By Maryam Zar, George Wolfberg, and Chris Spitz
The Palisades News recently published an opinion piece by Gina Ladinsky, one of several candidates for the Community Council’s Area 2 first alternate position. Rather than address all of Ms. Ladinsky’s numerous charges, we will focus on what appear to be two of her main criticisms: that the PPCC is not a certified Neighborhood Council and therefore need not follow some of the rules applicable to such organizations, and that PPCC misrepresented the community consensus to the city regarding the Caruso Village Project.
Founded in 1973, PPCC is the most broad-based community organization in Pacific Palisades. Its membership includes elected representatives from all residential neighborhoods as well as representatives of important Palisades organizations. It is the only community-wide organization which holds regular public board meetings and regularly posts and distributes its meeting agendas and minutes. The documents relevant to PPCC’s process, including meeting agendas, minutes and governing bylaws, are publicly available on our website: pacpalicc.org.
Non-certified councils such as PPCC do not have to follow the Brown Act, but all PPCC board meetings are open to the public and meeting agendas are distributed 72 hours in advance, consistent with PPCC’s bylaws. Except in rare emergency situations (when the bylaws authorize action by the Executive Committee), all positions are taken by the full board and no positions are taken without full public discussion.
All policy decisions require a two-thirds vote of board members. PPCC also permits public comment at each of its board meetings. PPCC is one of the oldest volunteer organizations of its type in the City of Los Angeles and served as a model for the current Neighborhood Council system. PPCC is also an active, accepted founding member of the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils. PPCC is embraced by DONE (Department of Neighborhood Empowerment) as an effective local governing body for Pacific Palisades, and permissibly uses their platform on Nextdoor Palisades to post important community information. PPCC has been described as the “Gold Standard” of volunteer community organizations (see 2/12/15 meeting minutes), and Councilmember Bonin has publicly praised the organization on numerous occasions.
The issue of whether to become a certified Neighborhood Council has been taken up by past PPCC boards, with board members each time deciding that the community would not be better-served by PPCC becoming an arm of the city. The most recent discussion took place on February 12, 2015. Any board member who wishes to reconsider the issue of whether we should become a certified Neighborhood Council can contact the chair and discuss putting the matter on the agenda. Members of the public can contact their representative, and through them request that the matter be discussed.
With respect to the community’s viewpoint on the Caruso Village Project, PPCC held open public meetings and discussions in which hundreds of community members participated. It waited until a consensus emerged before taking a position in support of the project. As such, PPCC correctly reflected the majority view of the community, as reflected by a vote of the members of its board.