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Archive- News: Press and Opinion
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2009 and Earlier:

It's in his Job Description
Staff Writer, Daily Breeze, Dec 15 2009

Councilman backs land-use lawsuit
Kristin S. Agostoni, Daily Breeze, Dec 12 2009
Recent online comments to this article
(Go here to DB website to comment- link expires shortly)

Change calls at Redondo Beach Harbor
Los Angeles Times, Dec 2009

Councilman Bill Brand Speaks Out
Easy Reader Editorial, Sept 2009

Measure Foes Have a New Name
Daily Breeze Article Launched: 09/03/'08 - From staff and news services

Put Limits on Development
Daily Breeze Letter to the Ed. from Assemblyman Ted Lieu, Jul '08

Marina lease sold for $9.8 million
Mark McDermott, Easy Reader, Mar 27, '08

Slow Growth Initiative Heads for Count
Mark McDermott, Easy Reader, Jan 10, '08

Consultant suggests Grove-by-the-sea
Mark McDermott, Easy Reader, Dec 20, '07

Taking the Initiative on Traffic - Oxnard and Thousand Oaks activists seek to curtail congestion...
Gregory W. Griggs, Los Angeles Times, Dec 10, '07

RB Group Completes Land-use Petition Drive
Kristin S. Agostoni, Daily Breeze, '07

Harbor Land Swap Hits Snag
Mark McDermott, Easy Reader, Sep 6 '07

Marina lessee says he’ll pull hotel proposal if initiative makes ballot
Mark McDermott, Easy Reader, Nov 9, '06

Petition aims to ensure public say in large developments
Peter B. Matuszak, Beach Reporter, Nov '06

Initiative Seeks to Slow Development Part II
Mark McDermott, Easy Reader, Nov 9, '06

Initiative Seeks to Slow Development, Part I
Mark McDermott, Easy Reader, Nov 9, '06

Marina Lessee says He’ll Pull Hotel Proposal if Initiative Makes Ballot
Mark McDermott, Easy Reader, Nov 9, '06

Redondo Beach land uses remain hot. Two groups are in a petition war. One wants residents to have say, but other says that would scare developers.
Kristen Agostoni, Daily Breeze, March 15

Archive- Essay & Opinion
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City is circumventing voters

Letter to the Beach Reporter by RB Councilman Bill Brand

On Feb. 16, the Redondo Beach City Council will make its final assault on our waterfront that began with the Heart of the City plan nine years ago.

There are already 920,000 square feet of development in the pier and King Harbor area. The city will soon give its final approval to allow another 400,000 square feet, raise the height limit and allow three-story timeshares. All this in the face of a city-funded traffic study that shows this area going to gridlock as a result, a study city staff failed to share with the Coastal Commission last July.

Measure DD, which passed overwhelmingly more than a year ago in the largest voter turnout in Redondo history, amended the city charter to require voter approval before the above zoning could go into effect. The entire City Council at the time opposed this measure, so it should surprise no one that it is now trying to circumvent its effects.

There is nothing left to do but to sue the city when it violates its own charter. If you live in Redondo, or anywhere in the South Bay for that matter, and don’t want to suffer the view and traffic impacts of this upzoning, mail a donation to Building a Better Redondo (www.buildingabetterredondo.org) at 602 S. Broadway, Unit B, Redondo Beach, CA 90277.

No donation is too small. If many give a little, and the suit is successful, this plan will face the voters, not just a few council members.

Councilman Bill Brand, Redondo Beach

Letter from BBR's Legal Counsel to City of Redondo
Oct 2009 (PDF)

Update from Jim Light
BBR Website, July 2009

A Response to Redondo's Chamber of Commerce
Commentary by Jim Light, BBR Website

Initiative II: Letter to The Mayor and Council from Jim Light

Southern California is becoming a tight fit ...
Sharon Bernstein, Los Angeles Times, Aug '07

Development is knocking at the door
Daily Breeze letter from BBR's Jim Light, Mar 28, '07

City survey finds residents want halt to Redondo's condo growth ...
Daily Breeze Commentary by BBR Chairman Jim Light March 18

Torrance deals with the housing bubble: With 10 years of residential growth slowing, the city looks for ways to lessen the impact on infrastructure and quality of life
Nick Green, Daily Breeze, March 21, '07

Why did the Heart of the City come to epitomize all the problems with California Development? Who is a NIMBY? Find out in the
pdf document of report - 184KB

Archive- Letters to the Editor
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Demand a vote
Like most Redondo residents voting in the November 2008 election, I voted for Measure DD because it gave me a vote on increasing density in our city; democracy before development. In all, 17,412 of us voted for Measure DD, more than for any previous city candidate or issue. In contrast Mayor Mike Gin received just 6,086 votes. If you combine all the votes for all five councilman and the mayor, the combined council only received 10,684 votes. The vote for DD, along with multiple city surveys, reflect Redondo resident concern about overdevelopment.

Now our elected officials intend to ignore us by passing a massive harbor upzoning without the vote required by DD, which is now part of our City Charter. The council hides behind a dubious legal smoke screen to justify this outrage. It’s not bad enough that it has misled the public and Coastal Commission about the gridlock this will cause in our city, now it is purposefully ignoring the will of the people.

Our council has a moral obligation to follow the city charter and represent the will of its residents. I am disgusted by its blatant disregard of the law and its total lack of integrity.

I call on all conscientious residents to attend the council meeting* Feb. 16 and demand a vote. But, more importantly, join me in donating to BBR’s lawsuit that will force the city to put this upzoning to a vote as required by the charter. See www.buildingabetterredondo.com for details.

-- Alexander L. Starr, Redondo Beach

* Ed. note: This was published incorrectly as Feb 6 - we took the liberty of correcting it above. We didn't think Alexander would mind!

People want to vote on project
The Redondo Beach City Council’s continued refusal, under the guise of a questionable interpretation of Measure DD, to allow the citizens of Redondo Beach to express their desire to be involved in the zoning of large development projects is not defensible. My specific reference is to the proposed changes in the area of King Harbor. What is it that the council does not understand about our wish to preserve what is good about the central feature of our town? It should be obvious to even the most obtuse council member that their continued political survival depends on obeying the will of the electorate.

Refer the proposal to us by special election, being careful to phrase the issue in terms that do not prejudge the outcome. If the council does that, it will have demonstrated that it deserves our support and confidence.

-- Thomas G. Butts and Ann Scarentino, Redondo Beach

City is wasting taxpayer money
Today I am giving myself a Happy New Year’s present. I am writing a $50 check to Building a Better Redondo to support its effort to give us a vote. The City Council is ready to approve a huge development project at the harbor without putting it on the ballot as required by law since Measure DD was passed. The only way to force the city to obey the law is with a lawsuit.

In a way, this is also a Happy Decade present to myself since city residents have been resisting the developer-controlled City Hall all the way back to the infamous “Heart of the City” boondoggle with its plan for 3,000 condos at the power plant.

It is shameful that the city continues to waste taxpayer money in these difficult times on legal costs to thwart the will of the voters.

-- Patrick Wickens, Redondo Beach, Letter to the Beach Reporter

Concerned with overdevelopment
As a longtime Redondo Beach resident, I am concerned about the overdevelopment in our town, I’m hoping our City Council puts its latest change to our harbor before the voters.

Measure DD passed overwhelmingly in the November 2008 election. It amended the city charter to always require a public vote before a major upzoning could occur. This measure received more than 17,000 votes, more votes than any other candidate or measure in the history of Redondo Beach, and more than all the council members and mayor combined, all of whom opposed the measure.

Now that it is considering a massive upzoning in our harbor, one that will allow another 400,000 square feet of development, raise the height limit on our coast, and allow new uses such as timeshares and something called “condo-hotels,” it’s time to check with the locals to see if they really want this.

The will of the people is clear; they want to vote. I sense the mayor and council, except for Councilman Bill Brand, are afraid of what the answer will be. But that begs the question, “If they’re afraid it won’t pass, why would they want to proceed anyway?”

Visit www.buildingabetterredondo.org for more information. Please make your voice heard by attending the Feb. 16 Redondo Beach City Council meeting.

-- Jim Tortorelli, Redondo Beach

Redevelopment crossroads
The city of Redondo Beach is at a crossroads in the redevelopment of the Harbor area. For the last year and a half, the majority of the City Council has insisted that the harbor should contain 400,000 square feet of new development, including three-story timeshares and a mall.

Measure DD passed by the voters more than a year ago, which would require a public vote before this should happen. But we will not get to vote if the current City Council (except Councilman Bill Brand) has its way. It claims this zoning was already effective, which contradicts state law and even its own ordinance. Like most residents, I favor revitalization in our harbor, but 400,000 square feet?

That’s the size of the Plaza El Segundo, a huge amount. This is overdevelopment, not revitalization. I have called many Redondo residents over the last 10 days, and people are angry and frustrated. I hope to help our organization, Building a Better Redondo, to raise enough money to file a lawsuit that will require our city to follow the laws we voted to enact. Please visit our Web site and consider a small donation to our cause. If many donate a little, we will have our day in court and at the polls. We have already raised $20,000.

Visit www.buildingabetterredondo.org for more information or feel free to call (310) 374-4284 for further information. There’s no time like the present to stand up to politicians that ignore their own people.

-- Melanie L. Cohen, Redondo Beach

Plaza El Redondo
Dear ER:
This Tuesday, Oct 6, the Redondo Beach City Council will be considering new zoning for King Harbor that allows 400,000 sq.ft. of new development, including 3-story timeshares rising 45 ft. To put this into perspective, the new Plaza El Segundo on Sepulveda, where they have a Border’s, Whole Foods and Best Buy, is only 380,000 sq.ft. Measure DD passed less than a year ago, and it requires a public vote before this level of development is approved. Now I hear that our council doesn’t support the public voting on this, and will probably find a way to move ahead without calling for one. Are they afraid of the wishes of the people who elected them?

Our Council moving against the public on big development in Redondo is nothing new. I remember the Heart of the City referendums well. What is new is the resolve the community has shown over the last eight years. Measure DD proved this. Unfortunately, it appears it may take legal action to force our City to follow it’s own charter.

Don’t let them take your rights away. We don’t want a mall and timeshares in the Ruby’s parking lot, so we shouldn’t be zoning for it.

-Linda Moffat, Redondo Beach, Letter to The Easy Reader, 9/24/09

Brand falsely branded
Dear Easy Reader:
In what way is winning 52 percent of the vote “avoiding a runoff election” (Brand new beginning on city council,” ER April 9, 2009)? Bill Brand’s win is all but a landslide with the other three opponents garnering 262, 246 and 163 votes to Brand’s 752. And I would bet that if voters in all districts could have voted to save our pier area from overdevelopment, they would have added a few thousand more votes for Bill Brand. Hurray for at least one member of the city council being ready to speak up for the slow-growthers.

- Judy Burch
Redondo Beach

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Follow the money
Dear ER:
For the third time, glossy ads filled the mailbox. Do you realize that each citywide mailing equates to $20,000? Who pays for these ads? Who wants Redondo Beach Measure DD to fail? $84,000 has been spent so far to defeat Measure DD. Public record shows that it is the California Association of Realtors has donated over $40,000 in three months, along with $5,000 from the AES Corp. (power plant) and $8,000 from harbor lessee MCL Marina Corp.

Large scale developers want to build in Redondo and the City Council wants to increase city revenue at any cost. Sure, large scale development increases revenue for the City of Redondo — but at what cost?

Who wants Measure DD to pass? Citizens of this great city who want a say in large scale development. Measure DD does not eliminate revenue or halt development — it gives residents a say. Do you want a shopping center along the water; 3,500 homes by the power plant; the senior center and school at Knob Hill closed to public use forever? If you answer “no” to any of these questions, you too are like the 6,390 Redondo Beach residents who signed a petition to get DD on the November ballot.
Vote yes on DD!
-- Chris Addington, Redondo Beach, Letter to the Easy Reader, 10/16/08

Development Measures
Dear ER:
When you go into the booth to vote this November don’t be fooled by the misinformation being shoved in your mailbox. The truth is that Redondo Beach measure DD is financed and written by concerned RB citizens. Redondo Beach Measure EE is financed by the California Realtor Association and a small group of powerful and wealthy local developers, and written by council members who have taken contributions from these local developers.

The driving force behind Measure DD is to allow citizens to have a say in the level of development and traffic in Redondo Beach. The driving force behind Measure EE is greed. Measure DD just gives you and I a say in allowing major development projects that will have material impacts on our lives. Measure EE is the status quo, nothing more.

In a perfect world, measure DD would not be needed as we could trust our City Council to act on behalf of its citizens. Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect RB world where our council values the quality of earnings for the developers over the quality of life for the citizens of Redondo, a world where our City Council quotes fraudulent traffic studies to push development projects, and finally a world where the supporters of the pro-development measure EE actually state in their fliers that less development will cause our city to be less safe. Haven’t we had enough of this kind of ridiculous and irrational fear propaganda?! Shame on you Save Redondo and the Redondo council. We elected the current council members because of their platforms of lower density and traffic, but it appears that they never really meant to keep those promises.

Please, when you vote this November, make sure we don’t get fooled again. Vote Yes on DD and No on EE.

-- David Hill, Redondo Beach, Letter to the Easy Reader

Citizens need a say
Dear ER:
So, Redondo Councilman Steve Diels thinks we shouldn't allow the people of Redondo Beach to have a say in major zoning changes in our city?

Why not let the public decide what kind of building and large scale development can take place in our city? What if we don't want a Grove shopping center in our harbor? What if we don't want 40 senior units crammed onto a two acre lot? What if we don't want high density living on every corner? I think the voting public in this wonderful city is smart enough to at least help determine the future of Redondo. Does the council believe that they are the only ones with the divine wisdom to decide what is right for our city?

The councilmen have proven that they cannot stand up to big builders, and this city has been a "honey pot" for long enough. I think what Councilman Diels is really saying is that big builders will shy away once they find out they can't build whatever they want, whenever and wherever they want. I am in favor of gentrifying some areas of our city, but to allow major shopping centers and high density condos on every other corner is not what we need.

Cities like Monterey, Santa Barbara, and Carmel have some of the stiffest building/zoning requirements among beach cities in our state. These cities have almost a zero tolerance for major commercial or high density building projects, and yet they continue to flourish with their existing tax base. Our land values are very consistent with those cities. Let's better manage what we've got.
-- Jeff Davidson, Redondo Beach, Letter to the Easy Reader, Jan 2008

Torrance residents may offer petition
It would appear that Redondo Beach City Councilman Steven Diels ("Initiative won't solve RB traffic woes," March 12) is one of the reasons the people in Redondo Beach are circulating the initiative petition. Their elected officials are not representing them.

If the city of Torrance's new General Plan does not solve the problems of over-development, Torrance residents will propose an initiative that will limit the discretionary powers of the Planning Commission and the City Council. The measure would require a vote of the residents on projects that are more than 100 housing units, create 100 peak-hour auto trips or have 40,000 square feet of building space above what the city's General Plan allows.

The new initiative would require a vote by the residents of Torrance if a project adds those numbers of housing units, auto trips or building space, regardless of General Plan allowances. A vote also could be required if a smaller development were to exceed those thresholds when combined with other small developments in the area and approved in the past five years.
-- Robert Thompson, Torrance, Letters to the Daily Breeze

Reassess RB zoning changes
I was alerted recently of the Heart of the City-like zoning changes being proposed by Redondo Beach that will add 750,000 square feet of additional development to our waterfront.
If you find this as unbelievable as I did, go to Redondo.org and click on the proposed "Harbor and Pier area zoning and land use amendments" and see for yourself. Page two of the newest Initial Environmental Study states that new development here is "... limited to a net increase of 750,000 square feet ... "
To put into perspective how big 750,000 square feet is, I went to the Web site of Plaza El Segundo, the newest development on Sepulveda Boulevard just north of Rosecrans Avenue. With a Whole Foods, Best Buy and other establishments, this development is only 380,000 square feet.
I can't believe our staff, at the direction of Mayor Mike Gin and the City Council, after two successful referendums on the Heart of the City, are spending their time and our money crafting such an enormous plan.
Now watch them float a compromise that reduces the figure to say, 100,000 square feet of new development, as if too much is never enough.
Plans like these, which are inconsistent with what the community desires, is why Building a Better Redondo is gathering signatures for another initiative that calls for a public vote on big projects. The staff and council should have to get approval from the voters before proceeding. We need your help!
Please sign the latest initiative. Help us collect signatures or donate to the cause! Visit us at www.buildingabetterredondo.org.
- MIKE Patino, Redondo Beach, Letter to the Easy Reader

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Fed up in Redondo
Dear ER:
As a 20-plus year resident of Redondo, personally I am fed up with this scenario: developers get rich while residents deal with the fallout. We get more traffic, more dirty air, more crowding, less water and less space. Are you concerned about this too? Then volunteer or contribute to Building A Better Redondo. In a democracy, people have the right and the power to change things. Visit http://www.buildingabetterredondo.org/ or contact Jim Tortorelli at 818-674-9458 or Gale Hazeltine at 310-543-9122. At the very least, when you asked for your signature on our petition, sign it.
- Cheryl Kohr, Redondo Beach, Letters to the Easy Reader

Condo count
Dear ER:
Joining over 65 volunteers, I decided to help gather signatures for the land use initiative in Redondo Beach. I’ve collected over 300 signatures so far. Many residents think that Redondo is already built-out, but the City Council is rezoning commercial property and planning to sell school land as well, all for more residential development.
What sold me was examining exactly what the City Council has done. It rezoned Catalina Avenue for 89 condos (between Broadway and Gertruda). It rezoned Ruxton Lane for 227 condos. Now the council wants to rezone Torrance Boulevard from commercial to medium density condos (originally over 400 condos).
Don’t think this will be affordable housing, either; the prices will start around $500K!
Ever scratch your head while passing the intersection of Artesia and Aviation and wonder why they bull-dozed a gas station and who the heck would live there? Well the units are now for sale. School property will be up for sale too, and residential units moving in if we don’t get this initiative passed.
We are in the last week of signature gathering and really need your help. I will be at the Albertson’s on Artesia this Saturday afternoon.

-- Jim Tortorelli, Redondo Beach, Letter to the Easy Reader

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More kids, more trailers
Dear ER:
I value our Redondo schools and am an active member of the Redondo Beach Alumni Association. I have two children attending Parris Middle School and I couldn’t be happier. However, when my kids were three years old we were playing at Alta Vista Park when the recess bell rang at Alta Vista elementary school. I watched in disbelief as children were squeezed onto the overcrowded playground. Why was it overcrowded? Because the playground has been covered with trailers and the school board has decided to lease our local schools for private use.

Parents are surprised to find out that the school on Knob Hill and PCH was the elementary school I attended. They aren’t aware that it is Redondo school property. Or that there once existed an elementary school on Pacific Coast Highway and Garnet that is currently built over with homes. Or that there are more elementary schools north of 190th Street being leased to private schools.

So when some well-meaning parents align themselves with the opposition of the Redondo initiative and are quoted as it is bad for the school district, I am rather amused. Have they not noticed their children have to take recess and lunch in shifts because their child’s school, which was built for 300 now has over 500 kids attending? And those additional children are all being taught in trailers sitting on the playground. Our population in Redondo is increasing. How does the school district respond? More trailers, not by reopening our leased out schools.
Members of our school board have decided to publicly oppose the Redondo Beach Initiative. They want to take our school property, the true wealth of a school district and rezone it for condos. Our children should be in real classrooms on campuses with real playgrounds. Demand a voice on the rezoning of our school property. Sign the initiative!
-- Gale Hazeltine, Redondo Beach, Letter to the Easy Reader

Initiative would curb developers
I support voters signing the Redondo Beach ballot initiative petition. Leaving the decision to for major zoning changes to politicians has left the South Bay in the near-gridlock conditions that we are seeing today. This is not just the result of Redondo Beach elected officials but those in other cities also.

Removing them for their actions after the fact still saddles us with their actions for generations to come, as we are seeing in Torrance today.

Redondo Beach city fathers decided it was for the good of the city to destroy the old Redondo area north of the pier, replacing it with condos. Those actions effectively destroyed a tourist area that had existed since the late 1800s.

Those old stores that were removed would today make the Redondo Beach pier a destination for millions more dollars in tourist money. Can you trust a City Council that today would rather leave in place an unworkable parking system, causing pier businesses and the city to lose revenue, rather than admitting to a mistake and removing it? Do they need to wait until more pier businesses are destroyed?

Until the community stands up to politicians and takes back control of our cities, as Torrance did during the last election, the politicians will continue on doing what they do, being wined and dined by the developers who stand to make millions on every project they force down our throats.

While I don't live in Redondo Beach, I live and work closer to the Torrance Boulevard redevelopment area than most Redondo Beach residents. The argument that residents lack the expertise to decide what is best for them is ridiculous. As residents, homeowners and business owners, we know better what is best for our neighborhoods -- much better than the "here-today-gone-tomorrow" developers who have no vested interest in the long-term effects of their plans.

For the future of Redondo Beach and the South Bay, please sign the ballot initiative petition.

-- Arnie Goldstein, Torrance, Letter the the Daily Breeze, April 27

Happy Birthday Redondo!
Redondo Beach will be 115 years old on Sunday. With 10,000-plus residents per square mile, Redondo has grown to be the nation's 43rd highest in population density for cities over 50,000, per the U.S. Census Bureau.

Now is a good time to speak up about housing density, which so directly impacts our quality of life. So I ask Redondo residents to sign the ballot initiative petition offering a direct public vote on major zoning-change development projects. Go to any RB grocery store this weekend to sign or call the Building a Better Redondo hotline at 310-543-9122 for details.

Yes, this initiative is an imperfect solution in an imperfect world, and I'll share my concerns with anyone. But the pros outweigh the cons mainly because it does not take away anyone's existing property rights. The initiative only affects major zoning changes from public/commercial to residential and upzoning changes that greatly increase densities and traffic.

While City Council crows about how few housing units have been built in recent times, ask how many they've approved by changing commercial and public-zoned parcels to high-density residential. At least 372 units since 2004, not counting 189 condos on Torrance Boulevard pending a more thorough environmental impact report.

The key words are "zoning changes." Want to develop your property within your current zoning? Not affected by the initiative. Want to put a Starbucks in an existing commercial area? Not affected. Why? No zoning change.

Want to convert a car wash and commercial strips on Torrance Boulevard to high-density condos? Yes, that would be affected by the initiative; it's a zoning change, and you'd get to vote on it. If it's a good project, vote for it!

But perhaps the best reason why people should sign the initiative was recently made by an individual I've never met: "Whether or not the proposed rezoning in Redondo Beach is a wise idea, when politicians and special interests try to quash an initiative that seeks to shed light on the subject, voters need to get out their pens and sign up." Amen.

-- Don Vangeloff, Redondo Beach

RB rezoning mentality: Pack 'em tight
Lenore Bloss, who chairs Redondo Beach Citizens Against the Flawed Initiative, submitted a letter to the editor on March 20, ("Pro and con on RB initiative"). Bloss is also a Redondo Beach planning commissioner. As a planning commissioner, she has decided (Heart of the City, Catalina Corridor Redevelopment, Torrance Boulevard) and will decide on any future land-use changes in Redondo Beach.

In the letter, Bloss stated that no new commercial or industrial developments were completed in 2006. Is this because the commercial properties were rezoned as multifamily residential? The project that comes to my mind is the commercial lots of Francisca and Catalina avenues, which the Planning Commission rezoned to build condominiums. The site is now fenced for imminent construction.

Will the Planning Commission convert the commercial property across from the Francisca project to multifamily residential zoning? Moreover, will the commercial lots on Torrance Boulevard (rescinded for environmental impact evaluation) and city's maintenance properties on Gertruda Avenue be rezoned as multifamily residential?

Commissioner Bloss also states that the population growth rate has slowed to less than one-half that of Los Angeles County's and one-fourth of California's. One must recognize that with the city's fixed area, the population density has to increase as the population increases unless the city fills in the Pacific Ocean on its western boundary, which is unlikely. It is often stated that the population density of Redondo Beach is 43rd among the 50 states. Is the city trying to attain first place in the nation? What would happen to Redondo's infrastructure -- let alone the quality of life, which is subjective -- as we strive toward being No. 1 in population density?

-- GEORGE IKEDA - Letters to the Editor, The Daily Breeze, 5/5/07

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Lagoon will be next land-grab victim
The latest saga in the drive to close the Seaside Lagoon in Redondo Beach once and for all (whether we should or not is a different issue) provides more cover for what is really going on behind the scenes.

A developer wants to swap leased land south of here so he can put up a large hotel and 100-plus timeshares located where the Seaside Lagoon has been for more than 40 years. This development plan is the backdrop to why staff have been angling to first declare the problems at the Seaside Lagoon not fixable, push the idea that it needs to be filled (which is where we are now), close it and then swap the land so the hotel and timeshares are successful.

It's all about money for the city.

One has to dig, and dig deep, but apparently this is not all the development planned for our overbuilt city. Go to the city Web site and click on item No. 11 in the City Council Agenda of Dec. 12, 2006. Buried in this "Comprehensive Update to the Circulation Element" are "... at least three anticipated development applications. ..." What are they? This is impossible for a resident to figure out, but they do have names: "Waterfront Project," "South Bay Galleria Project" and "Marine Project." Hmm?

We need to get the land-use initiative that is circulating at least on the ballot so we can decide if we want a real say in all these big projects. This will save the Seaside Lagoon property, or at least put it up for a vote, like the projects planned. Arguing at council meetings that run till 2 in the morning is a waste of your valuable time. It was your council that directed staff to do this in the first place. Everybody needs to wake up.

-- Jillaine Force, Redondo Beach - Letters to the Editor, The Daily Breeze

City mustn't sacrifice Seaside Lagoon
Looks like the Seaside Lagoon is on the chopping block again. Redondo Beach politicians want to take it away so they can move something in -- so they can have more tax dollars to spend.

This is called progress. It brings more business in to compete with and drive out some of our existing businesses. Even if they built a swimming pool (which wouldn't bring in the tax money a hotel would), it wouldn't be as safe for the toddlers and small children as the Seaside Lagoon. Anything else would require more city services that Redondo taxpayers would have to pay for.

The latest reason they have come up with involves the Water Quality Control Board and the county Department of Health Services. They say the water returned to the ocean is too dirty. I can't believe that dirty people in the pool can contaminate the water any more than if they were swimming in the ocean.

Then the Health Department requires that the chlorine must be added to the water at Seaside Lagoon, but the Water Quality Board says the chlorine must be removed before the water is returned to the ocean. Will they next say anyone swimming in the ocean cannot do so because it is not chlorinated? Does any of this make sense to you? Are you going to let them do this? They will unless Redondo citizens stand up for themselves.

-- Bill Thomas, Torrance, Letters to the Daily Breeze

Ed. Note: Since Bill T. wrote this letter the City has come up with several different plans for the Seaside Lagoon with the Decron Plan (pdf) being the latest on the drawing board.

Our Government
Dear ER:
Whether or not the proposed rezoning in Redondo Beach is a wise idea, when politicians and special interests try to quash an initiative that seeks to shed light on the subject, voters need to get out their pens and sign up. It's called "government of the people, by the people, for the people."
Richard Hallahan
Via e-mail to the Easy Reader

Got traffic?
I am a 40-year resident of Redondo Beach, and I have been in front of markets collecting signatures for the Redondo Beach initiative. My opening line generally goes something like this: "Have you signed the Redondo initiative yet?" The majority of people stop and sign after a brief conversation. But I thought it might be fun for the people who live in this community, the one that I am so passionate about, to hear what those who don't sign say.

After I ask, "Have you signed the petition yet?" they reply, "No, I am a developer" or "I build those condos." A woman, who aligned herself with the group that opposes this initiative, said, "If this initiative passes, people who have R1 (single-family homes) will be affected." She wanted me to know that these homeowners would be unable to rezone their property. Does this opposition group feel that the few remaining neighborhoods with single-family homes should be rezoned for two, three or four homes on a lot?

OK, this was the best of all. I asked, "What will happen if the traffic becomes unbearable?" And this man replies, "I guess we will just build a freeway." I can see it now: an on-ramp in the middle of Riviera Mexican Bar and Grill.
- Gale Hazeltine, Redondo Beach, Letters, Beach Reporter

Get the Facts
Yes, Ann D. is correct on one of the initiative's requirements (more than 150 additional daily trips) in Letters, March 8. This is only one of the traffic requirements that need to be satisfied. Why not state all the requirements of the initiative?

One of the significant litmus tests is the “neighborhood” requirement stated in City Attorney Michael Webb's initiative summary (...would group together all approved minor and major land use changes within a “neighborhood,” defined...). My belief is that this is to alleviate the Heart of the City phenomenon (when all the minor and/or major land use changes are summed within 1,000 feet of each other in the eight-year period). The minor land use methodology is currently used by the city.

Also, she states that, “...proposed initiative will require costly taxpayer-funded citywide votes to make minor zoning changes,...” whereas Webb states, “...would not take effect unless a majority of the voters of the city vote in favor of the change at the next general municipal election or at a special election paid for by the applicant.” Since the city charter requires the general municipal election, there is no additional cost to the city taxpayers. Now, who is telling the truth? I would hang my hat on the city attorney's summary.

It is highly recommended that the Redondo Beach voters should at least read the city attorney's summary of the initiative. The summary is posted on the City Council chambers doors.
--George Ikeda, Redondo Beach

Editors Note: The RB City Attorney's Summary is also located here on our website.

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Dear BBR,

Thank you so much for keeping an eye out for your/our community.

Also, please extend our thanks to your entire committee. We are so much in agreement with what you said.

It appears to us that once again they are trying to pull a fast one on us, because we were at the city council meeting when the harbor people said it would take two years to get a proposal from the harbor commission.

It only seems as though that was no more than two months ago. And, wala, they already have a proposal to present.
This is ridiculous!!! You have our full support!!

Once again, thank you for your time,concern, and tireless efforts
to keep this community vibrant without over extension."

Susan Udewitz,
Redondo Resident

Dear BBR,

"We lived in The Village for 15 years. We just did not need the stress of what the city and it's friends, the money hungry developers were trying to do to our home. We sold our home, took early retirement, moved away and now we can sleep at night untroubled. We thought we would live in Redondo all the rest of our lives. What a shame. We do miss it, but we are much happier and so much less stressed. Looking back, it all seems like a bad dream now. Sorry that it still goes on for you."

Mike and Faye Styvaert, Arizona - sent to BBR via email

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"Bravo Bill Brand!

Nothing Brand is doing should come as any surprise to anyone -- except perhaps the fact that he is one of a rapidly dying breed: elected officials who actually do what they promise, and stick to the campaign agenda that got them elected.

We need more Bill Brands in all levels of government -- but the only way that's likely to happen is if we all get firmly behind the one we have.

Let your support of Bill Brand be heard loud and clear, and send his fellow Councilmembers the message that their refusal to properly represent their constituencies will no longer be tolerated!

A contribution to Build a Better Redondo makes an *infinitely* better Christmas gift than <yawn> just another department store item (that will likely only get returned)! ;-)

Attaboy Bill"

Torrance, CA