By SUE PASCOE
Editor, Circling the News
Recently, I met with fellow Palisadian Maryam Zar and urged her NOT to run for State Assembly (District 50) to replace incumbent Richard Bloom, who is considering a run for L.A. County Supervisor to replace Sheila Kuehl.
CTN thinks Maryam is fair, smart and phenomenal, but her talents are needed here in Los Angeles, which is why she should run for City Council. Zar is hesitant to compete against incumbent Mike Bonin, who has already filed his paperwork for the 2022 election.
I reminded Zar that Bonin often fails to represent the residents he has been elected to help. He voted to raise DWP rates in 2016; he has lobbied to put little homes for the homeless on Will Rogers State Beach (without consulting the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness, which has been successful); he favored construction of the eldercare facility in the Highlands and did not back this community against the high-rise development on Sunset near PCH; he promised Pacific Palisades parking-meter money in 2018 (and then took it back); streets that need paving, such as Sunset and Temescal Canyon Road, have not been paved; Bonin voted to cut the LAPD budget and promised a dog park that has yet to gain support from the City; the Palisades Recreation Center playground is not ADA compliant, nor are the bathrooms.
By contrast, Zar has a record completing tasks.
Born in Iran, she received a degree from Boston University before moving back to Iran. She became a correspondent for GMR (Gulf Marketing Review, published in London) and the Iran Business Monitor (published in New York), and also served as an editor at Tehran News, an English-language daily newspaper in Iran. She then moved back to the U.S. in 1995 and received a law degree.
She married, moved to Pacific Palisades, and now has three children, all of whom have attended local public schools and the current co-chair of the Paul Revere Parent board.
Zar is a past chair of the Pacific Palisades Community Council Chair and is a member of the Palisades Design Review Board and the local Park Advisory Board. She is a member of the Palisades-Malibu YMCA Board.
She has been working with the L.A. Department of International Affairs on their Sister Cities project, which Zar started.
She was appointed as a City Commissioner on the Status of Women, and in 2019, she visited a Greek refugee camp for the Azadi Project. This undertaking provides digital economy job skills to refugee women by teaching them technical skills such as multimedia communications and storytelling at refugee shelters.
Zar was the chair of the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils, a contributor to the Huffington Post and a founder of Womenfound (womenfound.org), a nonprofit dedicated to bringing awareness to the plight of women in the Middle East and AfPak regions and empowering them with a voice.
She also hosts the monthly Palisades Podcast with Highlands resident Steven Cron.
In addition to all this, Zar was the first chair of the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness, when it was initially established as a PPCC committee in 2014.
In a 2015 letter to a local publication (“Pacific Palisades Homeless Task Force Explains the Next Steps”), Zar wrote: “Homelessness is decidedly a complex issue, with myriad facets, that cannot be tackled in one swoop, or even addressed in one article. But Pacific Palisades has formed its first-ever Task Force on Homeless to address the growing problem posed by the increasing number of transients and homeless in this community.”
She outlined the steps the task force was taking: 1) counting the homeless, 2) surveying them, 3) offering services and 4) forming an outreach subcommittee to find Palisadians with expertise in the fields of mental health, law and job training who would volunteer some of their time to work with the homeless.
Zar wrote: “The Task Force is also working on unearthing which of the strategies and practices have worked for other locales in addressing homeless problems, and which have not. . . .We also have a subcommittee dedicated to law enforcement and finding ways in which LAPD and LAFD can help us secure high fire-hazard zones that have multiple makeshift encampments. Our objective is to make sure the makeshift shelters that crop up do not pose a fire or other safety hazard to the community.”
Thoughtful, practical and task-oriented, Zar is a person who would work hard on behalf of CD 11 residents. CTN urges you to reach out to her and explain how we need her in Los Angeles, not in Sacramento.