Manhattan Beach social distancing citations

Re: "City cites 129 for violating social distancing rules," The Beach Reporter, April 9, 2020: In regards to the social distancing citations given out on the weekend of April 3 to 5, that the City of Manhattan Beach is so proud of, I was one of them.

As a senior citizen on an exercise walk by myself, I cut through Polliwog Park to get to the next block from the back gate. Yes, the sign said "Park Closed," but that sign was there for weeks and was taken to mean you are not allowed to exercise, picnic or play on the equipment. Several neighbors keeping their distance [were] walking through.

How were we to know of this new change of enforcement? I see there is yellow tape there now, with a new sign about the $1000 fine, but that's a week late! The only social distancing issue I faced that day was the anxiety of being in this officer's breathing space.

—Douglas Nielsen, Manhattan Beach

Fines for improper distancing

The Strand and bike path are off limits for recreational use, so our residents and guests are now using Ocean Drive.  As a 49-year resident of Ocean Drive, I’ve never seen it this crowded. The people using this street are very nice and seem just happy to have a place to walk and bike.  I’m all for that.

For the 129 of you who were cited and fined for mistakenly committing code violations like sitting on a Strand bench and watching the sunset, I apologize. I prefer the Hermosa Beach example—warnings, not monetary fines. Why should Manhattan Beach make money on this lockdown or any future lockdown? My suggestion is have the city set up a charity funded with these fines, and channel those funds to hardworking nonprofits who are serving people in our community who are truly in need because of a job loss.

—John Marcello, Manhattan Beach

Responsible behavior during the pandemic

When we finally have the pandemic behind us, we’ll all be deeply indebted to those who put themselves at risk to fight on the front lines. But, we’ll also be indebted to the millions who shut-down their lives, stayed at home and swallowed the hardships.

Which raises the question of social responsibility. This isn’t “the flu” and we’re far from having it under control. Until we do, we should all be asking ourselves whether we’re doing everything we can to beat it. If we’re not, let’s step it up. Hold off on that trip to the store for a few more days. Cure that cabin fever with a walk around the block instead of a drive up the coast. Order safe pick-up or delivery from a local business that desperately needs it. If you’re an elected official, make the hard decisions rather than the safe ones. Most of your constituents will actually thank you. And, if you’re continuing to operate an “essential” business simply because the governor says you can, ask yourself if you’re genuinely serving a critical function under current circumstances. If you’re not, consider hitting the pause button. Let’s save lives now and figure out how to save jobs when this whole thing is over.

Putting the greater good ahead of self-interest isn’t easy. But, when we have the chance to look back on how we handled this crisis, let’s hope that we can say that COVID-19 was defeated because we all did everything we could.

—Ben Burkhalter, Manhattan Beach

Gratitude for essential workers

Life today is a little strange and many of us don't quite know what to make of it, but I would like to thank all those people out there who continue to work, the many "essential businesses" that keep life moving along for us. The supermarkets and pharmacies; the teachers who never thought they'd be teaching via video camera; Amazon, FedEx and UPS who continue to deliver our goods; the USPS and local newspapers for daily deliveries; Home Depot so we can do home projects while stuck at home; the many, many restaurants who have reverted to curbside delivery; and the many local businesses who have come up with creative ways to serve their community. But, at the top of that list are our first responders; the local fire and police force who keep us safe; and, even more importantly, our doctors and nurses, who are working around the clock, often not even seeing their own families, to ensure we get the proper medical care. You guys all rock!

—Helena Burke, Manhattan Beach

Runner too close for safety

Today a red-haired female runner on Redondo Avenue by Manhattan Beach Middle School snuck-up behind me and my 13-year-old daughter while we were out attempting a socially distant walk.

As a runner myself (three marathons) I am sure you and I would get along, however thanks to coronavirus, I am really annoyed. You had plenty of room to move the requested six feet but you just stayed close to us, mouth breathing, and we had no chance to escape. You see, we don't have eyes in the back of our head....

Hopefully you are not one of the 20-50% super spreaders with no symptoms. Perhaps you just weren't thinking, and it was a one-off, as I am sure you are a nice person, and definitely wouldn't go out if you thought you were sick.

Is it setting the bar too high NOT to sneak up behind people? We are only as strong as our weakest link. Whether you choose not to socially distance because of ignorance or arrogance makes no difference. Running takes discipline and like Nike says, "Just Do it!" okay?

Hope you had a great run and didn't annoy anyone else.

—Marie Walsh, Redondo Beach

Reduce auto emissions

Due to the pandemic, nitrogen dioxide and carbon dioxide levels have plummeted with notable drop in overall air pollution. Now is the time to keep air pollution and specifically automobile emissions down, it is crucial that our South Bay Cities make a combined effort to improve traffic and thereby reduce these emissions:

  1. Synchronize traffic lights on all major thoroughfares. (Notably: Sepulveda Blvd./Hawthorne Blvd/Rosecrans Ave.)
  2. When a major thoroughfare crosses at a four-way traffic light, trigger the green light when 25+ car streams at each direction are approaching.
  3. With left-pointing green arrow off, permit left turn by adding: “Left turn yield on green.”
  4. Trigger left-pointing green arrow in both directions at the same time to efficiently move traffic.
  5. Change four-way stop signs to two-way stop signs with through street crossing under 600 yards.
  6. On a through street or street ahead traffic crossing, change four-way to two-way stop signs.
  7. Remove stop signs at all T-crossings.

—Hubert Timmerman, Manhattan Beach

Coronavirus response by U.S. vs. New York 

In response to Tom Bauer's letter ("U.S. government response to pandemic," The Beach Reporter, 4/9/20): I agree, we need to educate ourselves.

  • Jan. 21—Dr. Fauci to News Max: "We need to take it seriously...but it's not a major threat, not something to worry about."
  • Jan. 31—President Trump shuts down flights from China. Called "racist."
  • Jan. 31—Dr. Fauci to The Washington Post: "The process for testing people for the new strain of the coronavirus had proved very imprecise so far. That is one of the reasons for the aggressive U.S. response."
  • March 1—First case in N.Y.
  • March 2—Mayor De Blasio: "Residents should go about their regular lives. Go out with friends, go to dinner at restaurants. "New Yorkers don't scare easily."
  • March 2—Gov. Cuomo: "We don't think it is going to be as bad here as in other countries. We think we have the best health care system on the planet, here in N.Y."
  • March 3—Dr. Barbot, health commissioner for N.Y.: "We want New Yorkers to go about everyday lives, use subways, take the bus, etc. Covid-19 is not an illness that can spread easily thru casual contact."
  • March 20—Dr. Fauci praised the President's quick action by cutting off travel from China, possibly saving lives." (MSNBC interview.)

"Leadership" in N.Y. was inept, arguably "responsible for many deaths." Actual people died. Hysterical suppositions of a news outlet are ridiculous. The hypocrisy—or is it willingness to ignore facts outside the bubble—is sad.

This is easily verified by anyone who does a tiny bit of research.

—Vicki Starkey, Redondo Beach

Community coming together

Our community is coming together—while staying apart—to thank health care workers and all who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some Hermosa residents step outside their homes to cheer these workers for one minute every night, and the city turned the Pier Plaza and Pier Avenue lights blue last week as part of the global #LightItBlue campaign to thank front-line workers. We also thank you for doing your part by staying home and practicing social distancing in public during your Easter and Passover celebrations. Please continue to limit your face-to-face activities to those who live with you now and use phone, text or videoconferences to reach out to extended family and friends. Beginning Wednesday, L.A. County required all of us to wear cloth face masks when grocery shopping or performing other essential tasks that bring us in close contact to others. All these requirements are challenging, but we know this is a community that can overcome challenges. At City Hall, our team is overcoming the challenges of serving the public from a distance. We’re continuing to enact changes to services and policies—delay of parking permits, suspension of street sweeping enforcement and a moratorium on residential and commercial evictions—to support residents and businesses within our community. Please continue to keep up with city news on our website and through our COVID-19 updates. In the meantime, please know how much your support means to all of us at the city.

—Suja Lowenthal, Beach City Manager

Pandemic impacts to Redondo Beach budget

At the Redondo Beach City Council meeting on April 7, City Manager Joe Hoefgen was asked about economic impacts to the city budget due to the ongoing crisis. Hoefgen responded the way he normally does when he doesn’t have the answer to a relevant question he doesn’t want to answer, “We expect to have something for you on a future agenda item.”

This answer is baffling. On March 5, I emailed the city finance director asking about projections and information on what was coming. City Manager Hoefgen replied that little information would be provided. It begs the question. In the five weeks between this inquiry and the council meeting on April 7, the city manager still has nothing to offer? Astounding.

What has the county told us about the largest funding source for the city, property taxes? The second largest [funding source], sales tax--devastated?

The third is [transient occupancy tax] with over 80% of hotel rooms vacant across the country. What do we know? What percentage of our leaseholders were able to pay rent?

At a time of crisis communication is key. Transparency is key. I’ll gladly let you know in a few weeks is an unacceptable response. More directly, it’s professional malpractice.

People are concerned. Lives are being affected in substantial ways. We’re all relying on our city government and city officials to provide guidance and information. How about the city manager start with the questions above?

Hope is not a plan. What is the plan?

—Eugene Solomon, Redondo Beach

Kindness on display

As our city continues to address the pandemic spread, the kindness spread continues to rage exponentially. Yes, our residents are exhibiting extreme levels of kindness, caring and empathy. Our country is the “land of the free and home of the brave” with Manhattan Beach being the community of the “kind and caring.”

Let’s all resolve to continue to be as kind as possible in everything we say and do. If we do, our families, neighborhoods and community will be stronger when this pandemic passes.

—Mark Burton, Manhattan Beach

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

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