This final letter was sent by the Pacific Palisades Community Council Executive Committee on August 11 to Matt Szabo, city administrative officer, and Yolanda Chavez, assistant CAO, concerning the use of Will Rogers State Beach parking lot for temporary homeless housing. It has been reprinted here with permission.
Pacific Palisades Community Council thanks the CAO and his staff for listening to the legitimate and thoughtful concerns of the people as expressed in PPCC’s analysis, research and letters.
Our state beaches and public parks are the wrong places to house the unhoused. We thank the entire community as well as our colleagues throughout CD 11 who worked alongside us and came together to achieve this logical and legal result.
We also thank the donors to PPCC who supported this cause. In the coming days we will consider an appropriate use of these funds to support PPCC’s mission and goals.
Executive Committee, Pacific Palisades Community Council
David Card, Chair
Christina Spitz, Secretary
David Kaplan, Vice-Chair
Richard G. Cohen, Treasurer
John Padden, Organization
Joanna Spak, Elected Representative (Area 1; Castellammare, Paseo Miramar)
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Betsy Brown Braun
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‘A Cautionary Tale’
I am writing this note after learning that my first-grader may not be allowed to attend his first day of school this week.
He was in a program that took place the week before school started to help kinder and first-graders get accustomed to in-person learning again, and get a feel for the campus. The program was great, and my son was so thrilled to be in the classroom with his teachers—he was back to being his old chipper self and was really excited about the first day of school.
Then we were notified that one of the children in his program tested positive for COVID-19, and because of this exposure, my son would possibly not be allowed to attend his first day of school. I also learned that the infected student’s parents were not vaccinated (not for any apparent medical reason).
So, unless my child is deemed “not a close contact” with the infected student, he will be at home quarantining when everyone else starts school. I haven’t had the heart to tell him yet.
To lessen the chances of situations like this one repeating itself over and over again this semester, if you are not yet vaccinated, but sending your own kids to in-person school, please do the right thing: Either get vaccinated or keep your kids at home, learning online.
I understand why the school has to be careful—to protect all of our children. I also understand that breakthrough infections happen. And, even when parents are vaccinated, their kids may be exposed and possibly get sick with COVID-19. I also understand some people may still be weary of the vaccine and are waiting for some future time to get vaccinated.
What I can’t understand is being so concerned about what is best for your own health, deciding not to vaccinate (without a medical reason not to), and then not caring at all about how your actions/inactions impact the people around you and the community in which you live. I don’t understand the logic of wanting so badly to get your kids back to in-person learning, but not doing your part to ensure that all of our kids stay healthy, including your own, so we can keep the classrooms open and our kids in school.
You may not have considered this, but when you decide not to get vaccinated, but send your kids to school anyway, you are not only jeopardizing the health and education of your own children, but also of all the other students they come in contact with at school, as well as their families and friends.
It’s too bad our school hasn’t mandated that all parents get vaccinated before enrolling their kids in in-person learning. And, it’s frustrating because our family, together with so many others in our community, have gone out of our way to be careful and keep others safe.
Everyone over the age of 12 in our family has been vaccinated. We did this to not only protect ourselves, but to protect those around us—young children who don’t yet qualify for a vaccine, older relatives with health conditions and others. We also did it in an effort to help return all of our lives to normal by reducing rates of infection and to get our kids back to in-person learning, without too many interruptions along the way.
You may have your personal reasons for not wanting to get vaccinated. But unless they are medically approved, please take a moment to reconsider and start thinking about how your decision impacts other members of your school, community and beyond.
By failing to get vaccinated, you needlessly expose your own kids to COVID-19, but that’s your choice. But when you decide it’s OK not to get vaccinated, and send your kids to school, then you are negatively impacting untold numbers of people around you.
So, please, if you want to live your life out and about in our community, and enroll your children in in-person school, please think long and hard about the consequences of your decisions, and do the right thing: get vaccinated.
(Update: Just as this letter was being finalized, we were notified that our child was deemed “not a close contact” and could return to school, other students in the program were probably not so lucky.)
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