Los Angeles Unified School District board member Steve Zimmer held a town hall meeting at last Wednesday, giving residents more details about that will address concerns about a proposed second power station in Pacific Palisades.
According to Pacific Palisades Community Council Vice Chair and Marquez Knolls Property Owner's Association Vice President Haldis Toppel, about 20-30 people attended the meeting. Toppel told Pali Patch that many felt Los Angeles Department of Water and Power General Manager Ron Nichols is still considering the LADWP-owned property adjacent to Marquez Elementary as a possible site for a second station.
LADWP has been evaluating locations for an additional station due to increased power demand in the Palisades. Along with the location next to Marquez Elementary, a location behind had also been considered.
However, after strong opposition by the Pacific Palisades community regarding the Marquez site, Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, Zimmer and Nichols called for the community-led task force. The just before the town hall meeting. The committee would consist of 7-12 representatives selected by local schools, the Pacific Palisades Community Council, the Los Angeles City Council and the LAUSD school board offices.
Responsibilities for the proposed task force would include discussing the need for the new station, coming up with ways to reduce energy use and identifying alternative locations for the station.
"It's a good step forward, but it's not taking Marquez off the table, which is what the community has asked," Palisadian Joyce Wong Kup told Pali Patch the day after the meeting. "In other situations, task forces like this have come up with consensus solutions. Having said that, every situation is different and every organization is different. It depends on the willingness of the organization to work with all the communities involved."
Wong Kup has been leading the community opposition effort regarding the Marquez site. She told Pali Patch two petitions opposing the Marquez location have been circulating since February. One community petition has garnered 536 signatures, while a petition circulated by Marquez Elementary parents has collected about 355.
According to Wong Kup, at Wednesday's meeting, Zimmer told the audience that during his discussions with Nichols he repeatedly communicated "his 'absolute and unconditional objection' to the Marquez site as well as the community's absolute determination to put up a strong fight." Wong Kup said Zimmer mentioned Rosendahl had done the same.
"We have to keep our efforts going, look how far we've come in three months," said Wong Kup.
In an email, Wong Kup noted that details regarding the community task force would be worked out over the coming weeks. Toppel added that Zimmer assured parents the task force would not take any action over the summer, since school would be out of session, and that work would pick up in the fall.
Toppel told Pali Patch that some community members who attended the meeting were interested in alternatives to the power station. She noted one resident asked if LADWP would consider using the millions of dollars it would spend on building a new power station to install solar panels to help ease the demand.
According to a letter from Rosendahl, Zimmer and Nichols outlining the responsiblities of the community task force, discussing alternative energy sources will be one of the responsibilities of the committee.
Although it seems residents echo the sentiment that the task force is a step in the right direction, Wong Kup says residents need to be involved in the conversation throughout the process.
"The community that this is going to be impacted the most needs a seat at the table," said Wong Kup.
- For a letter from Rosendahl, Zimmer and Nichols regarding the community task force, .
- For a letter from Rosendahl to Nichols regarding the LADWP station,
- For a statement from Nichols about station, .
- For the full story from a community meeting at Marquez Elementary regarding the station on April 16, .
- For a television report from KCAL 9 about the April 16 community meeting regarding the station,.
- For the story about Zimmer calling for the April 16 community meeting, click here.
- For more reaction from a Feb. 29 town hall meeting,.
- For information about the Coalition of Palisadians to Keep Marquez Charter School Safe, click here.
- For information about a petition written by a local attorney about the Marquez Elementary site, click here.