Letters to the Editor 10-25-18
Redondo Beach city employees, including our police and fire, have been working without a contract since June. The city manager hired a negotiating firm, and to date things have not gone well. As can be expected, one of the main sticking points is money. Nearly two thirds of our city budget are personnel costs.
When it comes to money, the fire and police have been overheard raising an interesting point and a good question of all of us.
If the city can pay $9 million to buy out the Fun Factory lease in order to help push through the CenterCal project how can there be a lack of funds for fire and police? Why is it Emdee and Horvath can vote to help a developer but not our public safety professionals?
Also, CenterCal still owes the city over $1million in costs associated with the Environmental Impact Report, and the attorney fees from the improper assessment of the EIR could be another million.
Eleven million dollars. Where would you rather see that money go? Fire and Police? Or to help a developer get theirs?
If Emdee and Horvath really supported our fiscal security they would have never made that vote. How can they look the fire and police negotiators in the eye and say we don’t have the funds after helping to squander $11 million?
Community safety should be our council priority, not the fat cat wallets. Community finances our priority, not bailing out Centercal at the expense of fire and police.
Eugene J Solomon
Keep Manhattan Manhattan
For too long, our City has been a general law city, with less autonomy. In order to secure its future, the City should adopt a City Charter, thereby providing for greater local control. And, it should do so sooner rather than later. Pursuant to the California Constitution, a City Charter would provide additional home rule authority or supremacy over our municipal affairs, police, elections, land use regulations and our elected and appointed city officers and employees.
Just in the past year, Sacramento politicians attempted to dictate land use regulations to all California cities and, recently, the Coastal Commission attempted to usurp our City’s land use jurisdiction with onerous conditions in order to obtain approval of our proposed Downtown Specific Plan. We can anticipate that these “overreaches” will continue to plague cities in California. Enlightened cities have recognized the benefits of adopting a City Charter. Surely, our City should be enlightened by the latest “overreaches” from Sacramento politicians and their state agencies.
Let’s keep Manhattan Beach, Manhattan Beach by adopting our own City Charter.
Mark Burton, former mayor
Here are the facts: Redondo Beach City Council members Laura Emdee and Christian Horvath approved a 99-year lease of public property, the pier and harbor waterfront, to the shopping mall developer CenterCal just 35 days before their own constituents voted against the mall project. Horvath and Emdee’s actions resulted in a $15 million lawsuit against the City from CenterCal, and over $5 million in taxpayer money wasted on legal fees.
To clear way for the private mall project on public property, again just weeks before their own constituents voted against it, Emdee and Horvath voted to buy out the Fun Factory lease early for $9 million. This was perhaps the most arrogant waste of taxpayer money in the history of Redondo Beach.
Just three weeks ago, Emdee and Horvath voted to end the only City Council public hearing and discussion regarding the Galleria redevelopment, and approve the flawed and problematic Galleria plan at 1 a.m. This would have been disastrous for Redondo Beach. Even the Galleria owner has subsequently agreed to take some more time to work on the plan before revisiting it with the City Council at a rescheduled meeting in January.
Emdee and Horvath attempted to extend their own terms of office by over a year without a public vote. Luckily a court ruled they will face the voters in March.
Clearly Redondo Beach districts 3 and 5 are due for changes in leadership, as Emdee and Horvath have demonstrated their incompetence as City Council members. They have proven extremely expensive to Redondo Beach taxpayers.
No on rent control
Think Rent Control will solve housing problems in California? Think again. You probably thought that Prop. 1A (high speed rail system – Bullet Train) would solve transportation problems in California. $10 billion in bond money for construction in 2008 has grown to $77 billion. In 1979, Santa Monica created the most radical rental control law that earned them the title “The People’s Republic of Santa Monica.”
- This measure would open the floodgates to big government bureaucracies, burdensome regulations and a loss of property rights.
- Puts unelected government bureaucrats in charge of housing. Creates up to 539 rent control boards.
- Predicting a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in state tax revenue. That would mean less money for schools, roads and emergency services.
- Ceiling on rents reduces the quality and quantity of housing.
- Rent control on single-family homes, garage apartments, duplexes and apartments, and requires every property owner to register and pay an annual fee so the city can track how many housing units exist and whether they are rented or owner-occupied.
- California’s well-documented housing crisis made even worse by discouraging investment in rental housing and incentivizing conversions or even demolition of existing rental property.
- Rent control destroys housing markets because it takes away the incentive to build new apartments, reduces the willingness of landlords to upgrade and maintain their properties, and encourages tenants to squat indefinitely in their below-market units.
Proposition 10 is the wrong answer to the high price of housing. What’s needed is more construction, not less.
The state has passed bills that use bullying tactics to get cities to pack in even more homes as the solution to bring home prices down [“Accessory After the Fact,” ER Aug. 23, 2018]. These are amendments that require easing accessory dwelling unit (ADU) rules. The changes essentially make a single family R-1 lot suddenly into an R-2 lot, with only one parking spot required, and no parking required for that additional unit if it is within one half-mile of a bus stop. This presumes the new residents will be riding the bus every day. The changes also allow residents of R-1 lots to build a second story ADU on top of their garages, creating incalculable visual blight were myself and my neighbors all to go this route.
Two Bay Area legislators wrote these bills with the myopic view that every California city has efficient mass transit like they have in San Francisco, and apparently that every R-1 homeowner should be fine with no longer having their neighborhood R-1. There is blatant disregard for whether infrastructure is in place for these dwellings. There’s no mention of taxing of the power grid, water supplies, or impacts on schools from residents of these extra units. It’s a one-size-fits-all approach that all cities must adhere to or assume the liability of not doing so (i.e. get sued).
This will drive down our property values, eliminate open space, and make parking issues even more dire. The Planning Commission and City Council will soon decide on details of an ordinance, but where is the talk of Measure DD, which in Redondo Beach requires a vote of the people in cases of major zoning changes? This could plummet property values, a critical point since one’s home is often their biggest asset and impacts their very financial future. This is not an elitist or NIMBY matter, but a property rights issue for all. If you bought on an R-2 lot and suddenly learned it would be R-3, would that not be violating your property rights? Isn’t it reasonable to expect the zone you bought into to remain the same zone? Pay attention people, and hold your commissioners and councilmembers accountable against this blatant state overreach. Other cities are fighting back, and we should too.
Scotto for public safety
In recent years, the South Bay has felt the consequences of poor public safety legislation. Prop 47 has put thousands of violent criminals back on our streets, threatening the safety of our community and the ones we love.
What the California lawmakers have continued to do, along with their ill informed legislation in Prop 47, is restrict the Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens. It is sad that our representatives seem to have it all backwards. Now, what Los Angeles County is left with is a steady growth in crime.
To restore confidence back into our public safety, we can waste no time. The essential first step in achieving progress is electing Frank Scotto for Assembly. Frank, endorsed by the Torrance Police Officers’ Association, will be the representative we need him to be: tough on crime and a defender of our Second Amendment rights.
Sgt. Robert Lara
Torrance PD, retired
I attended the recent Beach Cities League of Women Voters candidate forum and have read flyers sent on behalf of both campaigns for Assembly District 66. Frank Scotto has few concrete policy positions, and no apparent plans for implementation. So he deflects with lies and fear-mongering. His personal attacks against Al Muratsuchi are beneath the voters of our District and our elected representative, striking the same divisive tones as Donald Trump.
Similarly, I received a personalized postcard from his campaign about protecting Proposition 13. Assemblyman Muratsuchi has never proposed overturning Prop 13 for homeowners; instead of trying to mislead voters why doesn’t Mr. Scotto run on policy matters?
Mr. Scotto wants to repeal the gas tax that is already reaping dividends with long-needed repairs underway. How does Mr. Scotto intend to pay for our transportation services? He calls for more prisons, but again, how will these be paid for? And, really, this is his highest priority for our taxpayer dollars? The cost of excessive incarceration is wasteful and ineffective. But it definitely lines the pockets of the for-profit prison industry.
Mr. Scotto’s smear campaign and scare tactics should not be rewarded; let’s set the bar higher than the gutter. Assemblyman Muratsuchi has stood up for our communities; he has earned reelection.
Alice P. Neuhauser
Scale it back
“The Big Dig” (ER October 18, 2018) is a boondoggle in the making. The proposed hotel is way too large and not to scale with The Strand. The taking of Beach Drive, the loss of beach and ocean views from the Plaza, and the massive construction plans are too much.
The hotel can all be scaled way back. Good examples of past citizen input and elections would be the Metlox Plaza in Manhattan Beach (scaled back about 30%) and Noble Park in Hermosa (the former Biltmore Hotel site), which is now a wonderful open space.
This project will be a new gateway to our beautiful city and I would love to see it scaled back at least 30 percent to save our precious views from the Plaza, and retain the public right of way along Beach Drive.
Dennis Duke Noor
by Judy Rae