Letters to the Editor 3-2-2017
H for the Homeless
I write to ask for support for Measure H in our March election. Homelessness is a major problem today in our area. Every day when I walk around Hermosa Beach and our neighboring towns, I see more and more homeless people occupying bus stop benches, doorways and other public and private spaces. As a League of Women Voters member, I believe that government must meet the needs for government services, especially services for those who cannot take care of their own needs and I agree with the League support for Measure H. The proposed sales tax of .25 cents (e.g., 1 cent on a $4 purchase or $1 on a $400 purchase) for ten years will also include annual independent audits and citizen oversight. Recognizing that addressing homelessness is an urgent and present responsibility, with the League of Women Voters, I urge all Los Angeles County voters to support this effort to provide for and reduce homelessness.
Joan M. Arias
The Feb. 22 Hermosa Beach Planning Commission meeting was held to discuss controversial additions to the Hermosa Beach General Plan. It was attended by an unusually large crowd of more than 200 concerned citizens. Their overwhelming concern was the City Council’s unwarranted attempt to dilute the present and future value of Hermosa housing stock by arbitrarily identifying more than 200 dwellings as historically significant. The proposed ordinance would also identify homes in close proximity to historically designated homes as significant to the historical home’s identity, and require special permission to alter their or form. The vehicle for change is the General Plan. For good reason, the Hermosa Beach General Plan has not been updated for more than 20 years. Previous councils recognized that local planning that benefited its constituents was the best vehicle to grow our unique culture. The current city council’s attempt to usurp individual property rights by deed restricting properties is unethical, and hopefully will be challenged by the affected citizens. If implemented, this mechanism will have a damaging effect on all property values moving forward.
Former Hermosa Beach Councilmember
Where’s the money?
Where have all the harbor funds gone? I spent four years on the Redondo Beach Budget and Finance Commission digging into the depletion of State Tidelands and City Uplands funds that were supposed to pay for harbor revitalization. What I found was abuse of “Internal Service Funds.” These are overhead charges to the Harbor Enterprise Funds to supposedly pay for a variety of city services. Funny thing is, the leaseholders in the Harbor Enterprise already pay property and sales taxes to pay for such services. The leaseholders are taxed once – then harbor funds are taxed again through ISF transfers directly into the City General Fund. These excessive charges have been running around $1.5 million/year. They began escalating around 2003 when they were only a few hundred thousand dollars. They peaked at over $2.0 million in 2008 before the city was challenged and they were backed off slightly. This explains the fiscal mess we are in and why ongoing revitalization has not already occurred. A special joint meeting of the Harbor Commission, Budget & Finance Commission, and City Council to discuss this matter concluded with Steve Aspel stopping all dialog and promising to look into it, but nothing changed. Do not reward those who got us here. Users of both city and state owned lands on the Redondo waterfront deserve effective land management that actually understands financial sustainability.
For nearly 20 years, I have had the honor and pleasure of serving the residents of Manhattan Beach as a volunteer in our schools and community organizations, as a School Board Trustee, Parks and Rec Commissioner and currently as a Planning Commissioner. I love our small town with our Hometown Fair, Little League Parade and our excellent schools. I will find ways to improve our safety and quality of life. I understand what it means to serve all residents – young and old, newcomers and long time residents. I am a collaborator – not an obstructionist. Council needs to be more visionary and less reactionary. With input from our community, we can develop and execute a long-term plan with improvements for all residents, including infrastructure needs, services, and support for our schools. This starts with a clear understanding of our current expenditures and future obligations. We can allocate our resources and staff to our short and long-term needs, and minimize undue interference and redirection. I will listen, work closely with residents, do my homework to understand the issues, and collaborate to build consensus to expeditiously move the City forward. Please cast your vote for me on March 7.
Nancy Hersman, candidate
Manhattan Beach Council
A matter of fact
Thank you neighbors in Redondo Beach District 4. I’ve enjoyed knocking on your doors and meeting you. You’ve shared your thoughts, concerns and positive outlook and you have forcefully proclaimed it’s time for the City of Redondo Beach to pay full attention to North Redondo Beach. As your voice on City Council, I will bring effective leadership to our neighborhoods and stay true to my pledge, “Your priorities are my priorities. I will listen to your ideas, address your concerns and always be present, prepared and ready to fight for you. Together, we can do great things.” Experience matters. Volunteerism matters. Relationships matter. I respectfully ask for your vote on March 7. Please contact me with questions at (323) 813-5929 or John@GranForRedondo.com.
John F. Gran, candidate
Redondo Beach Council, District 4
My campaign for Redondo Beach District 1 City Council has been grounded by my core tenets: transparency, swift action and results, community involvement and preservation of our beach town character. Whether or not you agree with Measure C, it represents my ability to create, motivate, organize, implement, consensus-build and co-lead, quickly and effectively. This was the fastest volunteer signature drive of a citizen’s initiative in the history of Redondo Beach. My understanding of zoning, combined with the intricacies of issues and legalities is my strength. Skills honed from years of deep involvement to move project decisions to harmonious agreement. The Legado/Bristol Farms project displayed my skills of working within a citizen team to address the serious issues ignored by our Planning Commission. Your vote for me should be made knowing what I stand for. You won’t be shocked or disappointed by the source of donations to my campaign – available at www.votefornils.org. With like-minded candidates Bill Brand for Mayor, Todd Loewenstein and Suzy Royds for City Council, we have an historic opportunity to move our town forward based on the values of the residents whose input has been disregarded for too long.
A Light Brand-ing
As a resident of King Harbor for the past 10 years, I will welcome the day when we finally have a new waterfront village replete with a bookstore and dinner theatre as well as competent representation in District 2 and continued even-handed representation by our Mayor.
Much credit to Arnette Travis for aptly identifying the opposition as CAVE people (citizens against virtually everything) and to Dennis Groat for equally aptly describing the lack of civility displayed by said opposition. Don’t be Branded by ignorance or blinded by the
Light, which is to say don’t believe the fear mongering and constant misinformation – we have enough of that at the national level of late. Join me in voting no against the incredibly poorly-crafted Measure C, for Mayor Aspel’s continuation, and for District 2’s Doug Rodriguez, to finally bring balanced leadership and action to the long-neglected pier and harbor area.
The election for Manhattan Beach City Council is less than two weeks away and it is a tough race. I have several people I consider friends running whom I like a lot. The real issue, though, goes beyond friendship. City spending has increased with consulting fees, housing loans and increased staffing with high salaries to the tune of millions of dollars, supported by two incumbents seeking re-election. Manhattan Beach is a great city with excellent city staff and skilled, dedicated citizen commissioners. We do not need to spend millions of dollars on outside consultants. Our resident count has been the same for years, yet city staff headcount increased by 14 people in four years. If we are going to add city staff, let’s increase public safety officials. Let’s reinstate the position of public safety officer at Mira Costa High School. Why an Economic Development Director? Isn’t filling rent space the developer’s responsibility? Can’t the Chamber of Commerce CEO woo new business to the city? There were missed opportunities for the city receiving dollars when the Pointe project was developed in El Segundo. The Manhattan Village mall renovation, delayed at several junctures, is causing loss of sales tax revenue.
Richard Montgomery has my vote. Hometown leadership at its finest. He knows the issues. He has the right answers. He has focused on controlling city spending, limiting the use of expensive, outside consultants, and not adding to city staff. Use your three votes wisely. I also support Steve Napolitano and Nancy Hersman.
I have had the privilege to serve on the MB City Council with Tony D’Errico, a man of great intelligence and integrity, of the past four years. You can always trust Tony to tell the truth, that’s why his nickname is Tony “No Baloney” D’Errico. His background and experience in management as a CEO is second to none. He has consistently been a champion for our residents, providing strong leadership and good common sense judgment. I urge you to vote for Tony D’Errico on March 7.
Mark Burton, Councilmember
by Judy Rae