Letters to the Editor 10-15-2020
Walk the talk
Black Lives Matter, impact or rhetoric? Many beach city residents support the black lives matter movement with signs and participate in demonstrations. I wonder how many of these individuals have actually been engaged with the black community. Compton and South Central are not that far away. Become truly involved and make the drive to walk, jog, and bike ride around inner city streets. Eat at local restaurants, and shop at their businesses and markets. This may be a more productive way to genuinely make an impact instead of displaying a sign, donating, and purporting that I care.
I’ve now read Hermosa councilman Hany Fangary’s letter about his fellow council person Stacey Armato twice, and for the life of me, I don’t know what it’s doing in your paper. I would have thought that Fangary would have discussed this issue personally with Armato. Maybe made a phone call or gotten together with her to express his opinions. This can only contribute to further bad blood amongst the council as a whole with Fangary already suing his cohorts over another personal grievance. I’m not sure what else Armato could have done (regarding the Cross fit issue), considering she responded to a neighborhood complaint as she should have as their representative. Regardless, for Fangary to address his feelings/opinions in such a public manner, cannot make it easy for the council to interact in the community’s best interest going forward. Jim Rosenberger
It’s the job
After reading the ruling against Stacey Armato in the Crossfit Gym nuisance abatement hearings, reading the slander on various Facebook pages, and reading the Hany Fangary letter to various publications, it seems that Stacey is in an impossible position. The judge ruled, “Armato’s communications with complaining residents show that she became an active participant in building a nuisance case against the Gym.” Her role as a council member requires her to communicate with Hermosa Beach residents. One of Armato’s best character traits is her incredible empathy. Empathy by definition is the ability to understand and share the feelings and emotions of others. Armato works hard to understand the needs of people around her, and to fully educate herself in whatever topic she is tackling. Having known Armato and her family for over seven years, I have come to know and appreciate Armato’s empathy and commitment to Hermosa. Whatever the problem a member of the community may have, Armato and her family are there, serving as examples of involved, empathetic residents. Armato’s experience is broad and serves as a great complement to that of the entire Hermosa Beach City Council. She is someone who loves Hermosa Beach, and it shows. It also could be a case of ‘the pot calling the kettle black’ when Hany refers to Armato costing the City thousands of dollars in litigation, as it’s my understanding Hany is also in litigation with the City of Hermosa Beach. Empathetic leaders are able to build and develop relationships with those they lead and I personally wish that more of our current leaders had empathy and commend Armato for her empathy.
As a candidate for the Manhattan Beach city council, I’d like to explain my approach to public safety because I can’t tell the whole story in one-minute. I am committed to excellent public safety for our community. I want a strong, effective police force as much as any resident. I won’t do anything to make our community less safe. Public safety is the biggest single item in our city’s budget, as it should be. As a city committed to using tax dollars efficiently and effectively, it’s fiscally responsible to frequently reexamine public safety spending to make sure we’re putting our dollars where they count most. I want to take a deep dive into police data: incidents, locations, times, responses, and outcomes. Let’s really understand what’s happening in our city so we can target our spending accordingly. The data may reveal that yes, we could prevent additional incidents by adding police. The data may reveal that yes, many incidents could be dealt with by less costly code enforcement officers or social workers. But without analyzing our policing data we can’t make informed choices. Let’s base our policing decisions on concrete data and metrics, not on emotional responses to isolated incidents.
During his one term on Manhattan Beach City Council, Mark Burton and his council allies authorized the hiring of the newly created and unnecessary position of Assistant City Manager with a base pay of $225,000 (plus very expensive benefits). A year later he and his allies authorized an unprecedented $2.3 million home loan for the Assistant City Manager funded out of our city’s reserves. The interest rate was far far below the then current market rate. Additionally, Burton voted to approve the hiring of another newly created and unnecessary position of Manager of Economic Vitality at a package of approx. $200,000 per year. When Burton sought reelection to a second term, the voters rejected him and his fiscal irresponsibility. The new council eliminated these two positions at a very significant annual savings, restored the $2.3 million to our emergency reserves, and, as we look back, we can clearly see neither position was the least bit necessary. Two years later he tried to regain a seat on the Manhattan Beach Council. The issues of fiscal irresponsibility continued to dog him and he was again defeated. As Burton seeks yet again to return to council he has still failed to address his record of fiscal irresponsibility and apologize to our voters for his damaging actions. The City of Manhattan Beach has an annual budget of $135 million. In these economically challenging times we need council members who are fiscally responsible and experienced with business and budgeting. Please consider that as you cast your ballot.
C.R. “Bob” Holmes
Two items being discussed in Manhattan Beach clearly show the differences in philosophy of the candidates. They are Bruce’s Beach and Proposition 15, the initiative that raises property taxes and costs to many businesses. Montgomery, Napolitano and Franklin have clearly stated they are opposed to current residents paying for what happened to the Bruce family one hundred years ago and are strongly opposed to Proposition 15, (which removes Prop 13 protection from commercial property) because of its negative effect on our local businesses, many of whom are struggling just to stay alive. Council candidates Mark Burton, Chaz Flemmings and Phoebe Lyons all signed the Bruce’s Beach petition demanding the land be restored to the Bruce family, they be paid restitution, and the city “change the current racial intolerant climate in the City Administration, law enforcement, and the community as a whole. Burton’s own facebook page says “signed” and says they should be paid “the difference between FMV (fair market value) and what the City paid in the eminent domain proceeding.” Candidate Grettel Fornell didn’t sign the petition, but stated she was “not for reparations but open to restitution in some form.” Restitution is defined as “reparations’ or “payments.” Also, Fornell and Lyons have come out in favor of Proposition 15, an anti-business position. Fornell said, “Businesses may pass on the increase to its tenants, on the other hand they can take a lesser profit margin and I know that is not popular…” She is right about not being popular, especially when businesses are having difficult times. The three choices are easy to make, Montomery, Napolitano and Franklin.
Known by their company
A webinar was recently held by the Manhattan Beach Downtown Business and Professional Association with the seven candidates for the city council. One of the questions asked was their position on Proposition 15, the proposal that will increase property taxes on many commercial properties. Incumbents Richard Montgomery and Steve Napolitano strongly oppose Proposition 15, as do candidates Joe Franklin and Mark Burton. Candidates Grettel Fornell and Phoebe Lyons support it. Now is not the time to raise property taxes and increase the cost of doing business in California. We already have the highest income taxes, sales tax and gas tax. Proposition 15 is opposed by the California Chamber of Commerce, The California Black Chamber of Commerce, the California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, the United Hospital Association, National Tax Limitation Committee, Marine Corps Veterans Association, National Veterans Foundation and hundreds of other groups. The result of raising property taxes on commercial property will increase the rent paid by small tenants in malls, encourage many large businesses to relocate out of state, and many businesses will have to pass the increased costs on to consumers or go out of business. In addition, the proponents of Proposition 15 have made it clear that it is the first bite of completely getting rid of Proposition 13, which has allowed many people to afford to stay in their homes. When you cast your votes for the three city council positions, please consider their position on this issue.
I write in support of Carol Kwan for the Board of Directors of West Basin Municipal Water District. My colleague on the board, Director Kwan is committed to the residents of Division 3 and to ensuring we have safe and sustainable water supplies for generations to come. Kwan and I voted against raising your water rates during this historic pandemic. She understands the difficulties facing our families and businesses during this time of uncertainty, and she has well represented you with her voice and her votes on the water board. Kwan supported the establishment and growth of the West Basin’s recycled water program, which reduces wastewater discharge to our ocean. She has provided free rain barrels; established drought tolerant public gardens in Hermosa and Manhattan Beach; and championed the installation of reusable water bottle filling stations in the cities she represents. Kwan also started West Basin’s annual Water Harvest Festival, which educates the public about the district’s world renowned water recycling program located right here in the South Bay. There are many offices and propositions on this year’s ballot, but local elected officials have the most direct impact on our daily lives. So please do not skip voting in these important races. If you live in Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach or Lomita, I ask that you cast your vote for Carol Kwan for West Basin water board Division 3.
Director, Division 4
West Basin Municipal Water District
Desal litmus test
Don’t vote for any candidate who supports desal (“Desalination plant a flashpoint in West Basin race,” ER Oct. 8, 2020). First off, it’s an environmental train wreck. Second, it’s $2,500 per acre-foot of water, when we now pay $100. Central valley almond growers pay $5 per acre-foot to export 2 gallons of our water in every almond. We can save water for less than $500 per acre-foot.We do not need the most expensive water in the world because big egos want to spend big money to have the best toys.
The nicest man ever (“King Harbor Yacht Club founding commodore remembered,” ER Oct. 8, 2020). So kind and giving of his energies and talents. He will be missed terribly. May his memory be a blessing.
What a great story. I was there (“The day the Byrds landed at Palos Verdes High,” ER Oct. 8, 2020). It is amazing how some of those turning points stick with you for a lifetime. A few years later, I was fortunate to record Leo Kotke live at the CSULB student union cafeteria along with Jackson Brown. It was a class assignment. Like an idiot, I lost track of that 3/4″ ‘underground’ tape recording.
As a years long volunteer with Beach Cities Health District and participant in many of its programs and services, I bear witness to events and people who are generous enough to give their time and talents to the betterment of our community. These people include the incumbent board members Vanessa Poster, Jane Diehl and Vish Chatterji. While each of these is possessed of different and valuable skill sets, there is a shared commonality in purpose and advantage. Poster, Diehl and Chatterji are active participants in many of the programs sponsored by BCHD; not as board members, but as community members interacting with other community members. For the simple reason of people not wanting to experience construction activity in their neighborhood, BCHD and incumbent board members have been depicted as being irresponsible or unresponsive to public demand. Irresponsible would be Poster, Diehl and Chatterji turning a blind eye to the state of disrepair of existing BCHD structures, and ignoring data that signals the future needs of this community. What objectors to the Healthy Living Campus want is total capitulation to their demands. Which is nothing.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
As a 38-year Hermosa Beach resident, I will confess I was late to discover the community treasure that is the Beach Cities Health District. Not until four years ago, when I was invited to tour the BCHD campus on Prospect Avenue in Redondo Beach, a tour that included the second-floor Center for Health & Fitness, did I become aware of the valuable resources provided by this public institution. It was a life-changing day for me. I now take advantage of all the BCHD has to offer, and I truly believe as a result I’ll live longer and healthier and at the same time become even more engaged with our local communities. With the onset of COVID-19, it should be evident to anyone who pays attention to our city council meetings or other public forums that it is the health experts of the BCHD who are providing factual, science-based information and leadership to help us get through this pandemic. Recognizing this leadership, I urge everyone to vote for the three incumbent BCHD Board members running for re-election on November 3, Vanessa Poster, Vish Chattterji and Jane Diehl, to ensure the continuity of that leadership in the coming months and years. They possess the institutional knowledge and individual areas of expertise that are indispensable to the success of the BCHD mission.
Change of health
Karen Komatinsky will be a welcome change and on the Beach Cities Health District board. Komatinsky has professional expertise as a healthcare consultant for 25 years. Komatinsky has public board governance experience as a school board trustee for 10 years. BCHD is struggling with controversy over the future of the Redondo campus. While serving on the MBUSD board Komatinsky was instrumental in the management and oversight of two facilities bonds, including the public outreach communications and design collaboration with the community. Once underway she ensured that these projects fulfilled the public goals on time and within budget. She will listen and execute on behalf of constituents even if that means questioning a path that some believe is already decided. It’s difficult to run against three incumbents for an office that may not be the top priority for many. I encourage you to vote for Karen Komatinsky.
Dick Reinhardt was such a rock in the sailing community. He and his wife Jeanne are two amazing people (“King Harbor Yacht Club founding commodore remembered,” ER Oct. 8, 2020). A fitting tribute!
Wealthy Living Campus
Investing public assets in a risky for-profit business is poor public policy. Yet, the Beach Cities Health District (BCHD) seems determined to do just that, in its ravenous hunger for revenues. The cities (Manhattan, Hermosa, Redondo) that BCHD supposedly serves must “tighten their belts” to fund essential services. Meanwhile, BCHD runs a surplus and spends wantonly on consultants and self-promotion. BCHD is not a business. The private sector is perfectly able, on its own, to “address the growing need for assisted living.” The market BCHD has targeted – seniors who can afford $12,000 per month – does not need government subsidy. Public comments (disregarded by BCHD) overwhelmingly oppose this wealthy living campus, that primarily benefits private investors. Keep private hands out of the government cookie jar. Public land and tax revenues have better uses. In the current BCHD board elections, please endorse transparency and accountability – vote for none of the incumbents, all of the newcomers.
Vanessa Poster has been a real leader in our neighborhood since the pandemic (“Poster no child when it comes to health programs,” ER Oct. 8, 2020). Our two-block area of over 80 families now knows each other, and is much better informed about local services and resources and able to support each other. The Beach Cities Health District should be very proud of her. Do we need to remind folks that this is also a volunteer role? So that is a lot of years of volunteer dedication. I know from personal experience that boards can really suffer with constant churn of members. It can take up to two years to get traction. Having a board member with a lot of tenure and history is a huge plus.
I proudly support Vish Chatterji for reelection to the Beach Cities Health District board (“Chatterji brings business, yoga experience to BCHD). I have seen him volunteering and engaging with schools, neighborhoods, and other community organizations. I appreciate his voice and desire to ask the difficult questions. He brings a practical approach to improving health and well-being in the South Bay.
Susan Schreiber Williams
I’m voting for Dr. Martha Koo for the BCHD Board. Dr. Koo will add a dimension badly needed on this board, that of long-term expertise in treatment and advocacy in the mental health arena. I’ve known Koo for about 13 years, not as a patient, but I am very familiar with her groundbreaking work in Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), long before it was FDA-approved. That she has been in successful, private practice in the South Bay for over 20 years, and is also the director of two mental health facilities in our beach cities, adds to her credibility and superior qualifications for being elected to this board. Personable, compassionate, highly-skilled, collaborative and open-minded are more of the many fine qualities of Dr. Koo.
In response to an October 8 Easy Reader profile on Manhattan Beach City Council candidate Chaz Flemmings, Flemmings, has issued the following clarification of issues addressed in the article:
I never met with black lives matters protesters/organizers in May or June.
I’m not a member of Black Lives Matter. I connected on social media, Twitter, with multiple Mira Costa High School students after the June 2 Peaceful Protest. Joe Franklin and other candidates were in attendance at this event. I had no participation nor did I organize the event on June 2. I did attend the event as a resident. This event caused several businesses to be boarded up in which I offered my services to help facilitate a helping hand for our local businesses prior to the event. ER
by Judy Rae