluffs are clear now, but that may change. He suggested we keep LAPD and the PPTFH aware if we see anything.  Area 6 Rep, Cindy Simon, voiced general concern over the uptick in robberies and home break-ins.  The President said she’d like to see the Palisades car not have to leave. SLO Espin said he’d like to see that as well. Reported three crimes in the first week of January.  SLO Espin noted that on February 25th, LAPD will be holding its Safety Fair at West LA Station.  The Fair will include catalytic converter etching, and SLOs along with Captains will be available to answer questions.

8.4.2.   Zac Gaidzik, (temporary) Deputy, County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath, District 3.  Zach reports that Supervisor Horvath passed a motion co-authored by Sup. Barker, declaring a homelessness emergency across LA County.  This ensures that all resources are being used to deal with homelessness. Also co-authored a motion to make Narcan (Naloxone), available to all emergency providers as LA sees a rise in overdoses across LA. These drugs can save the lives of people who are experiencing an overdose that may otherwise be fatal. These are widely used by EMS and by first responders with no significant adverse reaction. Notes the PIT homeless count coming up on January 25th  and informs us that youth homelessness, particularly among LGBTQ + populations, is on the rise and that Supervisor Horvath is focused on addressing this troubling trend. The President welcomed Zach as part of the newly elected Sup. Horvath team, and congratulated Lindsey Horvath again on her election to the LA County Board of Supervisors.

8.4.3.   Gabriela Medina, CD11 District Director, Councilmember Traci Park.
Gaby introduced herself as the Councilwoman’s new District Director. She started in City Council as a staffer in 2012, with CM Joe Buscaino. They are hiring a new field deputy on Friday. CM Park has introduced the Potrero Canyon Park hours motion, as well as a new 41.18 motion. In partnership with law enforcement and community leaders, they’ve identified problem spots to address. They have implemented outreach to address homelessness through a compassionate lens with choices for housing, and have housed 100 individuals already.  This is part of the “Inside Safe” program (Mayor Bass), and are hopeful they’ll house more because this is the “number one” issue in the district. Her next priority is public safety.

She looks forward to working with all of us. “There is no issue too small or too large.” CM Park sends her regards.

Said she is in conversations with Sonya Jimenez and Jasmine Dowlatshahi from RAP and plans a walk though Potrero Canyon Park in order to address some of the issues that remain unresolved. Wants to streamline communication but promises they are on top of Park issues.

Veronica de la Cruz Robles was also at the meeting, and said she’s known Gaby Medina for years and works well with her. The President said she was glad to see the tripartite of good working relationships between the Council Office, LAPD and the Office of the City Attorney. Veronica said no changes have been made to staff or policy under newly elected City Attorney, Heidi Feldstein Soto.

8.4.4.   Rad Nowroozi introduced himself as Senator Ben Allen’s Field Deputy (SD 24). Also said he is the Caltrans rep to the community. The big news this week in the state capital was the budget announcement – instead of a surplus there is a projected 22billion-dollar shortfall. There is a rainy-day fund, that was set up in past years when there had been a surplus, so the state is doing fine. The two parts of the budget that are most impacted are transportation and the environment (two matters Ben Allen works on).  The President asked Rad to put us in touch with Caltrans over important local matters which can be discussed offline.

8.5.    From PPCC Advisors and WRAC Representatives.

8.5.1.    Lou Kamer, PPCC Transportation Advisor.  Lou reported that PCH back up northbound around Entrada has been submitted to Caltrans and they somehow lost the thread. Light maintenance crews will be looking at the intersection to implement improvements and repairs.

Regarding flooding on PCH, we were told that PCH dips in that area and because of the runoff, there was flooding there. Caltrans has found a temporary way to move that water away, but they are looking for LA City BOE to come up with a permanent solution or ways to pump or divert the water from that area.

Also gave update regarding the Caltrans staging/dumping area along PCH – they are looking to find a solution for better use of that space.

Closing the gaps in the walls next to Casentino. Asked Caltrans maintenance to close those gaps, but they say they need right of way/access in those spots. Lou reported that he would continue to try to close those gaps for community safety and fire prevention purposes.

8.6.    Sharon Kilbride, Homelessness Advisor.  PPTFH needs volunteers for the Point In Time 2023 homeless count on January 25th.  Start time: 5/5:30 am from Corpus Christi gymnasium.  Please email kimjdave@msn.com to sign up and volunteer.  Sharon also announced that Dave Morena, who has spearheaded the PIT Homeless count since the first year that the PPTFH undertook that endeavor and developed the Palisades process (which often works better than the county’s), has passed away. This year PPTFH needs “all hands on deck.”  The homeless count will take place on January 25th. The board expressed its genuine condolences to the Clary/Morena family and urged people to volunteer.

8.6.1.   Chris Spitz, PPCC Primary rep to WRAC  – Deferred.

8.6.2.   K.C. Soll, Cert and Emergency Preparedness Liaison.
Structural problems under Sunset with water to feeder areas.  If there is a major earthquake, we will have difficulty delivering clean water so she proposes that people get together with neighbors and achieve neighborhood water security, in case of a major earthquake. The infrastructure is elderly so everyone should consider getting a 55-gallon water barrel into their garage – it could save lives.  Email her at cert.palisades@gmail.com

9.    Reports from Committees.

9.1.    Palisades Forestry Committee, David Card, Chair.
PFC successfully arranged for the planting of 6 new trees at the Palisades Recreation Center. El Medio is the next street they will address, so this month they will be walking up there looking for vacancies for street trees. Will Rogers State Park will have 100 new seedlings which are being grown in Ojai at a specialty nursery for later planting, along with 50 peppers (purchased by Will Rogers Foundation). Next areas will be Via de la Paz and some spots in SM.

9.2.    Holiday Event Committee, Sue Kohl (recap of Holiday event).
December 8th at Cheadle Hall, the event was a huge success. Sue thanked the awards committee chaired by Nancy and Kevin Niles, as well as the Event Committee, chaired by Haldis Toppel, with Karen Ridgley, Cindy Simon and Genevieve Bostic. The presentation of awards went well – awarded to Mike Lanning, James Cragg, Cindy Simon, Tracy Price, Hazel Tate and the Pacific Palisades Historical Society Centennial Celebration Committee.  New Councilmember Traci Park, as well as LAUSD Board VP Nick Melvoin, Janet Turner, Noah Fleishman, Sam Liu and others were on hand to present the scrolls and certificates to our honorees, and to thank them for their volunteer work in the community.

The President thanked the Event Committee and apologized for having been down with COVID for this important event. She thanked Sue Kohl for stepping in and managing the event so beautifully, and also mentioned the assistance of Kevin Niles, Genevieve Bostic, Beth Holden-Garland, and Sue Pascoe in giving the PPCC awards to the honorees and helping celebrate their important contributions to the Palisades.

10.    Old Business – None.

11.    New Business.

11.1.    L.A. City 3-1-1 App Presentation (by Donna Arrechea, Director, 3-1-1 Call Center).  Deferred – asked to come back for remarks and responses to curated questions (see also Item 3 above).

11.2.    Smoking on film/movie sets (by Larry Watts, BCC)  – Deferred.

11.3.   George Wolfberg Park at Potrero Canyon (GWPPC).

11.3.1.    Motion to Secure Park Rangers:
Motion made by At-large Rep Chris Spitz and co-sponsored by Area 6 Reps Cindy Simon and Quentin Fleming, passed unanimously.

“Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC), in the interest of public health and safety, urges Council District 11 to secure the regular service of the Los Angeles City Park Rangers to ensure that Park Rangers are assigned to monitor George Wolfberg

Park at Potrero Canyon on a daily basis so that proper usage of this passive, unattended  Park can be enforced in accordance with all laws, including ensuring that users are not  gaining access to the Park before or after operating hours and that users are not trapped or otherwise remaining in the Park after the intended sunset closing time.”

11.3.2.    Discussion and possible motion regarding standing water:
Motion made by Chris Spitz (At-large Rep), seconded by Karen Ridgle (Area 4 Rep), passes unanimously after brief explanation of possible standing water and the need for vector control monitoring until either the water is moving or is treated sufficiently to prevent a threat of gathering mosquitos.

“PPCC recognizes a current need for L.A. County Vector Control to support the opening of the George Wolfberg Park at Potrero Canyon (GWPPC) and asks CD11 and RAP to request Vector Control personnel, on a regular basis, to test/monitor standing water gathering at various spots along the riparian way in GWPCC, until the conditions causing standing water in the riparian way are identified and corrected and/or the proposed pump which is intended to effectively recirculate the riparian water begins to function properly and ensures a moving stream that prevents the collection of standing water and/or the chance of mosquitos or other hazards associated with standing water.”

11.3.3.   Discussion and possible motion/s regarding observations made during our walk through:
A) Approved a formal “thank you” to be sent to Congressman Ted Lieu for securing $1.15 Million in the Omnibus bill for the Lateral Trail linking GWPPC with Temescal Canyon Park.

B) A request to Mayor Karen Bass and/or Councilwoman Traci Park to secure the additional short-fall for the Lateral Trail (now estimated by BOE to cost over $3M) did not pass.

  • Members wanted to understand why we need more money and would like some answers from City BOE as to costs and feasibility. Rob Weber (Legal Advisor and longtime community member working on Potrero Canyon Park issues), noted that the City and Caltrans must come to an agreement so that the path can cross the Caltrans right of way to progress. We need that first. This can all be one ask because we need to understand what the money is for, and when Caltrans and the City will come together and implement an agreement for access. Then we can begin to talk about what the path looks like and how much it will cost.
  • The President will follow up with our state representatives to help bring Caltrans and the City together. Dave Card says he has seen a line drawing of the path but there has been no real feasibility study done or detailed plans shared with the community because the City hasn’t had the money in place to begin the work. Now they have the money and should begin the engineering work to design and implement the lateral trail, notably required by the Coastal permit. Chris Spitz notes that the bridge still needs Coastal Commission approval.

C) Slope erosion – the board noted that there has been substantial slope erosion in various areas of GWPPC that must be addressed and repaired by City engineers before it damages the pedestrian trail.

  • There are other observable areas of slippage in areas of the canyon which all need repairs. There has now been an eye-opening slippage beneath the baseball field as well as the area to the right of the Frontera entrance.
  • Rick McGeagh and Sue Kohl (Area 7 and 5 First Alternates, respectively) pointed out great areas of slippage. Chris Spitz (At-large Rep) also noted fissures along the Friends Street trail. The President noted that the City has become aware of the fissures and are working on it. We will monitor, and report back. This issue will also be pointed out at the Park Advisory Board meeting where RAP members will be present. Will report back on engineering solutions proposed.
  • The President will inform the City about soil slippage along the trail, at the Frontera gate, the Friends Street fissures, the baseball field hole and the slope below it, and ask for them to be repaired.

D) Biking – Electric, battery operated or motorized bikes and scooters to be prohibited; pedal bikes and non-motorized scooters allowed only on the 12-ft. wide, main pedestrian trail (appropriate “no motorized vehicles” LAMC section added to the signage)  – Tabled.

E) Linking QR code to GWPPC family information and signage  – Tabled.

F) Dogs off leash – urge City to seriously pursue dog park in Pacific Palisades. – Affirmed in keeping with previously approved motion to support.

G) Wires and plastic pipe(s) sticking out along the pedestrian pathway – it was agreed that we would ask the City to address.

  • Randy Young suggested that this is a breaking-in time which requires a blueprint of walkthrough/inspection.
  • The President reiterated that she will be appointing a Potrero Canyon Monitoring Committee, which will aim to monitor ongoing issues and successes at Potrero Canyon Park, including implementing regular walk-abouts with city officials and community members, as well as streamlined communication, maintenance contract monitoring, weeding and more.

H) Gates: all pedestrian gates must function properly (latched fully-closed automatically at sunset and opened automatically at sunrise); the Rhino gate at the end of the pedestrian trail should be operable, or gaps created on both sides of the gate posts that are just wide enough for pedestrian passage, so pedestrians can gain access to the rest of the trail which descends down to the mouth of the canyon (to where the Lateral Trail would begin).

– Chris Spitz (At-large Rep) described some latching problems at gates but reported that both the Friends Street and the Frontera gate locking mechanisms have been corrected and seem to be operating properly  – Rhino gate not addressed.

I) Fencing at Frontera Entrance:  Fencing to the left side of the vehicle gate (when entering GWPPC) should be raised to a height of 6 ft. from the top of the curb/retaining wall where persons have been observed climbing over the now-lower fencing at that point in order to gain access at nighttime.

– Chris Spitz (At-large Rep) reports that people are climbing the lower part of the gate. The President reports that the City has acknowledged that the fencing needs to be made uniform at 6 feet. Board agrees that the City should be made aware, and that repairs or adjustments should be forthcoming. If corrections are not made, we will have the committee follow up.

– Karen Ridgley (Area 4 Rep) brought up the self-cleaning bathrooms at Potrero. The President says she will bring it to the attention of RAP and believes this will be the kind of ongoing monitoring that the new committee will concern itself with.

J) Additional signage on pedestrian gates:  Add clear signs on the Frontera, baseball field and Friends St. gates stating to the effect “Park Closed (No Entry) Sunset to Sunrise.” There should be a passive park sign at each entry  – Tabled.

11.4.   Interactive Kiosk Experience (IKE) Program – discussion and motion (recommended by WRAC: https://westsidecouncils.com/motion/opposeikeinteractivekioskprogramcf2211542/) to oppose the City’s proposed IKE program.

– Motion made by Chris Spitz (At-large Primary) and seconded by Karen Ridgley (Area 4 Primary) passed unanimously:

“Pacific Palisades Community Council opposes the IKE program present in Council File 22-1154 for the following reasons:

  • This project may result in the installation of digital advertising structures along designated Scenic Highways for which Scenic Corridor Plans have not been adopted, such as Sunset Blvd.; as such, the project violates the Mobility Element of the City’s General Plan (Appendix B, Scenic Highways Guidelines).There is no local competitive bidding process.
  • This project needs a financial analysis, as it is using public space to generate revenue. This project may have negative environmental impacts and there is no environmental review (CEQA).
  • This project creates visual pollution
  • This project is a source of driver distraction and poses a threat to safe driving.”

12.    Adjournment. The meeting was adjourned at 8:13pm.

[ATTACHMENT — Item 8.3.1:  Link to invitation: https://pacpalicc.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/American-Legion-Invitation-to-Grand-Opening-w-QR-code.pdf]

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MINUTES FROM JANUARY 27th 2023 (pending)

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