Pali Elementary Will Leave, Lemmo Is New President
Several members of the Pacific Palisades Business Improvement District (BID) board were required to meet with the City on August 1.
The City told BID representatives they are supposed to spend 90 percent of their funds every year, with only a 10 percent carryover.
The Palisades BID has received $203,768 in assessment revenue this year. As of July 31, the group has spent $93,000, but by December it should be in compliance.
“We are moving into compliance,” President Elliott Zorensky of UDO Real Estate said. “There’s $100,000 in the bank because we haven’t spent that much.”
Currently, there is $80,000 in a money-market fund. Members explained that money has been put away for tree trimming ($34,000) and for BID renewal expenses ($30,000).
Member Rick Lemmo, Caruso’s Senior VP of Corporate Relations, said “We are carrying over BID renewal expenses.”
Zorensky added that the City told them, “It must be in the report what the money is going for.”
Village School Director of Finance and Operations Manual Pardo said, “We can have them earmarked, but we should spend those funds to be compliant.”
“We have temporary high balances,” he said, “and we explained to the City it was only temporary. We had two- or three-years carryover, but by the end of the year we will spend 90 percent.”
There has been no movement on BID’s participation in the City’s pilot program to allocate parking meter revenues in Pacific Palisades to the BID. The reason: The City has not yet appointed somebody to run the program, so “we don’t have anyone to work with,” member Dave Peterson said.
A letter is being sent to the Pacific Palisades Community Council about the parking meter funds. “A first draft has been circulated to members of the board via email,” Zorensky said.
The ad hoc committee on reformation, also called the task force, met with the owner of New City America [Marco Li Mandri, based in San Diego], which has been hired to head the BID’s renewal process. (visit: newcityamerica.com.)
(Editor’s note: At the January BID meeting, a report by the Ad Hoc Reformation Committee, headed by Lemmo, noted that the committee would interview two additional candidates to manage the BID’s renewal, which expires January 2021. “The process is complicated, so we must begin early,” Lemmo said. The first proposal from Steve Gibson was for $45,000, but the BID hoped to pay about half that amount. Lemmo also clarified that it is not really a reformation, but more of a renewal.)
At the August meeting, Lemmo reported that “New City has finalized the data base,” and the Village Green and LAUSD (Palisades Elementary) will be removed from the BID renewal.
He added, “We’re determining the actual square footage of the new Village [Caruso’s mall].”
The renewal will last 10 years and the ad hoc committee hopes to have the plan finished by the first week of September, after holding a meeting the last week of August.
“The task force [ad hoc committee] is going to review the budget,” Lemmo said. “We want to submit the renewal to the City clerk by the end of September.”
The regular BID meeting will be held Wednesday, September 4, at the Chamber of Commerce office on Antioch.
A discussion ensued about how and whether LAUSD should pay the full BID fees for 2019 on behalf of Palisades Elementary, which occupies a large portion of the district.
Currently, Zorensky said, “The district does not pay the full amount.” LAUSD paid about 40 percent of what it was assessed last year.
Several members felt that BID property and store owners might be upset if they found out the school was not paying its full assessment.
But David Peterson asked, “Why should a shop owner complain because a public school can’t pay the assessment?”
“If a store owner said it couldn’t pay the assessment, we wouldn’t let it go,” Lemmo said.
Peterson replied, “To have Palisades Elementary pay … These schools don’t have money.”
“We are a BID, there is nowhere in the bylaws that says we can subsidize,” Lemmo said.
Pardo was asked how he felt that his private school had to pay and the public school did not.
“Since this property is so large, they [LAUSD] are expected to pay seven percent of the [BID] budget,” Pardo said. “They don’t generate seven percent.”
He used the airplane example that if a seat isn’t sold, then the airlines will take whatever money is offered. He felt that it was fair that the school paid what it could.
“It’s not fair for us to judge it on money,” Pardo said. “A public school is different from a private business.”
“It’s about our policy, nothing more, nothing less,” Lemmo said, and mentioned again that LAUSD would not be in the upcoming BID renewal.
“I think we need to keep the public school in,” said Susan Carroll, owner of Gift Garden Antiques.
Pardo pointed out that there were perhaps 500 families at the school and he and Carroll agreed, “We need to put an emphasis on community.”
Lemmo said, “I’ll support you, but every member [of the BID] needs to be treated equally.”
“I disagree,” Peterson said. “We’re talking about LAUSD, which has a serious problem. I think for us to say they have to give all this money is wrong. We have businesses which are making money, LAUSD is not.”
The discussion was moved to the next meeting.
After several board members said they didn’t have time to be president (replacing Zorensky, who is moving to Las Vegas), Lemmo volunteered.
According to the bylaws, the president needs to be a property owner or a tenant of a property owner. Caruso is the property owner and Lemmo works for Caruso. His term will run through December 2020.