Letters

Local management of COVID-19 risks

Just under a year ago, with the advancement of warm spring weather, larger party crowds and the reluctance of people to keep their distance in many places other than the beach, LA County closed our beaches.

That caused people to congregate in even more close spaces. Local officials blatantly sat by and blamed the county.

We are in a challenging moment of our health crisis, yet people still feel the need to find opportunities to congregate close.

The local beach cities need to work in concert with each other to take small temporary actions (limit weekend parking, pier Strand access, etc.), in order to allow our beaches to remain open.

It's my hope that local officials work together. We all can do our share to socialize at a distance, and open back up our outdoor dining/businesses in a responsible way.

—Dean Francois, Hermosa Beach

Hermosa Beach lanes reconfigured

The City of Hermosa Beach continues to move forward to help our businesses, which are struggling because of the COVID-19 restrictions. While the Public Health Orders have prevented outdoor dining for now, we are optimistic that outdoor dining will once again be permitted as more people receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and we continue to take all the necessary precautions to slow the virus’ spread.

At the urging of local businesses in need of more space for outdoor dining, retail and personal services, we launched the Downtown Temporary Lane Reconfiguration Project last week. This temporary project is designed to accommodate expanded space for restaurants’ outdoor dining decks when outdoor dining is again permitted.

The project has temporarily reconfigured lanes on Hermosa Avenue between 8th Street and 14th Street, and on Pier Avenue between Hermosa Avenue and Valley Drive to allow businesses to better utilize public right-of-way under health orders that limit indoor dining and other activities. This is a temporary change in traffic patterns to help our local businesses. We will continue to monitor this new configuration and make adjustments as necessary. City Council committed to maintaining the project for only six months, at which point it will be reevaluated.

We ask the public to join us in supporting our local businesses as they strive to keep their doors open and their employees working during these challenging times. We also ask drivers to obey the law and move aside when ambulances and police and fire vehicles are responding to emergencies.

—Suja Lowenthal, Hermosa Beach city manager 
 
Redondo Beach schools remain closed 

I'm the mom of a [Redondo Beach] first grader. My daughter was full of life, happiness and a desire to learn. That has faded away. I'm left with lots of tears and fights to get her onto Zoom.

The students were to return to school on Jan. 11, then Jan. 19, and now Feb. 1. How will delaying by one, two or three weeks make any dent in lowering the COVID-19 numbers or hospital capacities?

Mr. Witkin was the only member of the board that spoke with numbers/data. Besides him, I do not believe the school board puts childrens' needs first. They are making decisions based on nothing factual. They say they pushed out again because of an order given by the LA County public health department. It was a recommendation to delay until Feb. 1, not a command.

The RB Teachers Association has made it very clear they don't support opening school. They say kids are thriving in their Zoom environments; that is simply not true.

RBUSD has good procedures in place considering its Child Development Center (CDC) has been open since summer with limited issues. CDC charges $1,000 a month. Is that the amount I must pay to send my child back to campus safely? If CDC campuses, are safe, why not open Tk-2? Be the leader of the community and show they can do it safely.

These kids will struggle for years to catch up on their missed education, and the long-lasting social and emotional effects are going to be more than we can comprehend. Here's hoping they don't prolong this again.

—Jenni Endicott, Redondo Beach

 Redondo Beach school board choices
 
[RBUSD] Boardmember Waller voted in support of another pause for in-person learning despite the district showing that an overwhelming majority of the parents would send their kids back. I am not sure why he would ignore parent data indicating that we’d like to go back, but I am certain that many parents are tired of this board ignoring the will of the parents.

We are tired of you kicking the can down the road and not proactively providing solutions to mitigate the problems. We are tired of you doing nothing in return for our patience. We are tired of you prioritizing the Child Development Center over our children. We are tired of you ignoring the fact that our kids are falling behind.

Endless thank-yous to boardmembers Witkin and Serkin who pushed the administration to follow the data and get our kids back in school. Every other school around us has figured it out — while our kids are left behind. This is simply unacceptable and unforgivable.

We need new leadership that will fight endlessly for our children to return safely. We don’t need more of the same. Please vote for Margo Trone and Rolf Stutzenberg for the school board, it's new leadership we can trust.
 
—Candace Nafissi, Redondo Beach
 
Support for candidates Nemeth and Elder

I am writing in support of Rachel Silverman Nemeth and Dan Elder for the Redondo Beach School Board. They have the experience and leadership needed for the position. They've been active in our school community for years and have been endorsed unanimously by the school board. I've seen their dedication to helping our children thrive and know they have what it takes to guide us through these incredibly difficult times. Elections have consequences so I urge everyone to vote yes for Rachel Silverman Nemeth and Dan Elder.

—Timilie Losq, Redondo Beach

 
Redondo Beach student needs
 
I am disappointed in the lack of leadership coming from the Redondo Beach Unified School District. While the vast majority of parents want to send their kids back, so far only boardmembers Witkin and Serkin are the only ones actually listening and following the data. Thank you to both of them.

This continued hand-wringing by the board offers little vision, no hope and clearly no accountability to the parent community. There is no perfect time to send our kids back and continuing to wait and watch our kids fall further behind is damaging and irresponsible. Why has there been only a focus and support for Child Development Center kids who are on campus, while the other students being ignored?

The parent community have been collaborative and patient since the pandemic started:
  1. Participating in surveys and board engagement;
  2. Learning from the available data from school openings across the country and world;
  3. Proactively asking questions to district leadership on their plans and priorities.
With the continued disconnect between the district and the majority of parent community, our patience has run out.

We will work hard to support new leadership that will work with the parent community instead of against it.

I encourage other parents to express their views to the Board directly as it seems only boardmembers Witkin and Serkin are listening. We can't continue like this anymore.
 
—Jens Wessel, Redondo Beach

Support for RB candidate Obagi

I recently read the craziest exchange on Nextdoor with [Redondo Beach] councilmembers Gran and Horvath regarding a dirt patch under the SCE powerlines. My honest take-away from this heated exchange between a few residents and the two of them, is they will go to any level they will go to make a resident feel badly for not knowing something. In a time when accountability is so high, the two of them run so fast from it. I am glad we have a choice this election in March. We got it wrong with Horvath, I hope voters get it right and elect Zein Obagi Jr. to replace Gran. Our neighbors deserve a more positive interaction from our elected officials.  

—Sarah Sheehey, Redondo Beach

Choices in upcoming RB election 

I know no matter who you wanted to win in the national election, the last thing you want to hear about is another election. There is actually an election coming up in March which will have even more impact on our South Bay quality of life. The good news is that this is a mail-in only election, so if you are a registered voter you will receive a ballot in February. You don’t have to leave the safety of your home to vote. Register to vote if you are not already registered, and please complete the ballot immediately and return it in plenty of time to ensure that your vote counts. Many of these local elections are won by razor-thin margins, so every vote actually does matter this time.

I would urge you to vote to re-elect Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand, District 2 Councilmember Todd Loewenstein, and District 1 Councilmember Nils Nehrenheim. If not for their hard work on Measure C and the clear thinking of Bill, Todd and Nils, we would have a partly-built CenterCal monstrosity on our waterfront. How do you think the idea of building a giant movie theater at the Redondo Beach pier would play in the age of COVID-19?

I would also encourage you to vote for a very thoughtful and pragmatic candidate for Redondo Beach School Board, Rolf Curtis Strutzenberg, to help ensure our children can safely return to the classroom as soon as possible. Protect Redondo Beach.

—Roger Light, Redondo Beach 

RBUSD plans for in-person learning

I am disappointed in the lack of leadership coming from the Redondo Beach Unified School District. While the vast majority of parents want to send their kids back, so far only boardmembers Witkin and Serkin are the only ones actually listening and following the data; Thank you to both of these boardmembers.

This continued hand-wringing by the board offers little vision, no hope and clearly no accountability to the parent community. There is no perfect time to send our kids back and continuing to wait and watch our kids fall further behind is damaging. Why has there been only a focus and support for CDC kids who are on campus, why are our voices and students being ignored?
The toll this has taken on children and families is immeasurable and will last for years. We are failing our children and punishing them for the cowardice of the adults in our community.

Following the science would mean acknowledging that children are the least at risk. We have been doing this for almost an entire year with the same disastrous results, when is it time to try a new approach? With the continued disconnect between the district and the majority of parent community, our patience has run out.

I encourage other parents to express their views to the board directly as it seems only Witkin and Serkin are listening. We can't continue like this anymore.

—Ben Bosse, Redondo Beach

Congressman Lieu's time

Once more, as he goes down the rabbit hole of impeachment, I am appalled and ashamed of my Congressman Ted Lieu. He was elected to do the people’s business. There are critical issues that must be focused on: Big Tech censorship, election security and China threats. Instead, he wastes precious time.

Many around the world look to the United States as the beacon of liberty. Yes, they saw the events that culminated in an awful and unlawful entry at our Capitol. But they also witnessed the rioting, looting, and burning that took place all summer long in many cities run by the same type of politician as our Congressman. Is it too much to ask that our politicians look in the mirror and ask themselves, “What can I do to make America better”?

—Janet Vailokaitis, Manhattan Beach

Political expression

RE: "Support for Congressman Lieu," The Beach Reporter, 1/14/21:

In response to Ms. Boysen’s letter last week supporting Ted Lieu allow me a few thoughts of my own: when issuing one’s political opinions and if healing is the desired end, I would think that over-wrought ideological smears on an entire group of voters is not helpful. In fact, it only further “fractures” the American people themselves. To say that all Republicans are to suffer for the few is a bit like saying all Democrats that did not denounce the horrendous destruction in the riots this summer are just as culpable. Both are specious, hypocritical, and both do nothing to bring our country together...and don’t we all need that now?

—Culver Van Buren, Redondo Beach

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

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