Letters

Editor’s note: The Beach Reporter welcomes letters regarding candidates and issues for the upcoming March 2019 election. Letters will be printed on a space available basis. We will not print personal character attacks or comments that may be libelous and we limit letters from organized letter writing campaigns. Announcements of candidacy from candidates themselves will not be run. Please refer to our standard guidelines published below. Our Feb. 21 issue is the last opportunity for letters supporting candidates (Feb. 18 deadline). Our Feb. 28 issue reserved for 250-word statements from the candidates themselves.

MB responds to path/parking

Thanks to Bill Singley, for his letter to the editor (The Beach Reporter, Jan. 10, 2019)describing his experience with the bike path and parking meters in Manhattan Beach.

The City of Manhattan Beach strives to maintain parking meter operations for public convenience, but if an issue occurs, please use the city’s smart phone application, “Reach Manhattan Beach.” In the app, residents can submit service requests for parking meters, as well as reporting other issues to the City such as graffiti, potholes and other matters of general concern.

The bike path in Manhattan Beach is maintained by the County of Los Angeles. The city works with the county to ensure bike path safety. We have contacted the county to communicate Mr. Singley’s concern and will continue to work with Los Angeles County on bike path issues.

Residents can submit service requests to the City at www.citymb.info or by downloading the “Reach Manhattan Beach” app on a smart phone.

—George Gabriel, Senior Management Analyst, City of Manhattan Beach

Supporting Wayne Powell

I’m supporting Wayne Powell and his community grass roots campaign. Wayne is running on his proven record of dedicated, exemplary community service.

Wayne’s eight years on the Manhattan Beach City Council, including two terms as Mayor, demonstrated how passionately he’s worked to improve our quality of life. He’s helped keep our community safe as our longtime MBPD Neighborhood Watch block captain and as co-founder and board member of the city’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program.

Wayne has been a longtime volunteer for countless community organizations/events and our schools, and he serves on the boards of several Manhattan Beach non-profit community organizations.

A few years ago, Wayne prevented the state from approving a devastating taking of over 500,000 cubic yards of essential Manhattan Beach offshore sand. As a accountant and a Chief Financial Officer, he has applied his skills to provide vigorous financial oversight and ensured that taxpayer dollars were always spent appropriately and prudently.

Please visit Wayne’s website at WaynePowell4MB.com for his distinguished record of City Council accomplishments, impressive list of community endorsements and vision. Wayne Powell has earned our support and vote!

—Suzanne Michel, Manhattan Beach

Supporting Mark Burton

My lifelong friend, Mark Burton, is running for his second term on City Council in our upcoming March 5 election.

While serving on City Council, Mark earned a reputation of listening to and fighting for the needs of our residents, grass roots community groups and local business owners to keep Manhattan Beach the special community that it is. That’s what he did, and that’s what he’ll do!

I saw how hard Mark worked during his first term. I know Mark will continue to be our advocate and serve ethically, always making his decisions in our best interests and independent of any special interest group or party.

Before serving as our Mayor and Councilmember, Mark had a distinguished 30 year career as a City Attorney with assignments as a Prosecutor, Trial Attorney and general counsel to several city police, fire and risk management departments. Mark’s public service record is unmatched by any of the other candidates.

Mark has a proven record of making informed decisions and using rational common-sense judgment in getting things accomplished for the greater good. Now, more than ever, we need our City Council to make our community’s safety their top priority, assert “local control” to fight state overreach into our city and be fiscally prudent.

I have lived in Manhattan Beach for 30 years and I believe by supporting Mark’s “Putting Community First” our best years as a City are ahead of us and I ask you to vote for Mark on March 5.

—Paul Wafer, Manhattan Beach

Short term rentals in MB

Our City Council considered permitting short term vacation rentals in our community. As you may know, I was the City Councilmember who sponsored the current ban on short term vacation rentals that City Council adopted in 2015. It was a simple issue at that time and it’s a simple issue now. Are we going to follow our City’s General Plan, our land use constitution, or not?

Our current General Plan was adopted in 2003. It is the “constitution” for the development of our City. Our “constitution” for land use clearly and unequivocally sets forth our vision, and goals and policies to support that vision, that Manhattan Beach is first and foremost a residential community.

Our City’s Community Development Department believes that “...transient uses including short term vacation rentals are incompatible with the goals and objectives of the City’s General Plan. The General Plan aims to preserve and maintain residential neighborhoods and to protect residential neighborhoods from intrusion of incompatible and character-changing uses. Short term vacation rentals and other transient uses in residential zones can have a severe negative impact on the character and stability of the residential zones and its residents.”

Please join me in supporting our City’s General Plan and keeping our community the residential community we are, the one that is so special!

—Mark Burton, Manhattan Beach (city council candidate)

Supporting Mark Burton

I would like to express my enthusiastic support for Manhattan Beach City Council candidate, Mark Burton. While others contenders may be worthy, Mark’s demonstrated abilities and service to the residents of this city put him in a league his own.

One of the most thoughtful, intelligent, pragmatic people I know, Mark is also one of the most independent and courageous. Those attributes placed him in the cross-hairs of a repugnantly malicious and misleading smear campaign during our last election because Mark is a champion of ordinary residents and not beholden to the well-connected and special interest groups.

Mark knows how to get things done. Our small city is now being handed one onerous mandate after another from the State of California that will fundamentally change the character of our community. Who but Mark Burton has yet conceived of the idea to create a charter for our town that will help shield us from this onus?

I set the bar high for my endorsement, expecting more than just goodwill and good intentions. Foresight, integrity and fairness are critical; those who lead should not to lead us astray. I will make but one endorsement and cast only one vote—for Mark Burton.

—Stephanie Robins, Manhattan Beach

More on short term rentals

As a third generation landlord with dozens of wonderful tenants, I know that finding responsible tenants who will also be good neighbors is essentially a “grail quest”. As our City Council reconsiders the short term rental (STR) ban, I worry about homeowners running successful STR businesses without destroying our community’s residential character, which is what makes the proposition attractive in the first place.

As a neighbor, I lived next door to an active STR in El Porto, both when our City allowed them and after the ban. I’m lucky to have a conscientious neighbor who took great care in screening his tenants and I met many wonderful families who, without STR, would never have fully experienced the lifestyle we all enjoy.

As a Neighborhood Watch Block Captain and Area Coordinator, I’m often the first person to whom residents voice their concerns and frustrations over STR tenants who flout our local laws, like the public smoking ban and no parking opposite garages. Council should enlist both MBPD and MBNW to create effective community engagement and policing to ensure that STR tenants adhere to local laws.

As a resident, however, I feel – despite being a landlord myself – that fines should be punitive. For instance, noise violations should be levied at both tenant and landlord and should escalate like MBPD’s nuisance security alarm calls. For instance, they could go from warning to double to triple to a one-year license suspension.

Our community will have to be vigilant for this to work.

—Joseph Ungoco, Manhattan Beach (city council candidate)

Traffic signals in RB

Can someone please help with the traffic signals at PCH & Catalina/Herondo? For years, too often the left turn signal off of southbound PCH onto east bound Herondo fails to stay green long enough to let all of the cars pass through, if a small gap between the cars develops. And now I see someone decided the light allowing cars to move from Catalina onto PCH should be green while the cars are backed up on northbound PCH from the red light at Herondo. The result is a log jam in the intersection, or a backing up of cars on Catalina. Surely these things can be improved.

—John Faulstich, Redondo Beach

School enrollment

Everyone who supports the Hermosa Beach School District’s plan for a brand new 510 student campus at North School should read the article in this weekend’s Sunday Los Angeles Times Editorial section entitled ‘A Bigger Problem for Schools’.

Enrollment has decreased by 128 students since 2014. HBCSD estimates that enrollment will decrease by another 48 students by September 2020. The article states that LA County is projected to lose 161,000 students in the next decade. Only half of that decrease will come out of LAUSD, the other half, 80,000 plus students, will come from other school districts in LA County including HBCSD.

This year enrollment stands at 1,344 students. Between HBCSD’s plans for View School and current capacity at Valley School, HBCSD can easily accommodate 1,398 students.

State educational funding is tied to enrollment. As enrollment decreases so does our district’s income. None of the $59M from Measure S can be spent on teacher salaries. Why are we saddling our district with the costs of brand new school when enrollment is declining? Not only do we not need another campus, we don’t need to be buying desks, chairs, computers, etc. and hire additional administrators for another campus while enrollment is declining.

Two and one-half years after passing the bond HBCSD has only spent $2M of it on capital improvements to our schools. We should be spending bond funds on the campuses that we are using now so our students and teachers can immediately benefit from what taxpayers have already allocated.

—Miyo Prassas, Hermosa Beach

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