Letters to the Editor 10-22-2020

Missing the  ‘Computer Guy’

Dear ER: 

Tom Serafin was our go-to computer guy over the last 20-plus years. He would come by to fix, back up, add or delete a program on our computers, laptop tablets and iPads, and even fix our printers (“The ‘Computer Guy,’” ER Oct. 15, 2020). What a personal loss. Along with his computer genius we enjoyed his friendship and great conversations. We will truly miss this Gentle Giant!.

Jackey Flaherty

Hermosa Beach

Dear ER:

Tom was one of my breakfast buds when the Mermaid was still a thing . We had a bet every year — if the Vikings had a better year I paid for breakfast. If the Giants came out on top he would pony up. He was a kind fellow, always asking questions. Sorry to hear this news.

Lance Keller

ERNews post

Tom came to my aid many times over many years. He was always happy and friendly and had an interesting take on what was in the news or the latest in sports. I shall miss him terribly.Put at end of letters


This is a hell of a loss. One of the most unique, generous, friendly and sociable guys I have ever met. He has been my family’s go to guy on every computer issue for well over a decade, and we enjoyed every time we saw him or spoke to him.

George Kaufman

Clarification: Chaz Flemmings 

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 Matter 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

Harbor the homeless, but not in the harbor

Dear ER:

I would like to voice my opposition to building temporary homeless shelters in King Harbor at Seaside Lagoon or Moonstone Park (Mole B). As a lifelong resident of the South Bay and business owner with multiple locations throughout the South Bay, I have seen first hand the homeless crisis that has plagued our city. We should all step up to help people in need. That is why I have partnered with PATH (People Assisting the Homeless), which takes a different approach to this crisis by building affordable housing, and also focusing on mental health, job training and ending the cycle of homlessnes. That being said: Redondo Beach is not equipped to handle the in-depth, additional services needed to truly help. I fear the city will approve funding, build temporary housing, then leave it to the police (who have zero power due to State legislation) to handle the issues that will arise. At one of my business locations in the marina, we have had numerous homelessness issues, including: 1.Individuals made a make-shift shelter on our roof, with drugs inside the shelter. 2. An individual was found in our back storage area. When asked to leave the man became physically aggressive towards one of our employees. No one should have to go to work and fear for their safety. 3. A local charity decided (with good intentions) to feed the homeless in our parking lot. This turned into an unmitigated disaster, with public urination, trash, and individuals taking over our tables.

A homeless shelter in Seaside Lagoon opens up the possibility of dangerous substances (needles, etc.) being dropped in the sand, putting residents, especially children in danger when the Lagoon opens in the spring. Plan on doubling the cost of the Seaside Lagoon location, because the city will be forced to remove the shelter in just a few months due to either the Beach Life Festival (based on Covid-19) or public use of Seaside Lagoon in spring. 

A homeless shelter in the area probably does not serve the city’s goal of improving the harbor area.

A temporary, makeshift pallet shelter run by the city is going to be a disaster. The city should rather partner with an accredited organization to handle this crisis. In addition, the report from City Attorney Michael Webb clearly focuses on only the financials of the project. It seems to read, “We can get this money, let’s do it and figure out how it’s going to work later.” Again, a recipe for disaster.

Chris Bredesen

Redondo Beach

Deconstructing desal

Dear ER:

I would like to respond to my West Basin Municipal Water District 3 opponent Doug Solomon’s comment about why I supported conducting an EIR for the proposed desalination plant in El Segundo, but voted against it because of politics. First, the EIR provided information we needed to make a decision. Second, I represent the people in my district, I hear their voices,  I listen to their opinions. Desalination makes sense for certain places, but at this time I don’t feel this is the correct path for West Basin to explore. We have other options to look at like the brackish water project in the South Bay that is much more environmentally friendly and I believe will be less expensive. It is also what the people I represent want. 

Carol Kwan

West Basin Water 

District 3 trustee

Manhattan Beach

Challengers challenged

Dear ER:

In the Beach Cities Health District election, it’s disappointing to see little emphasis is placed on the proposed, massive Healthy Living Campus. Questions about it went unanswered during the candidates’ forum, even by the two challengers. Neighbors are outraged by the three incumbents supporting the proposed $500 million Prospect Ave. construction project. It’s partially funded by investors. When investors get their return, there isn’t much left for the taxpayer. Meanwhile, the project can be scrapped, and funding can be obtained to retrofit existing buildings.  The two challengers in this campaign must step up and tell us what they’re going to do to change the course of this project. Will they support remodeling existing buildings? If they don’t have more to say, they will not get the support they need to win an election.

Dean Francois

Hermosa Beach

A stand up Joe

Dear ER:

People know I stand up for what I believe is right.  We need Joe Franklin on the Manhattan Beach City Council. I have known Joe for over 20 years.  When I was principal of Pacific School 1986-2007, he was the one dad I could count on Monday through Friday for any job, large or small to help run my expanding school. From President of the School Site Council to Chief Morning Greeter in the drop-off zone, he was there, with a smile on his face, handling any situation, from the stressed parent to crying child. And he never lost his cool. Joe is honest, smart, hard-working, a logical thinker.  He will work tirelessly to make Manhattan Beach the kind of town you will continue to be proud of.  With a strong, fully funded police department, local control of our fire department, strong schools with a firm partnership, and great support for COVID recovery of residents and small businesses. You have trusted me with your children and on MBUSD committees. Trust me now and vote for Joe.

Christine A. Norvell

Manhattan Beach

Basement dwellers

Dear ER: 

Can we please fire Congressional Representative Ted Lieu and State Assemblyman Al Maratuchi this November. What has Lieu ever done except vote for higher taxes and against veterans, even though he claims to be one. He should be given a dishonorable discharge. Both are cowards for not coming out of the basement for a real debate with their opponents. Give us some hope and  change this year. Vote for James Bradley for Congress and Arthur Schaper for State Assembly.  

Gary Mlynek  

Redondo Beach

Age equality

Dear ER:

The Manhattan Beach City Council has seven candidates for three open seats. If all seven candidates were equal in all other ways, representation by the five current council members all being between 55 and 66 should be addressed. One in five Manhattan Beach residents is between 18 and 35. But it’s fairly obvious the seven candidates are definitely not equal in other ways. Phoebe Lyons has greatly elevated this campaign discussion at every opportunity – in her topical campaign videos, in her weekly “Virtual Chats.” and particularly in the candidates forums where she consistently displays clear focused thinking and straightforward effortless communication. 

Lyon’s youthful energy, her studied yet open-minded approach to fact-based problem solving, her focus on listening to voices historically unrepresented, and her deep commitment to brightening the long term future of her hometown clearly make Phoebe a uniquely qualified candidate. By giving just one of three available votes to Phoebe Lyons, voters will be effecting a significant positive change to our public decision making process while at the same time broadening the makeup of our City Council. (You may even consider voting only for Phoebe in this race to greatly diminish chances that mere incumbency and/or simple name recognition will again rule our election.)

Lisa Scalia

Manhattan Beach

Peer Lyon-ized

Dear ER:

I wholeheartedly support Phoebe Lyons for Manhattan Beach City Council. So much, in fact, that I’ll cast only one vote, in support of her, though there are three open seats. Lyons and I grew up here together. We were raised to be civically minded, informed women. I never thought our childhood friendship would transform into a team on the (virtual) campaign trail, but I’m glad it did. In recent months, Manhattan Beach youth have been vocal about their wants for our community. They’ve been listened to by Council, but have they been heard? I’ve watched leaders in our community fumble in attempts to get the young people involved for years. Well, here we are. Fifty-plus-year-olds cannot and will not properly represent the younger demographics of our town — one in six of us.) 

Lyons knows what it’s like to grow up here. She is not a transplant who decided to spend her adult life here. She is a product of our MBUSD schools, a point of pride for our city. As a recent college grad, Phoebe is still in the mode of studying and researching, a skill she’ll bring to Council. Phoebe will not use emotion as a metric, but rather analyze data to reach meaningful conclusions. Diversity of experience is key on Council. It’s time to look to the future, Manhattan Beach. Let’s vote for a fresh voice. Vote Phoebe Lyons on November 3.

Mageline Taylor

Manhattan Beach

Inside support

Dear ER:

As a current councilmember who has worked closely with Steve Napolitano and Richard Montgomery, I wholeheartedly support both candidates. I also support Grettel Fournell to take my seat on the Council. Napolitano and Montgomery have shown incredible leadership in our current crisis and their experience has been invaluable. This is the time to embrace consistency on our Council. As much as this pandemic has been difficult for our residents, it is hard to explain how difficult it has been to run a city through this time. The competing interests of businesses and residents, public health and the economy, has created division in our community. We need to keep a steady hand in the running of the City. Richard and Steve know how to do this. They will keep us safe, healthy, and economically as prosperous as we can possibly be. They know our budget inside and out, they understand the difficult position City staff is in providing the needed services to our community, and they know how to keep our businesses running. I also encourage a vote for Grettel Fournell. I have known Grettel for many years and she is smart, thoughtful and a consensus builder. When I was first elected in 2017, we were a smooth-running Council getting things done by listening to all of our residents – not just those who voted for us. We did this with consensus, honesty and integrity. We need to elect someone who will help with the consensus and compromise that is vitally needed in a good councilmember. Grettel is that person.

Nancy Hersman

Manhattan Beach

Bring back Burton 

Dear ER:

As a Manhattan Beach resident for almost 40 years, I treasure the family oriented character and small town feel of our community.  I recently retired, after 20-plus years, as an environmental engineer with the Metropolitan Water District. Thus, I have knowledge of both environmental and drinking water issues. Both these parts of my background are why I support Mark Burton for Manhattan Beach City Council. He supports the needs and interests of residents over those of special interests (or his own interests) and he is concerned about the environment.

Burton “walks the walk,” he doesn’t just “talk the talk.” During his prior term as City Council member (and before and since) he has actively championed residents’ issues, such as banning short-term rentals, supporting our first responders, and supporting our schools. He has always conducted himself in a transparent, fiscally prudent manner. Environmentally, he has opposed the West Basin MWD desalination plant (an environmentally hazardous and fiscally wasteful project), supported stormwater capture measures and helped enact ordinances banning smoking and plastic bags. In addition to his term as City Council member, Burton has had an exemplary record of public service as an LA City Attorney and of supporting our community through participation in the Rotary Club, Roundhouse Aquarium, Historical Society, El Camino College Foundation and many other local organizations. Burton is a good listener and a problem solver.  He is kind, patient, thoughtful, conscious of residents’ needs and respecting opposing views. We need Burton back on Council.

Paul Beswick

Manhattan Beach

Trust the trustee     

Dear ER:

Karen Komatinsky and Bill Fournell have served as Manhattan Beach Unified School District trustees for many years and they are the reason that MBUSD has received so many accolades. Komatinsky is running for Beach Cities Health District Member Board of Directors. IHe is termed out on the Manhattan School Board). Komatinsky stated that being a board trustee was like leading a corporation with an $83 million budget and 800 employees. The difference is her shareholders are her neighbors. Komatinsky has previous professional experience as VP for an Executive Search firm, HR Business Leader for Pfizer and is currently running 1 firm focusing on strategic planning and human resources. Komatinsky is the most qualified for the Beach Cities Health District Member Board of Directors, because of her experience on the MBUSD Board of Trustees, professional experience in the business world and her dedication to schools. I have loved Manhattan Beach ever since I came to California in 1960 to pursue my career as an aeronautical engineer. I love the beach, The Strand, ocean, climate, people and especially the school system. MBUSD has received many accolades that we should all be proud of because of the Manhattan Beach Unified School District Board of Trustees. The residents honor the First Responders (Police, Firefighters and Healthcare Professionals), but how do we honor the dedicated trustees who are professionals (MBAs, attorneys and business leaders) who donate their time to lead MBUSD?                                 

Robert Bush

Manhattan Bush

Fresh perspectives

Dear ER:

The recent BCHD candidate debate, hosted by Easy Reader and HermosaOne.com, gave Beach Cities residents a clear view of the similarities and differences between the candidates. All candidates agree that BCHD is an asset to the community. All candidates support BCHD’s wide ranging volunteer program and the programs and services donated to the school districts. Challengers Karen Komatinsky and Martha Koo differentiate themselves from the three incumbents by offering a fresh perspective on BCHD’s potential. They believe BCHD has not done an adequate job in reaching out to the communities and would like to see robust efforts towards community engagement.  In addition, both expressed commitment to  ensuring the prudent use of tax dollars, detailed evaluation of programs and services to show cost effectiveness and clear health impact to the community. They echo residents’ concerts about whether a Healthy Living Campus is appropriate for the community at this time. This fresh perspective is how I would like to see BCHD proceed into the future.  In light of this,  I give my full support to Karen Komatinsky and Martha Koo.  

Sheila W. Lamb

Redondo Beach

Balance board

Dear ER:

Bring balance to the Beach Cities Head District Board of directors. Vote for Karen Komatinsky and Dr. Martha Koo. For far too long we have had a BCHD board that is out of touch with the needs of the community and we saw this clearly in the candidate forum last week. One incumbent has served 25 years and doesn’t know if the 40 programs they pay for are even cost effective. Another claims the immune systems of volunteers are improved with these programs, without any proof. The third claims vast business experience, but hasn’t been effective in even getting cost control mechanisms in place or even a line item budget. It’s time for change and to bring back balance to BCHD. Vote for Karen Komatinsky and Dr. Martha Koo.

Wayne Craig

Redondo Beach

Powell to the people 

Dear ER:

There are a number of well qualified candidates for Manhattan Beach City Council. You should vote for candidates who have the utmost integrity and character, a proven record of community volunteer service, and diverse life experience with fresh ideas to improve our community. I don’t endorse or vote for candidates simply because they are an incumbent, or for those who have numerous campaign signs illegally on city property and vacant lots, or candidates beholden to big-money special interests or endorsed by old school power brokers, or who run numerous slick ads with the usual rhetoric and empty promises. As a former two-term Manhattan Beach Mayor, I urge everyone to do their due diligence and research the candidates and ballot propositions. After careful consideration, I’ve endorsed Mark Burton, Grettel Fournell and Steve Napolitano (alphabetical order). Also, lifelong resident and political newcomer Phoebe Lyons merits your consideration. 

Wayne Powell

Manhattan Beach

Dear ER:

Here are my three pledges to the residents of Manhattan Beach. First, if elected to Council, I pledge the City will not be paying reparations in the Bruce’s Beach matter. As a former City Attorney, I know our State Constitution, statutes and government code prohibit the deeding of taxpayer owned land and the paying of taxpayer money in this matter. It’s illegal. Yes, what a prior Council did over a 100 years ago was shameful but that does not reflect who we are today as a community. However, we should change the plaque at Bruce’s Beach to accurately reflect the full history of the Bruce family. Second, if elected, I pledge the City will protect and preserve the residential character of our community by continuing our ban on short term rentals and asserting appropriate local control. Local control of zoning and land use is rightfully the purview of our Council, not the State legislature or the Coastal Commission. Third, if elected to Council, I pledge that the City will oppose and stop the “billion dollar boondoggle” desalination project.  It is our South Bay “bullet train.”  It’s a waste of money and it will only increase our water rates significantly.

The next Council needs strong leadership with common sense judgment. That’s what I did on Council and that’s what I will do if elected. As a former Councilmember and City Attorney, I believe that I am the best qualified to face the challenges ahead.  Experience matters, now more than ever.

Mark Burton


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