Response to call for honesty

I was surprised and truly horrified to read Nicole Andrews’ letter ("Honesty about racism," The Beach Reporter, 7/16/20). I can’t imagine what it felt like for a black person, or any minority, to read those hateful, blatantly racist comments.

In the last several months, this community has come together on many occasions to listen and learn about the reality of what Black people experience living, working and going to school in our area. What was so universally understood from those opportunities is that we certainly have work to do. Ms. Andrews‘ letter underscores that necessity.

She challenged me to be honest and I will gladly take that opportunity. Ms. Andrews, I would never choose to live in a community using the repugnant standards you described. In fact, if I had thought hers were the prevailing views in Manhattan Beach, I would not have chosen to raise a family here. I and my family have always felt welcome and truly lucky to live in Manhattan Beach, the gem of the South Bay.

I remain optimistic we will continue to come together as a community to ensure everyone feels welcome here. I am ready to continue that work so that everyone is treated with dignity and equality in Manhattan Beach. Please join me.

—Hildy Stern, Manhattan Beach City Councilmember

Local journalism and opinions
Re: "Newspapers seek help from readers to stay alive,' The Beach Reporter, 7/16/20:
I read with interest and concern the opinion piece (nicely identified as such) regarding the need for the state legislature to act to preserve (not offer a bailout to) local papers [Assembly Bill 1850]. This point of view is 100% in line with, although a little different in context from, the positions of economist Walter Williams, who advocates no minimum wage for teenagers for the benefit of the teenagers (of all races, but notably black teens trying to get a good start in life). Our household strongly supports TBR's position on the amendment to the [AB 1850] legislation.

Ironically, that same editorial talks about accuracy in journalism, but the cover story on Manhattan Beach's fines for not wearing masks contained a dollar amount— $500—not consistent with the city's regulation ($350).  You are in "good" company; the city's general website quotes $250 vs. the regulation's $200.

We have enjoyed such features as Paul Silva’s editorial pieces for a long time. 

We are curious if you have a fund-me effort?  If a citizen wants to support The Beach Reporter, is there an address or fund to which we could contribute?  I doubt it would be a tax-deductible contribution, but it seems like a worthwhile organization to support.  Thank you for your extensive coverage of local news, and for the separation of editorial pieces from factual news, much like I find in The Daily Breeze, but not in some larger papers.

—Ray Russell, Manhattan Beach

Editor's note: We did, indeed, incorrectly report the third offense for not wearing a mask. It has since been corrected. Thank you! The best way to support our local journalism is to 1) purchase an advertisement in The Beach Reporter (email jenifer.lemon@TBRnews.com), as we are a free newspaper funded solely by ads and 2) purchase an online subscription to our sister news source, The Daily Breeze. We are grateful for your support!

Face mask mandate

Re: "Not wearing a mask in Manhattan Beach? Pay $100," The Beach Reporter, 6/16/20:

Wonderful Manhattan Beach! Kudos for mandating face masks, hopefully the other beach cities will follow. Downtown is bustling and the residents are doing their part to stop the spread.

To those wearing masks around your neck: could you please just make an effort to put it up when you come within 20 feet of people? Masks only work when they are on your face, not around your neck.

To the very small minority proudly parading around with no mask heartlessly spewing your droplets, please get help - you can call the LA County mental health helpline at (800) 854-7771. It is unclear if you are in complete denial because the reality of the pandemic is too frightening, or you are completely devoid of compassion for your mankind.

Yes, the majority of people with COVID-19 will survive, but for others the illness ranges from painful to feeling like you are drowning. It is also a very lonely death, as you die alone looking at your loved ones electronically if you are lucky.

Once the numbers are down, we can get back to normal and isolate outbreaks. Businesses can open, kids can go to school and we can have our lives back. If you could take a pill that reduced your risk by 85% you probably would take it. That pill is a mask, so please wear one.

—Marie Walsh, Redondo Beach

Concern about mask requirement

Re: "Not wearing a mask in Manhattan Beach? Pay $100," The Beach Reporter, 6/16/20:

I would like to ask the MB City Council to reconsider their recent blanket mask ruling. I am fully in support of requiring masks to be worn indoors or in crowded areas, there is plenty of evidence for transmission in those circumstances. However, there is no evidence that I am aware of that supports the idea of open-air or outdoor transmission.

Requiring masks outdoors creates collateral physical and psychological damage on an already severely distressed population. I, for one, cannot wear a mask for more than five or ten minutes, so the new masking requirement effectively bans me from the gorgeous outdoor life style we moved to the beach to enjoy. No walking, running or soaking up vitamin D for me.

The council should carefully consider the recent reports of collateral damage from the UK and elsewhere which show that many policies created much more hurt than health in formulating sensible policies that keep us safe while keeping us healthy and happy. Require masks indoors, require social distancing, but give us back the outdoors!

—John Bollinger, Manhattan Beach

Observations about race

In 1991, we moved to the South Bay and have called it home since. Having grown up in the segregated South and knowing the inherent racism throughout the United States, we were not shocked by the occasional, open displays of racism we encountered—even to this day. We confront the proponents and/or refuse to do business with the racists.

The presidency of Donald Trump has exposed many more racists among us. They, and others, feel compelled to make unsolicited, defensive declarations that they are not racist. The support of racist politics and denial of racism bear evidence of avarice and immorality. It’s like Mitch McConnell’s eulogy of John Lewis as having “suffered and sacrificed," while at the same time, overseeing the gutting of the Voting Rights Act. Pure hypocrisy. 

Recent ‘storytelling’ of racist experiences are being done in forums bound to be lost over time. These stories told by Black citizens should endure and be part of a formal, government-sponsored body, similar to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, formed by the South African government. As such, these stories will form the nexus to necessary systemic policy changes. 

The White moderate is most destructive to society. They tolerate racial injustice and economic inequality in exchange for ‘law and order;' for fear they will lose advantage. A problem is not solved by ignoring it. 

Hate mongers, including those who vilify the Black Lives Matter movement, willfully lack the greatest gifts to humankind: empathy and love.

—Arnette Travis, Redondo Beach

MB fines questioned

Traditionally, it has been the heavy-handed parking enforcement in Manhattan Beach.

Then it was the $1,000 fines for walking in Polliwog Park, walking on the Strand, and surfing at Manhattan Beach.

Now, it is the $100 fine for not wearing a mask in Manhattan Beach (Not wearing a mask in Manhattan Beach? Pay $100," The Beach Reporter, 6/16/20).

Oh well. This is just one more reason to avoid going to Manhattan Beach for business or pleasure. 

—Steven Oetzell, Redondo Beach

All are Americans

I reject “Black Lives Matter,” a radical Marxist group that espouses the destruction of everything America stands for. I reject socialism and communism in all forms. I reject the new syndrome of “White guilt” that has infected more people than Covid-19, but just as virulent. I reject all forms of racism no matter what group it emanates from.

I reject anyone who feels compelled to delve deeply into the backgrounds of heroes and historic figures and founders of this great nation, for the sole purpose of denigration and political gain!

Oh, there’s no doubt that racism can be found, just as evil exists. This country is probably more diverse than any other in the world and more people risk their lives to get here. Why?

We are Americans first, who happen to have different skin colors. If you choose to refer to yourselves as Indian-American, African-American or Mexican-American, that’s okay by me, but you’re just a proud American by my standards. I hope we all want our country back.

—Gary Brown, Hermosa Beach

Strangers in the neighborhood

Our home was burglarized a while ago. We felt violated, not a pleasant feeling. We called the MBPD and they arrived within 10 minutes and took prints.

One of the officers told me that, gang areas throughout L.A. send "squads" to case and rob homes, one of which was mine. The officer told me if you see something, say something. I asked for clarification. He said something out of the ordinary on the block. For example, he said it could be someone sitting in their car for a period of time that you've never seen on the block, or a person that is not part of the neighborhood acting suspiciously.

We have been residents of Manhattan Beach going on forty years. We moved here because of the good School system and it was a very safe low crime area. That's because of the great job the MBPD does. The point is, I don't need someone telling me how to respond to strangers in my neighborhood that may or may not look like me. Hence the police officer saying: "See Something, Say Something." That's what makes this city a safer city.

—Neil Snow, Manhattan Beach

Race and bias in Manhattan Beach

It is important that Manhattan Beach City Councilmembers and staff act and speak about issues of race in a way that shows that Manhattan Beach values racial equality and justice for all. I applaud the city's steps after the murder of George Floyd; the letter from Police Chief Abell to the community, the firing of Fire Chief Drum for insensitive language, the panel on race and bias in our city, and the discussions about Bruce's Beach.

When comments were made at the June 30 meeting by Councilmember Hadley that including leaders from Black Lives Matter in discussions on race is a non-starter for her, many of us in Manhattan Beach heard in those words the rejection of the idea central to the Black Lives Matter movement—that black lives matter. This may not be her intent, but that is what we heard. Talk of who can and can not participate in discussions on race detract from what should be our city's primary goal when discussing race after the murder of George Floyd. Our leaders' words and actions should affirm support for racial equality and justice.

I don't expect us all to agree, but I do expect our city leaders to be cognizant of the fact their words and actions matter now more than ever. At this time, we need to listen to those who may have experienced bias, and work toward change so that it comes to an end. We need to show everyone that Manhattan Beach values racial equality and justice.

—Madeline Kaplan, Manhattan Beach

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

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