Letters to the Editor 8-10-23

Budget clarification

Dear ER: 

We would like to clarify two important items in response to the Easy Reader’s recent story about the City of Hermosa Beach’s 2023-2024 budget (“$50 million budget balanced, AI lurks over unfunded jobs,” ER July 30, 2023). The story claims that “The council left 15 city staff positions unfunded, among them a mental health clinician, a homeless outreach coordinator, and a code enforcement officer.” This lacks important context because those 15 position openings do not currently exist and are not reflected — or requested — in the City’s 23-24 budget. To put it simply, the positions cannot be unfunded because they have never been requested. Instead, as an exercise in projecting future staffing needs to meet anticipated future service delivery goals, City staff advised Council of some potential future operational and personnel needs during its June 13 meeting, including the possibility of requesting up to 15 future staff positions. These positions were not requested and are therefore not accounted for in the City’s 2023-24 budget. The story also claims that “One option for averting the looming deficit, Councilmember Justin Massey suggested is AI (artificial intelligence) to help fill unfunded staff positions.” To clarify, Mayor Pro Tem Massey’s suggestion during the June 13 meeting was to use artificial intelligence to improve efficiency, not as a means of replacing current or future staff positions. Instead, Mayor Pro Tem Massey suggested that one option for improving the City’s efficiency is to explore the use of AI (artificial intelligence) to help optimize operations and improve community services.  

Hermosa Beach is proud to have secured approval on a balanced budget that puts public safety and growth first, while looking forward to continuing to anticipate and meet the City and its residents’ future needs.

Suja Lowenthal

City Manager

City of Hermosa Beach


Library fee refund

Dear ER:

Manhattan Beach’s largest open space park is Polliwog Park. It is a quintessential peaceful, passive and pedestrian park. Our residents want more open space, not less. So, whoever came up with the cockamamy idea for a second Los Angeles County Library in Polliwog Park? The quiet serenity of Polliwog Park is the last place for a second County Library that requires a large amount of parking with increased vehicular traffic. Since we are a community that places a premium on protecting open space and our residential neighborhoods, a second LA County Library in Polliwog Park is a nonstarter. Local control is always the best way to go. I just don’t think you get the best value for our tax dollars when LA County provides library services, or any other service. We are paying way too much in our tax dollars for the LA County Manhattan Beach Library. Manhattan Beach has a more than $8 million surplus with the library system. It increases $1 million every year. Let’s explore reducing the taxes we pay to LA County for the Manhattan Beach Library. In addition, the City should request a refund of the $8 million overpayment.

Mark Burton

Manhattan Beach


Daylight savings time, council style

Dear ER:

As a Redondo Beach City Council Member, I place a top priority on ensuring community engagement on the important issues affecting our great City. That’s why I recently voted to start our public session meetings one hour earlier, at 5 p.m. on Tuesdays. One of the problems I’ve observed with our current 6 p.m. start time is the later the meetings go into the night, the more members of the public are unable to stay and participate because of family or other responsibilities, including the need to get home and up early the next morning, or due to tiredness after a long day attending to work or other obligations. By starting at 5 p.m., and addressing routine matters at the beginning, the public can arrive in time from work or family commitments to have their voices heard at a reasonable hour on the significant and substantive matters that face our community. Starting earlier will also decrease the likelihood that the most important decisions by our City Council — such as formulating policy, and deciding upon, drafting, and enacting new law, rules, regulations — are not made in the dead of the night, when Council Members may be overly-fatigued and most public participants have long since gone home. I’m also supportive of informal efforts of Council Members to increase our efficiency and shorten, where possible, the overall length of the meetings. In sum, I’m excited about our new start time, which I wholeheartedly believe will increase public involvement, provide for more robust engagement from an even broader segment of our community, and ensure our City Council Members are at their optimal level of focus and attention when discharging their duties.

Scott Behrendt

District 5

Redondo Beach City Council


Show up or don’t complain

Dear ER:

The Redondo Beach City Council will be convening again to vote on the Objective Design Standards. The meeting will take place in the Council Chambers at City Hall on August 15, beginning at 6 p.m. Please come and let your voices be heard. The first meeting was overwhelmingly attended by developers — most not residents of our beloved city. There is no wrong opinion. We can only hope by educating the Council they make the right decision. Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Huntington Beach, to name just a few cities, are fighting the overdevelopment of their towns. The City of Redondo Beach is in the top 5 percent in population density in California and the City Council is poised to further increase that density. Attend the meeting to encourage a vote for sanity.

Jessica Gonzales

Redondo Beach


More to the story

Dear ER:

This is a classic example of an unfortunate scenario (“Money’s good, but landlords resistant,” ER July 27, 2023). I applaud people like Redondo Beach Housing Supervisor Angelica Zavala Angelica, who are trying to help the increasing numbers of unhoused in our communities (“Money’s good, but landlords resistant,” ER July 27, 2023). The vouchers represent a compassionate and well-intended attempt to get these folks housing. But what happens when the 120 day to 180 day vouchers run out? It is hard to fault a landlord for selecting the applicant who is best positioned economically to meet their financial obligations long-term. Landlords have been doing this for ages — whether there is a voucher recipient among the pile of applicants or not. On the one hand, it is refreshing to read of landlords who are having a positive experience with voucher recipients. But the subtext of the article — that the landlords are the bad guys — is typical leftist rhetoric that oversimplifies a very sad and complicated social crisis.

Joe Hellerman

ERNews comment


Wrong way bike path

Dear ER:

The Beach Cities Health District is money in search of a cause, and their support causes distrust (“Work begins on BCHD bike path,” ER July 27, 2023). The Healthy Living Campus is the reason Torrance backed out. They do not want to help a project that ultimately diminishes quality of life for Torrance residents. I work on the BCHD campus, and ironically, I quit riding my bike to work because the Beryl/Prospect intersection is not safely bikeable. But I do not see that this project has a back door entrance to the BCHD campus, which would have garnered my support. It is so funny to see BCHD support a path behind the campus instead of to the campus.

William Wickwire

ERNews comment


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