Letters to the Editor 8-13-20
Social distance science
So the Hermosa Beach City Council was able to implement a mask measure without being “hamstrung by junk science and conspiracy mongering” (“Mask Wearing Mandatory in Hermosa – Council Rules, ER July 7, 2020). Liberated from having to cite any scientific studies that prove the effectiveness of masks in vast outdoor settings like the beach, the council sentenced Hermosa to a lifetime of mask wearing – a “new normal” — as declared by Councilmember Stacey Armato. Unbound by establishing any metrics that would demonstrate the effectiveness of this measure, or of even explaining what statistical levels prompted them into this action, the council is granting itself a blank check to demand perpetual compliance to an unproven ritual.
That’ll be $100
My wife and I have lived on the strand for 70 years. After lunch we play a game we call “count the masks.” For several weeks, two-thirds of passersby were not wearing masks. Now 50 percent don’t wear masks. Hermosa beach just approved $100 fines for not wearing masks outside. But there is no notice of the fine posted on The Strand, at Pier Plaza , 22nd Street or 2nd Street. Is the fine being kept a secret to trap people?
As the parent of a child who has graduated from our schools and a seven year member of the RBUSD Board of Education I would like to add my thanks to the Beach Cities Health District for the valuable partnership they have provided in improving the health of our children. It does not take a control group to see that Redondo’s children are far healthier now, and the data shows that the obesity rate for our children (6.4 percent) is far lower than the national (18.5 percent) and state (15 percent) numbers. Note that L.A. County officials are interested in applying the BCHD model in districts across the county.
A healthy vote
After reading Mark Nelson’s “Sandbox” column about the latest shenanigans of the Beach Cities Wealth, ahem, I meant Health, District (Sandbox: A tale of two classes, ER July 23, 2020), I find it necessary to rouse myself from my comfy lockdown stupor to write in support of his comments. This is a fine bit of writing, succinct, clear and logical, and free from hyperbole. I encourage anyone who wonders why people are up in arms about the construction project on the old South Bay Hospital site to search out his letter. Another excellent commentary on the project may be found in former Redondo Beach City Council member Bob Pinzler’s column On Local Government (ER July 2, 2020). Personally, I have wondered for years why BCHD continues to exist when the purpose for their existence, a community hospital, no longer exists. After learning that their top 10 employee salaries account for about 50 percent of the tax revenues they receive (from property owners in the beach cities), I wonder if their primary focus is less on community health and more on self perpetuation. Their strongest suit may be tooting their own horn. Look at their website if you don’t believe me. We elect the BCHD board members, and an election is pending. This time around, let’s consider electing a few people who are willing to take an honest look the least expensive ways of using our hard earned tax revenues to support worthy local programs, like paramedic services; up to and including dissolving the BCHD.
(Do we really need to pay 10 people an average of $190,000 per year each to tell us which restaurants are “Blue Zone”?)
Miles to go
The Bruce’s Beach story is one of discrimination against women and Black people. Yes, Willa Bruce, the owner and operator of the Bruce’s Beach resort in the 1920’s was a successful woman, a Black woman. Before the 1920s, women didn’t have the right to vote. In a man’s world, women were subjected to profound discrimination, including property ownership, business ownership and educational opportunity. Imagine, the incredible anger towards a Black woman who dared to succeed. The rights of women and the rights of Black people are still not equal to a white males today. So, yes, we have lots of work left to do. Obviously, the Manhattan Beach of 2020 is not the Manhattan Beach of the 1920s or even the 1980s. The best that our community has to offer has been enhanced by the newer residents who moved into our community since 2000. The voice of the old guard is fading. I believe the Manhattan Beach of 2020 is not a racist community, as it once was. Of that, I’m certain. I’m also certain that acts of racism continue. Let’s unite as a community to pledge to end any and all vestiges of racism in our community. That effort starts with the recognition of what happened to the Bruce family. We should never forget.
(Editor’s note: Burton is a candidate for the Manhattan Beach City Council)
Black and white
Racial inequities in this county have gone on for centuries, but of late they have been rightly brought to the fore by the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor killings and the protests that followed. It’s about time proper attention was paid to the implicit bias and systemic racism in our country. However, I don’t understand the new capitalized Black. In trying to learn why the move to refer to black people as Black, while white people remain white, I found an article by NYU Professor Kwame Anthony Appiah in The Atlantic on the subject. He cited Anne Price, the president of the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, who said: “Capitalizing Black is about claiming power. We strongly believe that leaving white in lowercase represents a righting of a long-standing wrong and a demand for dignity and racial equity. Until the wrongs against black people have been righted we cannot embrace equal treatment in our language.” Appiah says the capital letter, in Price’s view, amounts to cultural capital—a benefit that white people should be awarded only after white supremacy has been rolled back. Appiah then refers to Luke Visconti, the chairman of the nonprofit DiversityInc and the author of an online column titled “Ask the White Guy.” Visconti says capitalizing black but not white makes sense, because, while black people describe themselves as black, “people in the white majority don’t think of themselves in that way (I guess except for his column title). I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this—it’s just how it is.”
The above reasons are weak in justifying the change. Neither black nor white should be capitalized in this context, but it seems especially odd to capitalize one and not the other in an effort to make up for racial wrongs. It would be equally strange and grammatically inaccurate if white were capitalized while black stayed lowercase.
Seven deadly bills
Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) has resurrected the slapped-down SB 50 by authoring/co-authoring, or supporting nine disastrous zoning/housing bills that’ll do the same thing (“Wild West zoning, ER Letters Aug. 6, 2020). This is all being done under the radar while residents are preoccupied with Covid-19. If any of the seven remaining bills pass (2 were thankfully killed), your neighborhood as you know it will never be the same. These are not about affordable housing. They’re about taking power from local government and forcing overgrowth that benefits developers and speculators, and adding property taxes to the state coffers for payment of its over-promised pensions.
Lerie Petersen Fernandes
Make yourself count
A significant number South Bay residents haven’t filled out their Census forms. I am volunteering as a youth ambassador to raise awareness for the Census. Since the deadline to fill it out has been moved forward to September 30, I’m here to urge everyone to fill out the Census form. The form can be found at my2020Census.gov. Let’s not lose the funds and representation in Congress to which we are entitled.
by Judy Rae