Pier designers wanted

Dear ER:
Hermosa Beach residents need to attend the special city council meeting concerning the pier renovation, at 7:10 a.m. on April 30, in the city council chambers. Hermosa residents must express their ideas on the pier design and let the council know what they think of the current, council sub-committee approved, tower design. I do not favor the design and I wonder why the council has sought so little community input on the pier project -- a project which was started three years ago. It is not too late to give your opinions on the pier renovation and I encourage my fellow Hermosa residents to be part of the process Monday night.

Michael D. Keegan
Hermosa Beach

Outside the old box

Dear ER:
The Hermosa city council and staff need to get outside the Plaza and think to the future. Forget the city hall and fire department remodel. Give the current city hall to the police, community services and fire departments. Then they will have all the room they will ever need.

There’s a building for sale at 16th Street and Pacific Coast Hwy. that could do the following: give city staff respectable offices and space, a large indoor recreation facilities (gymnasium), new council chambers (with seats), banquet facilities, meeting rooms, school district offices, adult education and Beach Cities Health District programs, a historical and surfers museum, small retail shops and 300 parking spaces.

With the money needed to build parking, remodel city hall and the fire department, the city could buy this building and provide its citizens with facilities well into the future.

Peter Tucker
Hermosa Beach


No bar-gain

Dear ER:
Hermosa Planning Commissioner Ron Pizer said he’ll run for Hermosa’s Council to "enhance downtown." Pizer seems like a common sense person, but saying, "enhance downtown" indicates he doesn’t get it. The downtown is lost! It’s a bar and cab zone fostered by Hermosa’s current council, and a loser for the city’s treasury. The council won’t even tabulate the miniscule tax revenue coming from all those bars, nor city costs for the police and paramedics needed to prevent death and injury downtown.

The aerial photo of Hermosa Beach at hermosabch.org shows how tiny Hermosa’s downtown is relative to the vast neglected residential areas and Pacific Coast Highway business corridor. This dinky downtown requires hundreds of thousands, probably millions of dollars in subsidy from the city’s treasury each year. The money is provided mostly by the residents directly or indirectly. So why is there no cost benefit analysis to justify the inept policies of this current Hermosa council?

Those running for council, beginning in July, need to focus on the resident’s quality of life, realizing residents pay most of the bills. Three council incumbents probably will run for third terms. Like politician Sam Edgerton, they’ve had their egos so patronized and massaged by their overpaid city managers and downtown-obsessed proponents, that they will have need to continue being big-shot Hermosa politicians. However, while the city needs new people to refresh this current brain-dead council, it does not need more resident subsidized bar and cab zone "enchancement."

Howard Longacre
Hermosa Beach

Economics 2001

Dear ER:
In reading that the Manhattan Beach City Council asked the developer to come up with a design that uses "no more than 65,000 square feet," I wondered: How will this affect quality of life?

I remember when the city debated what to do with the greenbelt. Some of the same people who now favor significant development of Metlox then endeavored to have homes built on the greenbelt. The key argument then and now in favor of major development was/is "best use" or, in financial terms, maximum return. Quality of life, because it cannot be calculated financially, carries little, if any, weight in the assessment. But, we all know quality of life when we see it. Homes on the greenbelt certainly would detract from our current quality of life.

Given that Manhattan Beach already struggles with issues related to traffic and overcrowding, it is illogical that a significant development will have little or no positive impact on quality of life. Financial considerations do have to be weighed, but not to the exclusion of quality of life issues. Unfortunately, the discussion to-date has lacked an equitable consideration of the value and importance of quality of life. If it’s not too late, does anybody know how to add this factor objectively to the decision process?

Sara Thaves
Manhattan Beach

2001 dollars

Dear ER:
I continue to be amazed at the doings of the Manhattan Beach elected (by a vote of about 26 percent of the electorate) officials.

Not content with grand plans for "Metlox Madness" with its inevitable gridlock (if successful), our new mayor wants to spend $30 million on a new police and fire facility. I am in favor of improving and enlarging the present facilities but the price seems a bit extreme when a double lot with two big units on the Strand is advertised for a bit over $3 million.

Peter Hodson
Manhattan Beach

If the Chinese can do it…

Dear ER:
The recent announcement in one of my periodicals that Shanghai will be a building a $1 billion magnetic levitation train to connect with the new $2 billion airport opened up an old wound with me. We have the ongoing ‘dance’ about whether we should or should not expand LAX. Anyone with any political perception knows that the political process always proceeds like this -- you will be told a very bad scenario, much debate and ‘public’ discussion, plus much ink, and then a ‘scaled down’ version is offered as a ‘compromise.’ The panicked public accepts this as a better alternate and again the public loses.

We talk a lot about being the city of the 21st Century. But with stunts like not running the green/blue/purple line up into the airport, we are not capable of being a front line city. The incredible Pudong area in Shanghai is the result of Deng Xiaoping making a decision to build in the former farmland area, that was in 1992. When I look over our political leaders, all with the spine of Jell-O, questions like a solution to the energy shortage make them quiver.

A good analogy is we can drill in the Arctic Wildlife area, and get the oil, and with the very safe record of Prudomme Bay, have our oil, and also preserve the environment. But the spectacle of Jane Harman denouncing the solution while at the same time not offering any other recommendation is pathetic. Could a solution like expanding the Palmdale Airport, where the local population strongly wants increased development, and then provide a magnetic levitation train to get the people into downtown LA work? Naw, we might as well try to fly to the moon.

Locally, we are in the midst of some of the most gigantic house build-ups imaginable. I offer this weird speculation -- what would happen if we had a Community Design Committee, membership to exclude real estate personnel, building developers, and representatives of newspaper that earn more then 50 percent of its revenue from housing sales. In my more mischievous moments, I compare our five-member council to the Gang of Five, a waste of power.

Ira Wallis
Manhattan Beach


Earth, surf and win

Dear ER:
The South Bay chapter of the Surfrider Foundation would like to thank the numerous local businesses for contributing to the success of the 7th Annual Earth Day Surf Contest on April 22. We would also like to thank our main sponsors Puravida, Spyder Surfboards, Interbrand, Anheuser-Busch and Sales of South Bay, Inc. Thanks also to the Easy Reader for helping to spread the word about the event.

We also appreciate the hundreds of environmentally conscious people who attended the event, as well as all the Surfrider members who volunteered their time. With the help of those mentioned above, we raised over $2,000, all of which will fund the protection and enhancement of the South Bay coastal environment in the coming years. We hope to see everyone at our next monthly meeting at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 17, at Good Stuff Restaurant (upstairs) located at 1300 Highland Ave. in Manhattan Beach.

Keep it blue!
Steve Fisher
Contest Director
South Bay Surfrider


Stranded asset

Dear ER:
Beware: while expansion of Redondo’s Strand is a wonderful concept, it may not be all that it is cracked up to be. It was almost 10 years ago as a Traffic Committee member hoping for improvements to our Strand when I was quoted in the local papers looking forward to "the day that wall would come down." I was not talking about the Berlin wall, but the South Bay’s own wall that separates the bike path at the Hermosa border. I still look forward to that day.

The local media would have us believe that the proposal brings the new Strand by the water through the harbor. The latest drawings have a great start from Hermosa, knocking down that wall, but it continues back on Harbor Drive between traffic and walls through half of the Harbor before it gets back near the water and the heavy traffic areas. This is unacceptable.

Many public meetings have occurred on these plans. The original contractor, Urban Land Institute, had the drawings with the Strand by the water. Ever since the new contractor was hired and some objected to losing parking by the harbor’s edge, the Strand was moved and has remained back to the east. We need cooperation of leaseholders, and all interests in the Harbor to make this work. The Strand is the lifeline of this proposal. Staff has made conclusions about the location of the Strand without proper public input and no decision has yet been made by any public body. This may have been done to facilitate the environmental review process, and a swift resolution of this dilemma is required before we proceed further.

Bike path politics is not a new phenomenon in the South Bay cities. While we have made some headway, I have seen proposals through the pier get scaled back, grant moneys used up, and North Redondo neighborhood path proposals delayed.

Dean Francois
Redondo Beach

Editors note: Dean is President of the "Friends of the South Bay Bicycle Path" and a Public Works Commissioner in Redondo Beach.