The Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce Celebrates 70 Years
By TONI WEBB | Contributing Writer
Against the elegant backdrop of The Riviera Country Club ballroom, new Chairman of the Board for the Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce Richard Blumenberg was installed—and then proceeded to dance away with a perfect 10 for his rumba skills.
To celebrate seven decades in the Palisades, the Chamber hosted its 70th Annual Installation Dinner with a “Dancing With the Chamber Stars” theme.
Contestants were first vetted by Joe Mantegna, who channeled his inner “Godfather” character to evaluate the dancers, with heavy emphasis on their purported Italian heritage, with Sam Lagana delivering opening remarks. Lagana then joined dancers Maria Tapia, Reza Akef and Rosanna Blumenberg to entertain party-goers.
A noted architect with many awards to his credit, Blumenberg has served on the Chamber Board for five years. He donated his professional skills to plan the recently remodeled Chamber office, which was accomplished entirely with donations from the community.
Honorary Co-Mayors Janice and Billy Crystal started the Chamber officers’ swearing-in ceremony by unsuccessfully attempting to have the new officers repeat “I swear to give a 25 percent discount to the co-mayors.”
Blumenberg then detailed plans to focus more support on local businesses by improving the new member orientation, having Board members give a short presentation at the Chamber Mixers and encouraging 30-second intros of businesses at the Mixers.
Councilmember Mike Bonin honored outgoing Chair Susan Payne with a plaque, commemorating her Chamber leadership, which Bonin noted was marked with “vitality and a focus on the community.”
Beloved by the Palisades community, Arnie Wishnick was presented with the Mort Farberow Award. Wishnick shared that he felt that this award was especially meaningful because of his long friendship with Mort.
Chamber President Bob Benton declared that Wishnick was truly the epitome of the award because of his “unending support to the community and children.”
Benton then presented Wishnick with a cigar and Hawaiian shirt to guarantee an enjoyable retirement.
Accepting the Beautification Award for Palisades Village, a Caruso representative agreed with Payne that, while the renovations were stressful at times, the project turned out beautifully and has proven to be an asset to the community.
Rick Cunningham and Jacob Spooner of Estate Coffee on Via De La Paz accepted the Best New Business Award. Opening last May, Estate Coffee has European vibes and features artwork from Palisades Elementary Charter School students. A portion of the Estate proceeds goes to art supplies for the school.
Cunningham mentioned that Estate Coffee will be coming out with a coffee table book of the students’ artwork.