PPCC Board Elects 2019-20 Council Officers

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Those keeping track of the Pacific Palisades Community Council Officers will only have to make one change: David Card has replaced Peter Culhane as vice chair.

The sole contested seat in the 2019-20 officer election was president, with two candidates vying for the position: incumbent George Wolfberg and Area 3 Representative Haldis Toppel.

Before the vote on Thursday, June 13, the two candidates delivered opening statements, followed by answering anonymous questions from members of the board, moderated by Doug McCormick.

Toppel shared a list of local duties, including serving as PPCC secretary and vice president, as well as president of the Pacific Palisades Woman’s Club while the clubhouse was being renovated.

“I accepted the nomination to demonstrate that elections with multiple candidates can be, for any position, handled with courtesy, respect and dignity, that it honors all involved,” Toppel explained. “I have great respect for George Wolfberg, I’ve known him for decades. If George gets elected, I’ve committed to him my full support and he’s done the same for me. I’m hoping this election will set the stage for a kinder process in the future and encourage multiple candidates to seek office.”

Wolfberg opened with a list of accomplishments he has worked on over the past year at the helm of the community council, including sending the agenda earlier, moving public comment up and many initiatives, including appointing a wildfire safety advisor.

Both candidates answered questions from board members like “What are the most important issues facing the Palisades and how fast can you and the board as a whole address these issues?”

When Wolfberg was asked, “Why do you want the job?” he replied: “When you find problems and you’re able to bring people together, to identify people that are going to make things work better and solve problems, it is incredibly satisfying. That is one of the things that keeps me going and I look forward to having more.”

Wolfberg received 17 votes, with Toppel receiving 5.

Richard Cohen and Chris Spitz will continue to serve the community as treasurer and secretary, respectively.

The officers, who are elected by the PPCC board, will serve one-year terms, beginning on July 1.

“The chair and vice-chair may not serve more than two consecutive one-year terms,” the PPCC website explains.

The next PPCC meeting is slated for June 27 and will feature an update from Councilmember Mike Bonin on his work for CD11 and the Palisades. A portion of time will be set aside for a Q&A.