Letters to the Editor 2-14-19
I applaud the Beach Cities Health District for looking into the future and working with the community. [“Beach Cities Health District shows off its new plans for the future,” ER Feb. 7, 2019]. If you do research into senior living options in the South Bay, it’s grim. I think the idea of a cluster of housing among facilities for all ages, as well as green space and health services, is brilliant.
This is the first I heard of the amount of development increase over what is there today [“Beach Cities Health District shows off its new plans for the future,” ER Feb. 7, 2019]. I would hope that could be scaled back some. Hopefully, the economics would support that.
The North School neighborhood should not be forced to support a school for 500 plus students.
The solution is simple. Reduce the size of the school, which will reduce parking requirements, reduce traffic, improve the safety of our students, reduce the impact on the North neighborhood and reduces the project construction costs. It is time for the school board to act responsibly for our school district and our community.
No commuter schools
Does anyone on the Hermosa Beach school board understand the massive incremental carbon footprint of razing North School and building a new school, versus renovating existing buildings?
The school is begging parents to “stop idling” their cars while they are in queue to pick up kids, citing severe health and development risks tied to air pollution. If the school was really interested in a “green” school and lowering air pollution, they would design community schools rather than commuting schools. Imagine a family with two to three kids trying to get them all dropped off or picked up at two to three different locations throughout the city. We should be able to walk or bike to the school nearest our homes. district.
“True North” [ER cover, Feb 7, 2019] about the Hermosa Beach School District’s plans to demolish and rebuild the North School campus ignores two major facts.The first fact that is ignored is the decline in enrollment at HBCSD over the last five years. Enrollment has declined by 128 students since 2014. The district’s own Environmental Impact Report predicts that enrollment will drop by an additional 84 students by 2022. During the June 2016 Measure S campaign voters were told enrollment was predicted to significantly increase. As soon as Measure S passed, the district’s demographics consultants changed their prediction to one of a significant decrease in enrollment.
The second fact that is ignored is that the district can renovate North School instead of demolishing it and building new. This makes much more sense if the district just plans to use North School as a “swing school” while View School is being renovated. North School is grandfathered in for use as a public school, just like Hermosa View School and Robinson School in Manhattan.It was built to California Department of Education earthquake-safe specifications. Renovation does not require an expensive Environmental Impact Report. There are 15 classrooms at North School; HBCSD only needs eleven classrooms to house all its third and fourth grade students. Why not quickly renovate North School for district use?
Over the last two weeks Easy Reader has reported about the situation regarding Hermosa Beach’s proposed North School project and the potential impact of this school on the community. It was very eye opening to read that the school district referred to the school as a “swing school: while construction occurs at View and Valley [“True North: Threat of Hermosa city-school district lawsuit looms,” ER Feb. 7, 2019].
So it now appears that the real reason the proposed school is for 510 students is the need to house students for a two year time frame while construction occurs at View and Valley schools. This is the most ridiculous waste of millions in taxpayer dollars, to build a school almost twice the size than is actually needed. Superintendent Pat Escalante went on to say that “if this project doesn’t go forward the district will be forced to put all the children at Valley School.”
Why isn’t the possibility of renovating North School (for a campus the size the district needs in the future) an alternative? The district could move the temporary classrooms from View to the renovated North School while construction is completed at Valley and View Schools. Another alternative could be to enter into a joint use agreement with the city of Hermosa Beach for use of the former Pier Avenue School (now the Community Center), where there are already 16 classrooms. The city and district could use bond funds to upgrade Pier Avenue.
But instead of working on behalf of the children, the North end neighbors and the whole community, the Hermosa school district has been on a mission to destroy the last original elementary school in the city of Hermosa Beach.
Now I know just why the quote “where there is no vision the people perish” was chosen for the entrance of Pier Avenue School. The Hermosa Beach we have known and loved for the last 112 years is about to perish for lack of vision.
The Letters author of [“Science lesson,” ER Feb. 7, 2019] repeats the discredited myth that electric vehicles produce more carbon emissions than internal combustion engine vehicles. Regardless of where you live in America, the electric grid is a cleaner way to power your vehicle than using fossil fuels directly. How much cleaner is a function of where you live and which vehicle you drive.
Based on national averages, a gas-powered vehicle produces 381 grams of CO2e per mile, while a plug-in hybrid electric produces 196 grams and a pure battery electric 129 grams, of CO2e per mile. When charged in the South Bay, my wife’s Nissan Leaf produces 86 grams and my Tesla Model 3 produces 77 grams, of CO2e per mile, respectively. Your carbon emissions will vary, but they will be less in a plug-in electric vehicle.
No tax increase
Manhattan Beach residents should not approve Measure A on the March 5 ballot, a 40 percent increase in a tax, without an identified need.The Manhattan Beach City Council is proposing increasing the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) by up to 40 percent because Manhattan has the lowest TOT of any of the surrounding communities.
The Council recently increased the parking rate for the same reason, although, that is clearly not true for anyone who has visited downtown El Segundo.
The measure for the increase in the TOT does not specify what the additional funds would be used for, only that they “can be used to maintain and enhance community identified priorities.” Increasing taxes because other jurisdictions have higher taxes is not a sound basis for fiscal management. Vote no on Measure A.
Last week’s response to my previous Easy Reader letter by Mark Burton was really more of a personal ad hominem attack rather than a refuting of anything I said [“Woman of integrity,” ER, Letters Feb. 7, 2019].
Let’s review the facts: Mark Burton and Wayne Powell were part of a Manhattan Beach City Council majority that approved hiring an unneeded $250,000 Assistant City Manager. Burton and Powell were part of a council majority that approved giving this new, unneeded Assistant City Manager a home loan of $2 million at an interest rate of under 1 percent. Burton Powell were part of a council majority that hired a ridiculous new position of Manager of Economic Vitality at a package of approximately $150,000 per year.
The current council quickly and wisely eliminated both positions. Burton (and Wayne Powell) were part of a council majority that awarded an expensive $1 million contract to out of town consultants to study our downtown. The study proved worthless. One of its recommendations included raising the height limit downtown, which would have destroyed the small town village atmosphere. We have a very talented citizenry and city staff. We do not need to be spending millions on outside consultants. Manhattan Beach voters are intelligent. They are also able to see through smokescreens put up by former spendthrift city councilmembers seeking to return to council. If you think the above listed expenditures were appropriate, you should vote for Burton and Powell. If you agree with me that spending and executive level staffing were out of control on their watch, you have five other council candidates to choose from.
City Council, 1980-1992
The way it was
As the Manhattan Beach City Council race heats up, there have been deceptive ads and mailers making false and misleading statements about me. Here are the facts: The assistant city manager was not a new position. Other cities our size have this position. The assistant finance director position was not new, either. The other two necessary positions (one was never filled) were mostly offset by attrition/cost reductions. Furthermore, a cap reducing the headcount was implemented.
The short-term, bridge loan to the new assistant city manager was needed to purchase a Manhattan Beach residence while her Northern California home was being sold. This was done instead of a costly housing allowance. The funds came from an idle, unappropriated cash reserve. The interest rate charged was one-half percent above the city’s earnings rate from the State Investment Pool, thus earning taxpayers an additional return.
The alleged $10.5 million in consultant contracts cost is simply false. This grossly exaggerated/overstated figure includes mostly “non-consultant” costs, legally-mandated independent services, re-billed costs, insurance claims expense, citywide landscaping costs, and highly specialized services beyond city employee expertise.
I’ve persistently worked hard improving our residents’ quality of life, keeping our community safe, supporting our schools, ensuring transparent government, and providing rigorous financial oversight. For more info: WaynePowell4MB.com.
On the Mark
As a thirty-five-year resident of Manhattan Beach, I have had only one occasion to address a City Council meeting, which was when Mark Burton was the mayor. I had three issues that I thought would be or could be of value to the community that dealt with crime prevention and apprehensions, construction issues and more effective use of community services and building and safety employees. My priority issue was the installation of CCTV cameras at the major points of ingress and egress to Manhattan Beach. These CCTVs would have license plate readers and be capable of taking pictures to identify occupants of vehicles. As a former commander with the LAPD, I felt that this was a tool with our cities geography that could be effective in apprehending people committing crimes in Manhattan Beach. After my presentation, Mayor Mark Burton approached me and asked that we speak about this more in the near future. Within a short period of time I learned the city was planning implantation of these cameras and today they are a reality thanks to former Mayor Burton taking this issue and moving it forward. As a result, I enthusiastically support Mark Burton because he took talking points and put them into action. He is a very concerned member of our community and wants to maintain the “feel” of our community and its safety even though we are surrounded by a megalopolis.
High on Hadley
We strongly support Suzanne Hadley for Manhattan Beach City Council. With kids the same ages, we have known Hadley and her family since 1992 as neighbors on 31st Street. We know Suzanne has all the personal qualities we envision for members of our city council. Qualities based upon a pragmatic sense of responsibility to our neighbors and for our city based upon her Midwestern values of initiative, authenticity and honesty. Hadley does not express opinions on how she wishes to solve the world’s problems as a member of the City Council, but she does give us a simple, straightforward idea how she views her role within city government. Hadley is the only candidate to be endorsed by 100 percent of the School Board, by our last four women mayors, our current mayor and prior mayors Nick Tell and Bob Holmes. Jan Holtze and Karin Muff
I have been quiet concerning Redondo Beach politics since I am no longer Redondo’s mayor. I believe when one is out of office, they should “get out of the way” and let the current mayor and Council do their business. It’s been two years and I believe I should reengage since we have a very important election in Redondo Beach. These are the candidates that Pam and I support. You should have received your ballot or should be receiving it shortly. City Treasurer: Steve Diels. District 3 Council member: Christian Anthony Horvath. District 5 Council member: Laura Emdee. All of these fine people are committed to our City and have a passion for our citizens. I have known Steve, Christian and Laura for a very long time. They are, without a doubt, the most deserving, qualified and best candidates.
Steve and Pam Aspel
A square Diels
I support Redondo Beach Treasurer Steve Diels for reelection. I was a two-term member of the city’s Budget and Finance commission and its chairperson for four years so I understand the functions of the treasurer’s office. As you may know, prior to becoming the current treasurer, Diels campaigned in part on substantially reducing the Treasurer’s salary. Once in office, he reduced the salary by 80 percent.
During his term Mr. Diels has followed through on his other promises to increase oversight, reduce costs and provide increased transparency through improved processes, amendments to the city charter, and implementation of OpenGov software.
His opponent, Eugene Solomon, suggests that the office has been mismanaged. A superior court judge ruled that Solomon’s ballot statements were untrue or at best misleading [“Judge orders Solomon to change ballot text for Redondo Treasurer election,” ER online Jan. 5, 2019]. Solomon also suggests he will overhaul investment and guiding principles to maximize returns while maintaining fiscal stability and solvency. Over the years the city has continued to receive awards for our sound fiscal management. Furthermore, the current investment guidelines restrict the city’s investments to quality instruments to ensure fiscal stability.
Please cast your vote for Steve Diels for Treasurer.
Whenever I ask Redondo Beach City Councilmember Christian Horvath why questionable decisions were made by the City Council, he calmly describes the perspectives involved and how those affected the vote. Christian addresses issues from the perspective of “What is best for the city?” and works to find a compromise for everyone. Finding compromises can leave both sides unhappy. But that is how the job should be done.
Candace Nafissi is campaigning like she did in her previous council campaign. Angry, negative, and lying about Horvath. She blames him for everything while at the same time promising things the office can’t deliver. She is using the old tropes of going negative and slinging mud in the golden age of mud slinging. Her mailings focus on the negatives in Redondo. Fortunately, there are so few here that she has to include a pothole to fill up her mailer. She harps on fears and blames Horvath for them.
Horvath engages everyone who approaches him. He talks honestly and openly. He explains and listens. He does it the hard way. If you want someone to represent your interests, then vote for Christian and talk with him. He will listen and he work with you. He has proven that for four years.
Enough is enough
I deeply appreciate Redondo Beach’s Mayor Bill Brand and The City of Redondo Beach for finally addressing the political mischief that has been going on way too long in City Hall. At the Jan. 22 City Council meeting, Mayor Brand revealed the bad behavior surrounding the illegal SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) lawsuit brought against citizen-advocates, and rightfully asked one of the perpetrators to step down from the GPAC Committee [“Voisey asked to leave GPAC,” ER Jan. 24, 2019].
At the Feb. 5 Council Meeting, Mayor Brand and Councilmen Loewenstein and Nehrenheim laid out the damaging financial consequences of Councilman Horvath’s and Councilwoman Emdee’s fatal votes for the failed CenterCal Waterfront project. Because of these votes, designed only to protect the developer interests, we learned the city now faces enormous, unnecessary, new debt.
It is clear to me that Redondo Beach has historically been under the control of a “Shadow Government” that stacks our city offices, commissions, and committees with its own chosen people, specifically to serve special developer and other business interests. Bad government is the fallout.
I am grateful that the city is finally developing a code of ethics for officials in positions of leadership in Redondo Beach. I am volunteering to elect Candace Nafissi and Mel Samples to City Council, and Eugene Solomon as City Treasurer. They will bring new, brilliant, and ethical skills to City Hall and replace the shadow government that has no place in American democracy.
Get him out
A Redondo Beach Budget and Finance Commissioner Eugene Solomon got caught lying about the City’s Budget on his ballot statement and on his Facebook page. The mayor should remove Solomon from the Budget and Finance Commission. Commissioner Solomon decided he could deceive voters by claiming the Redondo Beach City Treasurer tripled his operating expenses. The false claim began to get some traction on social media until Redondo Beach City Treasurer Diels challenged Solomon’s sleight of hand in court. The court ruled that Solomon’s claim is false and misleading [“Judge orders Solomon to change ballot text for Redondo Treasurer election,” online Jan. 5, 2019]. If Solomon properly read the city financial statements, he would recognize that incumbent Steve Diels has performed his duties under budget every year. That’s why I am voting for Steve Diels to remain our City Treasurer.
by Judy Rae