Manhattan Beach School Board Elections 2022: A mathematician gets involved — Tina Shivpuri was inspired by her son to run for school board

by Mark McDermott  Tina Shivpuri remembers the first time she stepped onto a Manhattan Beach Unified School District campus, even though it was more than three decades ago.  She was a South Torrance High School student. She was on the cheer squad and rode a bus to Mira Costa High for a football game. When…

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Manhattan Beach Council Elections 2022: Responding to the call — After 35 years in public safety, Frank Chiella still seeks to serve

by Mark McDermott Frank Chiella knows Manhattan Beach in a way no other candidate can know it. He’s been in people’s homes at their times of greatest need, in medical emergencies or fires. Chiella spent three decades as a member of the Manhattan Beach Fire Department.  But even in retirement, Chiella feels the pull of…

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Manhattan Beach Elections 2022: Problem solving over politics – Rita Crabtree-Kampe seeks community-based collaboration 

by Mark McDermott Rita Crabtree-Kampe became involved with the city government a few years ago after she started paying attention to the homelessness task force. After several meetings, and countless discussions about how to address Manhattan Beach’s homeless population, she remembered two things emerging from the task force: a new City position, and the sharing…

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EDUCATION – School board forum addresses hate crimes, parcel tax

by Mark McDermott  The three candidates who appeared at last week’s League of Women Voters school board candidate forum were largely in agreement regarding many of the issues facing the Manhattan Beach Unified School District, including the need to aggressively counter the recent spate of hate crimes on MBUSD campuses, and to arrive at a…

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HATE CRIME – Community decries anti-Jewish graffiti at MCHS

by Mark McDermott  The swastikas and anti-Semitic words scrawled across the Mira Costa High School campus last week were the subject of more than two hours of impassioned public testimony at the September 14 meeting of the Manhattan Beach Unified School District Board of Education, including appearances by local rabbis and dozens of concerned parents. …

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CITY COUNCIL – City imposes a new contract on firefighters

by Mark McDermott  The Manhattan Beach City Council imposed a new contract on the Manhattan Beach Firefighters Association in a unanimous vote Tuesday night, ending a three-year conflict with the firefighters but doing so in a manner that was decidedly non-conciliatory.  The Council’s action came a little more than a week after the issuance of…

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EDUCATION – Cochran, longest serving MBUSD trustee, is not seeking reelection

by Mark McDermott  Nineteen years ago, Jennifer Cochran was a young mother newly arrived to Manhattan Beach when a teacher conducting parent kindergartner orientation at Meadows Elementary casually mentioned the district’s ongoing funding issues and several programs had only been kept alive through parent involvement. A lightbulb went off in Cochran’s mind’s eye.  “That’s when…

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POLICY – Manhattan Beach homeless count continues to decline

by Mark McDermott  Manhattan Beach’s efforts to reduce homelessness appear to have made an impact. The results of the 2022 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count were released last week and found only nine unhoused people living within Manhattan Beach, a steep decline from the 41 people found experiencing homelessness in 2018 and a 40 percent…

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Like a Wagon Wheel the Old Crow Medicine Show keeps rolling

by Mark McDermott  They were a scraggly bunch, and they formed a convoy of sorts, an ‘82 Volvo station wagon leading an old Ford Econoline van, crossing over the New York border into Canada in the early fall of 1998. The two rattling vehicles were crammed with stringed instruments, the only weapons these boys carried…

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The Songs of Waylon Jennings

Shooter Jennings and friends celebrate the late great Hoss by Mark McDermott  Nobody brought the thunder like Waylon Jennings.  His thunder took many forms. Jennings rattled the suits in Nashville when he refused to play by the established music industry rules, growing long hair and a beard and seizing total artistic control of his work…

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DEVELOPMENT Project Verandas decision looms for City Council

by Mark McDermott  The Manhattan Beach City Council will decide Tuesday whether to allow Project Verandas to proceed, or to uphold any or all of the five citizen appeals against the 79-unit apartment complex, inviting an uphill legal fight in hopes of upending state housing law.  Two council members, Suzanne Hadley, and Joe Franklin, announced…

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Two Class of ‘19 Mustangs begin pro baseball careers 

by Mark McDermott  Chase Meidroth has dreamt about this moment for most of his 21 years. It began with T-Ball, then started coming into focus in Manhattan Beach Little League. By the time he was a star infielder for the Mira Costa Mustangs, the dream had become clear. He wanted to be a professional baseball…

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ELECTION 2022 – Hildy Stern, Sally Peel not seeking reelection

by Mark McDermott  Councilperson Hildy Stern and MBUSD Board of Education President Sally Austin Peel are not among the 13 candidates who have filed for the November 7 election. Both are still serving their first terms and eligible for reelection.  Peel expressed gratitude for her term on the school board but noted that the last…

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