Letters to the Editor 10-19-23
Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be e-bikers (Council takes another spin at revising e-bike regs,” ER October 10, 2023).
I commend Hermosa Beach Police Chief Paul LeBaron and Councilmember Mike Detoy for using stats, and common sense, and not just focusing on ebikes (Council takes another spin at revising e-bike regs,” ER October 10, 2023). I have always wondered why the stats on accidents with e-bikes are rarely provided, and I was happy to read this report from the Chief. Detoy recognized that many vehicles can reach the 8 mph speed limit on The Strand and many vehicles (10 speeds, skateboards, scooters, etc.) can, and do, break the laws of The Strand, roads and sidewalks. New regulations should include all of the above, and special enforcement should be on Hermosa and Manhattan avenues (especially on the weekends) when lycra-clad herds of bike riders blow most, if not all, stop signs and red lights.
Dennis Duke Noor
Not so quiet
I live on The Hermosa Strand. Every day, I observe 50 to 150 e-bike riders (Council takes another spin at revising e-bike regs,” ER October 10, 2023). Easily, 40 percent or more of the riders passing my house are guilty of unsafe riding, whether it be speeding, kids without helmets, or too many passengers. It is outrageous that the police are going to wait until there is a serious injury to do something. When there is a serious injury, and there will be, let this be my “I told you so” letter. The excuse that “it is difficult to tell if the bike’s quiet motors are engaged” is BS. Of the 1,000’s of e-bikes that have gone by my house, I have never had any difficulty determining whether the motor was on. I defy any police officer or city official to sit on my patio for an hour (refreshments will be provided), and point to any passing e-bike and claim they cannot see whether it is using its power. Why would people bring their e-bike to the Strand? To push it? They don’t even walk them in the downtown Walk Zone. E-bikes have changed a quiet, pedestrian friendly beach path into a dangerous highway, and robbed residents of Hermosa Beach’s famous small town charm.
Bikes, not cars
Every week there is new backlash against adding housing in the South Bay. The argument against it is always the same. Less parking, more cars. But there are easy solutions to these problems – better public transit, biking and walking infrastructure. Buses run only every 40 minutes between the Beach Cities. We need more consistent public transit. Bike lanes go for a few blocks and stop. Even worse, oftentimes the only way bikers can reach the crosswalk button at a signal is to illegally travel onto the sidewalk to press it. Kids traveling to school share Redondo and Prospect avenues with heavy vehicular traffic and no protected bike lanes. There are few bike racks, particularly at the beach and near businesses. We need to build out real bike infrastructure. The Beach Cities should welcome neighborhood businesses integrated in residential areas such as The Green Store and Granny’s Grocery, which are loved by all. And why not allow new residential buildings to have ground floor mini-markets or cafes? All of this is probably just a pipe dream. After all, it took a pandemic for an area with year-round perfect weather to allow outdoor dining. But even that was too much for Manhattan Beach, a town that removed outdoor dining while spending $400,000 studying how to bring it back. Maybe someday we’ll look to European cities and realize quality of life goes way up when cars are no longer the centerpiece of urban planning.
Beach Cities Health District is to be complimented for contributing to the success of the Blue Zones program, as described by “Blue Zones” author Dan Buettner (“Birth of the Blue Zones,” ER October 12, 2023). BCHD is what makes the South Bay one of the eight healthiest places to live in the USA. Unfortunately, what residents in our three beach cities are facing now is troubling and not conducive to make the community healthier. The biggest problems we face here are increased population density, congestion, traffic, pollution, and crime. None of the Blue Zones regions elsewhere in the world have had single family residences being torn down and replaced by multi-unit condos, such as the ones in the South Bay, due to state-mandated regional assessment that will require Southern California to add 1.3 million new housing units by October 2029. The three beach cities will have 3,822 more units crammed into the space currently occupied by single family homes, the bulk of them (2,490) to be built in North Redondo. The problems of homelessness and affordability cannot be solved by lowering the quality of life by making the already congested area even more so through state mandates that are orchestrated by the builders and their monied interests. Our representatives in Sacramento have sold their votes to these special interest groups, and passed laws that will allow them to bypass local zoning regulations, and environmental impact studies, and to speed up the construction without paying attention to the local residents’ issues and preferences. It will take more than efforts by BCHD, and the local residents to promote healthy eating habits, regular exercise, socializing and clean air to improve the quality of life, and live longer, happier and healthier lives in our beach cities.
Catch, and release, and prosecute
The Los Angeles County Superior Court is sending a message to the public. The court and jail system is underfunded and bursting at the seams. To comprehend the motivations behind the court’s new arrest policies, it is important to understand the foundational underpinnings. It will contribute to more crime given criminals will misinterpret the change. Many of these new policies do not represent a substantial change from how police officers and commanders already process. Arrest, citation, and release procedures from the station have always been more common than not. The police have always practiced discretionary latitude, depending on the facts of a crime. We trust the police every day to decide the potential charges and possible repercussions of the release process. That is not changing and each Chief has sworn to uphold that obligation. The real change is that officers will possess the ability, for nonviolent offenders, to issue citations and release arrestees at the scene rather than the automatic booking process at the station. If a criminal can afford to bail out it does not ensure he/she is not a threat to society. That is not changing either. It also does not mean the associated crime report and filing will change, and the suspect is adjudicated. They still have to answer to the court. No officer is mandated to let a violent offender walk away. Misdemeanors, and felonies still dictate an official detainment, arrest, and report. Catch and release does not mean adjudication.
To the very tone deaf hybrid ROW claims on the Metro C-line Ext, cherry picking the very limited points in favor of that option demonstrates a lack of understanding and unwillingness to face reality (“Show me the soldier,” ER Letters Oct. 5, 2023). The only thing the hybrid ROW option mitigates is emergency response obstruction for McCormick ambulances, a half block away. That’s it. There is no other improvement made by trenching under the two streets (170th and 182nd). It does add significant costs, while adding unavoidable impacts to air quality at private property lines, kicking up loose dirt clouds, and more intense vibration (earth pounding and shaking) and much longer construction times. Newer homes along the ROW are already suffering cracks, and damages from the one, daily freight train, and there’s that pesky 2.5 old year sinkhole from routine pipeline maintenance inside the ROW that caused severe damage to three homes. Unstable soil is just one of the many problems on the ROW.
Remember your history
This is a short reminder on the origin of the open space/park concept on the AES site. It all began with the Heart of The City at the turn of the 21st Century century. After numerous discussions/workshops, two concepts, the Village Plan, and Heart Park materialized. Redondo Beach contracted Taussig to do a fiscal analysis of the concepts. The fiscal analysis may be out dated (2004) but it will provide an idea of the cost of the concepts. Measure J (Village Plan vs. Heart Park) was placed on the March 8, 2004 ballot, resulting in Heart Park preference. There was also an open space/park concept by Cal State Pomona that was funded by the State of California (Bill Brand not Mayor Bill Brand). The students’ studies were presented at the Old Redondo Beach Library. The California Coastal Commission (CCC) presented development requirements for the AES site at the Redondo Beach Energy Project public hearing in 2015. The requirement is to restore the wetland (Redondo Salt Lake) with a 100-foot buffer zone that must be maintained forever. Therefore, one must determine the actual size and location of the former wetland, which would establish the developmental area. My estimate for the restored wetland is about 25 acres. With the establishment of the development area, AES site zoning requirement and potential environmental cleanup, the developer could proceed to negotiate the property purchase price.
I ate at Lobster Guy’s Rolls and Fries and I thought it was fabulous. I am from New England and eating there was like eating at home. Thank you lobster guys.