Viewpoint: ‘Enjoying’ a Pacific Palisades Community Council Meeting

By Sue Pascoe

For the 25,000 or so people who live in Pacific Palisades, but couldn’t make it to the Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC) meeting on April 27, let me summarize what happened in the library’s community room.

After a brief introduction of the board and audience members, the treasurer’s report noted there was about $40,000 in the council’s bank account. After years of reporting on the PPCC, I’ve noticed that this money is rarely spent and the account keeps growing, thanks to yearly donations from residents.

If the PPCC was a certified neighborhood council, it would receive about $37,000 a year from the city to support its activities, which could include creating events and programs that respond to the needs of the community or advocating on behalf of the issues it cares about such as crime, the homeless, roads and streets, and economic development.

Some community council members say they don’t want to become a neighborhood council because they want to retain greater independence to act upon Pacific Palisades issues, notably the right to enter a lawsuit against a city land-use/development decision.

Maybe they ought to sue Councilman Mike Bonin because he still hasn’t released the emails related to, and leading up to the decision by the City Attorney’s Office to disqualify the Design Review Board just days before it was scheduled to hold its final meeting regarding Caruso’s Palisades Village Project. The News made this Public Information Act request last July.

But, is it really about suing the city or is it because neighborhood councils are required to abide by California’s open meeting procedures (per the Brown Act)? The PPCC does not abide by the act. If it did, the emails that go back and forth between the executive committee, which many on the board (and the community) never see, would no longer be permitted.

Back at the meeting, it was time for a discussion about alcohol licenses sought by Kay n’ Dave’s and Moku, the sushi restaurant on Palisades Drive. Both already have beer and wine licenses, but wanted council support for a full liquor license. This necessitated an hour-long discussion. For example, say you’re sitting at a table with your family, and then you go crazy and would prefer a martini than a glass of wine with your meal. Hard liquor!

Both restaurant owners are well-liked and known by the board, so it was eventually agreed they should have Palisades support, but then somebody asked about the people who will open restaurants in Caruso’s development and seek a liquor license. The board most likely won’t know them and what happens then?

A motion was made to support the conditional use permits for the two restaurants, but a board member wanted to add an amendment that neither of these restaurants could have an actual bar.

Oh, my, the drama increased when Moku admitted it has a bar—a sushi bar. Fortunately, another person on the board pointed out that the PPCC doesn’t have the authority to tell a person how to run his business. Phew. A tequila sunrise for everyone!

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