The Redondo Beach City Council voted this week to approve a program to subsidize security cameras for areas residents, a pilot program to install a roundabout near Lincoln Elementary School and to retain a high-powered law firm to defend the city against a $14 million lawsuit by CenterCal Properties.
The council voted unanimously to appropriate $15,000 from the city's crime reduction fund, which comes from fines paid by criminals, to help subsidize the costs of home security cameras.
Under the new program to launch in coming months, the city will pay up to 50 percent of the cost of a Ring Security Camera. Total cost of the motion-detecting camera that also serves as a doorbell is about $200. The city plans to first roll out the program in problematic areas.
Police Chief Keith Kauffman said the cameras often go a long way toward solving crimes, especially domestic violence, while some residents argued the cameras could provide a false sense of security.
“It doesn't solve everything, but often you'll get a license plate,” Kauffman said. “Often times domestic violence situations escalate over time, so it can be helpful there as well.”
Traffic circle near Lincoln Elementary
The council voted unanimously to try out a traffic circle (or roundabout) for six months before deciding to make it permanent and possibly creating others throughout the city. The traffic circle will be constructed at Blossom Lane and Plant Avenue where it's expected to reduce the potential for accidents at this busy intersection near Lincoln Elementary.
Councilmember Laura Emdee said a recent community meeting was attended by about 35 people.
“There were a few people who were angry at first, but almost all agreed in the end to the six month pilot project,” Emdee said.
In Seattle, where roughly 1,000 neighborhood traffic circles exist, the city experienced crash reductions of about 90 percent according to biking and pedestrian safety groups. The Institute of Transporation Engineers also identifies roundabouts as an effective traffic calming device, reducing intersection collisions by roughly 70 percent.
Legal defense against CenterCal
Redondo Beach has retained the law firm of Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP to defend itself against the $14 million lawsuit by CenterCal Properties. The development company is alleging breach of contract for its proposed waterfront redevelopment plan that could potentially be scuttled by Measure C.
The City Council voted on Jan. 31 to approve the waterfront project just a month before the Measure C referendum was expected to take place. Voting in support of the project were current councilmembers Martha Barbee, Christian Horvath and Laura Emdee.
"You voted to approve a lease agreement with CenterCal exactly 35 days before the people rejected it,” said Martin Holmes, co-founder of Rescue Our Waterfront. “You couldn't wait 35 days to see what the people wanted? That premature vote has now exposed us the taxpayers to a $14 million lawsuit.”
The law firm chosen by the city is the same that defended it during the legal battle that ensued for several years over the AES power plant. City Attorney Mike Webb said the city will need the firm to help mount a substantial legal defense against CenterCal.
“It's likely we won't be covered by insurance and we are combating a very large corporation,” Webb said.