Letters to the Editor 12-3-2020
Great Blue Heron on The Esplanade
I go to the Redondo Beach Esplanade most mornings to photograph dolphins. During an early October morning this handsome fellow swooped right in front of me, landed on a building for a minute and took off. I was lucky enough to have my camera ready and capture him as he began to fly. — Nanci Lewis
Manhattan Beach Council Member Suzanne Hadley is right. It’s her turn to be Manhattan Beach mayor (“The Great Hadley Debate,” ER Nov. 26, 2020). Do I want her to be mayor? No, I don’t even want her on our City Council, but she was elected. I don’t know what rules govern public statements by councilmembers, but unless she has violated them, it would not be fair to change the mayoral rotation to disadvantage her. We will vote her out in November 2022, but until then she should have her turn as mayor, just like every other councilmember.
A time for everything
The quoted statements of Manhattan Beach Mayor Pro Tem Suzanne Hadley are disturbing (“The Great Hadley Debate,” ER Nov. 26, 2020). She is ill informed, and her cavalier attitude reeks of faux news and Trumpian speak. Her comments are potentially dangerous and they disrespect the victims of COVID, as well as the medical professionals struggling to contain the pandemic. There is no debate. Suzanne Hadley and her anti science conspiracy views are an embarrassment to the city of Manhattan Beach. I will help fund and work for her recall from the council.
Joe Biden is quoted as saying, “We haven’t led the world just by the examples of our power, but by the power of our examples” (“Biden time, ER Nov. 12, 2020). What is most concerning? That the public’s mind may be easily manipulated by such a platitude, or that a President-elect’s mind might be so shallow? When non-thinking, a person automatically assigns to Biden’s use of “example” anything that particular reader believes. But a thinking mind would wonder just which of many possible “examples” is being referred to — and therefore advocated? If advocated by a President, all minds should be concerned.
The big picture
I read with fascination “The Great Hadley Debate”, not because of what she said or the counter-reaction to her comments, but because of the underlying trickle down implications of a divided country (“The Great Hadley Debate,” ER Nov. 26, 2020). I identify as a moderate Democrat. In my 25 years as a resident of Manhattan Beach, I have never seen such vitriolic commentary thrown by both sides. Without going through an analysis of Councilwoman Suzanne Hadley’s positions on issues, it seems like this is a perfect time to try diplomacy at the local level. I frankly see no reason to oust Hadley as Mayor just because “our” side is unhappy with her positions. While one can argue she has stepped out of her lane to comment on things the council has no control over, I think there is value in bringing these issues up within the community even if the council has no say on the final decisions. Changing a tradition of rotating mayors now because we see her as unfit is akin to all the nasty partisan legislative maneuvers our government has done over the last two decades, including changing the filibuster rule, gerrymandering laws, and potentially packing the courts. If we are to find balance in this democracy, then do it by the current rules. Give credit to Hadley for admitting mistakes and let her fall on her sword if she continues political missteps. One of the few upsides of the 2020 chaos is a greater knowledge and interest in the political process. While misinformation abounds, it is my hope that South Bay neighbors will step up with civility and show our kids how intelligent discourse can actually lead to common goals.
A history lesson
It is very disheartening to hear talk about ending the orderly rotation of the mayoral position in Manhattan Beach. I have attended more than a few mayoral change/rotation city council meetings, going back to the 1950s. Some of those were for my father, some were for elected friends, others were to just witness the pomp and circumstance. Years ago, the rotation was done annually. This meant that not every council member had the opportunity to serve as mayor during a four year term. This led to the change of a shorter mayoral term, in order to accommodate all elected council members during their four year term. Yes, I recall a few times over the years council members cringed at the thought of the person assuming the mayor position. We are not all made from the same mold. We all share many common interests along with our many profound differences. This was strongly evidenced by the true division we just witnessed during our recent presidential election. My point is we need to bury the hatchets and find a way to work together, honorably. I remember a discussion I had with my father one time about his years in the State Assembly and Senate. I was always fascinated watching politicians like Jesse Unruh, Willie Brown, the Burton brothers, Ken Maddy, George Deukmejian and many others debate fiercely yet honorably in the Capitol Chambers. After the session ended for the day, you could find the same combatants enjoying happy hour together at Frank Fat’s restaurant. I was informed that party labels were left at the door. I want to see the camaraderie I witnessed in Sacramento here in Manhattan Beach. Let’s keep the rotation and it’s order in place. When occupancy is again allowed indoors again, I would like to offer up the Shellback Tavern as a joint to unwind and share camaraderie. Albeit please leave your political hats at the door. May you all have a joyous holiday season.
Suzanne Hadley Hadley is not a public health official. Neither as a member of City Council nor mayor will she have any significant effect on the health of the community, which is in the power of Governor Newsom and the Los Angeles Department of Public Health. The objections to her views are irrelevant as to whether she should take the mayoral office. Those objections are appropriate for her future campaign for reelection. She is an elected official and it’s her turn as mayor. Full stop. Former Mayor Russ Lesser’s comments about depoliticizing the mayor’s office are important here because city council factions are evidently at work. Candidates should not have to run for mayor after spending the time and money to run for council and preparing for office by serving a term as mayor pro tem. What goes around comes around. If the rotation is altered for Hadley, who knows what will happen when it’s your favorite Council member’s turn.
Don’t cater to conspiracies
I appreciated the “Biden Time” story (“C’mon. Peninsula magazine readers argue Biden story unfit for print,’ ER Nov. 26, 2020). It was a local story since it was reporting on a South Bay talk Biden had given in 2017, and it was timely since Biden had become the President-elect. A larger majority of Peninsula residents voted for Biden over Trump in 2020, compared to 2016’s who voted for Clinton. In a Palos Verdes NextDoor thread (which was later removed) it was clear that many Trump supporters were unhappy about your article because they were in conspiracy-theory denial about the election results; to them the election was stolen by Hugo Chavez, Dominion voting machines, etc, etc. This same crowd on NextDoor also believed overwhelmingly that COVID-19 is another Russian hoax that would magically disappear after the November election. There is a segment of our population that demands and consumes conspiracies; I am glad that your publication does not cater to their needs.