Pacific Palisades Community Council Election Results Closely Scrutinized

By Sue Pascoe and Bill Bruns

Three newcomers will join six incumbents as Area and At-large representatives on the Pacific Palisades Community Council, following the election in late August.

Thanks to four competitive races and the debut of online voting, a record 1,237 votes were cast, representing about 12 percent of the town’s eligible households (one vote per household) and businesses.

According to Election Committee Chair Chris Spitz, only 26 people submitted ballots that were published in the News and the Post. Everybody else voted online. Overall, 228 ballots/votes were invalidated “because they were duplicate votes from the same household,” Spitz said.

Left to right: Richard Cohen, Chris Spitz and George Wolfberg tabulate election results. Photo: Brian Demming
Left to right: Richard Cohen, Chris Spitz and George Wolfberg tabulate election results. Photo: Brian Demming

Katie Braude, a public education activist and leader for nearly 30 years, ran unopposed for the Area 1 seat (Castellammare and Paseo Miramar) and will replace Kelly Comras.

In the closely contested Area 3 race to fill an open seat (representing the neighborhoods above and below Sunset, from west Marquez Avenue to Bienveneda), Danielle Samulon, a third-generation Palisadian, defeated attorney Peter Zomber, 120-106.

The third newcomer will be high-tech entrepreneur Lou Kamer, who won the At-large seat (representing residents in every area and business owners) by a 647-545 vote over longtime At-large alternate Quentin Fleming. Current PPCC vice president George Wolfberg previously held this position.

Every vote counted in the Area 6 contest (from Temescal Canyon to Chautauqua, below Sunset), as David Kaplan edged Eric Marshall by one vote, 92-91, to replace longtime representative Stuart Muller, who elected not to defend his seat. Kaplan was Muller’s alternate and chair of the Council’s Village Project Land Use Committee, which vetted Rick Caruso’s development.

Area 5 (the Alphabet streets and the neighborhoods above Bestor) featured another hotly contested race as Sandy Eddy, a past Chamber of Commerce president, took on incumbent Sue Kohl, a local realtor. Eddy, who argued that Kohl had failed to effectively support neighborhood concerns about the Caruso project, lost by a vote of 195-123. The four unopposed incumbents included Peter Culhane (Area 1, Highlands), Rick Mills (Area 4, north and south of Sunset, from Bienveneda to El Medio), Cathy Russell (Area 7, Santa Monica and Rustic Canyons) and Reza Akef (Area 8, Riviera neighborhoods).

Muller, the current Area 6 representative, asked for a recount in the Kaplan-Marshall contest. He was told by PPCC President Maryam Zar in a Sept. 9 email, “The vote count and results are now final. The [Election] Committee accurately and impartially counted and recounted the votes multiple times. There is no provision in our bylaws for a recount or audit as requested by Mr. Muller. For these reasons we will not be conducting one.”

The new slate of representatives will begin two-year terms on Oct. 13. They will join a board that consists of four officers (president, VP, treasurer and secretary), nine representatives of various community organizations, the chair emeritus and several non-voting advisors.

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