LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

The Pacific Palisades is a community with people of many faiths.

One visible sign of this religious diversity is the many beautiful churches, temples and synagogues that serve our neighborhood as both houses of worship and as gathering places for civic and social events.   Our entire community benefits from the wonderful kaleidoscope of peoples and cultures represented by these faith traditions.

But not everyone is aware that the leaders of these places of worship regularly meet together to break bread, discuss important issues of common concern, and pray for the welfare of the members of our congregations as well as friends and neighbors who are our equal partners in building a better community.

This interfaith clergy network has a deep and profound respect for one another, and each of us has had our religious ministry and private life enriched through the unique contributions of service and love that each member brings to the council of faith leaders.

Like many of you, we were shocked and deeply saddened by the recent incident of racism that occurred in our midst. We feel compelled to speak out in unity as a voice of collective conscience, not because this act was directed towards a member of our clergy and his family, but because of our common belief that acts of racism, anger and hate such as this have no place in our community or any of our religious traditions. The interfaith clergy fellowship denounces this kind of hurtful behavior and we stand together to speak against it in all its forms.

It is our hope and united prayer that we will all join together in making the Palisades a place where neighbors will express love for one another instead of hate, a place where people will respect one another as unique individuals rather than show contempt for our differences, and a place where we will choose to live together in peace rather than embrace the bigotry and intolerance that is far too common in the world.  We invite you to add your voices to ours and join us in this effort.

In peace,

Calvary Church of Pacific Palisades; Pastor Ramin Razavi

Corpus Christi; Monsignor Liam Kidney

Kehillat Israel Reconstructionist Congregation; Rabbi Amy Bernstein, Rabbi Micah Hyman, Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben

Palisades Lutheran; The Rev. Kenneth Davis

Palisades Community United Methodist Church;The Rev. Dr. Wayne Walters

Pacific Palisades Presbyterian Church; The Rev. Dr. Steven Smith, The Rev. Grace Park, Hayden Roush

Saint Matthew’s Episcopal Church; The Rev. Bruce Freeman, The Rev. Christine Purcell, The Rev. Stefanie Wilson

Self Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine; Brother Satyananda, Brother Ritananda

Pacific Palisades Congregation, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Bishop Chris Eastland

Chabad of Pacific Palisades, Rabbi Zushe and Zisi Cunin, Rabbi Yose and Dasi Eiffort, Rabbi Doniel and Rochel Berry


Measure EE

The sound of honking horns and other showings of public support for our teachers demanding smaller class size, nurses, librarians and counselors in the schools and a salary increase commensurate with inflation has barely faded.  The hard-won agreement for the Teachers Union would keep the system viable for the short term can be paid for out of current school district resources, but is not sustainable in the future.  Proposition EE will be on the ballot in June asking taxpayers to vote on support for its public schools.  Most agree that our school system has been underfunded since the passage of Proposition 13, which froze the tax rate to 1978 assessments during a time of escalating costs over the past 40 years.

Proposition EE calls for a parcel tax assessment of 16 cents per square foot on commercial and residential structures for 12 years.  This would amount to an annual tax for owners in our District of  $350 for a 2200 square foot home or a dollar a day.  Homeowners over 65 years of age are exempt from this tax.  There is an understandable reluctance by the voter to approve a tax increase. A natural question is: will the new money be prudently used for the purpose of improving our schools.  In this case we have the comfort that the Superintendent of LAUSD Austin Beutner has proven his civic leadership and financial acumen as an executive in the business community and as a former First Deputy Mayor of the City of LA.

The voters are already finding the sample ballots for the June 4th Special Election in their mailbox. We can expect the Vote By Mail ballots to start arriving shortly. The turnout for a Special Election with a single school issue on the ballot would be expected to be extremely low. For that reason, your vote becomes particularly important.  In 2017, the LAUSD General Election had a turnout of 12% across our District 4. The Pacific Palisades turnout almost doubled the percent with 22% of registered voters casting their ballots. Pacific Palisades, representing only 4% of the LAUSD District 4 voting power delivered 10.4% of the vote providing the margin for the election of Nick Melvion who received 76% of the vote in the Palisades.   By voting for Proposition EE to support education, Palisades’ voters can once again shape the future of education in this City.

Proposition EE is supported By Mayor Eric Garcetti, LA City Councilman Mike Bonin, State Senator Ben Allen, State Assemblyman Richard Bloom, Nick Melvoin Vice President LA Unified School District Board, United Teachers Union LA, SEIU Local 99, Wendy Greuel former LA City Controller, Steve Ballmer former CEO Microsoft and currently owner of the NBA Clippers, and the Pacific Palisades Democratic Club.   

Joe Halper