Letters

Thanking her team

To our wonderful MB Community.

I’m writing this before the election because, win or lose, I can’t wait tell you what a privilege it has been to connect with so many of you during this whirlwind campaign and to thank you. You have welcomed me into your homes, talked to me on your doorsteps, listened to me in forums, met with me over coffee, knocked on doors, made phone calls, displayed yard signs… and eagerly shared with me your joys and concerns for our city. In such a short time, I have learned so much from you. I walk away from this campaign confident that our engaged, passionate residents who care so deeply about our cherished Manhattan Beach will protect our small town. I will miss Amy Howorth and David Lesser, who have served on the City Council with dignity and dedication. Theirs are impossible shoes to fill but hopefully our members have learned from them, and will continue in their path of serving with respect and integrity. I also have to specially thank the most amazing team who worked tirelessly since December 9 to help me spread my message – Sharon Cohen, Laura Markgraf, Kamala Horwitz, Allen Kirschenbaum, Brooke Sklar, Danielle Anderson, Jeremy Stern and our leader, Amy Howorth, I am forever grateful and humbled by your support. I’m proud of our town and proud to be in your community. Thank you all for supporting me and for caring about bringing our community together.

—Hildy Stern, Manhattan Beach

Credit card closures

Recently I had three of my department store credit cards closed due to inactivity: Victoria’s Secret, Kohl’s and Macy’s. My credit score is over 700. It’s not that they closed my account that angers me is that they did without any warning, when you close people’s account without warning that is just bad business! All they had to do was send an email/letter to let me know my account was in danger of being closed because of inactivity. I would have happily made a purchase as I do shop at their stores and have just been using other means of payment. From what I know, none of these stores can afford to be losing business. Let’s just say these stores were going to close 1000 accounts due to inactivity and they let their customers know in advance. Perhaps 500 of those accounts might make a purchase, so those accounts would remain open. Wouldn’t that be the better way of doing things; would it not be better for the company and its shareholders? This is just bad business. How do these CEOs still have jobs? Am I missing something here? It just seems so simple—business 101 for dummies. When I reached out to the companies, they just responded with generic email responses.

—Vince Romeo, Hawthorne

The power of Jiu Jitsu

I’m a seventh grader writing to tell you how to make yourself a better parent than you already are! You should consider enrolling your kids in Jiu Jitsu, a fun grappling martial art that teaches self defense and patience.

Jiu Jitsu embodies defense techniques, teaching your kids self confidence and allowing them to defend themselves from a bully if necessary. According to stopbullying.gov, “49 percent of children grades 4-12 reported being bullied by other students at least once during a course of thirty days.” Once an older, larger kid bullying me at MBMS because of my long hair, walked into my Jiu Jitsu academy to try a class. I was lucky to be paired with him in sparring, teaching him the power of Jiu Jitsu and a lesson on bullying safely and in a controlled manner. He has never bothered me since.

Jiu Jitsu is also great at teaching patience. The first class might not dazzle your child as Jiu Jitsu requires discipline, focus and sweat. It takes time to become proficient and physically conditioned.

Lastly and most importantly, Jiu Jitsu is fun! Kids have to play! I promise that your kids will benefit with respectful sparring and new friendships. Hopefully, I’ve convinced you that Jiu Jitsu is worth a try as an exciting, focused, disciplined activity. Thank you for your time and consideration.

—Alastar McRae, Manhattan Beach

Conflict of interest

Bob Holmes showed “courage” when he said: “Our lives [referring to Holmes and Lesser] are really an open book. If there was any dirt on us, it would have been turned up by now.” The kind of “courage” that Gary Hart had when he threw away the presidency by challenging reporters to prove his extramarital affair. The reporters promptly did by publishing photos of Senator Hart with his young girlfriend, Donna Rice, on his lap, aboard the yacht Monkey Business.

So here’s an example of dirt, Mr. Holmes. While you partnered with a big developer headquartered in our city you voted to approve a variance for a project he brought to Council. You convinced our outside city attorney that your vote wasn’t a violation because you hadn’t invested in the subject property, only in others with the same developer. If that passes the reader’s smell test on conflict of interest, then their sniffer is different from mine.

—Dan Stern, Manhattan Beach

Height limits in MB

I encourage all Sepulveda-adjacent residents to provide your feedback on the proposed ordinance to increase the height limits to 45 feet from the current 30 ft. I served as resident representative on the Sepulveda Corridor working group and I helped develop this change. As a resident that was heavily involved in the recent struggle to make the Gelson’s development project more palpable to our neighborhood, I feel I have unique perspective on issues regarding developments on Sepulveda. Approximately 10% of MB residents live within two blocks of Sepulveda, so what happens on Sepulveda is meaningful to a lot of people. By increasing the height limitation, developers have much more flexibility on otherwise very small commercial lots and the City can have a greater variety of options to consider as a result. I wish this ordinance had been in effect earlier. I personally would have welcomed a boutique hotel in my neighborhood as an alternative to a grocery store. That would have been a much bigger revenue contributor (food sales are tax exempt, so roughly 75% of grocery store sales generate zero revenue) to the City -- a win win situation. The proposed increased height is modest -- there will not be a “canyon effect” if this is implemented. Please support this change either in person or through eComments.

—Eileen Neill, Manhattan Beach

North School size

The Hermosa Beach City School District continually states that there will only be 300 students at the North School. The truth has been stated by the Superintendent: “The swing school “(North School) will have over 500 students. The North Hermosa Neighborhood will be severely impacted with unnecessary unmitigable traffic and safety issues for our students.

The school board should have the courage to decrease the size of this project now.

—Jackie Tagliaferro, Hermosa Beach

Enforce, don’t repeal STR ban

We are homeowners in the sand section and we are writing in opposition to the vote to allow short-term rentals. There is currently a ban on short-term rentals in the city but it is not enforced. Short-term rentals turn real neighborhoods into unregulated places of commercial enterprise. Homes are not intended as places of commerce. Homeowners should not be made responsible for summoning police when noise and other infractions occur on the properties of absentee commercial enterprises. The owners of short-term rentals are not on site and hence do not hear and do not take responsibility for the noise created by short-term renters. Renters arrive for a vacation and act just like people on vacation. There is a place for this – hotels. Not inside densely packed Manhattan Beach Sand Section. Like vacationers everywhere, short-term renters are up late and make noise – just by driving and talking boisterously later at night than is comfortable for those not on vacation and who need to be up early for work. Though Arbnb describes its rentals as sharing a home with others, in Manhattan Beach over 90% of rentals are whole home rentals and a quarter are advertised to sleep eight or more people. The financial desires of short-term rental owners should not supersede the interests of the majority to have real neighborhoods free from deregulation and commercial hotel units in homes. Instead of repealing our short-term rental ban, let’s start enforcing it.

—Daphna Oyserman, Manhattan Beach

Meat trays

Last Wednesday, the city council of Manhattan Beach voted on an ordinance that would ban the final polystyrene item still allowed in this jurisdiction: polystyrene meat trays. The ban has been widely supported by the community, including scientific experts. However, the council moved to delay the ban due to an apparent lack of information on the “unintended consequences” of the action.

Tim James, a lobbyist for the California Grocers Assn., warned that vendors would have to switch to compostable packaging in lieu of polystyrene, claiming this would be “trading out one piece of trash for another with zero environmental benefit.”

His claim is inaccurate, as a switch to alternate materials would eliminate the use of polystyrene. Styrofoam-like products are some of the worst litter offenders due to frequent use in disposable items. They break down easily into smaller pieces, becoming impossible to clean and easily ingested by wildlife. Polystyrene is not recyclable and doesn’t naturally biodegrade.

Additionally, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has recognized styrene, the chemical that is used to make polystyrene products, as a harmful substance that can be transferred from packaging into the food we eat.

Manhattan Beach prevailed in passing a ban on foil balloons and balloon releases, but polystyrene meat trays didn’t make the cut. This issue will come to the table again March 6th. It’s about time we removed polystyrene from the Manhattan Beach community once and for all.

—Emily Parker, Coastal and Marine Scientist for Heal the Bay

Enforcement proves difficult

Short term vacation rentals—strict enforcement with false teeth!

I contacted code enforcement to report an illegal short term rental creating a major neighborhood disruption. The reply received was they need to catch the renters in the act, and many times the owners will instruct them to state they are friends, and not renters. Given this my concern is how will the proposed strict enforcement be accomplished? Who will tally the rental days to ensure they do not exceed 60 days per year? Who will monitor the days to ensure taxes are paid?

If policy cannot be enforced under a complete ban, then the talk of putting teeth into allowing short term rentals is a pipe dream.

—Ed Skebe, Manhattan Beach

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