Letters
Editor's note:
Typically, the week before an election, we limit letters to ones from candidates themselves. But, as readers didn't get a reminder of our policy this election season, we're including letters both from candidates and from supporters this week.
 
Statement from candidate Elder

I’m running for school board because in the midst of a crisis we need experienced leaders. This pandemic has been devastating to our children and our entire educational community. Reopening schools safely and rapidly requires working as a team. Rachel Silverman Nemeth and I have been a core part of the RBUSD team for years now. That’s why we’re endorsed by so many leaders in the educational community and elected officials.

Our children deserve the best educational experience possible and that requires dedicated servants who know how our school district operates. As chair of the Bond Oversight Committee, I understand our budget and how to be fiscally responsible with taxpayer funds. Serving on two School Site Councils has taught me how our schools work from the inside. PTA Executive Board showed me how to bring the entire education community together for our children. As chair of the Planning Commission I learned how to balance competing interests and find pragmatic solutions.

With your votes, Rachel and I will ensure all our children thrive. Learn more about us at rd4rb.org

—Dan Elder, Redondo Beach
 
Statement from candidate Isaacs
 
My name is Kimberlee Isaacs and I’m running for the Redondo Beach School Board and I want our school system to continue to be a source of excellence and pride for our community. I am writing today because I believe anything that seeks to block the sharing of ideas should be resisted. During this campaign I've seen the implications of attempts to discount my experience as a Black woman. The lack of understanding of the value of my perspective perfectly illustrates what is currently missing on our school board. If we are truly on a path to excellence, all children must be prepared to navigate the diverse world that is today’s America.  
 
As we make this shift from COVID-19 and rethink health and safety, we must also address diversity, equity and inclusion. As the proud parent of a teenage son at Redondo Union, I am currently working on the Race and Equity Committee to ensure that diversity is respected and valued. It is vitally important to the health, security and strength of our community.
 
On the Redondo School Board, I will continue to support the open discussion of ideas, as well as consideration of all options and opinions. I will be guided by what we, together, find best for the Redondo community - inspired teachers, thriving students, and positive community discourse.
 
I thank you for your support and look forward to serving our community on the 2021 School Board as its first Black American.
 
 --Kimberlee Isaacs

Support for Webb in Redondo Beach

I've known Mike Webb since 2004 when he was the Redondo Beach city prosecutor. I supported Mike for city attorney in 2005, and now support him once again for re-election. Mike ran unopposed two previous times for the plain and simple reason that he's been recognized as doing a good job.

One time when I was chair of the Redondo Beach preservation commission, Mike advised me that I had come close to violating the California Open Meetings (Brown) Act. Mike then personally addressed the entire commission, explaining how to comply with the Act. His advice was right on, but it was up to us commissioners to follow that advice.

The same applies to Mike and the city council; Mike gives excellent legal advice but he does not have the power to make the council follow that advice.

So don't fall for any of that negative campaigning bunk that's been trying to disparage or discredit Mike. He's a good guy and an excellent city attorney. Visit webb4rb.com for a list of others who support Mike.

—Andrew Lesser, M.D., Redondo Beach

In favor of candidate Gran

I am writing in support of John Gran for a second term on city council to represent District 4 in Redondo Beach. If you look at John’s website (JohnGran.com) you can see the many public service activities he has engaged in over the years: Budget and Finance Commission, Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Redondo, Neighborhood Block Captain. He has attended our block parties in past years to talk one-on-one with the neighbors and see what our concerns are. I believe John’s experience and knowledge of our city’s issues are important in continuing to move our city forward and that he will thoughtfully consider the issues to cast his vote for the best option for our city and for District 4. I encourage everyone to return their ballots and make their voices heard in our city elections.

—Corinne Sanchez, Redondo Beach

Supporting candidate Silverman Nemeth 

My wife Kyoko and I share our enthusiastic support for Rachel Silverman Nemeth for the Redondo Beach school board. Redondo Beach is so fortunate to have a candidate of her caliber and dedication. Rachel’s commitment to public schools goes far beyond the interests of her own children; she cares deeply about the quality of education for all students, and will advocate fairly and passionately for students, families, teachers and administrators. She is dedicated to maintaining our schools’ educational excellence.

We have had the good fortune to be friends of Rachel and her family for the past 10 years and know her to be an excellent listener who fully considers options before making important decisions. We have seen Rachel work to maintain relationships with teachers and administrators. We believe she will be a voice of reason and serve as a unifier among the students, parents, educators, staff, and administrators. Rachel is a wonderful parent who has dedicated herself to excellence in our school district. She does not come with an agenda, but rather a pledge to listen to the needs of all stakeholders in the school district and to act upon those interests.

Please return your ballot before March 2 and vote for Silverman Nemeth.

—Mike Copnall, Redondo Beach

RB school board candidates

As the former president of the Redondo Beach Board of Education and someone with decades of experience advocating for our children, I’m voting for Rachel Silverman Nemeth and Dan Elder for school board. Serving on the Board of Education takes dedication, experience, and years of educational community engagement to really understand how our schools are run. Rachel and Dan have invested their time and energy into our schools for years and are ready to handle the challenging task of safely reopening schools so we can recover from the effects of the pandemic. We’re facing incredibly complex issues and need leaders who know how to navigate the complexities of education and build partnerships with all the groups needed for our schools to run smoothly so our children can receive the best education possible.

Silverman Nemeth and Elder are my choice to serve on the board and if you care about our children and our schools, they should be yours as well. You can learn more about why they’re so widely supported at rd4rb.org.

—Anita Avrick, Redondo Beach

Supporing candidate Obagi

I encourage all registered voters in Redondo Beach’s District 4 to mark your ballots for Zein Obagi and return your ballot as soon as possible. If Zein is elected, and Councilmen Loewenstein, Nehrenheim and Mayor Brand are re-elected, Redondo Beach will finally have a majority on the city council that believe in measured and reasonable growth rather than supersized overdevelopment.

Zein is a long time Redondo resident and litigator that has long fought to protect our city from overdevelopment. He worked to help shut down the AES power plant and to ensure that no new power plant would ever be permitted on the Redondo Beach coastline. The current obstructionist mentality on the city council has resulted in the continuing disaster that is the Artesia Blvd corridor and free rein for developers.

Zein’s opponent was subject to a recall petition that garnered almost twice as many signatures as he received votes in the last election. This recall was led by our local fire department staff due to the current District 4 councilman’s reversal of his decision to fund a study to determine how to improve our fire departments efficiency. Apparently, he preferred to maintain the status quo of overpaid and underqualified bureaucrats.

If you think a gigantic mall with a movie theatre and a five-story parking garage on our waterfront was a great idea, by all means vote for re-electing the District 4 councilman. Otherwise, the choice is a no brainer. Vote for Obagi.

—Roger Light, Redondo Beach

Preference for Silverman Nemeth and Elder

I want all our kids to succeed, that’s why I’m voting for Rachel Silverman Nemeth and Dan Elder for the Redondo Beach School Board. As a parent who’s been deeply involved in our schools, I’ve seen how hard they work to bring our entire school community together and rally them for our kids. They’ve earned the trust of so many parents and community members like me because it’s clear how much they care about all our kids and towards improving our schools.

It takes time to build relationships between so many members of the educational team. Administrators, teachers, PTA, RBEF, parents, staff, and many others need to work together towards a common goal and it takes real leadership to make that happen. Rachel and Dan have been long-term partners in education and are willing to step up and serve. Learn more about them at rd4rb.org and please join me in voting for them.

—Sondi Kroeger Foley, Redondo Beach

Support for Elder and Silverman Nemeth

The quality of education provided by the Redondo Beach Unified School District is something that matters deeply to me. I have spent the last eight years, along with my colleagues on the Board of Education, doing my best to keep that quality high. Redondo Beach residents are fortunate to have Rachel Silverman Nemeth and Dan Elder running for the board to maintain and improve on this excellence.

I have known Rachel for many years as our children attended district schools together. Rachel has served on several School Site Councils. As a family law attorney, she is well-versed in advocating for families with school-aged children. I am confident she will use her experience as a positive influence while on the board.

Dan is also a long-time supporter of our community having provided leadership as the chair of both the RBUSD Bond Oversight Committee and the Redondo Beach Planning Commission, along with several School Site Councils. His experience in technology will be a particular asset to the school board.

Rachel and Dan will bring their knowledge, vision, expertise, and dedication to benefit our public schools. They are well organized, great communicators, and practical thinkers who follow through on commitments. Rachel and Dan will make excellent members of the Board of Education.

I urge you to mail in your ballots by March 2 and vote for Silverman Nemeth and Elder.

—Michael Christensen, Redondo Beach

Thankful for volunteers

In response to Lucas Commiso's letter in the Jan 28, 2021 issue of The Beach Reporter titled, "Ongoing need for volunteers:" I would like to urge every parent to provide this letter to their children to teach them many of values mentioned. I have lived in Manhattan Beach since 1971 (yes, I am a local). 

In that same Jan. 28 issue, Paul Silva's column "Hope gets a shot in the arm," was great. Recalling his 89-year-old father going to the Forum to his vaccine was very heartwarming. It reminded me in 1970 when I was a reading volunteer at Robinson Elementary School. Thank you to all first responders for taking the time to volunteer.

—Jeanne Bantis, Manhattan Beach

School in-person versus Zoom 

I am a 7th grader at Manhattan Beach Middle School. I am writing to talk about why I think we should be able to go back to school. It is not healthy to keep all of us in our houses on Zoom calls all day.

To start, it is affecting our education. Many of us are having a difficult time learning online. The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine even said, “Young children in particular will be impacted by not having in-person learning and may suffer long-term academic consequences if they fall behind as a result.” This clearly shows that learning online is not good for us.

In addition, we wouldn’t be at a very high risk to catch the coronavirus. The CDC has said that fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 than adults and that most children with the virus have little to no symptoms. They also recently announced that teachers do not need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to open schools safely. Therefore, there is very little safety risk in opening schools.

—Matthew Chang, Manhattan Beach

Support for Bruce's Beach park

Concerning the future of Bruce's Beach park, I couldn't disagree more with Christopher O'Brien's letter, "Future of Bruce's Beach park," The Beach Reporter, 2/18/21.

Bruce's Beach is not a monument to white supremacy, as he states, but a lovely green space in the midst of a very crowded Manhattan Beach. I often see many people enjoying this space. It's a very relaxing, wide-open area that overlooks a crowded beach.

And I really would like to know just how many people actually question what a green space is doing in the midst of all the houses surrounding it. Most people, I believe, are just grateful to have that green space be part of our community. I have lived here for 16 years and have never heard that question.

The very last thing we should do is develop that small, but very peaceful, piece of land.

—Judi Alves, Manhattan Beach

An idea for Bruce's Beach legacy

Well, February is Black History Month. There are so many great Black Americans to celebrate. In some respects, Manhattan Beach should be proud of and honor Willa and Charles Bruce, pioneering entrepreneurs who opened and operated a successful resort for Black people in the 1920s.

Unfortunately, the story of Willa and Charles Bruce in Manhattan Beach ended despicably with our city council of almost 100 years ago using eminent domain as a pretense to take their beachfront property.

In the near future, our council's Bruce's Beach Task Force will be presenting recommendations for a plaque and the accurate wording for the history of Bruce's Beach. Isn't a shame if that's all we do as a community?

I think we can, and should do more. My recommendation is that the City endow several scholarships for Black students who are graduating from El Camino College to attend four year colleges in the name of Willa and Charles Bruce. And, I think, give preference to Black students who graduate from MCHS and major in business. After all, Willa and Charles Bruce were business owners and operators.

Higher educational opportunities are the most effective means to end the cycle of poverty. Over time, I think it would be great to have dozens of Willa and Charles Bruce scholars who graduated from college to obtain advanced degrees. Now, I think that would make a difference and truly honor the Bruce Family.

—Mark Burton, Manhattan Beach

Shout-out to car wash staff

I’m giving a shout-out to the employees at the Hollywood Riviera Car Wash for their integrity and honesty. On Feb. 17, they found $300 cash in my car and returned it to me. It belonged to my 97-year-old Mom. Two days prior, I had gotten the cash from her bank and handed it to her in the car, neither of us realizing that the bundle of bills slipped off her lap. Having that amount of cash found and given back to us, especially in these financially difficult times, caused our hearts to swell with gratitude, and renewed our belief in people’s basic goodness.

I’ll be going to Hollywood Riviera Car Wash exclusively for my car washes and will generously tip their fine employees. I hope you will do the same.

—Cheryl Tchir, Redondo Beach

Kids and e-bikes

So you got the kids e-bikes for Christmas this past year and you're pretty sure your kids are the most responsible on the planet. Those kids would never tear down Crest and blow across the intersections without at least slowing to look for auto traffic, right? Well, mom and dad, I have news for you. I walk to the Von's store or post office regularly and it's frightening to see those kids — no helmets, one of their friends on the back — coming down Crest and shooting across 3rd Street while talking with one another and nary so much as a glance in either direction. I'm not sure how fast one of those bikes travels but I'd guess 25 miles per hour at least.

I watched one boy who was looking at his smartphone while approaching 3rd Street at full speed. He didn't look up from his phone. I stood to watch as he continued down Crest and did that same thing at 2nd Street.

To be fair, during my last trip from the post office, I watched as two e-bikes, double occupancy, blew across 9th Street and Crest without looking while a third bike – ridden by a boy with a helmet — slowed and looked left for traffic.

Imagine being in your car and hitting, or being hit by one of those kids. You and I would feel terrible even when not at fault. Have a chat with your kids. It could save us all a lot of grief.

—Reggie Kenner, Manhattan Beach

Bruce's Beach compensation

"Future of Bruce's Beach park," The Beach Reporter, 2/18/21

I guess my letter about using the Bruce's Beach "park" land to find some justice for the victims touched a nerve. I've heard from a lot of people - pro and con - about my ideas to develop a portion or all of the land, to try to address the "park" and its origin as an act of white supremacy, and to compensate the Bruce family and others whose property was stolen in the 1920s because they were black.

To those who say they love this awful little "park" I ask: Do you know which other block in the city would look good if we took it by imminent domain, flattened the houses and put in some trees and grass? Your block. And your house. We'd all love the open space. Who wouldn't?

But that would be wrong. Not as wrong as what was done to the Bruce family. Because they were driven out solely because of the color of their skin. And undercompensated. And restricted from buying elsewhere in Manhattan Beach. But you'd still be the victim of a wrong, and I'd fight to prevent it. I bet you'd do the same for me. And it wouldn't matter that some folks might like the open space.

This dreadful, slopey, underused "park" is a monument to racial hatred. It ONLY exists because white supremacists won in 1924. Are we willing to let them win again, in 2021?

—Christopher O'Brien, Manhattan Beach

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

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