There is so much apathy in the country and around the world. People seem to walk around with emotional blinders on so as not to acknowledge the pain and suffering of those around them. But, that is far from the case inthecanyon. Just consider what some of our amazing neighbors are doing.

Jorga Leap, a warrior who has worked with Father Gregory Boyle for years to help gang members turn their lives around and more recently with Project Fatherhood. An organization that works with former gang members to help guide them to becoming good fathers to their children so that their children don’t fall into the same trap that they did.
Greg Willis, a one man crusader who spends his time and money cleaning up the beaches around the area.

Marilyn Wexler, when she is not marching for women’s rights she is holding city, state, and government officials to account for issues that impact the lives of inthecanyon neighbors.

Valerie Van Galder. After being personally touched by someone suffering with depression, Valerie joined forces with Depressed Cake Shop and opened a chapter here. The Cake “Shop” is actually a roving bake sale where all the proceeds go to local charities to raise awareness about depression and mental health.
Sharon Kilbride, a past Pacific Palisades Citizen of the Year recipient, spearheaded the efforts to clean up the tunnel to the beach and worked to make those in authority accountable for keeping it clean. She is also a volunteer working to help ease the homeless population in the area by finding them housing.

Patricia Nettleship, the Keeper of the Gate at La Senora is preserving the rich history of early California. The La Senora Research Institute works to hold tours, lectures and screen classic films made by former residents of the Hacienda.

Debbie Warfel, the red baroness of airport noise nuisances. Debbie works tirelessly to get people involved petitioning for a reduction in the noise over the Canyon.

George Wolfberg, another past Citizen of the Year. If there is a cause George is there full throttle. In addition to his continuing work the SMCCA he speaks to officials of all stripes to promote and make clear causes important to inthecanyon neighbors.

And then there are all our neighbors who come together time and time again. When the call went out to work on beautifying the Recreational Center you came in droves; Cleaning dead foliage, planting trees and installing benches.

The past year or so has been a very interesting real estate environment. While interest rates have remained incredibly low inventory has also remained incredibly low and because prices continue to rise it has been more and more difficult for new, especially younger buyers, to purchase a home. Let’s break this down. Why are there so few houses on the market? One explanation is that people are remaining in their homes longer. Unless you have to sell because you are relocating, divorcing and must divide assets or there has been a death, most people find it makes more financial sense to stay put. Rising prices make the prospect of a huge capital gains penalty unpalatable and looking at what you might pay in property taxes for a new, more expensive house, compared to what you are paying now also prevents many from selling. This is because property taxes are reassessed, for the most part, only when a house has been sold.

As for buyers. For those that can afford to buy a house the competition is fierce. More and more homes sell over asking in multi-offer scenarios. Many get discouraged and just give up putting in offers. Or, the offered price is within their means but by the time the bidding ends they are over their max.

But, people do want to buy now because it is certain that the interest rates will be going up soon. The Federal Reserve has been very cautious about raising them and has closely monitored and analyzed all the factors that figure into the decision to raise interest rates. Most measures (employment, GNP, manufacturing, etc.) are showing signs of sustained strength so it is pretty much a sure thing that interest rates will start to tick up. Unless the housing market loosens up, even more buyers will have to sit on the sidelines.

Drilling down to our little inthecanyon paradise we are actually seeing an increase of homes on the market. There was a 31.5% increase, from 22 to 29, homes for sale from 2015 to 2016, with a 2% decrease in sales price. Comparing the first 7 months of 2015, 2016 and 2017 we are also seeing increases in homes on the market. 33% in 2016 over 2015 and 18% from 2016 to 2017. Prices increased by 21% from 2015 to 2016 but, so far the average price is down slightly from 2016 figures. Like we said… an interesting market.


Including Huckleberry! Caffe Luxxe! RustiCoffee!  and…

Bake & Gather


We are a community group of bakers- amateur & professionals, business owners, parents and caring residents dedicated to inspiring people to do good through their own passions.  Our goal is to be a resource and inspiration to anyone who wants to make a difference through simple actions within their communities.

Bake & Gather is the first of many grassroots ideas to inspire people to host bake sale events, encourage community building and then donate all proceeds to their charity of choice. We believe when we get communities together, hold space, and bond over a common passion, we can slowly start to connect with each other again. While baking is our current focus, we hope to spark this into whatever passion you may have. Who knows, maybe one day there can also be—BBQ & Gather. Surf & Gather. Jewelry Making & Gather!

Whatever the focus, the goal of these events are to have fun, foster relationships in your communities and give back. We have confidence that great things happen when we spread love and create a forum for people to come together because in the end, we are truly #bettertogether

Hello Rustic Canyon Patrons!

One week from today, we will have our Preservation Masterplan for the Rustic Canyon Club House Restoration presentation!

Please join us as we inform the community of the exciting research and what is planned as we move forward to restore this precious gem of a park.

Feel free to email if you have any questions!

Live Rustic! Play Rustic!

May 17th at 6 pm at the Clubhouse!





Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Rustic Canyon Recreation Center
601 Latimer Road
7:00 P.M. – Refreshments–Meet Speakers and Board

7:30 P.M.–8:45 P.M. — Program:
Business Meeting – Board member election – term ending June 30, 2018

Featured Speakers:

  • Honorable Councilman Mike Bonin reports on City of Los Angeles issues
  • Maryam Zar, Chair of Pacific Palisades Homeless Task Force


  • Senior Lead Officer Michael Moore
  • Your Board members

Table Top Displays:

  • Rustic Canyon Clubhouse restoration
  • Park activities
  • September 24th Rustic Nights Gala
  • Historic Photos and more!

Every year, on the first Saturday of June, a gala fundraiser is held at the Rustic Canyon Recreation Center.  Funds from recent Rustic Nights have enabled the refurbishment of our tennis courts, the gym floor, stage lighting and curtains as well as a start on plans to refurbish the historic 1923 Uplifters Clubhouse which is a centerpiece of the park.  Rustic Night is June 6 and will feature a 17-piece orchestra conducted by seven time Emmy Award nominee Les Hooper.  It will be a terrific evening with a Coconut Grove theme, excellent food, did I say wine (?) and, of course, dancing through the night.

Mark my words, this is not your usual fundraiser. The evening is pure fun infused with some the magic of the original Uplifters. Come dine and dance and enjoy the spirits of the canyon. The only way to describe it is to come see and experience it for yourself.

Buy your tickets at


Hello, Rustic Canyon Family!

We are thrilled to announce that we’re combining Rustic Coffee with our Holiday Boutique this year!
We would LOVE to see all of you out and about at our lovely park for coffee and socializing, all the while getting to shop for unique items for everyone on your holiday list!

Please come join us on December 6th! (Coffee from 10am-2pm, Boutique from 11am-4pm). And be sure to spread the word so everyone can experience the wonder of Rustic Canyon!

Thank you and see you at the Canyon!

Rustic Canyon Recreation Center
601 Latimer Road
Santa Monica, CA 90402
310-454-5734 office
310-575-8015 fax





We enjoy an abundance of fine dining inthcanyon.  Whether your taste runs from nachos and a cold Corona to an elegant fresh caught fish dinner we have it all.

But, even more than that, our neighborhoods are home to a number of award-worthy chefs and culinary entrepreneurs.

Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan are pretty much superstars in the restaurant world. The husband and wife team not only own and run Rustic Canyon Wine Bar but also Huckleberry Bakery & Café, Milo & Olive and Sweet Rose Creamery.  Their food philosophy is organic, fresh, local and always cook and bake in

keeping with the season. You can be sure to see them at the Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades farmers markets on any given week. We can’t wait to see what new tasty adventure they come up with next.

Uplifters Kitchen on Ocean Park is a small coffee shop and bakery with a strong emphasis on locally sourced ingredients. Owners and inthecanyon residents Elizabeth Spaulding and Tara Amiel bake all their goodies in house and in small batches and partner with other Los Angeles based artisanal food companies to bring you the highest caliber of product in the market.

Kim Jacobs dreamed of creating an opportunity for people to come “commune and connect spontaneously without having to get in your car or to plan it.” So, she and her husband Alain Briere decided to bring the experience to people.  Their vintage RustiCoffee aluminum trailer has become a mainstay inthecanyon and surrounding communities.  Featuring Stumptown Roasters coffee they park the trailer, open the side panel and treat the neighbors to great coffee, baked goods and a chance to “commune and connect” for a while.  RustiCoffee is very active in participating in fundraising events.

How does Kim feel about living inthecanyon?  She calls it a “beautiful tight-knit neighborhood.”



News flash….. It’s a drought and water is in pretty short supply.  We haven’t really felt the effects of diminishing water yet; no rationing, no dust coming out of the faucet when you turn it on to get a cool glass of water, so a lot of people are just doing what they have always done.

However, all indications are that this Super Drought is the real thing and we can do so little to save so much.

Here are some simple things that we all can do to do our parts.


Wash only full loads of laundry and dishes – Saves up to 50 gallons per week.   

Fix household leaks promptly – Saves up to 20 gallons per day 

Spend only 5 minutes in the shower – Saves thousands of gallons per year. 

Turn off the water while you brush your teeth – Saves up to 2.5 gallons per minute 

Buy water-saving devices like high-efficiency toilets and clothes washers – Saves many gallons per day.


Water your lawn 1 to 2 days a week instead of 5 – Saves up to 840 gallons per week.

Check sprinkler systems for leaks, overspray and broken sprinkler heads and fix immediately – Saves up to 500 gallons per month.

Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways and sidewalks – Saves up to 150 gallons each time

 Install a smart sprinkler controller that adjusts watering based on weather, soil type, amount of shade and plant type – Savings up to 40 gallons per day.

Water your plants in the early morning or evening to reduce evaporation and ineffective watering due to wind – Saves up to 25 gallons each time. 

Use organic mulch around plants to reduce evaporation – Hundreds of gallons per year

Consider re-doing your lawn with drought tolerant plants, gravel pathways, etc. – Hundreds of gallons per year. There is a program wherein the state will actually PAY you to convert your water guzzling lawn into a beautiful drought tolerant landscape.

Turf Terminators will do your eco-friendly landscaping in exchange for the state rebate. Check it out at


It’s an unfortunate fact of life, but there are some people out in the world who want our things before we are ready to let go of them. It’s something we all have to be aware of and, when thinking about making our homes safe, it’s a good idea to “think onion”. In other words, rather than putting up one barrier to protect your belongings, do it in layers. The more barriers a potential thief has to go through, the less likely you will be a victim – they will move on to an easier, more hassle-free target. This can be done fairly easily and with little expense. First, walk around your house and think like a burglar – looking for the easiest way to break in. Then, set up your defenses. For example, plant rosebushes outside windows. It not only will add a little beauty to the house, those thorns become a thief’s worse nightmare trying to crawl over to get into a window. Get double locks for the doors, at least one being a deadbolt. The longer it takes trying to get in the more exposed the intruder is and more likely to be discovered. Be sure garage doors and doors connecting the garage to the house are locked. Sounds obvious yet, it is one of the most common ways intruders get in and get your stuff out undetected; they just drive in, close the garage door behind them and load up! Also, don’t tempt fate by having your expensive electronics, artwork or other valuables visible to the world. And last, probably your greatest defense is being a good neighbor and friend. If everyone looked out for everyone else, the word quickly gets out “Not in my neighborhood”.  Your area LAPD Senior Lead Offer, Michael Moore, at (310) 444-0737 is there to help if you should need him.



When our children begin to leave home as they start their new lives, many homeowners look to downsize their homes.  If you are 55 or older there are two laws that will help you save money when buying your new house; Propositions 60 & 90.

Proposition 60 allows  home sellers  who are at least 55 years old to transfer their  tax base from your existing home to your new purchase if the existing home is sold first and the new home is purchased within 2 years in the same county.  The one caveat is that the old home must have sold for at least the same price as the new home.  And, a five percent inflation allowance is allowed if the subsequent purchase is less than one year of the sale date of the original place of residence. A ten percent inflation allowance is allowed if purchased between one year, one day and up to two years.

Proposition 90 further expands this program to transfers between counties if the county supervisors have approved it.

As always, be sure to check with your tax accountant or attorney.


Once again …

inthecanyon steps up!

The Uplifters Clubhouse, that “good ol’ boy” iconic hideaway/playground of the Canyon elite was built in 1923.  It began when Harry Haldeman (grandfather to H.R. Haldeman of Watergate infamousy) and a group of local politicians and wealthy Los Angeles men decided to build a secluded enclave for their exclusive use and pleasure.

Here they talked politics and art. Played polo at Will Rodgers’ ranch just up the hill and partied and drank the night away with the likes of Walt Disney, Daryl Zanuck, Harold Lloyd and Busby Berkely. During Prohibition the Uplifters was known as a high-class drinking club.

In 1953 a wealthy socialite purchased the Uplifter’s from a Greek shipping tycoon and  donated it to the City of Los Angeles.  It ultimately became the centerpiece of Rustic Canyon Recreational Center.

Fast forward to today.  Under ownership of the City of Los Angeles the Uplifter’s, even though it is a designated cultural landmark, it has continuously slid into disrepair. The City of Los Angeles does not have the funds to make the necessary repairs and updates so, once again, SMCCA has stepped up and is about to shoulder the burden and figure out a way to do what needs to be done.

Spearheaded by 4 SMCCA members, Mike Deasy, Sara Boyers, Isabelle Mizrahi and Lisa Bitan, they are putting together a plan to restore the Center.

First, they will engage a core group to identify expertise for the creation of the right public-private entity to carry the project forward, incorporating legal, architectural, historical, construction, interior design, fund-raising and non-profit models. Then, a feasibility team will determine the needs of the structure and its uses. Once restoration estimates are inked out they will begin a campaign to fund the project.

“Daunting?,” asks Mike Deasy. “The Rustic Canyon Recreation Center and Canyon School are the heart of our community as well as its icon. Our two canyons are one of the most historic places in our city. Our neighborhoods are constantly reinvesting the unique and the old with the new. Let’s insure our public spaces reflect this continuity, as do our private spaces.”

Mike adds, “Most importantly, we need input from you, the stakeholders. No capital is required at this point—only your valued insights.”

Let your voice be heard.  Email for more information






Experts have long advised homeowners not to water coastal live oak trees because that would encourage fungus which could weaken and kill the trees.  However, after a brutal three years of drought the trees are now facing another danger – beetles.

If your trees are going from green to brown or you notice oozing or staining on the trunk or numerous twigs that are turning brown and falling off you may have beetles.

You can mimic late-spring rainfall by using a 100 foot soaker hose set on a slow drip for 24 hours once a week.  Don’t place the hose at or near the base of the tree however, or allow water to soak the trunk.  Place it along or just inside the drip line.  Even though we are well into the summer months, you can still use this method to save your trees.

If you are concerned about your oak trees contact an

arborist to check them out and advise you on how to save these signature trees.

Or, you can contact the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains at

Or call them at 818-597-8627 or call Isabelle for a recommendation for an Arborist.

By Kenneth R. Harney
April 20, 2014, 5:00 a.m.

WASHINGTON — It’s common knowledge verging on holy writ in real estate: Spring is the absolute best time of the year to sell a house.


But is there hard statistical evidence that listing your house in April, May or June — flowers blooming, birds chirping, lawns greened up after a tough winter — actually nets you a higher price or a shorter time from listing to sale?

Yes, but it’s not as clear cut as you might imagine. There are important nuances in the data. Reviews of realty industry and academic studies suggest that although sales totals generally are highest in May and June, they are actually reflecting listings, contracts and buyer searches that occur earlier in the year.

A study of 1.1 million home listings between 2011 and 2013 in 19 major markets by the national realty brokerage firm Redfin found that, contrary to popular impressions, houses put on the market in winter — defined as Dec. 21 through March 21 — had a 9-percentage-point greater probability of selling within 180 days and at a smaller discount to the initial list price than houses put on the market during the spring months (March 22 to June 21). The advantage jumped to 10 percentage points over summer listings (June 22 to Sept. 20). Winter listers ultimately sold for prices slightly higher than homes listed during any other season.
Though there were geographic differences, researchers found that even in areas with harsh winters, there were statistical advantages for listers. In Chicago there was a 13-percentage-point advantage in selling time for listings initiated in the late December through mid-March period compared with listings in the summer.

In Boston, the advantage was 14 percentage points. In Los Angeles and San Diego, even with their relatively mild winters, the advantage was still evident — 9 points and 11 points, respectively. In Seattle, it was 12 points.

Ellen Haberle, a Redfin economist, said sales agents in Boston and Chicago reported that the greatest effect of winter weather this year was not on buyers — they were scoping out available listings early on. Instead it was the owners who lagged — they were reluctant to list their homes because they didn’t want to shovel snow or start the interior spiffing up needed to properly market their property.

A study conducted by real estate site Trulia in 2012 found that although prices on closed sales peak in May and total sales peak in June, there are significant differences geographically. Prices tend to peak in the Southern states in March and April, according to Trulia, with the exception of Florida, where the high point comes in May. California, Virginia, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts prices also hit their statistical peak in May. But it’s later — June to August — in Oregon, Illinois, Connecticut, Washington and West Virginia.

A scholarly study published in the Appraisal Journal, a professional quarterly, covering valuations and sales in 138 large and small metropolitan areas found that local “seasonality factors” subtly affect what buyers pay. Using a statistical analysis technique to control for differences based on size, age and other property characteristics, researchers found that time of year definitely affects price.

By how much? It depends on location, but it’s probably more than you’d guess. The researchers created “adjustment” factors that can be used by appraisers to eliminate seasonal variations from their reports.

In the Los Angeles area, for example, the seasonal negative adjustment in February, the local low price point, is a minus 2.5%. In June, on the other hand, the seasonal factor is a plus 1.7%. In Miami, the adjustment is a negative 2.4% in January, a plus 1.3% in July. In Boston, minus 4.4% in February, positive 4.5% in June.
Should the season influence whether — and precisely when — you list your house for sale? Sure. But other, more personal factors should get higher priority: Is your house ready to list and show? Have you interviewed multiple agents to get comparative market analyses on your home’s probable selling price range? Are you prepared to do what’s necessary to sell at maximum price, which may include staging the interior and completing fix-ups and improvements?

Answer those questions, and price realistically based on the market analyses you’ve received from professionals — which may include advice on timing — and you should have a good shot at a successful sale.



This record drought that we find ourselves in has wreaked havoc in the mountains and forest areas with massive wildfires the likes of which have we have seldom seen.  Recently there was even a fire in the Palisades. With no end of drought-like conditions on the near horizon it is important for all of us to stay diligent in protecting our properties and the surrounding areas.

In addition to keeping brush clear on the hillsides and reducing dead wood around your property that could easily ignite, the LAPD Lead Officer for this area put out a notice recently asking people to be aware of the danger of potential fires due to active transient or homeless encampments in high fire risk brush areas.  They are typically seen near trail heads or while out hiking.  They ask that if you see such an encampment where you believe a fire could get out of hand to make note of the location as best you can.  If there is no address try to use approximate distance from a landmark or nearest street. Were there people there? Did you notice cooking or smoking? Why it appeared to be a fire threat.
Then call the Los Angeles Fire Marshall at 213-978-3570 or  They will come and investigate.  It may all be harmless and our hearts go out to those who are homeless but we all must work together to prevent these devastating wildfires.



The Rustic Canyon Park Advisory Board is a group of volunteers from the local community who advise and counsel the park administration. “Our mission is to help preserve the historic heritage of the park and to offer suggestions and programs on how to guide the park into the future.  Our aim is to offer creative programs in many areas including, artistic classes, athletic teams, children’s summer camps, pre-school care, and scholarship programs, which are offered to a diverse and vibrant community of all ages”.  At the helm are Steve Slavkin, Chairman,
Veslemoey Zwart, Vice-President, Kasi Dodge, Secretary and Jackie Koci, Recreation Coordinator.
The Board has been instrumental in initiating many improvements and additions to the park including raising funds to renovating  6 tennis courts, which has rejuvenated the tennis program.

They also spearheaded the summer Movies-In-The-Park program and last year started an Annual Rustic Night Dinner Party which raises money for the park and provides a venue for the inthe
canyon community to enjoy an evening of drinks, dinner, music and celebrity guests.

They are working to bring the very successful RustiCoffee Coffee In The Park back as a regular monthly event to the park.
The Park Advisory Board provides so many other valuable services to the park and the community as a whole including supporting The Grove renovations and replanting of the historic Grove.  They recently received a generous gift of a baby grand piano from Steve Galper and Berklee Hospitals which is now being used for music lessons and theatrical events.

Members of the community are always welcome to attend the Park Advisory Board meetings which are held the first Tuesday of every month at Rustic Canyon Park, at 6:30 PM.  Volunteers are always needed and they are currently looking for people to help with our upcoming Rustic Night Dinner Party.  Home chefs.  Decorators.  Lighting designers, etc.  They are also looking for someone to manage emails and community outreach. And, of course, donations are always appreciated. You can donate funds to LAPARKSFOUNDATION.ORG.    You can even specify which programs you would like your contribution to fund.

LIVE Rustic! PLAY  Rustic!


The U.S. Department of Agriculture named Los Angeles, along with 26 other California counties, as a designated primary natural disaster area due to the unprecedented drought conditions that we are witnessing.  At the same time Governor Jerry Brown has declared a drought State of Emergency statewide. Typically LA receives 15 inches of rain a year.  Last year it was just 3 inches!

So, it is time to brush up on those water-saving measures.  You remember those “don’t flush the toilet every time you use it” or “put a bucket in the shower to capture the water days”!  Well, here are some other tips that may seem not as yucky and will save a lot of water (and money on your water bill).

In California more than 50 percent of residential water use occurs outdoors!  Oh, how we love our lush green lawns.  But, if you don’t really use your lawn (no kids playing touch football in the back yard, no pets frolicking about) then alternatives such as native plants, succulents, rock gardens are all beautiful and economical. A small 1,000 sf lawn takes about 35,000 gallons of water per year.  In the winter, even though the temperatures have been in the 80s your lawn doesn’t need as much water because it is cooler during the night and the water is stored in the ground.

Here are some other painless water saving tips:
Take shorter showers.  A 5 minute shower vs 10 minute shower saves 12.5 to 25 gallons.
Turning the faucet off while brushing your teeth or shaving will save 10 gallons a day.
Clean driveways, sidewalks and patios with a broom – you’ve just saved about 8-18 gallons a minute.
Fixing worn washers in a faucet with a slow steady drip saves 350 gallons a month. And putting a new flapper in a leaking toilet can save 7,000 gallons a month.
A water-efficient washing machine will save you 16 gallons a load. A water-efficient dishwasher will save 8 gallons a load.
Soak pots and pans rather than run water over them while scraping the stuck on food will also save water.
Replacing a pre-1990 toilet will save 38 gallons a day per toilet!

And, for the truly committed – think twice before flushing that toilet!

Let’s all do our part.