Letter to the Editor 1-31-19
During the Jan. 22 Hermosa Beach City Council meeting, the Council did not endorse the Police Department’s request to purchase two new Chevy Tahoes because “they were not electric.” They wanted Chevy Volts, a car not suitable for police needs. This Council continues to push its “carbon neutral agenda” at every opportunity, even when it compromises the safety of its officers and citizens. The same mayor and Council have not raised one single objection to the fact that the School District’s new plan for North School will create an additional 1,200 car trips onto narrow residential streets every school day. Instead of the children being educated to grow up in a community that is accessible by walking, they will be shuttled to and from school from the back seat of an SUV or livery vehicle that probably won’t be electric. Future generations will continue to know no different than their dependency on cars to get to and from school. Given that the majority of Council and Board members were not raised in Hermosa Beach nor attended its schools, they have no idea that for almost 100 years the City of Hermosa Beach has been ahead of its time in the “carbon neutrality lifestyle.” The one square mile size of this small beach town allowed the students of Hermosa Schools to walk and ride bicycles to school long before it was in vogue.
North goes south
Hermosa Beach Measure S, which I supported, is a unique opportunity for the School Board to build a fantastic new North School. In addition, the design of the school should fit well within the footprint and utilize a capacity consistent with current projections. The School Board and the approved Final EIR appear to fail on both [“District okays North School project,” ER online Jan. 19, 2019]. Although I do not live adjacent to the North School site, neighborhood residents have not been brought in to the decision making process. Despite low current enrollment for third and fourth graders, and even lower projections for the future, the proposed 510 student school size is not acceptable. The FEIR’s attempt to answer my challenge regarding on-site drop off/pick up was lacking, as were many of the other answers. More importantly, I do not believe a scaled down school alternative was provided.
I recommend that the School Board redesign the school to incorporate on site student drop off/pick up, provide an alternative school size and work more closely with the City to solve traffic and parking issues.
What went wrong here [“EPAC (Emergency Preparedness Advisory Committee) will shift focus to public outreach,” ER Jan. 17, 2019]? The volunteer board that’s served for years is being marginalized by the paid staff in order to oust the committee and build a kingdom? If the staff can’t even communicate with the board, how on earth will it function in a crisis? Is this what we want for Hermosa Beach? We really need to rethink this process and turn it over to the Police or Fire departments and get it away from internal city staff that only wants to feather its own nest and force out the other agencies and volunteers. This is a real problem that must be dealt with before any disaster or emergency. Maybe wipe the slate clean and spend the money on other city services and let our capable police and fire handle this?
Last week’s letter from Jan Dennis was inaccurate and misleading [“Bring back Burton,” ER Jan. 24, 2019]. Dennis feels candidate Mark Burton lost his Manhattan Beach Council re-election bid two years ago because misinformation and half truths were spread. The voting records and performance of former council members are a matter of public record. Burton supported hiring of an unnecessary assistant city manager who was paid approximately $250,000 a year and given a $2.3 million home mortgage at an interest rate of less than 1 percent. Under Burton’s tenure the City also hired a “Manager of Economic Vitality” at a package of approximately $150,000.
Fortunately, the current more fiscally responsible City Council reversed those actions and eliminated these expensive, unneeded positions with no adverse impact (but a big savings). In addition to expensive unnecessary additions to staff, Burton supported a study of our downtown by outside consultants that cost over $1 million and proved worthless. Had the recommendations in that final report been adopted, we would have lost the small town village atmosphere of our great Downtown.
(City Council 1980-92)
As a member of the Manhattan Beach Downtown residents’ team it is a distinct honor to endorse Mark Burton for election to the Manhattan Beach City Council. Our team could always count on Mark’s support to mitigate the intensification of our downtown community and ensure the preservation of our small-town character. Mark has been the independent leader who continues to strive to do the right thing with honesty, passion, and professionalism; always advocating on behalf of all the stakeholders to reach a solution that provides value and prudent stewardship. Mark truly cares about our community and is the type of leader who can be counted on to evaluate and study the data surrounding the issues; listen and collaborate on opposing community and council viewpoints; and then present methodical and rational recommendations that are thoughtful and meaningful to reach results that are congruent with our espoused vision for Manhattan Beach.
In with the new
Two former mayors currently sit on the Manhattan Beach City Council and two more former mayors are running in the March 5 election. I respect and consider each a friend, however I am not interested in a replay of the last decade. Politics should be about the future. It is worth noting that 75 percent of Manhattan Beach residents are under age 55. It is time for fresh voices and a new generation of leaders who love and respect our small town beach culture but can also manage and truly embrace the challenges and opportunities approaching our community on the horizon. Joseph Ungoco represents the next generation of leaders. With his background in strategic communications he brings a strong focus and genuine commitment to increasing government transparency and harnessing the potential for the City to more broadly engage with the entire community. Ungoco has quickly immersed himself in our town with a cheerful, optimistic passion and authenticity and has shown through his civic engagement and volunteerism to be responsible, thoughtful, purposeful, fair, inclusive and open minded. Coupled with his forward-looking attitude is a passion for preserving our small-town, family-friendly heritage.
We are retired Manhattan Beach Unified teachers and have lived in the community for 35 years. We recommend electing Wayne Powell to the Manhattan Beach City Council on March 5. Wayne is authentic, honest, possesses integrity, is a good listener, inclusive, sincere, knowledgeable, always searches for consensus and is dedicated to our community. Wayne co-founded the CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) Program, is a board member of the MB Senior Citizens Advisory Committee, is on the Beach Cities Health District Finance Committee and Vice President of the Manhattan Beach Historical Society.
His accomplishments include the Campaign Finance Transparency Ordinance, the Manhattan Beach Smoking Prohibition, the license plate readers at Manhattan Beach exit and entry points, voting against closing City Hall on alternating Fridays, voting to restrict Manhattan Beach short term rentals, voting against costly consultant contracts and preventing the removal of our offshore sand. Wayne has worked diligently day-and-night for over 20 years, supporting the quality of life in Manhattan Beach.
Ro Schreiner, Tracey Windes
In on Emdee
A note of thanks to Redondo Councilwoman Laura Emdee for her laser focused support on District 5 issues and her support of the National Night Out Event in Anderson Park, which over the last three years and has grown to 500 attendees. Laura has been a good neighbor for our family since moving into the area several years ago. She serves District 5 with a broad platform to improve community services and local businesses. The Greentree Café and the Cuts for Kids businesses replacing the liquor store at Dale Page Park is great for families and residents, and the improvements to the bicycle paths improve public safety. Speaking of safety, Councilwoman Emdee, the council and RBPD were wise to pass the “Secure Your Castle” initiative to protect our homes from the Esplanade to Marine Avenue, where residential burglary upticking from weak state laws affects our entire city. Chief Kauffman at a recent Public Safety Commission meeting indicated that residential burglary declined 25 percent in Redondo Beach, and I can conclude confidently that residential camera technology is making a difference in deterring crime.
How we choose to develop our pier and keep it from being overrun by traffic is important. However, these are not the only drivers in the March 5 city council election. I think by deed and not by wonky or executive title that Laura Emdee gets it done for District 5 and Redondo Beach. I hope to see her serve another term.
Stop the noise
When it comes to short-term rentals, Manhattan Beach City council members say, “The bottom line is this is about quality of life for families and for people who do have jobs,” and “everybody who pays that money (taxes) so you can come to a residential community and live and raise their families.” [“Short-term rental ban will be lifted,” ER Jan. 17, 2019].
I ask the City Council to apply this to the Armageddon existence of residents living next to or near all the construction. I would ask the council to allow the public to speak about trucks, heavy equipment, blocking streets, loud music, very loud voices yelling at each other all day long, debris, including nails that end up in your tires, rodents from food left on the construction sites, and you can’t even get in your own residence. It’s like living in a war zone.
by Judy Rae