Letters to the Editor 2-1-24

Affordable housing help

Dear ER

If the Hermosa City Council wants to increase “affordable” housing, then eliminate “short-term rentals.”  Most of those properties are owned by out-of-state people. Follow the lead of Palm Springs and Hawaii by increasing restrictions on short-term rentals to the point of eliminating them. The residents of Hermosa would applaud such action for a change. 

Harold Keller

Hermosa Beach

 

MB a measured response

Dear ER:

Local schools are a cherished institution. They are beacons of academic excellence, character building, and personal growth. They bring neighborhoods together and prepare our children for their futures. It’s surprising to learn that State school funding is not keeping up with the growing costs of education, but it’s true. Additionally, state funding is inconsistent and unpredictable for a system that is meant to be just the opposite for our students: standard-bearing and dependable.

Throughout the state, parcel taxes stabilize school funding from year to year and fortify schools with local control, allowing expenditures to be customized to local needs.

Measure MB, the $225 parcel tax that’s been a part of our property bills since 2018, is set to expire in June. If we don’t renew it, our schools will lose vital funding on which they’ve come to depend. Over the next two years, it has been projected that MBUSD will have to lay off the equivalent of 63 full time teachers. Last year, Measure MB paid for just over 20 teachers. It’s not enough. And it has to pass. Both can be true. Measure MB won’t solve all our problems, but it’s an important step in the right direction. It’s what district survey data supports and what the community has said it will bear. Vote YES to renew Measure MB on or before March 5. Maintain top rated schools without raising taxes.

Jen Jenkins Dohner

Superintendents Parcel Tax Advisory Committee, Committee to Renew Measure MB

Manhattan Beach

 

Save the joys of Polliwog Park

Dear ER: 

Polliwog Park has been and should remain a nature park (“Memories of Polliwog Park,” ER Jan. 25, 2023). That there is still some nature at Polliwog Park is due in large part to its utilitarian use as a water retention basin and the hard work of residents near the park to fend off development. Polliwog Park is under constant assault, siege, or whatever synonym you choose from development by those who cannot find any other open spaces on which to build. It recently took the  intervention of a collaborative group, including MBUSD, and the MB Botanical Garden, to change Manhattan Beach tree planting and removal plans. Now, the plan is to plant 75-plus,  mostly native trees in the Park, which are friendly to birds and other pollinators. Earlier this year, it took a survey with hundreds of signatures and other public outcry to prevent a second Manhattan Beach library from being built in the park. However, with the expanded dog park, Begg pool construction, and the amphitheater bandshell project, we still have not seen the extent of the encroachment on more simple park activities, including enjoying nature. Try to find a place in Manhattan Beach for solitude. Our city leaders seem to have placed more value on active recreational activities.  Thank you again for your article.

Layton “Lee” Pace

Manhattan Beach

 

Combat pay City Manager

Dear ER:

The Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court makes $258,100 a year. The Speaker of the House makes $193,400. A U. S. Senator makes $174,000. Hermosa Beach City Manager Suja Lowenthal makes more than all of them at $273,180.72 a year. And she just got an $18,000 bonus for inadequately managing a 1.4 square mile city with 19,000 residents. What in the world is the City Council thinking?

Mindy Minkus

Hermosa Beach

 

Another measured vote

Dear ER:

The Manhattan Beach stormwater measure was a mail in ballot election held during our Holiday Season that required only 50% plus one for approval. I, and many others believe that any increases in taxes or fees should be held in a general election and require two thirds voter approval. That’s exactly what the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act would require for local elections like the stormwater measure in Manhattan Beach. The Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act is the third important tax Initiative sponsored by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (“HJTA”). Previously, HJTA sponsored, and voters approved, Proposition 13 and Proposition 218. Where would we be without Proposition 13. 

Not surprisingly, the California League of Cities opposes this current Initiative just like they opposed Proposition 13 and Proposition 218 using the same tired “scare” tactics and gloom and doom about devastating cuts to public safety services and other city services. Of course, it’s really about keeping public employee salaries escalating along with increased pension benefits. Please support the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act and put an end to sham mail-in elections during the Holiday Season. Let’s restore the two thirds voter requirement for all tax or fees, to be voted on during a general election. It’s the right thing to do for taxpayers.   

Mark Burton

Manhattan Beach

 

Charred chair

Dear ER

If it were to become public knowledge that CenterCal had elected the Chair of the Redondo Beach GPAC (General Plan Advisory Committee) to head its real estate development Properties Committee, and hired the Chair of the RB GPAC for about $200,000 annually to advocate on behalf of CenterCal at the City of Redondo Beach, few people, if any, would be surprised. And the GPAC chair would be out immediately for conflict of interest. Given that BCHD did in fact contract with the GPAC chair and has paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars, how can the GPAC Chair be allowed to be bought out by BCHD? The Chair must be removed and barred from advocacy at the City of Redondo Beach.

Mark Nelson

Redondo Beach

 

Why we live in MB

Dear ER:

Ballots for the renewal of the existing $225 per parcel tax known as Measure MB will soon be arriving in Manhattan Beach mailboxes. The renewal of Measure MB is a must-pass initiative for any Manhattan Beach Unified School District parent. My family moved to Manhattan Beach seven years ago. There are so many reasons we love living in the South Bay but our top priority was, and remains, the quality of the schools. Over the years I’ve seen the difference it makes for our teachers to have manageable class sizes, which is the use of proceeds from Measure MB. I couldn’t sit back and hope others did what was necessary to retain this funding so I joined the Yes on MB campaign as head of volunteers. I can’t bear the thought of our child’s favorite math or music teacher being let go because the renewal didn’t pass. I’ve been especially inspired by how many parents whose kids graduated years ago have come out to volunteer alongside parents of students currently in the district. I hope this letter inspires someone who hasn’t volunteered with us before to come out. We’ve seen how wildly state funding for our schools can vary by year, making the predictability and local control of Measure MB funding even more important than when it first passed in 2018. A “Yes” vote before March 5 retains this critical funding without raising taxes. It’s also “Yes” to what we stand for as a community.

Michael Unton

Manhattan Beach

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