Voters in Redondo Beach’s City Council Districts 1, 2 and 4 will have a lot to weigh as they decide which candidates to back in the March 2 elections.
District 1 covers the southernmost part of Redondo Beach, where Esplanade is, bordered by the Palos Verdes Peninsula, while District 2 is home to Redondo Beach’s pier and King Harbor Marina, as well as Redondo Union High School. District 4 covers the smallest area of the city’s districts, containing the South Bay Galleria mall; it is bordered by Artesia Boulevard to the north and Hawthorne Boulevard to the east.
Voters in each of the three districts will choose a councilmember to represent them for the next four years.
Candidate Brad Waller, 57, has lived in the city for more than 34 years and is currently a Redondo Beach Unified school board member. He also runs a mobile app and website development company in the city’s Riviera Village.
Waller, who is also a member of the Redondo Beach General Plan Advisory Committee and the Redondo Beach Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Authority board, said he would be a transparent councilmember, if elected, and also said the city needs to support and retain local businesses by improving the waterfront, which would increase sales tax and transient occupancy tax revenue, which could then create pension funds.
If elected, “I will lead by example, work toward consensus,” Waller said. “I will be open, transparent and available to all for discussion.”
South Redondo traffic is another issue he plans to tackle, Waller said, proposing to increase traffic patrols in the Riviera Village area on Prospect Avenue and Catalina Avenue near Esplanade during peak times when people speed and disobey stop signs.
Incumbent District 1 Councilmember Nils Nehrenheim, meanwhile, is vying to keep his position against Waller. The 43-year-old small-business owner and county lifeguard has lived in South Redondo Beach for 14 years.
If elected for a second term, Nehrenheim said, he wants to improve the city’s beach town culture through responsible development that serves all residents and attracts sustainable businesses.
He spearheaded the garden parklet program in the Riviera Village to support businesses during the pandemic, Nehrenheim said, and he plans to lobby the Coastal Commission to make those outdoor dining areas permanent.
Erika Snow Robinson, 50, is an artist who also leads a Long Beach real estate firm. She’s lived in Redondo Beach’s District 2 since 2003.
Robinson is running to represent her district on the council, she said, to get Redondo viewed as one of the best beach cities. If elected, she said, she plans to get the currently stagnant city moving again.
“As a city, we continually obstruct most revenue-generating opportunities or projects, which means no money,” Robinson said.
This, coupled with the fact that the city makes it difficult for businesses to start up, she added, has a direct impact on funding for important infrastructure like fire, police, public works and tourist areas. She plans to build a business-friendly reputation for the city, Robinson said, and make sure the city can afford to keep city services local.
“Redondo is amazing and people should want to come here,” Robinson said. “But we give them very little reason when we are competing with nearby Hermosa and Manhattan for fun, tourist, shopping and restaurant opportunities.”
Robinson wants to get creative, she said, by looking at ways to turn the land under the AES power plant, which leadership hopes to soon get removed, into open space with small businesses, restaurants, art galleries and affordable housing.
“I want to show others we can do something besides say ‘no,’ obstruct and stagnate,” Robinson said. “That we have the ability to partner and work together to find solutions instead of vilifying anyone and everything that proposes a different idea or viewpoint.”
Property manager Paul David Moses, 55, meanwhile, has lived in District 2 for 24 of his 30 years in Redondo Beach. He helped create the city’s public art ordinance and commission and was in 2016 appointed to the city’s General Plan Update Committee.
Economic recovery from the pandemic is the top priority for Redondo, Moses said.
“If elected, I would work toward streamlining the business licensing process,” he said. “We must spur any economic activity and promote growth to create a robust Redondo.”
The district’s most important issue is permanently closing the power plant, he added, and he believes that only new leadership will bring a solution.
“Residents are sick of the stagnation and the empty promises that never bring any progress,” Moses said, “The community wants change; a change in leadership is the first step.”
Incumbent District 2 representative Todd Loewenstein, 54, has lived in that area for 14 of his 22 years in Redondo Beach. He works in sales and development for African internet provider AFR-IX Telecom.
He’s seeking re-election to revamp the waterfront while protecting it from large development, Loewenstein said, including the state government’s attempt to take away local zoning authority.
“We need to put the lawsuits behind us in order to find the right partnerships for both the waterfront and the power plant site,” he said, “Then, we can develop a comprehensive plan for the entire area to deindustrialize our waterfront.”
Loewenstein has led past efforts to prevent condos from being built on the power plant site, as well as served on RBUSD’s board of education from 2005-2013.
Zein Obagi Jr, 37, is an employment attorney who moved in 2018 with his wife to Redondo’s District 4.
He’s running to be the councilmember for his district to draw more businesses to North Redondo Beach and bring a consistent, pedestrian friendly vibe to Pacific Coast Highway and Artesia and Aviation boulevards. Slowing speed limits, he added, is one way he plans to facilitate that if elected.
The city’s planning department needs to get ahead on commercial development, Obagi said, and code enforcement has to step up on ensuring buildings and signs, and therefore property value in the north area, are maintained.
“I am passionate about transformational change in North Redondo,” Obagi said, “We need a major pivot to a new vision; I envision a slow main street on Artesia with desirable shops, big green bike lanes, public art and murals where families can walk, bike and stop at the shops.”
And he sees the same for Grant Avenue, Obagi added, with an east-west bike lane that turns onto a protected bike lane of Aviation. He also wants to develop community gardens in every district.
“I am one of the strongest advocates for my clients in the courtroom,” Obagi said, so “I will be that strong advocate on the City Council for my neighbors — asking the right questions, investigating the right nuances and pursuing all of the right opportunities to make North Redondo great.”
John Gran, meanwhile, wants to keep the District 4 council seat he’s held since 2017. He’s seeking re-election to continue the projects and programs he’s put in place since then, including efforts to turn Artesia Boulevard into a “living street.”
During his time in office, Gran has helped secure $1.2 million to extend and landscape the North Redondo Beach Bike Path from Felton Lane to Inglewood Avenue, for which construction is due to start this year. The next phase, he said, is to get funds to extend the path to the Galleria.
With projects for the city’s waterfront, AES Power Plant, a proposed Beach Cities Health District development and the South Bay Galleria all moving forward at once, Gran said, he plans to make sure his neighbors’ priorities and needs are part of the decision making.
Gran also wants to see through the study he initiated to bring recycled water to Redondo, he said, and address the next phase in the city’s Pallet shelter program for addressing homelessness.