Palisades Chamber Changes Focus from Community to Business

During prior Chamber Expos, a car show was held on Via de la Paz.

Chamber Scales Back, Loses Members

Circling the News has received emails from several Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce members about their disappointment with the “new” Chamber and who are considering not renewing their membership.

Rick Mills, who’s in the real estate business, received the following invoice from the Chamber:


 Due 12/26/2018

Amount Due: $350.00

Dear Mr. Mills:

Your invoice appears below. Please remit payment at your earliest convenience.

Thank you for your business—we appreciate it very much.



Mills sent the following reply to Marilyn Crawford, the Chamber’s long-time administrative assistant:

With regret, I have decided to not renew my membership in the Chamber. I am very disappointed in the Chamber’s willful disengagement from many of the events and activities which helped make the Palisades a special, locally focused, family-oriented community. If this changes for the better in the future, I will revisit my decision.
Rick Mills, Realtor, Homes USA, Ltd. 

Circling the News visited the Chamber of Commerce website and the only event listed for 2019, so far, is the annual Installation dinner, set for January 17 at the Riviera County Club. Tickets are $125.

At one time, the Chamber was a vibrant presence in Pacific Palisades, hosting numerous community gatherings, such as Holiday Ho!Ho!Ho!, the Village Fair, the Community Expo & Classic Auto Display, the Polo Tournament, the Teen Contest, a Sidewalk Sale and monthly mixers.

The Chamber also helped the Village and surrounding areas stay trash free, by requesting donations from residents, which paid for Chrysalis workers to keep the streets clean and trash picked up.

When the Palisades Business District came into existence, it hired two additional Chrysalis workers. Alas, at the May BID meeting, Caruso VP Rick Lemmo, who is also the VP of Unification at the Palisades Chamber, announced that the Chamber would no longer raise money to hire Chrysalis personnel, which it had done since 2002. He noted that “The mission statement of the Chamber is for business only.”

At that meeting, a BID member asked, “But doesn’t having the Palisades trash-free promote business?”

The revamped Chamber board (following the retirement of executive director Arnie Wishnick) did away with the traditional Holiday Ho!Ho!Ho! this year, ending a 69-year tradition of welcoming Santa Claus to festivities on Swarthmore. Local residents stepped up and created a replacement event,  Holiday Hullabaloo, at the Recreation Center.

Meanwhile, the Chamber instituted a Holiday Stroll on a Friday evening, which cost participating members $250. Residents were encouraged to visit participating stores to receive a California lottery ticket.

The Chamber annually hosted and then co-hosted the teen pageant, selecting two local youths to ride in the Fourth of July parade, atop the fire truck for the Holiday Ho!Ho!Ho! and participating at various mixers. This event has been taken over by a local newspaper.

The annual Polo Tournament allowed residents a chance to experience polo at Will Rogers without having to buy an expensive ticket. Gone.

This owner and his son drove over from the Valley to participate in the annual Chamber car show.

The Community Expo, focusing on healthy living vendors plus a wide selection of antique autos, is no longer on the schedule. Breakfast networking events, which were organized by former Chamber president Adam Glazer, have disappeared.

Will the Chamber community directory, which is mailed to every household, continue?

Under the history tab on the Chamber website, it is noted that the Chamber’s original intention was to “develop a series of events that would attract attention to businesses in the Palisades.”

The Chamber discontinued the Holiday Ho!Ho!Ho! this year, but members of the community organized a Holiday Hullabaloo, so that Santa could still come to town.

Founded in October 1949, members wasted no time:

“With the holiday season fast approaching, the Chamber had a packed agenda.  By November 15, 1949, they had a game plan that included a Yuletide affair to delight Palisadian families.

“On the afternoon and evening of Friday, December 2, 1949, the Chamber presented a community-wide square dance in the parking lot at Palisades Patio, and hosted a film showing at the Bay Theater. Plus, the organization offered two grand prizes-complete food baskets for a full Christmas dinner-and awarded 40 hams and turkeys to those lucky participants shopping at local shops.

“The holiday event was a success, and the Chamber’s Holiday Ho! Ho! Ho! has become a Palisades tradition, with children young and old waiting for Santa to appear.”

The site also notes that “Over the past six decades many other Chamber events have become time-honored traditions such as the Village Fair; Community Expo & Classic Auto Display; Polo Tournament, Sidewalk Sale, General Membership Meetings, Teen Contest, Mixers and the selection of the town’s honorary mayor. All 28 honorary mayors have been wonderful ambassadors.”



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6 Responses to Palisades Chamber Changes Focus from Community to Business

  1. Mary Strauss says:

    “The Chamber hosted a film showing at the Bay theater” in 1949.
    Imagine such a concept, doing something for the community.

  2. Linda Deacon says:

    Bravo, Rick!

  3. John Wilson says:

    The Lintrathen Company, that owns part of the Marquez shopping area, also will not renew its Chamber membership. It will also discontinue its annual donation to support various Chamber activities and its hiring of Chrysalis workers.
    John Wilson = President

  4. Phyllis Trager (formrly Phyllis Douglas) says:

    This Chamber better “get with the Agenda”. This town – one hundred years old in a couple of years-has it’s traditions which have made Pacific Palisades what it is. In my opinion and the opinion of many others, these traditional events should continue! Just because we now have a beautiful new area doesn’t mean we discard the truly fun times
    we’ve so enjoyed and participated in over many years!!

  5. Mike Kafka says:

    The Chamber president forgot that it was the community who supported his business. Putting Caruso members on the Chamber slants the community to a Caruso community, not a Pacific Palisades community. If I were a business person, I would be upset at the direction the Chamber is taking and drop my membership.

    350 people showed up for the stroll, which was intended to improve the visibility of local business. In my opinion very poor showing, and shame on the Chamber for charging small businesses to participate.

    On the other hand, the PALISADES COMMUNITY put on a Ho! Ho! Ho! Event in two weeks, attended by over 1000 people. Everyone had great fun. It was a wonderful event.

    It is disappointing that the Chamber was influenced to drop the event. Tradition does matter, AND WILL CONTINUE.

  6. Michael Kafka says:

    Rick Limo, has the title of VP of community reunification. He is doing a great job by canceling the twice weekly trash pick up by Chrysalis. I suppose that the only thing that matters is that the Caruso village be clean.

    In my opinion. We need to restore the trash pick up. Caruso staff should not have this much influence on the rest of the Palisades.

    I think that if trash pick up is not restored, chamber members should think hard about leaving the Chamber since it is Caruso influenced.

    I like and enjoy the new Palisades Village, but do not like their negative influence and politics on anything outside the Caruso property.

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