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Districtwide Strike Closes Palisadian Charter Schools

Canyon Charter Elementary School
Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

While SEIU Local 99 and Los Angeles Unified School District were unable to reach an agreement on negotiations, all campuses in the district—including charter schools in Pacific Palisades—were slated to be closed for up to three days starting Tuesday, March 21, through Thursday, March 23.

Campuses that were closed include Marquez Charter Elementary, Palisades Charter Elementary, Canyon Charter Elementary and Paul Revere Charter Middle schools. Palisades Charter High School remained open, as the school was not impacted by the strike.

The strike is being led by SEIU Local 99, which is the union that represents 50,000 education workers—including cafeteria workers, special education assistants, custodians and bus drivers—in K-12 schools, early education centers and homes, and community colleges throughout Southern California, “over unfair labor practices,” according to a statement released by the organization.

Marquez Principal Dr. LaTanya Reeves shared background information about the strike, as well as resources for continuity of learning, on a video shared on the school’s website.

 “SEIU Local 99 has announced its intention to hold a three-day strike from Tuesday, March 21, through Thursday, March 23,” according to the video. “Additionally, our labor partner, UTLA, has advised teachers to support the strike by not reporting to work on those days.”

School staff who were on campus during the strike were anticipated to hold virtual office hours to assist students with assignments, while offices were to remain open to address “parent questions and concerns”—though hours would depend on staffing levels.

“This afternoon, SEIU Local 99 had agreed to enter a confidential mediation process with LAUSD to try and address our differences,” SEIU Local 99 Executive Director Max Arias shared in a statement Monday, March 20. “Unfortunately, LAUSD broke that confidentiality by sharing it with the media before our bargaining team, which makes all decisions, had a chance to discuss how to proceed. This is yet another example of the school district’s continued disrespect of school workers. We are ready to strike.”

SEIU Local 99 school workers voted “overwhelmingly”—96% in favor, according to the statement—to authorize a strike last month. Some of the things the union has proposed include “equity for education workers,” “clean and safe learning environments for all,” and “increased academic support for students and assistance for families.” The list of demands includes a 30% wage increase and $2 an hour “equity wage adjustment for all.”

“Despite our invitation for a transparent, honest conversation that perhaps would result in a meaningful solution that would avoid a strike, we must formally announce that all schools across LAUSD would be closed to students tomorrow,” LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho wrote in a statement on Monday, March 20. “We continue to be available to have a conversation tonight, early morning and all throughout the day tomorrow.”

UTLA—United Teachers Los Angeles—the union that represents public school educators in Los Angeles, joined the strike in solidarity with SEIU Local 99.

“UTLA will strike in solidarity, and UTLA’s elected leaders are encouraging all 35,000 UTLA educators to join SEIU 99 in a solidarity strike,” according to its website. “SEIU 99 members have been working under a contract that expired in 2021 and are among the lowest paid employees in LAUSD—$25,000 a year on average.”

As rain fell on Tuesday, staff members and teachers gathered in-person to strike at Marquez and Canyon campuses starting as early as 6:30 a.m. Picket lines were expected to be set up each morning of the strike at schools and worksites, including bus yards, procurement and the Newman Nutrition Center. A rally also took place the first day of the strike at LAUSD Headquarters.

LAUSD hosted 24 Grab & Go sites throughout the city at local parks and recreation centers to “distribute students’ meals to families,” with three days’ worth of meals provided, according to Carvalho. Select elementary, middle and high schools also offered student supervision.

Pacific Palisades Community Council Hosts MyLA311 Presentation

Donna Arrechea
Photo courtesy of PPCC

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Pacific Palisades Community Council hosted a presentation by MyLA311 Director Donna Arrechea at its Thursday, March 9, meeting—diving into the program’s history, as well as how the community can access and use it.

“Our 311 call center actually is on its 21st year,” Arrechea explained. “It was established in 2002 as a call center using the three-digit number ‘311,’ which was set aside by the federal government. Just like 911 is for emergency services, 311 was set aside for non-emergency governmental services.”

The number is used in “many cities and counties” throughout the U.S. and Canada, Arrechea explained. MyLA311—which is designed to put “the power of City Hall in the palm of your hand,” according to Arrechea’s presentation—offers services through three outlets: a mobile application, a web portal and a contact center.

The mobile application, which is available for free for iPhone and Android, is available in English, Spanish, Korean, Armenian and Chinese. The application, first launched in 2013, allows for city service request intake, including trash, dumping, graffiti, potholes and street lighting. Users are also able to access a city services directory, social media feeds, pay bills and see city info.

“It has a couple of main functions,” Arrechea shared, “and that is, it has a knowledge base where we have information about over 1,500 different city services and programs and information that you can search … [and] also for service request intake, as I’m sure you’re all aware, because you want to report things in the neighborhood that are problems that the city is responsible for.”

The web portal is available via myla311.lacity.org, and the contact center can be reached by calling 311 in the city of LA or 213-473-3231. It is open Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., as well as weekends/holidays from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. The center may be reached via email at 311@lacity.org.

Several types of service requests can be made through MyLA311, including LA City Sanitation (trash collection, bulky item pick-up, dumping, homeless encampments, etc.); Streets LA (roadways, sidewalks, alleys, potholes, city tree issues, obstructions in the sidewalk, etc.); Bureau of Street Lighting; Office of Community Beautification (which handles graffiti); Recreation and Parks; Animal Services (pet adoptions, lost pets, violations and barking dog reports); and LADOT – Transportation (eScooters and taxi complaints, with more services slated to come soon, including problems with traffic signals and signs, as well as illegal parking).

Arrechea presented “important tips” for how to use MyLA311, including to provide an email address in order to receive emails when the service request opens and closes.

“Not every [service request] can be completed in a few days—some need a lot of time or funding, some are not city responsibility, some can’t be done due to inaccurate location and lack of contact information to get more info,” according to the presentation. “If [the] problem is not resolved within reasonable time, consider calling or looking up status using the [service request] number or providing contact information.”

Arrechea shared that one of the common complaints about the system is that a ticket gets closed and the email does not have comments on why.

“There’s a variety of reasons for that,” she explained. “Some of them are human error by the departments who are closing the tickets … [and] some issues that get reported to us actually need to be referred to other departments or other agencies.”

When it comes to describing the location of a request, a description/details can be “extremely important” if the problem is not directly in front of an address.

Arrechea explained that during recent storms, 311 received more than 3,000 requests for downed trees or large broken limbs in a three-day period. During a more typical time, things like graffiti and potholes can be repaired within a few days.

“However, street lights, as an example, currently are taking two to three weeks to get a single street light repaired,” Arrechea explained. “If it’s a wire theft issue, with multiple street lights out, it can actually take a few months to get repaired.”

Sidewalk repairs, which is one of the things the city has “limited funding” for, has a waitlist of about seven years, Arrechea said. Those that are in “bad shape” are being prioritized.

The city of LA recently completed a weeklong campaign leading up to National 311 Day, which took place on Saturday, March 11, encouraging residents to increase their use of the system to make requests. During the week of March 6 to 10, more than 26,500 requests were made, according to data shared by the city.

“If you care about your community, you are the eyes and ears for the city,” Arrechea said. “We depend on you, that if you see problems, you report them to us so that we’re aware … we really do depend on constituents to report those issues.”

Paul Revere Artist to Compete in National PTA Reflections Art Contest

“Heroes of Change”
Photo courtesy of Jake Gallagher

By LILY TINOCO | Assistant Editor 

Palisadian Jake Gallagher was recently awarded the Award of Excellence for his participation in the 2022-23 California PTA Reflections Art Contest, allowing him to move forward and represent the state at the national level.

Every year, students across the state are invited to participate in the program and submit original artwork in one of six areas: dance choreography, literature, photography, film production, music composition and visual arts.

The submissions are first presented to school-level PTAs, where they are judged by five grade-level divisions. School PTAs then choose a number of entries to move on to be judged by local PTA units, who send the entries to councils and districts for further consideration.

“The final artworks submitted to California State PTA by districts are then considered for Outstanding Interpretation, Awards of Excellence or Awards of Merit,” according to the California State PTA website. “Outstanding Interpretation and Award of Excellence entries then go on to represent California in the final National PTA judging round.”

The theme of this year’s competition was “Show Your Voice,” encouraging students to “unleash creative talents, express themselves … [and] experience the fun and joy of making art.”

Gallagher, an eighth-grade student at Paul Revere Charter Middle School, submitted an original art piece, “Heroes of Change,” to compete in the Visual Arts category. His artwork highlights nine individuals he considers heroic, including Muhammad Ali, Martin Luther King Jr., Jane Goodall, Gandhi, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, Mother Teresa, Abraham Lincoln, John Lennon—and one blank figure with a question mark.

“My art piece depicts nine people in history … who have spoken out and used their voice to change the world,” the Marquez Knolls resident explained to the Palisadian-Post. “And all of these people are important parts of history … I put a blank space, almost like an empty person, to show that anyone viewing the piece of art could use [their] voice to change the world and be just like one of them.”

Gallagher said, visually, he took inspiration from superhero movie posters like Marvel’s “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame.” He explained that he used colored pencils to illustrate the individuals, and the piece took him approximately 20 hours to complete.

With art being his “main hobby,” Gallagher said he has competed in art competitions in the past, but learning that he would be moving on to the national level competition in the Reflections Art Program was “surreal.”

“It felt super exciting,” he said of the recognition. “I was pretty confident that I had a chance at state but it never occurred to me that this would be like, actually happening, so it was really exciting. I’m actually pretty nervous for nationals because that’s just huge, and I’ve never been in a competition this big.”

He said it may be about three months until the results of the competition are revealed.

Second District Rejects PPRA Highlands Eldercare Project Appeal

The facility, pictured in January
Photo courtesy of Chuck Larsen Photography

By LILY TINOCO | Assistant Editor

The Second District Court of Appeal rejected the Pacific Palisades Residents Association’s appeal against the development of an eldercare facility in The Highlands in a new ruling filed Wednesday, March 8.

The court affirmed its previous decision that the project is consistent with the Los Angeles Zoning Code, California Coastal Commission and more.

PPRA has been fighting aspects of the development dating back to 2018, appealing exemptions and approvals by the city and California Coastal Commission of the four-story, 45-foot-high, 64,646-square-foot project by Brentwood-based developer Rony Shram.

PPRA initially filed a petition for writ of mandate on July 24, 2018, and took the city to court in 2020 before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John A. Torribio. The brief alleged ways the project violates city ordinances and state laws. Torribio denied PPRA’s motion on April 21, 2020.

PPRA then filed a notice of appeal in Superior Court to overturn the ruling. The appeal was heard virtually on Thursday, January 26.

The March 8 filing affirmed the court’s original ruling, stating “the three respondents—the city of Los Angeles, the California Coastal Commission and the developer—defend the trial court ruling. We affirm.”

The court found that PPRA devoted “the bulk” of their brief to one issue: that the project is larger than LA zoning allows, and that the city incorrectly applied provisions to the project lot’s “buildable area,” or “yard” space.

“This zoning controversy boils down to one sentence in the law: section 12.22.A.18(c)(3),” the filing read.

Section 12.22.A.18.(c)(3) states that no yard requirements apply to the residential portions of buildings located on lots used for combined commercial and residential uses.

“The trial court correctly ruled this provision means no yard requirements applied to the residential portions of the eldercare facility,” according to the filing. “The conclusion is simple: no yard requirements apply here. This demolishes the opponents’ zoning argument.”

PPRA also argued that the project would strain architectural compatibility and views.

The filing stated “substantial evidence supports the city’s finding of compatibility between the project and the neighborhood.”

“The record shows this neighborhood has been a subdivision of Los Angeles for many decades,” according to the filing. “There are nearby public parks and open space, which no doubt is a lovely aspect of the neighborhood. But Pacific Palisades and Brentwood are not undeveloped seashores or wildernesses far from roads and other marks of human activity. They are subdivisions of the second largest city in America. The urbanized character of this site and the surrounding area thus are facts unchallenged in our court.”

In response to PPRA’s challenge against the Coastal Commission’s decision, the Coastal Commission decided the appeal presented “no substantial issue” under the Coastal Act.

The Coastal Commission and city referred to a traffic study that found the project would not have a significant effect on nearby intersections, and that any increase in traffic would not “significantly displace” street parking because the facility would include underground parking.

“The neighbors’ opening brief does not supply an adequate legal analysis explaining this proposed result,” the filing concluded. “We will not overturn the Commission’s decision on this basis … the motion to take judicial notice is denied.”

“PPRA is deeply disappointed by the decision of the Court of Appeals, which seemed bent on approving a huge non-conforming development based on a last-minute addition of a bistro restaurant to an Eldercare facility,” PPRA said in a statement to the Palisadian-Post. “This unwanted and unnecessary project should have been stopped by the City of Los Angeles in the first place. Perhaps now that Mike Bonin has been replaced by Traci Park as our council member, our community’s needs will take priority over ill-conceived projects.”

Shram did not respond to request for comment as the Post went to print Tuesday, March 21.


The Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness was formed in 2014 by concerned residents responding to the emerging homeless crisis in our community. The goals of our all-volunteer nonprofit organization have remained largely the same since the beginning: We compassionately engage homeless individuals, determine their needs and connect them to resources that can help them become housed, while also addressing community public health and safety concerns related to the consequences of homelessness.

To accomplish these goals, PPTFH raises funds from local partners and residents to contract with our homeless services provider, The People Concern. Without The People Concern’s partnership and guidance over the years, as well as Los Angeles Police Department’s leadership, we would have been unable to aid those who need it most. Together with these and other partners, we have created a unique and highly effective team consisting of a volunteer organization, a comprehensive homeless service provider, and public law and health agencies. This model has become a template for other communities seeking similar solutions.

In furtherance of our mission, we regularly ask if our work is advancing our ultimate goal of housing people. During the past two years, though we have been quite effective at engaging and referring people for housing (while also maintaining the safety and cleanliness of our streets and hillsides), the problematic lack of available public housing and services has prevented us from meeting our goal to permanently house people. PPTFH has also been unable to recruit volunteers who will continue our mission and lead in the coming years. This volunteer vacuum requires that PPTFH make timely, responsible adjustments as many of our board members and volunteers move on, with no qualified replacements.

For these reasons, and honoring our original goal, the board has voted to make significant changes to PPTFH and our role in addressing homelessness in our community:

  • PPTFH will phase out fiscal operations by June 1, 2023, and outreach engagement operations by December 31, 2023.
  • Remaining donated funds will be transferred from PPTFH to The People Concern, who will become agents for the funds.
  • Per our agreement, The People Concern will continue to provide outreach services in Pacific Palisades as long as sufficient funding is available.
  • All future contributions to support homeless outreach services in Pacific Palisades will be donated directly to The People Concern.

We are grateful to have helped so many people while protecting the community from the consequences of homelessness. We realize that these changes to PPTFH will cause many Palisadians to wonder what comes next.

With new government leadership and proposed programs, our public officials’ response to homelessness is changing. Whether or not these shifts will be more successful in compassionately moving people from the streets, we will support and help train any new, local, Pacific Palisades homelessness outreach program that is created to further this mission. Over the next few months, we will meet with other community organizations and individuals to explore possible new, creative approaches that reflect today’s challenges and opportunities to meaningfully address homelessness and keep our neighborhoods safe.

To everyone who has given their time, expertise, resources and heart to PPTFH, we thank you for your support, trust and compassion.

Sharon Browning and
Sharon Kilbride

Co-Presidents, PPTFH

During a walk around the Palisades yesterday at about 1:12 p.m., I witnessed a disturbing city LADOT sign with a racial slur. This racial slur was displayed publicly, near a sidewalk with hundreds of daily pedestrians that walk by.

I am puzzled by the complicit reaction to anti-Black hate speech. I don’t know how long the racial slur has been there. Moreover, I am appalled that families just walked by and allowed the sign to remain.

In fact, four years after doing an interview with my Princesses for the Palisadian-Post newspaper titled “If the Crown Fits,” I was disappointed to see that our apparent work to address our community’s unity progress through the arts has, once again, taken a step backwards.

I am asking for your advocacy, that when a marginalized group of people are targeted, that everyone should respond to what is fairness and equality. It seems that there is a sense of urgency to address these racial issues. Perhaps a town hall meeting will be an appropriate idea and platform to address any community or safety issues.

HRH Mykesha
(Robinson) Zelensky

ThePalisadian-Post accepts letters to the editor via email at mypost@palipost.com or mail/hand-delivered at 881 Alma Real Drive, Suite 213, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272. To be considered for publication, letters must be signed, and are subject to editing for length and clarity. Opinions expressed in letters do not necessarily reflect the views of opinions of the Palisadian-Post.

Your Two Cents’ Worth

‘Up to the Plate’

I just wanted to share with readers that I signed up to do the Up to the Plate cooking course with our local guest writer, Ruth Laurent-Kocher, and it was fabulous. I love to cook and she gave me great ideas to get reinvigorated and organized. Her cookbook is wonderful as well. My family is loving her recipes. I highly recommend to all the other Pali Post readers.


Tribute to a Teammate, Steve Galluzzo’s article about Pali High and college wrestling teammates—wonderful young men—is heartwrenching, sad, yet inspirational.


I’m noticing a lot of workers buying beer for lunch at the grocery store…


Why did they tear up Temescal after they just repaved it a couple of
months ago?

(Editor’s note: A representative from the City of LA Department of Public Works responded to an inquiry from the Post that they will try to share information by next week’s deadline for the paper, so please check out that edition.)


Anyone ready for cornhole once the rain stops?

Plastic Grass

Interesting, with all that’s been written, especially in the Post, and said about the evils of plastic grass, people and a certain homeowners association continue to install the stuff. Guess it ain’t so bad
after all!

Got something to say? Call (310) 454-1321 or email 2cents@palipost.com and get those kudos or concerns off your chest. Names will not be used.

Neighborhood News

Rain Update  |  Pacific Palisades

Storms in Pacific Palisades that began on March 14 and continued through the morning of March 20 produced 3.1 inches of rain, according to Craig Weston, who tracks data from The Huntington.

“For the month of March, we have received 5.56 inches, which brings our yearly rain total to a very healthy 26.97 inches of rain in the Palisades,” Weston reported. “Our highest annual rain total since 2014 was recorded in 2019 when the Palisades received 27.23 inches of rain. With more storms coming this week, we have a good chance of surpassing that 2019 high.”

The yearly rain total is measured from July 1, 2022, to June 30, according to Weston, and the average rainfall in Los Angeles per year is just under 15 inches.

As the Palisadian-Post went to print Tuesday, March 21, rain continued to fall, with an 80% chance of additional rain on Wednesday, March 22.                       —SARAH SHMERLING

Red Cross Flags Village Green

Village Green installed flags around the perimeter of the park on Sunday, March 19, to remind “folks of the Red Cross’ commitment to helping people in need,” according to Village Green Co-President Betsy Collins.

Photo courtesy of Betsy Collins

“Each year, the president of the United States proclaims March as ‘Red Cross Month,’ and March 22 is the national Red Cross Giving Day,” according to a press release. “The Pacific Palisades Village Green is again celebrating the Red Cross by turning the light shining on the dolphin fountain red and lining the park with Red Cross lawn signs. It is an opportunity for our community to come together to help the families who have been impacted by a home fire or other disaster, and who urgently need Red Cross services to get back on their feet.”

During Red Cross Month, Palisadians are asked to support Red Cross by taking actions regarding its CA Storms and Floods Response by making a financial donation (redcross.org/donate/donation.html or via check made payable to American Red Cross, with “California storms and floods” in the memo line, sent to American Red Cross, 1450 S. Central Ave., Los Angeles CA 90021), becoming a Red Cross volunteer or sharing Red Cross updates across social media.        


Painting Class  |  Palisades Branch Library

Palisades Branch Library will host a painting class with Martha Meade on Saturday, March 25, at 2 p.m.

“You will be painting with acrylics on canvas and producing a masterpiece each of you can take home and hang on your wall,” the library shared. “Martha is a Pacific Palisades-based painter who works primarily in oils on canvas. She is a long-time resident of Pacific Palisades and a member of the Pacific Palisades Art Association.”

Though registration is currently full, interested parties can get on a waiting list by calling the library, stopping by or emailing palsds@lapl.org.

“Martha says that even if you came last time,” the statement from the library continued, “you will gain more confidence and technique, and you will be painting something different.”


‘It’s Just Peri’  |  The Village

Be Rosy, a beauty space located at 861 Via De La Paz, will host “It’s Just Peri,” a ticketed event with a panel of experts discussing peri and menopause on Sunday, March 26, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“At Be Rosy, we are trying our best to build a community and create a place of education focusing on self-care and women’s health,” according to owner Catherine Baek Dambrosia. “This gathering is bringing us closer to our mission of supporting and uplifting our amazing local clientele.”

The event will include Urogynecologist Dr. Rebecca Nelken, Holistic Fitness Pioneer Tracy Anderson, Holistic Acupuncturist Dr. Denise Wiesner, Nutritionist Jessica Nausbaum, Dr. Emily Morse and self-care practices from Altyr. It will be followed by a meditative soundbath.

For more information, visit berosybeauty.com or call 424-322-8081.        


‘Minding Your Weight: The Vegan Way’

The Palisadian-Post has partnered with locally founded environmental organization Resilient Palisades to deliver a weekly “green tip” to our readers. This week’s tip was written by Palisadian/Certified Life and Weight Loss Coach Tobi Coughlin.

There are many amazing reasons to go vegan: your health, the planet, the animals. But what about going vegan to lose weight? The answer to that is “yes … but.” That’s because, contrary to popular belief, it would be a mistake to assume that simply eliminating animal protein automatically leads to weight loss.

For one, you may be surprised to know that generally, you’re not saving many, if any, calories by switching to plant-based foods. Whether a burger is beef or one of the popular plant-based versions, both four-ounce patties come in right around 250 calories. Meat-replacement products provide a familiar taste profile, contribute to convenience and can be super useful, but it’s good to know what they’re not.

Tobi Coughlin

Here are some tips for weight loss while eating plant-based:

Lean into the veg in vegan. They’re good for your health and waistline—yet only about 10% of adults meet the most recent dietary guideline to consume two to three cups daily. A simple visual is to think about aiming to fill about one-third of your plate with veggies.

Beyond the health benefits, eating plenty of vegetables contributes to weight loss by bulking up your meals without adding a lot of extra calories, helps you feel full—“crowding out” less nutritious foods—and contributes to keeping your insulin levels lower, something that makes your body less likely to store fat.

Make each meal filling. It’s not always easy to make the choices necessary to lose weight. It’s even more difficult when we’re hungry, so taking that off the table just makes sense.

Protein helps reduce appetite and hunger levels, so consider replacing what would have been an animal protein on your plate with some protein-rich plant-based foods such as beans, lentils, peas, soy milk and grains.

A vegan meal, prepared by Coughlin
Photos courtesy of Tobi Coughlin

Have fun with flavors. One of the reasons people “give up” or overeat is feeling overly restrictive and unsatisfied. That’s a good reason to include healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocado and olive oil that are important for nutrition with an extra bonus: they leave you feeling full and give you a flavor boost.

These foods are also “energy-dense,” meaning they have a lot of calories relative to the portion size. So think about sprinkling these in and eating them in smaller amounts.

Remember, regardless of dietary preference, we all face similar temptations (hello, chips, vegan cookies and baguettes), meaning mindset matters. In other words, it’s the difference between knowing what to do and actually doing it.

For a more in-depth look at managing weight while following a plant-based eating pattern, watch a replay of the recent webinar hosted by Resilient Palisades’ Vegan Solutions Team: “Minding Your Weight: The Vegan Way” at youtube.com/@resilientpalisades1750.

Pali High Booster Club Reports Record-Breaking Number of Funds Raised During Annual Auction Gala

Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

By LILY TINOCO | Assistant Editor

The Palisades Charter High School Booster Club reported over $140,000 was raised as a result of their efforts hosting the school’s annual auction gala at Annenberg Community Beach House on Saturday, March 11—the most the club has ever raised during the event.

The Booster Club is a parent-run, nonprofit organization with a mission to raise funds “to support and enhance the learning environment for all students at Palisades Charter High School through the support of academics, art, athletics, drama, music and technology,” according to the club’s website.

The club raises funds through annual efforts, which include the spring auction and gala. This year’s theme was “Paliwood: A Night of Hollywood and Glam,” Event Chair Jamee Natella shared with the Palisadian-Post.

“It’s our one big social [event] of the year—especially since it hasn’t happened in a while due to COVID—where Pali administration and the parent community can finally come together,” Natella explained.

Natella shared this was her first year on the Pali High Booster Club and first time chairing the event for the school, though she previously chaired events for Paul Revere Charter Middle School.

In preparation for the return of this year’s in-person event, a number of parents worked together, including Natella as chair, alongside Mariam Engel as co-chair and writer; Erika Feresten, who handled the venue and logistics; Anna Berlin, who handled web and tech; Lauren Schuster as donations chair; Krista Strauss, Kristina Burokas, and Tammy Mozenter as the donations team; and Pauline Hamid, who handled donations and decorations.

“It’s so encouraging to see our community come together and invest in the future of our students,” Engel said to the Post.

This year’s live auction catalog featured four nights at the Four Seasons in Maui, Hawaii, and three days in a private Deer Valley condo. An online auction offered additional items, like Disneyland tickets and a gift card to Brandy Melville.

Natella said the community’s funding is vital for the school. Funds raised are slated to go toward the school’s chemistry department, beautifying the quad, and further supporting Pali High’s students and programs.

“Thank you to everyone who participated in [the] Paliwood Auction,” Engel said. “It was a huge success, bringing in $141,108 for the students and programs at Pali High.”

Natella said the funds raised broke a record, marking the most money raised during the annual event, according to Booster Club President Dick Held.

The Shade Store Hosts Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting

Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer


Though it first welcomed customers in January, The Shade Store hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, March 16—marking the Antioch Street storefront’s official grand opening.

Founded in 1946, The Shade Store provides custom window treatment services, offering shades, blinds, drapes and more. The Pacific Palisades location is where Robeks smoothie shop once stood.

“The atmosphere inside The Shade Store in Pacific Palisades was bright and full of energy,” the Malibu Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce, who hosted the event, wrote in a post shared across social media. “The ribbon cutting was done by officiated Chamber CEO Barbara Bruderlin, with board members standing in attendance. After cutting the ribbon, Barbara welcomed the guests and thanked them for being a part of the grand opening.”

Gretchen Clark and Shelby Baugus from The Shade Store were present to thank everybody for coming, according to the Chamber.

“We founded The Shade Store to provide a simple alternative to a traditionally difficult shopping experience,” according to the store’s website. “We’re a wholly curated custom window treatment service—bringing the best to your windows, and providing the kind of high-end design assistance and support that can only come with three generations of expertise.”

The store has over 130 showrooms nationwide, where design consultants can assist.

“Your personal destination for the finest handcrafted shades, blinds and drapery is now open in Pacific Palisades,” according to the store’s website. “Visit our new showroom to sample our curated collection of luxurious textiles and designer exclusives, experience every handcrafted product, and receive complimentary assistance from our team of expert design consultants.”

Design consultants are also available to assist virtually—via video, phone, live chat or email. Free swatches are available to order, including top customer picks and designer favorites.

“We’re thrilled to open our doors in the Pacific Palisades and continue to better service the needs of our customers throughout the LA area,” VP of Sales at The Shade Store Adam Skalman said to the Palisadian-Post earlier this year. “We have a fantastic team of local design consultants who look forward to partnering with local homeowners to become their go-to resource for premium custom window treatments.”