Our Approach

Topanga is a unique community located in one of the most beautiful coastal mountain ranges in America. It has been the philosophy of TASC to harness the local traditions of living in and with the natural environment and apply it to the guidance of how Topanga physically evolves and grows. In the face of the pressures of urban development in LA County, the creation and preservation of protected green spaces is a serious challenge and a critically important responsibility. If future generations are to enjoy the Santa Monica Mountain as we know them, it demands an ongoing and dedicated effort to guide development and resist insensitive and unnecessary destruction of the natural environment. To this end, TASC has maintained a close watch on legislation, development planning and maintenance practices that derive from the State and County Governments. We work to inform those involved and represent an approach to law making and procedures that will insure the sensitive protection of our scenic community. Our approach is constructive and based on the willingness to communicate, to be consistent and to research the facts. The work we do is often a low visibility effort, quiet and low key. It doesn’t create headlines when one speaks up at an electoral redistricting hearing or Coastal Commission hearing, but a concerted and persistent effort yields results. Working with County and State folks in committees doesn’t make the evening news, but it makes a huge difference. It is through communication and open dialogue that meaningful change evolves. This is not always easy or simple, but in light of our current polarized political environment, it is the best way to move forward together towards real lasting change and better understanding.

An example:The Topanga Roadside Committee:  Over fifteen years ago, after a concerted effort, long dialogue and a hard process, TASC, along with concerned citizens and other local non-profit organizations, convinced CAL TRANS not to use herbicides along the roadway. This was a protection for visitors, locals and the sensitive riparian habitat of Topanga Creek. Five years ago, trucks spraying herbicides showed up again on the Boulevard. There was understandable indignation and a feeling of betrayal. This began the focused protest that led to the creation of the Roadside Committee. This Committee created an atmosphere where thoughts and concerns from all sides were shared, leading to a very productive conclusion. It turned out that the CAL Trans people who had agreed to the original ban had left Cal Trans without passing on the information concerning the local agreement. A new agreement was reached. It is instructive to understand that people had to show up for these meetings–it takes commitment and a sacrifice of time and energy. This is where the real work is done. Social media posting, as useful as it can be for sharing feelings and information, seldom yields concrete results. TASC is in the trenches working for real changes and lasting impact.

Volunteering with TASC is an education of sorts: learning of your community, your County, your State. Most importantly, helping our community deepens our experience of community.

Examples of the types of issues that TASC has engaged–the fight to create Summit Valley-Edelman Park, the Scenic Highway Designation, the New Local Coastal Plan, redistricting: i.e. gerrymandering, use of herbicides along the road shoulder, general expansion of protected green spaces, Rim of the Valley Parklands, wildlife corridors, guard rails and lane expansion, the design of the Topanga Library, the North Area Plan, plans to expand water pipes to undeveloped areas, light pollution, cooperation and support for the Las Virgenes Homeowners Association and enforcement of the Ridgeline Ordinance.

TASC works with and supports other local non-profit groups including but not limited to: T-CEP, The Watershed Committee,The Chamber of Commerce, Topanga Animal Rescue, the Topanga Town Council, the Las Virgenes Homeowners Association, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.  TASC also works closely with the State and County Parks, CAL Trans, the District 3 County Supervisor’s Office, our California State Assembly persons, and our Federal Representatives and Senators.

TASC History

Meet the TASC Board

Ken Mazur

Ken Mazur is currently the composer on the multiple Emmy Award winning PBS series, Travelscope. He is a platinum selling musician whose recording career as a guitarist spans over four decades and includes studio work with musical greats such as Robert Palmer, Tina Tuner, Marvin Gaye, The O’Jays, Herbie Mann, Eddie Kendrix and INXS. Ken’s TV credits as composer include the series “Behind the Music, VH1”,  “Biker Build Off, Discovery”, “Lost and Found, FX” and “Manhattan, AZ”, USA. His credits as a jingle writer for major clients include Chevrolet, Nintendo, Purina, Honda, NY Seltzer, Russell Athletic and McDonalds. Ken has also scored or contributed music to films including Nim”s Island, The Uninvited, Pros and Cons, Lucky, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, Tin Man and Voices from the Attic. In 2005, Ken’s Children’s Musical, ‘Precious Piglet’, won the ADA Award in LA for Best Music, Lyrics and Book. From 1990 to 1992, he was the CEO of Proxima Records. He scores from his private studio in Topanga where he also produces independent musical artists.  Ken also sits on the Board of Topanga Animal Rescue.   kenmazur@retrosmashstudio.com

Toby Keeler

Working as a producer, director, cameraman and editor on many documentary programs, some highlights from my work experience include Pretty as a Picture: the Art of David Lynch, a documentary about the film director which aired on Bravo, the Independent Film Channel and around the globe; Hot Shots, a half-hour youth-oriented special for PBS on roller sports funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. My work on Arts4Learning.org funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, supports arts education for school-aged children. Trailmasters which aired on KCET in 2010 is a series of eight half-hour programs exploring the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, the largest urban National Park in America. An Internet spinoff called WebToursLA.com promoting area parklands was funded from matching grants from LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Fund. I have also produced scores of non-broadcast training and marketing programs for beauty industry leaders Redken and Sebastian International, the Department of Defense, and served as Operations Manger for the American Film Institute Center for Advanced Film Studies. I worked as a cameraman for NBC, Burbank while attending California Institute of the Arts.  Fine Cut Presentations, www.finecut.com  818.591.8500  toby@finecut.com

Dan Larson

I became a Board Member of the Topanga Association for a Scenic Community (TASC) in 1978.  I began by attending Coastal Commission meetings with fellow member Andrea Crawford.  We testified on many Topanga and Malibu projects.  At the same time, TASC was fighting against Pepperdine, which was planning on building faculty housing in Old Topanga Canyon. We eventually helped make that area into State Parks land.  Later, I was involved in the numerous battles against development in Summit Valley, including Topangans and the later, the Disney family.  I testified in the 1990s, on the development of the North Area Plan.  Recently, I have questioned the extreme over-reach by those trying to return native plant communities to the canyon. 

Julie Rosendo

Julie Rosendo is producer of the six-time Emmy winning PBS travel series, Joseph Rosendo’s Travelscope. Now in its tenth season with 117 episodes, Travelscope reaches 96% of the US market and 286 million viewers. Julie manages destination selection, content development, crew contracts and assignments, site logistics, underwriting support and distribution to the PBS system.  

Affiliations include the American Marketing Association, the Association of Fundraising Professionals and various public television organizations. Julie welcomes comments and emails at julie@travelscope.net.

Julie Rosendo is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, is a member of the Executive Board of Directors of Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum as well as the board of the Topanga Association for a Scenic Community. 

Bill Carrier

Bill Carrier has worked in various real estate capacities for over 10 years. Bill currently works in Finance for a publicly traded Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) that focuses on owning industrial warehouses. Prior to that, Bill covered REIT stocks for many years as an equity research analyst. Bill has spoken at hearings in front of the LA County Regional Planning Commission and the LA County Board of Supervisors. In addition to TASC, Bill is on the Board of the Topanga Creek Watershed Committee.  

Roger Pugliese

Roger has been the Chair of TASC since 1994 and has guided the organization through its years of maturing. He has been in the middle of a number of environmental battles in the protection of the canyon. Always ready to fight for the canyon he loves.

Standing on the shoulders of the elders before him and always speaking out when Topanga is threatened by either uncontrolled development or Public agency over reach.