Letters to the Editor 2-22-24

Favorite daughter judge

Dear ER:

As I filled out my ballot for the March 5 primary election, I saw Hermosa resident Lynn Olson on the ballot for reelection to the Los Angeles County Superior Court. I know Olson to be dedicated, fair, and impartial, displaying the qualities of a good judicial officer. The Los Angeles Bar Association rated Lynn “well-qualified,” while her opponent was rated “unqualified.” I hope you will join me in voting for Lynn Olson for Superior Court Judge, office No. 12

Rick Koenig

Hermosa Beach


Enviromental hypocrites

Dear ER:

It’s sad Redondo Beach continues to support fireworks shows that pollute our air and ocean for days, weeks and longer, in addition to causing trauma to people, pets and wildlife durinng the shows. Science tells us there are no environmentally friendly fireworks (“July 4th fireworks return to Redondo Beach,” ER Feb. 8, 2024”). Redondo leaders have claimed to care about the environment, but they continue to double down on this harmful practice, just for an hour of entertainment. It’s a shame there is no vision or leadership to come up with a different, environmentally safe attraction. With every “pretty” blast and “awesome” bang, there is harm being done to our world. As long as our City and its leaders are willing to pay and support this outdated practice, they are hypoctrical to refer to themselves as environmental stewards.

Maggie Tephy Healy

Redondo Beach


Renew, not rebuild

Dear ER:

Last week I attended the Hermosa Beach city council meeting on the proposed $100 million Civic Center. During the meeting, staff introduced a “civic engagement plan” for the project. 

City Councilman Rob Saemann was the only one who stood up to staff and council, telling them more information was needed before moving ahead. He said it was important to get detailed costs for repairs to city facilities from an independent contractor. Saemann is a contractor himself and I trust his opinion. Thank you Councilman Saemann for standing up for the residents who believe we should consider renovating our city hall instead of tearing it down.

Michele Hampton

Hermosa Beach


Wrong move

Dear ER:

Does Hermosa Beach Community Development Director Tai really expect us to believe that people move to Hermosa Beach because of its Civic Center? That’s the whopper she told the City Council when she was selling them on the idea of a new, multimillion dollar city hall at the corner of Ardmore and Pier Avenue. I’ve been a Realtor for 20 years. People move to Hermosa Beach for the beach, great schools and small town feel, not our Civic Center.

Lynne Pope

Hermosa Beach


Civic Center lesson

Dear ER:

The Hermosa Beach City Council is once again gaslighting residents when they imply previous generations of residents stepped up to fund a grandiose civic center and now it’s our turn. 

Actually, a 1934 federal recession era WPA project funded what is now the Pier Avenue Civic Center. The WPA financed many different types of programs, all with a similar aim: to put people to work during the Great Depression on projects that would improve the quality of life while attempting to rebuild the nation’s economy. Local funding of the 1934 school was a small fraction of the total.  

Many residents want a frugal, highly functional City Hall, and nothing in our history suggests the residents want anything else or believe a grandiose City Hall will help downtown businesses or lift property values as the City Council is telling us.

Anthony Higgins

Hermosa Beach


MB school budget prep

Dear ER:

Please vote “YES” for Measure MB on March 5 to continue Manhattan Beach’s current school parcel tax. It is critical that we maintain this source of funds. Measure MB generates approximately $2.5 million dollars annually, sustaining more than 20 teacher positions.

The governor has projected a deficit in the state budget and school funding is likely to be reduced in coming years. In response, MBUSD projects reducing 63 positions over two years, resulting in an increase in average class size of five students. This will have an impact on the excellence of our schools. Passing Measure MB significantly mitigates that impact.

We’ve been here before. Passing MB may not be enough to avoid all staff reductions. I served on our school board in 2008 when we faced drastic recession driven budget cuts. Sadly, we cut teacher positions, increased class sizes, cut elementary librarian and PE positions, aides, and multiple electives. It was incredibly painful for those educators and our community.

I fear our community does not yet fully recognize the critical need for increased core public education funding. I worry that only after teacher and program cuts occur at their child’s school will they react. When the time comes, there will be no easy answers. There is no hidden pot of money or non-essential cuts that will make up for this pending shortfall. We cannot afford not to pass Measure MB at this time. We must come together to retain exceptional teachers, keep class sizes manageable, and preserve excellent academic programs.

Bill Fournell

Manhattan Beach


MB last in education funding

Dear ER:

Years ago, Sacramento sent a subtle message to wealthy communities. Start augmenting your local school district budget yourselves. Why? Because low-income school district parents do not have enough money to do the same, their schools will get more money than yours. That has not changed and is not going to change anytime soon.

As a result, most communities of wealth choose not to fight because the amount of time and effort it would take to reverse Sacramento’s mandate did not work with the graduating schedule of their children. Instead, they created parcel taxes or foundations to compensate for the loss. Even those approaches did not make up the difference, but it was something.

Does money make a difference in a child’s education? Studies prove it does. Of the top districts among the 1,0000 in the State, Manhattan Beach was nearly the last to achieve a parcel tax. We are 79th out of 79 Districts in LA County in State funding.

So if our community had stuck its head in the sand and not made up the difference via our Manhattan Beach Education Foundation, how many millions of dollars in property equity would not have materialized? The notion that the MBEF can save the day again is over. Understandably, it’s easy to hate taxes, but this Measure MB on the March 5 ballot doesn’t increase your tax bite by a penny. More importantly, what about the passion for our children to learn? 37th in the country for our state education spending is shameful. A vote against measure MB is a vote against local education.

What does it take to realize that if an extraordinarily successful foundation ($6 million to $7 million a year), unique in the nation for a public school, cannot keep up with rising costs the loss of a $2.5 million dollar parcel tax would be catastrophic. The problems with state funding won’t be resolved soon. Please get educated about measure MB.

Stewart Fournier

Hermosa Beach



Dear ER:

Roughly 23 years ago our family moved to Manhattan Beach for the seaside views, weather, the close-knit small-town community, and of course for the top-rated schools.

Though both of my daughters graduated and launched, I still care about what’s happening with our schools. I want this generation of students to have the same excellent education that has benefited my daughters.

It’s been several years since MBUSD faced cuts this big. Renewing Measure MB, which has been in place since 2018, will help the district maintain reasonable class sizes and preserve important and beloved programs.

This is why I’m a YES to renew Measure MB on March 5. #payingitback

Susy Werre

Manhattan Beach


Cut to the bone

Dear ER:

Please vote YES on Measure MB on March 5.

After being involved in our school district for 16 years, with four years spent as a member of the Board of Trustees, I am well acquainted with the complicated school funding formula here in California. MBUSD is not adequately funded. Our MB property taxes go to the state and are then redistributed. As a result, our district is consistently ranked as one of the five lowest funded of over 950 school districts in California. Now state funding is falling as the governor deals with a massive revenue reduction, and among other cuts, the state is proposing an education budget COLA of less than 1%.

MBUSD already runs lean. The school board works hard to keep cost cutting out of the classroom, which is why the facilities and maintenance department has to use work vehicles from the 1980s, IT infrastructure is lagging, and landscape services are almost nonexistent in non-student spaces. No business would tolerate this kind of deferral, but school districts have little choice. Costs in education have grown dramatically over the past decade. The legislature continues to pass unfunded mandates and requires expenses like hefty contributions to pensions (costs for which have more than quadrupled in the past 10 years). Our schools have zero control over these requirements and must annually present a balanced, 3-year budget before the state even announces how they will fund schools. The system is broken. The state is not going to fix this; we are on our own.

Renewal of Measure MB, the existing $225 parcel tax for six years will help. Despite these challenges, my three children have a wonderful, robust education thanks to MBUSD. Core academic programs are outstanding. An impressive percentage of students take honors and AP courses in multiple core subjects, as well as have access to electives they are passionate about. I would recommend MBUSD again and again. Please vote YES for Measure MB.

Sally Austin Peel

Manhattan Beach


Bullet point education

Dear ER:

I have been a Manhattan Beach resident for 38 years and during that time I have been involved in many school and community activities. I’m proud to have been a teacher at Pennekamp Elementary School, a Manhattan Beach School Board Member, and an MBEF President.

In addition, I was a co-founder of the Manhattan Beach PTA Capitol Convoy, which advocated for Manhattan Beach schools in Sacramento, and I’m currently on the MB Parks and Recreation Commission. I am a senior citizen and in support of the Measure MB Parcel Tax, which is on the March 5th ballot.

It is important to know that senior citizens who own homes are eligible for a full exemption from the parcel tax. State law indicates that seniors only need to file the application once, and the exemption continues for the duration of the measure. Pre-existing exemptions will be renewed automatically.

Vote Yes to Renew Measure MB for the following reasons:

  1. All funds are locally controlled.
  2. There will be a Citizens’ Oversight Committee to ensure annual audits and a full disclosure of all spending.
  3. No funds can be spent on administrative salaries.
  4. The funds will help retain our exceptional teachers, and protect our excellent math, science, reading, writing, and technology programs.

Tracey Windes

Manhattan Beach


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