Letters to the Editor 4-5-18
Dousing the flames
We would like to send our heartfelt thanks to the Manhattan Beach community for its support. And we wish Fire Chief Espinosa and his family well in his retirement. We would also like to thank City Manager Bruce Moe and the City Council for their patience and understanding. We are committed and look forward to working with the Administration to resolve the challenges facing the community and rebuilding our department into the first class organization that our citizens deserve.
We pledge publicly to work together with the City Manager and City Council and give our full support in the recruitment efforts of naming the new Chief. We are optimistic after our initial meeting with the recruiters that a proven leader with expertise and experience will join our organization and proactively lead our department forward, will build strong relationships with neighboring agencies, and provide for greater services for our community.
It was never our intent to bring our issues into the public arena and only did so after years of trying to resolve the issues internally. We are proud to serve and be members of this amazing community.
Thank you for your continued support.
Manhattan Beach Firefighters
Pier to the past
As a graduate of Pier Avenue School, I enjoyed excellent academics, a gymnasium, baseball stadium, and an auditorium for school assemblies, plays and graduations. These facilities were shared with the community outside of school hours for more than 50 years. Today one could add skateboarding, emergency preparedness and South Bay History to the classes that could be offered to middle school students at a reopened Pier Avenue School. As a city councilman during the time of the sale of the Pier Avenue School to the City I can attest to the fact that when this issue came before the Council we guaranteed that the students could return to use the school if needed in the future. A simple lease back option was included in the contract between the School District and the City. As I have always said: ”Why wouldn’t the City Council allow Hermosa students priority use of Pier Avenue classrooms and facilities?”
The current classroom overcrowding could be quickly resolved by the City Council honoring the contractual agreement between the City and School District to allow 7th and 8th grade students use of classrooms at Pier Avenue School while the construction at View and Valley Schools takes place over the next few years.
Small print matters
The Hermosa Beach City School District and the City of Hermosa Beach have continued to keep Hermosa students in overcrowded conditions despite valid contractual rights to use Pier Avenue School. On June 13, 1977, HBCSD passed a resolution offering the 4.7 acre Pier Avenue School (PAS) to the City of Hermosa Beach for $650,000, well below fair market value. The resolution stated that in return for selling PAS to the City below market value, the City was agreeing to allow use of PAS classrooms, office and storage space once enrollment rose past 1,266 students. There is no expiration date to this provision. The provisions to the sale and purchase were described in the Memorandum of Understanding. On June 14, 1977 the City of Hermosa Beach accepted the MOU and proceeded to follow the detailed escrow instructions contained in the MOU thus validating it. The escrow was accepted at the City meeting of June 28, 1977 in favor of HBCSD.
For years various School Board members and City Council members have been telling the public that Pier Avenue School is unsafe for students, does not meet CDE regulations, etc. The political elite have decided that Pier Avenue School should not be shared with HBCSD. The quid pro quo for the District is a large, brand new campus at North School for $60 million over time, even as district enrollment is rapidly declining.
Court vs. People of Redondo Beach
Even though some judge ruled Measure C doesn’t apply to CenterCal’s Mall-by-the-Sea. let’s not lose sight of the most important fact (“Measure C doesn’t apply to Waterfront project, judge rules,” ER Mar. 29, 2018). The March 2017 election that passed the measure overwhelmingly in all 5 districts also denied a sitting mayor his request for a second term, even though previous mayors Brad Parton, Greg Hill and Mike Gin had all won second terms. That same March 2017 election saw slow-growth, anti CenterCal candidates win in Districts 1 and 2. Last year saw the closing of 6,735 stores, 620 retail bankruptcies and the loss of 20,000 retail jobs in the U.S. And the trend continues with predictions for as many as 9,000 store closures in 2018. And when you add in the fact that only about 5 percent of Americans still see movies in theaters, it’s hard to understand why anyone wants to build already obsolete stores and theaters in King Harbor.
The voters of Redondo Beach spoke loudly last March when they voted overwhelmingly for slow, reasonable growth. Hopefully the California Coastal Commission won’t ignore us.
Hold the salt
The West Basin Municipal Water District recently issued their 1,000-plus page draft Environmental Impact Report (www.WestBasin.org/desal) for a proposed $380 million ocean-water desalination plant in El Segundo, on the Manhattan Beach border at 45th Street.
The draft EIR ignores several viable alternatives, including water conservation, expanding wastewater recycling (for irrigation/industrial use), stormwater capture and infiltration, and brackish groundwater desalting. These alternatives proposed by water experts are environmentally sustainable, cost effective and readily achieve the objectives of a reliable, drought-resistant regional water supply. However, West Basin disregarded these alternatives in favor of an expensive, energy-intensive, air-polluting, ocean-toxic (highly-concentrated brine ocean discharge) and visually undesirable ocean desalination boondoggle facility.
Santa Barbara mothballed its desalination plant and Carlsbad generated excess, unusable water supply, and both plants (along with other desalination facilities) profited at the expense of their ratepayers. The $380 million dollar escalating cost will require an exorbitant increase in our water bills, in addition to unnecessary adverse impacts to our ocean ecosystem, air quality, public health and safety.
The cities of Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach have officially opposed the project (my initiative while I was on the City Council). Please speak at the public hearings at Richmond Street Elementary School in El Segundo on April 25 at 6 p.m. or May 12 at 10 a.m., and comment via e-mail to DesalEIR@WestBasin.com by May 25.
There out to be a law
You are in your car at a stop sign or traffic light and have the right of way when a pedestrian looking down at a cellphone steps off the curb in front of you car. We have to tackle the so-called distracted walking by making it a ticket-worthy offense to cross the street while on the phone. A Distracted Walking Ordinance implemented last year in Honolulu. Montclair (38,000 residents) also has a can’t text, talk on the phone or listen to music or podcasts with two earbuds in while in a crosswalk. First-time offenders get a warning. The penalty for the infraction is $100.fine. Pedestrian fatalities have increased nationwide in recent years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows: 2014 — 4,910 pedestrian fatalities; 2015 5 –495 pedestrian fatalities and 2016 — 6,987 pedestrian fatalities.
A Distracted Walking Ordinance is a worthy project even if it only prevents one person from being injured or killed. That person may be your daughter, son or even you.
I found Easy Reader’s choice of the photo of the homemade sign accompanying “Thousands march for our lives on the Strand” (March 29, 2018) truly offensive. “Nutcases Racists A**holes” hardly represents what we marched for. Guns kill and ruin lives of Republicans’ and Democrats’ loved ones equally. With the plethora of meaningful homemade signs and poster to choose from, this one was uncalled for. I was there, I marched.
Ancient father, forever grateful
I am Los Angeles Master Chorale conductor Grant Gershon’s ancient father. I saw him conduct the world premier of Orlando di Lasso’s “Lagrime di San Pietro in October and again last month (“Saint Peter, forever remorseful,” ER March 29, 2018). Both times, I and my friends, were overwhelmed by the power and beauty. At age 90, I felt it was life changing. I hope I can see it in one or more of the venues where it will be presented later this year. William Gershon
by Judy Rae