Hermosa Beach council wants earlier meetings

by Dan Blackburn

Action on a proposal to alter the start time of future city council meetings and restrict certain public communications on meeting agendas was delayed again Tuesday by the Hermosa Beach City Council.

The plan has been shuffling along for months and was most recently discussed at a weekend retreat by council members.

City Attorney Mike Jenkins asked the council to pull the item from the consent calendar at the start of Tuesday’s meeting, and the council unanimously agreed to place it on an agenda for a more robust discussion at a yet-to-be-determined date.

Jenkins said revisions need to be made before the plan is brought back to the council.

Two of the most contentious elements of the proposal would permanently change the start time of meetings to 6 p.m., from 7 p.m., and disallow written communications to the council on matters not on an agenda.

Several residents criticized council members for even considering the changes.

Kent Allen accused Jenkins of “trying to slip this in, trying to wear us down” by again delaying a public discussion on the matter.

Matt McCool, a frequent council commenter, said he believes “I am the target” of the proposed changes.

And business owner Laura Pena said, “I didn’t hear a lot of these things (in the proposal) discussed at the retreat, and this should never have been put on the consent calendar.”

She added, “We need to be informed as to how this change will affect the city. Why are you considering these changes? This is not being explained.”

Also, a substitution of the long-used publication governing an agency’s behavior, Robert’s Rules of Order, has been proposed by City Manager Suja Lowenthal, to Rosenberg’s Rules of Order.

In other action:

The council voted 3-2 to endorse a resolution expressing support for a proposed state Constitutional amendment “to make zoning and land use community affairs, and not of state interest.”

Council members Justin Massey and Detoy cast the dissenting votes, with Massey saying the proposal “is good politics but not good public policy.” He cited the state’s “discriminatory history of housing” as contributing to his vote decision.

The resolution takes aim at a state mandate, SB9, which allows higher density within the city by allowing additional residential structures on existing parcels.

The amendment proposal is authored in part by Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand. ER

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