Editor’s note: The Beach Reporter welcomes letters regarding candidates and issues for the upcoming November 2020 election. Letters will be printed on a space available basis. We will not print personal character attacks or comments that may be libelous and we limit letters from organized letter writing campaigns. Our Oct. 22 issue is the last opportunity for letters supporting candidates (Oct. 19 deadline). Our Oct. 29 issue is reserved for 250-word statements from the candidates themselves.
Appreciation for first responders
I'm a 9th grade Girl Scout asking for you to show your support and appreciation to our first responders and military, from the safety of your home. There are more than 1.3 million first responders and active military service members in the U.S. It only takes a few minutes to write a letter but it means so much to the people who receive them. There are other ways you can show your appreciation, such as creating a scarf or paracord bracelet. To see all the ways you can give back visit Operation Gratitude at operationgratitude.com. Thank you for caring about others, especially in these difficult times.
—Lily B., Manhattan Beach
Paying with a credit card
After eating breakfast at Scotty’s this morning and received our bill we noticed a charge for a credit card fee. No one asked us if we were paying by a credit card. We paid cash. How is this legal? Have I missed something about this being a standard practice now? The manager said it was.
Does this go on at other local restaurants? Thanks for any help regarding this practice.
Support for candidate Graves
I am writing to show my support for Cathey Graves for Manhattan Beach School Board. I believe Cathey is extraordinarily qualified for the position and would be a tremendous addition to the board. The issues facing education and MBUSD are complex and the need for qualified leadership has never been more important than now.
I have seen firsthand the time and effort Cathey devotes to the schools to ensure the best experience for all students. In her position as Vice President of Health and Wellness at Mira Costa and her role on the District Social Emotional Learning Committee, she continually looks for ways to support students and teachers to create a healthy and safe learning environment.
Working with Cathey on numerous committees, I have seen her experience and leadership take multiple programs to new levels. Under her guidance as the District Advisory Council president, Cathey helped spearhead our district’s National Green Ribbon Award and then formed a District-wide Green Committee to ensure these efforts continued to grow. She also helped form a Communications Committee with representatives from each school site to promote consistency of messaging and unity within the district.
With important issues ranging from public education funding, social emotional wellness, and equity at the forefront, we need leaders who have experience. Cathey’s involvement as a parent and leader in nearly every aspect of the district’s programs and advocacy make her uniquely qualified to lead our schools during this difficult environment. Please join me in voting for Cathey Graves.
—Kathy Crawford, Manhattan Beach
Manhattan Beach council candidates
Amy Howorth recently wrote a letter ("Upcoming MB council election," The Beach Reporter, 9/17/20), endorsing three candidates for the Manhattan Beach City Council. Amy is, as I am, a two-term former mayor and member of the city council. While Amy and I do not agree on everything politically, we both agree that Richard Montgomery and Steve Napolitano should be reelected.
The third one is where we differ. I believe that Joe Franklin would make a great councilman.
He strongly supports our police and fire departments. Our police department is recognized among law enforcement professionals as one of the finest in Southern California. Joe volunteered for the program that placed the signs you see all over the city supporting the MBPD and MBFD.
Joe has been involved in the city in many ways for years including supporting the schools, coaching, being a city commissioner, etc. The one issue where he clearly differs from all other non-incumbent candidates is the Bruce’s Beach issue. He is clear that he does not believe current Manhattan Beach residents should pay for what happened one hundred years ago. Three of the other non-incumbent candidates signed the petition demanding the Bruce family be given the land back, be paid restitutions, and the city change the “current racial intolerant climate in the city as a whole.” The fourth non-incumbent candidate says she is against reparations but “open and receptive to other forms of restitution.”
The dictionary says synonyms for “restitution” include “reparations” and “payments.” Confusing? Please consider voting for Joe Franklin for city council.
—Russ Lesser, Manhattan Beach
There’s a tension between the residents and special interests in Manhattan Beach. The easy path for politicians is to go with the special interests and assure themselves re-election. The harder route is to be a leader, air issues openly, find common ground.
Lately, the city council has been taking the political path. When they considered cutting back construction in residential areas to five days from six, it quickly died. Developers vs. Residents, developers won.
When the council considered joining a lawsuit to oppose the large desalination plant next to Manhattan Beach, they decided against it. Having a city lend its name to the suit might have made the difference and would have cost the city nothing. Not many residents make money from contracts with the Department of Water and Power, but at least one influential person does. The council again chose the political path.
I'm supporting Mark Burton for MB Council. He is open and honest in his dealing. He'll give every issue an airing in public (not in closed meetings). One vote isn't a majority but it forces an open discussion. A real discussion makes it more likely for members to be leaders and do the right thing. Burton has exemplary qualifications having served as an attorney for the City of LA; he's a strong supporter of police and fire, and understands municipal operations.
As someone who's seen the council's operation from the inside (former mayor), I ask you to vote for Mark Burton for MB Council.
—Dan Stern, Manhattan Beach
Response to advertised message
Re: Russ Lesser advertisement, The Beach Reporter, 9/17/2020:
The author clearly wants to disassociate himself from the two Trumpers found roaming downtown MB. He apologizes for their going about maskless and casting a bad light on the good folks of MB; he assures the reader that their thinking and character do not reflect those of the vast majority of this city's residents.
Yet he lauds the "many' well-educated, intelligent MB conservatives who, while they "detest" Trump, approve of various policies he and his regime have implemented. These policies and stances include -- but are not limited to -- an attempted Muslim ban; a tax reform which benefits the wealthy and leaves the country with trillions in debt; calling African nations s**thole countries; the continued denigration of women; abandoning the Paris climate agreement and lifting crucial environmental regulations; and perhaps most revolting of all, separating families seeking asylum at our borders, locking their minor children in cages...and losing track of said children.
Mr. Lesser, as deplorable and dangerous as I find Trump supporters to be, at least the two "useful idiots" you assail have the guts to publicly own their support. They aren't moral cowards who keep their support for a racist, psychopathic kleptocrat hidden from view—who have and will again hold their noses and cast their vote for Trump. I will cast my vote for the Biden-Harris ticket with neither secrecy nor shame.
—Karen Boysen, Manhattan Beach
Ideas about MB problems
Predictably as Election Day approaches we are getting testimonials to city council candidates' intelligence, character, etc. But what I'd much rather hear is their specific proposals to address outstanding problems [in Manhattan Beach]. Such as:
Mask enforcement—Compliance has improved but is nowhere near 100 percent and certain groups, runners especially, believe the mandate does not apply to them. The time for warnings and "education" is over -- we need aggressive enforcement.
Construction—Once pleasant neighborhoods have become trash-strewn, deafening, parking nightmares--for years on end. I suggested remedies a few years ago but they were applauded by the then-city council, and ignored. Here they are again: a) No more than one remodel or new home project at a time on any city block (i.e. between Blanche and Flournoy), or a block on the Strand; b) no project may take more than 18 months--owners would be fined $1,000/day for any overage; c) the city should create a "construction parking pass" and distribute four at the start of any project. Any project-related vehicle not displaying one should be fined $200 for first offense, $500 for a second and $1,000 for a third.
Parking—We now have cars parked at an angle, or entirely on the blacktop of many streets, meaning only one car at a time can navigate them. Emergency vehicles cannot get down many streets.
I will vote for candidates who acknowledge these problems and offer concrete solutions. I hope enough of my neighbors feel the same way.
—Tom Gilroy, Manhattan Beach
Support for Franklin
I am supporting Joe Franklin for Manhattan Beach City Council for many reasons, but I can speak about his commitment to and experience in education better than most, having served the students and communities of Los Angeles for 47 years. I know how important the partnership between school and community is to the success of a school.
Joe is committed to many things that will better this city, but his knowledge about education separates him from all of the other candidates. In this age of COVID most of our students are learning remotely. This remote distance learning is new to most, educators included, but Joe has experience developing distance learning for large universities which included analysis of student needs and budgets to deliver this new type of instruction. Distance learning will not be going away when we finally find an answer for COVID, but is here to stay.
Joe also has a proven record of community involvement ranging from Pacific Elementary School Site Council President, various city commissions and youth sports. He works in leadership positions with many of this countries largest companies, but always has time to give to Manhattan Beach. His unique experiences make him the best candidate and I hope you will vote for him on November 3.
—Charles Didinger, Manhattan Beach
It is an understatement to say Grettel Fournell is hard working. I have witnessed her dedication on committees and PTA boards for the last 15 years. She has an impressive combination of skills and fearlessness that our city leadership needs now.
Grettel will take on difficult tasks with enthusiasm. Using her experience from countless MB organizations, she will strive to maintain financial stability, quality of life for all ages, well-funded police force, strong schools, and a healthy environment.
Grettel listens to everyone and assesses situations with no preconceived bias. Working with some people can periodically be challenging. Grettel fosters relationships with respect and grace, treating every person with dignity. MBUSD principals, superintendents and school board members have appreciated her leadership for decades. She is mindful of people, peoples’ opinions, and understands responsibility that comes with leadership.
Her sense of community is boundless. Here are some of the many MB organizations she has dedicated weeks and months of her time supporting; Scouts, Neptunian Women’s Club, Grand View PTA, MBMS PTA, Mira Costa PTSA, MBUSD Advisory Council. She has coached AYSO and Little League. Other leadership roles through the years include; Scouts, Neptunian Women’s Club, Sister City in Baja, MB Youth Council, South Bay Cares, Little League and Sandpiper Juniors. Did I mention she has four children?
For nearly 30 years Grettel Fournell has committed herself to public service. She knows our community. She is ready. Vote Grettel for City Council!
—Paki Wolfe, Manhattan Beach
Political choices and respect
I am a 30-year resident of Hermosa Beach. I proudly hang my flag. I am not racist. I am white but not "white privileged." I am a proud American.
My grandparents were immigrants who settled in America in the early 1900s. They started a bakery to support their 6 children. After serving our country in the Army, my father started a business and at 80 still goes to the office most days. He too is a proud American.
I am a first-generation college graduate. My husband and I moved to California in 1990 with just a mattress and a U-Haul. My first job in California was with a technology company owned by a black general. I started my own company in 2003 and have owned two businesses since then. My current business is struggling due to COVID-19 restrictions put in place by Governor Gavin Newsom. I did not receive government assistance, but I too will persevere, like my dad and other hard-working Americans.
I am a registered independent and will vote for the presidential candidate that will do what is best for our country and the people it serves. As a free society, we need to respect each other's choices. Diversity of thought is what has made us the great nation we are. I will not turn against my country in this time of crisis. I want future generations to have the same opportunities that our country has provided to me and my family.
—Pamela Wing, Hermosa Beach
Homeless solutions in the South Bay
Redondo Beach is much larger geographically than Manhattan Beach and has much more space for a homeless area, just as the writer from last week's Beach Reporter claimed. ("Pallet homes in Redondo Beach" The Beach Reporter, 9/24/17) The writer identified the open area near the Redondo Beach running track that is also not in a residential area. Redondo Beach has a reported 180 homeless people Where as Manhattan Beach, a much smaller city, has 19 reported homeless. There is no identified area in MB that is not in a residential neighborhood as the area identified by the writer. I would suggest that being the case, that the fewer amount of homeless in MB also be included in the Redondo Beach area.
—Neil Snow, Manhattan Beach
Inspired by Lyons
I’ve been interested in politics for a while now, but local politics has always flown under the radar for me. City council hasn’t meant much to me. I never really knew what the council does or how it affects my life until this year.
A candidate is finally reaching out to the young people who live in this town and getting them excited about local politics and the changes that can be made through down-ballot elections.
Phoebe Lyons is the only candidate who cares that this town has a large group of young voters.
As a 17 year old, I can’t even vote yet, but Phoebe has me excited about becoming an active voter and exercising my constitutional right. The proportion of young voters continues to increase year after year and we will shape the world of the future.
Phoebe is ready to take on that job and move us forward. Please cast one of your votes for Phoebe.
—Lizzie Leach, Manhattan Beach
Having attended all the city council candidate's kick-off meetings. I have firmly landed on Joe Franklin as the one candidate for city council who will get my vote. Why? Joe a 34-year resident homeowner in MB and raised children through MBUSD.
Joe has said 'no' to restitution, restoration, and reparations for Bruce's Beach.
Joe has experience as a city commissioner and can understand the city’s budget and operations to ensure the continuation of services and a strong financial future.
Joe will fight to stop Sacramento zoning overreach and protect the Manhattan Beach we all know and love.
Joe is an advocate for environmental protection who wants his grandchildren to experience the beauty of Manhattan Beach
The #1 reason I am voting for Joe Franklin is that his #1 priority is public safety, which is an issue that impacts every resident, business, and visitor to the city. Joe supports funding for all current and future police operations and will keep the fire department local.
I know Joe will have his focus here in Manhattan Beach on issues important to residents. He brings experience a new voice and has no aspirations for higher office. He alone has my vote for MB City Council.
—Tom Chang, Manhattan Beach
Candidate Lyons endorsement
City council candidate Phoebe Lyons wants to improve enforcement of existing city ordinances.
Currently, enforcement of the ban on mechanical landscaping equipment, public smoking and construction-hour restrictions is by complaint. But the experience of many residents is that complaints fall on deaf ears, rarely resulting in a citation or even a reprimand. The nuisances continue, impairing our quality of life.
Phoebe is committed to prioritizing enforcement of these ordinances by first educating residents and then empowering our community services officers to issue warnings and citations when they observe violations. And she’ll make sure that any new ordinances are enacted with an enforcement plan.
Our current council apparently doesn’t think this is important, but Phoebe does. She’ll put some teeth into our ordinances.
Please help improve our quality of life in town by voting for Phoebe Lyons in the upcoming election.
—Loralie Ogden, Manhattan Beach
Hermosa Beach's North School
This fall, approximately 70 families have left the Hermosa Beach School District. Enrollment now stands at 1,209 students; a decline of 263 students since 2014. Prior to this unexpected pandemic, HBCSD’s enrollment consultants projected a drop of 237 students by 2023. State and county demographic projections show a declining birthrate through 2060. Historically, district enrollment has dropped as low as 666 students.
Despite claims to the contrary before the 2016 bond election, HBCSD could have quickly and cheaply reduced a decade of overcrowding by either renovating North School or using classrooms at the Community Center.
Instead the district claimed that they could not put public school students at North School even though North School was a seismically safe, grandfathered-in campus just like View School. The district also claimed that there was neither a kitchen, multipurpose room nor American's with Disability Act access at North School, which was also untrue.
HBCSD unnecessarily wasted $1.1 million by adding more temporary classrooms to already egregiously overcrowded campuses, while they held out for an expensive bond to completely rebuild North School.
The now unneeded, newly reconstructed North School campus will be only 27% the California Department of Education-recommended size for 425 students, even as it is built to house 510 students. The pre-election promise of 60,984 square feet of playground adjacent to classrooms will be less than half that. And there will be no safe off-street drop-off and pick-up area for children.
Rebuilding North School over five years for $28M has been a colossal waste of time and money.
—Miyo Prassas, Hermosa Beach
Preference for Burton
During his last term on the Manhattan Beach city council, I watched Mark Burton put the concerns of residents ahead of big-money special interests again and again.
He developed and sponsored the ban against short-term rentals.
After years of complaints of late-night noise from the Shade Hotel, he motioned to modify their conditional use permit to require noise mitigation. It worked, and nearby residents could finally sleep at night.
He brought MBPD into an oversight role to control after-hours noise violations at the 900 Club, so residents in that neighborhood could get their needed rest.
Mark fought vigorously against proposals of gross environmental destruction, including ripping out dozens of healthy trees from Polliwog Park, which is home to over 160 species of birds and which our city calls its "Crown Jewel."
During this pandemic year, thousands of residents have slept better at night and safely played or relaxed in our beautiful park because Mark stood up for our well-being. In a time of continuing threats, we need him back on city council protecting our interests. Please vote for Mark Burton.
—Julie Profet, Manhattan Beach