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Palisadians Raise Concerns About 2020 Voting Changes

Keh, Lantz and Taylor speaking at the meeting.
Photo by Lily Tinoco

By LILY TINOCO | Reporter

Los Angeles County is introducing a new digital voting system for the March 3, 2020, presidential primary election.

The new Voting Solutions for All People program is designed to “make voting easy, user friendly and accessible”—but some Palisadians fear quite the opposite.

Palisadian Terri Lantz and disability advocate Gabriel Taylor were joined by Julia Keh from the LA County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office on Monday, February 10, at Palisades Branch Library to explain VSAP to Palisades Alliance for Seniors.

VSAP aims to “modernize” the voting experience by transitioning from precinct-based voting to “vote center” voting.

The county sought public input when identifying and placing vote center locations, and conducted an analysis of “population density, demographics and voter behavior to understand when and where voters are most likely to vote with this new model,” according to its website.

The small gymnasium at Palisades Recreation Center (located at 851 Alma Real Drive) is the only designated voting center in Pacific Palisades.

“I’m concerned about the volume of voters in the Palisades and there being only one polling place,” shared one worried local at the meeting. “We need more than one.”

Keh explained that under the new changes, Angelenos can cast a ballot at any voting center location in the county over an 11-day period. This offers an extended election period and doesn’t limit voting to one particular day or place.

Palisadian Warren Cereghino, who has lived in the Palisades for the last 22 years, has only ever known the Aldersgate Retreat Center to be his precinct and begs the question: Why the change?

Keh said that when choosing voting centers, they also had to consider locations with enough space for Ballot Marking Devices.

BMDs are digital voting machines, made to assist and allow everybody to mark their ballot on an adjustable touch screen. The voting experience can be tailored to suit individual needs: from language and text size to the use of accessibility devices, such as a tactile keyboard and audio headphones.

The BMD prints a paper ballot once selections are made and allows voters to review their choices a second time before dropping their ballot into the box.

Taylor, Lantz and Keh continued to address the group’s growing concerns: “Will there be somebody there to help?” and “I heard on television last week that your vote could be changed.”

The trio assured everybody that a ballot cannot be changed by another individual because the devices are secure and not networked, and that there will be on-site assistance at the voting centers if needed.

And voters still have the option to vote by mail.

“The emphasis here is making sure that everybody’s vote counts and that every voter has a way that’s easy for them to vote,” Lantz said.

PPCC Chair Emeritus, Community Activist George Wolfberg Dies

Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Long-time community activist and Pacific Palisades Community Council Chair Emeritus George Wolfberg died Wednesday, February 5, after battling a long illness.

“George was a long-time community activist, dedicated environmentalist, respected National Soccer Referee, UCLA Bruin enthusiast, gardener, chef and of course, loving family man,” the community council shared in a statement. “He was a cherished friend and mentor to countless Palisadians and colleagues throughout the city of Los Angeles.”

Wolfberg, born April 22, 1938, spent his entire life in Los Angeles. His family shared he was a competitive athlete at Los Angeles High School, and he received a Bachelor of Science in political science at UCLA and a Master of Public Administration from USC.

He then launched into a career dedicated to the city of LA, eventually retiring as the chief administrative analyst in the City Administrative Office—the highest non-appointed position.

According to family members, Wolfberg considered one of his career highlights to be oversight of LA’s successful divestment from South Africa under apartheid, which prompted a visit from Nelson Mandela to thank the city. He also contributed hundreds of hours to prepare the city’s bid to win the 1984 Olympics.

After his retirement, Wolfberg served on the City Charter Commission, creating the new charter adopted in 2000, which enacted the creation of a citywide system of neighborhood councils.

In the Palisades, Wolfberg served on the board of PPCC for 16 years, as chair from 2002-04 and returning to the position in 2018 and 2019. He also served six consecutive terms as the at-large representative and since 2004, as chair of the Potrero Canyon Community Advisory Committee, working on the issue for decades.

Lisa Cahill, Brentwood-Palisades deputy-environmental liaison for Councilmember Mike Bonin, shared that Wolfberg worked to ensure the committee’s recommendations were heard by all the city departments, holding them accountable to ensure the final project honored the community’s desires.

“George did so many wonderful things but I think they all really show through in Potrero Canyon Park,” Cahill shared. “His love of nature, his sense of right and wrong, his dedication that it is a park for all Angelenos, his wanting to share the beach and the Palisades with any and everybody. I was just out there and the sun was so warm and bright, the ocean so vast, the sky so endless and blue … like George’s smile … comforting, kind and 100% genuine.”

Wolfberg was also an active board member and past chair of the Santa Monica Canyon Civic Association, serving for 20 years.

“I am so deeply indebted to him for his leadership and his service—and for the manner in which he led and served,” Bonin shared. “From project after project, issue after issue, George has led and served with fierce determination, great warmth, big goals, and a smart and specific vision to achieve those goals. He has been friend, mentor and inspiration to more people than we can count.”

Wolfberg was recently honored in December 2019 with the Pride of the Palisades award, bestowed by PPCC at its annual awards celebration and holiday meeting.

Following Jewish tradition, the family held a memorial and burial services on Friday, February 7, before beginning their formal mourning period.

Wolfberg is survived by his wife, Diane, and children. Donations in his memory may be made to Planned Parenthood.

The Wolfberg family requested that those with memories to share please post them at forevermissed.com/george-wolfberg.

Reformation Joins Palisades Village

Photo courtesy of Reformation

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Since opening in September 2018, Caruso’s Palisades Village has sporadically introduced new tenants to the community to fill vacant spaces, most recently when lululemon opened its Sunset Boulevard doors in October 2019.

While Palisadians wait for another recent tenant, William B + friends, to officially open its space, which has “coming soon” signs on its exterior, a representative from Reformation revealed to the Palisadian-Post that the brand is the latest tenant to join the development.

Reformation offers a line of women’s clothing that is designed to make “effortless silhouettes that celebrate the feminine figure,” according to its website.

“Created in 2009 by Yael Aflalo, Reformation is a revolutionary lifestyle brand that proves fast fashion and sustainability can coexist,” the representative explained. “Reformation combines stylish, vintage-inspired designs with sustainable practices, releasing limited-edition collections for women who want to look beautiful and live sustainably.”

Reformation boasts that it is a 100% carbon, water and waste neutral company, infusing “green measures into every aspect of business.

“From running a sustainable factory in Los Angeles to using deadstock and eco fabrics to tracking the environmental impact of every product, Reformation is committed to pushing the industry forward,” the representative continued.

According to the Reformation website, the main range of clothing is fit on multiple women between 5’6” and 5’10”, as well as a petites collection designed for those 5’2” and under and an extended sizes collection with items up to size 22.

Reformation has “established itself as a pioneer in retail innovation, developing an in-store tech concept that brings the best of its online experience to its physical doors.”

This marks the fifth Reformation store in Los Angeles, which operates locations in Culver City and Santa Monica, as well as two stores on Melrose Avenue.

The Palisades Village iteration, which is slated to open in spring, will operate along Swarthmore Avenue, in what has been a vacant space next to Hank’s since the development opened.

American Legion Hosts Red Cross, Stop the Bleed Training Course

Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

By JENNIKA INGRAM | Reporter

American Legion Ronald Reagan – Palisades Post 283 invited members, school principals, leaders of houses of worship and other community organizations to participate in a First Aid and Stop the Bleed training course on Saturday, February 8.

“It was beyond my expectations and because of the high demand, we plan to run the class every two months,” First Vice Commander Jim Cragg said to the Palisadian-Post. “We want our American Legion Post to bring our skills in first aid to the community, so that the people of the Palisades can get trained and save lives.”

Cragg explained that the first block of instruction covered basic first aid, defibrillator and CPR—which are valuable for the workplace and family environment.

Mike Sweet of JTA CPR taught the class, and those who attended received Red Cross Certification.

Each year, the American Red Cross reports that more than 6.25 million people receive training.

Launched in 2017, Stop the Bleed is a newer program that has taught over one million people. Their mission is to train the public in basic bleeding techniques.

“The second block covered ‘Stop the Bleed’—training in tourniquets, blood clotting agents and pressure dressing using stop major bleeding (arterial), which is a major cause of death when it’s not addressed immediately,” Cragg continued. “Stop the Bleed is designed as a response to aggressive deadly behavior attacks and acts of terrorism, but is also pertinent to massive bleed injuries that can happen in the home or community.”

Dana Vilander of VTC Training, a 32-year veteran of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Emergency Services Detail and an Air Force veteran, taught Stop the Bleed.

“A lot of the new medical technology, like tourniquets and hemostatic agents, and new medical standards, like MARCH protocol, have originated in military medicine during the global war on terror, and Post 283 wanted to bring this valuable information used by our veteran Post members to the community,” Cragg explained.

The MARCH acronym is synonymous with Tactical Combat Casualty Care, and is an acronym for remembering the necessary steps in priority for saving lives in combat: M-massive hemorrhage, A-airway, R-respiratory, C-circulation and H-hypothermia.

“It’s not only for the Legion, and we want everyone from the community to come,” Cragg reiterated.

Cragg is also a local businessman, veteran nonprofit director and a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves assigned to the 1st Special Forces Command.

Contact Cragg to sign up or inquire about future classes at jimcraggalpost283@gmail.com. Additional information can be found at alpost283.com.

Neighborhood News

Seeking Travel Tales | Pacific Palisades

It’s that time of year: The Palisadian-Post is seeking Travel Tales, written by Palisadians, to feature in an upcoming edition of 90272 Magazine. If you have been somewhere memorable, please submit your tale—between 400 and 600 words—plus four to five high-res images (actual size if sending from a smartphone) to
mypost@palipost.com for a chance to be featured. One winning tale will take home a prize from a local business, to be announced in an upcoming edition of the paper.                                                   —POST STAFF


Census Bureau Now Hiring | Pacific Palisades

The U.S. Census Bureau is currently recruiting local part-time workers for the upcoming 2020 census survey.

The census-taker position offers flexible hours, optimal for students, retirees or anybody looking to earn extra income in their free time. The pay rate is $25 an hour in Los Angeles County and training is also paid.

Visit 2020census.gov/jobs or call 855-JOB-2020 for more information.          

—LILY TINOCO


Driven: A Daughters Odyssey | Palisades Branch Library

Longtime Palisadian Julie Heldman will discuss her memoir, “Driven: A Daughter’s Odyssey,” at Palisades Branch Library on Thursday, February 20, as a part of The Friends of the Library speaker series.

The book is a story of her life, from her tennis career to law school, marriage and a diagnosis of bipolar disease.

The program will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the community room and admission is free.           

—LILY TINOCO


Genetically Modified Food DiscussionPalisades Branch Library

The Palisades Branch Library and Culinary Historians of Southern California will present “What’s So Controversial About Genetically Modified Food?” on Saturday, February 15, at 2 p.m.

The event will cover the science and myth that surrounds genetically modified food. John T. Lang, an associate professor of sociology at Occidental College, will be the guest lecturer. His major substantive interest is the sociological study of food.

The event will be held in the library’s community room. Call 310-459-2754 for more information.          

—LILY TINOCO


PPDC Presents Census 101 | Pacific Palisades

The Pacific Palisades Democratic Club will host a non-partisan “Census 101: What You Need to Know” event as a part of their Speaker Series on Monday, February 24, at Palisades Branch Library.

Doors open at 6 p.m. and a presentation is scheduled to begin at 6:30, followed by a Q&A.

—LILY TINOCO

Young Scientists

Photos by Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

Palisades Charter Elementary School Hosts Annual Science Fair

By LILY TINOCO | Reporter

From volcanoes and dissolving gummy bears to creating electric motors, Palisades Charter Elementary School rang in its young scientists for an annual science fair on Monday morning, February 3.

Over 100 students participated in this year’s fair, presenting tri-fold projects to family and friends in the Pali Elementary Auditorium.

Pali parent Karen Attyah, who worked with Christina Van der Ohe, Anna Hsu and Kshama Mehra to organize the event, said the turnout was great for it being an optional science fair.

“It’s really nice to see the spectrum of kids, and the kids who start in kindergarten and do it every year,” Attyah said.

While all students, kindergarten through fifth grade, are invited to participate, only fifth-grade projects are reviewed by a series of judges. Six judges made up the panel this year, a culmination of Pali parents with MDs or PhDs, and faculty from the University of California, Los Angeles.

The projects were judged on the innovation of ideas, understanding of the topic and presentation of the experiment.

Participants each received a participation ribbon, while fifth graders who placed in the competition received a science kit.

Aubrianna Sobhani earned first place with her project, “Homopolar Motor.”

She explored energy traveling through a copper wire, a project inspired by Michael Faraday who invented the Homopolar Motor in the 1820s.

Sobhani revealed to the Palisadian-Post the tools necessary to do this project: magnets, batteries, copper wire and a whole lot of patience.

She said that her project took her a long time to get right and she even made final adjustments before submitting it in time for the fair.

Sobhani thanked her fourth-grade science teacher, Ms. Panza, for sparking her interest in electricity.

“I love to learn about electric chemistry, it’s really interesting to learn how the magnetic field works and how electricity brightens our light bulbs,” she said.

Sobhani added that winning first place was “amazing.”

In second place was Tyler Lenz. Dashiel Karish and Ilian Shapiro both took third place with their project, “Surfaces of Science.” Zooey Morris took fourth place with her project, “Taste Sense.”

Attyah shared that her second-grade daughter, Adriana Dawson, worked with her friend Emma Takiguchi on a project on magnetism. Attyah shared their findings and that they were excited to learn that the Earth has a large magnetic field that protects it from solar radiation.

Palisades Park Youth Council Plans Successful Teen Events

Photo courtesy of Kim Van Duzer

By JENNIKA INGRAM | Reporter 

A new chapter of the Palisades Park Youth Council is underway—programming successful events for children and teens at Palisades Recreation Center.

“I want it to raise awareness for a new chapter that we have begun for park programming,” Keanu Nahmi Natan, chairman of the Palisades Park Youth Council Board, said to the Palisadian-Post, “one supported by the new Palisades Park Youth Council.”

Natan, a 16-year-old sophomore at Palisades Charter High School, grew up living on Swarthmore, previously attending Paul Revere Charter Middle School. He also serves as a Pali High Ambassador.

“Our goal is to build youth civic engagement and better the Palisades community,” Natan shared.

The Palisades Park Youth Council was formed after receiving more than 100 applicants from several different zip codes. The co-ed Palisades Park Youth Council boasts 41 members, with 12 sitting on a board.

“We were really looking for students yearning to be involved in the community and get civically engaged,” Natan said.

The council, which meets once a month, formed into several committees: youth sports, performance, arts and music, brain games, fundraising, and beautification.

“I didn’t tell them how to be organized,” Erich Haas, senior recreation director at Palisades Recreation Center, said, “but the kids did an excellent job organizing themselves into groups: It’s been very effective.”

“All of the events are thought up by the Youth Council, and I let them do it,” Haas shared.

Photo courtesy of Mia Emerson

For almost a decade, Haas dreamed of expanding the youth council because he knew teens and pre-teens would prefer to join activities organized by their peers. When Natan came to Haas, he knew Natan “had the energy to help the Youth Board.”

“The vision for our youth is coming into being,” Haas shared.

Recent events hosted by the council include a 3-on-3 basketball tournament with 10 teams participating, a chess tournament, which was planned to attract additional demographics at the park (those who may not want to do athletics, with people over the age of 18 welcome) and cookie decorating for kids.

“I have really enjoyed being part of the PPYC,” shared Zennon Ulyate-Crow, director of affairs. “I look forward to every event and meeting because they are always so much fun. Working with Keanu and Erich and the rest of the park administration has been an amazing experience.”

Charlie Collins serves as a youth advisor with Natan on the Pacific Palisades Park Advisory Board.

“It’s a really good group of kids and it’s the future of our park,” Haas said. “These kids will go off to college and have some experiences and, hopefully in the future, they will move back and have kids here, and those kids will use the park.”

Haas shared that the kids have ideas, energy and enthusiasm—that their sense of community is contagious.

“They are doing a really good job,” Haas concluded. “I’m extremely proud of these kids.”

Natan explained that students are welcome to volunteer, even if they are not on the council. Volunteer spots are always open.

To keep tabs on future events, follow the council’s Instagram at @ThePPYC.

Works by Castellammare Artist on Display at Library

Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

By JENNIKA INGRAM | Reporter

Watermedia paintings by longtime Castellammare resident Shirley Peppers are on display in a showing called “Flowers and Imaginary Scapes—Land, Sea and Sky” at Palisades Branch Library.

Peppers’ exhibition, with works that feature watercolors, acrylic ink and acrylics, debuted during an artist reception with food and drinks on Friday evening, February 7.

“They are amazing,” said Jean Sharp, a longtime Palisadian who attended the event.

Peppers moved to the Palisades in 1986 and married her husband in her backyard two years later in 1988.

With a career in fundraising keeping her busy, Peppers didn’t realize her future until she started painting in her 40s when she took an art class.

“It never occurred to me I would be an artist,” Peppers told the Palisadian-Post.

Now in her early 70s, Peppers transitioned from her career just over a year ago and is now a full-time artist.

“I am a full-time artist and loving (almost) every minute,” Peppers shared in a statement. “I finished my work as an educational fundraiser after fun and satisfying stints at Stanford—my alma mater—Harvard, UCLA and Harvard again for the final 28 years,” Peppers continued.

Peppers also worked in microfinance in the Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and South Africa.

“As all your artist friends will tell you: one is never bored as an artist,” Peppers said. “Everything is interesting and challenging to us as we see things as shapes or colors or lines. Our imaginations get to live fully.”

Peppers shared that she seeks to portray flowers, colors, shapes, atmospheres and feelings, with design, paint, line, value and shape.

“The florals are self-explanatory,” Peppers shared. “The ‘Scapes’ are imaginary pieces that are whatever your mind conjures them to be: seascapes, landscape, marshscapes, cityscapes, skyscapes or mindscapes.”

She shared at the reception that she has been very lucky to have several amazing teachers.

“I’m also very lucky to have a group of amazing painting friends,” Peppers continued. “We try to sustain each other on our individual quests for skill and for the nerve to bare ourselves through our work.

“It is also a privilege to have lived in the Palisades for over 30 years, to be associated with the Pacific Palisades Art Association, and to take classes at the Brentwood Art Center, UCLA Extension and at Studio Channel Islands in Camarillo.”

Peppers also extended her thoughts about her husband, Roger Fox, as her biggest fan and most candid critic.

“He pushes me outside the mundane and tolerates my various neuroses,” she said. “He is the love of my life and I’m the luckiest woman in the world.”

The show at the library runs through February 28.

For more information about the artist, visit shirleypeppersart.com.

Our Town

Palisadians donated painted and decorated wood blocks to be auctioned off at an event to raise funds for the Brentwood Art Center—a nonprofit community art center. Students at the center, including children, adults and veterans, crafted more than 140  4”x4” wood blocks into “incredible and unique works of art” to support the veterans art and scholarship programs.

Photos courtesy of Adrienne Luce

 


The Palisades Charter High School team practices for the February 22 regional competition during the recent Science Bowl Scrimmage at LADWP’s downtown headquarters. Pictured, from left: Sean King, Benjamin Zaidel, Vivek Elashoff, Shira Shabtian and Aiden Lee

Photo courtesy of LADWP/Art Mochizuki

The Palisades Newcomers and Friends Club enjoyed a culinary adventure at Tara’s Himalayan Cuisine in Brentwood.

Photo courtesy of Gisela Moriarty

PRESENT NOW, a Pacific Palisades-founded nonprofit dedicated to supporting children living in transitional domestic violence shelters nationwide, hosted an inaugural Valentine’s Day Stuffing Event, where 75 volunteers wrapped more than 760 gifts for children.               

Photo courtesy of PRESENT NOW

                 

CRIME REPORT

Robbery

15300 Antioch, February 5 at 7 p.m. The suspect (male white, 5’10”) entered victim’s business, pointed a handgun at store employee and demanded the employee open business safe. The suspect took victim’s money and fled.

15400 Sunset, February 4 at 7:20 p.m. The suspect (male white, 6’ 140 lb, 20 years, with a beard) approached victim from behind and grabbed victim’s purse. The suspect dragged victim to the ground but was unable to get the purse. The suspect then fled the area.


Burglary

400 Alma Real Dr, between February 4 at 6 a.m. and February 8 at 8 p.m. The suspect smashed a glass door to enter victim’s home and ransacked all bedrooms. No property was listed as missing.


Burglary/Theft from Vehicle

500 Los Liones, February 5 between 10:10 and 12:15 a.m. The suspect punched out the door lock of victim’s vehicle to enter and took a driver license.

800 Muskingum Ave, between February 6 at 11 p.m. and February 7 at 10:27 a.m. The suspect entered victim’s vehicle, and took a computer and sunglasses.

Temescal Canyon/Bowdoin, February 8 between 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. The suspect smashed a window on victim’s vehicle, and took a purse and money.

16800 Livorno Dr, between February 8 at 4 p.m. and February 9 at 9:25 p.m. The suspect entered victim’s vehicle, and took sunglasses and boxes.


Theft

16300 Pacific Coast Hwy, February 7 at 9:30 a.m. The suspects tricked victim into thinking they were employees for “Stubhub” after victim mistakenly call the suspect’s phone number. The suspect then tricked victim into paying for event tickets with E-bay gift cards.


Provided by LAPD Senior Lead Officer Michael Moore.  In case of emergency, call 911. To report a non-emergency, call 877-275-5273.