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.
Lack of RB candidate forum
I am very disappointed to learn that the three candidates challenging incumbents in the upcoming Redondo Beach elections have each turned down the League of Women Voters invitation to participate in the Candidates Forum. They each said they would not “compromise their principles” and participate in an event put on in association with any special interest group. How is the League of Women Voters a special interest group? What are they afraid of? How can they expect to ask for our votes when they refuse to face us alongside the incumbent public servants they seek to replace?
Their real issue is not actually with the League of Women Voters but with the sponsors of the event, the North Redondo Beach Business Association (NRBBA) and the Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce, which are both made up of small local business owners who are also mostly our residents, tax payers and voters, whom these three candidates should be wanting to attract. These are only sponsors, paying for City for the use of the room, but the League of Women Voters is completely in charge of the actual event and the format, the questions, etc. They are well known to be impartial in these things. The three candidates are doing themselves and the community they wish to serve a great disservice.
—Steve Goldstein, Redondo Beach
On AirBnB strategy
Airbnb’s strategy is to get Manhattan Beach to change its municipal code to allow short- term rental (STR) commercial activity in residential zones. That is their single goal at this point. They do not care what limitations the city puts on that activity. Once Airbnb has their foot in the door, they will take action to expand activity and the legal rights of the city to prevent expansion will be reduced, if not waived. Once the city allows commercial activity in residential areas, Airbnb will use the California Coastal Commission to assist it in fighting any attempt by the city to limit STRs, claiming that the city is eliminating and taking away a right that then exists and is permitted by the municipal code.
On the other hand, if the city never changes its current code to allow short-term rentals in residential areas at all, the city is protected since a claim cannot be made that the city is eliminating a right previously granted. And we’re protected too!
—Carol Perrin, Manhattan Beach
Two former mayors currently sit on Manhattan Beach City Council and two more former mayors are running in the March 5 election. I respect and consider each a friend, however I am not interested in a replay of the last decade. Politics should be about the future and in MB it is worth noting that 75% of our residents are under age 55. It is time for fresh voices and a new generation of leaders who love and respect our small town beach culture but can also manage and truly embrace the challenges and opportunities approaching our community on the horizon. Joseph Ungoco represents the next generation of leaders and with his background in strategic communications he brings a strong focus and genuine commitment to increasing government transparency and harnessing the potential for the City to more broadly engage with the entire community. Joseph has quickly immersed himself in our town with a cheerful, optimistic passion and authenticity and has shown through his civic engagement and volunteerism to be responsible, thoughtful, purposeful, fair, inclusive and open minded. Coupled with his forward-looking attitude is a passion for preserving our small-town, family-friendly heritage. I encourage voters to get to know him, hear what he stands for, learn about his platform and his ideas for the future of our community.
—Chris Conaway, Manhattan Beach
A note of thanks to Redondo Beach Councilmember Laura Emdee for her support of the National Night Out Event in Anderson Park the last 3 years and has grown to 500 attendees - and her laser focused support on District 5 issues.
Laura has been a good neighbor for our family since moving into the area several years ago. She serves District 5 with a broad platform to improve community services and local businesses. The Greentree Café and the Cuts for Kids businesses replacing the liquor store at Dale Page Park is great for families and residents, and the improvements to the bicycle paths improve public safety.
Speaking of safety, Emdee, RBCC, RBPD were wise to pass the “Secure Your Castle” initiative to protect our homes from the Esplanade to Marine Avenue, where residential burglary upticking from weak state laws affects our entire City. RBPD Chief Keith Kauffman at a recent Public Safety Commission meeting indicated that residential burglary declined 25% in Redondo Beach, and I can conclude confidently that residential camera technology is making a difference in deterring crime.
How we choose to develop our Pier for our beautiful City and to keep it from being overrun by traffic is important. However, these are not the only drivers to elect a Member of City Council. I think by deed and not by wonky or executive title that Laura Emdee gets it done for D5 and Redondo Beach—hope to see her serve another term.
—Jeff Gaul, Redondo Beach
As a member of the Manhattan Beach community and the Manhattan Beach Downtown residents’ team it is a distinct honor to pledge my support and endorse Mark Burton for re-election to the Manhattan Beach City council. Our team could always count on Mark’s support to mitigate the intensification of our downtown community and insure the preservation of our small-town character. Mark has been the independent leader who continues to strive to do the right thing with honesty, passion, and professionalism; always advocating on behalf of all the stakeholders to reach a solution that provides value and prudent stewardship. Mark truly cares about our community and is the type of leader who can be counted on to evaluate and study the data surrounding the issues; listen and collaborate on opposing community and council viewpoints; and then present methodical and rational recommendations that are thoughtful and meaningful to reach results that are congruent with our espoused vision for Manhattan Beach. Please join me in voting for Mark Burton on March 5th – we need to have Mark’s voice and commitment on the council to ensure Manhattan Beach continues to be a city of distinction; a city that values family; a city that preserves our community integrity and soul; and secures a quality of life for future generations.”
—Jim Quilliam, Manhattan Beach
I strongly support Hildy Stern for Manhattan Beach City Council, not only because of her intelligence, abilities and commitment to serve our community, but also because of the quality of her character. She is tireless, honest, kind, and sincere. I have worked with her on various projects and find her to be a critical thinker, active listener and always fair. Hildy weighs all sides, applies creative solutions, asks those who work with her for a measure more, and she gets the job done, whatever the deadline. Vote for Hildy Stern on March 5.
—Ellen Seiden, Manhattan Beach
Christian Horvath has my vote for Redondo Beach City Council, District 3. As a councilmember, Christian has proven himself to be a good listener and a thoughtful, deliberate decision maker. He is not a one-issue candidate. Christian wants what is best for Redondo Beach, and he represents diverse viewpoints, not just a single vision for our city. Our City Council must reflect a range of perspectives lest it become a rubber stamp for special interests. We need leaders who learn the issues, thoughtfully consider all opinions, and make decisions based on the totality of our city’s populace. With Christian’s voice on our council for one last and final term, we can achieve that. I urge my fellow District 3 voters to mail in their ballots for Christian Horvath.
—Renee Sorgen, Redondo Beach
I am sorry to see current appointed Redondo Beach Budget and Finance Commissioner Eugene Solomon attempt to deceive Redondo Beach voters in order to try to be elected to City Treasurer this coming March. There were apparently several false and misleading statements that Commissioner Solomon wrote on his ballot statement and Facebook pages that he was asked by a judge to retract. He claimed that the incumbent City Treasurer Steve Diels tripled his budget. That is not true. Mr. Diels champions reform and saving money. A simple reading of Mr. Diels’ budget demonstrates that Mr. Diels is a man of his word. As the incumbent Treasurer, Mr. Diels has kept expenses down, and in an effort to save the City money and in a show of good will Mr. Diels even reduced his own salary. We are glad he pursued the truth and demanded the record be set straight on this matter. We deserve better. We must hold political candidates accountable and vote accordingly. Our clear choice is to re-elect Steve Diels as our City Treasurer.
—Cee-Cee Murphy, Redondo Beach
I was heartened and delighted to discover Hildy Stern is running for city council. I have known Hildy for close to 20 years through her volunteer activities through Access Books, a nonprofit dedicated to literacy. People volunteer for organizations for a myriad of reasons: from meeting people to checking off a box for a college application. There are others, though, who volunteer and are involved for one reason: to help others. This was Hildy. She collected books, sorted books, organized volunteers and traveled to other communities because she believes in equity in education that provides opportunity for all. She worked with us when her children were in grade school. They are now out of college and she continues to partner with us so that all children can have the advantages and opportunities her children did.
If Manhattan Beach residents are interested in leaders who strive to make the community better for all- be it environmental issues or housing, I believe she is an excellent choice. She makes decisions that will benefit all, not just a few.
—Rebecca Constantino, Los Angeles
More Burton support
Short term rentals, the Mall, budgets, crime and new councilmembers.
I just witnessed a drug bust outside my window. I have lived here since 1977. This was a first for me. Welcome to the new Manhattan Beach. We now have a new regional mall to replace our local village mall. A proposal to allow short -term rentals. Never mind that the city charter won’t allow it. They’ll just change the charter or entangle us in more costly lawsuits.
Interesting times. There is one candidate who gets it. A former prosecutor and assistant city attorney for the city of Los Angeles, Mark Burton. He still feels the need to get involved and work for the people of his city. He lives here; He’s smart, self financed, and an advocate of police, smart city government and financial accountability. Take a look at his platform. You decide what you want for your town. Bit by bit we could loose what we came here for to special interests.
—William Sheehy, Manhattan Beach
I am supporting Mark Burton for election to the Manhattan Beach City Council. As a former longtime MBEF board member, I particularly endorse Mark’s strong support of Manhattan Beach schools. While serving his prior term on City Council, Mark was the leader in publicly supporting Measure C, our schools’ facilities bond, and Measure EE, our MCHS sports facilities bond. He was a City Council Schools Subcommittee member that successfully negotiated the historic “Joint Use Agreement” between the City and our schools that fairly compensated our schools for City use of their property. Last year, as MB Rotary President, the Rotary Club sponsored music competition and awards, arts competition and awards and provided over $42,000 in scholarships to MCHS graduates and El Camino College graduates. Mark’s wife Dickie is a former teacher and elementary school principal, and they have two children who are products of our MB schools which they have consistently supported. Mark endorsed and actively supported our schools parcel tax increase, lobbying our residents and seniors to support the measure. Mark and Dickie currently serve on the El Camino College Foundation Board. Mark has committed in his platform that the City shall pay for all safety and security infrastructure improvements to keep our community’s students safe.
Please join me in supporting Mark Burton for MB City Council.
—Chuck Kaminski, Manhattan Beach