I would like to commend the Hermosa Beach City Council for remaining neutral on the recently vacated, open council seat, which will be voted for on May 11. Given the controversy over the sudden resignation and that there will be a cost to taxpayers for the election, it seems prudent to allow voters to determine the outcome without influence from the city council. This allows for democracy to work as it should. I look forward to evaluating the candidates and exercising my duty to vote.
Sometimes practicality should override political correctness. Unfortunately, in the times we live in, that’s seldom the case. This letter is in response to the discussions which took place regarding a potential install of an accessible “natural looking “path on the current Greenbelt in Hermosa Beach (“Residents fear Greenbelt path for wheelchairs will draw bikes,” ER March 11, 2021). I have lived in Hermosa Beach for 42 years and love the city, even though, as all of us know, were it not for the beach, a few parks and the Greenbelt, it is basically a concrete jungle where open space is a cherished commodity. I am not discounting the challenges that face those citizens who have difficulty with access to open spaces. However, in all the time I’ve been here, the numbers of compromised people with access to The Strand and even our ADA compliant sidewalks have been relatively small. There has been lengthy discussion on this subject already, but I have read nothing about where potential access points might be created, even if the hardscape were installed. In addition to “naturally paving” (even though no one seems to want to describe it as such) one of the few open spaces we have to exercise, walk dogs and enjoy a bit of nature, are we now going to carve out areas where those that are disabled can be dropped off to access a path that will undoubtedly be also used by electric bikes and other motorized (or un-motorized) vehicles? As it is, we can’t seem to keep people off of The Strand who are riding illegally and dangerously, exceeding the posted speed limit there. This is not a “lack of empathy” as stated by one of our councilpersons. It’s a reality that more people will use a hardscape for quick, motorized access through our city and subsequently turn our Greenbelt into something it was never created to be. Why don’t we spend the money being appropriated to hire a consultant for this, on enforcement of laws already in place for The Strand and streets, so that those places can provide a safer, more accessible place for everyone?
Frankie has us covered
Thank you to Mara Lang, Mayor Brand, and Councilman Nehrenheim, and everyone who stepped up to save the tree (“‘Frankie the Ficus’ saved, for now,” (ER Mar. 4, 2021). Countless residents from Redondo and Torrance also spoke up on social media to express concern about tree removal across our cities. Tree preservation and increasing the tree canopy across our two cities is the conversation we can now continue.
Obagi his own man
Redondo Beach Fourth District Council challenger Zein Obagi had far, far, far more resident donations than incumbent John Gran. In the financial filings ending mid January, Gran had a total of $100 donated by Redondo residents. Obagi had $2,150 donated by residents over the same period. Obagi walked, he phone banked, he did an effective media campaign. And he had grassroots supporters who did the same. He largely pointed out Gran’s disappointing track record. Obagi did not ride Mayor Bill Brand’s coattails into office.. He ran on Gran’s weaknesses. Obagi showed dedication to residents’ concerns before he even moved to Redondo. The big and obvious difference is Gran repeatedly showed he prioritized Chamber and developers over his constituents concerns and quality of life. Even after his District passed Measure C, Gran refused to support it in front of the Coastal Commission. When the shenanigans at the Chamber with the hundreds of thousands of city tax revenues came to light, he continued to defend the Chamber. So no, Obagi did not ride Brand’s coattails. He ran a solid ground game and beat an incumbent – a rare thing in Redondo politics.
The City of Redondo Beach should not be giving funds or land to a non-profit organization that has sued the City and continues to raise funds for that purpose on their website, and whose advisory and governing board members include the Mayor, his wife and his political allies. It wouldn’t be prudent. Nor would it be ethical to do so. I’m grateful that Councilmembers Emdee, Gran and Horvath listened to the concerns and support of residents to move forward with a community garden concept that represents the entire community and is not entangled in the controversial South Bay Parkland Conservancy. I hope the Community Garden Committee members can see their way clear of the SBPC and move forward. It is quite troubling that, at the March 9 Council Meeting, the Mayor felt the need to silence the more than 40 residents who wanted to share their concerns and support via “public comment.” He did so without consent from the Council. Is that even allowed? Shouldn’t our Mayor be listening to the whole community and not just his friends and political allies? I support a community garden, not a political one. Put the community back in the community garden.
Congratulations Redondo Beach. Mayor Brand and Councilmembers Nehrenheim and Loewenstein were re-elected. Zein Obagi was newly elected as Councilmember. For the first time in 20 years, the Council majority will not be Chamber of Commerce-groomed partisans
Sadly, a minority continue smear tactics, particularly toward the mayor. At the March 9 City Council meeting, a handful, in verbatim lockstep with Councilmember Laura Emdee, falsely stated the South Bay Parkland Conservancy donated to Brand’s 2017 campaign, pays for his website, and sued the City. None of this is correct. Brand created his website when he founded SBPC, always personally paying those fees. SPBC repaid a loan to Brand in 2017. SBPC helped fundraise for a successful, apolitical, citizen-backed lawsuit against the City to protect public parks; Seaside Lagoon, Moonstone and Czuleger Parks, entirely consistent with its mission. Emdee purposefully misconstrued data, manufacturing falsehoods to deny SBPC being a City partner for community gardens, after SBPC helped the City qualify for grant monies, planted vegetation and helped maintain Wilderness Park, sponsors other programs, all with volunteers and monies raised through their own efforts. Brand’s non-supporters incredulously continue to imply impropriety; now it’s because his wife is on the board of this all-volunteer non-profit group. No impropriety exists. It’s appalling to see a council member stir the pot this way, inciting others to do the same. Mercifully, Emdee will no longer be able to block progress or the will of the people, as a result of the election.
A holiday to remember
I want to thank Hermoa Beach Councilperson Stacey Armato for facilitating the approval of the 28th Annual Beach Cities Toy Drive to collect toys for the children during this Covid-19 crisis. I also want to thank the City of Hermosa Council, the Police, Public Works and L.A. County Hermosa Fire Station 100 for their help in the logistics of making this event a success. Acknowledgements to Athens Services, Kiwanis Club (use of their building), Bay Cities Packaging & Design ( 24 pallets of toys), Triangle Hardware, Mirage Construction, Daily Breeze, JL Construction, Easy Reader, 3VSigns for their continued support. To the residents and business of Hermosa and Manhattan Beach, your generosity enabled the Committee to increase the amount of toys for the children serviced by local charities from previous years.
The 29th Annual Beach Cities Toy Drive Wrapping Party is scheduled be held at the Hermosa Community Center Gym in December of 2021
28 Annual Beach Cities Toy Drive
Last week I sent in a letter where I discussed how a Black neighbor of mine told me how welcomed she felt living here and how friendly the people in Manhattan Beach are to her (“Power of projection,” ER Letters, Mar. 18, 2021). I wrote it after watching a television interview where a person I assumed was a member of the Bruce’s Beach Task Force talked about how racist and nasty Manhattan Beach still is after almost a 100 years after the Bruce family had their property taken from them. In fact the person who was on TV is not a member of the task force, but just a local activist. I apologize for my mistake. However, I stand by my statement that Manhattan Beach is not a racist community, and the vast majority of our residents judge people by their character, not the color of their skin.
Power of protest
Yes, we have free speech in America, and Russ Lesser is entitled to his openly racist opinions, but the Easy Reader doesn’t have to print them (“Power of projection,” ER Letters, Mar. 18, 2021). Lesser says if “some people” want to be treated with decency and respect, they should try being as “nice” as his Black neighbor. This is the exact same reasoning slaveholders used when beating enslaved persons they deemed to be “uppity.” It was racist then, and is racist now. Do better, Easy Reader.
The Beach Cities Health District is selling something. Something big. But you wouldn’t know it from looking at their extensive, expensive PR blitz. What does a nearly $8 million budget and $5.5 million dollars already spent on the project dubbed the “Healthy Living Campus” buy? Artistic renderings, with a “hey, look over here” feel meant to distract the public from seeing barely a glimpse of the massive Assisted Living Facility structure that makes up the bulk of BCHD’s proposed Healthy Living Campus. The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) produced by their hired environmental consultants that looks and at times reads more like a sales document than a technical report to show the CEQA requirements. The Aesthetics section of the DEIR, describes the 103 ft. tall structure, sitting 133 ft. above Flagler Lane. This would make the RCFE (Residential Care for the Elderly) building the third tallest structure in the Beach Cities, and taller than all but three buildings in Torrance. (Two apartment/condos — Delphi and Ocean Plaza — were built in Redondo Beach in the 1970s. And in Torrance, a Cal Bank and Trust tower and Doubletree Hotel are located on the 8-lane Hawthorne Blvd.) And it stretches across two city blocks on the 30 ft. elevated site. Look behind the curtain on this overdevelopment project. The more you know, the more you will oppose it.
Redondo Beach, for the first time in 20 years has a City Council and Mayor that represents the residents. What does this mean for us? Agenda items will not be blocked by three obstructionist council members or randomly chosen by the City Manager. Decisions will be based on all facts, not those cherry picked and based solely on staff recommendations. We will have a line item budget to see exactly where tax money is being spent. City Departments will finally use Zero Based Budgeting, meaning they have to justify their expenses not just add increases for inflation. Legal opinions from our City Attorney will be fully reviewed and outside law firms vetted before we waste millions on ridiculous lawsuits. Outside moneyed, special interests will not have full control over our elected officials. It’s a great day for Redondo Beach and looking for an even better future.
More like Jim
I knew Jim Boyd through the nostalgia drag racing scene and would often see him in the morning on the way to work, at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway. and 2nd Street, in Hermosa Beach (“Bike path fixtures ashes to be scattered on dragstrip,” ER mar. 11, 2021). Quite often, while playing VB on the beach, I would stop for a moment to look over at The Strand and there was Jim cruising along. I couldn’t help but mimic Jim’s smile and think all is right in the world. We all need to be more like Jim Boyd.
Jim Boyd was such a wonderful man who always lifted my spirits with his smile and kind word (“Bike path fixtures ashes to be scattered on dragstrip,” ER mar. 11, 2021). I had the pleasure of being his neighbor for many years, where he happily worked on his dragsters and projects out of several garages. My heart goes out to his family and friends. He was treasured, and truly special. I love hearing stories about his well lived life. I sure miss seeing him on The Strand, cruising along in his red OPs and offering a smile and shout out.
I first met surfboard shaper Phil Becker (Surfing’s John Henry,” ER Mar. 22, 2021) in Cabo Matapalo shortly after my brother and I bought a little piece of property behind “the red gate.” Of course, I knew of Mr. Becker (what I first called him…he did not respond. “My name is Phil. Mr. Becker is my dad,” he finally said.”) I’m a self-taught shaper who has a thing for asymmetrical shapes and I knew Phil had dabbled in asymmetrical shapes back in the ‘60s. I started a conversation about my shapes and he simply told me to shape what I wanted. He commented that asymmetrical shapes didn’t catch on because they were so specialized and the worst part…they were ugly. The last time I saw Phil (and his wife Linda) was on the beach trail between Backwash Bay and Pan Dulce. I was walking home with a stringer full of fish, my rod and my board. I had caught a few waves, several “look down” fish and was on my way home.
They commented on my fish and then Phil noticed my asymmetrical shape. He smiled and said, “I see you’re shaping what you want.” I responded that I had taken his comment to heart.
Phil is now shaping up in Heaven, and the foam dust doesn’t even stick to his skin!
It’s like that in Heaven. Pura Vida Phil.
Ahead of his time
I met Phil Becker when a couple of friends were looking for someone to reproduce a Santa Barbara George Greenough surfboard design that Greenough had shaped out of balsa (Surfing’s John Henry,” ER Mar. 22, 2021). He called it the “Baby” (7-foot-8). At the same time Phil did a couple of stringerless Bob McTavish kind of knock offs for those friends, including Mike Tiberio and Joey Smoot. Phil was happily up for the experiments and mowed right into them. Kneeboarder Geroge’s “Baby” was a precursor to the modern short board — he had made it to try stand up surfing and didn’t like it. He stuck with his fiberglas “spoon’ kneeboards. We were gaga.Those concept boards where very reduced in length for those ’67 – ’68 days: a 6-foot-1 and a 7-foot-4. Shapes changed quickly and a couple of shapes later quickly passed. I stood in Phil’s Rick shaping room while he roughed out a narrow 7-foot-10 that I surfed in everything, including Rat Beach, Rincon, Haggerty’s, and the epic Lunada Bay swell of ’69 [I only rode 3 insiders and got the hell out of there]. Phil had a lot of patience for us groms.
Not that it is particularly germane to the theme of this story, but Phil usually won at croquet (Surfing’s John Henry,” ER Mar. 22, 2021).
Georgia on my mind
My condolences to the Spencer family for the loss of Georgia . I would see her at the Hermosa Beach Historical Museum and Sister city meetings. But my favorite memory was a crazy trip in 1988 when Claude and Mary Stonier, Georgia and Jack Belasco and I drove to our sister city Loreto delivering medical supplies. She was a lovely lady .
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