Letters to the Editor 1-20-22
Disinformation is alive and well in Manhattan Beach and, sadly, being spread by one of our City Councilmembers. Councilwoman Suzanne Hadley spoke without identifying her office at the December 15 School Board meeting, expressing a lack of trust in the Board and demanding removal of links to an American Library Association list of award winning books. On January 12, she admonished the Board for not doing what she demanded a month earlier. The list in question contains no links to actual books. If a student wishes to read one of the books, parental approval is required. It is a parent’s choice what his or her child can read. Councilwoman Hadley appears to believe she has the authority to speak for all parents and make demands of the School Board. She resorted to shock tactics by reading aloud sexually explicit passages from one of the books, while younger children were present in the Board room. She claimed a ninth-grade teacher recommended the book. This appears to be hearsay as no one has been able to confirm the allegations. School Board President Sally Peel urged Hadley not to proceed, but she continued, even refusing to stop when her allotted time was up. Councilwoman Hadley was displaying behavior that would not be allowed at a City Council meeting. Why, then, did she feel empowered to exhibit such egregious behavior at a School Board Meeting? This is embarrassing and unbecoming of an elected official. Our community deserves better.
She came to the door and tried to convince me that safety issues were of paramount importance when supporting the cannabis initiative for Manhattan Beach. I asked the solicitor why the Economic Development Reform Coalition of Southern California supports a law that exempts them from taxation. What businesses dictate their tax terms when they introduce themselves to a community. When did this become a concept? In other words, the new law would exempt support for the city, which includes the Police and Safety Issues? She could not answer the question and moved on. For clarification, yes, the initiative offers the discretion of the Cannabis stores to provide a tax; however, it will be on their terms. Also, what city manager wants the responsibility to oversee an industry under significantly separate terms from all other businesses? Subjecting a city manager’s discretion to regulate an industry, minus normal city council oversight is a complete head-scratcher. The arrogance of that proposal speaks for itself with respect to the democratic process in effect since 1912 in Manhattan Beach. Smoking and growing Marijana in Manhattan Beach has been legal for years. That issue is a subject matter that the voters decided on long ago. The problem becomes why this initiative proposes to dictate business exceptions that no other business would ever consider for the sake of embarrassment. What kind of economic development is that?
A promise made is a promise kept (“West Basin abandons plans for $514 million El Segundo desalination plant, ER Dec. 23, 2022) . That’s what West Basin Municipal Water District Director Desi Alvarez did when he made the successful motion to terminate the “billion dollar boondoggle” desalination project. In today’s political world, I find it refreshing and encouraging that Director Alvarez kept his 2020 campaign promise. It is noteworthy that Alvarez is a Manhattan Beach resident and our city’s representative on the West Basin Board.
While serving as Mayor of Manhattan Beach, I was proud when our Council voted unanimously to oppose the West Basin Desalination Plant. Shortly thereafter, the city councils of Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach voted unanimously to oppose it as well. All the beach cities recognized that stormwater capture and recycling, wastewater recycling and conservation are the future water supply in the West Basin and Metropolitan Water District service areas.
With the passage of Measure W several years ago, Los Angeles County now has hundreds of millions of dollars available for stormwater capture and recycle projects. West Basin is a nationally recognized leader in recycling wastewater. I am hopeful West Basin will take a leadership role in stormwater capture, and recycling, and partner with Manhattan Beach and other member cities to build a stormwater capture, and recycling facility. West Basin Board did the right thing in terminating the water desalination project. And, with the projected costs to Manhattan Beach ratepayers being a 10 percent increase in water rates, each and every year for 10 years, it was the fiscally responsible decision.
I rent a slip in the King Harbor Marina and am in favor of keeping the liveaboard renters in the harbor (“King Harbor Lessee issues new requirements for liveaboards,” ER Jan. 13, 2022). For the record, I do not live aboard my boat. There are three reasons I favor allowing the liveaboards to remain in the marina; sense of community; dockside security; and affordable housing.
The liveaboard renters provide a sense of community on the docks. When I visit the marina, I can always count on seeing a friendly face. My closest neighbor is a woman that keeps her older cabin cruiser neat, works multiple odd jobs, and surfs when she has the time. Across from me is a man who lives on a small sailboat that is piled with odds and ends. He has always greets me with a smile and can be seen sailing a small red sabot around the harbor. Because the liveaboards are often at the docks, they are able to witness the comings and goings of people. They know who is supposed to be there, and who is not. I feel that the security on the docks would diminish if they were removed. Lastly, the marina provides affordable housing for the liveaboards, enabling them to be part of our larger South Bay community. Living on a small boat is not for everyone. But for those of limited means, I believe that it provides a secure home in a friendly environment that would not be available elsewhere nearby.
Please keep the liveaboards in the marina.
Jab to the pocketbook
After reading Robert Benz letter to the editor (“A jab to the jaw,” ER Letters Jan. 13, 2022). I was struck by the lack of compassion the man has. He only cares about the financial impact on himself, without knowing anything of the facts of the unvaccinated man who died. Does Benz walk into Harbor UCLA, and look around with disdain at the people using the services on the government toll? It’s scary to think a man like that was once Mayor of Hermosa. At least it gives us insight into who runs for political office. Now I know he enjoys drinks, seen him act a fool countless times in the Fiesta Hermosa beer garden, and The Strand, while putting others’ safety at risk, so I hope he woke up today like “What Happened?” a la the Sublime Song.
P.S. Punk is dead!!! Covid killed it!
(Name withheld by request)
Jab to the brain
Robert Benz has succeeded in proving IQ alone is not a true indicator of intelligence (“A jab to the jaw,” ER Letters Jan. 13, 2022). His lack of compassion for another human being is tragic as well, He resorts to labeling anyone who disagrees with the orthodoxy of the media, and the “so called” science of Dr. Fauci, “morons” who should be scourged! Really, does that sound like the America where you want to live? Do you want this man to decide what happens to you and your family? Can you imagine if he were the “decider” of life and death? Now, I know what it must have been like for the Christians in Rome.
Dr. Anita Sircar is equally dispassionate with Patient N. Did anyone care that this may cause pain and embarrassment for this family? The hospitals get a huge fee for putting a patient on a ventilator. They get the money whether the patient lives or dies. Just to let you know, the CDC, and NIH employees have a vaccination rate of about 50 to 60 percent, not as high as the United States. Do they know something “us morons” don’t?
Jab to science
Robert Benz must recognize that the efficacy of current “jabs” (COVID vaccines) is not 100 percent ( (“A jab to the jaw,” ER Letters Jan. 13, 2022). The efficacy of the vaccines does not last forever. Recently, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommended that the booster shot be administered five months after the second shot. Are we ready to receive the fourth shot? This week (Jan. 3), I read where Israel is administering the fourth shot because of the Omicron variant. On January 10, 2022, Pfizer announced the Omicron vaccine would be ready by March.
Remember, the “jab” does not prevent one from being infected by Covid-19. It just reduces the risk of infection. Recently, a fully vaccinated cruise ship was denied entry at a port in Mexico when 21 people tested positive for Covid-19 when it arrived at Puerto Vallarta.
It was so sad to hear of the passing of Hap Jacobs over the holidays (“Hap Jacobs, last of Golden Age of Surfing shapers, ER Dec. 23, 2021). My first exposure to surfboards was from my older brothers, who each bought balsa Velzy and Jacobs boards when they were attending Mt. Carmel High School in the mid 1950s. Although there were many boards to choose from, none of the others had the iconic Jacobs diamond logo that came to symbolize the sport of surfing itself. After a lifetime of surfing on used boards, I ordered a custom board from Hap for my 50th birthday. In the process I got to hang at the shop a bit, and even brought the two balsa boards to show him, which jogged his memory and resulted in some interesting stories. One of the boards has an unusually shaped skag. He explained he and Dale Velzy would go to a particular lumber yard after hours, and go through the trash bins looking for scrap lumber they could use for skags. The size and shapes of the scraps they found would then dictate the size and shape of the fins for the next boards they were making. A small scrap made for a small fin. Velzey’s scruples were questionable. At the Venice shop a kid would come in to buy a custom shaped board, say 9-foot 6, and pay a deposit. The custom board to be finished in two weeks. As Hap would finish the boards, Dale simply put them out in the shop to be sold to whomever came in first. The kid would come back in two weeks and Dale would say, “Oh yeah I’ve got yours on display.” He’d simply grab any board that was there and say “Here it is, all finished.” The kid might say “that doesn’t look 9-6, and Dale would reply, “Well it’s pretty close, don’t you think I know what I’m doing?” About 20 years ago we visited Dale at his home in San Clemente after a day of surfing at San Onofre. He had a few balsa boards for sale as well as a retro style bicycle, “the last one” from a bunch he had sold. “I’ll let you have it for $500. Since it’s my last bike you’ll be able to sell it for twice that amount. Just tell the potential buyer it was Dale Velzy’s last bike.” I told him we wouldn’t be able to fit it in the back of our SUV because of our surfboards. He suggested we leave the boards and pick them up the next time we came down to surf. Sure. Hap continued to shape boards until he was 88. I would drop by his shop periodically. He never seemed to age. I’m not sure he remembered me, or the board he shaped for me, but he did seem to recognize my ‘36 Ford Woody each time I drove up.
For the past year or more I have regularly asked when the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA ) initial studies on Hermosa Beach’s single lane, outdoor dining and bicycle lane projects would start, and when they would be open for public comment. In my view the city has illegally delayed the CEQA process for these three projects, with one temporary extension after another. The CEQA process should have been started after the first temporary extension for these three projects expired, and most covid restrictions to outdoor, and indoor dining were lifted. CEQA exists to protect residents in vulnerable neighborhoods from significant direct, and indirect impacts. So once again, when will the CEQA initial study for these three projects be open for public comment?
A holiday cheer
On behalf of the Beach Cities Toy Drive, I want to give a big, big shout out to everyone who donated toys this year to our worthy charity. As you know, we collect toys during the holiday season for distribution to unde-rprivileged children in Los Angeles County who would otherwise do without. In our 29th year, we once again hosted one of the biggest, if not the biggest toy drive in California. Due to Covid, we could not host our annual toy wrapping party that normally takes place in December, and switches off annually between the Hermosa Community Center, and the Joselyn Center in Manhattan Beach. So without our usual fanfare that connects us to the public for a second straight Covid year, our group found inventive ways to receive toy donations. The Hermosa Kiwanis Club allowed us to store the toys on their main floor on pick-up weekend. Hermosa Cyclery led the way once again by donating 35 new bicycles as they have done now for so many years. Just unbelievable. Then my old Boogaloo buddy, Greg Tucker, kept his charitable itch going for a second straight year, and sent us 20 pallets of toys that he was able to round up from his hugely successful packaging company in Pico Rivera. Insane. Iconic entertainers Jeremy Buck, and Kevin Sousa hosted a benefit concert at the Lighthouse to raise money for the BCTD. They raised thousands of dollars. Other huge donations came from a number of grassroots organizations this year, including the South Bay Boardriders Club. It was all very heartwarming. We even collected a significant number of toys during our two date drive-up at the Hermosa Beach City Hall parking lot. All I can say is that our Committee is very grateful. Our end product and success is your generosity. But we miss seeing y’all; so with some luck, we will host our 30th annual wrapping party next December. Stay healthy and be there next year for what should be an epic event.