If you have always wondered about the Pacific Palisades Optimist Club and how to become a member, think about attending their meeting Tuesday morning at 9:30 in Janes Hall at the Presbyterian Church, 15821 Sunset.
The guest speaker will be former Palisadian-Post editor Bill Bruns, who will offer his perspective on “Pacific Palisades: The Past, the Present and the Future.” He will recount vital events in the town’s history, key community leaders over the decades and how the town might evolve.
In 1985, Bruns received a Community Council Sparkplug award for starting a girls softball league at the Palisades Recreation Center, and in 2004 he received a Community Service Award for his role as editor of the Post.
He rode as the Palisades parade marshal and was selected as the Community Council’s first Pride of the Palisades honoree in 2014. Last December, as a member of the Historical Society team that organized the town’s Centennial celebration and produced a special Centennial publication, he shared in another Pride of the Palisades award.
As a current member of the Historical Society, the Friends of the Palisades Library and the Palisades Forestry Committee, Bruns knows the town and knows the players.
When Bruns “retired” in late 2013, he was honored at City Hall by Councilman Mike Bonin, who praised the editor for his newspaper’s coverage of the Northridge earthquake, the successful campaign to impose a 35-ft. building height limit on Sunset, the renovation and expansion of the Getty Villa and community efforts to build a new public library, a new gym, new baseball fields and the Palisades High School pool.
Bonin also noted that during Bruns’s editorship (1993-2013), the paper covered controversial disputes such as mansionization, cell towers, proposed dog parks and the City’s 25-year Potrero Canyon infill project.
Bruns’s newspaper career began in high school, when he covered sports for his community newspaper, the Encinitas Coast Dispatch. In 1960, he won a high school writing contest sponsored by the Los Angeles Examiner that provided an all-expense paid trip to Europe to cover the summer Olympics with a daily column for UPI titled, “Youth Views the Olympics.”
He then attended the University of Redlands, where he was editor of the school paper and also a pitcher for the baseball team. He earned his master’s degree in journalism from UCLA in 1965 and started as an intern for LIFE magazine.
Subsequently, he was hired as a staff writer and moved to New York City. Before the magazine folded in 1972, he directed its coverage of the 1972 Winter Olympics in Japan and the Summer Olympics in Munich.
Bruns and wife Pam moved to Pacific Palisades that same year, at a time when the Community Council was being organized, the Village Green campaign was underway and the Temescal Canyon Association was founded.
Bruns wrote freelance articles for People and Money magazines, while also co-authoring 16 books on various subjects, including tennis, ski racing, racquetball, aerobic dancing, sports psychology, the stock market and marriage, as well as a coffee-table book on the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park. He then worked as the Hollywood bureau chief for TV Guide from 1989 to 1992, before becoming editor at the Post.