MB Building Height Appeal

We need to “Go Forward.” That is what the developer said during my recent appeal to the Manhattan Beach Planning Commission. Apparently, going forward means going higher – and that is something Manhattan Beach voters decided against years ago. Oh, the 30 ft. height limitation is still in place; it is where the measurements start that is changing. The property at 3009 Manhattan Ave. is on arguably the steepest hill in the Sand Section. The four corners of the property (the average of which determines the low point for the 30 foot measurement) were measured to have the NE and SE corners at the same level as Manhattan Ave., the NW corner four feet below (as one would expect on a steep hill), and the SW corner measured also to be level with Manhattan Ave.! This, of course, makes no sense whatsoever - but the developer gets an extra foot of height as a result. Two of the commissioners, including the chairman (who is the only architect on the Commission), got it right, and voted to grant the appeal. However, three of the commissioners were more interested in lavishing praise on the assistant planner who made the original decision to approve the project (despite his admission that the elevated SW corner “looks like a raised patio”) than actually “minimizing . . . adverse impacts on adjacent properties,” as MBMC §10.60.050 requires, and preserving the aesthetic integrity of the neighborhood. Thank you to the two commissioners who have common sense.

—Ed McPherson, Manhattan Beach

Support for Massey

Justin Massey is an extraordinarily effective and dedicated councilmember. I have been able to observe this first hand. Councils are always balancing a highly demanding plate of city decisions, planning and economic considerations, infrastructure demands and crisis management moments. At the same time, they must anticipate future needs and take actions now to protect our community for years to come. Many of the more tedious elements involved never rise to the radar of the average resident, yet true public servants like Justin take each decision to task with the highest integrity and necessary due diligence that we require and deserve as tax paying residents. Justin is a highly astute strategist and problem solver when working through enormously complex problems that are critical to the city, community and our many partnering agencies. He is also extremely fair-minded, balanced and collaborative in his approach. We are so fortunate that he wants to continue his public service to Hermosa Beach at this critical time, and we simply could not do better than to have Justin bring his four years of city knowledge and experience to continue leading progress on all levels. Please vote for Justin Massey on November 5th.

—Mary Campbell, Hermosa Beach councilmember

Support for Larson

Having first moved to Hermosa Beach in 1978, I’ve seen many council members come and go.  Some were good some were bad. Some were here to build their resumes for higher office and some are currently here to push their personal ideology.  I served on the Hermosa Beach planning commission for 12 years and I’m proud to support Trent Larson for the city council. I urge you to do the same. Please vote only once. “Single-shot vote for Trent Larson.” Hermosa needs change. Trent Larson can provide that change. Let’s take our city back.

—Kent Allen, Hermosa Beach

Support for Larson

Republican voters in Hermosa Beach need to know that city council candidate, Trent Larson, is their candidate. Larson is the only Republican running for City Council and is a strong supporter of President Trump. Also, Larson previously was a strong proponent of oil drilling in our city (Yes on Measure O). So, I hope Republicans know their candidate is Trent Larson for City Council.

—Fred Huebscher, Hermosa Beach

Houston's Table Policy

I experienced my own version of Seinfeld’s “The Soup Nazi” – “No Soup For You” and instead of this happening in a comedic parody of a soup stand in New York, it happened at our very own Houston’s Restaurant in Manhattan Beach. Unknown to me at the time, Houston’s has a strict table turn-over time policy and they will enthusiastically tell their dining and spending customers to finish up and leave as that time approaches.

At a table in the bar, our dismissal notice came at an hour and ten minutes into our meal, as we were eating. We wanted to order dessert, and wouldn’t you know? “No Dessert For You!”

A general manager there was more than willing to argue and escalate and she positively relished it. To add insult to injury, Houston’s over charged us. After getting over the shock and embarrassment of having been treated so despicably, we come to find that this manager has a lengthy history of similar complaints. Houston’s parent, Hillstone Restaurant Group, did not acknowledge what happened and did not apologize. They could care less, their only concern was the amount overcharged.

Perhaps Houston’s and its parent Hillstone Restaurant Group have simply gotten too arrogant. Perhaps their policy of strict adherence to aggressive table turning for greater profit has made them willing to accept a certain margin of lost customers. Perhaps Houston’s will one day come to the same "reap what you sow ending" as the real-life “The Soup Nazi.”

—Brenda Melton, Redondo Beach

Jewish Holiday Services

The Jewish high holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are a time to reflect on the past and to envision a better future. For Jews, the past year has been unsettling due to the national rise in anti-Semitism and attacks on Jewish houses of worship. But at Congregation Tikvat Jacob Beth Torah, the only synagogue in Manhattan Beach, we know our future is bright.

This High Holy Day season, we were astounded by the support we received from so many Manhattan Beach organizations who reminded us that we are loved here and not alone. American Martyrs Catholic Church, which has been an incredible partner for many years, graciously provided us with a safe, beautiful space for our multi-day high holiday services. Meanwhile, several members of Manhattan Beach Community Church, another one of our long-standing partners, offered to volunteer at our high holiday services as watchful eyes to bolster our security and greet our members. And as always, the City of Manhattan Beach and Manhattan Beach Police Department worked with us to assess our security needs.

Jews, Catholics, Protestants and secular organizations coming together to ensure a vibrant, diverse, and secure community for all of its members - that is the very spirit of the holiday season. We owe so much to the generosity of everyone who has made us feel safe and loved here. Thank you, Manhattan Beach.

—The Staff and Members of Congregation Tikvat Jacob Beth Torah, Manhattan Beach

Golf at The Lakes

I drive up from Long Beach each week to play at the The Lakes/El Segundo golf course. I love this course and guarantee that I would never play Top Golf nor would any other golfer.

Top Golf is for a once-in-a while family outing and the use of this property would suffer as a result of this type of change. It is not the type of recreation one enjoys on a full time basis. It's a birthday party, special occasion or a sometime use like a amusement park. Golf is a constant event.

Instead of changing this course to get more profitability out of its use, why not put some funding into it, for clean up, maintenance and advertising its current use and/or potential use? Why remove a stable recreation like The Lakes? What a potential you have here!

What a shame it would be to lose it!

—Sheila Swan, Long Beach

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