Mayor’s Desk Contacts Circling the News

Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office responded to Circling the News. Garcetti (left) is shown with Rick Caruso (center) and Councilman Mike Bonin at the groundbreaking for Caruso’s Palisades Village.
                                                                                                                         Photo: Bart Bartholomew

Editorial: Mystery Message from Garcetti’s Office

I started Circling the News as a blog at the end of June, when I felt I had not choice but to resign as founding editor of the Palisades News. I’ve continued to work hard to bring local news to Pacific Palisades residents.

I started my newsletter with two subscribers: my husband and daughter. Currently I am up to 393 free subscribers and have had more than 9,000 page views this month.

This weekend, I received an angry email from somebody in Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office. This unidentified person wanted me to post the message (below) regarding the story I wrote about Thursday’s Community Council meeting–specifically the discussion regarding the proposed eight-house development on Marquette Street.

The message came from and stated: “Wow. So many subtle misrepresentations in this very biased article. Or as some would some would call your reporting ‘FAKE NEWS.’ You assert a conspiracy with no actual reporting. Some would call that libel. You assert geological instability without quoting any geologists. You ignore the geology report, written by one of LA’s most revered geologists, and reviewed by the LA city geologists, that says there isn’t any issues that prevent the development. This isn’t reporting, it’s a take down. Shame on you.”

At first, I couldn’t believe that the Mayor would take time from his busy schedule, as he explores the Democratic nomination for president, to worry about something posted on my blog and have somebody at the “ desk” chime in.  I checked the URL and it indeed goes back to the City. I sent an email asking for a name, to post with the criticism, but did not receive a response.

It is absolutely fantastic that Garcetti’s office cares about the Palisades and that I have their attention because there are a few items I’m hoping the Mayor can handle.

Even though cash flows out of Pacific Palisades for political contributions, the roads out of the Palisades are far more of a problem.

There are 38 roads that have been withdrawn from public use in the Palisades dating back as far as 1937 (including Marquette). Maybe the Mayor could help fix those roads, and also repair Temescal Canyon Road, Sunset and Chautauqua, among other streets. (From an earlier post on my blog, this has nothing to do with Proposition 6 but rather mismanagement by the City.)

Chautauqua Boulevard is badly in need of repair, but not schedule for repaving for at least a year.

Maybe the Mayor could make his friend Rick Caruso follow the law, including having permits for closing streets, and following the contract he signed with Protect Our Village. Believe it or not, not everyone is thrilled with the impact Palisades Village has had on the neighborhood, as residents struggle to compete for parking spaces with employees and shoppers alike.

Maybe the Mayor could oversee continual new development in the Palisades, such as the proposed project at the site of the old Jack in the Box on Sunset, which fails to offer adequate parking for future condo residents.

I know that the Mayor is pushing mass transit, but we don’t have a light-rail line in the Palisades and buses are few and far between. That means that if two people live in an apartment, there is parking for one car, which is lovely if they work near each other and can carpool. It would be nice if they could bike, but that’s hard and dangerous because the only way out of the Palisades is via the aforementioned streets.

Thank you, somebody in Mayor Garcetti’s office, for reading my blog.


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16 Responses to Mayor’s Desk Contacts Circling the News

  1. Mary says:

    Brava 🙂

  2. John Schwartz says:

    Sue, as usual, your work is bright, useful and gets right to the heart of the matter. Mr. Mayor, the ball is definitely in your court! And tell your underlings to stop acting like Donnie the Douche.

  3. Chris Casady says:

    It’s a shame the city employees who work for us in the Mayors office can’t identify themselves. Also, I’d like further further journalistic exploration of the geology reports to illuminate that controversy.

  4. Alex Duke says:

    I know that we must take any message that includes “fake news” is capital letters very seriously, but since when does accurately reporting the comments of meeting attendees constitute libel on the part of a reporter?

  5. Christine Odionu says:

    Good morning Sue,
    Thank You for your blog and all of the interesting articles you print especially this one. Very Interesting the city won’t let you know who wrote that. Keep Up The Good Work. We Appreciate you here in the Pacific Palisades!!!

  6. Sweetingham Lisa says:

    Great response and journalistic ethics, as usual. Thanks, Sue!

  7. Cece Webb says:

    Good for you, Sue! I miss your paper but I’m thankful for your blog.

  8. Lisa Locker says:

    Thank you Sue for your continued reporting on the issues that are of concern in our town.

  9. Marge Gold says:

    Mayor Garcetti’s office, L.A. City Planning, the Pacific Palisades Community Council, the Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce, a Caruso V.P.

    What a tangled web.

  10. Patty Dobrowitsky says:

    So someone up high has a financial interest in the project

  11. ROSANNE MANGIO says:

    Sue, The Palisades News is definitely not the same… I understand why….the owner doesn’t like anyone to make waves(laughing)…….Garcetti, Bonin, the planning commission and the like, I think were paid off by Caruso to get his little project through….They are all FAKE………I am sooo happy you have your blog……..

  12. Sue,

    You are to be congratulated for questioning the pro-development juggernaut coming out of City Hall, including your measured criticism of Carusoville. (We continue to hear much sharper criticism from many of our neighbors who have visited the shopping center.)

    One point we would have hoped you would have made in your article concerns City Hall’s and Bonin’s strong support for the massive Shram assisted living and dementia care project here in the Highlands. That project was approved despite its being (1) 23+% larger than zoning codes permit, (2) located on the precipice of a steep canyon in a state-designated “Very High Severity Fire Hazard Zone” – placing its prospective residents and staff in mortal danger, (3) drastically short of onsite parking, guaranteeing that limited nearby parking will be consumed by consumed by overflow visitor, staff and vendor parking, (4) located immediately adjacent to Santa Ynez Canyon City Park and steps away from the principal Palisades entrance to Topanga State Park, and (5) more double the size of any other building within two miles in the Highlands (65,000 square feet above ground and four stories high). This ill-conceived project, which would be one-half the size of Carusoville (65,000 sf vs. 130,000 sf) will have less than 12% of the parking of Carusoville (65 spaces vs. 560 spaces).

    Please also note that the Pacific Palisades Residents Association has filed court appeals of the approvals of the Shram project. (See PPRA’s webpage for more details –

    Sue, keep up your good work. The community now needs your independence more than ever!

  13. Tom Meade says:

    Sue, thank you for addressing such “failure to communicate.”

  14. Sigrid Hofer says:

    Thank you, Sue, for being there to keep tabs on what’s going on and informing us.
    I really, really miss the “old” Palisades News. We need you!

  15. Nina Kidd says:

    Thank you, Sue, as always!

  16. Linda Deacon says:

    I consider your article about the Community Council meeting to be balanced and accurate.

    The anonymous person sending a message from the mayor’s desk sated, ” You assert geological instability without quoting any geologists. You ignore the geology report, written by one of LA’s most revered geologists…”

    So, let me quote the “revered geologist” in question, who stated in his report, “The subject property has experienced surficial failures and has groundwater at about 30 feet” (p 22). He also stated “high groundwater levels can be extremely hazardous. Saturation of earth materials can cause subsidence or slippage of the site” (p 26) and “THE EXPLORATION WAS PERFORMED ONLY ON A PORTION OF THE SITE, AND CANNOT BE CONSIDERED AS INDICATIVE OF THE PORTIONS OF THE SITE NOT EXPLORED” (p 26). [CAPS are the geologist’s.] Only 3 of the 8 lots were explored. No direct geotechnical investigation has been conducted on the street where a sewer extension is to be installed at a depth of 15 feet close to the cliff edge to service only the proposed 8 houses. The crucial geology report that IS being ignored is the one that was also paid for by Mr. Pizzulli, which concluded that there was an unacceptable level of risk for future landslides on the property.

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