Letters

Karen Komatinsky introduction

I am running for the Beach Cities Health District Board and humbly seek your vote.

I have been a MBUSD Trustee for ten years, and have been responsible for student achievement and health, the budget, facility development, and construction management. With years of managing public dollars and local bond monies, I take my responsibility for taxpayer dollars very seriously. I helped create the original MBUSD facility master plan and have been part of the current construction management and have specific experience assessing and re-scaling major construction projects.

I am proud that, last fall, I helped craft the initiative banning the sale of all vape products in Manhattan Beach, which led to ordinances throughout the South Bay.

As the pandemic forced the closure of our schools, I have served as a leader by addressing our needs through complex and considerate conversations with authorities, staff and parents.

I have learned that although dialogue with differing constituents can be difficult, it is essential for good decision making and moving efforts forward.

I will bring new energy, experience and a desire to listen to all parties, as well as my tireless, dedicated drive for public service to the BCHD Board and organization. I am confident my 10 years of public service will be an asset to the Beach Cities Health District, and will enhance how we, as a community, can work together for the better health of the South Bay.

Please visit my campaign website at www.KomatinskyForBCHD.

—Karen Komatinsky, Manhattan Beach

Anti-racism

For several months, the Manhattan Beach City Council has been talking a lot about “doing better” with regard to issues of race in the city. Based on what I heard at last week’s meeting, we’re in danger of falling shamefully short of that mark.

In two short sentences, Councilmember Napolitano dismissed citizens’ cries for concrete action with regard to Bruce’s Beach.

I’m astounded by the fact that no one on the Council seems to find it necessary to engage with the community in a more robust discussion of reparations—even if it’s only to explain, in greater detail, the insurmountable ways in which its hands are tied.

And where’s the “creativity” that Councilmember Stern invoked after the presentation about the history of Bruce’s Beach at the August 18 meeting?

Here are just a few ideas to toss around:

  • Active outreach and recruitment of People of Color to sit on the Task Force
  • A voluntary tax allowing residents to pay into a fund for reparations and/or anti-racist and diversity and inclusion efforts in the City
  • A city-wide read of an anti-racist or other topical text, a la the Big Read or Seattle Reads
  • A quarterly recognition or award, perhaps in the Bruce Family name if they would agree, honoring a community member or organization that is advancing the cause of anti-racism. First nominees: Pop The Bubble and Pages Bookstore.

Please do better!

—Helen Codron, Manhattan Beach

Governor's tier system

Indoor dining this winter? Kids back in school by June? Workout inside a gym in 2021? Not likely with Governor Newsom’s new tiered reopening criteria.

The best chance of any of these things happening is if the South Bay secedes from LA County and its 16 cases per day per 100,000 people for 21 days (we’re at roughly 5 cases, which would put us under the magic number of 7 cases needed to get out of the most restrictive “Tier 1”).

But good luck trying to find this convoluted statistic on any city, county or state dashboards. Even though it’s the basis of the governor’s new “simplified” system, you’ll have to calculate it yourself.

In the meantime, we’ll have to pin all our hopes on the LA County case rate, which the Governor has fetishized as the sole determiner for reopening. Declining hospitalization rates don’t matter, nor does the excess capacity in the state’s health care system that hasn’t come close to being squeezed over the last six months.

—Jim Butler, Hermosa Beach

Outdoor education

What strikes me most about education in the age of COVID-19 is the unwillingness—or maybe, inability—of our school agencies to think creatively about real solutions. I have yet to hear the Los Angeles County Office of Education seriously discuss the possibility of outdoor classes even though this is exactly what we did during the 1918 flu pandemic and various tuberculosis outbreaks throughout history.

The risk of outdoor transmission is low. With masks and social distancing, it's even lower. We are fortunate to live in a mild climate with ample opportunity for outdoor education. Instead, we choose to keep millions of school children online, where the instruction—although better than last year—is still inferior to in-person learning and socialization. Virtual learning is not innovation. It is desperation.

How can we allow gyms and nail salons to operate outdoors while our schools remain closed? What could be more essential than educating our children and supporting struggling families? Please, Los Angeles County, get creative.

—Renee Sorgen, Redondo Beach

Support for Lyons

As a longtime resident and Council-watcher, I’m excited to have a real choice in the upcoming election. For a change, there’s a candidate who doesn’t come from the usual Manhattan Beach power structure: 

Phoebe Lyons. She’s young, smart and will be a truly fresh voice for residents.

I’m supporting Phoebe because as a Boston College grad (Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa), she’ll use her training in economics to approach our City’s budget with fresh eyes. She won’t accept “because that’s how we’ve always done it” as a reason not to make changes to benefit our residents. She will ask insightful questions to reach beneficial conclusions.

I believe that education and intelligence are very important in our civic leaders. Phoebe has both, and has my vote in November.

—Lisa Scalia, Manhattan Beach

Lockdown and race

In a recent Facebook post, Councilwoman Suzanne Hoff Hadley hijacked the message of a BLM and ARMS protest when she wrote:, "...I agree with ARMS and BLM that this pandemic has ravaged black-owned businesses and public schools... those are political decisions in Sacramento with which I strongly disagree." This implies the reason Black and Brown communities are suffering is because of lockdowns meant to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Additionally, the protest was not even about reopening the economy and schools. On Facebook, one of the co-organizers of the protest responded by saying, "conveniently you simply ignored what our march was about... you may not use the ARMS name or the BLM name as supporting your agenda to open up our schools in the midst of this pandemic...".

Hadley's post not only shows disrespect to the ARMS and BLM organizations, but it ignores fundamental issues surrounding racial disparities. Dr. Fenaba Addo, PhD at University of Wisconsin Madison, recently gave a lecture to students at Washington University in St. Louis on the impacts of historically discriminatory public policies on wealth inequality in the US. She talked about how Black and Brown communities are suffering more during this pandemic, not because of lockdowns, but because of systemic racial inequality. The lockdowns and efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 are the reason that White people have noticed these inequalities, not the cause of them.

Emily Angstreich, Manhattan Beach

Support for Burton

As CEO of a company serving hospitals nationwide, I know leaders of talent. I have known Mark Burton since the 7th grade. We attended Loyola High School and were roommates while at LMU. We worked together at a Market Basket to pay our way through college. We’ve been friends for more than 50 years. I know Mark well and there are many things that I know for sure.

First, Mark is honest and will tell you the truth, always. Second, he is an amazingly hard worker. I saw this in school, when we worked together, and when he worked as a City Attorney for Los Angeles. When Mark was on the Manhattan Beach City Council, I saw how he studied all of the issues, knew both sides of those issues and got input from his constituents. He always came to council prepared. Thirdly, Mark is trustworthy. Mark is transparent in his decisions and is not swayed by any special interest. He is not a commercial developer, or paid lobbyist, or actively involved with a political party. While you may not always agree with Mark’s decision, you can never question his motivation. It will always reflect a thoughtful, honest assessment of what he thinks is best for his constituents.

Finally, Mark is a problem solver. He looks at both the short-term and long-term impact of any decision he would make on council. You can trust Mark Burton! I ask you to support Mark Burton for the Manhattan Beach City Council.

—Paul Wafer, Manhattan Beach

Trash bin request

I made a request for a trash receptacle at the end of the 400 block of 28th Street. There are trash containers on 30th Street to 34th Street. I received a flip, dismissive letter from Public Works saying there used to be one (there wasn’t) and that it drew “discarded items, flies and vermin.” I asked why it would attract any more nuisances than the other trash barrels. My request was denied and I wrote to the Planning Department. Their excuse was the other trash barrels were for Sand Dune Park and they don’t install them in “neighborhoods.” The barrels on 33rd and 34th don’t have access to Sand Dune and they are in neighborhoods. Again my reasonable, low cost request to help clean up litter was rejected.

I sent a copy of my correspondence to City Council. Richard Montgomery sided with the rejection with no further information but Suzanne Hadley took my request seriously and sent me a long thoughtful letter explaining the City’s position. She offered to meet with me to better understand my concerns. She spent an hour of her Sunday afternoon walking with me to the site and upon inspection wrote to the Planning Department recommending a trash barrel.

The issue hasn’t been resolved but I was extremely impressed with Suzanne Hadley’s assistance in helping me with a local concern. She is the kind of councilperson we need in Manhattan Beach, working for small town values and if she runs again, she has my vote.

—Victoria Peters, Manhattan Beach

Support for Burton

Mark Burton is the most qualified City Council candidate, particularly as it relates to keeping us safe. When he was the Mayor during his last Council term he initiated:

• The automatic license plate reader security camera program which has become a successful crime fighting tool for the Manhattan Beach Police Department. The police have recovered many stolen cars with occupants who were up to no good because these cameras alerted them to the illegal status of the cars.

• The security camera registration program through which residents and businesses can register the security cameras they have on their property. After an illegal incident occurs, the police can search a data base to see if there were security cameras operating nearby and, by viewing the footage, find clues to help solve the crimes.

• Increased foot patrol presence in various high-profile areas of the city. Just having officers on sight is a proven crime deterrent.

More recently, Mark was a strong voice for keeping the Manhattan Beach Fire Department local, as opposed to having the County assume that function.

Mark knows how to negotiate effectively. As part of his 31-year city attorney career, he received the Los Angeles Police Department’s highest civilian award for his work heading negotiations with the Department of Justice regarding such issues as use of force, community outreach and training.

Mark has many traits that make him the best candidate, but his needed expertise and skills related to public safety set him apart from the others.

—Lynne Gross, Manhattan Beach

Local elections
 
Having lived here for 55 years, I can say that Manhattan Beach is a wonderful place. However, it’s presently at great risk since the residents aren’t paying much attention to local politics. Understood that national politics has much of our attention but our City Council and School Board have great influence on our quality of life. Since most people aren’t voting for those two bodies, things have changed. We have the Good Old Boys controlling things.
 
The City Council has stopped paying attention to residents. Instead they’ve taken to making decisions in private (in violation of the Brown Act). Some members shouldn’t be there because of past and continuing misdeeds including financially enriching themselves at resident expense. 
 
The School Board recently issued another $72 million in bonds, which were placed on negative watch. In the last 5 years Bonds C & EE alone have increased indebtedness by more than $150 million. The MBUSD Superintendent hasn’t responded to my inquiries. 
 
If you receive mailers or ads that aren’t signed by individual residents, please don't pay attention to them. Look for facts, not opinions.
Do pay attention to the local elections. You and your community depend on it. 
 
—Dan Stern, Manhattan Beach

Contact Lisa Jacobs lisa.jacobs@TBRnews.com or follow her on Twitter @lisaannjacobs.

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