On Manhattan Government – Elections and the ‘Bridge to nowhere’
by Mark Burton
Here are a few of the 2020 and beyond challenges facing the Manhattan Beach City Council:
Storm water pollution: Storm water pollution will be a significant challenge for the City Council because of a federal mandate to keep storm water trash and pollution from entering the ocean. In 2020, the City Council will need to develop storm water capture, recycling and infiltration projects so the city will be eligible for the $200 million available in LA County Measure W funding.
Local control: Sacramento keeps usurping the power of cities in the areas of land use and zoning, traditionally areas controlled by cities. In the past, the City Council has embraced litigation. The time may be on the horizon to assert jurisdiction over “municipal affairs” and challenge Sacramento’s “overreaches.”
Unfunded pension liability: Over the next several years, pension rates will escalate significantly, pursuant to the Pension Reform Act of 2013. Manhattan’s unfunded pension liability debt, now exceeding $60 million, is anticipated to continue to grow significantly. This structural deficit is unsustainable.
City council election: The biggest challenge in 2020 just might be the November election of a majority of the City Council. With this election looming, voters can anticipate the current City Council being reluctant to address any items of significance. Several of our current City Council members have run, or have shown aspirations to run for higher office. And, the hyper-partisanship generated by the Presidential election will no doubt have an impact on the election. A partisan City Council election is not in the best interest of the community, or in the best interests of having a “local” city governing body, one that is focused on municipal affairs, rather than the interests of a political party, which are traditionally focused on state or federal affairs.
Sepulveda bridge expansion: Sacramento has its bullet train and Manhattan Beach has its bridge to nowhere. Yes, the Sepulveda Bridge expansion project is slated to come to City Council for final approval. This project may be a disaster because it eliminates the deceleration lane to the new Manhattan Beach shopping center, increasing the likelihood of serious traffic accidents. With lots of politics involved in this project, it will take a strong, independent city council to say no to this folly.