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Election 2022: LA Elects Karen Bass as Mayor

Karen Bass, Traci Park and Lindsey Horvath
Photo courtesy of Karen Bass for Mayor, Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer and PPCC

Horvath Elected in Board of Supervisors Race, Park in CD11

By LILY TINOCO | Assistant Editor

When it comes to local politics in the 2022 General Election, in three of the area races that have been called, three women candidates have been elected.

Karen Bass won the Los Angeles mayoral race over Rick Caruso, according to an Associated Press projection first made Wednesday, November 16. The win makes Bass the first woman elected to serve as mayor of LA.

Caruso had an early lead on election night, with the gap shrinking in the following days. Bass took the lead by over 89,000 votes (with 54.84% of the vote) at press time, according to updated election results released Tuesday, November 22, by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.

“The people of Los Angeles have sent a clear message: it is time for change and it is time for urgency,” Bass said in a statement November 16. “This is my home and with my whole heart, I’m ready to serve, and my pledge to you is that we will hit the ground running on day one. I am honored and humbled that the people have chosen me to be the next mayor of Los Angeles.”

In her statement, Bass promised to solve homelessness, prevent and respond urgently to crime, pursue affordable housing construction, and more as mayor-elect.

Caruso responded by sharing that his run for mayor was “one of the most rewarding experiences” of his life.

“While we came up short in the count, we made an indelible impact on this city and its people that will last far beyond the campaign trail or Election Day,” according to his statement. “I am so proud of my campaign. We held true to the core values of our family—integrity, honesty and respect for all … Thank you again for your support, optimism and, most importantly, your friendship.”

In the Council District 11 race, Traci Park claimed victory on Thursday, November 17. She had a lead over Erin Darling with 52.03% of the vote at press time, a lead she has maintained since the first results were announced November 8.

CD 11 encompasses Sawtelle, Del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Venice and more.

“I am hopeful and excited about the prospect of making real change here on the Westside,” Park said in a statement. “Thank you to the voters of CD11 for placing your trust in me. It is the honor of a lifetime to be given the opportunity to serve my community on the Los Angeles City Council.”

Darling congratulated Park in a conceding statement and wished her “the very best.”

“While the margin’s been tightening, as we’ve been monitoring the votes, my team and I no longer see a path to victory,” he said. “I’d like to congratulate Traci Park—she ran record-setting campaigns in both the primary and this general election.”

In the race for County Supervisor, District 3, Lindsey Horvath declared victory Thursday evening, November 17, over Bob Hertzberg. As of Tuesday’s vote drop, Horvath led by over 28,000—52.97% of the vote.

“I would not be here without the countless women that paved this path for me today,” Horvath said. “Because of them, I will soon become the youngest elected woman to serve on the Board of Supervisors, while maintaining the all-female board that we fought so hard to gain … The significance of this victory is not lost on me.”

Horvath is set to succeed Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who has served the Third District since 2014. The Third District spans from the Westside—Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Topanga Canyon—to the San Fernando Valley and beyond.

With more than 15,000 remaining votes to be processed, the LA County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office is slated to certify the results on December 5.

LADWP Proposes Substation in Marquez Area

The site of the proposed project
Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

A Public Scoping Meeting Will Take Place November 30

By LILY TINOCO | Assistant Editor 

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has proposed a substation in the Marquez area and is seeking input from interested members of the public and agencies—reintroducing a project that dates back decades.

LADWP recently acknowledged the need to supplement the existing power Distributing Station 29, which is located at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Via De La Paz, and has served Pacific Palisades since 1936.

“The capacity of DS-29 has been expanded over the years by adding equipment and doubling its original size, and by installing several pole top distributing stations within the Pacific Palisades community,” according to LADWP. “These improvements … have increased the capability of DS-29 to its maximum extent, and any further expansion of the distributing station is no longer feasible due to space constraints and the limits of available equipment.”

LADWP said the proposed project—Distributing Station 104—is now “needed,” due to an increase in power demand.

“The Pacific Palisades community has contributed to this increase in power demand especially through residential electric vehicle charging,” DWP stated. “DS-104 will allow for the continued reliable delivery of power to retail customers and will prevent blackouts from occurring especially during periods of elevated power consumption.”

The proposed project site is an LADWP-owned property just west of Marquez Charter Elementary School, located at 16931 Marquez Avenue.

The proposed Distributing Station 104 would consist of a control room, restroom, transformers, circuit breakers and additional associated equipment, all enclosed within the station. The project would include vehicle access and parking, and would occupy approximately one acre of the two-acre property.

According to LADWP, the design would be prepared with the intent to “ensure compatibility,” taking noise and aesthetics into account. If approved, construction would begin in fall 2024 and continue for 42 months.

LADWP is currently launching the environmental review process for construction of the substation, which includes the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report.

“Under the California Environmental Quality Act Guidelines, there will be several opportunities for public input throughout the environmental review process,” LADWP Spokesperson Deborah Hong said to the Palisadian-Post. “The first step in the process has begun with the Notice of Preparation, which was distributed by mail to the public. We are in the early stages of the environmental review process, and the public is encouraged to submit comments on the scope and content of the proposed project.”

LADWP invited members of the public to submit comments concerning issues to be analyzed in the EIR. Written comments can be submitted via email to ds104.ceqa@ladwp.com. LADWP will also conduct a virtual Scoping Meeting to share additional details of the project.

The meeting will take place on Wednesday, November 30, at 6:30 p.m. To tune in, visit ow.ly/7h5t50lx1bh.

For more information, visit ladwp.com/ds104.

PPTFH Highlights Local ‘Success Stories’ at Latest Meeting

Kenneth Sly
Photo courtesy of PPTFH

This Article is the First of a Three-Part Series Detailing the Shared Stories

By LILY TINOCO | Assistant Editor

Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness invited community members to hear client “success stories” during its latest meeting on Monday evening, November 14.

With a goal of sharing uplifting news around the holiday season, PPTFH invited Glanda Sherman, Jennifer Dukes and Jessi Cortez—members of the Outreach Team from The People Concern—to highlight a few clients, their progress and their journey from “homelessness to housed.”

“Tonight’s meeting is special,” Co-President Sharon Browning said at the start of the meeting. “Tonight, we will take a break from understanding the problems and solutions related to homelessness, and we will focus on what I think of as the heart and soul of our mission … We will focus on those residents who have experienced homelessness but are now housed or are on their pathway to being housed.”

Sherman then explained that The People Concern empowers the most vulnerable to improve their quality of life, ensuring they are “housed, healthy and safe.” She invited meeting attendees to take a glimpse into the lives of three program participants, some of whose timelines date back to 2016.

Notably, Sherman said 2016 marked the start of the Outreach Team, the first engagement and collaboration between The People Concern and PPTFH.

Cortez introduced the first program participant of the evening, Kenneth Sly, or Kenny.

“Kenny, like a lot of our clients, has been through a lot of trauma,” Cortez shared, “but that has not stopped him from moving forward.”

Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1960, Sly said he experienced Hurricane Betsy and has suffered a number of injuries, but he remains focused on helping other people.

“To tell them … it’s time to [detox] your system, clean out your life,” he said. “You can die on the streets, you can lose focus on [the] streets. I had places where I was addicted to drinking, drugs and stuff like that, and more or less, you end up dead … Coming back from so many problems and running across dead people, it gives you the ambition to stay alive, to survive.”

With his housing voucher, Sly said he is looking forward to being able to cook and eat. He shared that he is a chef and elaborated on a time in his life that he ran different businesses. Losing those opportunities taught him to “re-struggle, re-evaluate and re-commit” to his passions.

“The best thing to understand about the homeless is that homeless people [are] not without hope, not without prayer,” he said. “I’m most grateful that God exists. That God exists and shows me that the things I lost [do] come back tenfold, and that it’s not through just what people [have given] me, it’s what I earn.”

Cortez said since Sly has been with the team, he has made many strides, and he hopes to see him housed in the near future.

“Each and every individual is unique in their journey,” Dukes concluded. “It’s our position as outreach to support these individuals and address some of their immediate needs … It is about empowering people and trusting their abilities to succeed.”

Two additional stories will be printed in future editions of the paper, highlighting success stories covered in the meeting.

The Sleep Spa by Hästens Celebrates Grand Opening With Chamber Ribbon Cutting

Photos by Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

A good night’s sleep is priceless—and The Sleep Spa by Hästens is hoping to deliver just that to Palisadians.

Following a soft opening in mid-October, the Sweden-based luxury mattress brand recently celebrated its grand opening of a store at 15221 Sunset Boulevard with a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by the Malibu-Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, November 17.

“We make all-natural, handcrafted beds, using only horsetail hair, cotton and wool within them,” Adam Davenport, manager of the Pacific Palisades location, explained to the Palisadian-Post. “They’ve been made the same way for 170 years and are still made in Sweden. It’s a six-generational family company whose only focus is to provide ‘the modern luxury that is sleep.’”

The Sleep Spa offers a consultation experience, which Davenport shared is “both relaxing and enlightening.” The experience, which includes an evaluation of the client’s body, conversation about sleep and exploration of the full collection of mattresses, is about 45 minutes.

According to the Hästens website, all of the materials, including horsetail hair and down, are “ethically sourced,” as the brand takes “this responsibility quite seriously.”

“With an emphasis on wellness and health through sleep,” the website shared, “we fit our clients in the world’s best mattresses to aid both physical and mental well-being.”

Before The Sleep Spa, Davenport attended University of Washington, where he played baseball and studied psychology, graduating with a BA. Shortly after, he started working for a hard seltzer startup, because he “wanted to learn how to start a business from the ground up without having a major in business.”

After about a year and a half, he moved to Dallas to do the brand’s first market expansion and had been living there since 2021. Following a stint on a reality show centered in Austin about the business, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue social media, including brand deals, content and opening his own agency.

“That was not fulfilling enough for me,” Davenport said. “At the end of the day, I care about making people’s lives better, learning how they think and just how to improve people’s day to day—and I wasn’t getting that from social media.”

He said the opportunity to join The Sleep Spa by Hästens team was “a match made in heaven,” since the brand is focused on “making the world better through sleep.”

Although the store just officially hosted its grand opening, Hästens has been serving clients in Pacific Palisades through its other locations, including on Beverly Boulevard and in Santa Monica.

“We had so many clients in Malibu, Palisades, just on the general Westside, so we wanted to bring a shop to them,” Davenport explained of the expansion to Sunset Boulevard. “We have one on Montana in Santa Monica, but this was an incredible opportunity. The timing was great, and with the Village growing the way that it is, we figured it’d be a perfect fit to expand.”

Davenport shared that so far, there has been a lot of curiosity from those who visit the store, and “the walk-in traffic is amazing.” He said it is a mix of people who are stopping by to see what The Sleep Spa by Hästens is, while others have been referred by word of mouth.

“What we want to express is just how grateful we are to be a part of the community,” Davenport concluded, “and can’t wait to change the way the Palisades sleeps.”

For more information about the store, including to set up an appointment, email Davenport directly at adam.davenport@thesleepspa.com.

‘Jimmy Dunne Says’

Photo courtesy of Jimmy Dunne

‘Club Sports’

The Palisadian-Post presents an homage to Will Rogers’ column, “Will Rogers Says,” with a column by Palisadian Jimmy Dunne—on life in the “greatest town in America.”


There’s something our generation made up—something that’s gotten out of control.

Club sports.

I want to find the guy who said, “I’ve got a good idea. Let’s have a ton of kids and parents get up at 5 on a Saturday morning, drive an hour and a half to some giant sweatbox in Anaheim so sixth-graders can play seven games of volleyball against kids and teams they’ll never see again.”

Yesterday a pal was all pumped up telling me how his 4-year-old granddaughter was invited to join an elite gymnastics club. And bragging how the walls are lined with posters of Olympian alumni.

Yikes.

At 4, I was still wrestling with toilet training.

Seems to me, what started out as a way for gifted, elite athletes to play other gifted athletes has, over the years, cast a much, much wider net.

And the carrot many clubs are dangling in front of parents and kids? College scholarships. Many club websites are loaded up with college logos and case studies of how your kids’ dreams can come true.

As one of seven kids, sports wasn’t a way for my parents to get our college paid for. Sports was a way to get us out of the house.

I’ll bet the ranch many of your journeys looked a lot like this.

I rode my bike in my uniform to a baseball league game at the park about 10 blocks from my house. We played one game.

The game lasted an hour, not eight hours. We played against pals we knew from school and town, and they were on teams with snappy names like “La Grange State Bank” and “Sauerberg Pharmacy.”

There was a trendy brand of shoes everyone wore in our suburb—called “gym shoes.” The only Nike I knew about was some guy with muscles living on a mountaintop in Greece.

Gym shoes were fabulous for baseball, basketball, tennis, touch football, golf between the goalposts at the football field—and they were great in summer, winter, spring and fall. They were quite a bit bigger than my foot, but I’m sure I grew into them the next year.

After we played, the dad coaches would treat us to a dip cone at Frosty Freeze. With a face full of happy and ice cream, we rode our bikes home.

During the summer, we played you-name-it at the park without coaches, parents, fielding or batting specialists—for hours. Just hanging with my buddies goofing around. That’s where I learned to play every sport. And a lot more in life.

And after baseball season ended, we all played football. And then we all played basketball. We also played tennis, swam, ice skated, played golf, or anything else that involved balls, pucks, racquets, or scoring.

Whether you were great or stunk, you played in the same leagues and on the same teams. It didn’t matter all that much. And if you stunk badly enough, you did something else.

My parents’ total investment in my nine-year baseball career was two mitts (one used), a pair of baseball cleats, and a bunch of balls, bats, and cups. That’s it.

And nobody, nobody, can convince me we didn’t have just as much, or more, fun as our kids committing thousands and thousands of hours to one sport (and a ton of parents’ money) to keep up with every other club kid, coast to coast.

In general, are kids better baseball players/hockey players/golfers/soccer players/you name it today? Yeah, they’re better.

But so what?

Hip-hip hurray. The next generation of baseball players may decrease fielding errors by 3.67%.

Who wins? Nobody. Not the kids. Not the parents. Nobody.

We all know it’s in vogue to have/do “more.” That “more is better.” Super-sized fries. Five sets instead of three in tennis. More homework. More books in a kid’s backpack. More pages to sign on “home loan” documents. Six matches a day in volleyball tournaments instead of one.

All bad ideas.

The Kentucky Derby lasts two minutes. That’s why it’s exciting. If it were an endurance contest where the horses went around the track 20 times—I don’t think there would be a mint julep.

Kids’ sports are like brooms and ropes.

When they’re little squirts, we’re the broom. We sweep ’em gently into sports and programs we think will be good for ’em.

But then it gets tricky.

They get in something. So do their friends. We blink, and they and we start chasing the carrot.

Little by little, geography of games shifts from our own town backyard—to long car rides, then to plane rides on holiday weekends. Costs and time commitments blossom exponentially.

Sound familiar?

That’s where the rope kicks in.

You can’t push a rope. Somebody always pulls the rope, and somebody’s always getting pulled along.

You have to ask yourself, deep down … who’s pulling? Is it your kid? Is it you?

I’d make sure it’s your kid who’s doing the pulling.

And if they stop pulling, maybe it’s time to give ’em the slack to put the rope away.

We all find it’s in those moments—those hard, real moments—where love and where respect lives.

I do know this.

Our kids only get one shot at growing up, and we only have one shot of watching them do it.

As Oscar Hammerstein said: “Life is a carousel, my friend; life is a carousel.”

So true. The ride is so much fun if it’s at the right speed—and lasts the right amount of time.

But it’s no fun for anybody if it’s spinning too fast—and you can’t get off.


Jimmy Dunne is a modern-day Renaissance Man; a hit songwriter (28 million hit records), screenwriter/producer of hit television series, award-winning author, an entrepreneur—and a Palisadian “Citizen of the Year.” You can reach him at j@jimmydunne.com or jimmydunne.substack.com.

Your Two Cents’ Worth

Instagram

Love your Instagram posts.


90th Birthdays

Each year I’m reminded of the PPWC’s tradition to celebrate locals’ 90th birthdays and each year it warms my heart the same. I love it!


Pali High Talent

A shout out to Pali High’s glorious and sensitively told story “These Shining Lives” that played at Mercer Hall last week. The set designs and artful choreography between scene changes were breathtaking. The talent of these young actors and crew is amazing. The relationships and friendships portrayed in the play were believable and poignant and everyone— audience and cast—had genuine tears at the end! These talented performers positively GLOWED!  Well done Pali!!!  Can’t wait for the spring performance!!


Election

Astonished and confounded by the election of Karen Bass.


Prima

Although it’s sad that KaynDaves is no longer in town, I am so happy we were able to maintain a Mexican-food restaurant in that same spot. I am excited to give Prima Cocina a try … I hope it holds up to its predecessor.


Pali High Lights

Palisades High, according to agreed-upon restrictions, is required to turn the football stadium lights off by ten p.m. Recent games have kept the lights on well past ten. Do the timekeepers need a new clock? Light and noise violations are inconsiderate behavior and a poor ethical model for high school students.


Travel

Wow! After reading the story about Cazavia, I want to take one of their trips! The By Invitation group sounds like a lovely experience.


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.

Palisades-Malibu YMCA Relaunches Teen Fitness Program

Photos by Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

The community can celebrate the return of another Palisadian program this year.

Palisades-Malibu YMCA has recently reimplemented its Teen Fitness program and is currently seeking additional participants ages 12 to 17.

“Join the Teen Fitness program today for your free personal training,” according to a flyer shared by Palisades-Malibu YMCA Executive Director Jim Kirtley. “Sign-up at the welcome center of the Palisades Y for your free sessions today.”

The program, which returned in October, currently offers free personal training to teenagers and 12-year-olds on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4 and 5 p.m. with two slots at each hour, but this can be expanded, depending on demand.

“It’s in pairs,” Kirtley explained, “but if somebody doesn’t show up or if it doesn’t fill, then you get it by yourself. It’s with one of our certified personal trainers.”

The value of each session, Kirtley said, is $60. Participants are able to do four sessions per month (a $240 value), as well as join in day-of sessions if there is free space available.

“So if you are on a family membership, the family membership is $89,” Kirtley continued. “If you do two personal training sessions—do the math, that’s $120 in savings, you’ve already paid for your whole family to come to the Y, just for being on the family membership and taking advantage of the teen training program. It’s kind of the biggest no-brainer in the Palisades right now.”

He said that the program is “great for kids that aren’t necessarily gym savvy.” Trainers will teach participants about things like gym etiquette and proper form—“so that when they’re an adult, they’re not hurting themselves doing things the old-fashioned way.”

“It’s a lifelong thing that you’re getting at no cost,” he added.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Kirtley said that the program had about 150 kids. He estimated that about 95% of participants were not athletes.

“The way I look at it, that’s 150 less kids on the Village Green after school,” Kirtley said. “The Palisades Y is striving toward being the hub for teenagers. We have some really big visions that we want to bring to the community for teens that will give them a place to go and a place to be a teenager, but also to gain life skills. This teen training program is just one of those layers of opportunities.”

Kirtley also shared that YMCA is in the midst of a fundraising campaign that will run through July 31, 2023, which will support programming geared toward teenagers like personal fitness training, special workshops on topics like public speaking and financial literacy, signature Y programs like Youth & Government, and more.

“The Palisades-Malibu YMCA is honored to be the recipient of a matching gift challenge from a generous family foundation in support of our work to impact teen lives in our community,” according to an email Kirtley shared. “For every dollar our Y raises to provide activities and access to our teens, this foundation will match those contributions up to $25,000.”

For more information about the Teen Fitness program or to donate to the campaign, visit ymcala.org/locations/palisades-malibu-ymca.

Neighborhood News

Post Seeks Winter Interns  |  Pacific Palisades

The Palisadian-Post is now seeking applicants for winter internships, which will run from Monday, December 5, to Monday, March 6, with an option to extend.

Interested parties can supply their full name, relation to the Palisades (student, resident, etc.), relevant experience in the field of journalism, why they are interested in an internship, what they hope to learn over the course of their time with the Post, and writing samples and/or a resume.

For more information or to apply, visit palipost.com/internships.        

—POST STAFF


Martin Short Update  |  Palisades Branch Library

While tickets for the in-person component of “Martin Short: In Conversation at the Palisades Library” were claimed within a few hours of being made available Thursday, November 10, Pacific Palisades Library Association had previously arranged for the December 1 program to be live-streamed from the Community Room starting at 7 p.m.

“The outstanding response to this program validates not only our community’s love of Martin Short,” PPLA President Laura Schneider shared, “but it also confirmed the desire of library patrons to gather together and support our beloved library.”

An Emmy- and Tony-winning actor, comedian and author, Short—also a former honorary mayor of the Palisades—is kicking off the library’s new Writers, Artists and Musicians series, which will present authors and creative professionals with ties to the community.

To receive a link to tune in, register at friendsofpalilibrary.org.

—SARAH SHMERLING


GivingTuesday  |  Pali High

Palisades Charter High School will be participating in GivingTuesday—which takes place annually the Tuesday after Thanksgiving—on November 29.

“GivingTuesday is a day dedicated to generosity and giving,” according to an email shared by the school. “Please join PCHS on this day when our community comes together to support and enrich the education of every one of our students.”

Funds raised will support various programming, including math tutors, classroom supplies, clubs and sports, teacher professional development, College Center software, and much more.

The school’s goal through GivingTuesday is to raise $40,000 to the PCHS Fund and $20,000 to the Pali High Booster Club.

For more information or to donate, visit palihigh.org.

—SARAH SHMERLING


Author Reading Event  |  Palisades Branch Library

Palisadian author Hillary Vari will host an author reading event at Palisades Branch Library on November 29, beginning at 3:30 p.m.

She will be reading from her recently published children’s book, “Let’s Make a Garden: a Build Up Book.”

“I wrote and designed the book and worked closely with an illustrator to bring the words to life,” Vari shared of the experience.        

—SARAH SHMERLING

Know the Glow

The worldwide campaign features images of children with the glow.
Photo courtesy of Know the Glow

Pacific Palisades-Founded Nonprofit Works to Bring Awareness to Children’s Eye Diseases

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

What started when one family noticed something off in photos has, over the past 12 years, grown into the international Know the Glow campaign, based in Pacific Palisades, to bring awareness to children’s eye diseases and prevent vision loss.

When Megan Webber went on a Disney cruise, her sister pointed out that Webber’s son, Benjamin, had a glow in the left eye in every photo she had taken. She encouraged Webber to get it checked out.

“She remembered seeing on ‘Oprah’ of all things like 10 years before that it can be a sign of cancer in the eyes,” Webber recalled. “So she called and said, ‘I’m sure that’s not what it is, but can you just take him in to have them checked?’”

Webber took Benjamin, who had just started kindergarten, along with her physical camera, into the pediatrician’s office. He did what’s called the “red reflex test,” Webber said, where they dim the lights and try to use the ophthalmoscope to see if they get an even red response on both eyes.

“They didn’t see anything unusual on Ben’s eye,” Webber said, “but when I showed him the actual photographs, he said, ‘OK, let’s just get them checked out by a pediatric ophthalmologist.”

The next appointment happened fairly quickly, and when they covered his right eye, Webber said Benjamin could not see the “giant letter E” on the screen.

“Then they took us in the next room,” Webber shared, “and they showed us the mass in the interior of the eye.”

From there, they went straight to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

“It’s one of those places that as soon as you pull in that front circle, you know you’re coming in with one view of the world and you’re not quite sure what your view is going to be when you’re exiting,” Webber shared.

Four days later, Benjamin was diagnosed with late-stage Coats disease.

“It’s a disease that blood vessels start leaking fluid into the eyes,” Webber explained, “and the body is just not wicking it away fast enough, so all these lipids and fats are left behind, and it’s causing the retina to separate over time, just slowly and gradually.”

Megan Webber
Photos by Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

Benjamin has since been through multiple laser surgeries, as well as patching programs to force the affected eye to try to get the brain to reprocess the input from that field—and now he is off at college, playing lacrosse and driving. He has very little vision in his affected eye, so he is “super protective of his remaining eye.”

Webber said that since Benjamin’s diagnosis, she has met many other families facing similar problems, but some don’t catch it in time, leading to the loss of their eye or losing vision in both eyes.

So she shared her goal, through launching Know the Glow from Pacific Palisades, is to help people spot eye disease and potential vision loss sooner, with an emphasis on kids between 0 and 5. Oftentimes, the earlier these diseases are caught, the more improved the visual outcome.

“Know the Glow is a global nonprofit leader in raising awareness of leukocoria (the glow) and the childhood blinding diseases it can indicate,” according to its website. “We work globally to eliminate preventable childhood blindness through early detection and treatment of these conditions … We empower parents to see their child’s vision in a new light by raising awareness about The Glow and encouraging them to make sure their young children receive comprehensive eye exams by an eye specialist.”

The glow is an abnormal reflection from the retina of the eye, according to the website. It often appears as a white, opaque or yellow spot in the pupil when photos are taken with flash—not to be confused with common red eye, which is a healthy and normal reflection.

“If you’re using a flash on the camera and when the flash floods the eye with light, it will reflect back whatever is inside the eye,” Webber explained. “You usually get red eye because it’s the healthy red blood vessels or the healthy back of the eye. But if there’s something inside the eye, an occlusion or a tumor or something else—in Ben’s case it ultimately turns out that it’s lipids and fats that were building up inside of his eye—then you’ll have that reflect back to the camera.”

Pictured, from left: Caitlin Villante, Sandra Roderick, Megan Webber, Dr. Jesse Berry and Dr. Sahar Bedrood

Know the Glow uses a series of PSAs and partnerships with other foundations of related diseases that the glow can indicate to try to build awareness campaigns. The glow can be an indicator for over 20 eye conditions, including Coats disease, retinoblastoma, congenital cataract, Norrie disease and more.

The campaign includes photos with children with the glow alongside facts and phrases like “no child should go blind from an undetected eye disease,” “click, flash, check,” and “80% of all childhood blindness is preventable or curable.”

Webber shared that, at first, they had hoped to find just one child, but then they started to hear from people all over the world sending photos and stories, requesting to make chapters across the globe to help raise awareness.

Since then, Know the Glow has done programs in Venezuela, Vietnam, India, Bangladesh and others. Next up will be Australia and New Zealand.

Webber has many ties to the community, including being past president of the Palisades Junior Woman’s Club as well as starting People for Pali alongside Annie Barnes and Gina Vincent. Her three children are all almost college-aged, apart from a daughter who is a junior in high school.

The Webber family moved to Los Angeles in 2000, and they lived in The Highlands for 14 years before moving to Bel Air. Know the Glow has many Palisadians involved in its board, including Caitlin Villante, Helene Damaris and Janette Flintoff.

Jimmy Choo recently hosted the seventh annual Know the Glow fundraising event in Beverly Hills—which is the one event the organization hosts each year to raise funds privately. The “elegant evening” featured shopping, light bites and cocktails.

“A percentage of all purchases will go directly towards providing critical sight-saving support and education to parents of children facing one or more of the 20 different sight-robbing diseases,” according to the event’s website.

Caitlin Villante

During the evening, more than $20,000 worth of prizes was raffled to support Know the Glow, with items from area entities like Canale-Martinez Salon and Giorgio Baldi. There was also a silent auction, which included a Hawaii getaway at Hualalai, Hollywood Bowl suite tickets and a “Horses” framed photograph by Brian Bowen Smith.

Now in the thick of the holiday season, Webber explained that “a ton of kids” are identified around Christmas and Thanksgiving, as well as Halloween and Fourth of July—really any occasion where people are taking photos of kids at night

“One of the things I’d love, you know how the moms all do the month-by-month photographs of watching your child grow?” Webber said. “I would love to tie in some sort of a campaign that would be after your monthly photo, turn on the flash … and just check for the glow when you’re taking those photographs, because the glow isn’t visible with the naked eye. Just like red eye isn’t visible with the naked eye, it’s only if you’re in the right lighting or if you use a flash.”

Webber shared that she wishes the glow would show up more often in professional photographs, so that the organization could work with school photographers to help find kids before they turn 5, but professional cameras correct for the red reflect. One of her fears is that one day, mobile phone cameras will as well.

Her hope is that in sharing her family’s story, every parent will look at their family photos, knowing how to look for The Glow, and start early with periodic eye checks with a specialist.

“I just never want to have another mother have to face that kind of agony of thinking that they missed what could have been so devastating to their child,” Webber shared, “especially when just simple awareness is the answer.”

For more information or to get involved, email info@knowtheglow.org or visit knowtheglow.org.

COP 27 – Wins & Losses

Photo courtesy of COP 27

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 Éva Milan Engel.


The latest round of United Nations climate talks ended this past Sunday, November 20, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. The deadline was extended by two days to finally reach an agreement on the most pressing issue: paying for damage from climate change.

Wins

  • A landmark agreement was struck to pay countries with less money for harm caused by global warming. The proposal would establish a new “loss and damage” fund next year in which donor countries could compensate vulnerable countries already suffering destruction stemming from the climate crisis.
  • The meeting secured more commitments to cut methane pollution.
  • Delegates at COP 27 also renewed the call to keep the planet from warming more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), the target of the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
  • On the sidelines, delegates signed smaller deals to end deforestation and invest in clean energy.
  • Wealthy countries also negotiated a $20 billion deal to help Indonesia transition toward cleaner energy.

Losses

  • Few countries committed to stepping up their efforts to curb greenhouse gases, including emissions giants China and the U.S.
  • The language around the “loss and damage” fund is vague with no guidance on how much money the fund needs, who needs to pay in and who is eligible for compensation. Wealthy countries have already failed to meet a commitment to provide $100 billion per year in financing to developing countries for climate-related projects.

Significance

The shift taking place at this COP meeting is notable. Until now, the focus had been on reducing emissions to lessen the severity of climate change in the future. While this remains a key area of work, we’ve clearly moved to the acceptance phase.

The planet is warming significantly because of man-made emissions, so how can we alleviate suffering in the countries without the resources to help their populations? For the first time, small countries with less money left COP feeling somewhat optimistic.

While this is important work, we shouldn’t be ready to accept climate change that destroys the lives of billions of people. Every Palisadian can do more to reduce emissions, whether it’s installing rooftop solar, changing your gas-powered vehicle to an EV, installing an electric water heater or going vegan.