Ode to Kissel

Certainly, least deserving of departure from our blue/green planet was Dr Gary L Kissel MD, leading cardiologist in the South Bay, strong advocate of healthful living, triathlete, marathon runner,a man of great kindness and compassion, and a man liked, loved, admired, and respected by all. I believe that his memory will continue to provide a very vivid role model for many, for his dedication to his profession and a healthy life style, for the many lives saved, improved and restored to health, and for his great humanity, his kindness, compassion and respect for all.

Perhaps less known by most, but greatly admired and appreciated by myself as his next door neighbor in the Manhattan Beach Tree Section during the latter half of the 70’s, the entire 80’s and into the start of the 90’s, was Gary’s keen knowledge of and interest in Botany and his Landscaping skill. Gary always managed to keep the grounds of his double lot the jewel and envy of the neighborhood if not the entire Tree Section. It was always very lush, more typical of Pacific North West than the Desert South West. Perhaps that fact was due, at least in part, to his undergraduate years spent in Seattle, where he played football for the U of W.

I believe the grieving experienced by Gary’s family will soon be replaced by warm thoughts of his essential goodness as well as his many contributions to the improvement of the human condition.

—Richard O. Strom, Manhattan Beach

Undergrounding in MB

Voters in Districts 12 and 14 should understand how the proposed undergrounding tax works. It’s unfair and illegal because its assessments aren’t proportional to individual properties’ benefits.

Undergrounding’s prime benefit (Prop 218 calls it a “special benefit” because it’s unique to each property) is aesthetic – cleaning up the view. It’s all proponents ever talk about. Each lot’s view improvement is unique, so you’d think the assessment would reflect that. It doesn’t.

Instead, each lot’s “aesthetic benefit” assessment depends on square footage. It doesn’t matter whether the lot is on Highland (already undergrounded), Ocean (lots of wires) the Strand (no wires) numbered streets (some wires) or the Places (the worst wires because they were designed to be where utilities should go).

Everybody pays the same amount multiplied by square footage. That’s not fair. It’s also illegal.

The California Supreme Court holds any Prop 218 assessment exceeding the special benefit to any parcel illegal. The Court of Appeals struck down such an illegal undergrounding assessment in City of Tiburon v. Bonander, 180 Cal. App. 4th 1057 (2009).

The City’s representative suggested otherwise in a recent meeting, saying the City had withstood an undergrounding suit some years back. In fact that suit was dropped without appellate review, before Bonander ruled Tiburon’s undergrounding district illegal because “no assessment shall exceed the reasonable cost of the proportional special benefit conferred on a parcel.”

This is an unjust, illegal scheme because it makes one neighbor pay for another’s special benefit. Let’s vote it down.

—Bob Perkins, Manhattan Beach

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