Palisades News Letters to the Editor: Mansionization, Chabad’s Landscaping, Bob Benton and More

Need More Mansionization Control

(Editor’s note: The following letter was sent to Vince Bertoni, Tom Rothman and Christine Saponara at the L.A. City Planning Commission about the proposed new city ordinance regarding house-size regulations. It was shared with the Palisades News.)

I have lived at Friends Street and Via de la Paz for more than 30 years. My neighborhood is slowly being erased. I have lived in basically a construction zone off and on for years, but never as intensely as the last two years. I am totally 100 percent in favor of stopping these mansions from being built.

I am more than willing to suffer losses in my property value if I have to, but I don’t believe this argument at all!!! It is perpetuated by real estate brokers and builders who see the Palisades as their cash cow. I care about where I live!! I have no peace and quiet during the day.

Luckily, I work so I am not home during the day, but Saturdays are now the same. Since I am 67 I would like to retire one day, but I could not stand being at home. Construction is constant and I have no say in the fact that they are building monster houses, ruining the neighborhood, building high hedges and walls so no one can see each other, creating an entirely different place to live, and most of these are “spec” houses.

Builders and realtors are reaping the benefits and they don’t live here. We get nothing out of this deal. I don’t plan on selling my house. I don’t look at it as just a place to make money. I want to live here like I did for many years in peace and quiet with neighbors who actually know and care about each other.

It is your job to protect the people you represent. Not the builders, not the realtors, not the construction workers. Please do your job and stop the destruction of the Palisades by people who do not live in the Palisades and only care about the money they can make here. Please, please, stop this from happening in my hometown!

Chris Van Hook


Disappointed in Bonin’s Action

Dear Councilman Bonin,
I was deeply disappointed to read in the Palisades News that you were instrumental in getting Pacific Palisades exempted from proposed amendments to the BMO/BHO.

I have lived in the Palisades for 31 years, and am tired of seeing huge houses built on smallish lots. There is little or nothing that an individual can do about this. Neighbors are not given adequate or timely notification of projects, developers prevaricate, Building & Safety is largely a rubber stamp. If you want evidence of what I am writing about, look at the new house on Marinette Road just north of Paskenta (6,000-sq.-ft. house on a street of 2,000-sq.-ft. residences), or look at the huge house with a tower just off Bestor near Chautauqua.

The BMO/BHO might have helped put a brake on this sort of rampant building, but you listened only to some vocal, greedy constituents who somehow think it is their right to build virtually as high and as big as they want without regard to the character of the neighborhood or the concerns of their neighbors.

As a result, I don’t see how I could vote for you in the next election, but I am sure the developers and realtors will!

Betsy Handler


Clarifying the Chabad’s Landscaping

(Editor’s Note: We received a second Heard About Town about the lack of landscaping around the Chabad walls on Sunset and Los Liones Drive: “I was glad to see the comment [July 20 News] about landscaping the Chabad. I also live in Castellammare and would like to see the area outside the walls of Chabad landscaped. It boggles my mind that the owners of the Chabad school walk past this unsightly mess every day and ignore it.”)

Rabbi Zushe Cunin of the Chabad JCC Pacific Palisades responded:

“We, too, are eager to implement our thoughtfully planned landscape design for the area surrounding our Chabad campus, a sketch of which has already been informally presented to the Design Review Board.

“Our challenge has been that the DWP has, as of yet, not finished its work on the electrical boxes located both above and underground at Sunset and Los Liones. As soon as their work is complete, we look forward to immediately beautifying our surroundings and our community with new landscape designs.”


Bob Benton Applauded

I am writing to acknowledge Bob Benton for his amazing generosity and support of our Palisades community. Bob has immersed himself in a variety of events throughout his many years as owner of Bentons The Sport Shop on Swarthmore. Many local charities have benefited from his kindness and donations.

The closing of his store on July 10 was bittersweet for his family and friends, as we toasted this truly amazing man and his awesome manager, Dottie Henkle.

The following day, Bob donated sports shoes, dance shoes, clothing, sporting equipment and so much more to St. Anne’s Home in Los Angeles.

Opened in 1908 as a safe refuge to unwed mothers, St. Anne’s programs have evolved into comprehensive services and housing for children and families. Bob’s generous and thoughtful “gifts” will help to enrich the lives of thousands of children, teenage mothers and low-income families that St. Anne’s serves each year.

We look forward to celebrating the grand reopening of Bentons in 2018, and the chance to support Bob Benton and Caruso’s new Palisades Village.

Joyce Walter
St. Anne’s Guild 


Not Parenting, But Being a Parent

I wanted to applaud Lola Coffey’s Viewpoint in the July 20 Palisades News in which she reviewed an excellent article in the Wall Street Journal written by UC Berkeley Professor Alison Gopnik entitled “Against Parenting.”

While the title actually sounds counterintuitive, it was an excellent piece encouraging parents to avoid the pitfalls of viewing parenting as “a kind of job” and to get back to the idea of just BEING a parent.

After all, Professor Gopnik points out, we don’t “wife,” we don’t “husband,” and we don’t, in our day-to-day cyberfree lives, “friend” people either.

By viewing your parenting as a job, she asserts, you naturally expect a certain product or a certain result. And as any parent will tell you in great glorious detail, that is certainly not always the case.

In our competitive contemporary society, we are taught that with the right set of techniques, or with the right set of instructions, we can produce the highest-quality child. But what this philosophy does is take the parent farther away from his or her natural intuition and instinct. And with the “how to parent” industry booming, parents have become less confident in just being a parent, but instead are consumed with doing the right kind of parenting.

As Professor Gopnik astutely points out, “The most important rewards of being a parent aren’t your children’s grades or trophies . . . They come from the moment-by-moment physical and psychological joy of being with this particular child, and in that child’s moment-by-moment joy in being with you.”

There are no guarantees in being a parent, other than it will be a glorious, unpredictable, wonderful, exhausting and unforgettable ride.

I wanted again to applaud Lola Coffey for bringing this important article to our attention and commend the Palisades News for always bringing such high-quality, well-researched and relevant news to our community.

Alisa A. Bromberg, M.D.

(Editor’s note: Bromberg is a Palisades pediatrician and parent.)


Ficus Trees and Hearing

My name is Rosanne Mangio (the person who cares about our Palisades Village trees). On July 26, I spoke to Tim Tyson (Urban Forestry) and Ron Lorenzen (Public Works).

They informed that the two ficus trees on Sunset Boulevard [by the Mobil station] will be destroyed because Caruso’s underground parking will be using the space under them.

I was also informed that the right turn lane from Sunset to Swarthmore will be taken away or greatly modified.

I asked the two gentlemen why Caruso could not modify his underground parking lot to keep away from these two trees. They could not give me an answer.

To say the least I am beyond being upset about this. Caruso could modify it if he wanted to, and that’s the plain truth. He could start his lot from the alley east to the existing parking lot and leave these beautiful trees alone, but he won’t.

Ron Lorenzen said to me that he gets the impression that Palisades residents do not have a problem with Caruso’s plan because no one has called to complain.

So, I say to you, Palisades residents, if you are upset with the above plan and want it rethought before it is too late, and you care enough to voice your concerns, please get in touch with Ron Lorenzen and voice them.

There will be a public works hearing in the next 50 or so days. Have him inform you of the date and come to the hearing and show you care. His phone number is (213) 847-3333 and his email is You can also c.c.

I am giving you a heads up because I care. I have lived in the Palisades 60 years, since I was 11 years old. My dad (Vince) owned the Palisades Barber Shop for 41 years. Please take the time to show you care. Thanks.

(Editor’s note: We contacted Public Works to verify a public hearing would be held and spokesperson Tonya Durrell said a meeting has not been set at this point.)

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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