Alternates Selected by Former Chairs and Approved by Pacific Palisades Community Council; Selection Process Reform Urged

At the Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) meeting on Oct. 14, first and second alternate board members were approved.

In order to become an alternate, residents sent a short statement and biographical information to the Three Chairs Committee of Chris Spitz, Richard Cohen and George Wolfberg. Some of those seeking an alternate position were interviewed, others were not.

There was no election. The committee made the selection based on input from the Area representative, “but not exclusively based on the area rep’s recommendation,” Spitz said at the meeting.

Left to right: Richard Cohen, Chris Spitz and George Wolfberg selected area alternates. Photo: Brian Demming
Left to right: Richard Cohen, Chris Spitz and George Wolfberg selected area alternates.
Photo: Brian Demming

PPCC President Maryam Zar read the names of the first alternates selected: Area 1 (Castellemmare) was Doug McCormick, Area 2 (Highlands) Alan Goldsmith, Area 3 (Marquez) Howard Robinson, Area 4 (Bi- enveneda to Temescal Canyon Rd.) Carol Bruch, Area 5 (Alphabet Streets) Robin Meyers, Area 6 (Temescal to Chautauqua south of Sunset) David Peterson, Area 7 (Rustic/Santa Monica Canyon) Steve Boyers, Area 8 (Riviera) Andrew Sacks and at-large Quentin Fleming.

The board refused a request to read the possible candidates for each area based on the fact that historically it had never been done before. Without knowing there were alternate choices for several positions, including Areas 2, 5 and 6, the board unanimously voted to approve the slate.

In Area 2, the person who served as an alternate for the past two years and had reapplied was told they were no longer needed. Gina Ladinsky, who had been urged by President Zar to apply, was also not selected. In Area 6, where one of the most contested races had been held with Eric Marshall losing by one vote to David Kaplan, Marshall was also told he would not have a position. In Area 5, The Alphabet Streets, Sandy Eddy, who lost to Sue Kohl 195 to 123, and who applied to become an alternate, was also rejected.

Marshall, who had not been interviewed by the committee, said “I appreciate the committee’s difficult task and I applaud the new alternates’ spirits of service. However, given the near-equal voter support for the elected rep and myself, the committee’s action is a slap in the face to Area 6 residents. It basically says, ‘we know better than you about who should represent you.’

“Worse, because the committee works in secret and is not elected by area voters, there’s no way to hold them accountable for their decisions. This process needs urgent reform,” Marshall said.

These same four people were also not considered for second alternates in their respective areas. Area 1 alternate is Kelly Comras (former area representative), Area 2 Leah Cox and Area 3 Brian Deming (prior alternate). In Area 4, no one applied for a second spot, which was also the case in Area 7.

In Area 5 Abhilash Patel was selected, Area 6 was Mary Mortensen, Area 8 was Andrew Wolfberg and At-Large Matthew Rodman.

The PPCC represents itself to the city as representative of all residents of the Palisades and area rep emails can be found at its website.

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