Letters to the Editor 2-16-17
My compliments to Richard Foss for his talk on the history of dining in Hermosa Beach at the Hermosa Beach Historical Society’s Happy Hour with History last week. It was a trip down memory lane, but I guess that’s what the Historical Society is all about. Bill’s Tacos saved me when I first moved to Hermosa in 1973. By the way, there was no mention of Taco Bell, at the current site of Scotty’s, which was the premier druggie hangout in the ‘70s. If current residents have concerns about Plaza Hermosa today, they “shoulda been there in the ‘70s.”
Carbon dating Hermosa
On February 22, the Hermosa Planning Commission will host its final public meeting regarding the adoption of Plan Hermosa. The major issue is what measures must the city adopt to achieve Community Wide Carbon Neutrality by 2030 or 2040. The measures being considered are incredibly burdensome and expensive for residents and businesses, and they are far more intrusive into our lives than the plan the State of California has in mind. Please don’t relax because you see the years 2030 and 2040. The carbon neutrality measures will require that they go into effect immediately. The measures include requiring all homeowners and businesses to install solar panel systems and charging stations for their electric cars and eliminate natural gas in your homes. They are still studying whether these requirements will be required when you remodel, construct an addition or sell your home or business. A majority of the city council members are adamant that carbon neutrality be achieved. Instead of attending to the various needs of the city such as roads, sewers and the Pier and the Strand drunks and troublemakers, the city council decided to spend many thousands of taxpayer dollars and thousands of staff and consultant hours to consider imposing these measures. What possible positive impact will this plan have on the country’s climate? But what impact will this plan have on the residents of Hermosa. Will homes simply fall into disrepair because many families are barely be able get a loan for the remodel, without even considering the impact of these additional costly items? Will people who want to buy a home in Hermosa elect to move to Redondo, Manhattan or elsewhere in Southern California to avoid these draconian measures and activist city council? We have asked the city council to remove the carbon neutral plan from Plan Hermosa and add it to the November ballot to allow residents the opportunity to vote on this issue. We were told no. Please take the time to email the Planning Commission and City Council and express your views before it is too late.
Gelson’s alphabet soup
I would like to thank the Manhattan Beach Planning Commissioners for allowing the Manhattan Beach Residents for Responsible Development (MBRRD) to present our findings regarding the proposed Paragon-Gelson’s development at the February 8 meeting. It was clear from the number of residents present that the concerns about this development extend well beyond the “handful” of people Paragon has derisively described as being in opposition to this development. City staff utilized a third party consultant to conduct their environmental checklist for this development. This consultant was not present at the meeting to respond to questions about the process, which produced a recommendation to approve a Mitigated Negative (EIR) Declaration (MND). MBRRD’s lawyer and traffic consultant communicated several substantive flaws with the MND. We believe this supports the “fair argument” standard, which stipulates that an EIR is required whenever “substantial evidence in the record supports a ‘fair argument’ that significant impacts or effects may occur.” MBRRD and the 200-plus individuals who signed a petition demanding an EIR for this project believe that an EIR is imperative. We urge the Commissioners to direct Paragon to provide an EIR for the Gelson’s development, using independent consultants.
A special candidate
We write to enthusiastically endorse Mark Burton for Manhattan Beach City Council. We are the parents of a son with non-verbal Autism. When we decided to set up an evening program where similar special needs teens could meet to watch movies, we contacted Burton to see if the City could provide a safe location for the program. He immediately met with us, understood the need and showed compassion for our situation. Within days, He arranged meetings with city officials who in turn provided us with a suitable locale and the program was a success.
We next turned to Burton when the Manhattan Beach Unified School District set up a program for special needs students who had graduated high school and were in need of job training (CHOICE Booster). Burtonwas instrumental in setting up meetings with City leadership and now these kids are being trained to work at City jobs as well as at other Manhattan Beach businesses.
Parenting a special needs child is extremely challenging. Having a City Council representative who understands these challenges sets Burton apart. In addition to his vast experience in government, he is someone who truly cares for our community. We share these stories in the hopes you readers will consider voting for Mark Burton for Manhattan Beach City Council. In our opinion, he certainly deserves to be re-elected to continue his great work on behalf of all residents.
Kevin and Beth Hynes
Manhattan hot spot
For a number of years I have lived in a small section of Manhattan Beach that has an extraordinary amount of construction. It is a designated “hot spot” by the city. A hot spot receives more city planning and code enforcement attention than other areas of the city. At one time there were four construction sites on one block of the alley. Even worse, there was construction at both ends of the alley making entering and exiting the alley both time consuming and sometimes dangerous. When Mark Burton was elected to City Council he heard the strong city wide residential discontent about residential construction and insisted it be addressed immediately. He led the effort and worked with both Council and staff to find win-win solutions for both residents and developers to better coordinate the scheduling of deliveries, cement pours and road closures. Thanks to Mark’s hard work, developers understood radios could only be played quietly and there should be no smoking or food scraps left at a construction site. I hope you will join us in voting for Mark Burton.
In for the long term
I am running for the open seat on the Manhattan Beach City Council. As I go door to door meeting my fellow residents, I speak to them about my “Values, Experience and Vision” because I use these criteria when choosing my elected representatives. I share the values of our residents, having served beside them as a Neighborhood Watch Area Coordinator, a graduate of Leadership Manhattan Beach and the moderator of the Residents Association Community Forums. I have not only the depth but also the breadth of experience necessary to serve as an effective Councilmember. I bring entrepreneurial spirit to all my business ventures and for decades have given back by serving on numerous nonprofit boards of directors. Finally, my vision of Manhattan Beach is one in which our council members represent all the residents of the city equally, approach issues without prejudice. My first and foremost priority will be exercising bold leadership when necessary and benevolent stewardship when fledgling ideas require. I pledge to fulfill my commitment during my term by dutifully serving on Council, not seeking higher office, and faithfully adhering to the Brown Act. I am committed to our community and would be honored to represent Manhattan Beach residents.
Mirror on the Waterfront
“Architecture is the very mirror of life. You only have to cast your eyes on buildings to feel the presence of the past, the spirit of a place; they are the reflection of society.” ― I. M. Pei. A wall of development in our harbor be would be the spiritless reflection of a city that gave up and sold out. Vote Yes on C. No Mall by the Sea
Waterfront historical view
Redondo Beach was incorporated April 29, 1892. In less than three months it will be 125 years old. At the turn of the last century, our leaders had to take an enormous change in course from a shipping port to tourism and commerce to keep us vibrant and economically solvent. Our piers and waterfront development made us the strongest city in the South Bay before World War Two and carried us into the eighties. People came from all over the country for over 80 years to be part of the Redondo Beach experience. But as it aged, we lost a lot of the luster and much of that changed. This March Redondo voters face the most critical election our City has faced in over a century. At stake are the two most critical decisions we’ve encountered. How will we generate the revenue to keep the City vibrant. And more critically, who will make up the majority leadership that will guide us to the successes we’ve been trying to plan over the past 20 years. We were the first city in the South Bay and the eighth in the County to incorporate. March’s election could be the beginning of a directional change that moves us from the first to worst. If we pass Measure C and choose the wrong leadership, we won’t move on to the successes we are traditionally known for. March’s Election is our voters chance to re-invigorate the Waterfront, bringing back the revenue and stability our families, children and grandchildren need to live in a vibrant Redondo Beach for another century. Let’s Vote to Stop the No Growth Stagnation and restart the tried and true methods that built this great city. Please join me and thousands of other concerned citizens who will be voting: No on Measure C; Re-electing Mayor Aspel; Electing Councilmembers Martha Barbee – District 1; Doug Rodriguez – District 2 and; John Gran — District 4. Please make this a Happy Re-Birthday for Redondo Beach.
Retired Fire Chief, Former Councilman, President of the Redondo Beach Historical Society
Redondo Beach Waterfront reversal
At first I was excited about CenterCal partnering with us to improve our Redondo Beach Harbor and Pier. Two years ago I met with very gracious CenterCal reps, who took time on a Saturday to explain their plan to me at a restaurant on the Pier. I was thrilled with the market hall concept and a connecting bridge and encouraged that existing tenants on the International Boardwalk would be invited into the market hall. I wasn’t naive. I asked how shops like Mystical Joy and Najas would afford this new venue. They responded that they would “work with” legacy tenants and since they anticipate so much more foot traffic, it should be no problem for them to be successful. CenterCal said they were guided by the concepts the Project for Public Spaces (PPS) espouses. Their plan has since ballooned into a gargantuan retail center, and now the points PPS emphasizes are the very things CenterCal has ignored. The main qualities of a successful harbor/pier are easy recreational access to the ocean and well-connected, dedicated public spaces. PPS says retail is part of that, but should never be the main point. It also says art installations are a great draw for bringing people together. But I don’t think they meant ad-like murals on sky high garage walls, as CenterCal showed in a Powerpoint awhile ago at a City Council meeting. By their last presentation they apparently got the memo that this area is near water, and threw us the bone of a nondescript scuba sculpture.
A good harbor/pier stresses local identity. Ours has a unique history, from having been the terminus of the famous Red Car line, to Spanish and Native American history. We could highlight this heritage with pictures and bronze timelines, or display the types of fish caught off the pier in colorful lifelike models. We could incorporate a splash pad into the Seaside Lagoon, permanently dock a historic ship for tours — as our water is famously deep near shore. We could modernize the look of our unique metal pier sails. They are a legacy art installation, provide shade, and are used in several logos, including websites of the Redondo Pier itself and the South Bay Film Society; and yet CenterCal’s model has them gone. One of the complaints lodged by those who are for the CenterCal plan is that those who are opposed to it don’t have a better idea. I just offered some, and there are many more.
Small changes, like improving lighting, planting flowers, new paint, and consistently maintaining infrastructure may seem insignificant, but they make a big difference in making people feel good about being in a place. These are community-based ideas that could have been worked into the current plan—had this developer asked, and then listened.
People have gone into great detail on the the drawbacks of this project. The biggest being that it’s a financially awful deal for Redondo Beach residents, the next is that we never asked for a mall in King Harbor. On March 7, we have the chance to elect council people and a mayor who will listen and work for the residents, not big developers. Our pier makes money. We are not in a precarious and desperate position, but we need to ensure these profits are directed into pier infrastructure improvements, as they should have been all along. It’s our King Harbor and Pier — we the people of Redondo. But it also belongs to visitors from Torrance, the Inland Empire and everywhere else on the globe. We must keep it accessible and welcoming to all for fishing, boating, shopping, swimming and relaxing. Vote Yes on C, and for city representatives who will fight for our quality of life.
No Mall for
I went down to the sea
to look at the model
they told me would ease
the pain I feel about our oceanfront —
you know, the garage
that’s falling apart, the boardwalk
that’s sinking, the wharf
where the homeless hang out.
Yeah, I feel the shame.
Yeah I want change.
I looked at that model,
started to cry
’cause there’s no sign
it’s at the ocean at all.
Plenty of places to park your car
and shops for buyin’ lots of stuff
but where the hell
do you park your ass?
No place for a beach towel
no lagoon for a kid to dig and swim,
no safe spot to launch a boat,
no good place for paddlers or kayakers.
The boats sailing the make believe sea
must have come from a real harbor far away.
I said to myself
we gotta’ fix this place up
put our money where it’s supposed to go,
get this city back on track,
fixin’ things up, spendin’ our cash on things that count
stop handin’ the chamber and developers
all our dough.
I walked out of that room
voices swimmin’ in my head.
I stood by the sea wall, the old Pier
at Polly’s, listened to the gulls caw
the buoy moan, smelled the brine
by Judy Rae