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Letters 7/10/14

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Reel in the lines

Dear ER:

The shark attack off of Manhattan Pier on Saturday was a warning. Luckily, the victim survived in part due to the heroic efforts of other swimmers and surfers who unselfishly entered the dangerous water to assist him.

The issue here, however, is not the appearance of sharks, as the ocean is their habitat, but the fishing from piers during the season when many swimmers are training for the Surf Festival, which takes place each August, and tourists visiting our cities. As an ocean swimmer, I have encountered fishing lines, hooks and harassment from fishermen on both the Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach piers. The water around the piers smells horribly, like dead fish, due to the bait and chum used to lure primarily inedible fish to their demise.

Hermosa and Manhattan should prohibit fishing from the piers, at least during the heavy use season between May and September. There should be no fishing for shark and no chum used at any time. With so many sharks cruising around at nearby at El Porto, it is just tempting fate to allow pier fishing to continue.

Sharon L. Thompson

Hermosa Beach


Redondo’s waterfront water feature

Dear ER:

No matter what the developer calls it ( e.g. “Lifestyle Center” ), the plan is a glorified mall, with a theatre, a three-story parking garage blocking any view of the ocean at the entrance on Beryl, and a market hall complex to house major retailers. This is the death knell for local establishments, the funky and the iconic, traditional places like Polly’s and Tony’s, Quality Seafood and the already disappeared Shark Attack.

The ocean is an incredible resource with its own beauty. Building a fountain that shoots colored water at night is like taking coals to Newcastle.

Let’s put our money into refurbishing and creating places for residents and visitors to gather, not to go “malling,” but rather to walk and picnic and swim and launch boats and surf. We need gathering places for the arts and for organizations like The Cancer Support Community.

These are all things that came up in the eight public planning meetings but that are ignored in the proposal.
I’m not against a hotel, but I do have concerns about putting the focus on shopping and extending Harbor Drive through to Torrance Boulevard. I wonder where or if the bike path will be rerouted. Del Amo mall, which is nearby, is being rebuilt. If we are interested in malls, we need to think about the Galleria, which is in Redondo Beach and is losing its biggest tenant, Nordstrom, to Del Amo.

Let’s make the waterfront project reflect the thoughtful, environmentally aware community that we can be, something our children and grandchildren can be proud of.

Linda R. Neal

Redondo Beach


Peacocks an invasive species

Dear ER:

As residents for almost two years now in Rolling Hills Estates, my family and I were shocked by the jarring disturbances that the peacocks here produce, mostly from about March through July.

It is not the birds’ fault that some aristocrat, one who lacked the intelligence to appreciate the magnificent native wildlife, brought the noisiest and most garish-looking species he could find to the other side of Palos Verdes from India about 80 years ago. But they completely warp the natural soundscape and shatter the serenity of this beautiful and green area, and have spread all over.

Like our pets and domestic animals, such as dogs and horses, peacocks should only be allowed here if they are kept indoors during their most noisy months, and are owned by responsible owners. Dogs are not a solution, as the loud and piercing wails and shrieks of the peacocks— most over 100 decibels — can be heard all night long from blocks away.

It is hard to move toward tranquility and a good nights’ sleep here in Rolling Hills Estates, where the previous mayor told his colleagues that he enjoys having 20 or more peacocks roosting in a tree right across from his house — an attitude that is emblematic of the tolerance for noise and disrespect for neighbors shown by the minority who like these non-native birds.

All of the peacocks should be humanely captured and moved out of this area.

Eric Brill

Rolling Hills Estates


Hermosa, E & B need deadlines

Dear ER:

The draft Oil Development Agreement between the City of Hermosa Beach and E & B Natural Resources unnecessarily relinquishes our self determination and trusts our destiny to E & B’s hands. The current draft agreement states that E & B makes all the decisions on the development timing, on E & B’s economic self interest. Hermosa Beach would not have a reliable cash-flow expectation to pay for the $45 million of city expenses, which would begin immediately after the permits are issued. I can’t believe the City is contemplating these terms.

Under the terms of the draft Oil Development Agreement, if approved, the project may not start for years, may not ever proceed past the exploratory phase or could have years of pauses and restarts. E&B could decide to wait until oil prices rise to over $200 per barrel. Instead of actually drilling. E&B could even get their return on the settlement investment by putting the whole permitted project onto the open market, with a development agreement that locks in todays rules, and sell all or a portion of the project to the highest Big Oil bidder.

The City should specify that the project shall start within one year, per the remaining time in the “Primary Term of the Lease,” as agreed by E&B in the Settlement Agreement. The City should specify that the project must continuously proceed per the time frame examined by the EIR and as identified in the Oil Lease.

Tom Morley

Redondo Beach


Stop the scare tactics

Dear ER:

In a recent letter to the editor, a presumably well-meaning resident of Hermosa Beach made a series of misinformed, unsubstantiated and alarming statements as if they were facts. The truth about oil operations in Southern California is this: they are safe.

Oil is safely operating across the street from Cedars Sinai Hospital and has been for decades. You’d think a major hospital would get it shut down if they thought there was a problem. The site, on the Beverly Center property, is clean, quiet, odorless and safe.

There has been a working oil site on the grounds of one of LA’s most exclusive golf clubs since the ‘50s. It is located next to a golf hole and not far from a swimming pool. If you’ve ever played the Rancho Park golf course, one of the busiest golf courses in the world, you’ve played next to an operating oil well.

There is an oil pump in the parking lot of a McDonald’s in Signal Hill. The double quarter pounder with cheese might be more dangerous to your health than the oil well.

And in Huntington Beach, there is an E&B oil site in the middle of a residential neighborhood. It is safe, well supervised, quiet and no threat to anyone.

The residents deserve a fact based discussion of actualities of the project as well as the benefits. Scaring people with random scenarios and unfounded charges will only hurt the citizens of Hermosa Beach.

John G. Carlson

by email


Mayor’s history

Dear ER:

Redondo Beach Mayor Steve Aspel keeps promoting a huge mall in our little harbor. I remember how he promoted a similar scam years ago. As a planning commissioner in 2001, Aspel approved “Heart of the City,” a project that would have built 3,000 condos on the AES power plant site. Keep dreaming, Mayor Aspel. We were not fooled in 2001 and we are not fooled now.


by email


Call it what you like

Dear ER:

In Hermosa Beach, if you want to drill 30 oil wells for toxic oil under homes, the beach, and ocean surf for 35 years, and flare (burn) off the various toxic gases from such drilling operations within earshot of where residents’ homes and their public parks are located, then certainly don’t call it what it is, call it something mellow like “oil recovery.”

In Hermosa Beach, if you are in the bars business you may have learned that referring to your business association as “the bars or tavern owners’ association” is perhaps too informative. So now you might refer to yourself as in the “hospitality” business.

In Hermosa Beach, if you want to build on the oceanfront, and even Beach Drive downtown, without parking, the biggest, and tallest commercial hotel development in over 75 years, well you certainly don’t want to refer to it as the “biggest high-density downtown development in 75 years.” Instead you refer to it as a “boutique hotel”, “boutique” supposedly meaning small and cutesy.

Such use of coded words is the latest manner that Hermosa Beach residents/voters are being routinely deceived and manipulated by those and outside Hermosa’s government, and usually for but one selfish reason — an ugly need for greed at the expense of non-attentive, but nonetheless concerned residents.

Howard Longacre

Hermosa Beach


No kidding about oil

Dear ER:

Hermosa Beach is a beautiful, quiet and sleepy little town (the downtown bars notwithstanding), where everybody knows your name. I live about 500 feet away from the proposed drilling site and am pregnant with my first baby. I wouldn’t want to live 500 feet from an oil drilling site even if I were not pregnant, but thinking about my child and how this project will affect his or her health makes me even more adamantly opposed to it. I have attended presentations, looked at the financial data, and evaluated the EIR. While E & B will do everything they can to convince our citizens that we need money and that our city’s future will be in jeopardy without the drilling project, that is absolutely false. Hermosa Beach does not need the oil money. Anyone who says otherwise is dishonest or misinformed. Of course any municipality, especially in California, could use some extra dough. There are myriad ways to grow a municipal economy, and I am willing to bet we can find one that does not jeopardize the beauty of our town or the health and safety of our people, especially our kids. Two votes made a difference in our last election. Be sure to vote when this issue is on the ballot.

Julie Hamill

Hermosa Beach Resident


Contrasting waterfront visions

Dear ER:

What a stark contrast between the views of Redondo Councilman Bill Brand’s and Redondo Mayor Steve Aspel’s on the proposed Redondo Beach waterfront development. Brand provides a thoughtful account of how our City is in the process of selling out its residents to Center Cal development, which is intent on building a high-end mall on our waterfront, between Torrance Boulevard and Ruby’s parking lot, obscuring 75 percent of the view we presently enjoy along Harbor Drive.

Center Cal is attempting a tourist-first attraction at the expense of our quality of life. The majority of our city council members approved this Memorandum of Understanding, without the independent environmental impact or financial feasibility studies. Redondo Beach officials have been desperate to start development, especially since the City has not maintained the harbor infrastructure. Other developers had better ideas that did not push for a Mall 25 larger than Plaza El Segundo, jammed into half the space. Center Cal invited public input in three meetings, and then ignored all of it.

Mayor Aspel wants to avoid the heavy-lifting of government that includes. He attempts to distract us from reality, crafting an oceanfront mall while ignoring citizen outcry for a project with no predictable financial gain for Redondo Beach for 30 years.

Mary Ewell

Redondo Beach


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