Letters to the Editor 2-10-22
It is critical for our community to know that if we fight Sacramento about housing elements, the state has the leverage to dismantle our planning department, and run the development authority themselves (“City Council considers defying State law requiring more housing,” ER Feb. 3, 2022). Some political grandstanding Manhattan Beach council members are taking out of touch, dangerous positions, given the dire consequences. Ask Huntington Beach how their fight turned out. It is time for the community to understand the process. It is workable if cooler heads understand the system. The Manhattan Beach staff did the right thing by abiding by current law, thereby not putting a target on our back with Sacramento. The City was gracious enough to send me to a statewide planning convention as a City Commissioner two years ago. I learned the state was eager to make examples of those cities that go non-compliant. I sounded the whistle when I returned and made suggestions that went unheard.
Highrose by any other name
The proposed Highrose development is almost double the current Manhattan Beach height limit (“Highrose development meets opposition,: ER Feb. 3, 2022). How does the city say yes to this project, and no to the many other developers coming in for a 50-foot payday?
4 a.m. wake-up
Why does Hermosa Beach (1 square mile) need a fourth Starbucks (“Hermosa Beach residents buck 4th Starbucks,” ER Feb. 3, 2022). PLAN Hermosa was set up to keep our city eco-friendly, and healthy, and to encourage pedestrian, and bike traffic over car traffic. At a time when Hermosa residents are asked to sort their garbage, walk their kids to school, drive EVs, and reduce water use, this project does not make sense. The address may be on Pacific Coast Hwy. but the emission-polluting drive-thru is on Second Street, a residential street. Starbucks plans to operate the drive-thru from 4 a.m. to 12 a.m., every day. The outdoor ordering speaker, and customers screaming into it, will affect residents who are just a few feet away, as well as those up the hill. Noise travels in our area (we even hear the sea lions barking in Redondo harbor). With Starbucks only providing three parking spaces for employees, local residents will see a parking shortage even worse than we have now. PLAN Hermosa discourages allowing national chains to over-saturate our small beach town. We support local, walkable mom-and-pop restaurants and unique stores that keep with our small-town appeal.
The Hermosa Beach traffic consultants’ solutions for preventing a new Starbucks’ impact on Pacific Coast Hwy. is lame (“Hermosa Beach residents buck 4th Starbucks,” ER Feb. 3, 2022).
But I suspect they were paid by a proponent. In any event, I think we should push for a term of use that forbids any queuing on Pacific Coast Hwy., as terms of the Conditional Use Permit. I can imagine a $1,000 a day fine for any days with cars waiting in the street would be enough to get their attention in Seattle.
Second Street and Pacific Coast Hwy. is the worst, most unsafe area in Hermosa Beach, or even the world, to put a drive-thru. I can’t fathom Starbucks’ disregard for the health and safety of their clients in their pursuit of profits (“Hermosa Beach residents buck 4th Starbucks,” ER Feb. 3, 2022). The City of Hermosa Beach needs to protect its residents and visitors and be 100 percent sure that this project is in alignment with PLAN Hermosa as well as all of the city ordinances. Anything less is seriously irresponsible.
Drive thru disaster
The Starbucks’ drive thru will be a disaster (“Hermosa Beach residents buck 4th Starbucks,” ER Feb. 3, 2022). Second Street and Pacific Coast Hwy. is already a dangerous intersection. And residential homes are right behind the building. There are so many other great business ideas out there that could benefit the city without being at the expense of a residential neighborhood.
It sure seems that telling the Coastal Commission that raising parking permit rates is going to improve coastal access, especially during the peak season (May 15 to September 15th), as was suggested by Hermosa Beach City Attorney Jenkins during the Jan. 25 Parking Planning Session would be quite misleading (“Hermosa Beach Permitgate,” ER Feb. 3, 2022). Currently, many of the areas that require residential parking permits have signs that say parking is limited to one hour from May 15 to Sept. 15. So, unless the city lifts this one hour parking restriction (which would overwhelm residential neighborhood parking), and lower meter rates the city would not be doing a whole lot to improve non-resident access to the coast. Maybe the city can explain exactly how raising rates for residential parking permits significantly increases coastal access for non-residents if you can’t park for more than an hour anyway? Clearly the city wants to stop parking permit abuse and we all agree changes are needed to mitigate this abuse.
But we all see the 800 lb gorilla in the room: The city wants to keep the revenue generated by the permit abuse, and it wants to stop the abuse at the same time. And it wants to keep this ill begotten revenue stream flowing by substantially raising parking permit rates on those who don’t abuse the system. To make matters worse the prevailing theme in the council study session on parking last Monday was: “a good thing for residents (cheap parking permits) is somehow a bad thing for the city; something to be exploited and squeezed.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but the city already gets 60 percent or more of its revenue from residents in the form of property taxes, local sales taxes, utility taxes, permit fees, parking ticket revenue and the like. Maybe the city council, and city manager should look a little harder for ways to preserve good deals for residents and not be so quick to raise rates as the first solution to far too many problems.
Perhaps Southern California Edison should stop paying dividends to shareholders, and instead use those funds to improve its poor transmission line infrastructure (“High electric bills catch Redondo by surprise,” ER Feb. 3, 2022).
Welcome to soulless corporate thievery (“High electric bills catch Redondo by surprise,” ER Feb. 3, 2022). To quote SCE from this article: “On an average SCE customer’s residential bill, as described by Gales, 46 cents of every dollar goes to generation sources, 37 cents to distribution (local utility poles), eight cents to high voltage bulk lines, which send energy to substations, five cents to wildfire precautions and four cents to “Public Purpose” programs.” Now look at your SCE bill and discover that the opposite is true. SCE charges 60 percent for delivery and 40 percent for generation. Do you know why? So they can rob power from rooftop solar producers. who are only compensated 2.7 cents/kWh for the excess power they produce. This year everyone received a notice that their SCE service would be automatically converted to a Time-Of-Use (TOU) rate plan unless you specifically said no. In the same email SCE claims to lower your cost for power if you convert to a TOU plan. Nothing could be further from the truth. SCE is claiming now that peak power demand is between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. Really? We have been told all these years to reduce power on hot days between 11a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays!! All you need to do is look at the TOU rates and it is obvious that no matter what, you will pay a lot more for the same power.