By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
The Pacific Palisades Democratic Club hosted a virtual garden party—featuring several local elected officials speaking via Zoom—on Sunday, September 19.
The meeting began with a musical performance by Buffalo Romeo, a singing duo comprised of former Palisadian and 1972 Palisades Charter High School alumni Sheldon Jones and his step-grandson Keenan Dorn, followed by the recognition of longtime Palisadian Joe Halper.
Halper was gifted the PPDC Lifetime Service Award, a new award that was created to honor Halper, who served as PPDC president from 1992 to 1998.
“There’s somebody in our club who we are going to honor today … somebody who has been a mentor of mine for a long time,” PPDC president Steve Cron said. “Somebody who I think of as ‘the godfather’ of the Palisades Democratic Club. He was president a long time ago and has mentored every president since, including me … we have decided to create the PPDC Lifetime Service Award in honor of our friend, our mentor, our colleague Joe Halper.”
Halper thanked the club for the award and reminded members to “stay active and stay involved.”
Elected officials were invited to speak at the event, including Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Congressmember from the 33rd District Ted Lieu, State Senator Ben Allen and Councilmember Mike Bonin, offering updates and general remarks to the club.
Assemblymember Richard Bloom also joined the conversation and noted PPDC’s efforts in the recent 2021 California gubernatorial recall election, reporting a high number of “no” votes out of the Palisades area.
Bloom said a number of proposed bills are under review, including a bill that would create a permanent commission to address hate crimes and hate speech, and a bill on animal welfare to create a structure for canine blood banks.
The meeting ended with remarks from LA Unified School District Board Member Nick Melvoin, who provided district updates and a look at the recent reopening of schools. He said 98% of students are back in-person.
“Every one of our thousands of schools remains open because of our best in the class safety standards, whether that’s weekly testing … masks, air filtration, use of outdoor classrooms … and vaccination mandate for all the students who are eligible” Melvoin said. “I’m proud of all the work we’re doing to ensure schools stay open.”
Melvoin also said the district is still seeking a new superintendent following the retirement of Palisadian Austin Beutner, who served as superintendent for the last three years.
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