Letters to the Editor 6-22-17
We have been residents on Vincent Street in Redondo beach since 1977. We have watched school traffic increase dramatically. The crosswalk at Lucia and Vincent streets at 2 p.m. is a disaster just waiting to happen. With so many young school children randomly crossing, the traffic will often back up blocks, to Prospect Avenue. I have contacted Parras Middle School on numerous occasions asking why is there no crossing guard. The reply given is, “We do not control crosswalks. The school district handles those types of things.” The school district is turning a blind eye to a real safety problem. Yesterday an irritated driver honking his horn at straggling, students just plowed through the stop, yelling at the kids. Please, please, before their is a fatal accident here, get a crossing guard. With the millions of dollars in bond money the district has received a crossing guard could be furnished.
Parsing planning commissioner
The letter from former Redondo council candidate and current planning commissioner Doug Rodriguez (who received only 38 percent of of the March vote) had several inaccuracies.
I’m not a ROW (Rescue Our Waterfront co-founder. I didn’t co-author Redondo Beach Measure C. Rodriguez parsed words from my email to suggest that I stated he took money from the Chamber. Here’s my quote about Redondo Chamber cronyism. “They used their war chest to help support the elections of Steve Aspel, Martha Barbee, Doug Rodriguez and John Gran. Previously, they used their war chest to support Christian Horvath and Laura Emdee.” Rodriguez knows support comes in many forms — cash, third-party printing and mailing of campaign material, venues for fundraisers, and other “in kind” donations, such as the $10,500 video donated to Rodriguez and noted in his campaign filings. The Chamber’s direct and indirect support for candidates during the last two elections exceeded $100,000. Their alleged commingling of funding, resources, operations, personnel and more with their PACs is currently under FPPC investigation. The cronyism in Redondo must end or we’ll all be in trouble
One minute manager
The Manhattan Beach City Council claims to encourage “open and inclusive” government. But it recently reduced the time for public input on General Business to a paltry one minute per person, per item. Three minutes was the longstanding rule, consistent with other cities’ best practices. This decision was quietly made, very late in the evening (under the topic of “Meeting Management”) when there were no members of the public or reporters present. In my eight years on the City Council (and prior nine years as a City Commissioner), I’ve observed that the best community decisions were always made with more, not less public input. Indeed, it’s a fundamental civic principle of “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” I generally have great respect for our City Council, but one minute is totally unreasonable, considering the complex community decisions with multiple issues. A better way to reduce the length of meetings is more efficient agenda management. However, the City Council recently eliminated the Forecast Agenda, which was created to accomplish this and also used to provide the public with notice of future agenda items and to keep city staff accountable for scheduling Council-directed agenda items. Residents who believe our City Council must have a more reasonable time limit on public input, should email them at CityCouncil@CityMB.info.
Divide and underground
The Manhattan Beach City Council and Edison will again force Utility Undergrounding on the residents. Many surveys showed that residents did not want Utility Undergrounding, so the City used a piecemeal method (one district at a time), starting at the Ocean Drive. The process has divided the City, forcing those who don’t want Utility Undergrounding to pay $50,000 to $75,000. A survey would be sent out to the residents to ask if they approve or disapprove of Utility Undergrounding. Edison Electric Institute says undergrounding costs outweigh benefits. Undergrounded wires are not more reliable. Repairing overhead lines is easier and can sometimes be done by one worker. The costs of undergrounding are prohibitive. The only justification for undergrounding is “intangible, unquantifiable benefits.” Manhattan Beach residents don’t have a choice for an electricity provider,, but we do have a choice not to use the incompetent Edison for utility undergrounding.
The reason there is no boat launch ramp in King Harbor is because there there is no “good” location. The two proposed choices, other than Mole B (Moonstone Park), would require the demolition of existing buildings and the purchase of existing leases. The Joe’s Crab Shack location is strongly opposed by the city’s signature hotel, Portofino Inn and the Sambas location is subject to surge and would have boaters launching and retrieving boats in the middle of the busiest section of the harbor. By all means, let’s have more public meetings to make sure we get it perfect, but there is no perfect. Projected opening date of the King Harbor Launch Ramp: 2050.
Rodriguez misstates the amount of development in Redondo when he writes “Between 2009 and 2015 there were 72 net new units across the entire city [annually] (“The campaign goes on, ER June 15, 2017). According to a report by the consulting firm BAE provided to members of the General Plan Advisory Committee, Redondo has been growing by an average of 86 new residential units per year — all condos. The SeaBreeze mixed use development will add 52 more units. 185,000 sq. ft. of commercial development has been added. And in just the last couple of years we have added three hotels and a fourth is in development. Voters also approved a huge assisted living development to replace the Knob Hill school site — 80,000 sq ft with 96 rooms. So development in Redondo is hardly “slow,” as Dominguez writes.
And let’s not forget what residents have stopped:
- 3000 condos and 600,000 sq. f.t of commercial development in Heart of the City
- 180 condos on Torrance Boulevard
- 189 apartments in the Legado development at Pacific Coast Highway and Palos Verdes Boulevard.
- Over 600 condos in the AES plan
And the 524,000 sq. ft. CenterCal mall by the sea is in limbo. Imagine what our town would be like had residents not taken action. We are still facing huge development projects: the replacement for the failed Legado plan, the reconfiguration of the Galleria and the AES site. Fortunately, the new council is better balanced, so we should see more balanced projects come forward.
Moved by stoppage
I have lived in Manhattan Beach for over 30 years and can’t believe the traffic and bottleneck created with the “improvements” on Vista Del Mar (“Residents block Vista Del Mar lane closures,” ER June 15, 2017). Whoever thought of the improvements ought to have to drive to the Marina Freeway or to Centinela Avenue every day. It is a nightmare and needs to be changed. In 30-plus years I have never written a letter to the editor of any newspaper but what they have done here is ridiculous.
by Judy Rae