Letters to the Editor 9-10-2020
No working it off
After reading about Hermosa’s mask enforcers accosting beach volleyball players (“Hermosa Beach health enforcement officers threatened over sports, mask rules,” ER Aug 28, 2020), I turned on ESPN and saw high school football games from around the country. Yes, there are live games with packed bleachers full of fans. But California’s mass hysteria has allowed nonsensical health orders to squash participation in physical activities whose benefits far outweigh any risks.
Of course these “health workers” are going to meet resistance if they’re made to enforce asinine rules. Apparently it’s safe for dozens of unmasked strangers to hang out and eat six feet from each other on a quasi-enclosed restaurant patio. But if four of those people go out on a wide open beach to play volleyball, then it’s time for the yellow vests to intervene.
Blatant disregard for rules of law, consideration of others and downright discourteous behavior are evident throughout the days. People not wearing masks, bicyclists are practically running into pedestrians on the sidewalk and there are those “special” bikers riding through the flashing lights on The Strand. It’s an outrage how today’s society has become increasingly disrespectful of their fellow human beings and even more self serving and “me” oriented. How do we end this behavior and remind our fellow man that “you should do unto others as you expect them to do unto you,” not just think “me, me, me”! I am so frustrated and disillusioned with society and worry about our future generations and how anarchistic they will become. Stop the inhumanity and start treating people with kindness, courtesy and respect. It’s such a simple thing to do.
Young and the bold
As a longtime Manhattan Beach resident and Council-watcher, I’m excited to have a real choice in the upcoming election. For a change, there’s a candidate who doesn’t come from the usual Manhattan Beach power structure. Phoebe Lyons. She’s young, smart, and will be a truly fresh voice for residents. I’m supporting Phoebe because, as a Boston College grad (Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa), she’ll use her training in economics to approach our City’s budget with fresh eyes. She won’t accept “because that’s how we’ve always done it” as a reason not to make changes to benefit our residents. She will ask insightful questions to reach beneficial conclusions. I believe education and intelligence are very important in our civic leaders. Phoebe has both, and has my vote in November.
Should Redondo Beach and Torrance neighborhoods be at the mercy of a multinational company that is a partner in an oil refinery in the Bakken “Fracking and Tar Sands” crude oil fields in North Dakota? Beach Cities Health District selected the company Wood PLC to complete the environmental impacts analysis for BCHDs proposed 705,000 sqft, 75-foot tall campus over-development project. Wood PLC is responsible for assessing how much damage BCHDs construction and ongoing operations will do to the surrounding neighborhoods with traffic, noise, air pollution, asbestos, chronic stress, etc. Wood PLC is a partner in Meridian’s Davis refinery, touted to be the first greenfield refinery built in the U.S. since 1976. It’s up in the Bakken Fracking and Tar Sands fields where oil is shipped down the Dakota Access Pipeline, through the ancestral Sioux Nation, and under a fresh water reservoir that’s 3-times the size of Lake Tahoe. Davis refinery will be adjacent to, and visible from, Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Wood PLC does not share our values as a community. BCHD apparently no longer shares our community values either.
I agree the Bruce Family suffered social injustice that should have never happened (“Manhattan Beach City Council takes in painful history of Bruce’s Beach,” ER Aug. 27, 2020). However, so did prior occupants of the land. Indigenous people occupied Alta California for thousands of years before the Spaniards claimed the land. Mexico then gained independence from Spain and Alto California became a Mexican province. California was then ceded to the U.S. to end the Mexican-American War of 1848. History has flaws, and cultures and ideals change. If change is now called for, why stop with the Bruces? How much land in California should be repatriated to the Indians and Mexico, and what monetary retribution should be given to them. If we are going to make amends and take action, then all people who suffered social injustice and were driven from the land should be included in the cogitation.
Prime the mind
The Manhattan Beach City Council has been talking a lot about “doing better” with regard to racism in the city (“Manhattan Beach City Council takes in painful history of Bruce’s Beach,” ER Aug. 27, 2020). But based on what I heard at last week’s city council meeting, meeting, we’re in danger of falling shamefully short of that mark. After acknowledging the petition signed by thousands of city residents; convening a forum at which people of color courageously give voice to the hurtful experiences they’ve endured in our community; reading and listening to dozens of public comments; and, in the words of one councilmember, receiving “countless” emails on the subject from concerned constituents, Councilmember Steve Napolitano dismissed citizens’ cries for action with regard to Bruce’s Beach in two short sentences.
I’m astounded by the fact that no one on the council seems to find it necessary to engage with the community in a more robust discussion of reparations — even if it’s only to explain, in greater detail, the insurmountable ways in which its hands are tied.
Where’s the “creativity” that Councilmember Hildy Stern invoked after the presentation about the history of Bruce’s Beach at the August 18 meeting? The energy and enthusiasm for which Nicholas Arquette, at the same meeting, lauded the Council, which has thrown itself behind his nonprofit Walk With Sally? The ingenuity and motivation Mayor Richard Montgomery has shown in his efforts to rally other mayors around his initiative to declare the South Bay COVID-ly independent of Los Angeles County?
Clearly it’s not that Council lacks imagination or creative problem-solving skills. So when it comes to issues of race in our community, and all we get is a 9-member task force — and a lot of debate about its scope — it’s hard not to come to the conclusion that no one really cares enough to try to do something beyond a new plaque.
So here are some ideas to toss around:
- Active outreach and recruitment of People of Color to sit on the Task Force.
- A voluntary tax allowing residents to pay into a fund for reparations and/or anti-racist and diversity and inclusion efforts in the City.
- A Go Fund Me campaign promoted by members of City Council to fund reparations and/or anti-racist and diversity and inclusion efforts in the City.
- A city-wide read of an anti-racist or other topical text, a la the Big Read or Seattle Reads—.
- A real estate transfer tax to fund reparations to the Bruce family and the descendants of the other Black homeowners, businessowners, and landowners who were forced from their land, and/or anti-racist and diversity and inclusion efforts in the City.
- A quarterly recognition or award, perhaps in the Bruce Family name if they would agree, honoring a community member or organization that is advancing the cause of anti-racism. First nominees: Pop the Bubble and Pages Bookstore, in time to promote their joint fundraiser to buy antiracist books for South Bay schools.
- A dedicated page on the City website to keep the community informed of developments with regard to Bruce’s Beach specifically, and diversity and inclusion efforts, in general.
- Award winners featured on a designated page of the City website (see suggestion below).
- The sale of the park at Bruce’s Beach and the development of the land for affordable housing — since, as Councilmember Napolitano observed, the barriers to inclusion in Manhattan Beach are economic.
- A grant from the City to the Manhattan Beach Unified School District to fund anti-racist programming, training and materials for students, faculty and staff.
- That business related to Bruce’s Beach and City diversity and inclusion efforts be put near the beginning of each City Council meeting’s agenda. The message being: This matters.
And now a thank you to Councilmember Hadley. Although I disagree with much of what she says, I very much appreciate that she says it. By putting it all out there, Hadley gives us the opportunity to understand the perspective of the other folks in our community who share her views, and to have a vigorous discussion.
Everyone who calls Manhattan Beach home has been negatively affected by the legacy of the City’s takeover of Blocks 5 and 12. While we might tell ourselves it’s a safe and homey, neighborly and charmingly small town, a bubble is a really tight space in which to dwell. The view from inside is narrow; there’s not a lot of space to move around or opportunity to stretch our literal and figurative wings. Not a lot of fresh and bracing air to breathe It’s constricting, provincial, homogenous — and honestly, boring. The actions of the City in the 1920s diminished Manhattan Beach for all of us.
And what about the example we’re setting for our kids? There’s a burden of guilt and shame that we — they — will continue to carry if we don’t make amends for what we all now know to be our City’s past racist actions. It’s why Catholics go to confession and Jews observe Yom Kippur. Correcting the transgressions of the past brings some measure of justice to the victims — and grace to the perpetrators.It’s all messy and uncomfortable and non-linear, challenging and humbling and exhausting.
Please do better!
7 days in Manhattan
It’s about time “Manhattan Beach short term rental ban ruled illegal, ER Sept. 3, 2020). The Illegal ordinances cost me 95 percent of my successful furnished rental business. Although I have rebuilt my business in accordance with Manhattan Beach’s rules I still see this as a long time coming. When it is official, Sunny California Vacation Rentals will offer our homes for a 7-day minimum, which will eliminate the party crowd and bring back all the respectful families that used to love our cities and beaches. Hopefully Hermosa and Redondo will be soon to follow.
by Judy Rae