Letters to the Editor 3-12-2020
Prepared for the Big One
“CoronaVirus is Coming” is probably the most important topic (time will tell) Easy Reader has reported on in recent years. Congratulations interviewing our community health experts for their knowledge, advice, and protocols in trying to avoid exposure, seeking treatment when needed, and the numbers of cases and deaths worldwide and locally. Knowledge is power to overcome emotional fear. We get the national government and world wide preparations easy enough. But the local government preparations are even more important to South Bay residents.
Your article stepped up to make sure that South Bay residents are informed of the local facilities, doctors and efforts that are currently being made to assist and protect us. Of course we citizens have to take responsibility to alter our own activities in a sensible way to protect ourselves, neighbors and everyone else we interface with on a daily basis. The drugs stores and grocery stores are having a difficult time restocking water, paper, medications and disinfectants. The thought has struck me that if we get lucky and avoid a major impact from this virus, South Bay residents will be better prepared for the overdue earthquake we have been warned about.
The City of Hermosa Beach is moving forward to improve recruitment and retention of Hermosa Beach Police Department (HBPD) officers with several new initiatives, including a new recruiting page on its website, hermosabeach.gov/joinhbpd.
This webpage describes the City’s goal of attracting “outstanding, service-oriented candidates who are passionate about making a difference in the community” to serve as police officers in Hermosa Beach.
The “Join HBPD” webpage highlights the new salary schedule that is a result of the recently approved three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the union representing HBPD’s officers and sergeants, the Hermosa Beach Police Officers Association (HBPOA). The agreement provided a 19 percent base pay increase over three years, which is the largest pay increase for the union’s members in at least 25 years.
The MOU provided a 7 percent base pay increase retroactive to July 1, 2019, a 6 percent base pay increase beginning July 1, 2020 and a 6 percent base pay increase beginning July 1, 2021. The contract also added officer retention bonuses of up to $7,500, and education incentives to pay for course fees, books and tuition at California State University rates.
The “Join HBPD” webpage also highlights the separate sign-on bonus program established to recruit and retain officers. The sign-on bonus program pays up to $30,000 to entry-level and pre-service recruits who join the HBPD and stay. The bonus program also pays up to $40,000 to “laterals,” qualified officers from police or sheriff’s departments who join the HBPD and stay.
The “Join HBPD” webpage is the latest of the many tools we are using to find the best possible new recruits and lateral officers to serve our community. We have assigned additional personnel, including myself, to the HBPD’s recruiting team. We are using social media, advertising and other outreach to attract the best possible applicants to join the HBPD. These efforts are making a difference: We have three police recruits currently in training at the police academy, and we had 60 applicants invited to participate in our most recent pre-employment testing for police officer positions. We anticipate scheduling additional testing dates in the near future and encourage those interested in a career in law enforcement to submit their applications soon.
We encourage all in the community to share this information and the webpage with their friends and family as we cast the widest possible net to get the best possible officers to serve our community. We thank the community for its input and support as we work to strengthen and expand the HBPD.
City of Hermosa Beach
I once asked a Beach Cities Health District representative why not build the proposed Healthy Living Campus in an area zoned for it. He said, “Well, we own this property.” I got the feeling he didn’t know that where they want to build is on eleven acres zoned for public community facilities. It’s one of just a handful like it in Redondo Beach and allows only two things without special consideration from the city — recreational facilities and open space. Even the conditional allowances are community-oriented, such as libraries, government offices, or arts centers. Great options fitting with the zoning could be a community garden, a dedicated amphitheater for outdoor plays or concerts (which could be a great money generator), or a public pool. This area is on a bluff, and could provide open, sweeping views usable by all in our open space-deprived city. Our city’s founders took the time to carefully zone our city. They recognized the need for a variety of zones. Though Residential Care Facility is one of the conditional uses on this zone, the Healthy Living Campus would be for the monied, not the general public. The property is in Redondo, but borders Torrance, so their planning and council people should be aware of it, too. Redondo city reps will be required to weigh in on this plan, and they need to hear from us why they must not approve it.
Old school management
As an alumnus of Pacific Elementary (the original one), Ladera Elementary, Meadows Elementary , La Marina Elementary and Aviation High schools I only have fond memories and gratitude for my educational experiences. I do not remember lay-offs of faculty and cutbacks in programs like music, industrial education, various electives, and athletics. I wonder why fiscal responsibility seems to be lacking today in government and public education. I remember when these sad situations started and I recall that the California Lottery was going to solve the problem of educational cutbacks. Then came the passing of bonds, education foundations, grants, and various other propositions. I also remember that we had The South Bay Unified High School District that administered Redondo High, Mira Costa High and Aviation High. I believe there was one Superintendent in that district. With the break-up of that district each new district had its own superintendent and administrative staff. I suggest unifying the various districts in the South Bay. Put Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach under one umbrella and make cuts in positions and salaries at the top. Do not make cuts where the impact is on needed programs and on faculty and students. Get rid of peripheral activities like too many teacher meetings, useless symposiums and seminars. Let the teachers teach. Get rid of Assistant to the Assistant positions and Associate such and such positions. When a business begins to fail, you make changes to the management. You do not get rid of the customers.
Louie Pastor, Manhattan Beach
Kudos to Tom Gilroy for his Feb. 13 letter to the editor regarding lack of traffic enforcement in Manhattan Beach. He was spot on. I have pointed out violations to Manhattan Police Officers who do nothing about it. One told me they only enforce in the downtown area. While the City has increased various fees recently and there is talk of increasing sales taxes to obtain more revenue, I can guarantee an increase in revenue of no less than $0.5 million if the following were enforced:
- Parking too close to a corner;
- Parking too close to a stop sign;
- Parking blocking a sidewalk;
- Parking blocking a driveway;
- Parking in an emergency zone (red curb);
- Failure to curb wheels;
- Motorized vehicles on the Stand and Bike Path;
- Under 18’s biking and skateboarding without helmets; and,
- Skateboarding on streets and sidewalks downtown.
These regulations were developed for a reason, primarily safety. Why not enforce them? What do you say, Chief Abell?
No need to wait
I worked 11 days at the Hermosa Beach Clark Building vote center and we had 20 voters a day the first few days, 50 a day the next few, fewer than 200 on day 10, and about 1,300 on day 11 (“Tech problems stymie Redondo voters, ER Mar. 5, 2020). There were fewer voting places open for longer periods of time, but I think it didn’t take into account people’s inclination to either vote on the official election day or to simply wait until the last minute.
EasyReader News comment
by Judy Rae