Letters to the Editor 10-8-2020
Homeless done right
The Redondo City Council recently took a responsible step to study pallet shelters as temporary housing for the homeless – action intended to address the plight of the massive homeless community in Los Angeles County, and give our city the right to enforce anti-camping laws (“Redondo gets proactive in proposing homeless shelters,” ER Sept. 24, 20200).
But we must heed the lessons of failed shelter experiments elsewhere. Venice’s recent experiment with a shelter near family homes, schools, restaurants, businesses, and parks had the unintended effect of attracting additional homeless encampments, an increase in crime, and plummeting quality of life for residents. San Clemente, however, took a different, more creative approach. Rather than construct shelters, they provided a vacant lot with tents, portable toilets, and handwashing stations. San Clemente required homeless who were camping to stay at that site – not in parks, public right-of-ways, in front of homes or in store setbacks. Weapons, drugs, alcohol, and fires were prohibited, and proof of city residency was required. It proved successful – service providers worked with homeless at the site, and those who weren’t city residents left to utilize other County shelters, or were provided transportation to relocate and reunite with family or friends. Soon, San Clemente no longer needed the site, and closed it down.
all South Bay cities should join Redondo by identifying a common-sense location for a temporary site to designate an exclusive camping area for homeless residents, split the costs, and allow service-provider access. Only by acting together may we succeed with this homelessness tragedy.
Zein Obagi, Jr
Waiting for an apology
I disagree with Councilmember Stacey Armato’s actions relating to the CrossFit Gym nuisance abatement hearings, and her entire lack of concern that the court held that “concrete facts in the record establish an unacceptable probability that Armato was biased against [CrossFit Gym]… Armato should have recused herself. Because she did not, [CrossFit Gym] did not receive a fair hearing and the Council’s decision must be set aside.”
The Court also held that the evidence shows “an unacceptable probability that, during the more than two years of City investigation prior to the abatement hearing, Armato became biased… against the Gym.” The Court further held that “Armato communicated directly with code enforcement officials…contravening [Hermosa Beach Municipal Code] section 2.12.080.”
These actions have cost the City of Hermosa Beach more than $120,000 to date. Further, litigation between the City and CrossFit Gym will likely continue in Federal Court, which could cost the City hundreds of thousands more.
In the City’s Sept. 28, 2020 press release, Armato expresses neither remorse for her actions nor a commitment to follow the Hermosa Beach Municipal Code requirements going forward. Instead, she merely states “I have read the court’s opinion carefully but believe that I did right by my constituents, and I was fair to CrossFit Horsepower.” In other words, Armato has no plans to change, will likely continue to violate HB’s Municipal Code, and is willing to expose the City to further liabilities. That is not acceptable.
Hermosa Beach City Council
Health district housecleaning
Three Beach Cities Health District (BCHD) Board seats are up for election. None of the incumbents deserves your vote. BCHD directors have enjoyed an entertaining hobby watching the obscure BCHD bureaucracy promote itself at public expense. But, with obscurity has come arrogance and lack of accountability for how public assets are used. The public has registered massive outrage at BCHD plans to branch out into an enormous, publicly subsidized, for-profit development on public land. Keeping a public agency like BCHD in check is more than a longstanding hobby, it is a job description. Retire the incumbents and bring in new voices to the BCHD board.
Health District providers
Despite COVID-19, and misleading representations about its Healthy Living Campus proposal, the Beach Cities Health District (BCHD) provides much needed resources, benefits and support to Beach City residents. What started 60 years ago as a Hospital District has been transformed into a forward looking organization designed to meet today’s public health needs. Rather than rest on their laurels, the BCHD took on the challenge of becoming a nationally certified Blue Zones Community in 2016, the largest community in the country to achieve that goal. Not stopping there, BCHD was placed among the elite of America’s healthy communities on the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being index with successful programs aimed at reducing smoking, obesity and stress in the Beach Cities. In 2019 The District’s Center for Health and Fitness (CHF) became California’s only fitness center certified by the Medical Fitness Association, one of only 45 such centers in the country. When faced with the pandemic, BCHD jumped into the fray, providing more than 57,000 COVID-19 tests, and working with our Chambers of Commerce to develop protocols to re-open businesses safely with their Safe in the South Bay program. Improving public health is the target. An active and well-led BCHD is one of the ways to achieve it. Before November 3, as a former Hermosa Beach mayor, I plan to vote for Vanessa Poster and Jane Diehl for seats on the BCHD’s Board of Directors. I urge you to do the same.
Burton kept town quiet
During his last term on the Manhattan Beach city council, I watched Mark Burton put the concerns of residents ahead of big-money special interests again and again. He sponsored the ban against short-term rentals. After years of complaints about late-night noise from the Shade Hotel, he made a motion to require noise mitigation. Nearby residents could finally sleep at night. He brought MBPD into an oversight role to control after-hours noise violations at the 900 Club, so residents in that neighborhood could get their needed rest. Burton fought vigorously against proposals of gross environmental destruction, including ripping out dozens of healthy trees from Polliwog Park, which is home to over 160 species of birds and which our city calls its “Crown Jewel.” In a time of continuing threats, we need him back on the city council. Please vote for Mark Burton.
President of Friends of Polliwog Park
The Manhattan Beach Firefighters’ Association is proud to officially endorse Grettel Fournell, Mark Burton and incumbents Richard Mongomery and Steve Napolitano for the Manhattan Beach City Council. The Manhattan Beach Firefighters feel these candidates possess the skills and experience to help lead the City through these challenging times. These four council candidates have expressed an interest in keeping your fire department local. They have provided specific goals on how to deliver the highest level of public safety service to the Manhattan Beach community by supporting the future of the Manhattan Beach Fire Department. During COVID-19 and the unprecedented California wildfires the Manhattan Beach firefighters appreciate the community’s heartfelt support. We are confident Fournell, Burton, Montgomery and Napolitano are leaders that the community and firefighters can count on.
Manhattan Beach Firefighters Association
Looking at the Manhattan Beach City Council candidates, I find myself most impressed by the two youngest, Chaz Flemmings and Phoebe Lyons. What they lack in experience, they make up for by studying the issues. Their virtual campaign meetings have shown them to be sharp and well-informed. I like their fresh perspectives and thoughtful ideas. I would also welcome younger councilmembers, to make our city government better match the age demographics of our citizens. I think an excellent ticket would be the two of them plus the continued service of Richard Montgomery, whose broad experience and expertise have long been an asset to Manhattan Beach.
Kay M. Gilbert
As CEO of a company serving hospitals nationwide, I know leaders of talent. I have known Mark Burton since the 7th grade. We attended Loyola High School and were roommates at Loyola Marymount University. We worked together at a Market Basket to pay our way through college. We’ve been friends for over 50 years. Burton is honest and will tell you the truth, always. He is an amazingly hard worker. I saw this in school, and when he worked as a Los Angeles City Attorney. When Burton was on the Manhattan Beach City Council, I saw how he studied all of the issues, knew both sides of those issues and got input from his constituents. He always came to council prepared. Burton is trustworthy. He is transparent in his decisions and is not swayed by special interests. He is not a commercial developer, or paid lobbyist, or actively involved with a political party. While you may not always agree with his decision, you can never question his motivation. It will always reflect a thoughtful, honest assessment of what he thinks is best for his constituents. He is a problem solver. He will look at both the short term and long term impact of any decision he would make on council. I ask you to support Mark Burton for the Manhattan Beach City Council.
Manhattan Beach voters have a rare opportunity this election day. In Phoebe Lyons we have a uniquely brilliant and focused young candidate who is a truly independent, forward thinker. Lyonss’ campaign, with its deeply rooted focus on inclusiveness, unity, and transparency, indeed presents ‘A Fresh Voice For MB,’ like no other. Every candidate promises to improve public engagement, yet most promptly drop that ball once elected. Lyons, on the other hand, is already busy developing a friendly new welcome mat for City Hall. Deciding at the onset to eschew the convention of gathering endorsements from the overly familiar list of local power brokers, Lyons, instead, reached out to, energized and engaged many of our community’s previously unheard voices – both young and old. Unbeholden to anyone or any special interest, Lyons not only listens, but hears. She considers all input, and respectfully engages with all – especially those with new or alternative thoughts.
Lyons is a fearless questioner who will insist on thorough and well-reasoned responses, transparently presented. Issues of the day are important, of course – but they change with time. We must elect good decision makers who communicate clearly, not just those who happen to agree with us on one or two of today’s hot issues. Lyons has earned this 40 year resident’s first vote, and I sincerely hope Manhattan Beach voters recognize the unique and exciting opportunity she brings us.
Three for the council
Vote for Richard Montgomery, Steve Napolitano and Joe Franklin for Manhattan Beach City Council to stop the threat of COVID-19, Governor Newsom’s taxes and homelessness projects and Bruce’s Beach demands for reparations. None of these three candidates believe that current Manhattan Beach residents should pay for what happened one hundred years ago at Bruce’s Beach.
Joe Franklin supports the police and fire departments and has city commission experience to provide oversight for the City’s budget and operations.
Incumbent Steve Napolitano is a four-term councilmember and former Senior Deputy to Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe
Incumbent Mayor Richard Montgomery is a three-term councilmember who has been responsible for the following projects: Investing $1 million to keep our kids safe at school; protected our neighborhoods from short term rentals; added flashing crosswalks; cut more than $500,000 in unnecessary city staff positions; reopened city hall to five days a week.voted to keep our fire department from being taken over by Los Angeles County.
Into the weeds with Burton
I was privileged to serve alongside Mark Burton on the Manhattan Beach City council from 2013 to 2017. Simply said, there is no one I trust more than Burton with the issues facing our city. Burton is a man of impeccable character and integrity, who consistently demonstrated he only serves the residents of Manhattan Beach. No one was more prepared at the dais or in closed session. No one led and fought harder for Public Safety initiatives, foot patrols, automated license plate readers, and security camera registration. Pressing on every aspect of staff’s annual budget proposals, pressing for reform of our unfunded and runaway pension liability, on wasteful and ill conceived capital projects. These are real fiscal responsibility actions, not a “balanced budget” or AAA rating that others take credit for, but actually come from City Staff, not the City Council. Burton is a proven leader on environmental issues and 100 percent against the desalination plant on our northern border. He has a wealth of knowledge on how city government works. His years of experience as an LA City Attorney and prosecutor allow him to help protect our city from settlement mistakes and bad judgment on litigation issues. I witnessed Burton save us millions of dollars while on Council.
Please vote for Mark Burton.
A kinder politics
I am so disappointed in both the Republicans and the Democrats. Republicans say the Democrats will sow unrest in the streets. Democrats fear the Republicans will refuse to leave the White House no matter the results of the election, making unrest necessary. This is a Catch 22 that hurts everyone. What I know is real, as a candidate for the Beach Cities Health District Board of Directors, is that a majority of us are decent Americans who believe in being kind and respectful to one another. And, we believe in, and will exercise, our right to vote. Our voices of calm and decency matter. Our strength of civility will prevail. Reject the voices of fear. Look for vision and hope and leadership. Vote your conscience on November 3 (or way before, by mail!). Don’t let fear incapacitate you. Take action, be kind, and Vote.
Masking Big Brother
Signs about the requirement to wear masks on the beach have been laminated to the Strand wall in Hermosa Beach. These breaches of public trust can no longer be tolerated. Children who are born into an environment of mandatory lockdowns, which is a prison term, will more readily accept government legislation when Big Brother tells them to go indoors and stay there. We all know somebody who’s dying but it’s time to stop penalizing 99 percent of the people for another really bad flu. The human immune system has been in development for over six million years, but pharmaceutical companies want you to believe your immune system is no good and you need to have a shot or a pill or another form of chemical for you to fight it off. I had swine flu in the ‘70s and my mom got rid of it with hot chicken broth and bed rest. I’m sure there’s going to be a 100,000 people who want to tell me I’m insane because I don’t believe this is a pandemic.
All I can say to you is that’s fine. Let the government take away the rest of your rights, let the media convince you mandatory lockdowns are a good thing. Now is the time for all Americans to say enough. If we do not force our city governments to re open their glass doors, if we do not demand our government to stop this insane over reaction to a really bad flu, what we will lose is our right to be free Americans. Wake up people, they have forced all of us into “their bad American dream.”
A path less easy
There’s a tension between the residents and special interests in Manhattan Beach. The easy path for politicians is to go with the special interests to assure themselves re-election. The harder route is to be a leader, air issues openly, find common ground. Lately, the Manhattan Beach Council has been taking the political path. When they considered cutting back construction in residential areas to five days from six, it quickly died. Developers vs. residents, developers won. When the Council considered joining a lawsuit to oppose the large desalination plant next to Manhattan Beach they decided against it. Having a City lend its name to the suit might have made the difference and would have cost the city nothing. Not many residents make money from contracts with the Department of Water and Power, but at least one influential person does. The Council again chose the Political path. I’m supporting Mark Burton for Manhattan Beach City Council. He is open and honest in his dealing. He’ll give every issue an airing in public (not in closed meetings). One vote isn’t a majority but it forces an open discussion. A real discussion makes it more likely for members to be leaders and do the right thing. Burton has exemplary qualifications having served as an attorney for the City of LA, he’s a strong supporter of police and fire and understands municipal operations.
As a former Manhattan Beach mayor who has the Council’s operation from the inside I ask you to vote for Mark Burton for Manhattan Beach City Council.
by Judy Rae