Letters to the Editor 3-15-18
Sanity over vanity
My friend’s son suffered severe brain injury after a skateboard crash. These skate stars should be wearing helmets in your magazine as an example for their young followers (“The Yin and Yang of Beach Cities shredders,” ER/Beach, March 8, 2018. Inexcusable.
As a former human resources director, I find this unacceptable (“Firefighters seek chief’s ouster, ER March 8, 2018). Manhattan Beach firefighters have done their due diligence in trying to resolve this issue> Now it’s time for the city to step up. It looks as though everything has been documented, so there should be no reason for any more delays. Outstanding leadership is imperative in any environment. If you have disgruntled employees, the entire system is at risk. It appears the city has extremely qualified candidates for the job, even if it’s just an interim appointment.
Barbara Cribley Oliker
One too many
It sounds like the firefighters have been battling this problem discreetly for over two years (“Firefighters seek chief’s ouster, ER March 8, 2018). So to be told they were airing their dirty laundry doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t sound like Manhattan Beach City Manager Bruce Moe is taking this seriously, especially when he said only one allegation of intimidation and retaliation was substantiated. One is too many. And if they have solid proof in one, gosh knows how many others. The core issue is public safety. Response times are far more important than radio projects. I pay far too much in taxes to settle for a delay in emergency help for my family. And I’m not happy that my tax dollars are going to the salary of a fire chief who has lost the respect of his staff or to Moe, who isn’t handling the problem.
Wendy Diaz Gutierrez
As the daughter of a firefighter who served 38 years in our local Fire Department in Michigan, I would suggest the Manhattan Beach City Council go along with their firefighters and replace the current chief and move forward to improve the station and its programs (“Firefighters seek chief’s ouster, ER March 8, 2018). Ambulance and rescue services are important to the community and effective programs should be put in place, immediately.
Fix the funding
Would you believe the Manhattan Beach Unified School District has another financial crisis on its hands? (“MBUSD to seek parcel tax, lay off teachers,” ER March 8, 2018). As usual, they are trying to make property owners feel guilty for protecting their properties from runaway assessments. The solution is not a parcel tax, which won’t satisfy the need for a growth fund. Pressure should be put on Sacramento to correct the inequities they have fostered on school districts such as ours. Superintendent Dr. Michael Matthews, Mayor Any Howorth, voters and parents of Manhattan Beach must join forces to urge our Senator Ben Allen, and our Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi to author a bill making the necessary changes to bring about an equitable solution. Our politicians said that Sacramento is not going to come to the rescue here. Why not? Dan Stern (“Faults of our fathers,” ER Letters March 8, 2018) noted that other districts were grandfathered in when their situations changed. Why did this not happen for Manhattan Beach? How can Sacramento politicians, in good conscience, spend millions of dollars on illegal aliens and pie-in-the-sky bullet trains for no one to nowhere, while the tax paying citizens have to beg for crumbs from Sacramento? Let’s put the pressure on our representatives to get some relief for the MBUSD and stop putting all the burden on the backs of local taxpayers.
The Hermosa Beach City School District plans to build a new, 510 student campus for a cost of approximately $60 million, with interest for a district with declining enrollment. As enrollment declines so does HBCSD income. Current building plans for all three schools will add space for 710 more students than the projected enrollment need in 2022. California demographics projections show declining birthrate and school enrollment through 2060. Since the 1970s HBCSD has sold and gifted millions of dollars of property and buildings below market price to the City of Hermosa Beach because it could not afford the schools as enrollment declined.
North School is being rebuilt to house third and fourth graders. North School will not be used by HBCSD for transitional kindergarten and kindergarten students because the CDE requires larger classrooms, attached bathrooms and play areas for these students. If HBCSD does not use North School for public school students it is required by law to lease out the campus to a Charter School. A public Charter School would be in competition for HBCSD students and funds. If no Charter School is found to lease the space, HBCSD could lease it to a private school. How much would the carrying costs of a brand new 510 student campus be for HBCSD and taxpayers? Would the lease cover those costs? Would a private lease pay the continued upkeep and maintenance of a brand new school? When will enrollment rise again for HBCSD to actually need North School?
More rides, fewer cars
The Galleria should scrap the residential, which will not be affordable, and focus on an office complex for tech and similar companies with a retail/restaurant/entertainment component (“South Bay Galleria to go before the Redondo Beach Planning Commission.” ER Feb. 23, 2018). Caltrans studies show transit-oriented business centers increase ridership more than transit oriented residential. Even in the best examples, transit oriented residential in Los Angeles has only dropped car use by 36 percent. That still means every new unit will add new residents to our roads. We don’t need more market rate housing (which is a money loser for the city). We need to balance Redondo’s workforce and jobs. An additional benefit of an office complex is weekday, year round customers for retail and restaurants for the Galleria and the nearby Artesia corridor.
Unfortunately the old NIMBY crowd is quite happy to run a younger, vibrant demographic out of Redondo Beach (“South Bay Galleria to go before the Redondo Beach Planning Commission.” ER Feb. 23, 2018). The excessive power local municipalities have in blocking pretty much any development is the primary reason there is a mass outflow of young, educated, successful family oriented people from Southern California. The cost of housing is atrocious, and getting worse every year. Yet municipalities block development at every opportunity. With “No Development Brand” as mayor and tunnel vision cronies like Jim Light, not much is going to happen besides Redondo getting older, staler, poorer, and yet more expensive. Good luck paying the bills when these crotchety old boomers are retired and there is no younger workforce and commercial development to bring in the taxes. Services will decline, schools will decline, property taxes/fees and whatever else will go way up.
San Francisco model
Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand, like many in Redondo, doesn’t frequent the Galleria, which he believes “lost its luster” when Nordstrom left. (“South Bay Galleria to go before the Redondo Beach Planning Commission.” ER Feb. 23, 2018). Otherwise, he would know the Galleria lost its luster long before Nordstrom left, which is why Nordstrom left. If Redondo does not offer affordable housing to retain even the current population the exodus will continue — mirroring what is already happening in San Francisco. Maybe we too should look at studio apartments or dorm living like the Bay area is.
There has been a massive exodus of 25- to 35-year-old residents out of Redondo Beach. Redondo leads lead the county in driving out this important working age group (“South Bay Galleria to go before the Redondo Beach Planning Commission.” ER Feb. 23, 2018). The reasons they leave is the lack of housing. The Galleria proposal should have stuck with the allowable 600 residential units. The proposed 399 one- and two-bedroom apartments, (not condos) are the only aspect of the project that is guaranteed to succeed. The addition of market rate apartment units will spike Redondo’s inventory and help keep more affordable rentals at affordable levels. That’s simple supply and demand.
by Judy Rae