How democracy works
On February 25, I attended Bruce’s Beach Task Force’s excellent Community Forum, which was particularly outstanding because of the well-documented, clearly presented history by Kristin Long, based on deep research. (Due to COVID-19 restrictions and a flood at the Los Angeles Hall of Records, additional information the BBTF has requested is forthcoming.) Cities across the country have begun to shine a light on similar troubling incidents in their histories. It is hard to face the fact that our own city forced families out of this community because they were not white. Hard but necessary. This is how democracy works: we learn the truth. We change the systems that created the troubling conditions, we teach new ways of coexisting, and then we change those systems. And in the process, we, too, are changed.
I agree with the two Manhattan Beach residents who wrote: “I don’t think that adding a new plaque to the property is sufficient to right this wrong…,” and “One common narrative is that Manhattan Beach has been or will be labeled a ‘racist city’ if the task force is allowed to continue. I think the opposite is true. Addressing this racist incident in our past is complicated. It deserves time and nuanced thought, not a rush to completion.” To this end, I urge the City Council to support the continuation of the BBTF and a healthy conversation about racism, the underlying practices that support it in our community, and ways we can change them. This is how we become a civilized society. And decent human beings.
10 on a lot
North Redondo has had numerous derogatory sobriquets over the years, from Re-condo Beach to the “armpit of Redondo Beach” (said by a former mayor), all traceable to the dense crowded conditions caused by our R2 and R3 zoning. This zoning allowed lots that originally had one house to have two or three houses. This densification took place over a period of some 30-plus years, and there are very few such lots left for further densification. Citizens from other cities often said, “We don’t want to be like North Redondo.” And this never resulted in any new cheaper housing. Developers bought the lot, tore down the old, cheaper house, and put up two or three new houses, each one costing more than the original. Well, wake up, people, because there is a new bill going through the California Senate, SB 10. This bill is going to make Redondo’s R2 and R3 zoning look like a paragon of restrained planning. SB 10 will allow up to 10 dwellings on an R1 lot, in our R1 neighborhoods. Think of it as R-10. And this can take place at the whim of a city council. The attraction to developers for building in R1 areas under SB 10 is that they will not have to provide any infrastructure: no upgraded water pipes or sewers. And they do not have to provide sufficient parking. So, Redondo, Hermosa, Torrance, Manhattan and anyone else reading this: write to our State Senator Ben Allen and ask him to oppose this bill. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
North Redondo Beach
Don’t let up
Moving into the less restrictive red tier last week was great news for Hermosa Beach businesses and residents. But with the re-opening of indoor dining at downtown restaurants, the Hermosa Beach Police Department (HBPD) had to resume its practice of devoting more police resources to Pier Plaza. On St. Patrick’s Day, for instance, we had two officers on the Plaza. They wrote 14 citations for alcohol violations, smoking, urinating in public and other violations. For much of the past year, demand for police services on Pier Plaza declined as COVID-19 closures and restrictions eliminated or significantly reduced the late-night party atmosphere there. From 2019 to 2020, calls for service in downtown declined 58 percent. Public drunkenness arrests decreased, and assault and assault with a deadly weapon arrests dropped. The reduction in alcohol-related disturbances and crimes made it possible for us to increase our efforts to target crime in other parts of the city, including vehicle break-ins, package and bicycle thefts and drug violations. We were also able to address quality of life matters and launch crime prevention initiatives, including Project Secure to remind residents to lock up valuable property to prevent thefts. HBPD has added seven new officers in the past year and has five training at the Police Academy. As our staffing increases, if officers can be freed from enforcing alcohol-related crimes on Pier Plaza, we will implement strategies that reduce crime throughout the entire City, including quality of life matters, while maintaining a safe, family friendly environment on Pier Plaza.
Chief Paul LeBaron
Hermosa Beach Police
Weeds in the garden
On March 9, I spoke at the Redondo Beach City Council meeting on the community garden agenda item. As a resident of Redondo Beach, I was one of the first volunteers on the Redondo Beach Community Garden Committee, I also happen to be on the board of the South Bay Parkland Conservancy, a local 501c3 organization that plants native plants and trees and advocates for green space. We are a volunteer board. We carve out (a lot of ) time from family and day jobs, to do this work and spend personal money on projects. The false accusations lobbed at SBPC by Councilwoman Laura Emdee were unjustified and ugly. As a Redondo resident, I was embarrassed. As a member of SBPC, I felt unappreciated, and as a Community Garden Committee member I felt sad and shocked. The garden project is not for the RBCG committee or SBPC, it has always been for the residents of Redondo Beach. The garden is not a tool for political manipulation, and it will not serve as such
The Hermosa Scramble
Perhaps the Manhattan Beach City Council can direct their crack contracted code enforcement officers to begin issuing citations to all the people flagrantly crossing the downtown scramble crosswalks against the crossing signal. In the spirit of the town that fined people $1,000 when they walked into Polliwog Park (not roped off) in the early days of the pandemic, I would suggest a similar fine. This enhanced revenue could then be used to install no-right-turn-on red signs for cars so the intended safety improvements of this crossing configuration (no mixing of pedestrians and cars) might finally be realized. Perhaps city staff could take an all-expenses-paid trip to Hermosa Beach to observe the correct implementation of this concept.
Dive right in
Jackson takes action and Randy Balik is pragmatically approachable, but Tara McNamara Stabile has got my vote. Her campaign to build a Hermosa Plunge is brilliant. A swimnasium is exactly what this city needs. Neighborhood Forum critics have mercilessly attacked her cement pond, claiming there isn’t a site big enough for a swim stadium. I say these nattering nabobs of negativism are all wet. Here are three excellent sites to build the Hermosa Aquatorium.
- The land used by the Hermosa Lawn Bowling Society. Throw some used astroturf over the tennis courts next door and the keglers won’t notice the difference. Plus, consider the tax dollars saved on lawn care. 2. South end of the Greenbelt. After all the money wasted on a cesspool underground aquifer, we know the land is perfect for a water slide. And the once argumentative neighbors won’t mind. Who could resist a daily parade of speedos right outside their front door? 3. Pier Plaza. This is a no-brainer. Restrooms, showers, plenty of parking already available. Snacks abound. Just picture Lou Giovannetti singing “Splish Splash” on New Years Eve next to the sparkling water of the new HB Natatorium. And a special added benefit, the pool will drive out Tony Hawk wannabes, X games bike tricksters, and e-bike polluters currently scaring the hell out of seniors taking advantage of half-price Taco Tuesdays. Let’s all vote Stabile and dive right in.
Pool proposal raises hopes, concerns
As long as Redondo Beach bears the brunt of expenses, I do not want another project that will put the City coffers to task. Let Redondo Beach residents decide. Not a group of individuals who are not listening. It is called cooperation. RB has a pool and it can be used for the public if planning and cooperation is used.
If you’re not a swimmer who trains, you might not understand how ridiculous the Beach Cities Health District Aquatics Center proposal is. Leave those decisions to the Olympic swimmer and the Masters coaches. This is truly an opportunity that will serve swimmers for decades to come.
Let the residents of the South Bay take a vote. As a senior I would love to be able to do water aerobics or swim a few laps without all the bells and whistles of a fancy leisure pool. And have it be open at a reasonable time for people who commute on the bus.
Put the Aquatic Center where the old South Bay Hospital currently sits and put the memory care facility in HB or MB. Win, win.
We really need more pools. It is almost impossible to find swim programs and lessons, even just to prep for Junior Lifeguards, especially now. Even before the pandemic, everything booked up quickly or cost a fortune.
Stacy McCourt Eder
The Beach Cities Health District renovation certainly calls for a pool, but it calls for one that can provide recreation and lap swimming for kids and adults, for exercise and training, not a Wet & Wild “leisure pool.” I’m a Hermosa resident, lifeguard and youth swim coach who tries to squeeze in workouts at Begg or, preCovid, Redondo High School. It would be nice to have more pool time nearby. Thank you to coaches Clay Evans and Steve Hyde and Scott Davey for voicing the obvious from a local perspective.
I grew up in a town called Folsom. We had an aquatic center and it was the best. So many good family memories there! And a great place for young adults during summer time.
As a professor at UCLA I have centered my research career on exergaming. Making movement fun as a distractor that attenuates perceived physical effort works. It onboards those who are sedentary and otherwise despise exercise because its mundaneness. Don’t forget that population, they are now the majority in this world.
I picture La Mirada. They have it all and it is great. What the Redondo Harbor area has that beats La Mirada are hotels and restaurants in easy walking and biking distance. If we could get a 50 meter pool in the area without the bulkhead we could hold world events, like the Olympics.
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