Against undergrounding

I oppose underground wiring. It is unnecessary and prohibitively expensive for me. Even at the projected lowest estimate, it will cost me more than I paid for my house 48 years ago and bring me no benefit whatsoever. I have no view to be “enhanced.”

Developers and realtors will benefit; The Edison Company will benefit (why should residents pay for undergrounding a large power company’s equipment?). The city will benefit with a cynical policy of “Pay up in 30 days” or be forced into a 20 year loan/lien on the house. When I die, my children will inherit a large bill. Residents with an overhead wire phobia will benefit.

We all like the idea of living in a small town atmosphere with good schools and a charming neighborhood ambiance. The reality of that image is at high risk these days. Our city’s soul is on the line. Are we neighbors with different views who still live together amicably or are we merely a group of people who occupy adjacent spaces?

My initial thought was if someone desired their wires underground and could afford it, go right ahead. But now I realize the actual situation of underground wiring is some neighbors will benefit by forcing a heavy financial burden on nearby neighbors who can’t afford it.

In conclusion, this bad idea has been voted down twice. It is still a bad, unnecessary idea. Be a good neighbor. Vote down underground wiring!

—Lynne Cochran, Manhattan Beach

Mural controversy

As the president of the Hermosa Beach Murals Project, I hope everyone is enjoying watching the painting of our ninth mural, “Beatnik Alley,” now being installed on the east side of Beach Drive just south of Pier Plaza by artist Timothy Robert Smith. This mural depicts the countercultural movement that swept Hermosa Beach in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s and brought international fame to the iconic local landmarks of that era: the Insomniac coffeehouse, the Either Or Bookstore, and the Lighthouse Jazz Cafe.

Predictably, given the theme of the mural, some viewers may find this mural provocative. Frankly, that was the intention of the Mural Project and we hope that this mural will generate informed conversation about our community’s controversial countercultural legacy in the music, arts, and literature of the “Beat Generation” era. However, the Murals Project also recognizes that our murals are “public art” and they effectively belong to the entire community when we are done with them.

Acknowledging that, the Mural Project has recently worked with the artist to make some minor modifications to the mural to eliminate some of the potentially most controversial elements while still maintaining the integrity of the initial concept and theme of the mural. Upon its completion, we believe everyone will view it as another beautiful and meaningful contribution to our city’s history of robust creativity and innovative artistic expression.

Unveiling of the completed mural is Oct. 23 at 6 p.m.

—Steve Izant, Hermosa Beach

Beach city homeless story

It was refreshing to read your cover story on Lila Omura of Harbor Interfaith Services, and the patience and dedication she has in helping our beach city homeless acquire housing.

The homeless woman Laura Lynch mentioned in the article is someone I worked with at Mattel for more than 10 years, who is one of only a handful of talented people hired to style prototype Barbie hair.

Sometime we lose our way in life, and it is not always a fair road for many. The solutions are not easy and the outcomes will differ. But a second chance in life for many can make all the difference.

I’m so happy that Laura was given that second chance.

—Douglas Nielsen, Manhattan Beach

Moving to county fire services

As someone who served on the Hermosa Beach Fire Services Community Working Group for the two years leading up to our city’s successful transition to the Los Angeles County Fire Department, I am disappointed that the Redondo Beach City Council’s majority of three has decided not even to follow through with their own study concerning the possibility of moving to County Fire. At first, I, myself, was one who similarly felt that it was important to keep our own Hermosa Beach Fire Department, but that was an uneducated initial reaction. Listening and learning about the multiple benefits offered by the world-class operation that is the Los Angeles County Fire Department, and visiting their facilities across the County, changed my mind. And now after almost two years of the County Fire Department providing service to Hermosa Beach, and with our fire station currently undergoing refurbishing with a five-year-interest-free loan from Los Angeles County, I am grateful to the leadership of then-Mayor Justin Massey and our Hermosa Beach City Council in making this tremendously beneficial change for our city. I urge all Hermosa Beach voters to vote to keep Justin Massey on our Hermosa Beach City Council and to cast your second vote for firefighter and two-year veteran of the Hermosa Beach Emergency Preparedness Commission Michael Detoy. The strength and excellence of their leadership will serve our city well as we move into the next decade.

—Dency Nelson, Hermosa Beach

Support for Massey

Justin Massey has helped balance the Hermosa Beach city budget, while funding $25mm in capital improvements (8th Street, Community Center, South Park, Pier Plaza lighting & improvements, City Yard). Pension and health care costs have been reduced. I find Justin to be the most informed council person on many of the important Hermosa Beach issues. His availability to meet with residents and city groups to discuss issues and concerns is impressive. As a former teacher, he knows how to understand complex matters and is a good listener. Please join me in supporting the re-election of Justin Massey this November.

—Ira Ellman, Hermosa Beach

Cyclists and rules of the road

Cyclists fail to obey traffic signals and signs. Have you ever seen a cyclist stop at a stop sign?

Cyclist don’t obey the “Rules of the Road:” Failing to stop at stop signs (80 percent of fatal cycling accidents), riding against traffic or riding on the sidewalk, Habits common, but illegal.

Bicycle Diversion Programs mimic traffic school options available to motorists who receive tickets for moving violations. Instead of paying the full price of a ticket, cyclists can take a bike safety class (three-hour class on safe, legal bicycle riding).

Police officers are hesitant to give tickets to cyclists because a person on a bicycle does not pose the same risk as a person driving a two-ton car.

Why wait until a cyclist has a moving violation or kills someone before attending a bicycle safety class. Everyone that owns a bicycle should have a license plate (helps recover stolen bicycles) and attend bicycle safety class.

Manhattan Beach City Council encourages increased use of bicycles by two programs:

Mobility Plan—balanced system uses multiple modes of travel to meet the needs of all users to include motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, children, persons with disabilities, seniors and use of public transportation.

Sharrows—cycle symbols stenciled on roads to remind motorists that cyclists have equal rights to the streets,

Manhattan Beach City Council should make sure that Cyclists obey the “Rules of the Road.”

—Robert Bush, Manhattan Beach

North School

Hermosa Beach School District’s plan to demolish and rebuild the North School campus has failed to provide additional campus space for students when it was needed and has avoided the fact that the North School campus includes 2.4 acres of fenced in playfields inside Valley Park.

The new North School campus will not be completed until 2021. HBCSD needed additional campus space between 2010 and 2019. HBCSD’s most recent demographic forecast shows enrollment dropping by 212 students by 2021.

HBCSD had two viable options that would have provided classrooms sooner than the four year process to demolish and rebuild North School. The first was to exercise its valid contractual rights to temporarily use classrooms at Pier Avenue School, aka The Community Center. This option would have also saved hundreds of thousands of dollars on an Environmental Impact Report since Pier Avenue School is located outside of the Coastal Zone. Second would have been to easily and inexpensively renovate North School just like so many other grandfathered-in campuses.

Additionally, despite assurances that HBCSD would not touch Valley Park, 2.4 acres of the park were identified in documents submitted to the Department of State Architects as the playfields for the North School campus. The CDE specifies that a school for 500 students should be 10 acres. North School campus is being built on only 2.5 acres. Superintendent Escalante has promised not to use the 2.4 acres in Valley Park. She has decided that she can simply ignore a Department of Education requirement.

—Miyo Prassas, Hermosa Beach

Passing the torch

Dear Hermosa Beach residents, it has been an honor and an enriching pleasure to serve as your city councilmember. I made a promise that this second term would be my last in office. My overriding goal to serve on city council was to see the development of a visionary plan for our future. This has been achieved. I am now looking forward to passing the torch on to a new generation of leaders with passion and skill to work toward its fulfillment.

When Michael Detoy stepped forward to run for city council, I knew we had the best possible person for the job. Beyond his experience as a former Emergency Preparedness chair and commissioner, as well as a firefighter by profession, he has shown his history of commitment to public service. By choosing Hermosa Beach as the place where he and his wife wanted to start a family, they have both made an important investment in our city.

With a bachelor’s degree in finance and master’s degree in public administration, he will bring an important perspective and independent voice to managing budget choices and capital investments.

I hope you will join me in support of Michael Detoy for Hermosa Beach City Council and that you will make your vote count on November 5th. Our city needs him.

—Jeff Duclos, Hermosa Beach City Councilmember

Maintaining control of safety

Local control of our police and fire departments has historically fostered cultures in both public safety departments that provides exemplary service to our residents, elevates our public safety departments performance and results in our community being one of the safest in the state. In fact, the cornerstone to Manhattan Beach being one of the best cities to live, raise your family and successfully age is we truly have the “best of best” public safety officers.

Our MBFD culture is the future of all fire departments with all firefighters from the rank of Captain and below being skilled and experienced paramedics. With emergency medical calls now being the vast majority of all calls for service for a fire department, we are well positioned for the “gray tsunami”. Meanwhile, the same can’t be said for other fire departments like LA County. That fire department is fiscally challenged with a severe shortage of paramedic firefighters.

As our Council considers the County Fire “takeover” study, please be aware that these studies never, and I mean never, provide the same level of service; it’s never an “apples to apples” comparison. Because if it was a true “same level of service” and “same culture”, the County would alway cost more, deliver less and our community loses any and all semblance of local.

Let’s keep MBFD the great paramedic/firefighter department that it is! One that we know, trust and believe in!

—Mark Burton, Manhattan Beach

Recall costly

Historically, in California, most recall efforts fail to gather enough signatures to even qualify for a ballot election, this is because recall elections are viewed by the electorate as bring political and personal, and not about policy. Recall elections are also very expensive and a luxury that Redondo Beach simply cannot afford right now, especially since the 2021 General Municipal Election kick-off is only months away. Do District 4 Residents really want the Redondo taxpayers to spend $70,000 for a special recall election in their district alone, in addition to the $30,000 that Redondo taxpayers are already plunking down for a citywide general municipal election?

Recall elections, especially of this nature, are just not practical, furthermore, I doubt very seriously that it is in District 4 Residents’ interests to change horses midstream, especially since they are so close to the shoreline, and they are hardly in any danger of drowning.

The 2017 General Municipal Election overwhelmingly gave us John Gran: District 4 should think long and hard about what they are doing to Redondo Beach’s democratic process, when a single vote against a “study” would result in the removal of a duly elected city official from office.

—Pat Healy, Redondo Beach

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