Letters to the Editor 3-1-18
District on a Mission
The Hermosa Beach School District is about to destroy the most historically significant building in its jurisdiction, at a great cost in both dollars and community character. The North School main building is a fine example of Mission architecture of the 1920s. It is structurally sound, and its classrooms are large and bright. With proper renovation, upgrades, and replacement of its missing clay tile roof, it could be a beautiful place for our kids to learn and thrive. Yet the District intends to tear down this handsome building, and the two adjacent 1930s buildings, too. The proposed replacement building is a large, utilitarian mass, adorned with ridiculous imitation buttresses, with the overall look and feel of a public housing block. Almost as bad is the proposed multi-purpose building, which could easily be mistaken for a self-storage facility.
The decision to obliterate everything on the campus is expensive and unnecessary. The proposed enrollment of 510 students is too large for the local streets to accommodate. The City Planning Department has indicated that the proposed school size will result in unsolvable traffic and safety issues, and the Fire Department has determined that the most effective method of resolving problematic emergency access to the site requires a design change.
It is obvious that the School District should reduce the number of students it plans to put on the North School campus. Reducing the enrollment size would decrease traffic problems, decrease the cost of new construction, and would still reduce crowding at View and Valley schools. This would also allow the District to save the original North School building, a valuable link to our city’s past.
Public good concept
Last week, after agreeing with Manhattan Beach School District Superintendent Mike Matthews that quality schools increase property values, Robert Bush asked, “Why not a Parent Tax to cover the district’s shortfall, instead of [a] Parcel Tax on all residents?” (“Parent tax,” ER Letter to the Editor Feb. 25, 2018). It seems to me that the answer to his question involves the priority concept of a “public good,” not the situation in which individual taxpayers find themselves. If it costs more to maintain high quality schools, all who will benefit from that maintenance are legitimately called upon to support that end. It’s certainly not just the parents’ property values that will remain high if the schools continue to attract new residents. Beyond the usual argument that society in general benefits from a broad-based educated citizenry, it is just a simple fact of life that we are called upon to support specific elements of the public good whether or not we personally benefit from them. The blind pay taxes that support art museums, vegetarians pay taxes to meet the costs of government meat inspection, crime victims pay taxes that support public defender attorneys, we all pay taxes for public libraries even if we never go inside one. It’s not difficult to compile a long list of taxes we all are legitimately called on to pay without any individual benefit from the money we contribute. In the end, from my point of view, we all were schooled because our communities paid for our schools and schooling; that is a debt we owe to the past that can only be paid to the present.
Guns and educators
Yesterday we received a flier from the Manhattan Beach Unified School District entitled “Maintaining Excellence.” The District seeks to replenish the bottomless well of cash that they continue to burn through. My wife and I had a chuckle when we saw the photo on the cover of what appeared to be students at graduation. The students had leis around their necks and were holding bouquets of flowers. We laughed in disgust recalling the graduation of our son some years ago. At the time, his brother was living in Hawaii and had sent him a lei to wear during the graduation ceremony. It was promptly confiscated by the small-minded little Napoleons who lord over the students and create arbitrary and capricious rules with the express purpose of keeping them in line. When I went to the administrative office to retrieve my son’s property I was told that leis were not allowed and they refused to hand it over. When I started to raise a stink they threatened to call the police and have me arrested. This comes on the same day as the article about the threat of teacher layoffs in which union head Shawn Chen is quoted as saying that the school district has, “a history of predicting deficit, then ending up in the black” and proffering”…doomsday scenarios…for political reasons…” The bosses are more concerned with memorializing themselves in edifices than creating anything that benefits the children. These profligate a-holes spend taxpayer money like it’s an unlimited resource. They purposely neglect upkeep to create an image of decay. Should the community be foolish enough to grant them additional money, they’ll be back for more in another year or two, as anybody who’s lived in this community for any significant length of time can attest. (Recall MBUSD superintendent Jerry Davis who cut and ran to Florida when got caught with their greedy little hands in the till some years back.) All this is academic if you live in Hermosa because you get a free ride.
In the background, as I write this, I hear the latest in the top 40 rotation; politicians on the radio are, once again, pontificating about the need for “sensible gun laws” after the shooting at the high school in Florida. It’s the same trite babble that they spew after every “good crisis.” They walk through the forest and pretend to miss the trees.
Consider this; when I was in high school guns were much easier to come by. One could walk into a sporting goods store and walk out 10 minutes later with a gun and ammo: no inconvenient background check. Think if so inclined, sit down on the curb, load up and shoot dead anybody who happened to be within range. But it didn’t happen. So…what’s changed? I suggest that, before you grandstand about the need for more ‘sensible gun laws’ and grandiose new facilities, educators take a look at the insidious mind-control they’ve imposed on these kids that cause them to flip and go on a rampage.
Marna Smeltzer has put her heart and soul into supporting and improving the business and tourism communities in Redondo Beach for more than three decades. Under her leadership, the Redondo Beach Chamber has helped to bring thousands of visitors to Redondo Beach through the many successful yearly events such as the Super Bowl Sunday 10k Run. She has gone to nearly every city council meeting, often staying late into the night. She has done her job with honesty, integrity and a love of her community. The Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce is losing a wonderful leader who will be difficult to replace.
When Hermosa Beach City Manager Sergio Gonzalez resigned after less than a year on the job, it showed why city managers should reside in the city they supervise. Gonzalez had worked for 14 years in South Pasadena before becoming Hermosa Beach’s city manager at $219,000 per year, after a national search. He was spending 16 to 17 hours a week commuting, away from his family, including his 10-year-old twins. Hermosa Beach should have insisted he relocate from San Gabriel Valley to Hermosa Beach so he could concentrate on city business and have his family close by.
Why have all
The people gone
There has been a massive exodus of 25- to 35-year-old residents out of Redondo Beach (South Bay Galleria goes before Planning Commission,” ER Feb. 22, 2018). In fact, Redondo leads the county in driving out this important working age group. This is detrimental to our city because they add a major portion of money to the local economy. The reason they left is the lack of housing. The Galleria proposal should have stuck with the allowable 600 residential units. The proposed 300, 1 and 2 bedroom apartments, (not condos) are the only aspect of the project that is guaranteed to succeed. The addition of market rate apartment units will spike Redondo’s inventory and help keep more affordable rentals at affordable levels. That’s simple supply and demand.
by Judy Rae