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Letters 7/17/14

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Fish or get off the pier

Dear ER:
Recently, a swimmer swimming from Hermosa Beach to Manhattan Beach was injured by a shark near the Manhattan Beach pier. The injury may have resulted from the shark being hooked on a fisherman’s line for more than 30 minutes prior to the contact with the swimmer. As a result, the City of Manhattan Beach banned fishing from the Manhattan Beach pier pending the results of investigating this incident.

Some Hermosa Beach residents have raised concerns about the safety of swimmers, surfers and paddleboarders in the vicinity of the Hermosa Beach pier if fishing is not banned from the Hermosa Beach pier.

At our last City Council meeting, the Hermosa Beach City Council requested that city staff coordinate with Manhattan Beach staff, Fish and Wildlife, and Los Angeles County and provide an update at our July 22 City Council meeting. In the meantime, the Hermosa Beach city staff will monitor fishing activities on the Hermosa Beach pier to ensure that chumming is not being done, and to evaluate any other issue of concern. They will also report their observations and recommendations at the July 22, 014 City Council meeting.

If you have concerns regarding fishing on the Hermosa Beach Pier, please let me know by email at hfangary@hermosabch.org, or by phone at (424) 235-0857. If you want your comments to reach the entire City Council, please forward them to the City Clerk to: edoerfling@hermosabch.org and ask her to forward your comments to the entire City Council.

Hany Fangary
Hermosa Beach City Councilman
Hermosa Beach


Pumping is not drilling

Dear ER:
In response to “Stop the Scare Tactics” (ER Letters July 10, 2014), I would like to remind both sides of the issue that “drilling” is not ‘pumping.” Comparing the activities that will go on in Hermosa Beach to drill down to the possible oilfield to the eventual pumping is like, at best, comparing a car’s acceleration to idling.

Julia Kovisars
Hermosa Beach
Hermosa, E & B need deadlines


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


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


Follow the money

Dear ER:
I am writing to help people like Jon Szot and other Hermosa Beach residents when it comes to money and the E&B oil project. The CBA (Cost Benefit Analysis) report states, “The direct cost to the city if oil drilling if approved is estimated at $26.8 million.” A large portion of this money will be needed to relocate the city yard and that’s before the project even starts. Where will this money come from? If you want to know how and where the money can come from to pay the $17.5M settlement? I would point to the fact that the city has been setting aside funds while also working with elected state officials expressly for this purpose.

Current highlights regarding the city and its money:

• The City is debt free.
• The city has set-aside $6M dollars specifically for oil settlement payment.
• Mayor Michael Divirgillo steadfastly reminded the community that there is ‘zero’ threat of bankruptcy to the city and that the yearly payment for the settlement if the voters maintain the ban is only 3 percent of the City’s annual budget.
• There currently is a bill in the State legislature to provide Hermosa Beach with an interest free loan for oil settlement payoff. This would reduce the yearly payment percentage to below 3 percent of the City’s annual budget.

So please do not disparage the many very dedicated people who oppose oil drilling.. These folks have given up countless hours of their personal time to show Hermosa Beach how much they care about her present, and her future.

Have a nice Hermosa (Oil-Drilling-Free) Beach Day.

Scott Frantz
Hermosa Beach


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