Correction and rebuttal re: West Basin desalination vote

Two weeks ago I submitted a letter commending the West Basin Water District for approving the environmental impact report and moving the desalination project forward (“Environmental impacts of desalination,” The Beach Reporter, 11/28/19). In the letter I criticized Commissioner Carol Kwan for her no vote. While I am still disappointed at her vote, I did make an incorrect statement in my letter. I stated that “she has spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars traveling around the world to exotic places learning about desalination.” I based this on what I have been told and unfortunately failed to verify it. The truth is that she has personally paid for all her own international travel. I apologize to Ms. Kwan for my incorrect assumption.

On another point, there was a letter in last week’s paper that stated, “All water experts agree that our future water supply in California is storm water projects…” (“Storm water capture infrastructure, The Beach Reporter, 12/5/19). That letter writer also obviously did not verify this, as it is a totally false statement. We need improvements in our storm water capture, but we also need increased recycling, increased conservation and desalination. Once again, you can’t recycle what you don’t have in the first place, storm water capture doesn’t help much in a drought, and desalination is the only source of locally controlled, drought-proof water.

—Russ Lesser, Manhattan Beach

Redondo Beach budget transparency

During the December 3rd Redondo Beach City Council Meeting, a ballot initiative for a two-stage sales tax increase of 0.5% and 0.25% to the maximum allowed 10.25%, to capture $5.3m in additional revenue, was discussed.

County Fire Savings have been cited as a potential remedy to bridge the gap, as has commercial development in South Redondo Beach and the Galleria. Regardless of your perspective on how to cut costs or generate additional revenue, Councilmember Nils Nehrenheim stated it best that City Council needs line item transparency on all budgetary deliverables, similar to Santa Monica and Culver City to track spending and help staff reduce costs to avoid sales tax increases.

With a new, improved Galleria coming two to three years from now, we must keep taxes relatively low to attract the most desirable retail anchors. In doing so, we could entice well-to-do Redondo Beach residents to shop in their own backyard instead of The Point and the Manhattan Beach Mall, and help our City generate revenue we lost when the $1 million tax annual revenue generator Nordstroms left the Galleria.

Emdee, Gran, Nehrenheim and Brand all expressed vital concerns on budgeting public safety for the reduction of fatalities in North Redondo Beach, and if City Council and Staff can collaborate on internal cost savings and external commercial revenue capture (not tax revenue capture) strategies to bring the budget to a “plus,” then that money should be used to reduce fatalities.

Thank you and no new taxation without line item representation.

—Jeff Gaul, Redondo Beach

Editor’s note: The Redondo Beach city council will not move forward with the above-referenced proposed sales tax. See related story, “Redondo Beach councilman nixes sales tax measure, which won’t appear on March 2020 ballot,” The Beach Reporter, 12/5/19.

Thanks from Children’s Hospital Auxiliary

At this time of year when everyone is being asked to donate to local organizations and charities, we at the South Bay Auxiliary Children’s Hospital Los Angeles would like to thank everyone in the community who donates items to our thrift shop located at 1418 Aviation Blvd., Redondo Beach. Last week the volunteers from the Auxiliary hosted our annual “Holiday Luncheon and Boutique” fundraiser with all proceeds donated to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. At the Boutique, we sell the more unique items we receive during the year and raffle off items generously donated by local businesses and our members. This year I would like to give special thanks to all the women and men from our Auxiliary who contributed hundreds of hours cleaning, polishing, starching, ironing, pricing, carting and arranging items for our event. Without the talent and financial support of our members the Boutique would not have been the success that it was. But most of all we want to thank all of you in our community who donate your gently used items to our shop which we re-purpose and sell, all for the benefit of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

—MaryLou Cahir, Volunteer Organizer, South Bay Auxiliary Children’s Hospital

Tribute to ‘Turkey’ Jon

Thank you, David Rosenfeld, for your touching article on the passing of Jon Burt, “Turkey Jon” (“Community remembers local nicknamed ‘Turkey’ Jon, The Beach Reporter, 12/5/19), and thanks to Allison Field for establishing a Facebook page in his honor.

Turkey Jon captured the Spirit of the Strand—our quirky, free-wheeling, playful, childlike feeling the minute we walk, run, skate or bike down the open lane that takes us from beach to beach. We love people like Jon Burt (even though I am just now learning his full name). I flatter myself to remember that once I earned the heckle, “Hey chicken, why don’t you go in the water?” A proud day indeed!

Jon reminds us that, collectively, we do have a heart, we do care. Those of us who daily frequent the Strand subconsciously “check roll”—we see each other’s struggles with weight, knee surgeries, back pain. We get to know our politics and our personalities. When you don’t show up for our daily “outing,” we wonder, what happened to you? Did you move? Change your route/time? Get sick? Fall on Hard Times? Die?

Yes, a memorial to “Turkey Jon” is warranted, as sure as the surfer statues and the beautiful murals decorating our buildings. We, the walkers, talkers, lookers and even the moochers, make the Strand special. “Turkey Jon” captures the Spirit of the Strand.

—Denise Peykanu, Hermosa Beach

Beach Cities Health District plans for campus

BCHD is planning to build a 60 foot high, 600,000 sqft assisted living complex atop the hill of the current campus. These apartments will be 100+ feet taller than surrounding neighborhood homes with views into bathrooms, bedrooms, and yards for blocks around. Surrounding neighbors are very concerned.

BCHD is in secret negotiations with Torrance and Redondo Beach without considering the local neighborhood concerns. BCHD just denied a California Public Records Request to share the details of its secret negotiations. Has BCHD lied about neighborhood concerns? Is BCHD closing Flagler Lane?

This project is bigger than the CenterCal mall-by-the-sea that Redondo voters killed. It looks like BCHD will need to be sued over the State’s “sunshine laws” as it refuses to share critical information with local impacted neighbors.

Local neighborhoods have already been burdened for 60 years by sirens, traffic, parking, and home devaluation from South Bay Hospital and later BCHD. Why should they be forced to endure a 15-year construction program that is two-thirds the size of the Staples Center? Why even more home devaluation from the construction, loss of privacy, and subsequent 50 years of operation by BCHD?

Isn’t it ironic that Beach Cities Health District plans to be the largest cause of chronic stress for the 1000 surrounding homes? calls chronic stress the “silent killer.” BCHD is the silent killer now?

We cannot trust BCHD as it continues to conduct secret negotiations meant to damage the local neighborhoods.

—Mark Nelson, Torrance

Shopping in person versus online

So this is a true story. I’d ignored the command from my radio and computer to shop at small stores in my neighborhood, mostly because I don’t like being pushed around by faceless people, whether their ideas are good or bad.

On this day of my story, which incidentally was a Tuesday, I needed some books for people on my Christmas list, so I plugged into my computer and went to Amazon Books. But for the third time this year, Amazon said my email was incorrect. I’ve had the same email since they invented emails and it’s worked at Amazon until last year when it started causing problems. In the past, I’ve called their help number and waited forever and explained my situation to some anonymous person who eventually let me place an order. But this time when they rejected my email, I lost my temper.

Then I called Pages, a bookstore in Manhattan Beach. They had the books I needed and offered to gift wrap and send them to me.

I happened to mention that I’d be in Manhattan Beach next week for lunch, but would be using Uber that day and doubted I could stop at the store. “Oh where are you eating?,” said the nice voice at the other end of the phone. “The Strand House,” I replied.

“Why that’s just a few blocks from us. Why don’t you phone me when you’re in the restaurant and I’ll run them right over.” Could anything be more delightful? Could any service be more personal than that?

It’s a tremendous convenience to be able to find any book, any pair of shoes, any gadget on one website. And I guess it might be great to have it delivered. In one day, though, if you pay attention to your calendar you might be able to manage without sending some poor guy racing dangerously through rain and snow to deliver a book to your cousin Charlotte in Denver.

People have become addicted to shopping on their computers and phones. It’s fast and easy, but it’s one reason we hear about so many lonely people nowadays. They’re spending too much time alone with their machines.

If you’re in the mood for personal shopping, I can recommend the store Mixt run by my friend Judith. It’s in a row of stores behind the Malaga Cove police station. Delightful gifts, hand-chosen by Judith who has an artist’s eye. Also in Malaga Cove is Corners of the World where I buy candles, cards, puzzles and things I didn’t know I needed until I saw them.

Because I hang around the Peninsula Library, I went to their shop and bought books, jewelry and tiny dishes. The proceeds benefit our terrific library, which is a plus. Near Bristol Farms in Peninsula Center is Nantucket Crossing, also stuffed full of ideas for your Christmas list. They offer punch and cookies too.

It’s so nice to go into these stores and be greeted warmly by a salesperson who knows the stock and can make recommendations for you. If you’ve been feeling out of step or out of sorts this holiday season, I suggest a visit to an independent store. And if you’re looking for warm-hearted service in a bookstore, I can definitely recommend Kirstin at Pages in Manhattan Beach.

—Jean Shriver, Rancho Palos Verdes

Contact Lisa Jacobs or follow her on Twitter @lisaannjacobs.

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