Letters

Editor’s note: This week’s space is reserved for candidate statements from Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach city council races. Letters are placed in reverse alphabetical order.

Brian Withers, MB City Council

Having a chance to serve on our City Council will be a true privilege.

I am for a full ban on STR’s. I want to see them fined for at least the amount they stand to make, and to see that fine increase per infraction.

I am for more traffic stops. I want to see our streets safe for us to engage in our active way of life, and for our children to enjoy without fear.

I am for enforcement of our laws. I want to see our codes, laws, bans, whatever, enforced as they are written.

I am against raising the height limit on buildings. This is a fast track to losing what’s left of our city.

I am for keeping our fire department, they are the pride of our city!

I am against partisan politics in the City Council Chambers; Manhattan Beach is nobody’s stepping stone.

I am a fourth generation product of this wonderful community, and I will fight to give our residents the same quality of life that I enjoyed growing up. I know what it’s like to grow up here. I know what it’s like to own and operate a business here. I know what it’s like to live in El Porto. I know what it’s like to live in East Manhattan Beach.

Vote local on March 5th. My views will not “evolve” into something other than what I have written right here. Manhattan Beach is in my blood, and I will fight for it.

—Brian Withers, Manhattan Beach

Joseph Ungoco, MB City Council

I am Joseph Ungoco and I am running for City Council because it’s time for our city to get FIT: Fair, Inclusive and Transparent. As we move forward with enforcing our short term rental ban and begin voting on undergrounding in El Porto, we need to have strong, independent voices like mine whose only guiding principle is what’s best for our city, both now and in the long run. Now, more than ever, we need people on Council who will be unbiased and open minded as they make the decisions that will affect us all.

I am running on a platform of fiscal responsibility, public safety, sustainability and technology. I pledge to instill a culture of savings on our Council so that we can afford our future pension liabilities and major capital projects. I want residents of all ages to be able to walk and bike safely from one end of our community to the other and to feel safe in their homes. I advocate for being “as sustainable as possible” in planning the future of our city when it comes to residential and commercial development so we can be a model “green city.” I want to increase our electric vehicle charging stations so that residents can demand that every rideshare pickup in town be an electric vehicle. Finally, as a communications professional, I would use all technology available to better communicate with our residents and increase community engagement.

Please view my YouTube video or visit Ungoco4Council.org for more information.

—Joseph Ungoco, Manhattan Beach

Wayne Powell, MB City Council

My door-to-door campaign meeting and listening to our residents has covered our entire city.

For many years I’ve devoted countless hours serving our community. If you want to know what I’ll do as your City Councilmember, look at my accomplishments on the City Council, and as a volunteer City Commissioner for 9 years and community volunteer/resident for 23 years.

I’ve persistently worked hard to improve your quality of life and keep our city safe, enhanced our city’s youth and older adult programs, supported our schools, implemented inclusive and transparent government, and provided financial oversight and accountability.

I voted against closing City Hall on alternating Fridays, opposed spending on unnecessary consultants and spiraling salary increases, banned short-term rentals, and implemented crime apprehension license plate readers.

As an Accountant/CFO, I always ensured that taxpayer dollars were spent wisely (contrary to a political smear campaign). We had balanced budgets, with no tax increases, nor new taxes, earning our city a perfect financial rating (only 1 of 2 California cities).

If elected, I’ll vote to keep the short-term rentals ban, reopen City Hall every Friday, hire an additional police officer and code enforcement officer, increase police patrols, and provide vigorous fiscal oversight. I’ll work to compassionately relocate homeless individuals to regional facilities where they can receive care and rehabilitation.

I love Manhattan Beach and I’ll work diligently listening to and representing you! I’d be honored to earn your vote on March 5th.

Experience, Leadership, Dedication WaynePowell4MB.com

—Wayne Powell, Manhattan Beach

Hildy Stern, MB City Council

For the past several months, I have been buoyed by the countless conversations I have had with residents. I realize we share common experiences and concerns for preserving our small town culture. I am proud that I have represented my values in a positive and civil manner. I will bring this positivity to City Council to protect our quality of life as we move forward.

I am uniquely qualified, with two law degrees and a business degree, to understand budgets, synthesize information and evaluate the legal implications of decisions. I have served this community for 24 years in a variety of ways, including all levels of our school district, the Hometown Fair Board, my synagogue, and numerous community organizations.

Although I am soft spoken, my voice is loud. I am a listener and collaborator and will work with all stakeholders to make fair, well-researched decisions. I will work with the other members of City Council in a respectful, open-minded manner, looking for creative and effective ways to solve problems.

We can effectively address homelessness without being heartless. We can keep our community safe without spreading fear. We can enforce codes without being invasive. I pledge to protect our environment, our neighborhoods, our schools and our local businesses. I will improve communication, and make the City more responsive and accountable to its residents.

I ask for your vote on March 5th. I look forward to serving all residents of Manhattan Beach, to Bring Our Community Together.

—Hildy Stern, Manhattan Beach

Suzanne Hadley MB City Council

Manhattan Beach is special. I will work to keep it that way. Please vote Hadley on March 5.

I’m the candidate with the broadest and deepest community endorsements:

*11 former and current mayors including Portia Cohen, Joyce Fahey, Joan Jones, Tim Lilligren, Steve Napolitano, Nick Tell and Linda Wilson

*100% of our current MBUSD school board

*Current and former executive directors of MB Ed Foundation (Hilary Mahan and Farnaz Golshani)

*35+ MB small-biz owners including Bob Beverly (Shellback), Linda Figel ({pages}), Rob Stone (Study Hut), and Michael Zislis (Shade Hotel)

Here’s where I stand:

*No to the current revolving door of returning councilmembers. MB needs real term limits: 8 years max.

*No to relaxing our ban on short-term rentals. Enforcement with teeth is needed to stop the Wild West of 300+ illegal listings.

*No to wasting money on expensive, unnecessary city positions.

*No to the current $475/month car and cellphone allowances paid to all councilmembers.

*No to a road diet on Aviation Blvd.

*Yes to re-opening city hall every Friday.

*Yes to ending the hiring of wasteful and expensive consultants.

*Yes to undergrounding for districts that approve it.

*Yes to enforcing the law fairly and diligently throughout MB, especially in public areas.

*Yes to helping our homeless access needed county services.

*Yes to maintaining our city’s partnership with our excellent public schools.

With your help, I will win this election. You will have a friend in city hall.

Next Tuesday, March 5: Vote new. Vote change. Vote Hadley!\

—Suzanne Hadley, Manhattan Beach

Joe Franklin, MB City Council

This election is about improving the quality of life in our beach community. Which is why my platform is simple: fiscal responsibility, improving public safety and common-sense government. Every solution we need to our many issues requires money; money that our previous city council spent irresponsibly on new executive positions, low interest home loans and the wasteful, ineffective Downtown Specific Plan.

We need more than just a “bean counter.” We need a bean farmer; someone who can sow, harvest and protect them. City Council positions require experience, but it needs to be the right kind of experience. We don’t need another attorney. Solid business acumen is what’s needed; fiscal analysis, due diligence and investing in the right, cost-effective projects and services which improve our quality of life.

I am endorsed by nine current and former Mayors. These include: Russ Lesser, Bob Holmes, Tim Lilligren, Joyce Fahey, Steve Napolitano, Nick Tell, Richard Montgomery, Jim Aldinger and Walt Dougher. I am also endorsed by Bill Fournell and Ellen Rosenberg, the current and past Presidents of the MBUSD Board of Trustees. They have put their names and reputations alongside mine because they trust my experience and ability.

I am the only candidate who, from the first day, provided specific, detailed information about how I can solve problems. I have the time, temperament and business and civic experience to keep Manhattan Beach the great town we all love and I humbly ask for your vote on March 5.

Visit www.VoteJoeFranklin.com for detailed information.

—Joe Franklin, Manhattan Beach

Mark Burton, MB City Council

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Mayor and Councilmember. It was a responsibility I honored and cherished. I am now seeking my second term on Council because we need a Council that will listen to our residents and given my broad base of community support, I believe I am that person.

Our community needs a seasoned, experienced public servant on Council who has a command of all the issues and a demonstrated record of success. After comparing the backgrounds and factual record of all the candidates, I again believe I lead the pack. My public service career has been distinguished by exemplary problem-solving skills and rational, common sense judgment and decision-making.

During my first term, our fiscal fiduciary excellence was recognized with a “AAA” bond rating (one of only two cities in the state). In addition, here are several motions that I put forth that Council passed: Banned short-term vacation rentals; refinanced city bonds resulting in savings of $4.6 million; adopted a resolution opposing the proposed desalination plant; approved the Joint Use Agreement with MBUSD.

Moving forward, I plan to: Affirm the ban on short-term rentals, prohibit companies from advertising same and direct rigorous enforcement; reduce full-time employee count from 308 to 285; if passed, direct the additional revenue generated by Measure A be placed in a restricted account and used to hire more police, build the Senior and Scout Community Center and fund all school security and safety infrastructure improvements.

Respectfully, I ask you to please “Bring Burton Back” on March 5th!

—Mark Burton, Manhattan Beach

Supporting Measure A

The City of Manhattan Beach’s Election is next week and all eligible residents are encouraged to participate. Your ballot includes the opportunity to vote on Measure A - a measure that proposes to adjust our current hotel bed tax rate (10%) and place it in line with neighboring cities like El Segundo, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach and Los Angeles.

Measure A respects our hotel community by providing an adjustment period by keeping the hotel bed tax rate at 10% until April 30, 2020. Commencing May 1, 2020, the tax rate will increase to 12%. After April 30, 2022, the City Council may consider increasing the hotel bed tax to a maximum of 14%.

Measure A is supported by the entire City Council, civic leaders including Jan Dennis and Charlotte Lesser, Shade Hotel owner, Mike Zislis, and Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce Chair, Brad Sperber. In fact, there is no organized opposition to the measure.

Measure A includes responsible accountability provisions by requiring annual financial audits. NO funds can be taken by Sacramento.

Measure A ensures visitors to our City pay their share, while re-investing in public safety and long-term fiscal stability. The measure does NOT increase taxes for Manhattan Beach residents or homeowners who are not hotel or lodging guests. Only those staying in hotel rooms or lodging in Manhattan Beach will pay for Measure A.

Join a unanimous City Council, residents, the business community and civic leaders in voting YES on Measure A!

—Steve Napolitano, Manhattan Beach mayor

Eugene Solomon, RB Treasurer

Elections are about choice and March 5th brings a clear choice for Redondo Beach Treasurer.

Approaching financial challenges such as our massive future pension obligations require proactive measures to clean up our fiscal practices that have gone without change for far too long. The challenges are real with expected $10 million increases in the short term.

No longer should professional service contracts like our Asset Management agreement be renewed without peer review year after year. While on the Budget and Finance Commission I’ve reviewed contracts in the City with a fine-tooth comb. Lax policies could be impacting our bottom line in a staggering way.

Attention to details like these is effective. In 2017 I helped end an outrageous contract that passed through for over 20 years without external audit. The review and non-renewal of this wasteful contract now saves the City budget $700,000+ yearly for Public Safety, Capital Improvements and roads.

Founding and building a successful business in the South Bay required stringent, enforceable practices be the rule and not the exception.

Numbers shouldn’t know a political” side”. Impartial financial analysis and measured input for the Council must rule the day. Tough questions will get straight answers.

I fell in love with Redondo Beach the moment I landed here in 1985; it’s beach town character and amazing residents make all of us lucky every day to call Redondo home.

With my fiscal leadership and your help, we’ll walk together into a prosperous Redondo future.

Vote Eugene Solomon for Treasurer www.solomonfortreasurer.com.

—Eugene Solomon, Redondo Beach

Mel Samples, RB City Council

For the first time in four election cycles residents of District 5 have a choice. Four years ago, my opponent ran un-opposed and lost 5% of the vote to a write-in candidate. This with no debate or opportunity to consider the candidate’s experience. For twelve years we have lived with whoever put their name on the ballot.

If you believe like I do - things could be better; that overdevelopment and reckless spending have taken our City in the wrong direction, you now have a choice.

If you believe that skills, experience, and knowledge of someone who has spent their career managing organizations, successfully helping government agencies prepare strategies and budgets, and deploying $multi-million systems, you have a choice.

As a 28-year District 5 homeowner, I have seen and lived with the ill-informed, costly decisions made by our council representatives these last 12 years. As Chairman of the Redondo Beach Budget and Finance Commission I am acutely aware of the long-term effects of these poor decisions. It’s time for a change.

Mine is a grassroots campaign. The reception among the hundreds of voters I have personally spoken with has been amazing. I have not sought the endorsement of unions, the Chamber of Commerce, or similar special interest groups. I will make decisions based solely on facts, completely transparent to you, the residents.

If you have not yet voted, please be sure to mark your ballot for Mel Samples, sign the outside of the envelope, and mail it well before March 5.

—Mel Samples, Redondo Beach

Candace Nafissi, RB City Council

Residents deserve to live in a safe, quiet town where we can raise our families in peace. One where we share our beach, harbor, our top-rated schools, and enjoy all of the music, culture and activities that make living in this vibrant area so great.

Over-development and poor fiscal decisions supported by my opponent have impacted every resident. The city is being sued for $15M dollars because my opponent voted to prematurely sign a 99-year lease that is now tied up in litigation. His pro-development voting record is your best guide to his values and your best indicator to how he will vote on future development projects.

Whether or not you agreed with the waterfront development, stopping the mall represents my ability to effectively motivate and inform residents. I stood with you as we fought the adding of 600 condos on the power plant site and I will continue to fight for you.

As the slow growth candidate I will focus on:

· Stopping Over-development

· Curbing Traffic

· Fiscal Responsibility

· Ensuring the green line doesn’t operate in your backyards

I will not rubber-stamp projects that increase traffic, exacerbate parking issues and over crowd our schools.

I am proudly endorsed by Supervisor Janice Hahn, U.S. Congressmember Ted Lieu, Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand, Councilmembers Todd Loewenstein and Nils Nehrenheim. We have a historic opportunity to move our city forward based on the values of the residents whose input has been disregarded for too long.

I humbly ask for your vote.

—Candace Allen Nafissi, Redondo Beach

Christian Horvath, RB City Council

Like you, I love Redondo Beach and am grateful for the opportunity to have served our community as the District 3 Councilmember for the past 3+ years. I restored our voice at the regional and state levels, serving as the 1st Vice Chair / Transportation Chair for the South Bay Cities Council of Governments; as a board member for the Clean Power Alliance; and as a League of California Cities Transportation, Communication and Public Works Committee Member.

Our city faces complex issues with promising opportunities that will impact our neighborhoods, families, businesses, and schools. I will continue bringing a respectful, rational, independent and creative voice to our City Council. My goals have been to ensure our city can be seen as a municipal model for public safety, transparency, efficiency, responsiveness and sustainability in the 21st century.

I want to continue strengthening Redondo’s economic base by supporting our local business owners while attracting new employers and jobs that can help enhance city infrastructure, services and facilities. This will improve our quality of life, ensure our schools remain top-rated, safeguard our public safety, and foster a vibrant community that we all can be proud of.

The input of all residents has been critical and I will continue to rely on it. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me anytime.

I respectfully request your support and vote by mail before March 5th.

—Christian Horvath Redondo Beach councilmember

Laura Emdee, RB City Council

Our diverse community is a friendly neighborhood that values tradition, safety, and education. I am a long time neighbor who has lived, worked, and volunteered in our community for over 28 years.

Prepared with an MBA, an Economics Degree and considerable policy experience I have honorably served as your Councilmember, RBUSD school board member and on various volunteer boards including PTA, Sand Tots Board, RB Kiwanis, RB Woman’s Club, Scouts, AYSO.

As your Councilmember for the last four years, I have brought the focus back to our neighborhood.

Our Artesia Corridor is looking much better through the Storefront Improvement Program and upgrades such as drought tolerant medians, new benches and light poles.

We now have an ordinance to limit and reduce the number of massage parlors.

The SCE Bike Path beautification project will have shovels in the ground by May 2019. Anderson Park has new ADA bathrooms and a shade structure for the community being built.

Our roads will receive improvements in 2019/2020. An additional turn lane at Manhattan Beach Boulevard and Inglewood will reduce congestion when it is finished this year.

The Redondo Beach homeless count went from 261 to 154 and the homeless encampment at our 405 offramp was removed. While the Secure Our Castle program brought video surveillance to many to help crime reduction.

I will continue to respond to your requests quickly, protect our parks & roads fiercely, represent our community honorably and lead us towards a sound fiscal future.

I have been endorsed by LA League of Conservation Voters, LA BizFed, RB Police Officers Association and several of your neighbors.

Together, we can continue building an economically healthy and environmentally minded city. Respectfully, I ask for your vote as your council representative.

—Laura Emdee, Redondo Beach councilmember

Steve Diels, RB Treasurer

Thank you for your continued support for me as City Treasurer. With your help in the past six years, we reduced costs and increased oversight to honor the Treasurer’s Mission “to provide the highest level of service for the lowest cost.”

Your support for treasurer’s reforms enabled us to reduce the Treasurer’s salary from $117,000 to $25,000 – redirecting $92,000 annually to critical priorities like police and schools. Overall savings have exceeded $1 million.

We amended the city charter to strengthen the treasurer’s independent auditing and oversight powers, collections enforcement, and revenue reporting authority.

We instituted OpenGov to increase financial transparency. The city’s finances are now available for public scrutiny 24 hours a day. We have protected the city’s investment principle in a challenging investment environment.

Our improvements increased oversight and reduced costs. With your continued support, I will continue to modernize and adjust the office operations to keep pace with the best available practices – a “win-win!”

As your Redondo Beach City Treasurer, I am your watchdog – guardian of your public funds. I respectfully request your vote to continue in the service of Redondo Beach as your City Treasurer. I will continue to serve you, not entrenched Redondo Beach politicians.

Please call me with any questions: 310-318-8181.

Experience: Fourteen years municipal finance, 26 years President & CFO of a local Redondo Beach firm with over 2 million in annual receipts

Education: Two masters degree’s, multiple certificates in management, finance and leadership – Pepperdine University, University of Liverpool, University of Southern California

—Steve Diels, Redondo Beach city treasurer

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