Letters to the Editor 1-05-2017
Veteran salutes Rep. Lieu
As an aging Vietnam combat veteran with purple hearts and a C.I.B. (Combat Infantrymen’s’ Badge), I find myself using the Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs medical system more each year. My treatment at the Gardena Clinic and the hospital in Brentwood is first-rate. Unfortunately sometimes I’m forced to deal with paper pushers at the Long Beach Medical System. That’s when I really understand that the 22 veterans’ suicides a day aren’t just because of combat experiences. When the Long Beach bureaucrats “mixed up” my paperwork, I contacted Congressman Ted Lieu’s office. As a former liaison between VVA (Vietnam Veterans’ of America) Chapter 53 and former Congresswoman Jane Harman’s office, I was used to good service. I had heard Rep. Lieu talk about the meaning of military service at recent Veterans’ Day ceremonies, so I hoped he could help me. Shortly after contacting Rep. Lieu I received a phone call, not a text or an e-mail but an actual phone call, from Wes Haas, one of Rep. Lieu’s aides. It was obvious that Haas knew my case and was working hard on it. The medical bills have stopped coming in the mail and Haas assures me he is watching my case closely. So I think I can safely say that veterans in the area have a friend in Ted Lieu.
A pier by any other name
We’ve called our harbor many things — King Harbor, the Redondo Pier and formerly, as one welcome sign still has it near Anza on 190th — the Fisherman’s Wharf. But rarely has it been called “The Waterfront,” until recently, and definitely not with a capital W. This is a name CenterCal’s marketers came up with to brand their bloated project. It’s called placemaking, which here means,”We’re turning your harbor into a mall so we can make money and you can impress your friends with $20, seaside margaritas.” Every time you say “The Waterfront” it’s a subliminal feather in the developer’s campaign cap. Piers all over the world are, at their core, designed for recreation and communal enjoyment for everyone, not just a few. We all agree we need to renovate our pier, but the Waterfront is not the way to do it. Vote Yes on Measure C to protect the Redondo Beach Harbor and Pier. Don’t be fooled into believing you have already voted on this. You have not voted on making the harbor and pier safe from a developer and majority of our current City staff, who think nothing of shutting down the popular Seaside Lagoon to build a mall, and who support a boat launch that has been proclaimed unsafe by numerous local harbor experts.
Condemned by the past
The new year kicks off campaigns for the Redondo Beach March election. One group has a deep investment of time and community spirit, another is armed with proverbial rocks and mud to sling. Their candidates are laser focused to take away redevelopment of the pier. They have a new ballot measure to scare you into a false belief that they can disrupt our future. They are right on this one, even though Measure C will likely not be enforceable. If this measure passes, we will all be stuck with the bill. Look for increased taxes to support another “wait and see” argument brought by the same people that who lied about a simple zoning measure for the Power Plant. Where is that now? It still sits spewing ugly, stinky smoke that blankets our city. Let’s use the money being given to our community to bring us back to the pier. Vote No on Measure C and for candidates who support progress.
Pier bait and switch
I was surprised to see the CenterCal mall-on-the-Pier development divided into two sections, with the southern portion “optional” for the developer. The southern portion is where repairs are needed. Is this a “bait and switch” scheme? The city “baits” the community with the promise that CenterCal will repair the garage and the Pier, only to “switch” midstream, giving responsibility for the repairs back to the city? Did the city forget to check when the Pier leases expire? Now, a plan that was touted as a good financial deal for Redondo, with CenterCal picking up the tab for the repairs, is actually a great financial deal for CenterCal and bad for Redondo Beach. The Mayor and staff formulated this bad deal behind closed doors and now want to publicly ride to the rescue, fixing parts of their bad deal. It’s all theater for the voters, but still a bloated mall on the Pier.
Time to plan
Mayor Steve Aspel says that if the CenterCal deal falls through it may take 10 years for Redondo Beach to get another chance to redevelop King Harbor (“The battle over the Redondo Waterfront,” ER Dec. 29, 2016). Good. That should be enough time to solve the overlooked and overdue traffic and infrastructure issues. Maybe our elected public officials should get started on that, without giving away our precious coastline to some out-of-state mall developer.
In 2010, Redondo Beach voters approved Measure G, our local coastal plan. Measure G empowered the City and residents to jointly develop an ideal community-driven plan called “The Waterfront.” The plan includes 11 acres of open space; a new Seaside Lagoon, opened year-round; a new Public Market; a new boardwalk; enhanced access for pedestrians; and bikes and best of all, this plan is fully funded and won’t require residents’ tax dollars. We’re on the verge of having the coolest place to visit in the beach cities. But one important obstacle is in front the way: Measure C (as in Catastrophe), on the March 7 ballot. If passed it will undo all the important zoning that was methodically set up seven years ago by Measure G. If Measure C passes, here are the negative impacts: Shifts Public Infrastructure and vital Improvement costs as high as $200 Million to the taxpayer and to the City; increase costs to Redondo, risking city services, such as police and fire; requires replacing the proposed natural tidal flow in Seaside Lagoon with a chlorinated system, at a cost of $20 Million.
Start 2017 off on the right foot. Uplift Redondo by Voting No on Measure C.
Clear water revival
I support the Waterfront project. A specific point I like about the plan is that there will be catch basins for rain and water run-off to ensure our harbor and waterfront are environmentally sound. This runoff will be filtered through landscaping, or will be treated and returned to the ground. There will be no raw runoff directly into our Harbor, as there is now from the asphalt parking lot.
Made to be broken
Manhattan Beach spent considerable time with staff and council to develop strategic plans for the mall and downtown. Now, shortly after plans were approved, the mall is given a height variance and The Strand House is allowed to install an awning encroaching five feet over the public sidewalk. Why go through all the trouble of establishing building codes if variances are so easily passed out? Codes should be enforced, and exceptions should be rare if any.
Thank you for publishing Robert Woodie’s moving story on the heart-wrenching search for his “Pops,” Bob Woodie (“Searching for Pops,” ER/Beach Dec. 8, 2016). I was in tears by the time I finished reading it. Bob was my handyman and friend. He was a wonderful man and I miss him very much.The story captured his personality and good, meaningful life very well. I hope many of those whose lives he touched will contribute to the Sierra Club memorial fund, as have I. May Bob rest in peace in the wilderness he loved.
by Judy Rae