11/19/13 PVE submitted a draft of a new Housing Element plan to the state that asserted that parkland CC&Rs would not allow other uses of that land (including low income housing). So the City is using the CC&Rs when it suits them, and then ignoring them when it does not suit them. Click here for the two-page excerpt from the Housing Element plan that refers to CC&Rs. You can also find the entire document in the “full packet” on the PVE website under the November 19, 2013 meeting -- click here.
- 7/15/13 Lugliani et al file briefing to support demurrer (click here). Lawyers representing the Luglianis argued that the Palos Verdes Homes Association has a right but not a duty to enforce the parkland restrictions; therefore they don’t need to pay any heed to the restrictions whenever they decide to ignore them. This is a creative argument, but it falls apart because PVHA’s bylaws written in 1923 specifically say they have a duty to enforce. The lawyers also argued that we did not have any standing to sue because we did not participate in the MOU. This is also incorrect, because as a taxpayer and resident we are a party to the protective restrictions that we seek to see followed and enforced. They also claimed that it was an issue of one neighbor disgruntled with the actions of another neighbor, which is also incorrect since 121 residents from many areas across PVE have signed letters objecting to the sale of parkland.
- 7/16/13 PVE City files briefing to support demurrer (click here). The City Attorney argued that any municipality has full “Police Power” and cannot be bound by any private contract, even one to which they were a signed party and specifically accepted the “forever parkland” clauses.
- 10/11/13 CEPC flies its response to demurrer by Lugliani et al (click here) and demurrer by PVE City (click here). Our briefing refutes these arguments, and makes some additional ones. For instance, we cited a staff report and Resolution passed in 2005 that specifically states that the City will enforce removal of all encroachments and defend the Protective Restrictions; those documents are also available on the website for your reference. We also cite a case where the City tried to build a maintenance facility on parkland and the courts enforced the parkland covenants over the City’s objections; thus they cannot remake claims that have already been decided by the courts. For supporting exhibits for the response to Lugliani et al demurrer, click here. For supporting exhibits for the response to PVE City demurrer, click here.
- 10/18/13 PVE City and Lugliani et al file their replies to CEPC response. For PVE City reply, click here. For Lugliani et al reply, click here.
- 10/28/13 Court Ruling on the Demurrer (click here). In favor of the defendants: “The demurrers to the third cause of action for writ of mandate are sustained with leave to amend on the ground that there is no ministerial duty shown in the pleading.” Note that this ruling only affected one of our three legal theories in the petition.
- 11/7/13 Amended Petition by CEPC (click here). We filed an amended petition (First Amended Petition for Writ of Mandate and Complaint for Injunctive Relief) with the court. It addresses the issue of ministerial duty more specifically than the original petition filed last May and removed the PVPUSD as a party to the suit. Through the discovery process, we were able to obtain information that supported our contention that the City and Homes Association have a duty to enforce the CC&Rs and deed restrictions that govern us.
- 12/5/13 Lugliani et al files briefing to support demurrer on First Amended Petition (click here for demurrer, and click here for motion to strike portions of the First Amended Petition).
- 12/5/13 PVHA changes laws firm (click here) and files briefing to support demurrer (click here). Their new argument is that "shall" in the Protective Provisions really means "may", and thus they have a "right but not a duty" to enforce the restrictions and protect parkland from sale or encroachments.
- 12/6/13 PVE City files briefing to support demurrer on First Amended Petition (click here).
- 12/19/13 CEPC files Responses to Defendants' briefings. For opposition to Lugliani click here. For opposition to PVHA, click here. For opposition to PVE City click here. Other documents filed include Opposition to Lugiani Motion to Strike (click here), Request for Judicial Notice on Lugliani Demurrer (click here), Request for Judicial Notice on PVHA Demurrer (click here).
- 1/7/14 Judge O'Brien ruled in favor of the defendants in the writ mandamus part of the case saying he saw "no ministerial duty" that requires the CIty and PVHA to abide by the deed restrictions. We have decided to seek appellate review of this decision
9/17/13 Blog entry in PV Patch -- click here
8/15/13, 8/22/13, and 8/29/13 Letters to the Editor, Palos Verdes Peninsula News: We believe municipal codes, as well as the covenants and restrictions that guide our City should be applied equally to all residents, without prejudice. As such, John Harbison submitted a Letter to the Editor of the Peninsula News, and the letter asked why all City Councilmembers sought prosecution of a group of people that had cleared brush from the Douglas Trail (a neglected responsibility of the City) while ignoring 38 years of extensive digging and grading on the parkland adjacent to 900 Via Panorama. This letter was published on August 15, and one resident (Catherine White) published a response the following week. Concerned that she had missed John’s point, he wrote a follow-up letter to set the record straight, and that was published on August 22nd. All three letters are attached -- click here
8/20/13 PVE Planning Commission Meeting: John brought up the issue of encroachments on public pathways and pointed out that there was an encroachment next to a residence seeking approval for revisions on Via Guadalana. While the Planning Director indicated that the Planning Commission normally addresses encroachments when applications are submitted, the lack of a policy addressing these issues made it beyond the Planning Commission’s purview to deny the revisions in this case. The Planning Commission thanked John for his comments and indicated they wanted to be involved in the policy discussion -- click here
7/23/13 City Council Meeting on "Determination of the Scope and Process to Develop a Parklands and Trails Policy": Both John & Renata Harbison made presentations, along with a few other residents in support of maintaining access to parkland, trails and paths. However, there were speeches by residents living next to trails and/or the Del Sol fire road who were very vocal in their desire to shut down trails and access to parkland. Comments by the City Councilmembers seemed to signal they are moving towards reducing or closing access to the parklands around the Del Sol Fire Road and the “Douglas Trail” (originally called the Paseo Del Sol Trail on the 1926 City Map. Since those two tracts of parkland combine to represent about 30% of all parkland in PVE, and some of the other parkland tracks have no public access, we find this disregard for public parkland access very disturbing. Parkland and trail policy and will likely be an agenda item for a City Council Meeting this fall, so stay tuned. -- click here
7/17/13 Letter to PVE City Council in response to inaccuracies in the "legal matters' page of their website -- click here
7/8/13 Comments delivered by Jeffrey Lewis to the PVE Parklands Committee Meeting: In the public comment portion of the agenda, Jeff Lewis (attorney for CEPC) asked why the Parkland Committee was not involved in any way in the 2012 MOU involving the sale of parkland at 900 Via Panorama, despite their charter at the time which was to make “discretionary decisions regarding the maintenance, development and preservation of the City's 500 acres of Parkland and unimproved right-of-way....”. Jeff also pointed out that the PVE City website had re-written the Parkland Committee charter in August 2012 to exclude all references to parkland. He based this on a screenshot of the older website obtained at the “wayback machine” website. Interestingly, the following morning, PVE City’s webmaster added code to their website to disable compatibility with the wayback machine. Was this an attempt to evade scrutiny and destroy evidence? While this behavior by our City seems shocking, it was ineffective since we have screen captures of the earlier charter before the website code modifications were made. -- click here
7/5/13 Letter to PVE City Council with photos of the Via Panorama parkland property being enjoyed by over 200 residents for July 4th fireworks -- click here
7/4/13 Ad in Peninsula News for CEPC -- click here
6/27/13 Article in Palos Verdes Peninsula News: "Citizens’ group files suit against PVE, PVPUSD and PVHA" -- click here
6/25/13 Article in Daily Breeze Article: "Palos Verdes Estates Residents Sue Over Land Swap" -- click here
Press Release about CEPC petition to Los Angeles Superior Court 6/24/13 -- click here.
CEPC petition to Los Angeles Superior Court for writ of mandate and complaint for injunctive relief 5/13/13 -- click here.