Thursday, April 29, 2010

See Your Elected Officials In Action Monday Night

If you want to know what is going on in Portuguese Bend, turn off you TV, get up off the couch and attend the meeting of the PBCA Board Monday, May 3. The Architectural Committee meets at 7 p.m. at Ladera Linda and the regular board meeting follows immediately afterward.

Between the two meetings, a representative from Universal Waste Systems will  explain upcoming changes in our trash service and answer questions from residents.

Also on the agenda: Community Clean-Up Weekend, which has been set for May 22-23.

Other items on the published agenda include a letter from a resident regarding dumping of dirt, rocks and asphalt on Upper Peppertree and issues regarding access control (this means gate maintenance and car decals.)  Another possibe topic is the road work that began this week in the community, although it's not on the published agenda, which is posted at both the Narcissa and Peppertree gates.

Other items that have been discussed at recent meetings but remain unresolved are changes to the Architectural Standards and updated CC&Rs, and the upcoming Environmental Impact Report. While these issues are not on the published agenda, it is possible that they will come up at the meeting.

And of course, there is always time at the end of the meeting for comments and questions from the floor. If you have concerns about the community, this is the time to bring them up.

All residents are encouraged to attend.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Big Time Fun At Ride-to-Fly Day In The Country

A huge crowd turned out at the Empty Saddle Club Saturday, April 24, 2010, for a day in the country, compliments of Ride To Fly, the all-volunteer non profit therapeutic horseback riding organization that works with its clients here in Portuguese Bend, at the corral at Five Points. If you went, they they you for your support. If you did not attend, here's what you missed:

Pony rides, accompanied by
Ride-To-Fly volunteers in red T-Shirts

Games, run by Ride-To-Fly volunteers

Some players needed help.

Others didn't.


Crafts...decorating horseshoes with beads, also making bracelets and necklaces, and face painting...all run by Ride-To-Fly volunteers

Country and Western music and dancing, and food

Precision horseback riding by the Happy 

Some friendly farm animals to pet...not to mention a few friendly dogs.
And time for lots of family fun and good memories. If you missed it this year...don't make the same mistake next year. This group deserves everyone's support. sure to mark your calendar for the other event that supports horses and kids, coming up soon. The annual Portuguese Bend Pony Club pancake breakfast is scheduled for May 8 from 8 to 11 p.m. at 2 West Pomegranate Road. Just $7 buys a chance to eat a yummy breakfast and meet your neighbors. Call 310-377-6058 and tell them you'd like to reserve a spot.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Kids and Horses Need Our Support

We are lucky to live in a horse area, and even luckier to be home to two organizations that bring horses and kids together -- Ride to Fly and the Portuguese Bend Pony Club.

Both of them need our support.

This Saturday, April 24, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Ride to Fly, an all-volunteer non-profit organization that provides therapeutic horseback riding lessons, is hosting its only public fund-raising effort. So put on your best Country and Western attire and go over to the Empty Saddle Club, 39 Empty Saddle Road, Rolling Hills Estates, for some fun and games. Admission and parking are free. There will be burgers, hot dogs and drinks, games, pony rides, a silent auction, and live country music by Brian Lynn Jones and the Cowboy Misfits.  If you call 310 -755-4006 and tell them that you're coming, they'll be sure to have enough food for everyone.

Two weeks later, on Saturday, May 8, the Pony Club, which brings kids and horses together for instruction and fun, is offering a pancake breakfast from 8 to 11 a.m. at the Pony Club, 2 West Pomegranate Road. Just $7 will buy you pancakes, sausage, orange juice, coffee and all the fixings. Not only will you get a great breakfast, but you'll get to eat it with some of your neighbors. Many Bend residents joined the fun last year. You can RSVP for this event by calling 310-377-6058. That way, they'll know how much food to prepare. Pony Clubbers suggest that if you come hungry, you'll leave happy.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Lovesong of Portuguese Bend

On the hillside, workers go
Mowing mustard, to and fro.

Turning the yellow gown that garbed the rolling slopes to scrap,
Shredded by machines that buzz like bees
But do not feed. Instead they kill,
Leaving the hill naked to the skies
And all neighbors' eyes.

Springtime green and yellow,
A place to nest and hide,
Food for bugs and birds and bees and mice
Pristine and clean, but at what price?

(with apologies to T.S. Eliot)

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Board Member Responds About Dumping

Mike Cooper called tonight to answer the questions we posed  two days ago about the dumping of dirt, asphalt and rocks at the end of Peppertree.

Cooper says that he brings in dirt from other construction jobs on which he works, and uses it for the work he does in Portuguese Bend on the roads. He said that when he finishes his current work on Limetree, the dirt and asphalt chunks will be gone from the end of Peppertree.

As for the very large rocks that are piled up there, he said that he uses them to block access to areas where people should not go, such as the area commonly known as "The Bean Field," or the area at the end of Narcissa Drive.

Cooper said there is nowhere else to stockpile these supplies in Portuguese Bend, because the Board does not own any property except the gate lots, which are not large enough to hold this material.

Does anyone want to donate some less visible space where he could store these materials?

New Rules

This blog has been running for about a week, and during that short time, I've been re-thinking a few things.

The main reason that I wanted to write and print news about Portuguese Bend, on an official web site or a blog, was to cut through the rumor grapevine and provide factual information to residents of the Bend.

One of the differences between news and opinion, is that news stories always have a source for the information in the story. It may be a city official, a citizen who viewed a traffic accident, a student with a problem...someone who is willing to be quoted as a source of the information that is printed. In obtaining news about the Bend, whether about overflowing sewers, upcoming Environmental Impact Reports, or Mr. York's activities, I have tried to talk to city officials, or PBCA Board members, or whoever could provide me with relevant facts.

With that in mind, it hardly seems fair to post rumors from anonymous sources in the blog comments.

With that in mind, from now on, I will not publish anonymous posts.

On the other hand, I understand that sometimes, readers have information that they think should be out there, but they are reluctant to sign their names, for fear of some sort of retaliation. I will, therefore, follow up on any information you care to submit via email to If I can find a legitimate source who is willing to be quoted, to verify the information you have submitted, and if I think that it would be good for Portuguese Bend residents to have this information, I will post it in a blog item.

If you have questions about this, please feel free to email or comment.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Join the Fun at the Ride-To-Fly Country Carnival and Silent Auction

For a fun day of activities for kids AND adults, plan to attend the annual Ride to Fly Country Carnival and Silent Auction,  April 24 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Empty Saddle Club, 39 Empty Saddle Road, Rolling Hills Estates.

Admission is free. They’ll be serving hamburgers, vegi-burgers, hot dogs, drinks, chips and cookies for a modest fee. Activities will include a silent auction, raffle, children’s games, pony rides and live country music for dancing and listening by Brian Lynn Jones and the Cowboy Misfits. 

The Ride to Fly folks are inviting everyone to put on their best Country ‘n’ Western attire and come join the fun.

You may have seen Ride to Fly in action here, in the corral at Five Points (where Cinnamon, Ginger Root and Narcissa meet).  Volunteers and students are there several days a week for a few hours, riding in the corral and occasionally, on the streets. 

This all-volunteer, non-profit organization helps adults and children with a wide variety of disabilities to ride horses, an activity that is recognized as beneficial by medical doctors, psychiatrists, physical and occupational therapists, speech therapists, and teachers. Aside from being fun, horseback riding improves balance, muscle tone, strength, range of motion and circulation. Additionally, riders benefit from the increased self-esteem, confidence and coping skills that come from learning to control a horse. Riding also increases the riders’ concentration, patience and discipline.

“It has changed our life,” said one mother, whose daughter has been going to Ride To Fly for eight years. Parents tell of children with very serious physical and mental challenges, who become more verbal, stand taller, walk better and have better physical coordination as a result of being involved with Ride to Fly. Interestingly, the organization sometimes changes the lives of its volunteers, too. But that's a story for another time. Right now, the focus is on the day of fun April 24.

For more information about this terrific organization, check out their website: For a close-up view of what they do, when you see  cars parked beside the corral at 50 Narcissa, stop, lean on the fence and watch for a while. Talk to a few parents or volunteers. I think you'll be impressed. You might even want to lend a hand.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Jim York has applied for a Conditional Use Permit to use 25 acres of his 95 acre Point View Property to grow avocados, grapes and citrus. His application also seeks permission to install two water tanks and an irrigation system to support this agricultural use.

This area is within the Moratorium area but a moratorium exception category allows applications for uses that are "ancillary to the primary use of the lot where there is no possibility of any adverse impact upon soil stability." York has submitted geotechnical reports that would support this use, a
ccording to RPV Senior Planner Eduardo Schonborn.

The city has asked for some additional information and the geology report has not yet been approved, according to Schonborn. When that step is complete, the application will be forwarded to the Planning Commission for review. This will include a public hearing. Residents who live within 500 feet of the property will be advised of the meeting date by mail, as will those who have signed up for the city's listserv about the Point View property. Additionally, a notice will be posted on the city's website. We'll also keep you updated on this blog.

You can join the Point View listserv as well as other city listservs by filling out this application:

On a slightly different note, but also Planning related: The RPV Planning Director has approved Landslide Moratorium Exceptions for  three more lots on Plumtree Rd. and Narcissa Dr. As of April 7,  LME requests for the the six remaining Monks lots are incomplete. The city is waiting for additional information from the applicants.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Residents Ask: Private Road or Private Dump?

Ben and Peggy Zask emailed this photo and asked: "Is our street considered the official storage dump for the community?" Zask's official address is on Narcissa but you can't tell because there is no street sign. The only way to get to their house is to drive right by, (actually around), these very large piles of dirt, asphalt chunks and enormous rocks that are piled up alongside the road. The piles are so big that they are spilling out into the road. The Zask's describe their address as, "the top of Peppertree on 'Not a through street.' "

Their email continues: "The constant dumping of road scraps is increasing as the months go by, often obstructing our ability to drive down our road. The big trucks that dump this scrap leave big holes in our road."

The photo really doesn't do justice to the mess. The pile of dirt is shoulder high, the pile of what appears to be large chunks of asphalt is equally huge and what you can't see in the picture is a very large collection of enormous rocks-- actually, boulders is probably a better word.

Who put this mess on Peppertree? Why is it there? Does anyone plan to move it, use it, add to it, build a bomb shelter under it? If it is being used for something in the community, could it be moved to some place where it doesn't obstruct traffic...maybe an empty lot with a fence, so no one has to look at it?

Does anyone know anything at all about this stuff? If so, email me ( or just post a comment on the blog.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Fences Part 2, and Other Gleanings from the April Board Meeting

Fences, and other architectural committee concerns, pretty much dominated last night's meeting of the Portuguese Bend Community Association Board. The Board probably will vote on suggested changes to the Architectural Standards at the April meeting, so if you Bend residents have any suggestions, ideas or other is your chance to have your say. Committee Chairt Tim Vaughn really wants member input. Email him at

Other issues of concern discussion by the committee and the Board: hours when construction is permitted. Recommendation at this point is: 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. No work would be permitted on Sundays or holidays. If you agree or disagree, tell Tim.

Finally, there was a long discussion about lighting: what works, what doesn't work. If you have thoughts on this topic, again, email Tim.

Committee member and architect Kim Nelson is reviewing all preliminary plans that are submitted to the committee. She is spending a great deal of time trying to explain to lot owners what is acceptable and what isn't, but even so, their ultimate submissions require much revision. She suggested that a book of drawings and renderings of various acceptable architectural styles, that could be given to anyone planning to build or remodel, would be a huge help. The Board voted to pay for production of whatever is necessary to make this happen.

The Board also voted to rescind its previous action regarding payment of assessments, and to move back to the 1978 ruling in the CC&Rs, which requires that assessment bills be mailed to members in October and be due the first Monday in November. Former Association Treasurer Jeannie Smolley noted that there must be 30 days between mailing and due date.

Board agreed with the recommendation of Bob Maxwell, PBCA's liaison with the city of Rancho Palos Verdes, that he ask that the 16 Monks lots be included in the upcoming Landslide Moratorium Ordinance Revision Environmental Impact Report (EIR) at Tuesday's city council meeting. The Council is scheduled to approve a budget adjustment of $139,826 from the city's General Fund to pay for the EIR, which will be conducted by Rincom Consultants, Inc.

The next step in this process will be a "scoping meeting" some time around the end of May, according to RPV planner Kit Fox. At that time, the folks doing the report will be looking for input the community: what are our concerns? what do we think the EIR should cover? If you have concerns, get ready. The city will send a notice. Are you on the mailing list? The city has a zillion listservs. Sign up here.

Finally, the Board agreed to schedule a community clean-up day some time around the end of May.

That's all folks.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sometimes, It's A Matter of Perspective

I know that some people say the mustard plants are non-native, and invasive and should be chopped down or pulled up. But couldn't we count them as some sort of wildflowers? The hills certainly are lovely now that the mustard is in bloom. The area looks all dressed up for spring-- as do the big peacocks that are strutting around, dragging their enormous tails, or trains, behind them.

One of the big birds has starting putting on a daily morning show on our deck, spreading his gorgeous fan and hollering for the ladies to "come see." And the ladies do gather around to watch the spectacle. Yesterday, we watched a gutsy little squirrel face down the enormous peacock over a peanut in the shell. I know that a lot of people think that the peacocks are messy and noisy. And they are; but every time we have visitors who see the big birds up close, they haul out their cameras, excitedly snap away and tell us how lucky we are.

Sometimes, it's just a question of perspective.

REMINDER: Don't forget the PBCA Board meeting Monday night at Ladera Linda. 7 p.m.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Pulitzer prize winning American poet Robert Frost said, "Good fences make good neighbors." I've always thought that this means something to the effect that we all get along better if we leave a little space between us. What do you think about fences? Specifically, what do you think about the PBCA Architectural Committee's suggested changes to some of the rules regarding fences, as well as a few other things in Portuguese Bend.They are as follows:

Proposed Amendments to Current Architectural Standards
Portuguese Bend Community Association
February 9, 2010

1.) Section III - FENCING, B) TYPES OF FENCING, shall be modified to clarify that solid wood fencing of a natural color shall be allowed on lot lines between properties, provided there is a residence on at least one of the properties, and further provided both owners of the directly affected lots are in agreement with the proposed fence. Said fence shall be no closer to the street than the front of the house and shall comply with all height and setback requirements. Evidence of approval by neighbors of adjacent affected property shall be submitted to the committee along with the proposed plans.

2.) Remove Amendment #4 – adopted May 13, 2002
L.) Detached Accessory Buildings 2)P.7
Clarify that no Freestanding Accessory Buildings may be built prior to construction of a residence.

3.) Building Hours;
Building Hours for new construction shall be allowed only between the hours of 7 AM to 7 PM Monday through Friday and 9 AM to 4 PM on Saturday. No construction shall be allowed on Sunday and/or holidays, except for repair and maintenance of existing buildings.

4.) Drainage system impact
All drawings for new construction submitted to Architectural Committee shall show impact of drainage and water flow to adjoining property and/or streets and plans to contain or restrict excess flow.

5.) Construction traffic parking:
Parking for construction sites to be limited to “on-site” parking, with street parking limited to loading/un-loading only.

The committee wants input about this from residents. They ask that you direct your comments and suggestions to Tim Vaughan at

This probably will be a topic of discussion at Monday's board meeting at Ladera Linda, although it does not appear on any agenda for the meeting. The Architectural Committee meets at 7 p.m. and the board meeting starts once the Architecture Committee meeting is over.

Former Board Member Claudia Gutierrez advises that in 2002 the Board approved a specific procedure for modifying the Architectural Standards. She has sent the information to Board members and hopes to attend Monday's meeting.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fools Day

Today may be April Fools Day, but this is no joke. It's the start of something new--a place for news about Portuguese Bend. The Board of Directors does not want news on the official PBCA web site, so the news is moving over here. These are interesting times in Portuguese Bend, but the local newspapers don't seem to care about us very much. I guess they think we're too small to bother with. But we have all sorts of newsworthy things going on here: lawsuits and development and mudslides and fires and overflowing sewers. We have births, deaths, residents moving in and moving out...and interesting people doing all sorts of creative things: painting, writing, crafting. All of that is news. Everything is news: new jobs, new babies, new neighbors. if you've sold a painting, published a book, cooked a wonderful casserole, or need some help, and you want others to know about it, send me an email ( or leave a comment, and I'll try to spread the word.