The Community Council proclaimed Chris Spitz as 2021 Citizen of the Year for leading the intense campaign to stop a plan to create a homeless village at Will Rogers State Beach.
The attorney and longtime PPCC board member was honored at a scaled-down dinner ceremony at the lower Bel-Air Bay Club on December 9. Attendance was limited but the program could be viewed via Zoom.
According to the nomination form, Spitz “single-handedly researched the law and the facts, and drafted, vetted and edited 39 complex position letters to city, county and state officials.
“Chris relentlessly submitted numerous public record requests to various local, county and state agencies and officials, which revealed critical documents regarding the inner, behind-the-scenes machinations of these same public officials as they attempted to push the beach homeless housing plan into fruition without prior notice to this community.
“She analyzed and synthesized literally hundreds of records which would have otherwise gone unseen and unknown. She shared this information with other community groups in their efforts to oppose the plan, coordinating and cooperating with others.”
In presenting Spitz the award, the Community Council noted that she has been a past PPCC chair, the current secretary and a member of various committees. In addition, she is vice chair of the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils.
The PPCC bylaws state: “The Citizen Award shall not be given to any PPCC board member based on services directly related to his or her responsibilities as a board member, although long-term services may be considered as qualifying factors,” but presenter David Kaplan, the PPCC’s vice chair, noted that this award was given for her lead on stopping the effort to place homeless at Will Rogers State Beach.
Through the public records acts, Spitz received emails that eventually went to Circling the News and the Westside Current, both of which published stories emphasizing that Councilman Mike Bonin’s plan was already well-formed and being considered by the County Supervisors, and that his statement to other councilmembers about his proposal only being a feasibility study was inaccurate.
On receiving her award, Spitz said “Thanks. This is a rare and humble honor. I’m humbled to join the pantheon of past Citizens of the Year.
“Thank you to everyone who came together to protect our beach,” said Spitz, who also thanked “my long-suffering husband Jeff and daughter Hannah.”