The Pacific Palisades Community Council conducted its September 22 meeting after members of the community listened to Council District 11 candidates Traci Park and Erin Darling answer questions for 45 minutes.
About two hours was mostly devoted to four bylaw changes. The first bylaw was to simply state that officers were elected for one year and that Zoom meetings could be held if necessary.
The second bylaw was to add a parliamentarian. The third bylaw would add a corresponding secretary. There would be two secretaries, a recording secretary that would be allowed to vote and then the corresponding secretary, who would not.
The fourth bylaw would move Resilient Palisades, an environmental organization, from the Civic category to the environmental category. The American Legion would be moved from the service category to the Civic category.
Temescal Canyon Association’s Shirley Haggstrom asked to delay the vote so she could take these bylaw changes to her board. According to the bylaws, an organization can delay a vote for that reason.
But as President Maryam Zar pointed out the bylaws had been presented more than a month ago and the PPCC were told TCA was going to have a meeting on September 19.
Zar commented that the first three bylaw changes were not controversial and asked Haggstrom if she would reconsider her motion.
PPCC’s legal advisor Rob Webber was consulted, and he said that if the President felt there was a time issue, a straw poll could be taken and the matter moved forward to the executive board.
Since a new board would be seated with the first meeting in October, the bylaw amendment process would have to start over.
Then comment after comment started following from board members and included Reza Akef, who said he had gone to TCA’s website and that according to its bylaws its supposed to have 15 members and only 11 are listed. That there were no meetings listed and no notification of board meetings, He asked, “is the organization compliant with its bylaws”
Zar said that according to the PPCC they were compliant.
Randy Young, PPCC Treasurer, said that he had offered to go to the TCA board meeting to speak to them about the proposed bylaws, but was not invited.
Another person he had heard from a TCA source that “they spoke about this at their meeting.”
Haggstrom said, “I wasn’t able to open the link to share it at the meeting.”
Past chair David Card pointed out that the information/changes had been posted on the website and were available to everyone
Another person pointed out that “the postponement is a tactical move to delay the vote.”
Educational representative Cliff Roberts said that this was like a filibuster, “when everyone knew what was on the agenda.”
Resident Chris Spitz said, “I don’t think its our place to question. This is an automatic postponement. I think this is disrespectful to Shirley.”
Eventually Haggstrom agreed to allowing a vote on the first three bylaws, which passed, but only after Spitz argued several legal issues that she felt should have been included in the bylaw changes, particularly regarding the corresponding/recording secretary.
Card said he felt the changes were clear and a vote was taken.
An earlier PPCC had put Resilient Palisades into the Civic Category because the emphasis on getting solar panels was a technology issue and promoting vegan was a business/restaurant issue. Members of this Council felt that RP best fit into the environmental category.
At 9:45 p.m. after Haggstrom read a long statement about TCA’s accomplishment and the new president of TCA James Alexakis spoke. Then, Haggstrom agreed to allow a vote on the final bylaw change, which would allow Resilient Palisades to share the environmental category.
David Card summed up the marathon meeting “This is a good lesson on democracy.”
Zar said, “I look forward to continuing to strengthen a board that has demonstrated they can work together toward a sensible goal, with fairness and in the end, with unity and a spirit of collaboration.
“TCA took the time to tell us about their work and their challenges through Covid, and their plans to regroup and expand,” Zar said. “We were all pleased to learn more. Resilient Palisades has been a force for good on the environment and we congratulate them for all their strides. I look forward to seeing these two organizations strengthen the environment category and be stewards of our natural environment, each in their own unique and important way.
“I commend the PPCC board for a long but productive night that began with a successful CD11 candidate forum, and ended with near unanimous votes taken after thoughtful debate and community-minded collaboration,” Zar said.