Palisades BID Spends Nearly $10,000 for Masks & Delivery in the Business District

The BID mask, which is an attractive blue color,  does not fit tightly around the nose, which is what the CDC recommends.

The Pacific Palisades Business Improvement District committee spent nearly $10,000 for 5,000 protective masks and delivery of some of the masks to certain stores in the District.

According to the minutes of the May 6 BID meeting on Zoom, Rick Lemmo (Caruso Affiliated) “showed us the masks under consideration to order. They will be used for merchants, not the customers, to help them protect their employees. The masks will have our logo so they will be allocated to our communication/marketing budget. Rick has been able to get us a special price for 5,000 @ about $1.52 each since we will piggyback on Glendale BID’s order of 10,000. After much discussion, we realized that we could not regulate the masks and they are just a promotion. It also helps the business owners by lowering the expense of providing safety masks which helps them pay their rent (essentially benefiting the property owners the BID serves). Susan Carroll (representing landlord Dale Van Vlack) made a motion to approve the purchase. Leland Ford (property owner for Ralphs) seconded, and the motion passed unanimously.”

At the June BID meeting, Staci Mitchell, who serves as the group’s bookkeeper and secretary, said that 10 boxes had been delivered and were in her garage. Lemmo reminded members that “Caruso will not receive the masks, they will have their own masks.”

The 5,000 masks were to be distributed to every business in the District, which extends along both sides of Sunset from Carey to Via de la Paz (but exempts Caruso’s Palisades Village).

At the July meeting, Lemmo reported, “We’ve completed our first distribution of masks and about half have been passed out.” He told BID members, “About 80 percent of the people [employees] in the District are wearing the masks.”

David Peterson (representing PRIDE) asked, “Who put the mask list together?”

Lemmo explained that it was a consensus of businesses, bakeries, coffee shops and restaurants. He said that three masks were given to every employee via the business/store’s manager. “I’ve been told by people that they are more comfortable.”

When Peterson asked who had delivered the masks, Lemmo answered – that nobody had volunteered, so they hired District Maintenance Services (DMS) for $1,000 to distribute 2,340 masks in the village area. (The remainder are yet to be delivered.)

Circling the News received a list of the businesses that received masks. Café Vida is listed as having 56 employees—and if they had received three for each employee, they should have received 168, rather than the 80 they supposedly received. Gelson’s is listed as having 150 employees and they received 160 masks.

Your CTN reporter walked around the Palisades BID territory and didn’t see anyone wearing a BID mask, which seems to be made of a neoprene material. Some businesses along Via received 20 masks for one employee, and some places received no masks.

One store manager said she had received them but didn’t wear them, because they were “too hot.”

Another said, “I have a pack in the back in case someone comes in and needs one.” And yet another store owner said, “It was too thick.”

One of the storeowners thought the BID mask was a soda can holder.

Along Sunset, a store owner said, “I saw the pack and thought it was something to put soda cans into.” Another owner said, “It didn’t fit very well, it’s pretty thick, it feels like foam, but it was sweet the Chamber gave them to us.”

A local food store manager said, “They don’t fit well and don’t cover well. I gave them away to customers.”

Another store owner said, “We have our own, but if we forget one, there’s a whole package in the back.” In another store, no one was wearing the mask, but the manager confirmed they received them. “We have a bunch upstairs.”

The total annual budget for the Palisades BID is about $152,000. An email was sent to Lemmo on August 26, asking how he found the supplier and whether he had received other bids before purchasing the masks. He had not responded by post time.

Lemmo will step down as president on September 1 and will be replaced by Kevin Niles and Leland Ford.

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