Grettel Fournell introduction
I’m Grettel Fournell and I’m running for Manhattan Beach City Council. My husband, Bill, is not seeking re-election after 13 years on the MBUSD School Board. For almost 30 years I have committed myself to public service in Manhattan Beach serving in leadership with Sandpipers, scouting, Manhattan Beach Sister City Association, and the PTAs of Grandview, MBMS, and Mira Costa while our four children attended the schools.
For nearly 20 years, I was a management consultant for Ernst and Young, designing and implementing budget and financial systems and advising on how to improve business and customer service processes. My degree is in management information systems and mathematics.
I’m committed to protecting and preserving Manhattan Beach for generations to come so that it will continue to be a great place to live, work and raise a family. Clean beaches, small town charm, excellent public schools, safe streets. I’ll focus on financial stability, our environment, our partnership with MBUSD, responsible growth and development, and public safety for all. Please visit grettelfournell.com for more information.
Given that there are changes in how we vote in November, our city should take steps to mitigate confusion and ensure optimal voter turnout. I’m asking Councilmembers to add additional Dial-a-Ride service and staff to assist our older adults and others with casting their ballots.
I look forward to meeting as many of you as is safely possible! I would be honored to receive one of your three votes on November 3rd.
—Grettel Fournell, Manhattan Beach
In his recent online event, Mayor Brand announced a new public shower had been installed near the hand boat launch in our Harbor.
He quipped excitedly that “Harbor revitalization had begun!” Seriously, is that our plan for Harbor revitalization: a shower?
The Mayor also said in that same meeting that he “loves developers.” So, Mr. Mayor, where are the development plans you promised the citizens for our Harbor and Pier area?
Do you have a vision for the area beyond the divestiture, dilapidation and austerity that we now have? Our quality of life is suffering. Redondo Beach citizens deserve better.
—Maggie Healy, Redondo Beach
The Manhattan Beach City Council feels a need to “make amends” for the apparent racist motives that lay behind the creation of Bruce’s Park.
Is it healthy to believe that a great grandchild should be responsible for the misdeeds of a great grandparent? Is it good for the human future that we continue to nourish the belief that belonging to a racial group is an important form of family? Only with a diminishment of individual responsibility can we hold that an obligation to a racial “family” is forever.
Making the 35,000 citizens of Manhattan Beach pay for the possible racial sins of early city officials may salve the feelings of those continuing to believe that race is important, it also extends the ills of race-based thinking that we are hoping to end.
—Don Spencer, Manhattan Beach
E-bikes in Hermosa
In response to Aug. 20 Beach Reporter article, "E-bikes sales and usage see huge beach city pandemic surge" stating Hermosa Beach does not allow e-bikes on its Strand or Pier Plaza with the electric power in use. According to city's spokeswoman, Laura Mecoy:“The speed limit on the strand is 8 mph, so police officers actually look at speed for e-bikes and regular bikes."
Is Laura Mecoy disillusioned?
As far as I can determine very few if any e-bikes, e-boards, and e-scooters travel under 8 miles per hour. They are increasing in numbers, and travel at dangerously high speeds.
How about the walk-only warning lights and signs near the pier area? Many riders continue cruising even when police officers are present.
The situation is getting worse and enforcement is needed, not just spoken.
—Ed Skebe, Hermosa Beach
No consensus on Bruce's Beach
In the Aug. 27 article, "Community wants to ensure Bruce's Beach task force is more than just a token gesture," The Beach Reporter states that “the community of Manhattan Beach is demanding concrete steps such as restitution for the Bruce descendants” to solve the Bruce’s Beach situation. There is lots of discussion and opinion about the city’s involvement being voiced by well-meaning individuals, but there is absolutely no basis for reporting the community is of one mind on resolving this issue.
Most agree the Bruces were treated unfairly a century ago, however the ideas on addressing the situation are expanding far beyond anything that the city council or any other entity can handle. The city should not accept any financial liability whatsoever in this situation without the full support of the entire community. Individuals pushing for a financial settlement by the city may have political correctness on their side, however the overriding need to be politically correct has suppressed debate on an important issue here.
It’s not whether the Bruces were wronged, it’s whether this municipality should or even can take on financial liability to right historical injustices. Unless someone can find a basis for such actions in the city’s charter or policies, it’s going to be very difficult to justify the city’s involvement without majority support. One false step in this direction may create significant unintended consequences.
We should all try to remember that in situations like this, the best possible solution usually has all parties walking away unhappy with the outcome. We need closure now in this situation utilizing realistic alternatives.
—Duke Chenoweth, Manhattan Beach
Bruce's Beach and generational wealth
In thinking about the Bruce family and Bruce's Beach several questions arose in my mind:
1. What percentage of families who owned Manhattan beach property in the 1920's maintained continuous ownership and thus benefited from the 100-year increase in property values? I would guess the answer is very few, if any.
2. Oceanside resorts and businesses are notoriously risky. Just since we moved here in 1955 I have seen multiple Strand-side businesses in Manhattan and Hermosa Beach fail. What is to say that Bruce's Beach Resort would have survived the Great Depression, WWII, and many other economic challenges and remained profitable and valuable?
3. "Generational wealth" is not guaranteed. Many families experience diminished wealth over the generations as offspring launch unsuccessful enterprises or just lose interest and move on. How can we assume the Bruce family would have prospered in parallel with rising property values?
4. One of the Bruce Family advocates is demanding "punitive damages" for historical racism. Who is to be punished? Shouldn't there be a sort of "generational statute of limitations" for punishing the actions of people 100 years ago?
I deeply abhor racism, both the virulent and active forms of yesteryear and the more covert but still present forms of the present. But the subject of reparations cannot rest on unrealistic and economically unlikely assumptions about what might have happened over the span of a century.
—Gregory Miller, Manhattan Beach
Bruce's Beach and elections
Incumbent City Councilmembers Richard Montgomery and Steve Napolitano, along with the other members of the Manhattan Beach City Council should be removed. While the city faces the challenges of an effective COVID-19 strategy and an equitable resolution to the Bruce’s Beach restitution, the Council has focused its efforts on ensuring new artwork comes to the city.
In the COVID-19 situation, barely 300 citations have been issued, while well over 2,000 masks were provided, but with no citations issued, meaning that violators have almost a 90% chance of not being cited. The City Council has abdicated its responsibilities, ignoring the very possibility that a super-spreader is virtually immune to any repercussions for ignoring the mask ordinance.
The City Council has chosen to slow-walk the Bruce's Beach restitution via a task force, simply to not impact re-election bids of Mayor Montgomery or Councilmember Napolitano. Residents may recall that Mayor Montgomery vocally opposed any sort of memorial at the appropriated land. The recent protest march which provided a clear and compelling case, highlighting the racism in Manhattan Beach years ago was not attended by any of our elected officials; a missed opportunity to truly understand the justified anger that exists within and around this city.
City Council, do the right thing! Return the land to the Bruce Family. Perhaps make a deal that if they decide to sell the land to a developer (a great opportunity to build affordable and/or Section 8 housing), the city can contract for 10% of the proceeds.
—Dennis Fitzgerald, Manhattan Beach
Editor's note: The Aug. 29 Bruce's Beach protest was not publicized prior to the event, even to members of the City Council.
Short-term rental ban
Short-term rentals (STRs - Airbnb et al) are the antithesis of the family-oriented character of Manhattan Beach that drew many residents to live here. STRs in residences near the beach (in the coastal zone), with their propensity for use as party-houses, exemplify this detraction in the extreme.
A judge’s recent, ill-considered ruling striking down Manhattan Beach’s STR ban in the coastal zone must be appealed by the city! Our city council is addressing whether to appeal this ruling in closed session at the end of their September 1 meeting. Since my letter will appear after this appeal decision has been made, I can only hope that our council did the right thing for our residents and voted to appeal this judgement. There should be adequate grounds for a successful appeal, since Hermosa Beach has successfully prevailed in a similar lawsuit challenging its STR ban.
Regardless the outcome of the council vote, the votes of each council member and the reason for their vote must be made public, so Manhattan Beach residents can see how their elected officials are representing their interests in this important matter.
Furthermore, our city attorney should explain to the residents why, being a contract attorney for a coastal city, he was not more knowledgeable about such coastal zone issues in drafting our STR ban ordinance. Since Hermosa Beach successfully withstood a challenge to their STR ban in court, perhaps we should replace our contract attorney with theirs.
—Paul Beswick, Manhattan Beach
Support for Lyons
Growing up in Manhattan Beach, I didn’t really pay attention to politics. City Council didn’t feel relevant to my life, and I never even thought about getting into City government.
Even after graduating from Mira Costa in 2015 and as a nursing student at West Coast University, politics didn’t interest me.
Then, I heard that a former classmate of mine from Mira Costa, Phoebe Lyons, is running for Manhattan Beach City Council. I never thought that someone my age, who I went to school with for years, would do something like that. It actually made me excited about an aspect of politics—something I didn’t really think was possible.
Phoebe and I went to Grand View together and then Manhattan Beach Middle School and then Mira Costa. I know that she’s smart, driven, and passionate. I know that she will bring those traits to City Council and that she is totally capable of getting young people like me excited and inspiring them to get involved with this City.
Phoebe grew up in Manhattan Beach, and now she wants to use her skills to make her hometown even better. I believe in Phoebe Lyons.
—Hannah Perch, Manhattan Beach