PPCC Voting Now Open/Forum Held
By SUE PASCOE
David Card, chair of the Pacific Palisades Community Council Election Committee, put together a well-run candidate forum on August 9 at the Palisades Library.
Unfortunately, other than three newspaper reporters and numerous family members of candidates running for eight Area Representative seats and the At-large Representative position, there were only about five residents in the audience.
Voting opened online on August 9 and will close at 9 p.m. on August 30. To view candidates’ statements and to vote, visit: pacpalicc.org.
This Saturday, August 18, people who have trouble using a computer can receive special help at the Palisades Library community room between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Card was asked if the election committee members can see who residents have voted for when the votes are counted. He responded, “The Election Committee has sworn an oath of secrecy. We will not share anyone’s identity information or reveal anyone’s ballot votes.”
The committee includes Card, Bill Bruns, Richard Blumenberg, Richard Cohen and Andrew Frew. Council officers Chris Spitz and George Wolfberg are ex-officio members, and online ballet programmer Heather Cohen (Richard’s daughter).
“At the close of voting, as part of the vote verification and tabulation process, the Committee will meet in private to review all of the voting to ensure there are no irregularities, such as out of area voting, unusual number of votes from the same source, non-Palisades resident votes (unless eligible for At-large voting), and so on,” Card said. “The goal is to ensure the integrity of the vote.”
But there is no assurance of a secret ballot.
It was pointed out by a third party that with this election there is no audit by the public, which means that if any changes are made after the votes are cast (either through a hacker, a program error or someone inside) there is no way for anyone outside the election committee to know.
Circling the News learned that with most online voting systems, control and auditing of the data is done by a third party.
There are two elections being contested: Area 2 and At-large.
Only people living in Area 2 Highlands can vote for Steve Cron or Adam Handler, who both advocated for greater transparency from the Highlands Presidents Council at the forum.
The men were asked what they thought were the biggest problems confronting the Highlands.
Cron said he thought the greatest concern was the proposed eldercare facility, because even though it has been approved by the City and the Coastal Commission, many people in the Highlands feel that their voices opposing the project weren’t heard, and he feels there is divide between the people who live in the lower Highlands and those who live at the top.
His second issue was making sure that emergency preparedness was in place, especially for wildfires.
Handler said he felt that a major issue was crime, notably the coordination between security companies and the LAPD, and also the cost of private security.
Another important issue Handler described was the maintenance and safety of Palisades Drive, including the slide risk of the hillside behind the metal link fence.
All residents may vote for one of the At-large candidates: John Padden or Alan Goldsmith.
Goldsmith said his top three priorities are: 1. The impact of Caruso’s Palisades Village on traffic, crime, loitering and the strain on our limited, fragile infrastructure; 2. The increasing crime rate; and 3. Being proactive about blight and development, such as the proposed development at the former Jack In The Box site and to avoid fiascos like the eldercare facility.
Padden listed his top three priorities as: 1. Beautification and revitalization of the business district and surrounding areas; 2. Working as an advocate for all local community organizations; and 3. Facing the changes to landscape and environment that the Caruso project will bring and addressing changing traffic patterns, additional people to the village and public spaces being utilized more.