Anniversary of blood drive

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Matt Johnson Annual Blood Drive, which takes place each year at the Hometown Fair. Due to overwhelming support from local residents and visitors to the fair, over 2,500 pints of blood have been collected over the years. Since one pint can help up to three people, those donations translate to potentially 7,500 lives saved or extended.

We often don’t realize how immensely important blood donation is until our loved ones or we individually are in need. I didn’t realize the importance of blood donation until my then-12-year-old son Matt was diagnosed with leukemia and needed frequent blood transfusions to keep him alive. Though Matt eventually lost his battle with leukemia, those transfusions certainly extended his life - and since no one loved life more than Matt, the blood drive that bears his name is a fitting legacy.

Thank you to those of you who have donated blood in these past 20 years. I encourage those who are able to give blood to take an hour out of your day and donate on Oct. 5th (10:30-4:30) or 6th (10:00-4:00) at the main MB Fire Station at 15th & Valley.

—Thais Johnson, Manhattan Beach

Climate change poem

Mother Earth, O Gaia, last chance to save our home,

Blue skies, Alpine air, green peace,

This is what we yearn for,

Mother Earth o Gaia, last chance to save our home,

we are doing all we can to help you save our home.

When waterfalls come tumbling down, far down into the sea

peace of God is what descends on me.

But when that bubbling foam turns brown as toxins all run free

rescue is what’s needed don’t you see?

O, Mother Earth O Gaia last chance to save our home,

we are doing all we can to save our home.

When you read this song of mine I plan to put on u Tube, please donate to the environmental groups, and or your legislator who has supported environmental legislation.

And hey, maybe we can all meet up at the Environmental Destruction Agency in D.C. If not you and me then who? And if not now-when?

—Eileen Elder, Manhattan Beach

Principal remarks

I am the parent of a sophomore at Mira Costa High School, and I have been following (somewhat) the “controversy” over Dr. Dale’s remarks. From what I have gathered, the issue is still being discussed—so I would like to add my thoughts. Not only did Dr. Dale state his respect for individual choice, he also expressed his own opinion on the matter—one of personal offense taken to the protest act of not standing for the pledge. But, since when does the expression of a controversial position not offend the sensibilities of others? Is not outré an essential characteristic of an effective counter-social action—such as not standing for the pledge? Indeed the very name of the undertaking—resistance—harkens its essential spirit: to change the course of society we must hoist sails that cut against the wind, not align to it.

One more thought on this: Offensaphobia, the fear of being offended, threatens the free exchange of ideas, the quintessence of a healthy democracy. And by giving the misguided (however well-meaning) idea a platform in our schools, we do an alarming disservice to the next generation—reinforcing the fashion of fragility, buttressing the delusion that all slights must be eradicated. Have we not learned that by sterilizing our children’s environment, we create a generation allergic to variation, weak in the face of challenge, prickling with offensaphobia?

—David Marlett, Manhattan Beach

Supporting Larson

I’m writing to you today to speak about candidate Trent Larson running for city council of Hermosa Beach. He has been active participant for the past five years in our city running for city council, attending and speaking at city meetings as well as workshops/study groups. As a business owner, homeowner and family man, you can trust Trent to look out for the best interest of Hermosa Beach. He would be a great addition to our much needed city council.

—Sean Hendifar, Hermosa Beach

Supporting H and Massey

I’m writing to encourage Hermosa neighbors to remember to vote yes on Measure H next month. This will raise our local hotel bed tax rate from 10 to 12% to increase revenue for the city. Also, I think we should continue our support and re-elect Justin Massey to the Council. Justin voted to put H on the ballot, and supported Measure H (the previous 2% raise) as well as bringing undersea cables to Hermosa, which brings us up over the $1 million mark in additional revenue in our town since the last election. Considering my previous votes for Justin and H in 2015, I believe this is an investment worth doubling down on. Thanks for your time and consideration.

—Wayne Mogilefsky, Hermosa Beach

School board transparency

More than a year and a half after the Hermosa Beach School District deleted all its financial information off their website, HBCSD still has not re-posted any of their audited returns. Why? All other school districts provide decades worth of tax returns and budgets on their websites. What is HBCSD trying to hide?

School Board members tout transparency and accountability, yet after passing a $59M bond in 2016, they will not make their tax returns readily available to the public. Is it because HBCSD wants to know who is looking at their tax returns by making taxpayers file Public Records Requests (PRR) to obtain district financial information?

Are School Board members worried about how their brand new 510 student campus will affect the district’s budget as enrollment has already dropped significantly and is predicted to continue its decline? HBCSD income is tied to enrollment. As enrollment drops so does the district’s funding. The recent State increases in per pupil spending may not be enough to offset our declining enrollment. HBCSD has already lost $240,000/year after ousting Children’s Journey from North School in 2017.

Fortunately there is another way of accessing HBCSD financial information without having to file a PRR. The Federal government requires that bond sellers disclose their financial information to prospective buyers. The district’s financial information can be found on the Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA) website. Search under Hermosa Beach City School District and click on the tab ‘Financial Disclosures’ to find the district’s audited statements.

—Miyo Prassas, Hermosa Beach

Supporting Massey

I fully support Justin Massey for re-election to City Council in Hermosa Beach. As school board member in Hermosa Beach I can attest to Justin’s proven leadership and commitment to Hermosa’s future.

Justin endorsed Measure S, the $59m bond to improve facilities in Hermosa Schools, and was a positive force for putting in place the MOU between the City and HBCSD, paving the way for construction of the North School project. Thereby ensuring we have the best plans in place for traffic access and utmost safety for our community.

Justin cares deeply about our city. Takes time to understand the issues. Listens to all respective stakeholders. Then has the tenacity to take action. Driving positive change and doing what is right for Hermosa Beach.

—Stephen McCall, Hermosa Beach

Vaping as epidemic

A mom brought her middle-school-aged son to see me in our UCLA pediatric office in Redondo Beach last summer. She reported that his behavior had become erratic, that he was defiant and starting to have conflicts at school. Later, he admitted that he had started vaping because it was “cool” and all the kids at school were doing it. He told me that it was “totally safe” and was just inhaling “water vapor, like steam.”

One year later, our country faces a rapidly growing e-cigarette epidemic. This spring, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there are now 1.5 million more middle and high school students using e-cigarettes. After decades of progress, we have a new generation of young people addicted to nicotine. Several cities including San Francisco and Sacramento, and states like Michigan and New York, have already enacted flavored e-cigarette bans to halt the growing crisis.

Here in Redondo Beach, our City Council members have discussed an ordinance to end the sale of flavored tobacco products everywhere but adults-only establishments. This won’t work. My teen patients all say it is easy to purchase vape supplies in these stores because “no one checks ID.”

Recently, more than 30 people testified at a Redondo Beach City Council hearing to provide data about the harms of e-cigarette use. In the ensuing discussion, however, councilmembers seemed to disregard the public health threat facing Redondo Beach residents in favor of adult smokers.

As a practicing pediatrician in Redondo Beach and President of the Southern California chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, I hope our councilmembers will do the right thing for our children. We need stronger legislation to protect the health of all who work and live in Redondo Beach. We should completely end the sale of flavored tobacco products in our city and make Redondo Beach completely flavor-free.

—Alice Kuo, Redondo Beach

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