Letters to the Editor 8-17-23
I was shocked by the lack of decorum at the August 8 Hermosa Beach city council meeting. I rarely attend council meetings but had gone to express my concern over the development of 66 units at the St. Cross church. What was supposed to be a civilized discourse turned into a free for all attack against Councilman Dean Francois. Mayor Raymond Jackson asked public speakers to refrain from personal attacks but did nothing to stop one speaker from spewing inappropriate comments about Francois. Many of the residents were clearly uncomfortable with the tone of her mean-spirited, personal, vindictive attack. Francois asked the mayor four times to stop her speech, but Jackson did nothing except tell the speaker, “Let’s stick to performance issues.” “Inaction” Jackson, the other councilmen, city manager, and city attorney sat there and did nothing while she dribbled on. The council should be ashamed of allowing the meeting to devolve into this. Next time, the council might want to include a parental warning before you begin public comments. I expected more from our elected leaders and staff.
Will Rogers once said, “Buy land, they ain’t making any more of it.” This is supply side economics in its simplest form. 100 years ago, you couldn’t sell sand for $100/lot, even with a view. Affordability is something more personal. It can’t be dictated by some government entity. The “invisible hand” of the market creates the conditions. A willing buyer and a willing seller determine the outcome. That’s how communities and cities are born. Hermosa Beach is one of those communities, but we are beset by forces who are not concerned with our quality of life. A bureaucracy, or I should say bureaucracies, always begin with an idea to improve performance. Like an addiction, once is not enough. SCAG (Southern California Council of Governments) along with MOP (Metropolitan Planning Organization) were formed in 1965. RHNA (Regional Housing Needs Assessment) is another organizational requirement of State Housing Law. SCAG has a committee on Equity and Social Justice (DEI). SCAG’S organizational chart is shocking to me in that they have at least 44 department heads of departments, whom I assume have staffs. Their 2024 budget is a whopping $342 million. I remain troubled by Hermosa’s seemingly arbitrary requirements of 558 units of some type, with no definition of what “low income” is? And who would be moving into these units, and would Section 8 housing be a requirement? In other words, would we be subsidizing tenants so they can live at the beach at taxpayer expense? What about our quality of life, which is why most of us moved here? The Hermosa City Council has been nothing but a rubber stamp for Sacramento.
The Redondo Beach Council’s rewrite of the existing residential design guidelines (RDGs) essentially tossed out everything that developers “should” do, and only kept what they “shall” do (“Sandbox: They are coming for your tomatoes,” ER August 10, 2023). The lawyers will tell you that guidelines like “multifamily developments should be compatible with the character of the neighborhood” are unenforceable. That “should” statement is just a suggestion. As someone who has built projects and interacted in many jurisdictions, I can tell you that “should” is frequently enforced on permit conditions. If the developer objects, then the price tag is $500,000 in court and a year of delay to building the project. The proper solution to the RDG rewrite was not to throw away all the “should” conditions. The solution was to quantify them into objective standards. But that was too hard for the consultant’s $200,000 of work, apparently. Next time, we “shall” rally the public earlier to avoid having our rights flushed down the toilet by an out of town consultant.
Tear down that wall
As a Redondo Beach resident, I would like to applaud the City Of Torrance for hearing its residents, and not approving the bike path located at the end of Diamond Street. Diamond Street is a quiet, dead end street with a minimum amount of traffic. The obvious result of this half completed Beach Cities Health District project is an increase in traffic. The project was started without the approval of the Diamond Street residents. The building of a six-foot high wall is not in the rendering. The bike path will change from a wider path to a narrow path, which may prove to be a hazard for the bike riders. Some of the questions on Redondo Beach residents’ minds include why a six foot high concrete wall was built on BCHD property if it is not a part of the bike lane, and why was the project funded before getting the approval of the City of Torrance?
Philip de Wolff
More to the story
I applaud people like Redondo Beach Housing Supervisor Angelica Zavala, 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.
ER News comment
Protect the Coastal Protection ACT
I still remember where I was when in 1976 I heard the joyous news on the car radio that the California Coastal Act had passed (“On Local Government: Coastal Commission killer,” ER August 10, 2023). I thought our coast would be protected forever. Now this.