Editorial: Let’s Nominate ‘Citizen’ and ‘Sparkplug’ Activists

By Sue Pascoe

Almost every year since 1947, a Pacific Palisades resident has been honored as Citizen of the Year. That person is selected for his or her outstanding volunteer service, underscored by a recent notable accomplishment that resulted in a substantial benefit to the Palisades community. The recipient must be an adult resident of the Palisades (including Santa Monica Canyon).

The event was sponsored annually by the Palisadian-Post until 2013, when the new owner elected to discontinue the tradition.

Fortunately, in 2014, under President Barbara Kohn, the Community Council stepped up to keep the tradition alive. Several local groups including the American Legion, Caruso Affiliated, DLA Piper, Huntington Palisades Property Owners, Keller Williams and the Palisades Highlands Presidents Council helped sponsor the dinner, which saluted attorney Rob Weber for his multi-year leadership of PAPA, the volunteer committee that organizes the Fourth of July parade, concert and fireworks show.

Last year, Sharon Kilbride was honored at Gladstone’s in recognition of her long-time advocacy for Santa Monica Canyon, her education efforts regarding her family’s history in Pacific Palisades, for keeping the two pedestrian tunnels under PCH clean and working with police and transients to keep the canyon and beach area safe for residents.

The Community Council is now soliciting nominations for the 2016 Citizen of the Year. How about attorney Keith Turner, who has been in charge of the Fourth of July concert—taking it from a pre-fireworks event with canned music, to an evening featuring internationally-recognized musicians? Or how about lawyer Daphne Gronich, who has been in charge of raising the funds and leading PAPA the past three years?

Additionally, Golden Sparkplug nominees are sought. The honorees are those who ignite ideas and projects into community action that benefit Palisadians throughout the community. The project must have been initiated, in progress or completed during the current or previous calendar year. Adults and youth are eligible, and must either own real property in, reside in or operate a business in the Palisades at the time services were rendered.

In the case of both awards, the accomplishment must have been voluntary and not related to the nominee’s business or occupation.

We can suggest several deserving Sparkplugs. One is Sylvia Boyd, who started the monthly Food for Thought speaker series at the Presbyterian Church in 2014. In addition to finding an interesting speaker and arranging a free luncheon for everyone who attends, Sylvia is now also hosting an evening speaker every month.

Or how about Karen Stigler, who co-founded (with Steve Lantz, a previous Sparkplug winner) the Pacific Palisades Alliance for Seniors, which has become a worthy successor to the disbanded AARP chapter?

This group meets at the Palisades Library the second and fourth Monday of every month and focuses on various issues that are important to seniors. On Oct. 24, Iris Kaphan of the L.A. League of Women Voters will addressed the 17 propositions on November’s ballot.

Although we suggested a few names, there are certainly other worthy residents this year—it is up to you to get your selection to the PPCC committee. Let’s recognize those who have gone above and beyond.

Nominations should be submitted to info@pacpalicc.org or to P.O. Box 1131, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272. The deadline is midnight Saturday, October 29.

Visit pacpalicc.org for more information and click on the tab for Citizen of the Year and Sparkplug Awards, or e-mail PPCC President Maryam Zar at info@pacpalicc.org.

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