Letters to the Editor 10-13-22
Back to basics
Recently some disturbing events have taken place in Manhattan Beach. Swastikas have been painted on school grounds and on walk streets. Recently, at a Mira Costa football game, some students shouted racial slurs at the opposing team’s Black players. I recognize that in a city of over 35,000 residents you are bound to have a few total jerks. Finding out who these people are is not easy as they don’t publicly announce what they are doing. They are cowards who stay anonymous. In the case of the students, I hope the school district will take appropriate action to discourage this behavior from continuing as it is totally unacceptable in our community. The vast majority of the residents of our city are good hearted welcoming people. Remember a few years ago when someone tried to torch a Black family’s home, and there was a huge gathering at the Metlox Center with hundreds of people supporting the family, and saying we will not stand for this behavior in our city. Apparently, we again need to reiterate that we will not stand for this type of behavior in our city. Whoever is doing it, just knock it off.
‘Trifecta’ a bad bet
Having served for 13 years on the Manhattan Beach School Board, I am deeply concerned with what I see happening in our community. Every resident should be concerned, whether you have children in our schools or not. Three candidates for school board are running a very calculated campaign with national talking points and outside assistance. They have little experience in our schools but claim they will fix a “broken” school district and bring people together. It is revealing they have named themselves the “Trifecta” after a horse racing wager with poor odds of paying off. They admittedly strive to rule by majority, with no regard for public meeting rules, or to follow state education laws. While they claim we need a “back to basics” approach, based on their performance at candidate forums, it doesn’t appear they did any homework. If they are elected, we stand to lose decades of work and community commitment. For the past 15 years we have been fortunate to have a school board that has collaborated with our community and education partners, administration, teachers, and one another to get things done. Our focus should be on the continued student success our district delivers. Please vote for Jen Fenton, Wysh Weinstein and Tina Shivpuri. They don’t have a political agenda, they know our schools, understand our community, and have the skills and expertise to make our community proud. Don’t sit this election out. We cannot afford to gamble with our children’s future, there is too much to lose!
Don’t bet the kids
There are three candidates running as a slate who call themselves “The Trifecta.” And yes, they are a massive gamble. They speak in innocent-sounding platitudes like “back to basics,” and “let’s be fiscally responsible.” But that’s how people trying to capture school boards all over the country to institute a Christian white nationalist agenda speak. Their supporters (who are often anti-Critical Race Theory (CRT) activists) hear the dog whistle message that is disguised to the rest of us. What has played out elsewhere is that they want to put Christian religion into our schools. And they want to whitewash the teaching of history and social issues. They want to dictate what teachers may and may not say in the classroom. And then ordinary citizens wake up weeks or months after the election and they’re shocked that these candidates want to take the school curriculum down a religious and reactionary hole. Are The Trifecta candidates these types? Let’s ask. Let’s insist that they answer. They owe us honesty. My kids have spent 20-plus years collectively in MBUSD, and I can tell you there is no Woke indoctrination happening; if there was, I’d fight it. So that’s a false narrative. If combating a fictitious CRT fantasy trend that isn’t happening is what The Trifecta is all about, no thanks. If they win and institute a conservative Christian curriculum, you will see a flood of students out of the district. It will make the COVID departures look like a faucet leak. Our kids are too important for a risky bet.
I have known Suzanne Hadley for years through Neighborhood Watch. I’m a NW area coordinator; Hadley has been a NW block captain for 15 years. She’s a 2020 graduate of the Community Police Academy as well. Her top priority for her re-election is also mine: public safety. Hadley wants to keep us safe; she knows if we don’t feel safe, we’ll move away. Hadley worked hard to recall DA George Gascon, who isn’t prosecuting most misdemeanors. I was also pleased that her support of our MBPD never wavered in the summer of 2020 despite months of civil unrest. She fought back against MB voices who wanted a new race-conscious city commission, as well as the collection of race-based arrest statistics by our brave men and women in uniform. These things won’t keep us safe. Full PD staffing, automated license-plate readers, new foot patrols, and a robust Neighborhood Watch will protect public safety. The Pasha jewelry armed robbery was our wake-up call. We need strong people in office to protect lives and property—and to support MBPD. I support Hadley’s strong stance on public safety. I’m voting for Hadley next month for re-election to city council.
There are lots of candidates, information, facts and fiction. I know one thing. Manhattan Beach Council candidate Rita Crabtree-Kampe has integrity and compassion. I’ve been side by side with Crabtree-Kampe at a dinner party when she receives a call for a homeless person needing help. She gets up, politely excuses herself, and departs to find them a roof over their heads for the night. Crabtree-Kampe isn’t a politician with sights set on Sacramento. Her integrity shines through when she takes my call at 4 a.m. to help with a crisis.
I am voting for Christy Barnes, Johnny Uriostegui, and Mike Welsh for Manhattan Beach School Board. They were a strong No on Measure A; the ill-conceived, sky-high parcel tax that began at $1,095 and rose with inflation for 12 years. They will put parents and taxpayers back into the center of open school board discussions. They will work to reenroll the 1,000 families who have left MBUSD over the last decade, leaving an estimated $12 Million shortfall in annual revenue. Most parents want the school board to refocus on the academics and life skills that will make their children successful. Let’s provide a safe environment for our treasured teachers and not let them be afraid of retribution if they advocate for their students. Let’s install working cameras to keep students and school property safe. Let’s catch and punish those responsible for campus bullying and hate crimes. And let’s put parents back into the MBUSD driver’s seat. Barnes, Uriostegui, and Welsh are not politicians. They are new and fresh voices bringing practical, real world experience to the school board. They have the skills to balance the budget and maintain and improve academic excellence.
As a Mira Costa teacher and long-time resident, I believe it is critical to student welfare to elect school board candidates who support current District initiatives, which prioritize academic rigor, along with mental health awareness, social/emotional learning, and diversity, and inclusion. Training staff in these efforts will serve all students in higher education, employment, and productive relationships. Candidates Jen Fenton, Tina Shivpuri, Wysh Weinstein support these efforts. They seek welcoming, and inclusive schools that promote academic and social excellence and meaningful teacher-student connections. All have superior qualifications and needed experience. In her first term, Fenton demonstrated strong leadership and extensive knowledge of MBUSD operations and California’s Education Code and school funding formula. She courageously stood up for student needs despite vocal, uninformed criticism. An education advocacy lawyer, Fenton understands the essentials of a meaningful student academic experience. As an involved volunteer at every District level, Shivpuri has strong relationships with teachers, administrators and parents. She leads the No Place for Hate program, and understands the importance of student mental health to academic and social success. A data professional, Tina brings valuable analytic, communication and problem solving skills.
Weinstein brings 20 years of unparalleled campus experience as a teacher, parent, and active PTA leader. As president of the MBUSD PTAs committee, Wysh has deep connections with District staff and school leaders, and an understanding of the challenges to balance budgets and student safety and learning needs.
Good from the start
I have known Mark Burton for close to 60 years. I probably know him better than anyone in Manhattan Beach, except his wife, Dickie. Burton has always been a caring person. From our first interaction, when he asked his mom if she could give me a ride home from summer school at Loyola High School, just because he knew I rode the same bus as him on the way there. Fast forward to today, over the last 10 years, I have seen Mark intervene on the behalf of local citizens who have had issues with the city. He has always been willing to help. You will not find a candidate who is more transparent and honest than Burton. He lets his views be known, and even if you don’t agree, he will listen and treat you with the utmost respect. He will also own up to issues if he was wrong. He paid for and filed an appeal to the High Rose project after extensive research, and he used his own money to place a full-page ad in opposition to the project. This shows how dedicated he is to this city. Burton is a champion for Manhattan Beach, and has no political aspirations outside of protecting this city’s citizens, and its small-town charm. Burton has many years of city government experience, more than any other candidate. He is a proven, honest leader. Vote Burton for council.
Two for the council
I support Amy Howorth, and David Lesser for Manhattan Beach city council. They have proven themselves to be thoughtful, independent thinkers who have our town’s best interest at heart. If you want our police force to be expanded with no metrics for determining effectiveness, and no consideration of the impact on our city budget of the exorbitant pension cost, don’t vote for Howorth and Lesser. If you want our city to ignore climate change, don’t vote for Howorth and Lesser. If you want the far-right agenda to encroach on our town, don’t vote for Howorth and Lesser. Our city deserves better than our current council. Let’s restore middle-of-the-road, common sense with Howorth and Lesser.
Faith B. Lyons
Frank Chiella is a candidate for Manhattan Beach City Council, and is the person we need to represent the interests of our community and residents. Chiella is a multi-faceted person who will bring common sense, which is not very common these days, to our City Council. He is committed to making public safety a number one priority and to providing more police to protect residents, and businesses; and to helping the Fire Department increase its already outstanding service. We need a council member who will work to form a coalition with the independent cities of California to push back against governmental overreach. The State wants a large apartment complex, 79 units, on the corner of Highland and Rosecrans Avenues to help solve the housing shortage our California lawmakers have caused. Frank will help defeat this state mandated building, which is not good for Manhattan Beach. Frank has more than 40 years of community leadership with a proven record of success. Frank founded the Manhattan Beach Community Emergency Response Team, MBCERT, made up of highly trained community volunteers who will assist the City in case of an emergency, such as an earthquake. The MBCERT is now a model that is being used in many other communities across the country.
Please visit his frank4mb.com to learn more about him or call him at (424) 254-6258. He wants to hear your ideas about Manhattan Beach and will “frankly” answer your questions. Chiella is a first time council candidate. We need a fresh perspective on our council.
Charles T Didinger
Times a changin,’ but…
You hear any number of reasons why there is opposition to the Cannabis measure (Measure M) on the ballot. That opposition ranges from an increase in crime (actually refuted by a study in Denver) to you name it, blah, blah, blah. But, public opinion about legalizing marijuana has undergone a dramatic long-term shift. A recent survey finds that well over 60 percent favor the legal use of marijuana. Clearly, as Bob Dylan once sang, “The Times They Are A-Changin’.”
And yet, even with the changing times and attitudes, there are very good reasons to oppose Measure M, as every member of the Hermosa Beach City Council, and even the eight candidates running for the Council have stated clear opposition to this measure. So, what’s wrong with Measure M? The measure, if passed as written, means the City would have no say in where. and how the shops are set up, and no say in regulatory compliance, Plus, the city would be liable for any issues arising from this. If we want cannabis shops in our little city, we need to write our own measure, ensuring that Hermosa Beach has control over regulating sales like we now do for alcohol.
Measure M is a badly written measure that would benefit only Catalyst Cannabis Co – an entity with no interest in the welfare of Hermosa Beach. The measure is wrong every way you read it.
No on HB council
I was extremely disappointed with incumbent Hermosa Beach City Councilman Ray Jackson‘s performance in the October 5, 2022 candidate debate. Instead of focusing on what the city could do better, he spent far too much time in a defensive posture, denying there was need for more transparency, accountability or public participation in our city government and criticizing the positions of other candidates. In my view, with the possible exception of Councilman Detoy, Hermosa voters would be better served by new blood in the City Council. For my money the only definite No votes are Matt McCool (far too conservative and too much conspiracy-theory baggage) and Ray Jackson.
The current recall effort in Redondo Beach District 4 must be the worst in city history. It begins with a Long Beach pot store owner spending at least $400,000 on the recall to install his chosen candidate, who falsely claims the recall is a grassroots effort by residents. The candidate also refuses to state any platform, and if she is for or against the other pot store funded effort Measure E (to legalize retail cannabis sales in Redondo). The candidate mischaracterizes votes by the city council, falsely claims the Fire Department will be shut down and outsourced, and police and fire employees endorse their campaign. They don’t. Anyone calling out their false rhetoric and hate is labeled a racist and misogynistic sexist. Can you imagine anyone like this being elected as a council member?
Ahem, ad hominem
Why does Redondo Beach Fourth District council candidate Tonya McKenzie refuse to explain not paying her IRS taxes for six years in a row (“District Four city council candidate Tonya McKenzie revealed to have tax lien,” ER Oct. 6, 2022)? Why did she call it a racist act for this paper to publish the fact that she owes $63,000 to the IRS? When faced with differing opinions and/or criticism, her unsubstantiated ad hominem attacks are stunning. Vote N on the Recall of Fourth District Council Member Zein Obagi, and No on Measure E, October 19th. SouthCord Management contributed over $400,000 to get the Recall and cannabis measure on the Redondo ballot. They are trying to control our elections and cannabis laws. Redondo Beach is not for sale.
I was on the Planning Commission with Ron Pizer (“Long time commissioner, rebel,” ER Oct. 6, 2022)). His remarks and opinions were always thoughtful. He was also on the Board of Directors for the Hermosa Beach Art Walk and Hermosa Beach Art Festival for many years. He was a good photographer and displayed his photos during our art festival events. He will be missed.
Mike Blount was an amazing person and educator (“Blount loved teaching,” ER Oct. 22, 2020). I had the honor of working alongside him at Miles Elementary School after meeting him in National University while working on our admin credentials. He helped many teachers become better at their craft, and helped write a proposal to open a new magnet school, Lucille Roybal-Allard. I recall the last time he visited the school he helped found. He was in a Hawaiian shirt looking like he was living his best retired life. Upon learning of his death, I was heartbroken. He was so respected and admired. As we celebrate the 10 year anniversary of our new school, we will remember him fondly.
Ruth Navarro Duenas
Dancing about writing
I have always been fascinated with what art critics write, and how far afield they get (“Something to be desired,” ER Oct. 5, 2022). Most know very little about fine art, and nothing of aesthetic thought, but know a great deal about the business of writing about art. Bondo Wyszpolski’s review Cy Twombly is a prime example of the writing business — a review of the reviewers. What he reviewed was what others had written in the exhibits catalog about Twombly’s art, and their, and Wyszpolski’s, obsession with language. All were deeply concerned with the meaning of words on the canvas, and their perceived meaning of Twombly’s pieces. There seemed to be a blindness to the art itself as visual aesthetic thought, and what was happening on the canvas. I would like to help them out. Think, how can one both embed and float objects and marks at the same time? That is something that is going on in Twombly’s work, among many other visual thoughts.
Not quite an acquittal
The words “acquit” and “exonerate” are sorely misused in this article (“ LA County District Attorney acquits city of Brown Act complaints,” ER Oct. 5,6, 2022). The letter from the Fraud and Corruption Bureau of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office to the Redondo Beach City Council, does nothing of the sort. Instead, it warns the Council (and should serve as warning to residents) that these men “arguably” violated the Brown Act and definitely violated “the spirit of the Brown Act.” While the DA isn’t going to press charges, our City is left open to lawsuits and liability for the poor decisions of the three council members who were acting in the most self-serving way in violation of the spirit of public participation. These men ignored the advice of our elected City Attorney and City Clerk, and pressed forward. These are dangerous actions for a City Government. When placed in the context of the recent late night meetings, discouragement of public notice and participation, you have what begins to look like corruption.
Maggie Tephany Healy
The only reason most of the Hermosa Beach non-incumbent candidates did not support the sales tax increase was that they are not on the Council (“Sales tax not popular with council candidates,” ER Oct. 6, 2022). If they get elected, they will suddenly find a need for more revenue, rather than cut the fat from the current budget. None of the candidates, incumbent Ray Jackson included, was able to express a needed use for the increased tax proposed on the November 8 ballot.