Vista Las Palmas Neighborhood Organization Annual Meeting Minutes - November 22, 2020

VLPNO Annual General Membership Meeting
November 22, 2020  4:00pm
MSTeams Virtual Meeting - Presentation
Meeting Objective: VLPNO Board Updates to the VLPNO General Membership & Board Election

The following board members/attendees were present: Scott Turner, Kevin Comer, Gustav Swanson, Kermit Ferrer, Sally Hightower Lippin, Rebecca May.  Guests: Mayor Geoff Kors, City Manager David Ready, PSPD Officer Shawn Carlin, and 19 Neighbors


  • Introductions:  Board of Directors  - KFerrer
  • Guests Speakers: - KFerrer
    • Mayor Geoff Kors
    • Palm Springs City Manager David H. Ready
    • PSPD:  Officer Shawn Carlin
  • Annual Report of Activities - STurner
  • Financial Report - KComer
  • Modernism Week VLPNO Home Tour - KFerrer
  • VLPNO Fund Raiser - KComer
  • Membership Drive:  Block Ambassador Proposa - KFerrer
  • The Agave Project -KComer
  • Candidate Introductions - GSwanson
  • Election of Members to the Board of Directors - GSwanson
  • Election Results / Closing Remarks - STurner


Sunday November 22nd’s AGMM was held virtually via MSTeams due to COVID-19 


  • Kermit Ferrer, VLPNO Board Secretary opened the MSTeams virtual call at 2:40pm
  • He welcomed participants individually as they joined the call
  • Meeting Attendance:  25 Households
  • VLPNO General Membership: 84 Households
  • 30% of the General Membership was present at the meeting.  Quorum was met.

NOTE:  Per the By-Laws One-fifth (20%) of the Members shall constitute a quorum at the Annual or any Special General Membership Meetings.

General Meeting:

  • Kermit Ferrer, Board Secretary, kicked-off the call and called the meeting to order @ 3:05pm
  • He welcomed the participating Neighbors and highlighted the new virtual format driven by the COVID-19 situation impacting us all.
  • Kermit confirmed 30% of members were present and meeting attendance quorum was met
  • Kermit introduced the current 2020 VLPNO Board:
    • Scott Turner – Chairperson
    • Gustav Swanson – Vice-Chairperson
    • Kevin Comer – Treasurer & One-PS Representative
    • Kermit Ferrer – Secretary
    • Sheila Cobrin – Member at Large
    • Sally Hightower-Lippin – Member at Large
    • Rebecca May – Member at Large
  • Kermit introduced the guest speakers in order for them to begin their portion of the meeting.
  • Kevin asked that any participants who had questions for our guest to enter the questions using the chat feature of the call and the Board would relay those questions to the guests.

Guest:  Mayor – Geoff Kors

  • Mayor Kors talked about the following topics:
  • COVID-19
    • Mayor Kors stated that cases are up
    • The City has implemented a new curfew / restrictions per the State guidelines. This isn’t a citywide full curfew, it is mostly directed at and impacting businesses
    • He said that the City is launching a campaign to Shop & Dine LOCAL to help local businesses who’ve been impacted the worst in this pandemic
    • He thanked the businesses and residents for following the rules
    • The City took a conservative approach to creating a financial plan given COVID and is currently ahead of plan.
      • Property Taxes are higher given the high demand, sales
      • Sales taxes are better than projected although not to last year’s level
    • Fiscal year July 2019 – June 2020 the City had $7mm in reserve
    • This year July 2020 – Nov YTD the City has $8mm in reserve
    • This has allowed the City to:
      • Add staffing/hire into open positions in municipal jobs and PSPD
      • Funding to trim palm trees
    • Measure J has brought in $2mm and this will be included in the paving Slurry fund which will hopefully address the VLP streets showing signs of failure.
  • The AGAVE Project
    • Project at the corner of W Stevens Rd & N Palm Canyon was put out to bid. The City has signed a letter of intent with the Developer. 
    • The City is excited that the original proposed project plan included space for Retail/Restaurant. This has yet to be confirmed as latest developer plans might be changing.
    • The City still needs to confirm if the developer has secured financing to supplement the funding provided by the City required to complete this project.
  • Other projects:
    • Draughtsman (old Pizza Hut) at the corner of W Stevens and N Palm Canyon has closed. It will reopen as a Food Fusion Gastropub on January 1st, 2021 lead by the team that runs 849.
    • 750 Lofts Project at 750 N Palm Canyon replacing a long-defunct Bank of America building with a hotel, restaurant, spa and rooftop bar.
  • Questions from VLP neighbors:

Patsy Marino asked:  Can you please give us an updated as to the status of the offensive Marilyn Monroe Statue?  There is a great deal of support in the community not to install it.  The statue is totally offensive to women.

  • Mayor Kors talked about the history of the statue’s tour previous stop over. It was a boom to PS businesses. Mayor Kors believes in the benefits of bringing the statue back and even used it as part of his campaign.  It’ll be 400 ft away from the museum.  Under consideration is making that portion of Belardo pedestrian only. The City is negotiating a 3-year temp land lease agreement.  Other locations such as Francis Stevens Park was considered but vehicle safety was a concern at this heavily trafficked intersection. 
  • This has the positive support of 2 female council member, the Chamber of Commerce and PS Hospitality. There will be a chair of public arts to see what can be one to use this as a means of education.

Guest:  Palm Springs City Manager – David Ready

  • David Ready gave an update on the following topics:
  • Stalled projects:
    • Andaz Hotel: Site under development on Alejo between N Palm Canyon and Indian Canyon. A lien has been placed on the property and a new developer is being sought.  The City will require the new developer to provide a documented schedule that shows a tight timeframe.  The developer will be required to meet all milestones.
    • Tova Hotel: Proposed site for the Tova Hotel and Beach Club at the former Garden Vista Hotel located at 1875 N Palm Canyon Drive. The project has been considered a blighted property for quite some time now.  The property owner who has filed for bankruptcy. The City of Palm Springs has issued several notices of violation and a demo order to the property owner. 
    • Dream Hotel: Site under development located across from the PS Convention Center. The developer has declared ‘force majeure’ due to Covid-19 and has asked for an extension to their construction schedule.
  • The Agave Project personal feedback
    • Good project for the City.
    • Housing for Seniors 62+ only. Provides a community service to middle to low income Seniors.
    • The WHCHC developer has partnered with DAP (Desert Aids Project)
    • The City will work with them on what they’re legally allowed to do with a primary focus to assist Palm Springs residents.
  • Short term rentals:
    • After a March stop order on vacation rentals, they were allowed to re-open in June.
    • At first complaints and citations were up in the summer with the City’s enforcement, the September/October complaints are down from the summer and equal to last year.
  • Kevin Comer congratulated David Ready on his soon to be retirement and on behalf of the VLP thanked him for his efforts and support.

Guest:  Palm Springs Police Department – Officer Shawn Carlin

  • Officer Shawn Carlin introduced himself
    • Been with PSPS for over 3.5 years
    • Currently assigned to the Patrol Division
    • Previously assigned to the Palm Springs Airport
    • SWAT Team Operator; Terrorism Liaison Office & Department Range Master
  • Office Carlin provided an update on the PSPD budget cuts due to City’s financial COVID impact and its effect to the PD Staffing
  • PSPD Suffered a loss of a total of nineteen (19) positions – four (4) of those were eliminated. He clarified that these were not layoffs but freezes on rehires into open positions due to retirements and separations
  • The overall impact is yet unknown. The impacts of staffing losses have hugely affected all aspects of City services, including but not limited to Police Department. Current staff at the PD have taken on additional responsibilities.  The Department is working diligently to maintain the same exceptional quality of service that our community is accustomed to.
  • How the budget cuts have impacted our Neighborhood:
    • The number of Officers on patrol is reduced
    • Officers unable to conduct as many patrol checks due to increased call volume
    • Wait times before an Officer is available can be increased
  • The social distancing and quarantine protocols mandated through the state and local governments has required the Police Department Lobby to remain closed. Community members and visitors may still visit the PD for services but must use an intercom outside of the lobby to communicate with dispatch and records bureau staff.
  • City has approved to review the City’s budget on a monthly basis. Based on loss or increased of revenue, the decisions will be made as to whether to unfreeze or bring back deleted positions.
  • As of our last City Council meeting (November 12th), revenue numbers exceeded projections and have now allowed the PD to unfreeze six (6) of positions. The PD will be in the process of filling these positions.
  • Officer Carlin provided Annual Crime Statistics for the VLP Neighborhood. He stated that our statistics are low in comparison to the rest of the City.
    • 27 Burglar Alarms
    • 17 Code Enforcements
    • 10 Disturbance Calls
    • 5 Vehicle Vandalism
    • 4 Keep The Peace
    • 10 Other
  • Questions from VLP neighbors:

Gustav Swanson asked:  Wont any of the laid off police personnel be recalled?  Rather than trying to recruit from scratch?

  • Both Mayor Kors and Office Carlin stated that no officers were laid off. Open positions were frozen. Some non-officer positions were laid off.


Annual Report of Activities

  • Scott Turner opened the Annual General meeting reporting on the VLPNO’s activities:
  • Hosted one pre-COVID Spring Social
  • Donated funds and participated in the Alexander Star Dedication
  • Held a successful Modernism Week 2020 VLPNO Home Tour. He thanked neighbor Jeffrey Saadeh for his leadership on this project
  • Held a fun Modernism Week 2020 Docent Appreciation Event. Scott thanked Patsy and David Marino for hosting this celebration
  • Four major donations made to the following organizations in need:
    • LGBT Center – Food Bank
    • Palm Springs Animal Shelter
    • AAP Food Samaritans
    • PS Modcom

Financial Report

  • Kevin Comer provided the financial update presenting the VLPNO’s current 2020 Balance as of 10/31/20 = $16,074
  • Main source of 2020 funding 2020 Modernism Week Ticket Sales & Membership dues
  • Funds utilized for:
    • Charitable Donations
    • Social Events
    • IT Consulting
    • Insurance Liability
  • Kevin followed with Proposed 2021 Budget with a deficit = ($3,280)
  • Main source of 2021 funding 2022 Modernism Ticket Sales & Membership Dues

Funds utilized for:

  • Federal & State Filing & Accounting Fees
  • 2022 Modernism Week Expenses
  • Social Events & Annual Meeting
  • IT Consulting
  • Insurance Liability
  • Kevin commented that it has come to our realization that State tax filings have not been submitted since the inception of the VLP. He is going to put much effort to completing past filings, payments and penalties to bring us up to date.

He also noted that not having a Modernism Tour in 2021 will have a substantial impact to our finances.  Thus he will be talking about a special fund raiser further on in the meeting

Modernism Week 2020, 2021 & 2022 VLPNO Home Tour

  • Kermit Ferrer talked through the following:


  • Tour Name: Vista Las Palmas: The Alexander’s Jewel in the Crown
  • Event held on February 15th, 2020
  • 6 VLP Homes Toured
  • Sold Out Event. Total Tickets Sold = 548 (22% above plan)
  • Big Thank You to Tour Organizing Committee led by Jeffrey Saadeh, Home Owners and Docents who made our event a SUCCESS!


  • Originally scheduled for February 13th, 2021
  • VLPNO had previously planned to participate in Modernism Week 2021 with a VLP Home Garden and Vintage Car Tour, given the uncertainty of the health environment, lack of volunteer VLP homes to participate in the tour as well as the planning committee commitments the VLPNO intent to participate in 2021 Modernism Week was withdrawn


  • Time to Start Planning is Now for February 2022 Modernism Week VLPNO Home Tour
  • Appoint VLPNO Home Tour Captain to coordinate planning, preparation, day of and post tour activities
  • Key Dates:
    • Jan 15th, 2021: Establish VLPNO Tour Committee
    • Feb 1st, 2021: Kick-off VLPNO Tour Planning Activities
    • Mar 1st – June 1st, 2021: Identify minimum of eight (8) homes for the tour
    • June 1st - Sept 1st , 2021: Prepare Tour Package Proposal and submit to Modernism Week for review
    • Sept 15th, 2021: Final Draft of Event Package due to MW Website
    • Nov 1st , 2021: Ticket Sales Launch for February 2022
  • Kermit stressed the need of the VLPNO’s member assistance with Tour Organizing Committee and Volunteer Homes.

VLPNO Fundraiser

  • Kevin talked about the VLPNO’s intent to raise funds.
  • This past year (2020), funds raised were used to donate to The Palm Springs Animal Shelter, PS Modcom, AAP Food Samaritans and The Food Bank at The LGBT Center. 
  • The VLPNO would like to continue to support our community organizations.  Every dollar of every donation goes either to charity or to efforts to improve and maintain our neighborhood.  
  • Given the state of our budget for 2021 with no Modernism Week VLPNO Home Tour revenue and the State filings, this year we are doing a combined membership/fundraising drive. Suggested Donation Levels:
    • Alexander $ 50
    • Dubois $100
    • Krisel $250  

Membership Drive:  Block Ambassador Proposal

  • Kermit shared the following statistics for the VLP Neighborhood:
    • Total Households = 425
    • NextDoor Households = 163
    • VLPNO Members = 84
  • Only 20% of our neighbors are VLPNO members
  • The Board intends to launch a membership drive via a Block Ambassador Project whereby the neighborhood will be split into ‘blocks’ and each block will have a Captain-Ambassador that will engage and recruit neighbors to join the VLP
  • Purpose of this membership drive:
    • Improve accuracy of VLP Neighbor DB information
    • Boost VLPNO membership
    • Improve communication of neighborhood efforts and activities
    • Drive the sense of community in our neighborhood as noted in our Mission
  • Next Steps:
    • Launch project in 1st Quarter 2021
    • Create sub-committee
    • Draft up VLPNO Blocks
    • Assign Block Ambassadors
  • Kermit walked through the VLPNO Membership requirements as stated in the By-Laws:
    • VLPNO Membership is open to All property owners, All individuals claiming primary or secondary residence (including business occupants).
    • Eligible Member becomes a “Member” by:
      a) Submitting a membership application or
      b) Signing into an Annual or Special General Membership Meeting.
    • Membership is good for one year and must be renewed each subsequent year.
  • Questions from VLP neighbors:

Steve Orr asked:  So are VLPNO dues now replaced by the three $50 - $100 - $250 level tiers?  David White:  Yes.

The Agave Affordable Housing Project

  • Kevin walked us the highlights of the proposed Agave Project:
  • West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation (WHCHC) has proposed a senior affordable housing project for low-income seniors ages 62 and above
  • Location: SW corner of N. Palm Canyon Dr and W. Stevens Rd in the OLP Neighborhood, and adjacent to the VLP
  • Features:
    • 71 one-bedroom units in a two-story structure
    • Amenities: Resident community room, gym/ fitness room, laundry room, and private outdoor open space
    • 3,000–4,000sq.ft. commercial space facing N Palm Canyon Dr
  • Project Architect: 64North Architecture, aims to honor the neighborhood’s midcentury modern heritage
  • There will also be two full-time onsite building managers
  • Voluntary comprehensive supportive services will be available on-site and free of charge to all residents. WHCHC has partnered with Desert AIDS Project (DAP) to provide these critical services that keep people housed
  • Kevin shared that the VLP has had three calls with the WHCHC to present concept to the VLP Board, VLP Neighbors and respond to some further questions by the VLP and OLP
  • He stated that it is of concern that in the initial presentation 20 of the 71 units were to be used for ‘TRANSITIONAL’ housing (transitional from incarceration and/or drug rehab). Subsequently in follow-up calls when the VLP asked specifically about this ‘transitional’ portion of the housing, the WHCHC stated that the project was for low-income seniors 62+ and ‘promised’ that the ‘transitional’ wouldn’t be part of the project.
  • Kevin mentioned that he didn’t feel comfortable with a ‘promise’ and proposed that the City and the WHCHC put write in a restrictive covenant into the language of the project contract to clearly stipulate it.
  • Kermit shared the Timeline:
    • 2021: Approvals/Funding
    • 2022:  Construction/Opening

Election of Directors of the Organization

  • Gustav took us through the Board Candidate Elections.
  • Per the VLPNO By-Laws:
    • The Board shall consist of seven (7) members “Directors”
    • Terms shall be staggered
    • Terms for three (3) Directors shall expire at each AGMM in odd years
    • Terms for four (4) Directors shall expire at each AGMM in even years
  • Current Board members elected at the 2019 Annual General Membership Meeting will continue on the Board for the 2nd year of their terms:
    • Scott Turner
    • Gustav Swanson
    • Kevin Comer
  • Gustav thanked the outgoing Board members:
    • Sheila Cobrin
    • Kermit Ferrer
    • Sally Hightower-Lippin
    • Rebecca May
  • He stated that four (4) two year term (2020-2022) Board positions are open for Election.
  • Gustav announced the current running candidates (alphabetically by last name):
    • Kermit Ferrer (Running for re-election)
    • Patsy Marino
    • Steve Orr
    • John Vella
  • Gustav called for a motion to accept all four (4) candidates as the new Board members.
  • Scott moved to accept the four new Board members as presented. Howard Hawkes seconded the motion.
  • Gustav congratulated and welcomed the new VLPNO Board members.

Termination of the Meeting:

  • Scott stated that there is no further business and moved to call the meeting to an end. The motion was seconded.
  • Scott gave a BIG Thank you to all for participating in this new virtual format Annual General Membership Meeting. He also welcomed all four new Board members. Scott closed the meeting by wishing everyone a Happy & Healthy Thanksgiving Holiday.
  • NOTE: Board Meetings scheduled for 2nd Thursday of month @ 4pm.