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Pacific Palisades Community Council Area, At-Large Candidates Sought

Courtesy of PPCC

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Pacific Palisades Community Council invites eligible candidates to apply to run for area and at-large representative seats on the board for the 2024-25 term, which will begin October 1.

“The Palisades-wide public election of PPCC area and at-large representatives takes place every two years in the summer, with residents voting for area representatives, and residents, property owners and/or business operators voting for an at-large representative,” according to information shared by PPCC. “Voting in the election will commence later this summer.”

Incumbents are running in Areas 2, 4, 5 and 8 as per the PPCC area map, as well as the at-large seat. There are no incumbents running in Areas 1 (including Castellammare, Paseo Miramar, Pacific View Estates), 4 (including Marquez Knolls, Bel-Air Bay Club), 6 (The Huntington, Via Mesa/Bluffs) and 7 (including Santa Monica, Rustic and Lower Rivas Canyon, Will Rogers State Historic Park).

“All seats are open to new candidates, whether or not the incumbent is running,” PPCC wrote.

Those who wish to run must submit candidate statements to info@pacpalicc.org no later than July 25 at 5 p.m.—which is one hour before the start of the Thursday, July 25, PPCC meeting at 6 p.m.

“The statement shall not exceed 200 words and must include the candidate’s email address, the number of years as a resident of the Palisades, the number of years residing in the area in which the candidate is seeking election, as well as the number of years at the current principal residence and the address (area representatives),” PPCC said. “At-large representative candidates running as business or real estate stakeholders in the community must provide the current business address or address of real property owned in the Palisades. In addition, the statement shall include a position statement on issues the candidate believes are important to the community and/or to his or her area.”

The candidates will be announced during the July 25 meeting, with campaigning beginning after. Voting will commence August 16 and end on August 30.

“All candidates must be at least 18 years old when voting commences in September; candidates for area rep must live in the PPCC area that they seek to represent; candidates for at-large rep must either live, own real property or operate a business anywhere in Pacific Palisades,” according to PPCC. “Area and at-large representatives will be the voice of their constituents, bring issues to the PPCC board, learn first-hand about policy and land-use topics affecting the Palisades, and vote on matters of community-wide interest.”

For more information, visit pacpalicc.org.

Pacific Palisades Library Association Resumes Collecting Donations

PPLA volunteers at a previous Parking Lot Book Sale
Photo courtesy of Laura Schneider

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

For those who have gently used books on hand to donate, Pacific Palisades Library Association resumed its collection drive Wednesday, July 17.

Donations will be collected by PPLA—also known as Friends of the Palisades Library—every Wednesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. inside Palisades Branch Library, located at 861 Alma Real Drive. Donated books will be sold at future Parking Lot Book Sales to support PPLA endeavors, including programming at the library.

“Please note that we can only accept books in good condition,” according to the PPLA flyer. “Books should not be written in or highlighted, or show signs of excessive wear and tear. We cannot accept magazines, textbooks, CDs, DVDs, encyclopedias or library books.”

Volunteers will be accepting books on July 17, 20, 24, 27 and 31, as well as August 3, 7, 10, 14, 21, 24, 28 and 31.

“Please do not leave book donations at the library at times other than those specified or drop donations when volunteers are not present,” the flyer continued.

For more information, including how to volunteer, email friends@friendsofpalilibrary.org.

Ciela to Host ‘Health and Wellness Fair’ in the Highlands

Photo by Sarah Shmerling

By LILY TINOCO | Assistant Editor

Ciela Senior Living—located at 17310 West Vereda De La Montura in the Highlands—will be hosting a Health and Wellness Fair on Thursday, July 25, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“Nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains, Ciela is redefining aging,” according to the event poster. “Designed around the promise of optimal health, happiness and the blue-sky potential of every age, we welcome you to the best part of your life.”

The Health and Wellness Fair includes a lineup of fitness workshops, wellness talks, health booths and local vendors. Attendees can also look forward to food and drinks, free giveaways, and the opportunity to win raffle prizes. Admission is free.

Ciela offers independent living, assisted living, memory care and short-term stays.

“We believe in providing seniors with an environment that fosters joy and rejuvenation as they age,” Ciela Founder and President Rony Shram said in a statement in 2023. “Our location overlooks the beautiful Santa Monica Mountains from every corner of the property, providing a connection to nature that’s vital for residents’ well-being.”

For more information or to RSVP to attend the fair, call 310-310-8218 or visit liveciela.com.

Performances of ‘Grease: School Version’ Continue at Pierson Playhouse

Photo by Katherine Mossman

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Theatre Palisades Youth will continue its two-weekend run of “Grease: School Version” with performances at Pierson Playhouse Thursday, July 18, through Sunday, July 21.

“Travel back in time to the summer of 1958, when good girl Sandy and greaser Danny fall for each other during a carefree summer,” read a synopsis provided by TPY. “But when the school year begins, Danny is torn between his feelings for Sandy, and his image with the Burger Palace Boys and the Pink Ladies.”

The Theatre Palisades Youth iteration of the show—directed by Lara Ganz—features more than 45 actors, ranging in age from 8 to 18. It is choreographed by Rebecca Barragan and Aaron Jung.

“Grease is, absolutely without a doubt, the word,” Jung said in a statement. “Whether you fell in love with the movie or this is your first time watching ‘Grease,’ you will love this nonstop joyride of dance, song and a small taste of classic Americana. There’s a reason this was a favorite movie for so many of us growing up, and TPY will make you fall in love all over again.”

Performances are set to take place on Thursday, July 18, at 7 p.m.; Friday, July 19, at 5 and 8 p.m.; Saturday, July 20, at 2 and 5:30 p.m.; and Sunday, July 21, at 1 p.m.

Tickets are $22 for general admission and $17 for students/seniors. All performances take place at Pierson Playhouse, located at 941 Temescal Canyon Road.

“Come hear your favorite songs from the movie and Broadway musical, including ‘Hopelessly Devoted to You,’ ‘Greased Lightnin‘’ and ‘All Choked Up,’” the synopsis concluded.

Getty Villa to Present ‘Ancestral Connections: Yanculia/Restoration’

Photo courtesy of Getty

By LILY TINOCO | Assistant Editor

Getty Villa will present “Ancestral Connections: Yanculia/Restoration” on Saturday, July 20, at 3 p.m. in the auditorium.

The performance will mark the culmination of the Youth Theater Summer Intensive program’s five-week workshop, built around the Getty Villa exhibition “Picture Worlds: Greek, Maya and Moche Pottery.”

Throughout the course of the program, Latinx students worked with professional teaching and guest artists at Plaza de la Raza Cultural Center for the Arts and Education in Lincoln Heights. Led by Eddie Ruiz, students explored performing art forms and storytelling “through a global cultural lens,” according to Getty.

As part of developing the production, students took field trips to Getty Villa to explore “Picture Worlds: Greek, Maya and Moche Pottery” and met with David Saunders, associate curator of antiquities at the Getty Villa and co-curator of the exhibition.

The performances integrate poetry, movement, video projections and music. Professional video designer Ly Eisenstein enhanced the performance with student-created images, handmade masks and photos of pottery from the exhibition.

Admission to the performance is free, but advance tickets are required. Getty Villa is located at 17985 Pacific Coast Highway in Pacific Palisades.

For more information or to reserve tickets, visit getty.edu/visit/cal/events/ev_4214.html.

Local Artist to Lead Adult Painting Class at Palisades Branch Library

Photo by Sarah Shmerling

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Pacific Palisades-based painter Martha Meade will lead an adult painting class at Palisades Branch Library on Saturday, July 20, beginning at 2 p.m.

“We will be using acrylics on canvas to do some LA Dreaming, and producing a masterpiece each of you can take home and hang on your wall,” read an event description. “If you came to the last class, come again. The content is different.”

Meade—a “long-time resident of Pacific Palisades and a member of the Pacific Palisades Art Association”—works primarily in oils on canvas. The program is sponsored by Friends of the Palisades Library (Pacific Palisades Library Association).

Space in the class is limited, so attendees are asked to RSVP to palsds@lapl.org or at the reference desk at the library, located at 861 Alma Real Drive.

Historic Run Ends for PPBA All-Stars

The PPBA’s Mustang 9U All-Stars finished with a 23-6 record this summer and advanced to the PONY West Zone Tournament.
Photo by Steve Galluzzo

By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor

In the 70-year history of the Pacific Palisades Baseball Association, this year’s Mustang 9U squad will be remembered as one of the best All-Star teams the local youth league has ever put on the field. 

The summer came to an end Saturday, July 13, after a second defeat in the double-elimination PONY West Zone tournament, but that did not diminish a magical run that saw the Palisades-based team win 23 of 29 games and advance to the Zone playoffs—only the second PPBA team to ever do so.

Head coach Taylor Talt and assistants Matt Underwood and Joe Layton were proud to coach a roster consisting of 12 talented players: Will Feil, Carter Bergman, Tristan Kawasaki, Cabe Talt, Anthony Layton, Axl Moody, Bennett Underwood, Dylan Morrow, Jack Hetherington, Owen Tyler, Nate Underwood and Maddox Martin.

Palisades opened the eight-team Zone bracket in Walnut by beating Rodeo 12-3, but lost to Cypress 8-5 the next day. On Saturday afternoon, Palisades avoided elimination with a 10-9 come-from-behind victory over Hawaii.

A few hours later, the boys changed from their white uniforms to blue to face Tecolote Red of San Diego and battled to the final out of an 8-5 loss that ended their dream of being the first PPBA team to make the International World Series.

The only other PPBA All-Star team to reach the Zone playoffs was Coach David Hoffman’s Mustang 9U “Nachos” in 2022. That team won 28 of 37 games and finished 2-2 in the Zone playoffs, just like this year’s squad.

‘Happy Days in the Palisades’: Fourth of July Brings Annual Festivities

Photo by Steve Galluzzo

By LILY TINOCO | Assistant Editor

Palisadians gathered along the route for the 76th annual Fourth of July parade, a beloved community tradition presented by Palisades Americanism Parade Association.

This year’s parade led with a theme of “Happy Days in the Palisades,” which was entered into the parade theme contest by longtime Palisadians Dean Grinsfelder and Vicky Collison, and selected by PAPA.

“In a family brainstorming session, it was my wife, Vicky … who actually came up with the theme,” Grinsfelder said to the Palisadian-Post. “It was a simple quest to create a short rhyme, but it truly represents our family’s experience of living in the Palisades. We have so much appreciation for the people, beautiful environment and relaxed character of the town. Every day we spend in the Palisades is a happy day for us.”

Grinsfelder revealed this year marked the first time the family entered the contest. He has been living in the Highlands since 1989.

The parade, headed by Grand Marshal Steve Guttenberg and Parade Marshal Rich Wilken, featured a number of local organizations and familiar faces from around town. Thousands rallied along Via De La Paz, Sunset Boulevard and Toyopa Drive for the bevy of festivities.

Paws ’N Claws’ Patriotic Pups of Pacific Palisades marched the streets with red, white and blue bandanas and accessories, the girls and boys of Troop 223 waved hello from different boats turned into floats, followed by Pacific Palisades Woman’s Club, Optimist Club of Pacific Palisades, Palisades-Malibu YMCA, Los Angeles Fire Department Station 69, and plenty more. Parties and parade observers cheered as each float passed by.

Local environmental organization Resilient Palisades’ float commemorated its Clean Air and Water team’s campaign that helped local gardeners purchase electric blowers in place of gas blowers. The team shared messages promoting gas-free gardening and celebrating the Highlands Summit HOA for being “100% gas free.”

“At the parade, we marched alongside dozens of additional RP members, including our newest member, recording artist and producer Redfoo, who brought his solar-powered golf cart,” according to the organization. “A great time was had by all, and we’re confident we raised the awareness of thousands of parade attendees who otherwise might not have given a second thought to how their gardeners are maintaining their lawns.”

Other parade highlights included music from the Palisades Oom-Pa-Pa Band, Lake Arrowhead’s Mountain Fifes & Drums, and New Orleans Traditional Jazz Band, as well as demonstrations from Gerry Blanck’s School of Yoshukai Karate.

Community members shared some of their favorite moments with the Post, including the Palisades-Malibu YMCA float, which was adorned with greenery and bountiful hand-painted butterflies.

Steve Guttenberg, Rich Wilken Serve as 2024 Marshals

Grand Marshal Steve Guttenberg
Photo by Craig Weston

By LILY TINOCO | Assistant Editor

Former Honorary Mayor of Pacific Palisades, actor and author Steve Guttenberg served as this year’s grand marshal for Fourth of July festivities, while lifelong Palisadian Rich Wilken took on the role of parade marshal.

The two marshal positions are selected annually by Palisades Americanism Parade Association.

“The parade is one of, perhaps the most defining events of Pacific Palisades,” Guttenberg said to the Palisadian-Post. “It galvanizes our community and attracts people from every state in the union. Thousands of people gather, together … We, together, build our town, our state, our country, our society. And being the grand marshal, it is a position that implores friendliness … and it’s a giant fun experience.”

Guttenberg—who served as honorary mayor from 2002 to 2006—is an actor, author, businessman and producer. He made his acting debut in “The Boys From Brazil,” and is well known for roles in films from the 1980s and ’90s, including “Cocoon,” “Police Academy,” “Three Men and a Baby,” “Diner,” “The Big Green” and more.

In 2023, he wrote and starred in the autobiographical comedic play, “Tales from the Guttenberg Bible.” He described the play as a “Valentine” to his family, friends and Hollywood: “I have much to be grateful for, and it’s a joy to share it all with a live audience.”

In May 2024, Guttenberg released his memoir, “Time to Thank: Caregiving for my Hero.” The book chronicles Guttenberg’s journey stepping into the role as a caretaker for his father, from Los Angeles to Arizona.

“This is a book for movie fans, road trip junkies and anyone who finds themselves doing the hard work of caring for an aging loved one,” according to a press release. “Steve Guttenberg serves as a uniquely perceptive guide through all these phases of life.”

Wilken is a lifelong Palisadian: He grew up in the Palisades and was one of the first students to attend Palisades High School.

Parade Marshal Rich Wilken
Photo by Steve Galluzzo

He has spent over 30 years volunteering for PAPA, serving as president of the organization twice.

Deemed “one of the town’s most enthusiastic and hard-working volunteers,” Wilken was celebrated as the 2010 Citizen of the Year, an honor previously bestowed by the Post.

Wilken was recognized for his efforts coordinating the Fourth of July fireworks show at Pali High, assisting in crowd control and street closures for the Palisades Will Rogers 5 & 10K, serving as an assistant scoutmaster in Boy Scout Troop 223, and plenty more.

“Few residents have ever been as active as Rich in so many community organizations,” Former Post Publisher Roberta Donohue wrote in 2011. “And few people can match his willingness to take on leadership roles.”

Wilken is also an architect who designed Palisades Lutheran Church Sanctuary and former Palisades eatery Mort’s Deli, and founded and designed Wilken Surfboards.

Patriotic Home Contest Concludes With Festive Winners

Most Patriotic Home
Photos by Steve Galluzzo

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

On the eve of Fourth of July, winners were announced for this year’s Patriotic Home Contest, sponsored by “local real estate legends” Susan Montgomery and Violetta Hargitay as part of Palisades Americanism Parade Association’s annual festivities.

Each year, homes across Pacific Palisades are eligible to enter the contest, which concludes with three winners, as well as runners-up. The in-person judging component is completed the afternoon of July 3, with a team of judges—this year including former Honorary Mayor of Pacific Palisades and 2024 Grand Marshal Steve Guttenberg—traversing the neighborhoods in golf carts to view festive displays.

“Steve Guttenberg is such an upper, and his energy is infectious,” Montgomery said of judging day. “Everyone had a great time.”

Runner-Up Most Patriotic Home

“Most Patriotic Home” went to David and Patricia Borgeson, who reside in The Huntington neighborhood. Highlands resident Paul Ben-Victor, along with his wife Cali and 2-year-old daughter Arabella, were awarded “Runner-Up Most Patriotic Home” for their decorations, which included cut-outs of patriotic figures on the second story, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Benjamin Franklin.

Receiving this year’s “Joan Sather Memorial Sponsor’s Award”—given to the home that “employs the most outstanding use of homemade decorative elements,” named in honor of the contest’s late longtime sponsor, who died in 2022—was the Joke Tree house in the Alphabet Streets, which was nominated by a “very nice neighbor.”

The Joke Tree has displayed more than 1,000 jokes put together by Ann and Jon Vitti since May 2020 as a “pandemic project.” Ann explained to the Palisadian-Post previously the original plan was to end the jokes as 2020 came to a close, but after one faithful joke-reader—a young kid—expressed worry that with the end of the year would come the end of the jokes, the Vittis decided to keep going, and going, and going.

Ann said it feels “amazing” to win: “Never guessed we even had a chance. I honestly felt like one of those people who say, ‘It was an honor just to be nominated.’ Palisadians take their holiday decorating seriously, especially the Fourth of July.”

Joan Sather Memorial Sponsor’s Award

The joke that was on display on July 4 was, “What ghost haunted King George III?” “The Spirit of ’76.”

A runner-up prize was given to Tricia Taper in the Upper El Medio neighborhood, who won the contest two years in a row previously.

Following the Patriotic Home Contest, Montgomery noted that entries in 2024 were up from prior years, with many homes across various neighborhoods participating—even when the homeowners were out of town for the holiday.

Montgomery explained to the Post that she and Hargitay have worked together for “many, many years,” now at Sotheby’s International Realty. In addition to real estate, Hargitay also does photography (and she was the most recent winner of 90272 Magazine’s Travel Tales contest).

“I had a great time participating in this year’s home decorating contest as a co-sponsor,” Hargitay, a Highlands resident for 25-plus years, said. “The community’s enthusiasm and patriotic spirit was in full force this year. We were pleased with the number of entries and it was honestly hard to choose the winners. I was happy to be part of the positive energy and look forward to next year.”

Winners in the 2024 contest received prizes from area businesses, including Casa Nostra, Pearl Dragon, Taj Palace, Cafe Vida, Palisades Garden Cafe, Flour Pizza, Black Ink, Anawalt Palisades Hardware, Palisades Barber Shop, Ogden’s Cleaners, Viktor Benes Bakery and Neighborhood Pilates.