Letters to the Editor 4-28-22
Take back control
Having lived in Manhattan Beach for over 60 years, and all four of our children attended the same excellent schools I was fortunate enough to attend. I also served on our school board for 13 years. I have seen up close the excellence of our schools, amazing teachers, staff, and leadership. But what truly differentiates MBUSD is the level of community involvement and support for our schools. I have also experienced first hand the challenges facing public education in California. When the Local Control Funding Formula came into existence in 2014, MBUSD received some of the lowest per pupil funding in the state. Given this low,flat revenue, we will soon be faced with cuts resulting in lower quality public education for our community – fewer teachers, larger classes, and reduced academic programs. We are a canary in the coal mine. Districts with higher funding levels will eventually be at the point Manhattan Beach is at.
That is why I support taking local control over our funding needs by passing Measure A in June. All funds remain under local control, are spent here in Manhattan Beach, and cannot be taken or redirected by the State. Senior citizens are eligible for a full exemption from this parcel tax. By filing once, the exemption continues for the duration of the measure. Likewise, an independent citizens’ oversight committee, annual audits and public spending disclosures are all required to ensure proper use of funds and increase local control. Bill Fournell
Four years ago, MBUSD put forth a Parcel Tax to help fund various items within the school district. The proposal, which passed, was to be a one-time tax initiative, to last six years. The initiative included the ability for seniors to opt out of the tax. The same is true of Measure A, the current parcel tax initiative. The sponsors of the initiative had it placed on the mid-year ballot (June) instead of November, (same with the current initiative), knowing that the June ballot has a much lower voter turnout than November, and a higher proportion of seniors voting than in November. They then pitched the proposal to seniors, arguing it would support property values and, as seniors, they could opt out of paying the tax. The same thing is happening with the current initiative as evidenced, for example, by the coordinated letter writing to our local, weekly papers. Again, we face a large contingent of voters voting to raise taxes on all property owners in Manhattan Beach, except themselves. Vote No on Measure A!
Republic of Robin Hood
Remember the story of Robin Hood? He took from the rich and gave to the poor. That’s how the funding of California schools works. More affluent cities and towns pay a lot in property taxes and other taxes which all go to the state, and then are redistributed to the poorer school districts. Manhattan Beach receives $2,000 less than the state average in funding per pupil. I was the person who suggested the parcel tax that became Measure MB in 2018. I did so because one of the very few ways we can adequately fund our schools with local tax resources is with a parcel tax. Without these funds, our outstanding schools will slip behind. We are already lagging behind many school districts that have even larger parcel taxes than the one proposed. The money stays here and is subject to strict oversight. It is in the self interest of every citizen and property owner in Manhattan Beach to vote yes on Measure A. The value of our property is directly related to the quality of our schools. But more importantly, it’s the right thing to do. What kind of a community would we be were we to fail to support our children and our public schools?
The Riviera Village is one of the best parts of beach life in the South Bay. Everything the City of Redondo Beach does to keep it that way is much appreciated by locals and visitors as well. I would like the city to consider a crosswalk across South Catalina at the intersection of South Elena. Pedestrians routinely cross Catalina as if there is a crosswalk, while the nearest painted crosswalks are inconvenient distances away. One at Palos Verdes Boulevard to the south and another at Vista Del Mar to the north. It’s a matter of time before something preventable happens.
Rolling stops, aggressive acceleration, and obnoxiously loud vehicles running up and down Hermosa’s residential streets at all hours of the day, and night need a technology solution since the police, even with four more traffic officers on the payroll, have been unable to make a dent in these problems. I would like to see a detailed procedure for how the proposed license plate readers will be brought to bear on these problems. Chief Paul LeBaron came to Hermosa Beach from our city manager’s hometown of Long Beach. He said he would bring technology to bear on problems that could not be solved with additional police resources. Now is the time to put/up or shut-up.