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COVID-19: County Closes Beaches Following Overcrowding

Will Rogers State Beach on March 22
Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Palisadians who visited Will Rogers State Beach to enjoy some time in the sunshine the weekend of March 21 to 22 had to find other ways to get in their outdoor time after the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued a closure of beaches effective Friday, March 27, due to COVID-19.

The department ordered closures—in addition to all trails and trailheads—of beaches, piers, beach bike paths and beach access points in LA County through at least April 19.

“Warm weather and LA’s pristine coastline draw millions of people to the sand each year,” Pono Barnes, ocean lifeguard specialist with the Los Angeles County Fire Department, shared in a report after the first weekend following statewide Safer at Home orders. “We saw tens of thousands of you here at the beach. We had large groups on the sand, and crowded bike paths were seen all up and down the coast.”

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl urged everyone in a statement to take every possible step to stay out of harm’s way and avoid infecting other people.

“I ask every county resident to comply with the Safer at Home recommendations, including today’s health order to stay off of county beaches,” Kuehl continued. “Your cooperation could literally mean the difference between life and death for many county residents.”

According to a representative from the Department of Beaches and Harbors, the order prohibits people from accessing the beach, no matter if they’re taking a walk or launching a paddleboard, so surfing is not allowed.

“The Department of Beaches and Harbors, Los Angeles County Lifeguards and local law enforcement will warn people to leave the beach,” the representative said. “People who do not heed these warnings may be subject to enforcement action.”

The city of Malibu has posted no parking signs along sections of Pacific Coast Highway and certain streets within city limits to prevent violations of the LA County and State Parks orders that closed beaches and trails.

Public Health encouraged residents to continue walking, biking and running within neighborhoods while observing social distancing, while sending out a reminder that gatherings of any size are banned at this time, including visiting a friend’s house, or going to the park or store in a group.

Gelson’s temporarily closed its Pacific Palisades location on March 27 after one of the store’s team members tested positive for COVID-19. The employee, who last worked on March 22, was reportedly recovering at home.

“To keep everyone safe and protected as this pandemic grows,” representatives from Gelson’s shared in a statement, “we are taking precautionary measures for cleaning and sanitization related to coronavirus.”

Representatives from Gelson’s were unable to provide any identifiable information about the employee due to privacy laws, but encouraged customers to “rest assured, this employee does not interact with members of the public for the period of time the CDC lists as close contact.”

After being fully sanitized and inspected, the store reopened on Saturday, March 28.

“We are working closely with local health officials to take all necessary measures and provide customers with information needed to make an informed decision regarding their health and safety,” the statement continued. “We encourage shoppers who have health-related concerns to review CDC and local health department guidelines and to contact their healthcare providers with any questions.”

Gelson’s resumed its regular hours, including a special hour for seniors only from 7 to 8 a.m.

On Monday evening, March 30, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a temporary suspension of farmers markets “pending city review of physical distancing plans needed to keep communities safe,” citing “dangerously crowded” markets.

“We will review plans immediately so markets can stay open this week,” Garcetti concluded.

“I strongly support this approach,” Councilmember Mike Bonin wrote in a statement. “Both indoor supermarkets and outdoor farmers markets offer an essential service, and the city needs to regulate the operations of both to protect public health. If social distancing is maintained, an outdoor market can be even safer than an indoor market.”

He added that in many parts of the city without access to supermarkets, farmers markets serve as one of very few sources of fresh and healthy food.

The Pacific Palisades Farmers Market, which operates in the Palisades Charter High School parking lot, has been closed since Los Angeles Unified School District prohibited gatherings on its campuses.

As the Palisadian-Post went to print on Tuesday, the number of cases of COVID-19 had reached 22 in Pacific Palisades, with 3,011 throughout the county and 54 deaths, according to Public Health.

Earlier reports from LA County had included Mandeville Canyon as part of the Palisades in its daily number of confirmed cases by neighborhood. In response, the county has split Mandeville into its own neighborhood for its reports.

Original reports of Brentwood included the areas of Bel Air, Beverly Crest and Franklin Canyon.

Palisades Students React to Distance Learning

By LILY TINOCO | Reporter

The middle of March marked the beginning of distance learning for students across Pacific Palisades.

Private schools, including Calvary Christian, Seven Arrows Elementary and Village schools, made the call to close campuses to prevent the spread of COVID-19 the second week of March. Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner first announced districtwide plans for closure on Friday, March 13.

Many students are now relying on Schoology to communicate with their teachers and complete assignments, including Palisades Charter Elementary, Paul Revere Charter Middle and Palisades Charter High schools.

The Schinto siblings
Photos by Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

Under LAUSD guidance, teachers are responsible for holding office hours throughout the week where they make themselves available to provide support via phone calls, email or other virtual platforms.

Siblings Beau (sixth grade), Wyatt (fourth grade) and Caroline (second grade) Schinto, who attend Corpus Christi School, spoke with the Palisadian-Post to share their experiences and how they are handling this new way of learning.

The siblings are all currently using Google Classroom and Zoom for online learning.

“I have Zoom classes online, and I can see my peers and teacher at the same time,” Beau said. “They assign work and we talk about the work that we’ve done.”

The siblings expressed the beginning presented a few challenges.

“In the beginning, it was a little hard because we didn’t know what to do,” Wyatt said. “But it’s gotten easier.”

They are provided a weekly schedule with the dates and times of their classes. The family has also worked to create a schedule that mimics a regular school day, where the kids work in the mornings through lunch time.

Caroline shared the creative ways she has kept up with her peers while distance learning.

“I’ve been doing some virtual lunches with my friends,” she explained. “Virtual lunch is when you FaceTime your friend while having lunch at the same time. This has been pretty easy but sometimes it’s hard for me because I miss my friends.”

Wyatt has also coordinated Zoom meetings with his peers to do work together virtually.

“When we do that, instead of just talking, we do our work and get more done faster,” Wyatt said.

Emerson Meehan, a fourth grader at Calvary Christian School, also spoke to the Post about her experience with distance learning.

“The last day we got to prepare a lot, and we got all our books and brought them home,” Emerson said about her last day in-class before distance learning went into effect. “It took a day or two to understand how everything worked, but it’s been fun.”

Emerson follows her regular school-day schedule: She signs on at 8:30 a.m. for a virtual group session with her class, and checks in throughout the day with her work and assignments. Her classroom uses Seesaw for remote learning.

Emerson added that her teacher allows some time before and after class sessions for the students to catch up and talk with one another.

With the current Safer at Home order, LAUSD recently extended its campus closures through Friday, May 1.

Medical Director of Palisades Neurodevelopment Center Jim Varga offers his advice to families during this pandemic. He recommended having open, age-appropriate conversations with children to keep them informed and to take advantage of time spent together.

“You may want to use the increased time at home to spend quality time together,” Varga said.  “Make an effort to have family dinners together, and while the conversation about the virus may be unavoidable, try to steer the conversation to other topics.

“Above all, we need to stay hopeful and positive, not only for ourselves but for our kids as well.”

If your student would like to talk with the Post about their experience with distance learning, email lily@palipost.com.

Tentative Use of Palisades Recreation Center as Emergency Homeless Shelter Stirs Community Concern

Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

By LILY TINOCO | Reporter

Individuals experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic have been offered temporary housing in recreation centers across Los Angeles. The first 13 operating shelters opened their doors on Friday, March 20.

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced this as an effort to slow the spread of the virus.

Palisades Recreation Center has been listed as a designated emergency shelter, prompting community members to express their opposition.

In a letter to Garcetti and Councilmember Mike Bonin, Palisadian Matthew Reiser urged the city to reconsider the use of the Palisades center.

“While we applaud your commitment to serving the public, our family, friends and fellow homeowners strongly object to your current plan,” Reiser’s letter stated. “Please house elsewhere.

“The cleanliness and safety of this family-friendly area must be preserved,” he continued. “Thanks to efforts by our local [task force on homelessness], the homeless population in the Palisades has remained virtually zero. We therefore assume you are planning to import new homeless from elsewhere.”

Additional community concerns include individuals wandering the neighborhoods and noncompliance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines

“They’re not prisoners, they can come and go as they’d like,” LAPD Commanding Officer of the West LA Division Captain Jonathan Tom said to the Palisadian-Post. “But LAPD has two officers at each location 24 hours a day, and it would be the same for when Pacific Palisades’ rec center opens up … they also have security on-site.”

Tom added things are still going well at the activated recreation centers on the Westside in Westwood and Cheviot Hills.

“The places are very clean, they seem to be very organized and have not had any issues,” he said. “We have not seen any increase in crime in those areas—their crime is my crime and that’s my primary responsibility.”

Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority outreach workers offer housing to individuals they encounter and have been working with service providers to help get recreation centers up and running, according to Communications Specialist Chris Yee.

But the CDC seems to advise otherwise.

The CDC released interim guidance to protect people experiencing homelessness from the spread of COVID-19.

Under prevention measures, the federal agency states that encampments should not be cleared “unless individual housing units are available.” Doing so increases the potential for transmission.

UCLA public health expert and epidemiology professor Timothy Brewer said the benefit of housing individuals is the ability to identify potential cases more quickly, but acknowledged that it would come at the risk of transmission within a congregate setting.

“The optimal thing would be to shelter individuals in individual settings, for example using hotel rooms or other places where each individual can have their own space … so they wouldn’t have to share living quarters or bathroom facilities,” Brewer said to the Post.

“But if you don’t have the resources or spaces available to do that, then you would want to do it in a way that maximizes protection for each individual,” he added. “You would want to have the beds as far apart as possible, you might put temporary barriers such as partitions in between the beds to minimize the risk of spreading infection from person to person.”

Efforts continue across the city and state to address the concern of the homeless population during this time.

“While I support the emergency shelters,” Bonin shared in a statement on Tuesday morning, March 31, “I am pushing hard on what I consider a better solution: housing vulnerable unhoused people in the tens of thousands of vacant hotel rooms in Los Angeles County.”

He added that the city has helped identify hotels and submitted them to the county, touching on the fact that based on public health advice, the best thing would be to have everyone housed in a hotel room, motel room or college dormitory.

“That is optimum from a public health perspective, and it should be our goal,” he wrote. “This program is not moving fast enough, and in a time of crisis, we need immediate action.”

In an email response to the Pacific Palisades Community Council, Lisa Payne, Garcetti’s director of public engagement, said Palisades Recreation Center “is designated for use only if capacity is met at the series of other centers.”

The Palisades Recreation Center still did not have an activation date as the Post went to print Tuesday evening.

Palisadian Joshua Corwin is ‘Becoming Vulnerable’ in Debut Memoir

Photos courtesy of Joshua Corwin


Palisadian Joshua Corwin’s journey began with autism, addiction, pain and perseverance. Throughout the twists and turns of life, he also found sobriety, clarity and spirituality that have touched and inspired countless others.

Now 26, Corwin moved to Marquez Knolls with his parents when he was 2 years old. Growing up, he attended Marquez Charter Elementary School followed by Willows Community and New Roads schools.

His father is a lawyer and his mother is a teacher for The Miracle Project nonprofit.

“She’s basically a saint,” Corwin said to the Palisadian-Post.

His memoir poetry collection, “Becoming Vulnerable,” will be released by Baxter Daniels Ink Press/International Word Bank on April 20.

His debut book—and the subsequent praise for it—showcases his entire journey.

“I chose this date because the book also discusses my experience with marijuana addiction,” Corwin shared, alluding to cannabis-oriented celebrations that take place annually on the 20th of April, “in addition to April being not only Autism Awareness Month, but also National Poetry Month.”

Described as a neurodiverse poet, Corwin graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and a minor in philosophy from Pitzer College in Claremont in 2019—the same year he was nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

“I didn’t even know what that was at the time,” Corwin admitted.

Al-Khemia Poetica, Spectrum Publishing and Placeholder Press have published his work, as well as The Ephimiliar Journal, Art of Autism and Ginosko Literary Journal.

He’s also contributed numerous times to Rattle Poetry’s Rattlecast (a live-stream poetry reading and weekly podcast) and is on the longlist nominated for The Palette Poetry 2020 Spotlight Award.

“Joshua Corwin is an important voice in the autism community,” global leader on neurodiversity Elaine Hall shared with the Palisadian-Post. “He shared honestly, boldly and brilliantly about his personal experiences that are not only for those who are on the spectrum, but embraces our vulnerability as human beings.”

Corwin shared that he never knew his poetry and writing could be useful to the extent that it is and he could be doing this to help others.

And, for the past five years, Corwin has been sober.

“Getting high no longer worked,” he explained. “I remember the moment as clear as day. I envisioned all the different routes my life could take and what route would make my life stay the same, and I chose a different route.”

Corwin penned a poem, “Memory Smile,” about a friend who was not so lucky: Someone he knew—who, like him, had ADHD, processing delay, autism spectrum disorder and was an only child near his age—did not make it and died from an accidental Fentanyl overdose.

One of Corwin’s upcoming projects, which will start on April 22, is to bring The Miracle Project its first-ever poetry class, AutAdd Poets Society. He will be using Zoom to conduct the classes.

The seven-week class, originally intended to meet in-person, planned to give students the opportunity to write in class and to read their works at the end at the Wallis Center for Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. Corwin moved to a virtual class in light of COVID-19.

“We are proud to collaborate with Joshua in a new online poetry class for those on the spectrum who are also challenged with addiction,” Hall, founder of The Miracle Project, shared.

As the pandemic continues, Corwin is conducting meetings and conference calls on Zoom.

He recently launched a new poetry series podcast, “Assiduous Dust,” on January 15. His fifth podcast, which features an interview with American poet S.A. Griffin and John Burroughs, will be available April 4.

Corwin explained that during the pandemic, he wants people to remember that it can be about solitude and not isolation. He sees his life being about growth and service.

He is already busy working on his next two books: “I write every day,” he shared.

In his free time, Corwin believes in meditation and uses that practice regularly. He also plays music: piano and drums.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, there were scheduled readings and book signings at Palisades Branch Library, Sideshow Books, Mystic Journey Bookstore, Ocean Park Library and more—some of which will be postponed for a later date.

Corwin is slated to appear at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on the poetry stage in 2021.

“Becoming Vulnerable” will be available at independent bookstores as well as on Amazon. It is now available for pre-order.

For more information and pre-orders, go to joshuacorwin.com.

An excerpt from “The Update” 

First published in Placeholder Press “Archive” on December 31, 2019.

O, it’s so hard
to fit in
when you’re hardwired
to differ.

like a spectrum of shapes:

I circle,
but I transcend.
But because I do,
I have these fits

{usually every 3 months or so,
sometimes once a year}

It comes from acting
when you’re

— did I tell you I had to learn
thousands of idioms?
[I thought …
when someone
said, “it’s raining
cats and dogs,”
That it was.]
— flashcards of rules…

“12:01 AM

First published in Al-Khemia Poetica on September 3, 2019, and nominated for the 2019 Pushcart Prize.

12:01 AM

I can hear the shine in your eyes
on the other end of the telephone.

When I speak like this,
I feel authentic
and not heavy

I don’t have to tattoo meaning in the air
to know what you mean.

I remember when you first told me…
apropos of nothing…
about the different levels of charitable donation.

I was sitting across from you — over there.
(You in that armchair, me in this one: our eyes.)

You said there’s the donor who gives large sums
and puts a placard on the wall, signifying
who it’s from;

and then there’s the other one who gives…
but remains anonymous.

Your words hanging like a phantom,
I didn’t have to be who I thought I was;

you were once me,
once where I was…

In that moment, I knew.

Poems Joshua Corwin © 2020

Community Member Brings ‘Teddy Bear Hunt’ to Palisades

Cheryl Knapp’s bears sit in the window.
Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

From Alcima Avenue to Via De La Paz, the Palisades-wide teddy bear hunt is on.

Inspired by Cheryl Knapp, who has lived in Pacific Palisades for 26 years, members of the community are placing teddy bears in the window, encouraging kids to spot them while out walking with their families.

“I had seen several references to it being done over the U.S. and Europe,” Knapp shared, “and I thought, ‘This is the cutest idea.’”

She explained that the idea originated from Michael Rosen’s children’s book “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt,” which has inspired “bear hunts” across the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stuffed animals are being placed in windows, front yards and on mailboxes.

Knapp said that she had a feeling that members of the community wanted to do something positive, especially while she is staying home and taking care of her husband’s 88-year-old aunt.

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Desrochers

“I can’t do anything outside of our own walls,” Knapp said. “This is a small thing, but such a satisfying thing to do.”

Dozens of Palisadians from all neighborhoods quickly followed suit, with homes on De Pauw Street, Bestor Boulevard, Toyopa Drive and many more participating.

Knapp added that she is putting her grandma energy into bringing smiles to the kids in the neighborhood, while she practices social distancing from her own 1-year-old granddaughter. She shared that it has been fun and that Palisadians have been grateful.

“I think honestly everyone is having so much fun, especially some of us that are grandmas,” Knapp said. “I think it gives people a little something to do, a sense of oh, I’m doing something positive.”

Palisadians Work Together to Help Flower Shop

Photos courtesy of Andrea Slutske


Where flowers bloom, so does hope: Community members came together to purchase flowers from Diego Ramirez, a longtime Los Angeles-based grower whose business was impacted when the coronavirus warning bell was alarmed weeks ago and social distancing went into effect.

Native Los Angeles couple Andrea and Adam Slutske posted on Instagram and Facebook that a flower grower was discarding hundreds of roses and flowers due to canceled business. The two shared that they would be delivering the flowers for wholesale purchase to help out the company, Flowerlink, which is run by Ramirez’s wife, Natalia Diez.

United In Harmony, a nonprofit dedicated to providing children in need an opportunity to go to sleepaway camp where Adam is director, loaned its van for the deliveries.

After the Slutskes’ single night of delivery, Ramirez was able to park his refrigerated truck at their home for two days for a few hours each day to sell more flowers—all while respecting social distancing.

“We sold 15 or 16 hundred dozen flowers in a period of three days—800 bunches of two dozen each,” Ramirez said to the Palisadian-Post. “People were incredible.”

Roses were sold for $15 for two dozen, or 50 cents per rose.

“The Slutskes are the nicest family,” Palisadian Traci Chorna said, “and we all want to come out and help if they ask.”

Highlands resident Piper Cochrane, who purchased several dozen wholesale roses, added that it was “wonderful to see the community come together and see how many people purchased flowers to support the little flower company.”

Adam and Andrea delivered flowers for three and a half hours the evening of March 18.

“We probably delivered almost 200 dozen roses the first night,” Andrea shared with the Post. “Every cent earned went back to the grower. People kept texting me and reposting, ‘Can you still do another delivery?’”

Chorna, who co-owns 90272 Dance and Fitness Wear on Via De La Paz with Terry Ross, explained that when she heard about the flowers, she sent out a message to others in the community.

“Adam Slutske owns Century Shower Door,” Chorna explained. “It’s a shower door company, and he does a lot of work for people in the Palisades.”

Adam’s office is located near Ramirez’s warehouse, so when Adam saw him tossing perfectly good flowers into a dumpster, he wanted to help.

“[Ramirez] was supposed to do a lot of events,” Chorna explained. “They all got canceled—weddings, bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs, parties—so he had hundreds, probably thousands of dollars, worth of flowers.”

After putting the word out to members of the community, Chorna shared that she bought 14 bunches of flowers.

“We as a community sent it out to people that we thought would benefit,” Huntington resident Tracey Steinfeld, wife of former Honorary Mayor of the Palisades Jake Steinfeld, shared with the Post.

Tracey said that she reached out to her various clubs and groups—90% of which are comprised of Palisadian parents—and it spread like wildfire. Wanting to share the beauty of fresh flowers during a time of such uncertainty, Tracey brought several packages to friends and neighbors.

“I sat in my garage for half a day to make arrangements to put them all over my house,” Tracey continued.

Palisadians continue to share and post images of the flowers on social media.

“People got the sense they were helping someone and doing the right thing in a time when everyone is feeling really insecure,” Andrea said. “Everyone wanted to support this grower.”


Response to ‘American Times’

In response to the letter to the editor, “American Times,” in the March 26 issue: I agree that we’re all facing an ominous enemy in the coronavirus, and that we all need to stand together and find our common ground. If you ended your letter to the editor after the first few paragraphs, I would have wholeheartedly agreed with you. But, you had to politicize your call for community action by praising Donald Trump’s leadership, and therefore, once again, I feel compelled to respond.

You say that Trump “is leading the charge.” If leading the charge means ignoring all scientific input from January until last week, then you’re right. Instead of heeding the call from public health officials for equipment and medical preparation at the early stages of this pandemic, Trump “led” us by doing nothing for two months, other than claiming that those who raised concerns about his cuts to emergency preparedness were perpetrating a hoax.

In early January, when real American leaders were calling for the federal government to produce new medical and safety equipment, Trump praised his “perfect” do-nothing response to the pandemic and said it would all be gone by April when the warm weather arrives.

Well, April is here and the coronavirus isn’t gone, in fact, it’s getting exponentially more deadly every day. In fact, we recently achieved the ignominious honor of having more confirmed coronavirus cases than any other country in the world.

Rather than inspiring the nation to stand together against a hostile enemy and mandating that his administration prepare for the upcoming pandemic, in late January, he resorted to his now-familiar tactics of bluster and obfuscation by claiming, “We have it totally under control … It’s going to be just fine.”

For the last two months, Trump should have had the nation preparing for a pandemic that was clearly on the horizon for everyone but your dear “leader.” Instead, governors and mayors across the country have had to plead with the Trump administration to procure and disperse more test kits, protective equipment and ventilators.

In late March, when Trump finally, thankfully, seemed to be taking the coronavirus seriously, he told Vice President Mike Pence not to provide medical supplies to Democratic governors in Washington and Michigan because they weren’t sufficiently appreciative. Even in the midst of a national crisis, rather than acting as leader of our entire nation, he resorted to his familiar tactics of trying to divide Americans, and use every opportunity to punish and vilify anyone who disagrees with him.

Now, months after the coronavirus first surfaced, in the United States, there were a record 3.3 million new unemployment claims in March, a $2.2 trillion stimulus package passed in order to prop up the American economy, over 100,000 Americans have been infected and over 2,000 have died, and the stock market is down 25%.

No one blames Trump for the advent of the coronavirus, but we sure can blame him for his failure to pay attention to doctors and scientists instead of his own instincts and wishful thinking. There is no doubt that if he had led us to prepare for this pandemic in a timely fashion, all of our losses would have been dramatically lower.

South Korea and Taiwan serve as timely examples of how real leaders led their countries. Instead of boasting about how great everything was and ignoring the opinions of countless public health officials, they based their actions on science, data and facts, not bluster and braggadocio. In early January, they started testing virtually everyone, ramped up the production of ventilators and protective equipment, and built hospitals in anticipation of the coronavirus. As a result, the pandemic passed over South Korea and Taiwan with very little loss of life and minimal impact on their economy.

Trump didn’t have to be an innovative or dynamic leader. All he had to do was put aside his ego, and follow the South Korean and Taiwanese models that were plainly working. But our “wise” leader always thinks he knows what’s best, notwithstanding all the evidence to the contrary.

For my whole life, up until three years ago, I proudly knew that the United States was always willing and able to help other countries when they experienced disasters. Now, because of Trump’s failed leadership, we have to ask other countries to help us by loaning or selling us the equipment that we don’t have.

If Trump had not totally dismantled the White House pandemic response team in 2018 and if he had not been so hell-bent on praising himself instead of taking action, we would be better prepared to help our own people, rather than going hat in hand to other countries whose leadership helped them to get ready for this catastrophe.

Real leaders lead. They don’t close their eyes and ears to information which they find unpleasant or not in keeping with their inflated egos. Donald Trump is not “leading the charge.” He is following from behind and now trying desperately to make excuses for his own lack of leadership when the country needed, and needs, him the most.

Steve Cron
Pacific Palisades

Recreation Centers

This letter is written to illustrate the negative potentials of utilizing recreation centers throughout the city of Los Angeles—and specifically Pacific Palisades—as a shelter for the homeless.

I am a physician in private practice for 60 years (July 1, 1960) in Pacific Palisades. I am a clinical professor at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA with regular teaching responsibilities. I have an appointment to the Medical Board of California as an expert medical consultant. I have done medical legal consulting for approximately 45 years and have testified in court in multiple states. My opinion has never been disallowed in a court of law.

The decision to aid the homeless is one of humanity and compassion. The timing, methodology and geography must be a decision of pragmatic public health. The plan to utilize rec centers throughout the city of Los Angeles, and specifically Pacific Palisades, is fraught with danger for the homeless as well as surrounding neighborhoods.

Ostensibly they will be separated by two meters (six feet). The likelihood of maintaining this is an absolute impossibility. Two people getting off their cots—one on the right side, the other on the left—immediately nullifies any attempt at separation. Mingling in groups is unavoidable, unless of course there are large numbers of Mingle Police present, and please remember some of these people are immunocompromised.

The disease has stages. The silent carrier, the prodromal stage, symptomatic and varying degrees of illness. During the first two stages, patient may be completely asymptomatic and without fever. However, patient may be shedding virus. Therefore, temperature screening may be of no value at these stages—thus such people will be admitted.

This is the creation of a wonderful petri dish, a breeding ground for COVID-19 and other diseases that may be present. A wondrous living human laboratory of disease.

Public health authorities advise individual separation, no large gatherings and isolation. The government is willing to negatively impact the economy to accomplish this, and yet, rec center housing accomplishes just the opposite.

A homeless shelter in New York had a single case of COVID-19. One week later there were 30 cases, almost an exponential increase. Prisoners are being released from jail confinement to alleviate close contact and congestion. Some prisons are confining inmates to cells rather than allowing them to mingle in dining halls.

The housing in rec centers violates the basic public health mandates and is diametrically opposed to the CDC recommendations for housing the homeless. The CDC states, “Unless individual housing units are available, to not clear encampments during community spread of COVID-19.”

COVID-19 is a serious disease and highly contagious. The kill rate in the U.S. is +/- 1.25%. The kill rate of influenza is 0.1%. The Italian kill rate for COVID-19 is +/- 7.8%. The explanation of difference is multi-factorial, but certainly gregariousness and crowding are pertinent. These numbers, of course, change daily. We already have cases of COVID-19 in Pacific Palisades. This is a highly intelligent, careful and rule-following community.

The CDC not only admonishes against mass housing, but actually advises 12 x 12 feet of space per individual tent.

A better way of handling the situation, albeit not permanent, is to have toilets, perhaps unused by movie studio rental companies, and place them at encampments of a given size. We have complete trust in City Hall to ascertain correct encampment sizes to be eligible for portable facilities.

In summary, we are dealing with a readily contagious virus with a significant kill rate. CDC recommendations are the best we currently have. Please, from a public health standpoint, follow them. Do not violate them.

A full version of this letter is available on Nextdoor.

Robert M. Kahn, MD
Clinical Professor, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

The Palisadian-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.

griefHaven Offers Palisadians Online Outlet

Photo courtesy of griefHaven

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Seeing an immediate need in the community for a resource that people could turn to for general support through COVID-19, Palisades-based nonprofit griefHaven is now offering free online support groups for Palisadians.

“During the stress of sheltering in place, many Palisadians are suffering from the loss of their normal lives, isolation and fear,” Founder/CEO Susan Whitmore shared in an email to the Palisadian-Post on Monday morning. “Sharing with others and connecting in communities with an experienced leader has proven to be very helpful to those feeling anxious or alone.”

The nonprofit, which was founded by Whitmore in 2003 after she lost her daughter to a rare form of cancer, primarily focuses on providing grief support for anyone who has lost a loved one. Over the course of the past few weeks, griefHaven has been conducting its grief groups online, with participants finding them “very meaningful and helpful.”

“Last Saturday, our team of therapists and counselors had a Zoom meeting, and we decided that there were so many people feeling isolated right now and in need of people with whom they can talk about what they are going through that we are going to offer free Zoom support group meetings over the next few weeks to Palisadians,” Whitmore explained.

The meetings will address a broader need for general support through free Zoom groups, facilitated by a griefHaven therapist or counselor. Participants are encouraged to share feelings and concerns, and they can expect to learn techniques to navigate the continuing difficulties of this stressful time.

Beginning April 6, online groups will take place on Mondays at 1 p.m., as well as Tuesdays at 4 and 7 p.m. Whitmore added that once the team gets it down to an art, they will expand to other areas.

To register, email support@griefhaven.org with your name, email, date and time of the meeting you would like to attend. Any questions can be directed to hope@griefhaven.org or 310-459-1789.

Your Two Cents’ Worth

Rec Center

Why is Pali Rec Center different?
*Median age in Los Angeles is 34.6.
*Median age in Pacific Palisades is ~50
*50 and older are at a higher risk of death with Covid 19.
*The Huntington’s median age must be well above 50.
*LAPD very clearly stated that they are not testing homeless campers for the Covid Virus. Taking temperature is not the same as testing for the presence of the virus. Testing and retesting campers is planned to be 0%.
*Does it make sense to open up a Homeless Camp at the Rec Center in the Huntington? *No!

Rec Center II

Has Mayor Garcetti lost his mind? Concentrating the homeless in rec centers is exactly the OPPOSITE of the correct strategy for stopping the spread of this virus! It is so flagrantly stupid and contrary to all accepted science that I must believe the Mayor has other motives here. I honestly think he’s trying to get us used to having homeless shelters in our neighborhoods, an impractical and deeply unpopular idea that he will never let go of. When it comes to our Homeless Crisis this guy really is the worst Mayor ever!

Rec Center III

Dr. Kahn put in words why confining the homeless in our Rec Center is a recipe for disaster in a letter shared on Nextdoor. Thank you for trying!


I agree with last week’s writer in 2 cents complaining about Muskingum street numbers. I live on the “small and inconsequential” Place and often my life-saving medication is misdirected to our “same numbered” partners on Avenue. It is frustrating! But I have gotten to know our “same numbered” partners on Avenue as we walk to each other’s home for misdirected mail. We have enjoyed swapping stories about mail issues, families, vacations, illness, etc. So, misdirected mail has led to new friendships…Maybe we should have a Muskingum Avenue/Place “block party?” What do you think?

Muskingum II

Since the publication of last week’s 2 cents suggesting subsuming Muskingum Place within Muskingum Avenue, several Muskingum Place neighbors have confronted me, either by knocking on my door or approaching me while walking my dog. Muskingum Place neighbors: please continue to shelter in place and maintain appropriate social distance until we get through this public health crisis. Then we’ll deal with taking over your confusing little street.


Out for a solitary walk, I came upon a gardener raking a yard. He was smiling. How sweet was the sound of the tines scraping the earth! Let’s all use this opportunity to wean our gardeners off the gas powered LBs that are so harmful to their health.


Hats off to PPRA! I’ve lived in the Palisades since 1984 and want to acknowledge this organization that has been so consistent in its service to our community. Now they are active in helping those in need because of COVID19. We are blessed to have PPRA and they deserve the community‘s support in helping them to continue to support the community.

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.

‘Onward’ Finds Audiences Through Disney+ 

Photo courtesy of CNET

By JENNIKA INGRAM | Reporter    

The Disney/Pixar animated adventure “Onward”—starring Tom Holland, Chris Pratt and Palisadian Julia Louis-Dreyfus—hopes to capture audiences in a new release through the Disney+ streaming service on April 3.

The plan changed for the feature film after its theatrical release on March 6 faced multiple theater closures due to COVID-19 concerns.

“With more cinemas closing every day, Disney has decided to bring the Pratt and Holland movie to its streaming service Disney+ much earlier than initially planned, as well as making the movie available to buy online,” according to Newsweek.

The turnaround time to streaming comes less than one month later.

Set in a suburban fantasy world, teenage elf brothers “go on a journey to discover if there is still a little magic left out there in order to spend one last day with their father, who died when they were too young to remember him,” according to IMDb.

“When Ian (Holland) is gifted the means to resurrect his dead father for 24 hours on his 16th birthday, he inadvertently only summons the bottom half, so he and Barley (Pratt) set out on a road trip to rediscover the magic they’ll need to bring back the rest of their dad before times runs out,” according to Rotten Tomatoes.

The film stars Holland and Pratt as brothers Ian and Barley Lightfoot, and Louis-Dreyfus as their mother Laurel, the widow of their dad Wilden. Octavia Spencer voices the manticore, with Kyle Bornheimer as Wilden and Mel Rodriguez as a centaur police officer,

The cast includes comedians Lena Waithe, Ali Wong, Tracey Ullman and Wilmer Valderrama.

Dan Scanlon (“Monsters University”) directed the picture, touching on how it’s a personal tribute to his father.

“This is a really personal film for me,” Scanlon said to Deadline. “When I was a year old my father passed away—and my brother was three. We have no memory of him.”

Huntington resident Louis-Dreyfus’ character is based on Scanlon’s mother, Disney Fandom reported.

The audience score on Rotten Tomatoes is trending at 95% with more than 8,400 reviews, and the critics are giving it an 87% rating with nearly 300 reviews.

“Onward” is also available for purchase on Amazon’s Prime Video Cinema page, FandangoNOW, Google Play, iTunes and Vudu.

It’s rated PG with a runtime of one hour and 42 minutes.