Letters to the Editor 11-1-18
Holmes on homeless
It was disheartening to read the letters to the editor regarding beach cities homeless. I appreciate that homeless people make many of us feel uncomfortable, but they are still human beings and worthy of some measure of care and consideration. Most of our local homeless have mental health issues of greater or lesser severity. Under current state and federal laws and court decisions we can not just sweep them up and force-feed them lithium or other meds.This is not yet “1984” or “Brave New World.” Even those deemed undesirable by some still have rights.
I wish I had a brilliant solution, but I do not. If you talk to some of these folks, underneath that somewhat dirty and off putting veneer, you find some nice (but ill) folks. I am blessed to have lived in Manhattan Beach for 50 years and have certainly seen my share both on the Strand and at my longtime wave riding spot, the Manhattan Beach Pier. One thing is for sure: all of us cannot just shuffle our local homeless around to each other. Let’s try to work compassionately for solutions.
Former mayor,Manhattan Beach
Free the Galleria
In the City of Redondo Beach, unelected bureaucrats are more powerful than our elected representatives. They are running their own fiefdoms, disregarding democratic accountability and plundering liberty. Galleria developer Queensland Investment Corporation could make every concession to the point of insolvency and it still would not be good enough because these unelected bureaucrats are not negotiating, They are dictating terms for QIC’s surrender [“Galleria appeal hearing held until Jan. 15,” ER Oct. 25, 2018]. If QIC doesn’t comply with exactly what these unelected bureaucrats are stipulating, then the redevelopment of the South Bay Galleria will not be approved, and the City of Redondo will find itself bogged down in yet another costly lawsuit.
These unelected bureaucrats have figured out a way to control vast amounts of land, without paying anything, without committing anything, and without conceding anything. Come January, the true power of these unelected bureaucrats will be brought to light, and their vassals will be unmasked.
For the first time in over a decade, the Redondo Beach Police Department is at full complement. The record clearly shows a commitment to public safety in spite of dwindling General Fund revenues. The City and Council have collectively prioritized a great deal of our General Fund to Police and Fire, including equipment and programs that benefit all residents. Increasing the General Fund revenues is exactly why the city began a long-term strategy with a Waterfront Asset Management Plan in 2007. Previous councils, which included Mayor Bill Brand, voted repeatedly to finance the reacquisition of multiple leaseholds. The $9 million for the Fun Factory was the fourth acquisition necessary to create a contiguous area in order to rebuild and revitalize.
Why was this long-term strategy important? The city had four options in dealing with replacing the failing infrastructure at the Waterfront:
- Enter into a Private Public Partnership (PPP) to revitalize the area with minimal cost and risk to taxpayers. This is the process that unfolded between 2008 and 2017. We are currently tied up in litigation as a result of the voters rejecting this first option last year.
- Still have a PPP but execute a smaller project with the taxpayers taking on a greater amount of the public investment costs/risks. This option would stay all current litigation.
- The city goes it alone and incurs 100 percent of all costs/risks.
- The city does nothing and lets the area succumb to further neglect.
With option 1 off the table, we are now down to three more costly options.
Councilmember Laura Emdee
Beware campaign smears
In support of truth and integrity: Please beware of Letters to the Editor that appear to be nothing more than smear campaigning against councilmembers Laura Emdee and Christian Horvath.
What those letters fail to mention is that Mayor Bill Brand voted for $11.2 million towards pier lease purchases. They also don’t mention that the lease buyouts came from the Tidelands Fund not the General Fund.
Let’s go over the timeline:
2007: The council agrees to embark on an Asset Management Plan to acquire all leases at the pier in order to consolidate and develop the pier area as one plan.
2011: In an Oct. 11 closed council session, $125,000 was authorized to cover costs to start this plan. Mayor Steve Aspel and Councilmembers Pat Aust, Steve Diels and Matt Kilroy voted yes. Councilman Bill Brand was absent.
2012: Feb. 12, City Council agenda item L2, Pier Plaza Purchase, $8.2 million. Approved unanimously by Aspel, Aust, Diels, Kilroy and Brand.
2012: April 12, council agenda item E19, International Boardwalk Purchase, $2.9 million. Approved unanimous by Aspel, Aust, Diels, Kilroy and Brand.
2014: March 14, council agenda item N4, acquisition cost $240,000. Purchase of Redondo Beach Marina, $12.2 million. Approved by Mayor Steve Aspel and councilmembers Jeff Ginsburg, Pat Aust, Matt Kilroy and Steve Sammarco. Councilman Bill Brand was absent.
So far, that totals $23,665,000 or 72 percent of total lease buyouts.
2015: Horvath and Emdee are elected.
2016: Martha Barbee is appointed to fill the council seat vacated by Jeff Ginsberg.
2017: Jan. 17, council item N1, Fun Factory is purchased, and language is included that releases the city from all possible litigation. This is important because Fun Factory has been suing the city since 1974. Price, $9 million.
The money came from tidelands fund, and refinancing of the current debt through lease financing, not from the city’s General Fund. The General Fund pays for the payroll of police and Fire.
Staying safe in the US
There’s a simple solution for people to stay safe here in the US. If they just stay away from churches, synagogues, workplaces, banks, schools, post offices, movie theaters, malls, playgrounds, restaurants and airports they probably won’t be shot. Because here in the US guns don’t kill people, leaving the house does.
No on Muratsuchi
Al Muratsuchi has shown he values politics over policy, and promotes divisiveness in Redondo Beach. He’s not corrected mistakes for bad decisions regarding Redondo Beach Harbor Measures A, B and C. He’s pledged endorsing Redondo Beach elected officials with disastrous track records, with views opposite the majority they were elected to represent. Redondo has faced significant challenges affecting our city, the region, and California statewide: a developer’s battle to squeeze a privately-owned mall the size of five Walmarts on public waterfront land, recklessly spending $9 million in taxpayer money to prematurely buy out a Harbor lease to clear the way for that illegal mall, and a failed coup to extend City Council terms by as much as 18 months without public choice.
Muratsuchi apparently thinks these boondoggles were good ideas for Redondo, even now after the voters, the courts and the Coastal Commission have determined otherwise.
Proaction to garner state resources for open space, regaining local zoning control, and city independence are of utmost importance to maintain and improve quality of life in Redondo Beach. The revitalization of the AES power plant site, the Galleria, and the Harbor all represent significant opportunities to define the entire South Bay for generations to come. But, they should be done in ways mindful of impacts on traffic congestion and overall quality of life for Redondo residents.
Councilmember Nils Nehrenheim
5 for seniors
Proposition 5 will allow homeowners who are over the age of 55 or are severely disabled to continue paying property taxes based on the assessed value of their current homes when they sell and then purchase a new residence. The same goes for residents in areas affected by natural disasters.
An economic review of Prop. 5 conducted by two of the top economists in the state concluded that allowing seniors, the severely disabled and disaster victims to move would likely increase tax revenues, providing more funds for vital public services. It would also help seniors move to a new primary residence that better fits their needs, such as downsizing after children move away.
by Judy Rae