Letters to the Editor 7-16-2020
Doomed to repeat
Before the shutdown we were taking a class at Veterans Park Senior Center about “Events That Changed History (“Fourth of July beach closure tests South Bay’s commitment to fighting coronavirus,” ER July 2, 2020). We learned about The Plague of 1347, and The Spanish Flu of 1918. Now we are in a new, catastrophic pandemic, and are leading the entire world in numbers of sick and dead people. This is a new health crisis that may eclipse all others in history, and likely may also change history. What is it about the fact that this is an historic public emergency that our yahoos do not understand?
Bridge to bucks
Mayor Richard Montgomery said regarding the proposed Sepulveda Bridge that “if we don’t take the money Inglewood will” showed poor judgment (“Bridge upgrade to add lane, speed traffic,” ER July 9, 2020). We spend money just to spend money? Mark Burton (“Bridge to nowhere,” ER Letters July 9, 2020) and Councilman Steve Napolitano are absolutely correct that traffic will not be alleviated by the bridge. Aesthetics of the city will not be enhanced in any way. It’s just another bullet train boondoggle.
Consider the consequences
There wouldn’t be such an issue with people choosing to not wear a mask if they were the ones risking getting sick (“Wear your damn mask,” ER July 2, 2020). Unlike, for example, the choice to not wear a seatbelt, in which you’ve accepted being fine with potentially flying through your windshield on impact, this virus is coming from the unmasked, and that decision affects (and potentially infects) everyone around you. You not wearing a mask is saying you have the right to kill me and my family. That’s not being dramatic, but factual. You’re not being asked to chew on nails, just to cover your face with a cloth for. It’s not politics, it’s science. And if it really is a made-up hoax by one American political party, why is this virus global? That’d be one powerful party.
Manhattan Beach could be the community to demonstrate positive reinforcement for the country (“Manhattan Beach spike in COVID-19 cases prompts mask enforcement proposals,” July 9, 2020). What could be the harm in turning the tide on those who choose not to understand the dynamics of this disease by rewarding those who wear masks? Creative thinking should be able to overcome so much negativity. Five months of failure is unacceptable. Let’s figure it out. Our lives depend.
There’s no debate
I live in the Liberty Village section of Manhattan Beach. My family has been in the neighborhood since 1958. On July 7, just before 9 p.m. I went out to ensure I had taken everything out of my 2004 Chevrolet Silverado truck. The truck was locked. There was a white van parked parallel to my truck. As I approached my truck, I heard two vehicle doors slam shut. I noticed my interior lights were on. Immediately, I thought not good, and I had a knot in my stomach. The white van sped away. My truck had its lock broken and the steering column and ignition system had been torn apart. Obviously there was an attempt to hot wire the truck so it could be stolen. An MBPD police officer responded to my phone call. He told me crimes such as home break ins and stolen vehicles were up 300 percent. I see the mainstream media pontificating on defunding the police and to “re-imagine” policing. I can use my “imagination,” but I also must use my common sense. The increase in crime is due to current policies that give criminals a “get out of jail free” pass and “handcuffing” our police so it is much harder to serve and protect law abiding citizens. Please politicians, I urge you to use your common sense regarding such issues. Do not rely on “political correctness” to make decisions that affect the safety of us law abiding citizens. State Senator Ben Allen, Assemblyman Maratsuchi and even Congressman Ted Lieu, when up for re-election you need to let us know where you stand on law and order matters. (Am I correct Congressman Lieu? You refused to debate your last opponent and you probably will not debate your current opponent. Heck, I will debate you and I am not even running for office.)
I want to thank the Manhattan Beach City Council, City Manager, Chief of Police, the moderator, city staff and all the participants in Manhattan Beach’s first and historical forum on implicit bias and policing in our town.
I heard a compassionate Chief of Police Derrick Abell, who leads a staff of highly trained and professional police officers, some of whom I have known for decades. To me, they have always exemplified a high level of integrity and care for our community. We learned during the forum that there is a need for some changes which will further improve our department. I also heard a Chief of Police convey his personal expectations for his men and women in uniform: “Treat others as you wish to be treated.” I heard things that our Chief of Police may have found difficult to hear, but necessary. I believe this initial, frank, and open discussion of racism and policing in our city enlightened many.
I saw a City Council show the courage to listen first and learn second. I heard a city leadership willing to act upon what they heard. This is progress, small in some eyes, but a large step for our community. Mayor Richard Montgomery repeatedly implored speakers to “follow-up” with the Chief of Police with their complaints or concerns. These are invitations for dialog. Councilmember Steve Napolitano was keenly listening to the public. He agreed with Councilmember Nancy Hersman’s passionate and thoughtful remarks, which included the topic of restitution for the Charles and Willa Bruce family. Hersman said, ” [I’m] not saying I support it, but I think the council should discuss.” Like a seasoned Manhattan Beach City Councilmember, Mayor Pro-Tem Hadley listened patiently to all three hours of presenters.
Councilmember Hildy Stern, unbruised from the task, is to be commended for masterfully working with the full city council and the public to coordinate this historical forum — the first of hopefully many, as we continuously discuss the “state of our city.”
I heard one of the most passionate and heartfelt commitments from the Superintendent of Manhattan Beach Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Matthews not only preside over some of the best academic excellence in our nation, but his promise to do all he can to combat racism on our campuses is highly encouraging and we should all be pleased with this initial step and his leadership. “Kids learn from their mistakes.” Dr. Matthews said. So can adults.
I heard a Black mom tell us how concerned she is for her two Black children when they leave home for school. She worries people will treat them as if they do not belong in Manhattan Beach.
I heard a young woman who has felt the pain of racism at high school but now is standing up to try and make changes in an adult environment. I heard a young man, after being stopped by Manhattan Beach Police, say he simply wanted to eat his “delicious El Tarasco burrito and get home.” It was “2 a.m.” and his “mom was already worried.” I heard a young woman say, “I was walking up from the pier [Blacks walking nearby]. Police pull out AR-15s, I couldn’t believe this was happening. This intimidation, why was it needed? I was really sad to hear this in our neighborhood.”
I heard the Chamber of Commerce CEO Kelly Stroman say the chamber can do better and will do better for its minority businesses that it represents. The Chamber is led by a minority female and she is exploring ways to increase opportunities for more minority businesses in the City of Manhattan Beach. I heard compassionate pleas from our local clergy who are a source of cohesion and solitude for many of us in the city.
Most importantly, I heard many raw comments from the people this forum was created to channel. Their comments show we have a lot of work to do to make our city truly feel like it is more racially inclusive and less biased in general.
We must present policies that will address the”facts or felt” reasons people feel unwelcome in our beautiful city.
Let’s plan for the next step because as panelist Melissa Clinton said during the meeting “Manhattan Beach is not magically detached. Racism hovers…racism is alive and well in Manhattan Beach.”
Manhattan Beach, we cannot let this moment pass without taking steps to make positive change.
Stephen Mirich most certainly does reach the heart of nature, especially Coastal California and navigational nature (“The seascape art of Stephen Mirich,” ER July 2, 2020). Thank you, arts writer Bondo Wyszpolski for comfortably guiding Mirich to baring part of his soul.
Street dining patios in Riviera Village is a mixed bag (“Taking it to the streets, ER July 2, 2020). Getting parking is even more difficult now and trying to pick up food is dodgy at best.
I hope Starboard Attitude and the other bars can hang in there. My wife and I love to go out (“Redondo Beach bar owners blame stumbling politicians for 86’ing them,” ER June 25, 2020). But I did see too many people gathering in groups, not Social distancing while we ate and drank alone. You gotta follow the rules. Masks are just a good idea, and not taking away your liberty, as some people are saying.The goal posts have been moved, but because “the teams” aren’t following the rules.
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