Meet the 2014 Pacific Palisades Community Council Candidates

It’s an unprecedented election year for the Pacific Palisades Community Council, with 21 candidates vying for seats. A few responses from candidates have yet to be submitted as of Aug. 21.
Below is a map of the eight areas that make up the community council. For more information on the map and the community council, click here. More information on the election process is available on the PPCC website and will also be posted here.
Pacific Palisades Community Council area map. Courtesy of PPCChttp://www.pp90272.org
Pacific Palisades Community Council area map. Courtesy of PPCChttp://www.pp90272.org
Area 1: Kelly Comras (incumbent)
Kelly Comras, Area 1 representative on the Pacific Palisades Community Council.
Kelly Comras, Area 1 representative on the Pacific Palisades Community Council.
How long have you lived in Pacific Palisades and what are the three most important changes you’ve seen in that time? 
I have lived in Pacific Palisades since 1986. The pool of residents has grown in size, diversity, and there are many more families with young children.
What local issues are most important to you? 
There are more people now interested in participating in our local issues, I look forward to joining them in working on such issues as parking and traffic, open space preservation, and recreation services for our older and younger residents.
Where is Pacific Palisades going from here? 
To a greater emphasis on neighborhood, I hope.

What is your career and educational background? What are your hobbies?

I am both a licensed landscape architect and attorney. Past participation in the Palisades includes: Design Review Board, Getty Villa Community Relations Committee, and the Simon Meadow restoration.

 

Area 2: Paul Glasgall (incumbent)

Paul Glasgall, Area 2 representative on the Pacific Palisades Community Council.
Paul Glasgall, Area 2 representative on the Pacific Palisades Community Council.

How long have you lived in Pacific Palisades and what are the three most important changes you’ve seen in that time?

I have been in the Palisades since 1981 and its still an amazing, lovely place to live and work. Most large acreage was already developed so population increases stem from small home teardowns being replaced by much larger homes, the Alphabet Streets for instance. One exception to that was the area I represent, The Highlands, where about 400 residences have been added since the mid 80’s.

What local issues are most important to you?

Speeding and reckless driving are probably my biggest issue since Palisades Drive is still a raceway with those of all ages at fault. This led me to work with LAPD traffic in organizing one of the first active citizen radar groups called Speedwatch.

I have been involved in Highlands issues for over 25 years, as Chairman of the Highlands Presidents Council and on the PPCC since 1994. I am a member of the West LA Police Advisory Board for almost all the years since its inception in 1994. I use the skills of my engineering and MBA schooling to bring clarity to complex issues attempting to make the Highlands and the Palisades a better place to live. Some of the major projects I have worked on are the Santa Ynez Reservoir covering, the LADWP Power Station Task Force, Verizon cell towers, street conditions and speeding.

Where is Pacific Palisades going from here?

The population increases have brought more traffic and parking problems that seem at the tipping point due to few access streets and people seeking alternate routes and that means the Caruso project must be well thought through by all parties.

What is your career and educational background? What are your hobbies?

In recognition of my many years of work I was honored to receive the Community Service Award from the Pacific Palisades Community Council. I was also honored to receive the Los Angeles Fire Service Award from Councilman Rosendahl for my emergency response to a major fire in the Highlands, soon after I had completed my CERT training.

I am a graduate of Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn that is now the engineering school for NYU and received a Master’s degree in Business from Indiana University. After working for McDonnell Douglas as a financial analyst I entered the investment business and spent many wonderful years at Bear Stearns until1998, when I entered real estate. I am a Realtor with Sotheby’s Intl. Realty.

I spend my spare time in the kitchen dreaming up gourmet meals for friends or traveling and working on my photography.

 

Area 3: Jim Rea (incumbent)

Jim Rea, Area 3 representative on the Pacific Palisades Community Council.
Jim Rea, Area 3 representative on the Pacific Palisades Community Council.

How long have you lived in Pacific Palisades and what are the three most important changes you’ve seen in that time?

I have lived in the Palisades for 20 years in Marquez Knolls. The most important changes that come to mind are the death of the downtown merchant district and the potential redevelopment of the area by Caruso Affiliated. The PPCC has grown in stature, recognition and importance over the years. The Farmer’s Market on Sundays has proven to be a healthy gathering place for the community at large. Finally, the impact of the internet on community relations activities is a very important development.

What local issues are most important to you?

The location. construction and operation of the new LADWP distributing station is an important development for the whole community, but particularly for my area where several highly controversial potential sites are located.

We are always concerned with developer overreach, particularly in the areas along coastal bluffs on Sunset and stand ready to challenge inappropriate developer’s plans with local planning authorities.

The redevelopment of the central business district is likely one of the most important things to happen in the next 20-30 years and we must insure that it is well done without disabling specific plan protections that have guarded the community for several decades.

I look forward to Administrative Code Enforcement becoming law, allowing Building and Safety to cite code violators on the spot.

We all have to become more mindful of sustainability / climate change issues such as water and energy availability, sea level rise and wild fire conditions.

Where is Pacific Palisades going from here?

I hope we manage to maintain the small town charm of today’s Pacific Palisades. There is little room for development growth, so new development will have to take place by creative reuse of existing properties. I hope that such reuse is done with the spirit of our specific plan and character of our community in mind. As we look to refine our specific plan in the coming months and years, I hope that we do so with great care, protecting the planning laws that have protected our community so well in years past.

What is your career and educational background? What are your hobbies?

I love working in residential real estate with Sotheby’s International Realty serving Pacific Palisades and surrounding areas. I have a BBA and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. My professional specialties include finance, technology and marketing. My hobbies include, photography, fine wine, fine art and travel.

 

Area 3: Greg Sinaiko

Greg Sinaiko, Area 3 representative candidate for the Pacific Palisades Community Council, with his family.
Greg Sinaiko, Area 3 representative candidate for the Pacific Palisades Community Council, with his family.


How long have you lived in Pacific Palisades and what are the three most important changes you’ve seen in that time?

I was born and raised in the Pacific Palisades, and lived here until I graduated from Pali High in 1990.   After leaving for college and starting my career in Chicago and New York, I returned to the Palisades in 2002.

Three Changes: I’ve observed increased parental involvement leading to stronger community activities, sports programs and better schools; loss of local businesses in town has had a negative impact on the overall feel of our town; and public safety – growing up we never locked our doors.   That has changed and residents feel less safe than they used to feel.

What local issues are most important to you?

As a father of three school-age children and life-long Palisadian, the most important local issues for me relate to the safety and security of our neighborhoods and Marquez Elementary School, and the revitalization of our business districts. Specifically, I’m concerned with land movement issues in the Marquez Canyon; homelessness and the fire hazards associated with homeless encampments in surrounding canyons; adequate police presence in our community; the proposed new LADWP power distributing site; and parking and congestion at Marquez drop off/pick up. Other important quality of life concerns include dangerous motorcycles on Sunset; Marquez playground access for the community; land use and development issues throughout the Palisades and street resurfacing.

Where is Pacific Palisades going from here?

Although there is a lot of discussion around town about the growing divide between “old” vs. “new” Palisades residents, the reality is the debate isn’t so dramatic. The Palisades has changed over the past 40 years since I was a kid, but that is to be expected. Yet it has managed to retain its sense of community. The schools are changing for the better. Children have more and better options for awesome sports, special interests, and education-focused tutoring. What is in need of some change is the business district in the Village. None of us old timers want the Palisades to lose the small town feel we treasure, but in order for the Palisades to remain the best place to live, our town has and will benefit from reasonable change if it is maintains our small town feel, provides adequate parking and preserves our natural environment.

What is your career and educational background? What are your hobbies?

University of Wisconsin (B.A.) and UCLA Masters of Public Health. Founder/CEO of healthcare business, The Coding Source, LLC. Company was sold and I remain on the Board.  Board member, POSSE Los Angeles. Enjoy spending time with my wife and three daughters, and volunteering with kids sports and other activities.

 

Area 4: John Holcomb

John Holcomb, Area 4 representative candidate for the Pacific Palisades Community Council, with his wife Dana, and dog, Ruby.
John Holcomb, Area 4 representative candidate for the Pacific Palisades Community Council, with his wife Dana, and dog, Ruby.

How long have you lived in Pacific Palisades and what are the three most important changes you’ve seen in that time?

I have lived in Pacific Palisades since 1984.

Thirty years of driving, running, and biking our streets have shown me that a significant increase in traffic related issues has been the most significant change in my time here. Our own cars are statistically the greatest risk to our public safety and I think we sometimes forget that.

The deterioration of the properties owned by Palisades Partners and the associated loss of many of our longtime retail enterprises have been two other notable changes in our community.

What local issues are most important to you?

Redevelopment of the Swarthmore commercial area by Caruso Affiliated has got to be the most energizing issue in Pacific Palisades today. I am certain that Rick Caruso intends to do a wonderful job with the project. It is also fairly obvious that not everyone shares the same vision as to what the project design should be. However, almost everyone agrees that the area has suffered severe neglect and needs to be renovated.

A survey conducted at the recent CPIPP visioning workshop identified traffic safety, parking, and “walkability” as key issues for our residents. Downtown “walkability” can be defined by clean, safe walkways, enhanced by compelling retail and dining establishments. A desire for a more bike friendly commercial area was also highlighted by that survey.

The Pacific Palisades Design Review Board has established the Design Guidelines Committee to write new guidelines for the commercial areas. This is very significant as our current guidelines were never accepted by the City of Los Angeles. If this group succeeds then Pacific Palisades residents will finally have design guidelines backed by legal authority. We would then finally be empowered to effectively control future development in our commercial areas.

Future establishment of a parking benefit district would provide Pacific Palisades with significant funding coming directly back into our own community. A portion of the revenues generated by our parking meters could be directed to our commercial areas instead of being lost in the LA City General Fund.

Where is Pacific Palisades going from here?

Through the many efforts of our residents, Pacific Palisades will continue to evolve and thrive in a way that allows us to retain our beautiful small town USA feel that makes our area such a unique place in Southern California.

What is your career and educational background? What are your hobbies?

I am a retired endodontist and practiced 27 years in Santa Monica. I graduated from UC Davis (BA 1976), UCLA (DDS 1980), and the University of Washington (MSD 1984). I enjoy running, surfing, biking, hiking, fishing, time with my family and coaching other runners.

 

Area 4: Jennifer Lee (has not submitted)

 

 

Area 4: Rick Mills

Rick Mills, Area 4 representative candidate for the Pacific Palisades Community Council. Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer
Rick Mills, Area 4 representative candidate for the Pacific Palisades Community Council. Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

How long have you lived in Pacific Palisades and what are the three most important changes you’ve seen in that time?

I’ve lived on El Medio Avenue for 28 years, where my wife, Ruth, and I raised our two children, Josh and Jeanette.

In that time, our public schools have become successful charter schools, and many more local kids now attend neighborhood schools, especially Palisades High. As a Realtor, I see more families with children moving into the neighborhood, in part because of our great schools.

When we moved here, there were few places to eat other than Mort’s and House of Lee. While we mourn the loss of Mort’s, we now have many wonderful restaurants.

There are trade-offs to success, however, including more traffic and the constant construction of new, massive homes.

What local issues are most important to you?

Palisades Charter High is the biggest employer and the largest school in our neighborhood. It’s a terrific school and a great asset. It also generates significant impacts which need constant monitoring and mitigation.

I’ve long been connected with Pali High, my wife teaches there, and I’ve served on the school’s Budget Committee, Operations and Facilities Committee, and Planning Task Force. The good rapport I have with the school’s administrators can help improve communications with Pali and build a more mutually beneficial relationship with the school.

I’m also concerned that major development is on its way to the Village, yet our local voice at City Hall is relatively weak. Our community groups need a stronger, common voice, and our Community Council needs to take a more proactive role in planning for and influencing our future.

Where is Pacific Palisades going from here?

Dramatic changes are coming to the Palisades Village in the next two to five years. It won’t be just the property currently in escrow to Rick Caruso. His project will drive change throughout the Village. The mix of uses and the appearance and quality of buildings in the Village will greatly increase. While Palisadians will find more reasons to enjoy the Village, people from surrounding areas will also make the Discovery. There will be no free lunch, and we will need to plan ahead to mitigate increasing traffic and parking demand.

Regional growth will continue to put upward pressure on our housing prices, parkland utilization, public services, utilities and traffic. Climate change, drought, or unexpected disaster may have unforeseen impacts, but whatever comes, we will fare best by maintaining and strengthening our neighborhood and community ties.

What is your career and educational background? What are your hobbies?

Stanford University (Urban Studies), UC Berkeley (Masters in City Planning), City Planner for Pasadena and (for six years) Santa Monica. Planning specialist for 25 years with a Santa Monic real estate law firm. Fourteen years as residential realtor. Chairman of our Pacific Palisades Design Review Board. Interests include travel, photography, Disney, choir and enjoying a good meal.

 

Area 4: Harry Sondheim (incumbent)

Harry Sondheim, Area 4 representative on the Pacific Palisades Community Council.
Harry Sondheim, Area 4 representative on the Pacific Palisades Community Council.

How long have you lived in Pacific Palisades and what are the three most important changes you’ve seen in that time?

I have lived on Northfield for over 54 years. The most important changes are:

a. The mansionizing of homes whereby the interior area of many homes has been substantially increased. Also, there have been many new (at the time) housing developments.

b. A number of businesses no longer exist (for example, the movie theater) and for a substantial period of time there have been empty stores in the main commercial area of the Palisades.

c. Although there are empty stores, new businesses and restaurants have opened.

What local issues are most important to you?

a. The reduction of speeding on Sunset and the reduction of noise from motorcycles on that street.

b. How will the Caruso development look and how will the community be served by that development.

c. How to get more residents involved in the Community Council.

Where is Pacific Palisades going from here?

a. The Palisades will have a new environment once the Caruso development is completed. Hopefully, there will be less traffic leaving the Palisades as a result of that development.

b. Efforts should be made to obtain more resident participation in the Community Council and the Council will find ways to be more receptive to the concerns of residents.

c. More older homes will be remodelled or torn down to provide larger houses.

What is your career and educational background? What are your hobbies?

I am an attorney and received my undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago as well as my law degree. I was a prosecutor for the Los Angeles Distrct Attorney’s Office for over 34 years, primarily in appellate litigation. I like to read and collect stamps.

 

Area 5: Jack Allen (incumbent)

Jack Allen, Area 5 representative on the Pacific Palisades Community Council.
Jack Allen, Area 5 representative on the Pacific Palisades Community Council.

How long have you lived in Pacific Palisades and what are the three most important changes you’ve seen in that time?

My family moved to the Palisades in 1943. The three most important changes I have seen are (1) over development of our mountains and canyons that has eliminated scenic open space and which has taxed our inadequate infrastructure; (2) mansionization which impacts the openness of our neighborhoods and reduces the availability of affordable housing; and (3) the transformation of the Village from a tacky commercial strip to a pleasant place to shop and eat.

What local issues are most important to you?

As the current Area 5 Representative and Councilmember for 26 years, making the Palisades more family friendly by (1 Requiring greater setbacks to reduce the impacts of mansionization; (2) Making the Village more family friendly; (3) Requiring developers and landlords to provide more free parking so that customers and employees do not need to park in adjacent residential areas; (4) Creating a parking assessment district to provide funds for more City parking lots; (5) Create pocket parks in neighborhoods; (6) Get the City to adopt an ordinance banning motorcycles on Sunset during night time hours; (7) Get the FAA to reduce helicopter noise; (8) Getting more LAPD in the Palisades; (9) Get the City to establish a Notice System which provides neighbors notice of all applications for building permits and any permits to cut down street trees, and for any work in the public rights of way in their neighborhoods.

Where is Pacific Palisades going from here?

Over the years, the Palisades has become less family friendly. It is becoming more overcrowded and much of the retail that serves families are disappearing from the Village because because banks and real estate companies will pay the high rents that landlords want. The community is under-policed and there is a serious drug problem with youth. The community lacks adequate facilities to serve youth as well as enough programs. The decline cannot be fixed unless the community gets back as much of the revenue that the City receives from the community. Developers are threatening to increase the density in the Village so that it looks more like a shopping mall than a Village and charge high rents that keep family friendly and affordable retail out of the community, as well as force more people to park in the adjacent neighborhoods.

What is your career and educational background? What are your hobbies?

B.A.s in Political Science and History and a J.D from UCLA. A combat veteran of the Korean War and a career Marine officer until becoming a career City Attorney. Career objective has always been to serve God, Country, and community.
Area 5: Sue Kohl

Sue Kohl (right), Area 5 representative candidate for the Pacific Palisades Community Council, with her husband and two grandsons.
Sue Kohl (right), Area 5 representative candidate for the Pacific Palisades Community Council, with her husband and two grandsons.

How long have you lived in Pacific Palisades and what are the three most important changes you’ve seen in that time?

I have lived in the Palisades for 20 years. For 20 years before that, I lived in Brentwood but spent most of my time in the Palisades as my older children attended St. Matthews School and played all of their sports in the Palisades. The three most important changes I have seen in the past 20 years are:

Tremendous increase in traffic, especially during school pick-up and drop-off times;

Slow but steady decay of the Swarthmore business district;

Significant increase in residential development throughout the Village and surrounding areas.

What local issues are most important to you?

Realizing that there are many community issues to be dealt with, these are at the top of my list:

The maintenance of the charming Village atmosphere in town (including the carefully thought-out revitalization of the Swarthmore business district); the traffic and parking; the maintenance and upgrading of our community Rec Center; the vigilance of neighbors and local police to combat crime and keep us all safe.

Where is Pacific Palisades going from here?

We are currently at a crossroads. As a community, we must decide what direction to take. Will we convey a message that we do not want development? I hope not. I feel strongly that we need to maintain a positive attitude during the transition about to take place. We will never all agree on one specific plan. To be honest, I think we will need to rely on the integrity of Rick Caruso, who has purchased the vast majority of the Swarthmore business district. Rick is a sophisticated business man, but he is also a nearby resident with many friends here in town. I believe that he has a vision for our Village, based upon experience but also upon community input. Swarthmore has been in a terrible state of decay for too long, and hopefully, under Mr. Caruso’s leadership, it will be successfully re-vitalized and made beautiful again.

What is your career and educational background? What are your hobbies?

I earned BS and MS degrees from Northwestern University. I am married to Bob Benton and have 2 daughters, 3 sons and 3 step-sons. As they say, “8 is enough!” I have worked as a realtor for 25 years, currently at Berkshire Hathaway. Hobbies include golf, skiing, running and photography.

 

Area 5: Kathleen Jensen

Kathleen Jensen, Area 5 representative candidate for the Pacific Palisades Community Council.
Kathleen Jensen, Area 5 representative candidate for the Pacific Palisades Community Council.

How long have you lived in Pacific Palisades and what are the three most important changes you’ve seen in that time?

I chose to live in the Palisades after forming friendships with long-time Palisadians through political campaign work three years ago. My decision to settle here last year was driven by Caruso Affiiated’s plans to renovate the Village area. The three most important changes I have seen are: The evolution of our local media plans to renovate and revitalize the Swarthmore village area; and the increased role of the L.A. Parks and Recreation Department in the development and renovation of our recreation spaces.

What local issues are most important to you?

1. I am most concerned with parking and traffic issues at the Swarthmore Village neighborhood and our surrounding recreation areas.
2. There is a great need to find solutions to prevent incidences involving homeless intruders on residents’ property.
3. I would work to encourage a more open dialog between local organizations to share ideas and talents in an effort to encourage residents’ participation.

Where is Pacific Palisades going from here?

Pacific Palisades is a jewel in the city of Los Angeles that has a bright future as long as we continue to protect its natural beauty and make reasonable, thoughtful moves toward its development. I feel that our community could be more mindful of the need for emergency preparedness. I aim to work with C.E.R.T. Malibu training professionals to bring more interesting, engaging opportunities for residents to learn First Aid, CPR, survival, and rescue techniques for first responders.

What is your career and educational background? What are your hobbies?

Graduate of Portland State University -B. S. Economics & Psychology (double major). Professional: Procurement and Contracts Administrator. Mother of three grown sons, all former Boy Scouts. Interests: Music & Arts, Films, Outdoor living, Tennis, Hiking, Skiing.

 

Area 5: Ted Weitz

Ted Weitz, Area 5 representative candidate for the Pacific Palisades Community Council, with his family.
Ted Weitz, Area 5 representative candidate for the Pacific Palisades Community Council, with his family.

How long have you lived in Pacific Palisades and what are the three most important changes you’ve seen in that time?

Having lived in the Palisades for 35 years, the community has seen:

(1) The steady buildup of traffic congestion and parking issues around the Village, partially due to years of allowing “spot-development” without a focus on how projects might impact the community’s longer term fabric.

(2) As population needs have grown, we’ve seen a steady degradation in infrastructure and City services (e.g., street cleaning; street tree pruning, preservation and replacement; sidewalk repairs).

(3) There has sadly been erosion of civility and courtesy on roads and sidewalks, which has impacted the quality of life in the Palisades.

What local issues are most important to you?

We need to restore and elevate our community’s collective quality of life. We need to accommodate lifestyles, bridge generational needs and divisions between newer residents and longer term residents while retaining the elements that make our community unique. Future growth should be controlled, not discouraged; and certainly not surrendered carte blanche to development.

Our infrastructure needs revitalization. Through creative planning programs, we can control traffic and reduce parking issues around the Village. The employee parking mess could be alleviated through a designated employee parking lot. A “Parking Benefit District” could help restore certain street services by using parking meter revenues for our local needs. We should emphasize programs for the Palisades to become a more walkable, pedestrian-friendly community.

Although everyone operates at “warp speed’, we can’t look past the need to heighten civility by heeding traffic and safety regulations and understanding how our own actions impact others.

Where is Pacific Palisades going from here?

We have an opportunity to restore our community and embrace our unique assets. We have a talented population and are surrounded by natural beauty. If we can begin to calm traffic we can become a more walkable community, which will have positive impacts on our daily interactions. With thoughtful commercial owners, we can restore vibrancy to the Village. If residents can reduce auto-dependency and embrace walking and/or biking trips to schools, recreational facilities and shopping whenever possible, we can make the Palisades a model of revitalization, environmental awareness and sustainability.

If we work as a cohesive community and reconcile an undertone of “NIMBY-ism”, with everyone sharing some burdens for the benefits we all want, the community can achieve the quality of life we all expect. We also should continue to encourage participation in our community’s volunteer organizations that shape the community’s character.

What is your career and educational background? What are your hobbies?

In college I studied urban policy and economics, emphasizing transportation planning. I attended law school, and currently practice business and real estate law. I’ve continued my learning by taking business and finance courses through Wharton. I enjoy spending free time with my family, doing landscaping projects and playing racquet sports.

 

Area 6: Rachel Davis

Rachel Davis, Area 6 representative candidate for the Pacific Palisades Community Council.
Rachel Davis, Area 6 representative candidate for the Pacific Palisades Community Council.

How long have you lived in Pacific Palisades and what are the three most important changes you’ve seen in that time?

I have lived on the palisades for 12 years. When I moved here, there were stores and restaurants. The town was a thriving town. Slowly, many local businesses have left and our town is left with many empty storefronts and few restaurants- forcing community members to go to Santa Monica to shop and dine. I have also seen numerous houses built and the streets become increasingly crowded. With the housing boom, I have seen many young families move into town who bring a lot to our community.


What local issues are most important to you?

The local issues most important to me are : village development, rec center development and parking. I would really like to see the village developed into a town center offering shopping and dining appropriate for all members of the community. The Rec center, gym and fields are also vital to the community. There is very little parking which makes it difficult for everyone to use the facilities. Parking is very challenging in the village – it is hard to find a spot even at Ralph’s. More people would come to the village if they were able to park.

Where is Pacific Palisades going from here?

 

What is your career and educational background? What are your hobbies?

I was a teacher and librarian for eighteen years. I have a masters degree in education. I am now taking some time off and spending more time with my two children.

 

Area 6: Sharon Hays 

Sharon Hays, Area 6 representative candidate for the Pacific Palisades Community Council.
Sharon Hays, Area 6 representative candidate for the Pacific Palisades Community Council.

How long have you lived in Pacific Palisades and what are the three most important changes you’ve seen in that time?

I’ve lived here since 1994. Our public charter schools keep improving and attracting more local families which is wonderful for the community. They’ve been top performing schools for many years now and the envy of all of Los Angeles. The park has had a renaissance as the baseball fields, the gym, the tennis courts and the playground have all been gradually improving which adds to our quality of life. I think people who live here have become more invested in our town and are more willing to get involved, just look at all the candidates running for office!

What local issues are most important to you?

I support the revitalization of our village especially if it is on par with communities similar to ours such as Solana Beach, La Jolla, Carmel and Pacific Grove. They have charming and thriving town centers which benefit their residents immensely. I’m happy to see the re-design of the park’s parking lots and hope they remain free from metered parking as that will only push more cars in to the Huntington. I’m a big dog lover and it would be nice to get a dog park somewhere in town. Street and sidewalk repair and median beautification is important too and would make the Palisades look a lot nicer. Lower Chautauqua could use some sprucing up as it’s a gateway to our community.

Where is Pacific Palisades going from here?

The Palisades has so many committed people working on so many fantastic things, I see it just getting better and better as people invest their time and money improving the public schools, preserving the green space and oceans around us and forming community outreach programs. As property values continue to rise and people invest in their homes, their kid’s schools and supporting our local merchants, I think the Palisades will continue to be a great place to live and work.

What is your career and educational background? What are your hobbies?

I’ve been with Coldwell Banker since 2002. I’ve volunteered with many organizations over the years including Jr. Women’s League, our charter schools, the Presbyterian Church and Heal the Bay.  I attended Bennington College in Vermont and UCLA to study art and dance therapy. I enjoy playing tennis, going to art galleries and the theater and supporting many political causes.

 

Area 6: David Kaplan

David Kaplan, Area 6 representative candidate for the Pacific Palisades Community Council.
David Kaplan, Area 6 representative candidate for the Pacific Palisades Community Council.

How long have you lived in Pacific Palisades and what are the three most important changes you’ve seen in that time?

I have lived in the Palisades about 3 and a half years and in LA for 5 and a half years. In that short period the only thing that stands out is the gradual but certain deterioration of the Swarthmore business district. In that short stretch the bookstore, Steve’s Deli and Baskin and Robbins have left. There are probably others that I am not aware of. The pace of “tear downs” seem to have increased.

What local issues are most important to you?

The local issues most important to me arise from the Swarthmore redevelopment. What precisely will be put in place by Rick Caruso is less important to me than how the revitalization will impact the community. Parking and traffic seem to be vital areas of big concern. I believe that the primary users of the new Swarthmore will be us. I don’t see huge numbers of people coming from other communities. Nevertheless there will be more auto traffic, foot traffic and parking which needs’ to be dealt with in a way that won’t add further parking and vehicular stress on the surrounding neighborhood streets. I also think the addition of Potrero canyon park as a further parking stressor needs to be addressed so that no one neighborhood be solely impacted by its anticipated use

Where is Pacific Palisades going from here?

The tee shirt which hangs in the local Barber shop says it all. “If you’re lucky you live in Pacific Palisades.” The Palisades in large part will be based on how we all preserve what it is that we have while at the same time making it better. One can see based upon the number of “tear downs” that are occurring, that the value of the community is increasing. There is little to no land available to build so I think the community will develop along those lines. It will be up to all of us help keep the small town feeling and sense of neighborhood that is almost palpable. I came here from a small town in Western Massachusetts (Amherst) and felt comfortable here immediately. I don’t believe I would feel that in other parts of LA.

What is your career and educational background? What are your hobbies?

I was a litigator in my law practiced for 36 years. I represented several local towns and colleges and did a lot of land use litigation. I graduated from Hobart College in 1966 and Brooklyn law School in 1972. I play golf, guitar and with my grandchildren. I also write.

 

Area 6: Stuart Muller (incumbent)

Stuart Muller, Area 6 representative for the Pacific Palisades Community Council.
Stuart Muller, Area 6 representative for the Pacific Palisades Community Council.

How long have you lived in Pacific Palisades and what are the three most important changes you’ve seen in that time?

Born in The Palisades in 1944. WW II was raging and there was great tension in the community. My 50’s perspective was of a peaceful, crime-free, rapidly-expanding community. People knew one another, children went to local schools, and life was full of hope. The 60’s brought dramatic change. Disillusion replaced optimism. 70’s school bussing caused children to leave local public schools. Housing prices soared. Young people realized they might not be able to live here. Homeowners began considering their residences as a means of funding their retirement… somewhere else. Attrition of community members greatly diminishes our ongoing sense of community.

What local issues are most important to you?

Being residents of just one of the many communities that constitute the vast City and County of Los Angeles and the State of California, most Palisadians play only limited roles in determining our community’s future.

Addressing important challenges, such as maintaining adequate police and fire protection, controlling housing and commercial development, oversight and maintenance of streets, sidewalks, parks, beaches, schools, water, power and communications systems, and the protection of our State coastal and park resources require ongoing community monitoring and advocacy.

For thirty years the Pacific Palisades Community Council has proven to be our most effective means of monitoring and advocating for our community. The PPCC’s success and credibility is dependent in large part on the excellent input we receive from the Pacific Palisades community. I urge all Palisadians to become more involved in community issues and to share your thoughts with the PPCC, local media and your elected officials.

Where is Pacific Palisades going from here?

Pacific Palisades will continue to remain one of the most desirable places on Earth to live, work, raise families, educate ourselves, enjoy cultural diversity and artistic expression, express political and religious freedom and bask in pleasant weather in a beautiful natural environment.

Palisadians will increasingly influence the nature of life in our community by speaking up, offering suggestions, demanding explanations and protecting communal interests. At some point, as some have suggested, we might gain greater autonomy and self-determination by disassociating ourselves from the Great City of LA and becoming part of a smaller city…maybe by uniting with Santa Monica and/or Malibu, or with Brentwood and West LA. Become a greater part of our communal consciousness and advocacy efforts. Follow issues, attend meetings, listen to others, voice your concerns and opinions, vote in elections. What are your ideas for improving our lives as Palisadians? Take action. What are you waiting for?

What is your career and educational background? What are your hobbies?

BA USC, Cinema, 1967. Writer and photographer, Walt Disney Studios and WDP imaginnering. MA Antioch University, Clinical Psychology, 1989. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in Early Childhood Development. Social Skills and Behavioral Intervention. Hobbies include the Pacific Palisades Community Council, Palisades community beautification projects, body surfing, travel, and photography.

 

Area 6: Michael Soneff

Michael Soneff, Area 6 representative candidate for the Pacific Palisades Community Council.
Michael Soneff, Area 6 representative candidate for the Pacific Palisades Community Council.

How long have you lived in Pacific Palisades and what are the three most important changes you’ve seen in that time?

My parents lived in a house on Beirut Ave when I was born. I’ve lived in the Palisades for 23 years in all. The most important changes I’ve seen are the increase in young families, traffic in the village, and turnover of established businesses. For all the change, fortunately the Palisades has retained its charm and unique qualities.

What local issues are most important to you?

Cell phone service, the (avoidable) simultaneous closure of the California Incline and Entrada, and the potential Caruso development of the Palisades village are the most important issues in the Palisades. In all three of these areas the PPCC can and should have a significant impact. Increased communication with city agencies will be essential, as will careful and constant oversight of every step in decision making.

Where is Pacific Palisades going from here?

Hopefully the PPCC will work to protect the intimate character and peaceful environment of the Palisades while improving the services that Palisadians rely on. The council considers many issues relevant to young people and young families in the Palisades- on everything from parks and schools to traffic and cell phone service. I believe that the PPCC currently lacks a younger voice. The wisdom and experience of the current membership is essential, but without anyone under 30 on the council, an important perspective is missing.

What is your career and educational background? What are your hobbies?

I graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in political science and I attended Brentwood School before that. I work in political communications, and I’m currently working on a statewide campaign. I am an Eagle Scout from Mike Lanning’s Troop 223, and I love hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains.

 

Area 6: David Wolff 

David Wolff, Area 6 representative candidate for the Pacific Palisades Community Council.
David Wolff, Area 6 representative candidate for the Pacific Palisades Community Council.

How long have you lived in Pacific Palisades and what are the three most important changes you’ve seen in that time?

I have been a resident of the Palisades for over 30 years. For the first 17 years in the Riviera and in Area 6 since then. I have been active in my homeowners association and have been interested in the issues that affect us as a community.

What local issues are most important to you?

The most relevant issues for our area seems to be the new Potrero Canyon park and how it will affect us as well as what is going on in the village and how we can revitalize it without radically changing the character of our area. One of the issues is parking as well as access to the park. I am for only allowing access via our park and not through the residential areas as that would affect us in area 6 negatively. I also think that access should be predicated on getting the parking upgrade that the Park committee has proposed needs to be done prior to the new Park opening.

Where is Pacific Palisades going from here?

I think the Palisades is at a critical juncture and is facing major challenges. The good news is that we are a unique and vital community and will adjust to whatever faces us as long as we stay as involved on issues as we have in the past. The changes to the village that will occur if the Palisades Partners sale to Rick Caruso go through are probably at the top of the list. There is also the uncertainty about the new park and how it will affect our area.

What is your career and educational background? What are your hobbies?

I am an entrepreneur and business owner. I have run several businesses. I am a graduate of UCLA and a Fellow of the Wharton School

 

Area 7: Cathy Russell (incumbent)

Cathy Russell, Area 7 representative on the Pacific Palisades Community Council.
Cathy Russell, Area 7 representative on the Pacific Palisades Community Council.

How long have you lived in Pacific Palisades and what are the three most important changes you’ve seen in that time?

I have live in Pacific Palisades for 36 years, actually all that time in the same house. It’s very hard to say what the three most important changes are but in general, the increase in activity and population, the greening of Sunset Boulevard and the lost of retail on Swarthmore and parts of Sunset.

What local issues are most important to you?

Some local issues are traffic and parking management, the Caruso project and maintaining a wonderful village atmosphere. We are at a crossroads and how we proceed will have important long term effects.

Where is Pacific Palisades going from here?

Pacific Palisades is going to continue to be wonderful. We have committed residents who love being here and want Pacific Palisades to be an incredible place to live.

What is your career and educational background? What are your hobbies?

Graduated from UCLA and have worked as a realtor for Coldwell Banker.

 

Area 8: Reza Akef (incumbent) 

How long have you lived in Pacific Palisades and what are the three most important changes you’ve seen in that time? 

Over the past 20 years living in the Palisades, the three most important changes I have seen are (1) the community dynamic continues to evolve and diversify, (2) the disappearance of Mort’s and BR31 in the village without solution, and (3) the unsolved issues with egress and ingress traffic for the Palisades.

What local issues are most important to you? 

I recognize the important concerns regarding Paul Revere Traffic, Public Safety, responsible Land Use, and basic quality of life/public services like tree trimming.

Where is Pacific Palisades going from here? 

Most important in the Palisades is moving forward as a COMMUNITY and putting NIMBY interests aside.

What is your career and educational background? What are your hobbies? 

I am a Palisades High Alum with a Juris Doctorate and a degree in Political Science and a Juris Doctorate. I have worked for City Councilman Rosendahl and Congresswoman Jane Harman. Currently, I work in real estate, development, and land use law.

 

At-Large: George Wolfberg (incumbent)

George Wolfberg, at large representative on the Pacific Palisades Community Council.
George Wolfberg, at large representative on the Pacific Palisades Community Council.

How long have you lived in Pacific Palisades and what are the three most important changes you’ve seen in that time?

I moved to the area with my family in 1972. 1. Passage of Proposition 20 around 1976 which created the California Coastal Commission to protect the coastline was an important initiative for which I went door-to-door gathering signatures. 2. Continuing evolution of our community council over this period to where it became a model for the City’s neighborhood council program and has become the “go to” representative of our community to government. 3. Finally, the continuing engagement of numerous individuals and local organizations dedicated to so many projects that support our small town atmosphere.

What local issues are most important to you?

  • Monitoring and providing input regarding projects that impact Pacific Coast Highway.
  • Completion of the Potrero Canyon Community Park with safe access to the beach via a bridge over the highway.
  • Safety for all users of Pacific Coast Highway: motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • Continued improvements to beach water quality.
  • Speedy roll out of the City’s new free Wi-Fi program to our parks and beaches.
  • Acceleration of solar panel installation and use of energy saving devices to obviate need for a new distribution station.
  • Undergrounding utility lines, especially along the coastline.
  • Achievement of a vibrant economy throughout our central village area.
  • Necessary sidewalk repairs and tree trimming for the safety of all residents.
  • Enforcement of City’s 16 year-old leafblower ban; an initiative I am working closely with Councilman Mike Bonin to achieve.

Where is Pacific Palisades going from here?

The Pacific Palisades will continue its evolutionary change as it has since the 1920’s. It will not become a regional shopping center. Self-reliance will remain alive and well. Our wonderful community organizations including PRIDE, PAPA, Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, the American Legion and the Woman’s Club will continue to offer and support initiatives and activities to improve the community in many ways. These and many other local organizations provide an opportunity to meet your neighbors and positively impact your experience of our great community. Any person with an interest can be a creative force for our present and future. I urge you to be that person!

What is your career and educational background? What are your hobbies?

Thirty-five year’s LA City Budget experience. Research Director for LA City Charter Commission (appointed). Served on LA advisory committees including: Brentwood-Pacific Palisades Community Plan, PAB, Aquatics, Dog Park and Bicycles. Facilities Manager at 1984 Olympics. Undergraduate degree from UCLA; MPA from USC. Hobbies include gardening, refereeing AYSO soccer, travel.