Protection from masks with valves
Per the CDC, masks that have valves allowing exhaled breath to exit the mask are not considered adequate to protect anyone other than the wearer. Whether the mask is cloth or N95 grade, the valve allows unfiltered breath, including droplets, to be expelled into the air.
I have seen people wearing such masks in supermarkets—they might as well be wearing no facial covering, at all. I am 67 years old, and therefore in a high risk group. So, I cannot shop nor patronize any business where masks with valves are being used.
Since the SARS-CoV-2 virus is going to be with us for a long time, this issue must be addressed. Masks with valves do not provide the protection from COVID-19 mandated by facial covering orders.
—Andrew Lesser, M.D., Redondo Beach
Thanks to Manhattan Beach councilmembers
Many thanks to [city council members] Montgomery, Hadley and Napolitano for their data-driven and courageous decision to reopen the Strand. The state and county decisions are against the facts and the law as the many legal actions prove. Our city is steering a different course.
To [council members] Hersman and Stern who voted against, I just want to remind what the actual Dept. of Public Health data as of May 7 say: Roughly from 0 to 17 years old, zero deaths; from 18 to 49, 147 deaths; from 50 to 64,367 deaths and from 65-plus, 1,877 deaths. This means about 78% of the deaths are [among people] 65 and older. And most data sources tell they also involve some other condition.
The Sacramento Bee reports that 1,195 deaths (out of 2,585 total California deaths) were in nursing homes (46% of total state deaths). That population group represents less than 1% of the population. So for people younger than 65, there are a total 514 deaths out of population of approximately 34,000,000!
The data do not support the continuance of the current lock down/stay at home measures. Rather than focusing on measures specific for people 65 and older in nursing homes, our state is destroying the entire economy and bringing small business owners to bankruptcy.
The state and county decisions are ideological myopic and dangerously authoritarian. In time of crisis like this we need courageous and uncompromised leadership, which is not led by ideology but by facts. I am very glad we have it in Hadley, Napolitano and Montgomery.
—Lucia La Rosa Ames, Manhattan Beach
Risk of opening the Strand
The decision to open the Strand is a risk, a risk to people's lives locally and as far as we locals travel. Remember that you can be an asymptomatic carrier and without extensive testing, you would never know.
There will be consequences, the most dire being death. There will be no "do over." Yes, we can shut things down again, however, some people will have paid a steep price for us get to that point again. Please be aware of this reality, and please be safe.
—Robert G. Damskey, Manhattan Beach
Political aspects of pandemic
RE: "Checking in from a distance, The Beach Reporter, 5/14/20: I enjoyed the column by Paul Silva until he got political, [citing] "... denial and disarray coming out of the White House,"and "...clear thinking..." from some state houses.
Denial of what? Denial of 40,000 respirators to New York when they did not need all of the 4,000 sent by the federal government? Disarray? On January 31 Trump shut down travel from China, and Biden called it "hysterical xenophobia."
Which state houses are he referring to? Certainly not New York, where Gov. Cuomo put virus patients in nursing homes. Maybe he is referring to Florida, where Gov. DeSantis put emphasis on seniors and those with "a significant underlying medical condition," and kept the beaches open.
Silva acknowledges that losing access to the beach "might not have been the most effective way to fight the virus," but then chooses symbolism over substance. Mr. Silva presumes to know the best ways to fight the virus. I do not pretend to. This virus is unprecedented and unknown. Is Sweden right by not shutting down and developing a herd immunity?
Cuomo recently expressed his shock that 66% of new cases stayed home. This is the beauty of federalism. Each state decides for themselves what is best. What is best for California may not be best for Wyoming where they have 7 deaths. We do not need dictates from Washington. I do not fault Trump, Fauci, Pelosi, Cuomo or Newsom for not having crystal balls. We are imperfect people with imperfect knowledge. Stop trying to make this virus political.
—Charles Lano, Redondo Beach
People returning to the Strand
I have lived on the Strand in Manhattan Beach for 54 years, and for most of the last two months have witnessed something that I have never seen before — hardly anyone on the Strand, bike path, or beach. I have also never witnessed anything out my back door like the near misses, congestion, and stress on Ocean Drive, a 22-foot wide alley that served as the exercise outlet for walkers, joggers, bicyclists, skate boarders, dogs, toddlers--all mixed in with cars and construction trucks.
My husband and I often eat dinner on our ocean-front deck. However, when we ate there during the shut-down, I felt something was missing (despite our unfettered view of the ocean). This week when we were there, I realized what was missing—people. I missed watching the playful interactions of family members, the appreciation shown by those watching the sunsets, and all the other elements that punctuate the lyrics of the “Funny Girl” song, “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.”
Although we are far from pre-coronavirus “normal,” it is a relief to know that most of the dangerous congestion has left Ocean Drive. It is also heart-warming to know that, as long as we follow the health guidelines, our residents can reconnect with our functional Strand, questionably-unopened bike path, beautiful beaches and stunning ocean. Welcome back.
—Lynne Gross, Manhattan Beach
State budget cuts effect on MBUSD
State funding for public education is collapsing under the strain of COVID-19 and MBUSD faces a dire financial situation.
As a Revenue Limit District, our schools receive only a small fraction of local property taxes. We therefore rely heavily on state aid to reach minimum funding levels for our 6,000+ students, most of whom do not qualify for supplemental state funding.
In recent years, a steady combination of mounting operational costs and declining state funding has pushed our district’s budget to the breaking point.
As a result, we have been forced to spend down our reserves to avoid mass teacher layoffs, increased class sizes and the elimination of essential programs. Those reserves are now dangerously close to falling below the minimum level required by the state.
This problem has only been compounded by the disastrous economic impact of COVID-19, the move to distance learning and the complicated challenge of safely reopening of our schools.
Now, new state budget cuts will further slash our already reduced state funding levels by an additional 7.69% -- an additional projected $3.8 million cut for MBUSD.
These funding levels are insufficient to sustain current operations and threaten the future health, stability and survival of our district.
Simply put: This is a devastating blow to our children’s schools and community.
We need your help. Please ask our legislators to support additional Federal funding needed to save our schools and protect our children’s futures.
—Michael Sinclair, vice president, Grand View Elementary Parent-Teacher Assn.
LA County COVID-19 data
RE: Mark Burton's letter, "COVID-19 recovery in MB versus L.A. County," The Beach Reporter, 5/14/20:
Let's consider this point further. In reviewing the latest L.A. County statistics, 96% of all county cases are in the City of Los Angeles and its community jurisdictions (think San Pedro, Northridge, Canoga Park, Watts, etc.). When considering this fact and the known hot spots of long-term care facilities and correctional facilities, using county data that does not exclude the City of L.A. and the known hot spots, disproportionately lumps all the other cities and unincorporated areas (4% of all cases) into the county-wide lock down. As Burton points out, "L.A. County is the outlier in our state with a high infection and fatality rate."
In my opinion, the outlier is the City of Los Angeles and its COVID-19 data. This data needs to be analyzed separately from the county. Doing so would yield much different reopening orders for Manhattan Beach and the many other areas in L.A. County that have similar statistics for COVID-19.
—Wayne LaVassar, Manhattan Beach
Changes and reopenings in Hermosa Beach
We welcome our new city clerk, Eduardo “Eddie” Sarmiento. He is Hermosa’s first appointed city clerk under Measure CC, the initiative voters approved in November to make the position appointed instead of elected.
While we have been moving forward with important initiatives, like his hiring, we have also focused on the COVID-19 response and recovery plans. We reopened the Community Center tennis courts this week, and we plan to reopen the tennis and pickleball courts at Clark Field on June 1. Please help protect public health by observing the restrictions on these activities.
The reopening of the beach this past week was welcome news, and we thank all who are using the beach responsibly. L.A. County Department of Public Health is allowing only active recreation on the beach for now. This includes running, walking, surfing and swimming. Picnicking, sunbathing, beach chairs, coolers and umbrellas are not yet permitted.
The city council also voted to close or limit access to all parking lots near the beach to reduce crowds, and beach and park operating hours are restricted to 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Memorial Day weekend is expected to bring even more people to the community, and we believe these measures and police presence will help ensure a safe holiday weekend.
Memorial Day is also a time to honor the men and women who died in service to their country. Please join us in thanking them and their families for the sacrifices they have made for all of us.
—Hermosa Beach City Manager Suja Lowenthal
City of Manhattan Beach park citations
I was one of the culprits that was found to be standing with my dog on one side of Bruce’s Beach Park. A police officer on the other side and up the hill in the park called me over and gave me the citation, along with two others that were in the park, by themselves, all of us at least 80 feet apart.
I am paying the $1000 fine.
What bothers me is how the City of Manhattan Beach treated a longtime resident of Manhattan Beach in regards to the payment of the fine. Was I contacted by the city, either by phone or email, to discuss this action even though I had requested same in an email the morning I received the citation? No! Instead the city turned this citation over to a “collection” firm that sent me a Notification/Collection letter. Was the law firm a Manhattan Beach firm, No! It was a L.A. based firm with the letterhead Irving Law on Grand Ave.
I wanted to communicate with the city and suggest that my $1000 payment be applied to a charity such as the Red Cross to support those in need versus being buried in the city’s coffers for an ambiguous purpose.
Lots of arguments for why the fine was not appropriate on that given morning based on clarity of the signage, etc. However, as one cannot plead ignorance to a legal action taken by the city, I will pay.
—Robert Graham, Manhattan Beach
Support for Hadley
I agree with Council Member Hadley that often actions are better than words, especially when time is of the essence. Thank you, Suzanne, for acting to support Manhattan Beach’s local businesses.
—Adam Goldston, Manhattan Beach