Letters to the Editor 8-15-19
Manhattan Beach is a city of intelligent, talented and resourceful residents. Easy Reader covered the emoji house controversy in the El Porto neighborhood [“The Emoji House war: A neighborhood feud erupts in El Porto,” ER Aug. 1, 2019].
It was discovered the emoji house was used for short-term rentals and, therefore, against a city ordinance. Consequently, the city fined the owner of the emoji house $4,000. City Hall has been drawn into the controversy for deciding whether the paintings are art or graffiti. Perhaps El Porto residents could draw upon their talented leadership to bring the two parties together to reach a joint resolution. City Hall leadership may wish to contribute to the resolution by allocating a portion of the fine to pay for the repainting of the home in question.
The essential question is did the emoji house bring fun and happiness to the community? I believe resident leadership can make this work for the good of our city. Can we continue to be a life-enhancing community, putting understanding before arguments, relationships before rules? G. K. Chesterton captured my sentiments: “The thing I hate about an argument is that it always interrupts a discussion.”
Kathy Kidd of El Porto is anything but happy [“The Emoji House war: A neighborhood feud erupts in El Porto,” ER Aug. 1, 2019]. Typical scoff — she breaks the rules/law, she gets caught and fined, and she retaliates like a spoiled child. How immature. Shame on her!
Emoji hate crime
So the city claims it can’t do anything about the emojis because they’re viewed as a mural and they’re on private property “The Emoji House war: A neighborhood feud erupts in El Porto,” ER Aug. 1, 2019]. What do they say about hate crimes? P.S.: That smug S.O.B. “artist” should be banned from doing any more business in the city.
Businesses vs. neighbors
The Manhattan Beach City Council banned short-term rentals because they encroached on the neighborhood. People come to Manhattan Beach for the ocean, beach, parks, schools and tranquility of a small beach town, not for noisy Shade Hotels and 900 Clubs.
What do the Shade Hotel and 900 Club have in common? The residents hate the noise, but the City Council loves the revenue (property and sales taxes). 900 Club has plagued the neighborhood with noise and disorderly conduct over the last 15 years. Instead of beginning a permit revocation process, the 900 Club was given an extension of hours [“900 Club wins an extra hour open,” ER May 3, 2018], nixing the requirement for a security officer and mandate that the club provide written notice to residents prior to entertainment and special events and an uptick in the annual number of special events at the venue from 18 to 24 days per year.
And yet, there are still complaints that are violations of the conditions related to noise and after-hours operation. The 900 Club was given a deadline to show it is in compliance with its use and entertainment permits.
There should be a law — 900th Constitutional Amendment — that protects the public health, safety or welfare of persons residing near businesses like Shade Hotel and 900 Club.
Graffiti or art
Regarding the question of the emojis being graffiti or mural art [“The Emoji House war: A neighborhood feud erupts in El Porto,” ER Aug. 1, 2019]: It’s hard to imagine anything painted on a building by the owner being considered “graffiti,” since graffiti is by definition an act of vandalism, an illicit act. If I paint something you don’t like on my house, you’re entitled to your opinion, but I am expressing myself. If I paint that on your house, call the police.
It is understandable that people who live near this ugly and malicious mural are upset and angry. But all this legal maneuvering and outspoken agitation isn’t going to accomplish anything.
The current excited attention to this hostile mural is likely gratifying to the person who did it, and if legal action is initiated, don’t be surprised if an attorney volunteers to defend the owner’s First Amendment rights.
If you can’t paint an ugly emoji on your property, then why would you be able to cover your garage door with a huge poster endorsing Bernie Sanders, or Donald Trump?
Richard W. Merel
This neighborhood feud seemed a bit childish at first blush [“The Emoji House war: A neighborhood feud erupts in El Porto,” ER Aug. 1, 2019]. It has since spread into the airwaves and undoubtedly will reach the east coast before hurricane season.
We have a “tribe” of neighbors complaining of another neighbor breaking the law by renting her property for less than 30 days. We have attorneys weighing in on what “art” is and what should or should not be allowed. We have neighbors upset because they believe some features of the emojis resemble them. They believe there are “implied” meanings that are hurtful and create emotional distress.
People from other areas, curious about the hubbub, now trek to the area and add to the cacophony, drawing stares from the neighbors, which in turn, draws the middle finger from the curious. Wow! How does this happen, neighbor against neighbor?
Let me suggest a few things. I live south of the border, no not Mexico, Hermosa Beach. I would normally stay out of the business in neighboring cities, but since we share the same “nanny state” philosophy, I feel obligated to share my thoughts.
Property rights are the bedrock of our society. The right to possess and use one’s property as they see fit for their benefit must be strongly protected. We all understand the necessity for some constraints, however denying property owners the full benefits of their labor is a bridge too far. Where does this stop? Or does it?
Do renters for 31 days make less noise and have fewer parties? Is the character of the neighborhood drastically damaged by tenants who rent for 29 days? What was the determining factor for drawing the line in the sand at 30 days?
I would suggest that arbitrary numbers have little bearing on the quality of tenants or the “character” of the community. I would rather have a good short-term tenant versus a long-term tenant who is noisome or worse, selling drugs!
The City has now hired a special agency, “Host Compliance,” to enforce compliance with the arbitrary municipal code. The police must run interference between these factions, making their job even more difficult. All of this is nothing new: a few years ago Manhattan considered having “free” suntan lotion conveniently placed for all to use to protect us from our stupidity, until they thought better of it.
The problem with the “progressive” movement is that it requires “masterminds” to decide what is in our best interests, and more government to enforce their will, and of course more money from you and me.
We live in a world of unintended consequences. The City of Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach should take responsibility for the outcomes. We have our own problems, we just welched on another deal [“Redondo demands nearly half a million dollars after Hermosa Beach backs out of water project,” ER July 18, 2019].
I’ve written more than one letter to local papers about people, drivers, traffic. I started in my 50s, now I’m 70. I live in Hermosa. I use Prospect Avenue a lot.
People ignore stop signs and speed limits. From 190th Street and north, Prospect is a raceway, every weekday from 7 – 9 a.m. and 4 – 6 p.m. Stop signs (with flashing lights, if the batteries are charged), crosswalks with crossing guards with stop-signs and yellow jackets are there. Every six to nine months I’ll see an officer parked or in traffic.
Hermosa City Council, take a walk on the wild side. Live my life. Cross the street with me at 7th Street and Prospect (a.m. or p.m.). I’ll be there, at your pleasure, holding hands with my granddaughters. Feel how it is living in the Hermosa Beach traffic, caught like a deer in headlights — crossing in a crosswalk — all the fancy fast cars whizzing past.
If you can spare the time off your “Green Chairs”
Grandma Ginny Shoren
by Judy Rae