Palisades News Letters: Scrutiny Important in Elections

In 2014, I wrote about the role of journalism in a piece that was published by the UCLA Burkle Center, in which I quoted Supreme Court Justice Luis Brandeis who famously said, “Sunlight is the best of disinfectants.”

Brandeis may have been talking about the world stage or national politics, but the sentiment is just as applicable to our local community.

As Pacific Palisades Community Council Chair, I’m often chagrined to hear that residents do not believe the PPCC speaks for them. People say that leadership is comprised of a small group of people who rarely change and are involved simply to bolster their own sense of self importance.

I was a PPCC newbie in 2014, serving as educational representative. In 2015, I was elected to vice chair and the following year I was voted chair. I believe in the mission of the PPCC—to be the forum for community discussion, and to represent the voice of the community when there is consensus. I’ve made clear that I acknowledged all voices, respected input and invited all into the fold.

Photo credit: Brian Deming for PPCC

I welcomed scrutiny and invited people to look into PPCC processes. I’ve been incredibly proud to serve as Chair and have worked hard to engage Palisadians.

Now, we are involved in officer elections at the PPCC. The nominating committee, which I appointed with diversity in mind, selected a set of qualified candidates for each executive role. Others were nominated, and today we have two candidates contending for each officer position—all are impressive.

The board will get a chance to observe each candidate in a forum mandated by our bylaws, which occurs immediately before the vote on June 14 (7 p.m. in the Palisades Library community room).

Although the forum is open to all residents, it was designed specifically so that PPCC Board voting members can learn about the candidates: their qualities and qualifications; and observe their disposition as they address their colleagues and community members. Afterwards, an election takes place via secret ballot.

While these elections are not ones in which Palisadians vote en masse, they should reflect the will of residents. Your voice is heard through the vote of your PPCC Area representative. Reach out to them, email them, talk to them—make sure they know what is important to you and how you’d like them to vote.

In fact, PPCC only has power when we can effectively engage the voice of community members, and when residents are heard. As I near the end of my term and preside over Officer Elections in my last important role as Chair, I invite the community to engage, and I welcome the scrutiny of our town’s newspapers.

Maryam Zar

Palisades News welcomes all letters, which may be emailed to Please include a name, address and telephone number so we may reach you. Letters do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Palisades News. 

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