Letters to the Editor 6-8-17
Casting a bleary, battle-worn gaze into the crystal ball of Manhattan Beach’s future, I see an ominous image congeal beneath the glass. In the misstated name of progress, our already sparse green space has devolved into a morass of concrete. The last bastions of urban wildlife and pastoral tranquility have been sacrificed to provide crass amusements for a pampered populace. Every conceivable amenity has been erected, and yet the residents are still unsettled and unsatisfied. Their McMansions crowd together so tightly that even the balmy ocean breeze cannot penetrate to soothe their frazzled souls. Our city council, then populated entirely by the amoral puppets of developers and other special interests, feigns to serve the needs of the electorate while delivering on the back-door promises made to their benefactors. These leaders parrot the hollow mantra of “small town charm” to the denizens of this dystopia as the bulldozers and cement mixers churn on. This dire prognostication is writ large but need not come to pass if we exert vigor in holding our elected officials accountable to the environment and future generations. Will we preserve green space or enshroud our community in a sarcophagus of concrete? Manhattan Beach, you decide.
Redondo Beach District 4 Councilman John Gran is voicing wishful thinking (“DemocraC,” Letters to the Editor, ER June 1, 2017). The election is over. Measure C is the express will of the people. Gran’s own district voted for Measure C. Trying to find excuses to ignore it shows that Gran is willing to push his own personal agenda over the will of the people. Every day city staff and attorneys and consultants work on the CenterCal mall is wasted time and wasted taxpayer money. The Coastal Commission staff report clearly spells out that the finding of substantial issue voids all Coastal Development permits. CenterCal has no vested rights. If Gran really followed the will of the people he would support pulling the project and rescinding the lease agreement between the city and CenterCal. He does not need a court determination to do that. Everything else is an excuse and a smoke screen.
Water, water everywhere
Well, it didn’t take long for the new Manhattan Beach City Council to launch their assault on Polliwog Park. First is the renovation of Begg Pool, which surely means expanding the size of the pool and converting surrounding parkland to concrete. Just down the street we have a pool at Mira Costa High School. In the other direction, the El Segundo Aquatics Center is scheduled to open within a year, sporting every possible amenity for swimmers. With these resources available to all of us, why would we need to expand Begg at the expense of our very limited open space? Next, the “Safe Routes to School” bike path, to run through Polliwog Park, was agendized. Why do kids need special protection for only a few hundred yards. Where is the concern for the safe route on the streets leading to Polliwog Park? A master bike plan was approved by city council years ago but not implemented. With such concern for our biking youth, this council should focus on adding sharrows, signage and other safety measures outlined in that plan, thereby creating a safe pathway to Middle School. Having navigated the public streets, making their way past Polliwog to the school (with crossing guards at all intersections) shouldn’t be difficult and certainly doesn’t require riding through the park on a new expanses of concrete. Polliwog Park represents the meager remaining wild space on the east side of town. Old and young, family and friends all come together in this one oasis. Why does this new council want to destroy our shared lands?
Alice P. Neuhauser
Access for all
We are asking support for an accessible pathway to Hermosa Beach’s Greenbelt. This project has been recommended by the local accessibility advocacy group Access Hermosa. There are a number of residents (our son included), who are in wheelchairs, and the Greenbelt is completely off-limits to them. Across the U.S. about 18 percent of the population has some level of disability. Making public spaces accessible for people with disabilities also makes them more accessible for senior citizens and families with baby strollers. We are asking for the community to support the City Council’s budget approval of this item so that discussions can move forward regarding accessible pathways. We have heard comments that the City should not approve this because it will allow bikes and skateboards access to the Greenbelt or it may take away some of the natural beauty of the existing path. We have also read comments asking, ‘Why does everything have to be accessible to everyone?’ Why wouldn’t you want everything to be accessible to all people? Try to imagine the sights and sounds of our community from a wheelchair. Notice the obstacles you would have to overcome without the use of your legs or your arms or your balance. Anybody can become disabled in the blink of an eye. We are not asking to pave over our local paradise. We are asking to make this paradise available to all people. Isn’t that what we want Hermosa to be, an inclusive community?
Beth and Matt Rohrer
Lists make for boring reading. However, the scope of the Hermosa Beach government misguidance leaves me no option. A partial list:
- Committing $1.1 million dollars to create four “zero net energy” city park restrooms.
- Transferring fire services to LA City ostensibly to save money, but at a cost of an additional $1 million per year, not including the costs of modernizing our fire facilities.
- Spending $600,000 for solar panels and a new roof on the Civic Center when less expensive options were available.
- Raising “sewer” taxes to repair sewers that should have been repaired decades ago.
- Seriously under budgeting the installation of decomposed granite on the greenbelt.
- Broken sidewalks going unrepaired and streets going unpaved.
- Promoting Community Choice Aggregation – Hermosa Beach’s version of Cap & Trade.
- Worshipping at the altar of Carbon Neutrality.
- A seriously flawed (and very expensive) PLAN Hermosa
Every morning I wake up expecting to discover our City Council has instituted single payer health and signed onto the Paris Climate Accords. The road to political perdition is paved with good intentions.
Fiesta for all
I would like to thank the Hermosa Beach Chamber of Commerce, the Police and Fire departments and Bell Event Services for the outstanding job they did to increase accessibility at the Memorial Weekend Fiesta Hermosa. As I stood at the end of the barricades on Upper Pier Monday evening at the event’s closing, talking to a friend, I saw people in wheelchairs, people pushing strollers, and pedestrians, both older and younger, making their way in an orderly fashion out of the event. In those few moments, I realized what ADA really stands for: Access Developed for All. If we all work collaboratively, we can keep our beautiful little beach town “Truly Hermosa.”
Thanks to all the Fiesta Hermosa attendees who took our survey on “What About Government Drives You Crazy?” We tallied 754 votes over three days. The topic driving the most people crazy, with 18.4 percent of the votes, was “Perpetual War.” In 2nd place, with 17.2 percent, was “Government Debt” at both the national and state levels. Next up was the “Increased California Gas Tax” with 16.7 percent,, then “Government Gridlock” at 15 percent. “Nationalizing Health Care” at11 percent and “Excessive Government Pensions”at 9.0 percent. By popular demand, we had to add “Donald Trump and Jared Kushner” as a category, and they got 12.3 percent, but this reflects only two days of voting. It was probably just chance, but for the second year in a row, the Fiesta organizers put the Libertarian Party between the Republicans and the Democrats. We represent a third option for anyone disappointed with those parties and their policies. We have South Bay Chapter monthly meetings and you can find more information at lplac66.wordpress.com.
A May 25 Letter to the Editor, titled “Target Zero,” was attributed to Hermosa Beach School Board member Monique Ehsan. Ehsan did not submit the letter for print publication. Instead, she posted the contents of the letter as a comment on the Easy Reader Facebook page. Her comment was in response to a comment she felt was a mischaracterization of her position on the design for the new North School. Ehsan did not intend for her Facebook comment to be edited and published as a Letter to the Editor. Easy Reader apologizes for the confusion that led to her Facebook comment being printed.