Editor’s note: Letters this week are limited to candidates 250-word statements; there are no letters printed in support of candidates.
Phoebe Lyons, MB City Council candidate
I'm Phoebe Lyons. I'm a lifelong resident of Manhattan Beach. I graduated from Mira Costa High School in 2015 then attended Boston College, where I studied economics and music. Following graduation, I began working in non-profit fundraising at LA Opera. My academic and professional experience has taught me communication, critical thinking, and creative problem solving; these skills would contribute to my effectiveness on council. I will ask purposeful questions. include new perspectives, and start meaningful conversations in order to reach conclusions that benefit our whole community.
We all know that Manhattan Beach is a wonderful place and our goal is to make it even better. As the youngest candidate in the race and a lifetime resident, I have a unique combination of decades living in MB and fresh ideas.
Our council currently has some members who have served our town for many years. As I continue to say, experience is valuable, but diversity of experience is better. It leads to more full and well-rounded conversations, includes more perspectives and leads to more effective solutions.
Now in our changing world, creative solutions are necessary for our daily lives. This is the perfect time to bring a fresh voice to city council. I am the best person to be that fresh voice.
—Phoebe Lyons, Manhattan Beach
Grettel Fournell, MB City Council candidate
I care about Manhattan Beach and want to be part of its future; ensuring that it continues to be a safe place to live with a healthy environment and strong schools, a great place to grow old, and that it retains its small town character.
Why should you vote for me?
I won’t make decisions based solely on input from those who supported me; as a city councilmember my job will be to represent the entire community. I’ll consider public input, council discussion and as a mother of 4 children, use good old-fashioned mom-sense.
Through both my professional life as a financials management consultant and decades of volunteering, I’ve learned to work with people from different backgrounds and opinions. I’m a leader and consensus builder who will bring a positive, balancing force to the Council to bring the community together to get things done.
I have the support of current Councilmembers Nancy Hersman, Hildy Stern and former Mayors Portia Cohen, David Lesser, Wayne Powell, and Amy Howorth. The entire MBUSD School Board and many former School Board members also support me, as well as the Manhattan Beach Firefighters Association. Most importantly to me, countless residents have endorsed me. See my website, www.grettelfournell.com for more information.
I was raised to do the most good for the most people and now I want to do the most good for all of the residents of Manhattan Beach. I would be honored to serve as your Councilmember.
—Grettel Fournell, Manhattan Beach
Chaz Flemmings, MB City Council candidate
I'm Chaz Flemmings, Your candidate for the Manhattan Beach City Council.
I'm persistent, consistent, yet optimistic about establishing a relationship and building a conversation about quality of life and retention for residents and local businesses. I support government transparency and bringing together our community in solutions for our future as the best beach city!
We have some hard work ahead understanding to have, and a community effort to build in dealing with the issues we will conquer. I commit to this effort as these are the reasons I'm running. Give me a chance to show you how we can be the change. We are stronger together and I can't wait to work together as we learn together.
This election reflects our need to succeed, we cannot stand idly by and the buck stops here.
When it comes to the Bruce’s Beach petition, I signed in sponsor of the exchange being established with transparency and allowing our City Council to approach the subject within their power. Today, we’ve created an equity-based Bruce's Beach Task Force to recognize all affected during that time along with the Bruce Family but giving knowledge that positive change for involving a community can happen, especially in numbers. Reparations are about representation, recognition, respect, and community partnerships. We are stronger together from this topic as it should not divide us if there should be no adversity to diversity. Diversity includes point-of-view, race, sex, religion and culture.
—Chaz Flemmings, Manhattan Beach
Mark Burton, MB City Council candidate
My wife, Dickie and I feel blessed to call Manhattan Beach our home. We raised our four children here and love living in Manhattan Beach. To me, Manhattan Beach is one of the best cities in these United States to live, raise your family and successfully age.
As a longtime advocate for our residents, I believe that I have proven worthy of your trust and your vote. I pledge to conduct city business in an honest and forthright manner, beholden only to the residents of our great city.
If elected, you can trust that keeping our community safe will be my top priority with the goal of making Manhattan Beach the safest beach city in California. You can trust that I will protect our precious environment. You can trust that I will assert appropriate local control to protect our residential character. And, you can trust that I will support transparency and open government.
As a former Councilmember and City Attorney, I truly believe I am the most qualified candidate with a particular skill-set that will greatly complement the existing Councilmembers. We face challenging times and we cannot afford the luxury of a learning curve. I am ready to assume Council duties and responsibilities the day I am sworn in.
Expertise and strong leadership combined with good common-sense judgment is my value added to the next Council.
I am #1 on the ballot, seeking one of three seats and I humbly ask for your first vote. Please Vote Mark Burton.
—Mark Burton, Manhattan Beach
Jason Boxer, MBUSD board candidate
I want to take a moment to express my gratitude for the generosity you’ve shown me in this year’s School Board race.
Manhattan Beach has molded me into the person I am today, through skinned knees in MBYB games, driving lessons in the Northrop Grumman parking lot, and a final walk across Waller Field in a green robe to shake hands with Dr. Dale.
I have been able to build an even deeper relationship with my hometown as of late, however, and I owe this good fortune to you.
I have spent the last months brainstorming with you about our schools, listening to you with great care, and doing my best to champion the solutions we have devised together.
I have been vocal about the importance of my classroom experience as a unique factor in this race - I am the only candidate whose chosen profession is education. I hope this message has come across with another equally important assertion, however: that this teaching experience makes me an excellent complement to any of the other three candidates.
We can have an educator in the room alongside the fundraising and professional experience already represented on the board, and our students will be better off precisely because their School Board members bring such diverse skill sets to the table.
I’ve been proud to work alongside you all during this campaign, and I would be immensely proud to continue in that collaborative spirit on our School Board.
—Jason Boxer, Manhattan Beach
Heather de Roos, MBUSD board candidate
In these final days before November 3, I encourage all Manhattan Beach voters, who haven’t voted already, to vote for me, Heather de Roos, for MB School Board. Why vote for me over the three other candidates?
Most Experienced Person for the Job – No other candidate has the Board experience I have managing a budget MBUSD's size and hiring senior leaders. In addition, I also have 10 years of experience in leadership positions in MB schools, 20 years of professional management experience in HR, Consulting and Retail Management and an MBA and a Math Degree.
Personal Stake in MBUSD’s Success – I will fight to swiftly and safely return my son to school on campus. I will be dedicated to making our schools the best they can be academically and socially for your family and mine.
Proven Partner– We will face tough challenges with the budget and more these next several years, and we will need to work together to overcome these challenges. I have a proven track record of representing parents, teachers and community interests in our schools these past ten years. I will be responsive to your concerns and partner with you on our toughest challenges.
Still undecided? Call me at 310-480-8005, email me at heather.deroos@yahoo or check out my website, heatherderoos2020.com. Happy to answer any questions you may have about my run for MB School Board. I look forward to representing you. Vote Heather for MB School Board!
—Heather de Roos, Manhattan Beach
Limiting spread of COVID-19
Time to dig deeper. We are heading into uncharted waters with COVID cases rising at accelerating rates across the country and the world. And it is now complicated by our collective pandemic fatigue, aching for normalcy, strains on mental health, and discouragement that cases are once again rising after our hard-earned progress to control and isolate the spread.
Now we face the seasonal shifts that will only make it more challenging to reboot our resolve to stay the course and see this once-in-a-generation global threat all the way through to the end. This is a marathon. We still have some tough miles yet to go. This is not forever. It is also not all or nothing, however it does require mass cooperation.
Please do everything you possibly can to play your role in our collective efforts to save lives, education, and small businesses everywhere. Stay smart. Find joy. Support one another. This is certainly doable. You know what to do. United as a human family — digging deeper.
—Mary Campbell, mayor of Hermosa Beach
Bruces's Beach solution
Imagine that in 1920 the engineer of the city of Manhattan Beach intentionally designed the pier to collapse. And this year it did, and it crushed your child's spine, robbing her of the ability to walk for life. You go to the city council and ask for recompense for her treatment, pain and suffering, and a lifetime of lost earnings. The council replies: "Oh, there won't be any money, but we'd like to erect a really nice plaque!"
Would that be fair? Of course it wouldn't. And a really nice plaque on Bruce's Beach wouldn't be fair either.
Many of us who live in Manhattan Beach think a plaque would be the equivalent of doing next to nothing about Bruce's Beach. Luckily, the land sits empty, one of the worst parks you've ever seen, and maybe the lowest use of beachfront real estate in Southern California. The white supremacists of 1920 gave the citizens of 2020 a gift: they left the land unused. A solution that could address the moral crime of Bruce's Beach, educate future generations of the city and, yes, provide fair compensation for the victims of that crime is at hand. It's the land. What's fair for your (imaginary) daughter harmed by the city is fair for the (real) daughters and sons of the Bruce family.
We can't undo what the racists of 1920 did in the name of our town. But what we do now — or don't do — will be on us.
—Christopher O'Brien, Manhattan Beach
Validity of election results
The greatest crime against our democracy is convincing the American voter that our elections are rigged, and their results illegitimate. Millions of Americans still trust President Trump and believe him when he says that the election on November 3rd will not be fair unless he is declared the winner because of so called fraudulent mail-in ballots.
The death to our democracy comes when voters cease to recognize the legitimacy of candidates who win elections. The President’s clarion call attacking the capacity of our 50 states to hold fair elections is the false message that our most ardent adversaries would disseminate among the America electorate.
In this election, no single issue matters so much as the preservation of our democracy. Any candidate who undermines the democratic process by falsely claiming that our elections are fraudulent solely to serve their own political ends should never be considered qualified for office. Will Americans this November defend their own vote as sacrosanct by rejecting the lies about the invalidity of the election? Come November, the resiliency of our democracy and the acumen of the American voter will face the ultimate test. Can America differentiate patriot from traitor? Have our fellow citizens lost faith in their own democracy to such a degree that they would turn to a candidate for President to lead them who denigrates our elections? Assuming you are one to believe in the election results, the answer will be revealed on November 3rd.
—Robert Goldberg, Manhattan Beach