Kevin Cody

Letters 8/14/14

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Easy Reader misidentified identified the the conductor of the Hermosa Beach Civics camp in its July 31 issue. The conductor is Howard Fishman.


Casa de los Amigos es placido
Dear ER:
“Seniors allege loss of rights” (ER August 7, 2014) is the most outrageous piece of biased journalism I’ve ever read.Almost the entire article represented the interests of a small minority of complainers here at the Casa de Los Amigos. I have lived here at the Casa de los Amigos over eight years and know a large number of residents. We all love it here. The vast majority are happy and count ourselves blessed to be here.

The few loud complainers who instigated this conflict seem to have a need to be negative about everything. For instance, witness their allegations about communal areas, dress codes, “chilled”speech rights, removal of kitchen privileges, bans on feeding the squirrels.
What “freedoms” are they claiming we don’t have?

What is not allowed is, for example, is blaring the TV all night, which disturbs residents whose apartments are situated very close to common areas. There are no reasonable freedoms being restricted.

I never heard anything about a dress code, but common sense would tell me that this is not a nursing home, it’s a residential building where lounging around in slovenly or indecent night wear, for instance, would not be appropriate.

Regarding the “association,” I attended one “association” meeting when I first moved in. It was disorganized, rowdy, and accomplished nothing. I never attended another one. The so-called association, in which membership and participation were optional, tended to be run by a few controlling persons who want to impose their demands on the whole Casa. That is why so few people bothered going to meetings any more.

Finally, I want to say that [manager] Dottie Ellis is a sweet, kind-hearted person who has to manage, and live in, a building with nearly 150 residents. A lot of our residents have health issues, some have dementia. Dottie has always shown herself to be a caring and concerned neighbor, as well as manager.

Name withheld by request
Redondo Beach


Better than money
Dear ER:
I am sorry devoted so many column inches quoting property owner Tony Choueke, and did not seek out a more articulate spokesperson representing opposing values (“Time out, downtown, ER August 7, 2014).

Choueke has a very limited viewpoint that many in Manhattan Beach do not find relevant. He asks residents to look “past the emotional response and ask what tangible benefits are.” His benefits are limited to the monetary reward for property owners.

I would contend that there are some other, are important values than monetary profit.

1. Preserving the unique flavor of a place at a time of world-wide domination by your “global brands.” When I have traveled to Burma, India, Russia, South America, Europe, and many other places, I have found the overwhelming presence of “global brands” is the one “ick factor” I wish I could escape. What is the point of traveling to a new, exotic country, when all you see around you is a uniformly encountered mix of GAP, Starbucks, MacDonalds. Kentucky Fried Chicken, Abercrombie and Fitch, and other mega-chains? It is disgusting. It is perverse. It is boring.

2. Support of local businesses that function as part of the community, not some corporate behemoth in another part of the world.

3. Avoidence of the ever creeping elitism brokered folks like Choueke simply looking at profit potential.

Choueke undermines his thesis by contending “You can’t maintain a city if you don’t upkeep it.” Manhattan Beach is not drying up and blowing away.

Susan Rudnicki
Manhattan Beach


Counter punch
Dear ER:
Hermosa’s commercial downtown needs a 4-foot height-reduction measure, matching Manhattan’s voted downtown 26-foot height limit.

Hermosa developers are proposing poorly-designed, overly dense, out of scale, poorly-parked monoliths for Hermosa’s downtown. They’re proposing three or more stories for what are at best 2-story parcels.

This happened with the 96-unit Beach House Hotel approval and more recently with the big-box “Clash” hotel approval for 15th and Hermosa Avenues. These oversized hotels are being followed by an even more oversized and under-parked Mermaid-properties hotel, a Mangurian estate-properties hotel complex, and no doubt a Sea Sprite properties hotel complex.

Manhattan has one 38-room, two-story hotel (The Shade) located in its downtown, low-density, former Metlox site. Hermosa already has 160 downtown hotel room-units operating or approved and the Mermaid-properties developer is proposing to increase that total to 271.

With the Mangurian and Sea Sprite estate properties developed, the number of room will likely escalate to 13 times the number in Manhattan’s downtown, bringing to well over 1,000 transient-residents and workers in and out of Hermosa’s downtown 24/7. That’s without even considering the costly increased bars activity, trolling taxicabs, parking headaches and incalculable additional residential impacts.

Hermosa’s incredibly elitist council-majority of Hany Fangary, Carolyn Petty, Nannette Barragan and ceremonial Mayor Michael DiVirgilio are arrogantly refusing to insist that there first be a coherent plan ensuring properly-scaled developments and an appropriate mix of commercial uses.

Thus to preserve Hermosa’s downtown and city character from over-densification, a 26-foot height limit for downtown is overdue.

Howard Longacre
Hermosa Beach


Cool the waterfront rhetoric
Dear ER:
There’s been a lot of community discussion over the last few weeks about the Waterfront revitalization, and specifically about the project’s environmental review process, which kicked off in earnest at an EIR scoping meeting at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center on July 9.

I fully support the kind of comprehensive, community-oriented and privately funded revitalization that the CenterCal Properties proposal would bring. We all know that our coastal area needs full-scale revitalization badly. A piecemeal approach funded by the taxpayers simply isn’t financially feasible, a fact that shouldn’t be news to anyone.
I can say, first-hand, that CenterCal’s approach to this revitalization has been balanced, thoughtful and laid out. To close our minds to an opportunity like this, especially so early on in the process, would be a disservice to our community.

Many have read about the July 9 scoping meeting, which – while its purpose was to gather input on which environmental components should – turned into an emotionally-charged effort by opponents to discredit the project. This unfortunate development detracted from a crucial opportunity for substantive public discussion about our waterfront.

I, for one, would like to start talking seriously about what we truly want for our waterfront – not just about what we don’t.

April Pitcairn
Redondo Beach


Too many moving parts
Dear ER:
While Hermosa Beach is engulfed in the oil issue, the city is encouraging a developer to build well out of compliance with current zoning and the California Coastal Act. Its hard to imagine that the City Council even voted to include a proposal of taking public land and building beach parking garages, which also violates the Coastal Act.

They are deceived into thinking that voters will vote to increase their commercial building heights at the beach. Are they using the threat that if they can’t we will have the same old Hermosa with the Mermaid living forever? They got a good bargain for the property and its value was based on current zoning. Do they think they can get away with a windfall profit?

Redondo Beach may face an initiative from AES developers to vote for their massive development with the threat that if they don’t, the power plant will stay. Again their property is valued at current zoning. Who are they fooling? The plant isn’t staying anyway.

It’s time for developers and city officials to work with the community to reach what is best for our quality of life.

If they don’t, we’ll spiral into continued zoning by initiative. We would need alternative initiatives to include lower building heights, minimal alcohol/entertainment operating hours, property setbacks, and protecting public oceans views, which just happens to be in compliance with the current state Coastal Act anyway.

Dean Francois,
Redondo Beach


Follow the money
Dear ER:
Look at the Numbers. The Waterfront Project is a Great Opportunity.
According to opponents, revitalization will lead to a loss of more than $1 million a year in revenue and CenterCal doesn’t have to pay taxes for 30 years. With such a blatantly questionable fact, I felt it was my duty to set the record straight.

CenterCal is investing millions up-front to repair the dilapidated parking structure. Secondly, CenterCal will invest hundreds of millions more into revitalizing the entire area, without any taxpayer money.

When you look at the numbers, it’s clear that residents of Redondo Beach are not getting the raw end of the deal. CenterCal believes in our community and is willing to take a chance on us, and I think we should believe in them and the project.

We take no risk but in return will receive the millions of dollars in benefits from things like the abundant amount of green space, and the overall enhancement of our wonderful waterfront.

The numbers speak for themselves. Residents of Redondo deserve the opportunity to benefit from full-scale, private investment, and that is why I support the Waterfront project.

Eric Saneholtz
Redondo Beach


100 thanks
Dear ER:
First, a simply wonderful August 7, 2014 article on Betty’s 100th birthday (Hermosa Betty Hooper celebrates 100th birthday, ER August 7, 2014). Great Mother’s Day photo from last year too.

My own mother, since passed on, had a 1956 Buick Century and so I took notice of the beautiful red Buick that accompanies the article. It is identified as a 51 Buick, but it is a 1955. I know because of the slight differences between the 1955 and the 1956 model Buicks that I grew up with.

Jim Gordon
by email


Healthy logic
Dear ER,
There is an oil island roughly the same size as the one proposed for Hermosa directly across the street from Cedars Sinai Hospital. If the oil island was built first, as I suspect it was, why was Cedars Sinai built right across the street from it? The most logical explanation is the oil island must have been considered completely harmless. But if the hospital was built first, why was an oil island allowed to be built across the street from it? Again, the most logical explanation is the oil island must have been considered harmless. And it must still be considered safe since it is still in operation.

My question to the oil opponents is: why would an oil island in Hermosa that is surrounded on three sides by industrial buildings and a wide greenbelt on the fourth side be considered hazardous to a healthy population when one directly across the street from a hospital full of sick people is not?

I’ll be waiting for your reply. But I think I will be waiting a long time.

John Szot
Hermosa Beach


Camus’s take on oil
Dear ER:
E & B Natural Resources threatened to sue the City of Hermosa Beach if the City Council did not change the date of the vote to meet E & B’s strategic needs. Is there anything more absurd than choosing to do business with a company who threatens to sue you before you have even decided to do business? Actually there is. For those pro-oil folk who are so enamored of E & B and their tales of money and new technology, consider this: If the residents allow E & B to drill 30 wells in Hermosa in violation of basic safety codes and with clear knowledge of the significant and unavoidable risks, then who is legally liable if a catastrophic event does occur?

Do you think E & B’s insurance carrier is going to simply sign over a blank check when their new technology fails, especially given that the City is in charge of compliance? Do you think E & B is going to go to bat for residents left with the smoldering ashes? Or do you think that they are going to stand up in court and argue that we knew the risks and we accepted them.

Their recent performance on the voting date would appear to be a good litmus test of whose interest they care most about. Albert Camus once said, “The absurd does not liberate; it binds.” Remember this when you vote to chain us to E & B.

Monique Ehsan
Hermosa Beach


Waterfront Revitalization, not a Mall
Dear ER:
I have followed the Waterfront Project from day one, keeping up with articles and Facebook pages and attending city council and scoping meetings. I am very excited that our city has decided to breathe new life into our waterfront.

I am disheartened, however, that a small number who oppose the project, insist on corrupting a productive conversation with inaccurate statistics.

The naysayers assert that this project is going to become a mall. That is simply not the case. I have seen the renderings and the Waterfront will include a new boardwalk, a lively Market Hall, an improved Seaside Lagoon, open Outdoor Space for exercise and recreation, a state-of-the-art Movie Theater and a beautiful Hotel. Retail is only one part of the full revitalization of our waterfront area.

When I envision the final project, I think of chatting with neighbors on the pier, biking with my family, selecting fresh produce at the market, seeing the latest movie and dining at a seaside restaurant. I imagine, finally, being proud to take out-of-town guests to our pier.

I do not want a mall at the beach. Fortunately, CenterCal’s design respects that wish. It reflects an understanding of the complexity and richness of Redondo Beach.

Nancy Burke Barr
Redondo Beach


Dear ER:
Tar on our beaches is the result of natural seepage from underground oil reservoirs in Redondo, Hermosa, Playa Del Rey and Venice and not from offshore oil drilling, as claimed by Elaine Mendes (ER Letters, August 7, 2014). One way to reduce the seepage is to reduce the pressure in the oil reservoirs by drilling and producing the oil in them. Hermosans want to reduce t tar on our beaches, they should vote for E & B’s project.

Richard Finken
Redondo Beach, CA


Dear ER:
The motion picture industry just reported that the recent July 4 weekend was the worst for movie attendance in 25 years. That’s hardly surprising when you consider 100 inch LED TVs bringing Netflix, into our living rooms.

It is also not surprising that theaters in all three beach cities and Torrance have closed in the past decade or so.

What is surprising is CenterCal’s proposal to build a movie theater in King Harbor. By the time it’s built, 3D and who knows what else will be cutting further into movie attendance.

And who is coming to King Harbor to spend three hours indoors.

Ross Yosnow
Redondo Beach


Dear ER:
I’ve always thought of Redondo Beach as a giant family, filled with people who want to maintain a community we can all be proud of. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. Over the last few months, vocal opponents of the Waterfront revitalization project look to persuade their neighbors with mean-spirited misinformation.

Normally, I am one for a collaborative discussion, because I believe that these discussions are what lead to the best ideas. But this discussion has, to be frank, been unfair. While supporters have maintained their rational arguments and CenterCal has been extremely open to hearing feedback and adjusting their project, opponents have not been as thoughtful.

I continue to hear that if we approve this project, we’re going to have a mall on the waterfront. That is simply not true. If opponents chose to look at the information themselves, they’d see how invalid this argument is. Further, no final arrangements can even be made until the environmental review process is completed, and we have a number of months until that will happen.

We need to get past this unproductive mall argument and talk about things that will actually result from the revitalization efforts. To spend time on frivolous things that will not even happen, like the mall, wastes our unique opportunity to create a project that reflects the type of area that we in the community truly want.

Steve Goldstein
Redondo Beach


Dear ER:
The farmers market that comes to Hermosa every Friday has an ideal location next to Clark Stadium. There’s a grass area with a shade tree where mothers with baby strollers gather. There are outdoor basketball courts surrounded by a high chain link fence where little kids ride tricycles and run around. There is free parking nearby because the city offices are closed on Fridays.

Some residents and the local firefighters just walk to the market. The kids from Valley School walk there as a group. Who would want to do away with a situation that works so well for the residents of Hermosa?

Some Hermosa Plaza business owners, through their Chamber of Commerce, want to do exactly that. And they have the power to do it because the chamber owns the farmers market. They want to move the market to the plaza and they want to have it on Wednesdays. They don’t actually care about the market itself. They just want to use it as a lure to increase foot traffic to their businesses. There’s no grass area with a shade tree there. There’s no place where little kids can run around in perfect safety. The school kids won’t be able to walk there. It’s tough to find a parking place near the plaza, even if you’re willing to put money in a meter. The market vendors are against the move. They and a large number of community members are the losers in this proposed scheme.

Victor Silva
Hermosa Beach


Dear ER:
What does it take for the citizens of Redondo Beach to realize that Mayor Aspel is drunk — with self-appointed power? How can those who followed and believed in Aspel continue to support him in light of his backroom negotiation with AES, continued admonishment from the City Council dais of those with whom he doesn’t agree, and his veto of a recent City Council approval for a public vote on the CenterCal project?

The two most significant projects our City will likely face in our lifetimes are the waterfront revitalization and power plant initiative. Yet Mayor Aspel has single-handedly quashed public input on both, and rallied his minions to label those of us who disagree with him as “against everything.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Most of us want responsible development, with public input and compromise.

It’s time to recall Mayor Aspel.

Walter Howells II
Redondo Beach


Dear ER:
E & B Natural Resources promises great wealth from 1,000 oil leases. The Cost Benefit Analysis shows 184 acres produces 23 percent of the oil from under land. This 20 percent of the City’s 1000 acres equals the area south of 10th and west of Valley. The typical, private leaseholder will receive about 29 cents per day if Hermosa produces the same volume as Redondo. There is no guarantee that any wells will be under the land.
An oil lease payment is in proportion to the land size and only from the single well under the parcel. Six of the 30 wells could pump the 23 percent in the 184 acres, draining 30 acres per well. An average parcel is a 0.2 percent ‘land share’ for a 30 ft by 100 ft lot, divided by one 30 acre well. (3,000 sq. ft. divided by 1,300,000 million sqft equals .0023)

A ‘land share’ is multiplied by a ‘lease royalty,’ equal to approximately 8 percent of oil value. (0.0023 times 0.08 equals 0.00018) The lot will yield about 0.02% from only one well.

Here is the math for the lucky 1000:
Redondo sold 5.5 million barrels from 31 wells on our border over 35 years.

5.5 Mil bbls times $94 per barrel (CBA) divided by 30 wells divided by 30 years divided by 365 days gives E & B $1,574 per day from the well. A typical parcel lease share is $1,574 time .0023 land share times .08 royalty rate equals $0.29.

29 cents per day is at Redondo’s historical production.

87 cents per day is @ 3 x Redondo’s production (CBA medium).

$1.88 per day is @ 6.5 x Redondo production (E&B promise).

Tom Morley
Redondo Beach


Not another Hermosa
Dear ER:
I love Redondo Beach. It has been my home for so many years and like many others, I would never want it to lose its fun, beach-city essence. That is why I support CenterCal’s revitalization efforts for the Waterfront — a well-rounded, community-oriented approach that will move our wonderful community forward without losing the character we all know and love.

Unfortunately, some in the community incorrectly believe that to maintain that essence, we have to remain stagnant. They believe that any change will ruin the city they know and love. They incorrectly argue that revitalization will make Redondo Beach the next Hermosa and fill it with traffic, that it won’t be friendly to the local residents, and that it’ll take away business from the rest of the community.

I’ve been keeping up with the media and reading the facts. What opponents say is not only wrong, but it hinders our opportunity to open a productive dialogue so that we may recreate the Waterfront into something that we are all proud of and love. We should all be allowed to give our feedback, but our comments need to be based in fact and we have to think about the future economic and community needs of Redondo Beach.

It is time for us to come out from the shadows and show our support for a better future in Redondo Beach. The time for revitalization has come, and for it to succeed, we need to all work together.

Bibi Goldstein
Redondo Bech


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