Letters to the Editor 10-5-23
The thing that is so odd about the Hermosa Beach Octoberfest is that the Hermosa Beach City Council has been at war with the local restaurants and bars, and the solution and new tradition is to bring the booze right out into the street and invite children (“Hermosa Beach Oktoberfest a new tradition, Mayor declares,” ERNews October 1, 2023). I don’t get it.
Redondo resident Wayne Craig writes that it’s the will of the city’s voters to turn the AES site into parkland, without any residential or commercial development (ER Letters, September 28, 2023). That may be true, but Redondo voters have never been asked how much they are willing to pay out of their own pockets to make this happen. Some of the more irresponsible public advocates have suggested it wouldn’t cost us a thing, that the state, or the federal government will swoop in to pick up most of the tab. Nobody with a modicum of sense believes that this is still possible. So the question remains: how does the city finance the purchase of the AES site, the clearing away of the building and power lines, the repurposing of the land for park space, and permanent ongoing maintenance for acres of parkland? Some of the more implausible ideas floated, such as a top-notch aquatics facility on the site, need to either be officially abandoned, or factored into an overall price tag that is presented to city voters for their approval. The only way that there will be any progress is if city voters are faced with realistic options: allow for mixed-use development of the land, and surrender total control of the final project, or agree to pay tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money to fulfill our desire for more park space. Time for voters to put their money where Craig says their mouth is.
Points of order
Hermosa Councilman Rob Seaman stated in a recent council meeting, “Not everyone who lives in the parking district should be eligible for a guest pass, maybe only under certain circumstances.” Having lived two decades across the street from Seaman, I watched him use a guest permit each year for his gray, jalopy pickup truck (“Guest parking passes to be reconsidered by Hermosa Council,” ER Sept. 28, 2023). He parked it each night in a public parking space on Loma Drive, in front of my home, while having a garage space and two driveway spaces empty. Now it is different because he is retired, and has no work truck. Each dwelling unit in the district deserves a guest pass, period. “Keep it simple, stupid” is appropriate in this situation. At the same council meeting, Hermosa Beach City Manager Suja Lowenthal said, “The letter (to Metro regarding the Green Line from the Mayor’s office) was based on a long-standing practice here in the city which predates me, that the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem are the communications subcommittee of the council.” I served on council (2001-2009), and as Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem, and no such policy ever existed, nor has it ever been an official policy. Correspondence from the Mayor’s office was always approved by a full council. This is because the Mayor is a ceremonial title only. Rogue letters can be expected to continue under Lowenthal’s guidance. Finally, Easy Reader printed a correction in last week’s paper. There was a mistake in the correction. Mayor Ray Jackson was first, Dean Francois was second, and Seaman was third. This election was in November 2022, not 2011 as printed. Councilmember Justin Massey got confused by these results and inserted himself in line in front of Councilmember Dean Francois, and Seaman in the Mayor rotation. He must have barely passed the ethics part of the bar exam, or is just a line cutter.
For want of a guest pass
My husband and I own two rental properties in Hermosa Beach, a total of 9 one-bedroom units (“Guest parking passes to be reconsidered by Hermosa Council,” ER Sept. 28, 2023). We have owned them for a long time, so we are able to rent them for below market rents. Recently we learned we are no longer entitled to guest parking permits to use when showing vacancies, and maintaining the property. We assumed this was a mistake, and the city council and city management would remedy this when they realized their error. Amazingly it doesn’t seem as if anyone cares. We have emailed council members with absolutely no response. The city claims that they desperately need more affordable housing. If we sell our properties, the city will have two mansions instead of nine affordable units.
Alison and Brian Wilcox
As a 32-year resident of Hermosa Beach, I’m alarmed at the way our city is being managed. The City Council and City Manager Suja Lowenthal keep making bad decisions that are not supported by the residents. The prime example is overlooking Dean Francois in the mayoral rotation. I voted for Francois and appreciate him standing up for Hermosa Beach residents (“Hermosa Mayor Rotation has heads spinning over Francois,” ER September 21, 2022). But it seems like the rest of the council and Lowenthal can’t handle any kind of pushback or dissent, even though the expression of opposing views is a vital part of our democracy. It’s time to get Hermosa Beach back on track. Let’s find a city manager and council that truly cares about our town.
Perhaps it is time to return to in-person interactions and participation in Hermosa Beach civic politics. The call-in opinions are very hard to hear, and they certainly interrupt the flow of meetings. Keep in mind that in the past, council members showed respect to residents by wearing suits and ties and actually being attentive to problems presented to them. Council persons were model citizens who set a good example for the youth. One would certainly not expect an officer or gentleman to be wearing a cap inside throughout the council meeting.
Bring back our guest parking permits. Let’s see proof that this unfortunate decision was even discussed by the Hermosa Beach City Council prior to being approved by the powers that be. This is one of the worst decisions by the city in my 73 years here. It is important for our residents, who pay plenty in taxes, to have the “privilege” of purchasing at least one guest permit per household.
Dennis Duke Noor
Bringing in someone to pray over a headstone in his backyard without any evidence of anyone being buried under the headstone is the definition of sensationalism (“Newly discovered graves may haunt Metro train,” ERNews Sept. 29, 2023). If they do find anyone buried down there it’s almost certainly not Earle Hoffman who is resting peacefully at Hillside Memorial Park in Culver City.
Show me the soldier
The headstones are an interesting artifact (“Newly discovered graves may haunt Metro train,” ERNews Sept. 29, 2023). But what remains to be seen is if there are any graves underneath them; if the location is actually Metro property: and if this actually puts the viability of the right of way as a transit route into question. I’m skeptical that this is anything beyond sensationalism, and here’s why:
- Are there confirmed graves at this location? Or is it just headstones to honor war veterans who have passed on?
- These headstones per the application pictured were created in 1953. The railroad right of way was established in 1888.
- The DEIR states that there may be construction impacts on human remains, which could be unearthed during excavation for the project.
Let’s let the professionals do their jobs. At last week’s Metro committee meetings on the C Line Extension, the board members expressed that we need to take a regional approach and will have to make some tough decisions.. The Metro ROW option is heavily opposed by the people living in the surrounding area. It’s important to note that the ROW Hybrid alignment provides the most mitigations for the residents and would make the freight train safer with new undercrossings and overcrossings for both freight and light rail. We should strongly consider this option. There are multiple issues with the Hawthorne alignment, including its $1 billion in extra, unfunded costs and Caltrans and NEPA veto points, which threaten to render the entire project infeasible. We can’t keep continuing to widen the 405 and the 91 freeways. Traffic and pollution will only get worse in the next 10 years while we wait for this to be built. We need light rail transit to the South Bay and we needed it yesterday.
It’s time for Metro to finally bury the ROW (Right of Way) extension option and have it routed down Hawthorne Blvd (“Newly discovered graves may haunt Metro train,” ERNews Sept. 29, 2023). It lessens the impact on residents, will better service the community, and increase ridership.
There is no reason why the residents of Redondo Beach should have to put up with the noise and vibration the Metro trains will cause all day long. Metro has some light rail subway stations on the E Line in Boyle Heights, one of the stations being for Soto St. Metro could not put the train tracks through Redondo Beach in a covered subway tunnel, as well. It is poorly planned by Metro and it should not be accepted unless Metro is willing to change the way the line is constructed through Redondo Beach.
Our city’s parks are meant to be safe, and welcoming places for families and children to enjoy outdoor activities. However, it has become increasingly evident that some of our parks have become gathering places for individuals engaging in drug and marijuana use, as well as for the homeless. These issues have serious consequences for the overall safety and quality of life in our community. The most concerning aspect of this situation is the relative lack of attention and action from city officials compared to other, less pressing matters. It is disheartening to see the city has been more diligent in enforcing leash laws for dogs in parks than in addressing the very real concerns posed by drug use and homelessness. While the responsible ownership of dogs is important, it is undeniably a lesser concern when compared to the well-being and safety of our children. I urge our city officials to prioritize the following actions: Increased patrolling, and law enforcement presence in parks to deter drug use and maintain a safe environment for families; investment in resources aimed at addressing homelessness in our community, such as shelters, outreach, and mental health services.
More is more
Building more houses in cities already way too crowded is bad for the environment. Water shortage is a problem now. Will building more homes help solve it? Air quality in LA is growing worse all the time. Noise pollution is a constant in the beach area — hammering, sawing, mowers, blowers, heavy trucks rumbling by — all adding to poorer air quality. Already burdened and potholed streets are getting worse all the time with the extra cars and heavy construction equipment. Parking has already become an issue and adding more cars only makes the problem worse. The South Bay at one time was a wonderful place to live and raise a family. Living conditions here have been growing worse, and I don’t know how we can dig ourselves out of the mess that’s created. I do know adding more homes is not the solution.