Letters to the Editor 9-28-23
Hermosa right of way support is wrong
I was disappointed to see The City of Hermosa Beach support the Metro Green Line Extension ROW (right of way) option in their recent letter to the Metro Board of Directors. I agree with all their points on why more public transit is needed in the region: ease congestion on streets, reduce pollution, and offer more methods of transportation to all, especially those in underserved areas. The single reason they stated to support the ROW option is cost. This is short sighted. We cannot continue to plan just for our immediate future. This investment deserves to be made with a larger intent of sustainability and purpose. The Hawthorne Boulevard option would utilize a space already dedicated to transit and business. It would revitalize the area by delivering people directly to the future South Bay Social District (currently the South Bay Galleria), and beyond, to Torrance. Yes, the ROW currently has a freight train and underground pipes that shuttle fuel north. But freight train trips have decreased to just twice a day. With proper planning and support, it would be reasonable to eliminate the freight train and dedicate that corridor to much needed open space and a bike path, furthering our goal of a greener and more connected region. I urge Hermosa Beach to reconsider their position on this important issue and to advocate with Redondo Beach for the Hawthorne Blvd. option.
District 3 Councilmember
Bicycling cost benefit analysis
Education efforts at our schools and enforcement by MBPD have paid dividends in improvement in youthful e-bike riders obeying traffic laws (“Manhattan City Council enacts new e-bike restrictions,” ER September 7, 2023). But aspects of the new Manhattan Beach Urgency Ordinance on bicycles are problematic and excessively punitive. They reinforce a view that cyclists are second class roadway users and solely responsible for their own safety. It also appears that aspects of the new ordinance directly conflict with the state vehicle code. I understand local ordinances cannot supersede state law. Our vehicle code allows a cyclist moving as fast as traffic to ride fully in the lane, like any other moving vehicle. Cyclists moving slower than traffic can “take the lane” if it’s not wide enough for a bike and vehicle to safely share side-by-side. The fines in the new ordinance ($500 for a first violation, $750 and $1,000 for second and each additional) also seem way out of line with the State vehicle code. Distracted driving is statistically a much greater threat to safety. Violations are seen every day while using our roads. But punishment doesn’t match the risk to public safety with the lowest base fine in the CA VC of $20 for a first offense and $50 for a second or subsequent offense. Similarly, violations of the 3-foot safe passing distance law are dangerous, rarely enforced, and have a base fine of only $35, rising to only $220 if the driver injures the cyclist. If this ordinance is about public safety, let’s align punishment and enforcement of violations that injure and kill many more people on our roads. Hundreds of e-bikes are ridden to our schools and around town every day. Each represents one less car circling a school or searching for parking downtown. Let’s encourage safe streets and clean vehicle usage rather than focus on punishing cyclists.
A President selects her/his cabinet (“RB Planning Commission appointments draw umbrage,” ER Sept. 21, 2023). It promotes the receipt of the best advice that is in line with the President’s governing philosophy. Likewise, the Mayor of Redondo Beach selects commissioners. Neither the Mayor, nor the city would be served well by commissioners who advance policies that the Mayor felt warranted a veto. With the amount of work the Redondo City Council has these days, efficiency is key. Commissions who advance policy consistent with the Mayor and Council’s strategic planning is essential. The mayor made excellent commission appointments from all five council districts. I thank him for appointing so many of my highly qualified neighbors from District 4.
Zein E. Obagi, Jr.
District 4 Councilmember
Follow the money
There’s no need to wade into Mayor Bill Brand’s decision making process for Planning Commissioners. The man is transparent and supports responsible growth. I’m personally not surprised that the Redondo Beach District 3 Councilmember Paige Kaluderovic was the lone pro-development vote in the 4-1 approval of our two new Commissioners. Her election was supported through a generous contribution to a PAC named “Supporting Paige” that was funded by Mamo Company. Mamo is a real estate developer from Orange County. Now why would a real estate developer from the OC form a PAC to elect a councilperson in Redondo Beach? Watch very closely for the payback votes from District 3. Developers only fund candidates that will vote their way.
Regarding the recent comment by Redondo Beach District 3 Councilmember Paige Kaluderovic favoring development on the AES site (“RB Planning Commission appointments draw umbrage,” ER Sept. 21, 2023): A clear majority of Redondo Beach residents have repeatedly expressed their views on development at the AES site at the ballot box. As an elected official she should have more support for her opinion than the one-off comments of a few people met door knocking in a single council district.
Please consider the following: The entire city voted six times against placing residential development on the AES site. It is zoned as parkland, as a result of citywide votes. The entire city voted four times to put a park on the AES site. The site falls under the jurisdiction of the California Coastal Commission who has mandated a salt lake eliminated when the power plant was first built be returned once the AES plant is decommissioned. Councilmembers unfamiliar with these historical facts must do more “independent research” before commenting to the press or public on this topic.
The Hermosa Beach City Council has become a cabal devoted to expanding the power and income of the city manager (“Hermosa Beach Mayor rotation has heads spinning,” ER September 21, 2023). I voted for Councilmember Dean Francois because I wanted an independent voice on the City Council. People who I did not vote for are now trying to devalue my vote. My hope is that the City Councilmembers will respect each other.
Removing Hermosa Beach guest parking passes from the system disproportionately affects residents who are renters, limiting our social lives, and community involvement (“Hermosa Beach Mayor rotation has heads spinning,” ER September 21, 2023). I support responsible parking resource management. But the City Council must reconsider this decision and explore alternatives like enforcing time limits instead. The no guest pass policy impacts our community’s vitality. Finding alternative solutions will make our city more inclusive for all residents.
Did we talk about it?
If elimination of Hermosa Beach guest parking passes moves forward, it will be one of the worst decisions that a Hermosa Beach City Council has ever made (“Hermosa Beach Mayor rotation has heads spinning,” ER September 21, 2023). That action needs to be revisited and the public needs to be informed about it.There was no due process. I learned about this in a letter from the City. The decision had already been made. Where is the proof that this unfavorable decision was discussed with the general public? Who approved It? Was it the Powers that Be — our city attorney, city council or our city manager?
Dennis Duke Noor
A parking solution
As a long term resident in the (parking) Impacted area of Hermosa Beach, I object to the new restrictions to secure a parking pass (“Hermosa Beach Mayor rotation has heads spinning,” ER September 21, 2023). We are now all precluded from securing a guest pass. If the City Council is worried about sufficient parking, then I suggest we do away with subsidizing restaurants with outdoor seating. The pandemic is over and I do not see why this council continues to give parking spaces to restaurants. Let’s put these issues on the ballot.
What parking problem
The recent updates to the Hermosa Beach parking pass program have me baffled (“Hermosa Beach Mayor rotation has heads spinning,” ER September 21, 2023). As a business analyst for 37 years, and counting I was curious, so I I dug into the background parking studies sanctioned by the city council. To my surprise, but maybe not, the observed on-street parking occupancy for weekday afternoons and evenings did not rise to a level to even suggest a change in the existing program. The weekend afternoon parking rate did approach 90 percent, and higher in some cases, but one would have to expect when upwards of a million people on a nice weekend afternoon want to come to the beach. Councilmember Justin Massey stated, “The city needs to charge for its services (parking).” Fair enough, but restrictions have come into place that prevent many property owners from getting a portable parking pass needed for a variety of reasons. Only California residents are allowed to get passes. Yet many homes are owned by non-residents and even foreigners. All of them pay property taxes, which support the infrastructure of the city, (parking). Every homeowner, resident or not, and renter, should be entitled to a parking pass. We are all contributing property taxes one way or another to support the infrastructure of the city.
Last week, Easy Reader mistakenly reported that Dean Francois was the high vote getter in the November 2011 Hermosa Beach City Council Election (“Hermosa Beach Mayor rotation has heads spinning,” ER September 21, 2023). Incumbent councilmember Raymond Jackson was the high vote getter, with 3,572 votes; followed by challengers Francois, 2,685 votes; and Rob Saemann, with 2, 554 votes. Easy Reader apologies for the error.