Town Council Meeting Focuses on Canyon Businesses

Annemarie DonkinBy Annemarie Donkin      September 4, 2020

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Town Council Meeting Focuses on Canyon Businesses
Council members and Topanga residents discussed many issues at the August meeting, including the survival of the Canyon’s businesses in the time of COVID-19
The Topanga Canyon Town Council (TCTC) met via Zoom on Aug. 12 at 6 p.m. as Council President Carrie Carrier, Vice-President Alisa Land Hill, and Board Member Stacy Sledge worked through a full agenda. NAKED WOMAN ON TCB During the meeting, former Council president Stacy Sledge had a question for the CHP officer and Sheriff’s deputy in attendance. Sledge related that recently an unclothed woman wandered onto Topanga Canyon Boulevard from “Moonshine’s” place (the former Canyon Corral at the corner of TCB and Santa Maria Road) before wandering over to Café 27, where she was reported to be harassing the staff. Sledge said the Café 27 staff were able to get her into a pair of men’s underwear and a jacket. “They said someone in a pickup drove up and hauled her off,” Sledge said. “Yes, she was in the middle of the Boulevard causing a traffic hazard, but then she was at a business, mentally challenged and unstable, so who would we call? They had trouble getting through to 911.”CHP Officer Wes Haver told Sledge that folks should call 911, not dispatch. “If it’s just a person in traffic lanes, it’s hard for CHP to respond in a timely manner,” he said. “Whatever is closer, we will respond,” Sheriff’s Deputy Cerveny said. “Even in a traffic collision, whatever is the closest agency, just to get the situation under control. I was not aware of the call. That would be the Sheriff ‘s area but it depends on which agency is closer and we will straighten it out.”
Carrier moved into a discussion of Topanga’s businesses, which was the focus of the evening. “Small businesses in Topanga are especially hard hit; we have a low-density residential community weighing on business due to COVID-19,” she said.“There are 244,000 small businesses in Los Angeles County and they employ the most minorities than any county in the nation.” Carrier also said that L.A. County has lost more than one million jobs to COVID and the hardest hit are those that rely on foot traffic, with a revenue drop of more than 50 percent.

“Every business in Topanga is a small business,” said Joseph Rosendo, who is the Community Liaison for the Topanga Chamber of Commerce. “We have over 50 storefronts, the Chamber has over 175 members including home businesses, and we are managing the best we can.” Rosendo reported that some of the restaurants are doing fine, such as the Canyon Bistro, which always remained open for takeout. Also, he said Café 27 is holding on and is now open six days a week and evenings from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. with patio dining. Rosendo also reported the Inn of the Seventh Ray has actually increased its business and thanked community loyalty for supporting Topanga’s local eateries.

“People are figuring out ways to do this,” he said. “Help comes from county, government grants and support; what they all need is customers.

Topanga Mercantile needs customers; it is something government could actually help with so they can survive until this pandemic is under control and people can get back to business.”

Yet, he said the picture was not so rosy for the businesses in Topanga who rely on foot traffic, especially in Pine Tree Circle, where some of the businesses were forced out after a 40 percent rent increase last year since the new owners bought the property.

“Yoga Desa closed after 20 years at Pine Tree Circle and Topanga Rocks left,” Rosendo said. “Topanga Home Grown is up in the air. Perhaps the forgiveness of a month, to several months’ rent—at Pine Tree Circle, those businesses are suffering a bit more.”

• The L.A. Regional COVID-19 Fund, Round 4 (of 6) opened on August 17— The L.A. Regional COVID-19 Recovery Fund is allocating a total of $3 million in grant funding (in sums ranging from $5,000 to $15,000) to micro-entrepreneurs, small businesses and 501(c)(3) nonprofits. For full eligibility criteria and to apply, visit:
• Get Certified as a National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Wildlife Habitat— The Topanga Town Council, Topanga Creek Watershed Committee, and the Topanga Chamber of Commerce are all Topanga stewards of the National Wildlife Federation’s “Community Wildlife Habitat” program. This program encourages and acknowledges the incredible work that community residents do to make their properties supportive of wildlife. The Federation provides copious (and detailed) resources to guide you in making simple changes to your landscape to support even more wildlife. For more information, visit the NWF site at:
• Town Council Mask Program—Provides free masks to seniors and vulnerable members of the community. If you need a mask, please call (310) 455-3001, or email

Third District Supervisor Sheila Kuehl—Contact Tessa Charnofsky; Phone (818) 880-9416
State Senator Henry Stern’s Office—Contact Jeremy Wolf at:;
Phone (818) 876-3352
Assemblymember Richard Bloom’s Office—Tim Pershing at:;
Phone (310) 450-0041
2020 Topanga Access Cards—You can renew your cards online. First-time cardholders should call to arrange an appointment. Call (310) 455-3001, then press 0 to leave your name and phone number. Contact Lindsay Zook for an appointment at (310) 569-8931 or purchase online at:

The Topanga Canyon Town Council was formed in 1977 in response to needs unique to the mountain community to serve as a liaison with Topanga’s official governing body, the Los Angeles County Supervisor’s Office. They are looking for volunteers to help on various activities. For more information:; or (310) 455-3001.

To meet your local Sheriff, CHP, Fire Department representatives and other government officials in person, they deliver their reports at each Town Council meeting, held the second Wednesday of the month. The next Topanga Town Council General Meeting is September 9, 2020 at 6 p.m.
Annemarie Donkin
      September 4, 2020

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