Letters to the Editor 4-6-17
I live next to the former Albertsons/Haggens in North Redondo Beach. I know exactly the reputation North Redondo has always had. But now North Redondo is on the rise. Million dollar homes, solid schools, higher income families. A Grocery Outlet market? Really? On Artesia Boulevard we have four liquor stores, three massage parlors, three dive-bars, Salvation Army, Goodwill, Dollar Tree, and now coming to a million dollar neighborhood near you Grocery Outlet. Seriously? By no means am I saying we should get rid of the small business owners. They have a right to their livelihood. They’ve been here. I get it. But why add to the garbage. Hold out for businesses on the rise or ones with solid reputations. South Redondo would never have a Grocery Outlet. Imagine the headlines: “Vons in Riviera is being replaced by Grocery Outlet.” Never happen. North Redondo deserves better. Electioneering is over. Now do your real job. Step up, not step aside.
The recent Manhattan Beach City Council election felt like Trump redux. My smart neighbors in Manhattan Beach believed anonymous hit piece mailers and likely, false emails and voted out two competent incumbent council members — Mark Burton and Tony D’Errico. Anonymous ads paid for by out-of-town political groups railed against the incumbents. Journalists never discovered or reported the real source of the money behind the attacks. Burton and D’Errico had just said no to massive parking structures and oversized development downtown because they listened to residents’ concerns. They might have listened about Gelson’s too. I don’t believe the new council members will be as responsive. School Board member Ellen Rosenberg in an email to only her closest friends (though magically most parents in town read it) circulated the very unlikely story that both incumbents at a campaign event said they ignore parents because parents “only vote in bond elections.” Now we have on the council Richard Montgomery, who was found unfit to appraise houses, and two former school board members who likely will try again with plans to pave over Polliwog Park to build a sports center and kitchen to lease out for profit. That our children might need our scarce green space more than money for the school board to spend is ignored. Attacks based on exaggerations and fakery work. Even in Manhattan Beach.
New council challenge
Gelson’s is the first major project on the Sepulveda Corridor to be addressed by the Manhattan Beach as it embarks on developing a plan for the Corridor. The Sepulveda Corridor is not a repository for any business that wants to set up shop in Manhattan Beach. It should receive the same attention, thought and study the downtown received. Residents voices need to be front and center of that decision. Businesses led on the downtown plan. Residents need to lead on the Sepulveda Corridor. Every candidate elected to the City Council was adamant about “Residents First.” Okay, here is your chance to make good on that platform. There have been hundreds of comments, studies and analyses submitted to the city about Gelson’s by residents. The city does not require a neighborhood impact study as part of the MB CEQA review process and one was not undertaken as part of the Gelson’s project. The City Council should listen to residents and require an EIR, which would require a neighborhood impact study. This should be the precedent for developments on the Sepulveda Corridor.
PLAN it Hermosa
Once again we must thank reporter Ryan McDonald for his fair, sensitive and intelligent reporting regarding PLAN Hermosa (“PLAN Hermosa headed to City Council,” ER March 30, 2017). One can only hope that the community, especially those who are “new to local government,” will take a deep breath and understand that this has been a long and complicated but very transparent process, and that they will come to the April 20 Study Session with an open mind. Clearly, some in the community have a regressive agenda for our City and may have already sown too much misinformation, suspicion and discontent for that to occur. We hope we are wrong. In any case, we are grateful for the responsible journalism that McDonald and the Easy Reader bring to our community.
Dency and Moira Nelson
Redondo Beach residents rejected the CenterCal mall, with 57 percent voting Yes on C in the March 7 election. After Measure C passed, CenterCal CEO Fred Bruning wrote: “Despite yesterday’s outcome, it is likely that The Waterfront will still move forward…We will continue to work toward approval from the California Coastal Commission. We will continue to do everything we can to turn The Waterfront into a reality, because you deserve it.” (City, CenterCal face off in dueling lawsuits,” ER March 30, 2017). What exactly do you deserve? “The Waterfront team filed a Petition for Writ of Mandate in Los Angeles Superior Court disputing the validity of Measure C on numerous grounds and arguing that it cannot be applied to The Waterfront.” CenterCal believes you deserve to have your vote ignored and the city deserves to be sued for $14 million because you rejected their mall. It’s now abundantly clear: CenterCal never pursued this project to help the community. CenterCal pursued this project for profit and now they want you to pay for their mistakes. Mayor Steve Aspel, and councilmembers Martha Barbee, Christian Horvath, and Laura Emdee got us into this $14 million lawsuit by approving the project before residents voted on Measure C. Vote for Nils Nehrenheim in the District 1 runoff on May 16. Since CenterCal has declared war on Redondo Beach residents, Rescue our Waterfront must continue the lawsuit we filed against CenterCal in November. The judge has assigned a court date in July. We have a strong case but we need your support to cover our legal bills. CenterCal may try to ignore democracy but they can’t ignore a judge. Please donate at RescueOurWaterfront.org.
I’d hoped for good things following the appointment of Martha Barbee to Redondo Beach City Council. She seemed like a genuinely warm person, intent on hearing resident views. But, months in, she has not put forth any policy ideas. She made a big deal of listening but still seems unwilling (or unable) to state her own opinions. Her Council votes have shown she does not heed the wishes of the majority of her constituents or of Redondo Beach residents. In contrast, Nils Nehrenheim, Ebee’s challenger in the May 16, District 1 council election, has spent many years being engaged in various community groups (R4, Save the Riviera, Rescue our Waterfront/Measure C). He’s shown himself to be an energizing leader, willing to explore new ideas to reinvigorate the city. Whether in support of zoning changes that reduce the current habit of encouraging every empty space to be developed, ending the annual $700,000 handout to the Chamber of Commerce, or working on an overall vision to set Redondo Beach on a new and improved course, it’ll be exciting to see what Nils Nehrenheim will bring to the new leadership team that citizens have clearly called for. Vote for Nils on the upcoming runoff mail-in ballot.
Redondo Beach District 1 Councilmember Martha Barbee was unanimously appointed by our City Council (including Mayor Brand) over Nils Nehrenheim. Since then she’s dedicated herself to the residents of her district with a passion. She’s approached every challenge with a completely open mind because she doesn’t have an ideologically driven agenda. In some cases she’s supported development while in others she voted against it. She hasn’t always voted the way I would like but she’s always given good reasons for her decisions and many times won me over. Her positive can-do attitude is contagious and you quickly learn why so many people support her. I continue to see vicious attacks on her character by anonymous bullies. Throughout it all she’s stayed positive and led by example. Now that’s leadership we can learn from.
Wants and needs
In the wake of Measure C, it’s clear that the wants and needs of Redondo Beach residents are more complex than anticipated. We need committed, passionate people in our government, people who can collaborate and compromise. There is no person who exudes these qualities better than Councilwoman Martha Barbee. I have been lucky enough to know Barbee for the past eight years. I have seen her involve herself, often thanklessly, in countless civic causes around Redondo. What strikes me most is her extraordinary problem solving skills. She takes time to educate herself on the intricacies of each issue. She considers all opinions and grapples with them diligently. I know these things because even in settings where there is no political advocacy involved, she speaks passionately and articulately. She has an uncanny ability to speak to both sides and propose inclusive solutions that leave each side happy and inspired to work together. Her abilities are exactly what this city needs.
From an actual conversation at a gas station, when I was approached by a resident who mistook me for Redondo Beach District 1 council candidate Martha Barbee after seeing ELECT BARBEE magnetic signs on the sides of my car (after telling her I was not Martha): “I’m going to vote for Martha Barbee because even though I wasn’t that crazy about the Waterfront, with all the changes that just happened with our city council and the measure passing, I think with this new mayor, we will need to bring balance to our city council, and I think Barbee will do that.” I feel the same way, and I hope District 1 does as well.
Erika Snow Robinson
Nils on track
The March 7 Redondo Beach election showed us more and more residents of are getting involved. They’ve finally had it with the same ol’ same ol’ and voted for new leadership and sent a message. Don’t force development on us we don’t want. However, we still have a runoff election on May 16 for the District 1s council seat. Let’s keep the energy moving in the right direction. Vote for Nils Nehrenheim to fill that position. He has proven his leadership and ‘let’s get it done for the people’ attitude. He worked tirelessly for Save the Riviera and was instrumental getting the CARE Act Initiative out to the public (Measure C). He already has recorded successes for the residents and in the election as the leading candidate with the most votes. All with residents campaign support and donations, not with financing from outside corporate interests. Nils does the critical thinking, he inquires and researches, he listens, he acts.