Letters to the Editor

PPA’s Allen Explains Reasoning

As the Caruso project was rubber-stamped by the Community Council despite protests from many neighbors, it would have left the adjacent neighborhoods to suffer all the adverse impacts that the project would impose on the neighbors, such as employees and customers parking in the neighborhoods, drunken patrons from the theaters and restaurants disturbing the peace in the adjacent neighborhoods late in the evening and early mornings, and the possibility of having businesses facing the residences on Monument and Albright.

Worst of all was that converting Swarthmore to a one-way street would mean more than 1,000 trips a day would be diverted from Swarthmore onto the surrounding residential streets, which will make the residential streets less safe. In 1988, when Swarthmore was made a one-way street, a child was struck by a car on Albright that had been diverted from Swarthmore. This raised concerns that converting Swarthmore to a one-way street would again pose a danger to neighbors.

The compromise agreement between the Palisades Preservation Association (PPA) and Caruso Affiliates was the result of efforts by the PPA and many neighbors to mitigate the adverse impacts that the Caruso project would have otherwise on the adjoining neighborhoods.

When the Community Council failed to take any steps to resolve these issues, Protect Our Village (POV), an ad hoc association of nearby neighbors, formed and entered into negotiations with Mr. Caruso, and PPA filed extensive comments challenging the adequacy and accuracy of the Mitigated Negative Declaration as well as asserting that the revisions to the Village Specific Plan were inconsistent with the stated Purposes of the Specific Plan.

When the City failed to adequately respond to the comments and approved the MND, PPA filed an appeal in order to maintain leverage during the negotiations. Contrary to what has been reported elsewhere, the

City Planning Staff failed to rebut the issues raised in the appeal and in fact, committed procedural errors which if PPA had gone to court, would have almost certainly resulted in a court sending the MND back to the City to either recirculate it or require that an EIR be prepared.

The night prior to the hearing on the appeal, Caruso Affiliated entered into an agreement with POV resolving many of the issues. But that agreement did not resolve all the issues that PPA was concerned with, and that primarily was reducing the number of vehicle trips on the neighborhood streets and protecting the residences on Monument and Albright from the impacts of com- mercial development facing those properties.

Subsequently, PPA and Caruso Affiliated reached an agreement the night before the PLUM Committee of the City Council heard the matter. PPA had prepared all the court papers necessary to take the matter to court, but PPA was also very concerned about delaying the start of the project because it is just as important to PPA to see Swarthmore again an active part of the Village.

PPA also appreciates that Mr. Caruso was at all times willing to sit down with the neighbors and, in good faith, try to address their concerns, which for the most part he did.

Jack Allen President, PPA


Climate Change Data Incomplete

I was surprised at some of the content in your June 1 article about Dr. Ted Parson’s talk at the Palisades Rotary Club meeting (“Climate Change: Hoax or Real?”).

First, the geological evidence taken from glaciers shows fluctuation in both climate and CO2. Second, the impact of 47 volcanoes that are active around the world, at present, have an impact on global warming and CO2.

Nothing is said about the impact of radio, television radar or other electromagnetic activities on global warming. Neither does Parson address how aviation, missile launches and other government activities affect the atmosphere and the ozone layer.

As we say in the law, evidence that is merely consistent with an assertion but does not rule out other contradictory assertions, is only circumstantial evidence.

Vincent J. Guarino


Wrong Year for Cuban Missile Crisis

In the official parade program (“Brigadier General Lathrop Reviews Parade,” page 11), the wrong year was given for the Cuban Missile Crisis. This error may have started with the California Military Department (Army National Guard) or whoever was your source for the biographical info.

The Cuban Missile Crisis was in 1962. Short-lived, but frightening as all hell. I was no longer serving my military obligation by that time.

The Berlin Crisis was in 1961. I know. I was there. My Air National Guard unit was activated and while the fighter squadron personnel and planes went to Ramstein AB in West Germany, the rest of us were scattered all over Western Europe and the U.S.

I spent my 91⁄2 months defending the people of Free Berlin by writing press releases for the Tactical Air Com- mand, 12th Air Force, Combat Crew Training Wing, Luke AFB, Arizona. As noted above, my six-year military obligation expired right after we were returned to state service.

Warren Cereghino


Marquez Knolls Supports Code Changes

(Editor’s note: Marquez Knolls resident Judy Marcus sent a June 9 letter to Councilmembers Mike Bonin and Paul Koretz and City Planning members after attending the June 2 meeting at Palisades High School concerning the BMO/BHO amendments.)

My husband and I have owned our home within the Lachman development of the Marquez Knolls area of Pacific Palisades for 19 years. Like most people who live in this area, we bought our home because of the views it afforded. For some years my husband served on the board of directors of the Marquez Knolls Property Owners Association (MKPOA), which represents approximately 1,200 homes, and at one time served as its president. At that time, the board conducted a survey of homeowners in Marquez Knolls to determine the issues of most importance to them, and view protection was number one.

Much more recently, I had occasion to canvass my immediate neighborhood regarding a view issue, and the response was overwhelming—neighbors wanted their views protected, and did not want building projects in the neighborhood that would negatively impact their views. Although most of Marquez Knolls has view CC&Rs provided by the developers (the Lachman family), en- forcement of the CC&Rs is the responsibility of the homeowner who seeks to invoke the protection of the CC&Rs, and the cost of enforcement through the courts is prohibitive for many.

Therefore, we and our neighbors were gratified to learn that the City of Los Angeles has developed plans which will amend the BMO/BHO to help us to preserve our views and the character of our neighborhood.

Last week, I along with other residents of Marquez Knolls, attended the public forum sponsored by a realtor at Palisades High School. We were taken aback that Chris Spitz, president of Pacific Palisades Community Council, purported to speak for all Palisadians in stating opposition to the proposed amendments.

While PPCC, which includes at least one developer and one real estate agent, claims to represent all Palisadians including Marquez Knolls residents, I am informed that they did not, in fact, contact our homeowners association as to its position regarding the amendments, nor did they seek to learn the position of our association. We understand and support residents of other neighborhoods in the Palisades, such as the Alphabet Streets, whose interests are different from ours, and where mansionization has been the norm, not the exception. In the case of the CC&R area of Marquez Knolls, mansionization has been rare, and where it has occurred it has generally adversely impacted views of homeowners who could not afford to enforce the CC&Rs.

Richard Blumenberg, an architect, has asserted that property values in all neighborhoods, even Marquez Knolls, would be adversely affected by the implementation of the BMO/BHO amendments. Here, however, homeowners who cannot afford to retain legal counsel to protect their views would suffer substantial loss of their property values if mansionization occurs which negatively impacts their views. This has been established time and again by the testimony of expert witnesses in multiple lawsuits brought by homeowners to enforce CC&R view protection provisions, and endorsed by an appellate court in a case regarding a Marquez Knolls CC&R view lawsuit. For our neighborhood, mansionization for the few adversely affects not only property values, but also, and more importantly, the quality of life for the many.

Finally, at last Thursday’s meeting, we were heartened to hear from representatives from City Planning that they are aware that one-size-fits-all zoning rules and regulations will not well serve Pacific Palisades neighborhoods. While neighborhoods such as the Alphabet Streets may be better served by the less restrictive zoning option, we believe that our area of Marquez Knolls would be best served by the more restrictive option.

Judith Marcus


More Poll Workers Needed

June 7 was the day to cast a vote in an important primary election. I expected to enjoy it, since as a poll worker for my precinct, located at Palisades Charter High School, I knew I would meet many of my neighbors and achieve an objective of “giving something back to the community.”

While a precinct normally has four individuals (one inspector and three clerks) to prepare the precinct by assembling the voting booths, preparing the documents designed to assure voter qualification, and, of course, serving the voter stream, the inspector and I slowly realized we would be the only two workers to staff the precinct from 7 a.m. to the 8 p.m. closing. Following the closing, another 21⁄2 hours was spent in dismantling the precinct, counting the day’s results and delivering the materials and results to a Santa Monica site.

It would not have been so bad had there been time for lunch and dinner. For the day, I had only a small serving of trail mix to avoid starvation. Restroom visits were made at times of opportunity—not need.

Fortunately, the agonies of the day were balanced by the occasional voter who would remark something like, “Thank you for your service, which enabled me to vote.”

Bill Branch

(Bill Branch is 91 years old. For more information on becoming a volunteer poll worker, go to LAVoteVote.net or call (800) 815-2666 and select option #7).

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