By CHRISTIAN MONTERROSA | Reporter

Palisadians Alan Goldsmith and John Padden are going head to head in a rare contested race to elect the next Pacific Palisades Community Council At-large Representative on Sept. 13.

When incumbent Lou Kamer announced he would be dropping out of the race at a PPCC meeting on July 26, leaving John Padden to run unopposed, current Area 2 Rep Alan Goldsmith quickly stepped in to contest Padden.

In an interview with the Palisadian-Post, Goldsmith explained that it was not a “sleight-of-hand” tactic but instead a quick reaction after realizing Kamer, who he thought was the right man for the job, would no longer be running.

Padden, who has served on the Westside Neighborhood Council and currently serves on the board of Palisades PRIDE, an organization focused on improving the cleanliness and aesthetic of our town, is looking forward to an opportunity to further improve the Palisades.

“I’m very invested in the community,” Padden said. “I want to continue making a difference and help beautify and make it a better place for all of us to live.”

Padden has been a Palisades resident for over 30 years. He recently worked closely with Rick Caruso’s team to fix and replace the benches and 1,100 tiles that lined Swarthmore Avenue.

“I know that the PPCC deals with other things other than beautification, so being able to continue what I did with the neighborhood council and all of the other nonprofits that I’ve worked for here in the Palisades would be great,” said Padden, who is confident that his lack of PPCC experience will not be a factor in getting elected.

“I think it’s a good comparison that I’ve been more community oriented and [Goldsmith] has been more involved with where he lives and specific buildings, which is not really looking at the bigger picture of all of 90272,” he said.

“I’m not looking at this as a prized fight where I’m looking to take the guy down, I’m sure we’re both good candidates and if it works out, that’s great.”

A 41-year resident of the Palisades, Goldsmith also has deep roots to the community. He supports the incoming changes to the neighborhood, including the controversial eldercare facility in The Highlands and the Caruso project.

Goldsmith is unhappy with several empty and “blighted” lots throughout the Palisades that he wants to help fix. In addition to bringing more resources to homelessness efforts, Goldsmith also wants to tackle the recent spike in crime and grow the amount of interest in the community council overall.

“That’s my basic platform, more vigilance and having the PPCC be more proactive and be a stronger voice in what’s going on with the community,” Goldsmith said. “We have to expand [interest in the PPCC] to make it a really strong forum and voice of the people of the Palisades, and you’re not going to get that done with the attitude of ‘don’t change anything.’”

Taking his campaign a step further than the short profile on the PPCC’s website, Goldsmith has created goldsmithatlargerep.com, a website to describe himself and his viewpoints on several issues affecting the community. Running in a contested race against a tough opponent, he felt it necessary to make his ideas easily accessible for prospective voters.

While the PPCC is a volunteer-based, non-official ordinance, Padden and Goldsmith are both fueled by their love of the Palisades and their visions to make a difference in a neighborhood that is battling to strike a balance between the preservation of a small coastal town and a fast growing community of new businesses and residents.

Voting can be done online at pacpalicc.org until Aug. 30 at 9 p.m.