Wachter hopes to fill Redondo Beach’s District 4 leadership vacuum
by David Mendez
According to City Council candidate Adam Wachter, North Redondo Beach has been lacking for years, long before outgoing councilman Steve Sammarco announced he wouldn’t seek reelection.
“North Redondo has been starved for leadership; the issues that affect our district have been ignored and have been falling on deaf ears,” Wachter said. “I feel we need a leader who can build a coalition within the council and direct city staff to focus on North Redondo and District 4 issues.”
Wachter is Indiana born-and-raised, and originally moved to the Los Angeles area in 1998. In 2003, he moved back home to join a family business before being accepted into U.S. Naval Intelligence; three years later, he took a tour of duty in Baghdad to support Operation Enduring Freedom.
In 2011, Wachter moved back to Los Angeles to join the tech world, and moved to Redondo Beach in 2014.
“To me, the South Bay is the Midwest with a much better climate, filled with good, honest, hardworking people…I feel like this community fits who I am as a person and my values,” Wachter said. “Redondo is an oasis in the massive Southern California, greater Los Angeles geography.”
But for too long, he feels, his part of town has been ignored.
“The types of issues that affect people’s day-to-day are at the local level…I want to be a participant, not just as a voter, but as someone who can advocate for District 4,” he said.
Wachter’s approach emphasizes quality of life improvements, infrastructure upgrades that include undergrounding utilities, an increase in roundabouts and traffic circles to help ease congestion.
He acknowledges that his ideas are extremely expensive, but he has no plans to seek bond measures should he get into office. Instead, his plan is both to petition for grants and to realign the City’s budget.
“If dollars are a priority, how we spend our money is our value system. If we’re spending money on litigation, on a visitor’s bureau and on no-bid contracts, that’s our value system,” Wachter said. “I’d rather invest those dollars into undergrounding utility lines, adding park space, and investing in our police department.”
Wachter sees the revitalization of both the South Bay Galleria and the currently vacant Haggen supermarket space as bookends to the Artesia corridor that would drive development along the area. As for the proposed expansion of the Galleria, which to this point has included development of both apartment units and a hotel, Wachter says he’s in favor so long as Galleria owners Forest City do their job correctly.
“We need to get the balance correct between residents, retail, restaurant, open space and the hotel,” Wachter said. The alternative — letting the mall dwindle and allowing more retailers to leave — isn’t an option, he said. “The community needs to weigh in and find the right balance, but I fully support the redevelopment of that into something that would serve the community,” Wachter said.
Similarly, Wachter supports CenterCal’s Waterfront development, but only if the lease is worth it to Redondo Beach.
“This is the crown jewel of Redondo Beach, and that comes at a price,” Wachter said. “I cannot support a deal that puts the city in financial straits; I’m not against it, and I don’t want to get it done at all costs…but I will not support a lease that is not financially lucrative to the City of Redondo Beach on Day One.”
He also stands against Measure C, the King Harbor CARE Act, which would redefine the terms of waterfront zoning to effectively squeeze out the current development plan, as he is already comfortable with the existing zoning plan.
While he has his opinions, the city’s waterfront isn’t Wachter’s focus. District 4 is where his interests lay.
“We’ve got a lot of good stuff here, but we’ve also got a lot of things to work on, and I want to be part of the conversations moving forward,” Wachter said.