Judy Rae

Letters to the Editor 9-12-19

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Save the firefighters

Dear ER:

The fate of our Manhattan Beach Fire Department, with its outstanding reputation for exemplary emergency medical services, may be decided by our City Council at its upcoming meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 17. The Council will be considering whether to continue exploring the possibility of shutting down MBFD and having Los Angeles County Fire provide fire protection services.

But, wait a minute. Didn’t Manhattan voters just approved increasing the hotel tax in our last election with the specific promises that the additional tax would be used, in large part, to fund quicker responses to 911 emergencies and provide greater fire protection and emergency medical services? Yes, Manhattan residents, those were promises made by the City, promises that should be kept by the City.

Here is the backstory. Over the past several years, the relationship between the former MBFD Chief and our firefighter/paramedics deteriorated, more so than any time in recent history. Unfortunately for all parties, this relationship became public at a council meeting.

However, that was then, this is now. Thanks to our City Manager, who made a great hire in our new Fire Chief Daryn Drum, all parties have the opportunity to move forward in a positive manner, benefiting our residents.

It’s a simple one-two process. Give Chief Drum the time he needs to put the MBPD on the right course. Table any consolidation discussions and approve a one-year status quo labor agreement. It’s that simple. Or, put the issue on the ballot in November 2020.

Mark Burton

Manhattan Beach

Don’t burn down the fire department

Dear ER:

Mark your calendars to attend the Manhattan Beach City Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 6:30 p.m. The Council is considering doing away with our City Fire Department and going with L.A. County Fire Department. Things to consider: all of our MBFD personnel are paramedics. Not the case with the county personnel. Our MBFD knows each resident who requires a little more TLC. Will not be the same with county personnel. Our MBFD has a vested interest in our city and its residents. For the county, it’s just a job. They go where assigned. Our MBFD delivers Christmas bags from the Beach Cities Health District to our seniors. The county is not a part of the community. Most importantly, once we lose our city fire department we will never get it back. We just passed a new tax to improve services to our residents. Where is that money and how is it being spent? We have a state of the art high school in a beautiful city, but we cannot afford to have a city fire department? 

Karen Hill

Manhattan Beach

Palm reading

Dear ER:

As the middle kid, I lived most of the “Noel and Sally” story, and yet I discovered a few new things [“Noel and Sally Palm celebrate 70 years of marriage and six decades in Manhattan Beach,” ER Sept. 5, 2019]. Thank you for weaving it all together to show the whole of their married lives. They are wonderful parents, too.

Karen Palm

ER News comment

Reverse policy,

inverse mile markers

Dear ER:

As a math teacher, something about the the 22-mile bike path from Torrance Beach to Will Rogers State Beach has bugged the heck out of me. Why aren’t the mile and half-mile markings painted on the bike path in inverse order? That simple adjustment would put the path’s length and distance into perspective. For instance, at Torrance Beach, the northbound “lane” says “0.0” as does the southern terminus point. At the Hermosa Pier, both directions say “4.0” and at Manhattan Pier both say “6.0” and so on.

What I propose is that the terminus at Torrance say “0.0” on the northbound lane and “22.0” on the southbound side. At Manhattan Pier, northbound might say “6.0” and southbound “16.0.” The northern terminus at Will Rogers State Beach should be the reverse of Torrance: “22.0” on the northbound lane and “0.0” on the southbound.

My suggestion is to implement this system the next time the numbers are repainted. The inverse system requires not an extra drop of paint, nor time, and provides beachgoers a context that might be appreciated and would enhance their experience. All that would be required is that the person supervising the painters give specific instructions to insure the math is correct.

With the inverse markers, kids and grown-ups alike would get a bit more “mileage” out of their bike ride and/or stroll as they exercise and enjoy our wonderful beaches.

Diana Murphy

Redondo Beach

Undergrounding fears

Dear ER:

Many long-term El Porto residents have legitimate concerns about the safety of undergrounding in an area that has had explosive levels of gas fumes from the nearby Chevron refinery in the recent past [“El Porto undergrounding vote underway,” ER Aug. 29, 2019]. A letter to that effect by an El Porto resident was submitted to the City Council, other city officials and engineers, two years ago. There was no follow-up other than a thank you.The facts remain pertinent to this day:

The area where explosive hydrocarbon vapors permeated the ground and homes 36 years ago [from a 1985 Chevron leak] cannot be 100 percent guaranteed to be safe either now or in the future. 

City officials sat on this letter for two years. and now they say “the city and Chevron looked at it and say it’s safe.” Will the City or Chevron put this in writing? Will the City or Chevron be responsible for any future potential explosions, property damage, injuries and loss of human life?

Undergrounding proponents assume our property values will increase, but leave out the possibility of loss of value from the duty to disclose transformer, vault and vent pipe locations under the streets, in potentially hazardous areas. According to California Law, hazardous conditions must be disclosed to l potential home buyers. I have lived in El Porto for 50 years and have seen the above ground transformers located on a nearby telephone pole explode three times. No injury or property damage, and fast response time.

The good people from Edison replaced the transformers in five hours. The time for underground utilities’ transformers to be replaced would be 15 hours plus. In the event of a major earthquake it may be weeks or longer as Edison repairs the easier-to-fix, above ground lines first.

Your vote really counts. Not voting makes it easier for undergrounding to pass because all that is needed to pass is a majority of votes cast. If you already voted yes and now have decided to vote no, the city allows a change of vote.

Barry Ross

Manhattan Beach

Bury the scare tactics

Dear ER:

If undergrounding passes [“El Porto undergrounding vote underway,” ER Aug. 29, 2019], we will disturb an ancient burial ground and be harassed by their spirits until we vacate. Our home values will plummet and eventually be gobbled up by the sea. Yes, that ought to be the next scare tactic sent by people who simply do not want to pay for undergrounding. I respect those who are genuine enough to simply say, I cannot afford it. Instead some opponents use red herring scare tactics. One is the alleged danger of digging up streets in an area affected by gas leaks from the Chevron refinery. Chevron, which could find such a danger very costly, says the project would be safe.

Another red herring questions access by emergency responders in the case of a major earthquake. Former mayor Mark Burton toured El Porto with the former fire chief who stated that even now, “If there was a major earthquake near El Porto, first responders would have no access to most of the streets here.”

Another disingenuous challenge is that underground utilities are less reliable. Again false. While it is true, in the event of an outage, the problem can take a little longer to locate and fix, Stephanie Katsouleas, director of public works has stated, there have not been any outages she is aware of in previously underground districts in Manhattan. So if there are no outages, the time it takes to fix those non-outages is irrelevant.  

Let’s be honest, the vast majority of people who vote “yes” on undergrounding think the neighborhood will look and feel cleaner, and be more attractive. This clearly increases the value.  You don’t need to be a business major to figure that out. As a bonus, safety and reliability improve.

Let’s be honest, if this was free, there would be 100 percent support for it. Everyone gets to vote. Everyone has a say. No different from anything else we vote on. My total respect again to those who are honest enough to simply say, I don’t think it’s worth it. Though I disagree, I understand. Pass or not, the majority will speak and we will continue to respect each other no matter the outcome.

Bob Sievers

Manhattan Beach

Yes, it’s legal

Dear ER:

“Illegal Undergrounding” [ER “Letters,” Sept. 5, 2019] argues that the proposed El Porto undergrounding is illegal. With all due respect, this project has been vetted by a unanimous and engaged City Council, and a staff of expert attorneys. It is fair to everyone, even those receiving unfettered utility service without undergoing blight. Therefore, please forgive me if I don’t go with the letter writer’s opinions, although I am sure his motives are pure. This project will benefit us immediately, and compound for us and our families in the future. So perhaps  the next time you have out of town friends or relatives over, they won’t ask what all these nasty hanging wires are about. They thought this was “the” Manhattan Beach.

Gregory Cherep

Manhattan Beach

Costly policing

Dear ER:

If I’m reading the article correctly [“RBUSD, City to approve policing partnership,” ER Aug. 29, 2019],  one School Resource Officer whose role is to “be a positive influence to Redondo students,” costs $180,000 per year. A U.S. Senator’s base salary is $174,000 and an average California School Resource Officer’s salary is $45,284 (according to ziprecruiter.com) which, even accounting for benefits, is around one third what the Redondo SRO is making.

Are all city workers making three times the market rate? Guess tax-paying citizens must be okay with that

D. Rose

Hermosa Beach

Hermosa garden

Dear ER:

About this recurring beer “garden” in the middle of everything [Hermosa Beach About Town,” ER Aug. 29, 2019], I congratulate you. You’ve managed to attract even more daytime boozers from across greater Los Angeles. Way to go.

Ivan Goldman

Redondo Beach

Good enough for Trader Joe’s

Dear ER:

Time to clear up misconceptions about Hermosa’s proposal to match Manhattan Beach’s impressive efforts to limit the single-use plastics that litter our beaches. In support of that effort, Hermosa Councilmember Justin Massey has emphasized the need to keep our beaches from “drowning” in the more than eight million tons of plastic dumped into the ocean each year.

Opponents have characterized these rules so “very extreme” as to prevent Vons and Trader Joe’s from selling meat or fish. Not so. Trader Joe’s has announced it will replace Styrofoam meat trays with compostable alternatives, and will avoid compounds like BPA in its packaging. The Hermosa City School District has eliminated Styrofoam meat trays. Beginning next January, Manhattan Beach will require all its grocery stores to follow suit. There’s nothing radical about calling for Hermosa Beach to join them, particularly when it comes to protecting our most precious resources. If it’s good enough for stores like Vons and Trader Joe’s in Manhattan, it’s good enough for the same places in Hermosa.

Bob Wolfe

Hermosa Beach

Ban public smoking

Dear ER:

This should be done everywhere [“Redondo bans flavored tobacco, public smoking,” ER Sept. 5, 2019].

Laurel Ulrich

ER Facebook comment

Leave us alone

Dear ER:

Pointless city meddling again [“Redondo bans flavored tobacco, public smoking,” ER Sept. 5, 2019].

Colin Williams

ER Facebook comment

Flee to Mexico

Dear ER:

Government overreach has come to a scary place [“Redondo bans flavored tobacco, public smoking,” ER Sept. 5, 2019]. This is an issue that should not have been voted on. Having so many flavored ice cream choices is making kids obese and addicted to sweets. Let’s ban all flavored ice cream except for vanilla. And next thing you know you have to go to Mexico to get some chocolate ice cream. 

Zac Christianson

ER Facebook comment

Where’s my cancer?

Dear ER:

Now where am I supposed to get my Class 1 carcinogen? Alcohol? [“Redondo bans flavored tobacco, public smoking,” ER Sept. 5, 2019]

Mike Nilsen

ER Facebook comment

Cable robbery

Dear ER:

Spectrum changed its service in June from daily to monthly service. So, if you need to cancel your subscription to their cable/WiFi/phone and you end it during your billing month, you will not be prorated the difference of days not used. Of course, I found this out after I called to cancel my subscription as of Sept. 8, due to moving. I am moving into a house that already has Spectrum service, so I did not need to move my service. This whole situation would not have been an issue if I had moved my service instead of ending the service. I will have to pay for the whole billing month, even though I am only into my billing month by 10 days. When I called to ask why I was receiving a bill, (my bill was dated September, I was told that in the April bill was a notice about the daily to monthly billing change. Who would look at the garbage info at the end of the bill? A good friend said she cancelled Spectrum due to moving, and was billed a full month for going one day into her next month. This is robbery.

Vicky Oetzell

Redondo Beach


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