Pacific Palisades Politics

community council elections

(Left to right) Treasurer candidate Joann Barry, presidential candidates George Wolfberg, Lou Kamer, (moderator) Ron Dean, vice-president candidates Rick Mills, Peter Culhane, secretary candidates Chris Spitz and Cathi Ruddy. Not pictured Richard Cohen.

Pacific Palisades Community Council Election Results

President: George Wolfberg 15, Lou Kamer 8

Vice President: Peter Culhand 14, Rick Mills 9

Secretary: Chris Spitz 13, Cathi Ruddy 10

Treasurer: Richard Cohen 14, Joann Barry 9

Community Elections: Same Old, Same Old

The Pacific Palisades Community Council never fails to disappoint.

Just when there was an opportunity to make a change and bring in new people, the old guard elected to be “stewards of the community” by reducing, reusing and recycling, during the officer election on June 14 at the Palisades Library.

Instead of voting in new people such as Cathi Ruddy and Joann Barry, these women were rejected in favor of “reusing” and “recycling” Chris Spitz and Richard Cohen.

But, it seems the outcome of the election was decided before the meeting began.

It appears that no one bothered to listen to the scintillating forum. when secretarial candidates Spitz (a business attorney and PPCC chair emeritus) and Ruddy (a retired commercial litigator and a judge pro tempore for the L.A. Superior Court), answered difficult questions such as “Do you think minutes of the meeting should be more like those specified in Robert’s Rules of Order minutes? Or something more detailed?”

The treasurer candidates opined on whether they thought the budget (about $40,000 in an account, which is mostly never spent) could be made available online.

Cohen (who is senior vice president at Morgan Stanley and has served as PPCC treasurer for years) said “absolutely not” because of hacking worries, and Barry (has a master’s degree of business from Rice and has handled billion dollar accounts and is currently a Chief Financial Officer for Bloomberg) said, “These finances are not complex and could be on the website.”

Cohen also explained that he has personally helped raise funds for the Council through a gift from his employer and through the holiday party—where the honoree is free, but any guests of the honoree are charged. Cohen detailed PPCC accounting worries and tax compliance issues–implying that this might be beyond Barry’s capabilities.

And yes, it gets better.

Area 2, the Highlands, was well-represented by residents, because they did not want their representative Peter Culhane to become vice-president. But since Culhane, as area representative got to vote, it is likely he voted for himself, against the wishes of his constituents. Yup, a real democracy, the Community Council.

Culhane, a retired developer, claimed he had more experience than his candidate Rick Mills, an Area 4 Representative and the chair of the Palisades Design Review board for eight years.

The key word spewed forth at every opportunity was “experience,” which seems to be the sole attribute to become a PPCC officer.

Experience doing what?

Attending the dreary meetings every Thursday, where it appears members have not researched the topics they vote on (Especially since Jack Allen, who routinely did, is no longer on the council)? Experience dialing L.A. City, County and State Officials and saying the PPCC is the voice of the community?

The question not asked: “Specifically, what have you done for the Palisades?”

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One Response to Pacific Palisades Politics

  1. Linda Friar says:

    Sometime before the deadline, I indicated to PPCC my interest in running as a representative of Area 3, which at the time had no candidates. In response to my e-mail indicating interest, I received a response that I found less than encouraging. In the end, I decided the prospect of running and possibly serving was not for me.

    Do you know what happened with Area 3? Thanks.

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