Challenge from Hermosa Beach police chief

Since becoming Hermosa Beach’s police chief April 16, I have been impressed with the kindness and commitment of this community. Several generous organizations and individuals have donated meals from local restaurants, masks and other personal protective equipment to help us during the pandemic.

While COVID-19 is the top priority, the police department is continuing to protect public safety. In recent weeks, officers conducting a routine traffic stop arrested two suspects who had several unopened packages, two bicycles, a cut bicycle lock, bolt cutters, a butterfly knife and open containers of alcoholic beverages. In another case, officers used technology to identify the vehicle driven by a burglar who stole $70,000 in appliances from a home under construction. They arrested the suspect, and they secured a confession and return of the stolen appliances.

You may be staying home, but the criminals are not. They’re looking for opportunities to grab a package or a bicycle that’s left unattended – even for a few seconds.

I challenge each of you to be proactive in making your homes more resistant to criminals. During this upcoming week take a moment to stand in front of your home, and ask yourself, what do I see that would be of interest to a thief? Then take the initiative to change something. Close your garage, lock your car, trim your hedges, replace a light bulb, put bicycles away or anything else that will repel criminals. Your efforts matter! The Hermosa Beach Police Department appreciates all you do to support us.

—Paul LeBaron, Hermosa Beach police chief

Tennis courts in Manhattan Beach

To the Manhattan Beach City Council: My name is Tyler Smildzins and I am a fifth grade student-athlete, a citizen of your community, and an avid tennis player. I believe that recreational facilities such as tennis courts should be reopened as soon as possible. It is important that people can still get physical activity during these treacherous times. Tennis is one of the best sports to play during this quarantine. This is because in singles you stand 78 feet away from your opponent.

Citizens of Manhattan Beach would greatly appreciate it if you would consider reopening the tennis courts of Manhattan Beach. This would be a safe, fun, and acceptable form of exercise that people could do while being socially distant. An idea is that each person could bring their own can of tennis balls and you would only touch your own tennis balls. People could also be encouraged to bring a cleaning wipe and wipe the gate latch before they leave. Otherwise, they do not interact with any surface that would be problematic. If you reopen the tennis courts please consider applying these rules. The 18 courts in Manhattan Beach could play a vital role in giving our citizens adequate space to spread out and resume athletic activities in a responsible and clean way.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said that it would be okay for us to play tennis again. Yeah! Thank you for your help! We will be so happy if we can play tennis again.

—Tyler Smildzins, Manhattan Beach

Access to Ocean Drive during pandemic

RE: "Ocean Drive is the new Strand," The Beach Reporter, 4/30/20: To all the uptight Strand [home]owners that want to remove my right to run on Ocean Drive, let’s talk about the real issue. This is a public roadway open to the public (even for those who...eeek...don’t live in this city). My family has lived in this city for four generations (including the Strand), and even though I don’t personally live on the Strand, I pay property taxes just like you to live here. My grandparents have got to be turning in their graves watching all you transplanted trust fund babies trying to stop us from our right to run on Ocean.

To that whiner who complained that they were afraid to open their alley window for fear of getting sick. Here’s a thought...shut the window and go put your feet up on the balcony in the front and take in all the ocean breeze that us non-Strand owners have been deprived of. Or better yet...hop in your Tesla, find a safe space and take a mental day.

—Lynn Capparilli, Manhattan Beach

Thanks from Ocean Drive resident

Many are complaining about the foot, bike and auto traffic along Ocean Drive. Sure, there are the few who drop trash or do not clean up after their dog, but that’s everywhere in this town, and it’s not the norm, it’s the exception!

Here’s a different perspective from a longtime resident on Ocean Drive.

  • Thank you to MB Police for your patience and professionalism in directing people;
  • Thank you to the cyclists who hit the brakes at stop signs;
  • Thank you to the runners who swing wide right or left to provide social distancing from the pedestrians;
  • Thank you to drivers who adhere to staying at home, especially on weekends when the street is a little more busy;
  • Thank you to the pedestrians who stay to the right, smile (when not wearing a mask), and wave as they pass by;
  • Thank you to the residents along Ocean Drive, recognizing that we’re all in this together.

Ocean Drive may not be the Strand, but it is a welcoming piece of Manhattan Beach to all.

—Dennis Fitzgerald, Manhattan Beach

Beach closure orders

RE: "Dozens in Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach rally to protest closed South Bay beaches," The Beach Reporter, online 5/1/20: Thanks for your article. It gives me hope that we have a backbone. People are not half-wits.  They will follow marching orders but goose-stepping calls for a resounding not no, but hell no pace the likes of Newsom and Whitmer.

—Mary Emily Smiley, Lawndale

AES plant impact on beach cities

Redondo and Hermosa have been working for many years to ensure the AES Redondo Beach power plant transitions to a more beneficial use.

The 60-year-old power plant, across the street from where many of our residents live, has had many negative effects on our environment, health, and quality of life.

Currently, AES is required to close by the end of 2020. Meanwhile, a private party recently purchased the property with the aim of redevelopment.

Redondo Beach has been working hard with the State and County to direct monies to this site to assist with redevelopment to maximize open space and public uses such as a park. But now, AES and the new owner are going to benefit financially if the plant operation is extended.

There is nothing in the deal for Redondo or Hermosa except more pollution and noise.

Hermosa and Redondo Beach have voted unanimously to oppose any extension, but we really need your help. The sooner this plant is gone, the sooner the power lines and all the other impacts are gone.

The California State Water Resources Control Board will be voting in July on whether to extend the retirement of this plant. If you want to help, please send an email opposing any extension to commentletters@waterboards.ca.gov with the subject line: “Comment Letter – OTC Policy Amendment” by noon, May 11th.

Mary Campbell, Hermosa Beach mayor

Construction during pandemic

Recently, I was taken back by the number of people I encountered on Ocean Drive in Manhattan Beach. It wasn’t the dog walkers, joggers, bicyclists, etc., who are displaced from using the Strand path, but the number of construction workers and building projects going on. This alley was congested with workers and huge pickup trucks, all arriving at building sites along the beach.

When did building/remodeling a multimillion-dollar beach property become an essential business?

I would venture there are many people worrying about their future especially when our California government continually increases restrictions on individuals and businesses. Not all of us are blessed enough to be able to work from home or in construction!

This is not attack on those who are working, but to point out there are tens of thousands of other people who are not being allowed to work because government has deemed their job too risky or unessential. What about the business owners who are forced to shut their doors, maybe never to re-open? All their workers who are unemployed and possibly will not have jobs to return to? People whose bank accounts are circling towards zero?

If government’s solution is isolation and quarantine, then let’s define what is essential and non-essential and then shut everything down except those deemed absolutely essential. I would imagine a better alternative would quickly be presented. It would be only fair to have an equal opportunity to provide for my family without putting on a hard hat.

—Chris Bothwell, Redondo Beach

Enforcing the six-feet rule at beaches

All levels of government have clearly not handled this pandemic very well. Instead of relying on science they are redirecting the narrative so they can later say they saved lives by forcing people to stay inside.

Typical of the media, fears have been miss-categorized in the ratings competition.

Some claim that non-distancing protesters make matters worse.

Some think that wearing a homemade mask or bandanna gives them freedom to be close. Meanwhile, essential workers and nurses still can’t even get surgical masks, let alone N95s.

Whether one believes it or not, what really bothers me is that grown adults have so much difficulty socializing six feet apart!

Now that the public is becoming aware that PD will not or cannot enforce the six-foot rule, even those complaining that the beach must remain closed still can't keep six feet away. By the time this is published people will be meandering down to our beaches and if they could just stay six feet apart maybe we can get that beach open as soon as possible.

This will be with us for a while so lets get used to it! Our local officials need to tell the county we are ready to open our beach. Outdoor exercise is essential activity.

Dean Francois, Hermosa Beach

Parks closed in MB

We need leadership on our Manhattan Beach City Council, not pussyfooting around! I urge our council to open city parks now, not later.

Science + data + common sense = good decision making. Of course, to be worthy of the public trust, such decision making should be made in an open, transparent and forthright manner. This is not the time for any secret meetings.

Our council made the right decision in closing our public parking lots, but they got it wrong when closing parks. And, they were wildly inconsistent. So, while parks remained open in the adjacent beach cities, the MB council closed some parks, but allowed others to remain open. Really?

To my knowledge, with the hundreds of walkers and runners who have used Veterans Parkway, no one has been infected. And, no one has been infected who has used the parks in adjacent beach cities.

Open spaces, fresh air and sunshine are good for the body and good for the soul. And, council needs to trust the residents of our community and trust the science, data and exercise good common sense. For the benefit of our community, please open our parks now.

—Mark Burton, Manhattan Beach

Face masks with valves

When on April 17, five Bay Area counties simultaneously issued orders requiring everyone inside essential businesses (including customers) to wear a mask, they spelled out a ban on one type of mask, as follows.

"Note that any mask that incorporates a one-way valve (typically a raised plastic cylinder about the size of a quarter on the front or side of the mask) that is designed to facilitate easy exhaling is not a Face Covering under this Order and is not to be used to comply with this Order's requirements. Valves of that type permit droplet release from the mask, putting others nearby at risk." (Order C19-12 of the Health Officer, City and County of San Francisco.)

Why have our local authorities, including L.A. County and local mayors, not followed suit?

—Jim Lissner, Hermosa Beach

Message for college students and their parents

To the parents [of a college student at home]: Your child has now been at home for a month. They might be annoying you with weird Tik Tok dances or self-isolating in their rooms but whatever actions or habits they have, please remember your child is an adult. College has allowed your child to grow into new habits and formulate their own schedules. The sudden change from an immersed campus lifestyle to isolation will have a toll. Your child may cope in different ways but try to empathize that they are going through some sort of 'loss' when they were kicked off campus and stripped of their college experience. Try to give them as much space or support as they need.

To the students: You've been at home for a month now. You might be stressed or annoyed from the need to conform to rules you had in high school but remember they're your parents. They annoy you because they care. It's a difficult time for everyone but you are most likely living rent free with free food, please help your parents out with small chores while they panic about work or management of the house. Be thankful that they are allowing you to stay at home when some of your colleagues are still stuck near campus alone and isolated. Remind yourself of the sacrifices your parents are making to keep you and your family safe. Go do the dishes and give them a hug.

—Aleesha Yan, Manhattan Beach

AES power plant extension

As you know, for 10 years the 1950s-technology AES Redondo power plant has been scheduled to cease operations at the end of this year. It is the most-polluting and least efficient of the four coastal power plants ordered to cease by the California State Water Resources Control Board.

Although the power plant rarely produces electricity, and does not provide power directly to Redondo Beach, it still pumps hundreds of tons of poisonous gas and dangerous particulate into our air every year. Its ocean-water cooling system kills enormous amounts of marine life as well.

Despite no evidence of the need for AES Redondo to stay open for grid reliability, AES Corporation is pushing for a three-year extension to the power plant’s life. Such an extension would earn AES tens of millions of dollars in profit at the expense of Redondo Beach residents’ health. The water control board will make a decision on this proposed extension in June.

AES has recruited a cast of paid local spokespersons and other shills to portray Redondo Beach as a divided community regarding extending the power plant. Let your voice be heard on this important decision.

Please send an email today with your thoughts on this to the board at this email address: commentletters@waterboards.ca.gov, and indicate in the subject line: “Comment Letter – OTC Policy Amendment.”

More information on this is available at RescueOurWaterfront.org.

Demand that the life of AES Redondo power plant not be extended beyond December 2020.

—Robert Gaddis, Redondo Beach

Public input on AES plant 

With the overwhelming support of the community to shut the AES plant down at the end of 2020, why haven’t Redondo Beach City Council Members Laura Emdee and John Gran spoken?

Perhaps it’s due to the 2019 political campaign donations totaling $2,750 that Laura Emdee received from SCE, Bizfed, and Cal Real Estate PAC, who are pushing to keep it open. Or could it be $1,000 John Gran received from AES, and the $1,000 paid to him from unions supporting the continued operation of the plant? Maybe that’s why council members Laura Emdee and John Gran also won’t support legislation by Al Muratsuchi (AB2071) and Ben Allen, which could close down the AES Redondo plant by the end of December 2020.

Be sure to let them know how you feel about them putting the health of our community and our children at risk: Laura.emdee@redondo.org and John.gran@redondo.org.

Additionally, please send an email today with your thoughts on this to the California State Water Resources Control Board at this email address: commentletters@waterboards.ca.gov, with the subject line: “Comment Letter – OTC Policy Amendment.”

Demand that the life of AES Redondo power plant not be extended beyond December 2020.

—Wayne Craig, Redondo Beach

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

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