About BBR



How you Can Help

BBR Supporters

BBR Archive

Contact Us

Jump to Opinion

Redondo Beach councilman Diels retracts redistricting proposal
by Douglas Morino, Daily Breeze, Aug 17, 2011

BBR launches campaign to de-power plant in Redondo Beach
by Mark McDermott, Easy Reader, Jul 14, 2011

Building a Better Redondo wins lawsuit ... forcing harbor zoning vote
by Mark McDermott, Easy Reader, Aug 4, 2010

The Community Voice: Opinion & Essay
Rally Photos by Juan Turciosphoto by Juan Turcios 2011

Letter: Anti-Power Plant Rallies Inspire
by Judy Ellis, Redondo Beach Patch, Sept 26, 2011

Op-Ed: No Need for Power Plant
by Bill Brand, Redondo Beach Patch, Aug 10, 2011

Not needed, not wanted
I’d like to add my voice to those supporting the replacement of the AES power plant with open space and non-industrial uses. The plant is not needed and it is not wanted. A 2010 report by, among others, the California Air Resources Board and California Energy Commission has shown that the Redondo Beach power plant is not required.

In 2008, this plant produced less than 0.1 percent of California’s power. As important, it is not wanted by the public. At every voting opportunity, residents have voted for open space.

In early 2000, Redondo Beach residents defeated the Heart of the City plan to rezone the power plant for high-density condos. In 2005, the public voted for a park and against a mixed-use development plan. And in 2010, Measure G passed with zoning that allows park uses on AES property. I respectfully ask the Redondo Beach City Council and mayor to join Bill Brand in representing their constituents’ wishes and work to replace the AES plant with uses more conducive to the South Bay.

We truly have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to leave a legacy of open space, parkland, cleaner air and a more livable community for future generations. If you agree we deserve this and not a polluting, noisy eyesore in our community, get active! Contact the R.B. City Council and let them know your stance, go to the “Tear Down Redondo’s Power Plant” Facebook page or http://aesredondomustgo.blog.com/ and stay informed. Chula Vista is removing its power plant — we can too!
Jim Montgomery, Redondo Beach
Beach Reporter, Aug 2011

First-hand concerns
I have worked, on site, at power plants with large cooling towers (i.e., PEPCO, BG&E) like the proposed solution at AES Redondo Beach. Fresh out of college, as a steel erector, I was assigned to set steel on make-up water buildings, switch gear buildings, pump house buildings, etc.

I witnessed, first hand, the incredible amount of noise and acidic moisture spewing from the cooling towers (not to mention air pollution and landscape pollution). During this time, my fellow steel erectors and I were actually replacing steel structures that, I would guess, were only 10 years old.

This cooling-tower-based power plant environment is so acidic and corrosive that it eats away at steel and metal quickly. The existing power plant buildings were replaced for safety reasons (lack of structural integrity). Much of the acid rain we experience in this world is caused by power plants. Imagine how much acid rain we will be exposed to living in close proximity to a fully operational cooling-tower-based power plant.

I think we should demand that our City Council and mayor visit one of these operations so they can physically experience the incredible noise, air, and landscape pollution of what is proposed. The current cooling approach is way different than what is proposed. Also, do we really want AES to kill even more sea life, fish eggs and plankton, and create toxic brine through the use of a desalination plant? This power plant intends to stop killing sea life in one manner only to continue killing through desalinization.

It makes me nauseous to think about this thing being in place in close proximity to my young daughter. This operation is too close to a precious ocean resource and it is too close to a densely populated area.

I hope that all of us in this community and in nearby areas will speak up and work to fight this plant’s implementation. It would be a truly tragic situation if this power plant moves ahead.
Fred Reardon, Redondo Beach
Beach Reporter, Aug 2011

No new plant
In response to Sasha Sanders’ letter last week that she “sees AES would like to rebuild a better, smaller plant…,” it seems she hasn’t read the plans they recently filed to replace all of what they have and more. Plus, they now have to find a way to cool their plant without using the ocean. This means more heavy industrial development in our harbor, and in all likelihood, a large desalination plant on top of that.

AES and West Basin have big plans for the land across the street from what will be a new Shade Hotel. They will do all the planning, all the clean-up and all the building. Nine years of heavy construction is how long they expect it to take according to their plan, and then we get 50 more years of air pollution, blocked views, noise and blight.

If you want to see the re-industrialization of the Redondo waterfront for the next 50 years, follow Ms. Sanders’ lead and do nothing.

If you do care, go to the “Tear Down Redondo’s Power Plant” Facebook page and join the fight to stop them from building a new one. This place cries out to be a park!
Tracy Robinson, Redondo Beach
Beach Reporter, July 28, 2011

Trusts Bill and Jim
In last week’s letters, Sasha Sanders denigrated Bill Brand and Jim Light’s efforts to halt the rebuilding of Redondo’s power plant.

Sasha throws out unsupported scare tactics. Bill and Jim have presented us facts supported by city, state and even AES reports.

The agencies that regulate California power produced a report in 2010 projecting power reliability in Southern California. Redondo’s plant is not listed as required. A 2008 report by the California Energy Commission shows our power plant supplied less than one-tenth of one percent of our power and ran at under five percent of capacity. California Watch lists our power plant, even at these limited run rates, as one of the top 100 air polluters in California and the major single source of air pollution in Redondo. Redondo city reports show that the power plant impacts surrounding property values up to 30 and 40 percent. These reports also lay out how to rezone the property to phase out the power plant. The AES plan shows nine years of construction for the new plant.

We would not be hearing about this if it were not for the efforts of Bill and Jim. I side with the ones backing up their statements over some individual’s unsupported fear-mongering.

Redondo should take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime chance to rid our waterfront of our ugly, polluting power plant.
Dawn Esser, Redondo Beach
Beach Reporter, July 28, 2011

top of page


South Bay's local paper The Beach Reporter asked their readers about the AES Powerplant site in Redondo Beach. The following letters from the community on this issue were published on May 6th, 2010 PART ONE:

Strive for a greener future
As a third-generation Redondo Beach citizen, the sight of the power plant has long been a subject of discussion in our family. I am not the first in my family to lament its existence, nor will I be the last.
Many of us in this seaside community look forward to a day when more, rather than less, regard for the quality of life is the determining factor in how we vote and act. We’ve already seen what happens when high-density development takes center stage over mindful community planning. It’s called the Esplanade and the Redondo Beach pier condo development at The Village. Let’s not repeat those dreadful concrete mistakes.
Our children deserve more open spaces and natural beauty. Knowing that we are in the bottom percentiles for open park lands should be incentive enough to strive for a greener future for our community.
Anna Bisson, Redondo Beach
Beach Reporter, May 2010

Plant should be responsible neighbor
If it’s here to stay, it should be a responsible neighbor. The plant has been obsolete and inefficient for decades. Where’s the beach in Redondo Beach?
Donna Madden, Redondo Beach
The Beach Reporter, May 2010

People voted for a park
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought the people of Redondo Beach already voted to use the AES site as a park. I realize that the people and their values and interests don’t count for much these days, especially when the real estate interests and the other special interests, many of whom don’t even live here, just want another opportunity to suck more money out of the land, regardless of what the average, everyday citizen wants. God forbid we don’t let them suck every last dollar out of every parcel of land, regardless of what those of us who live here and pay taxes here want.
Marilyn Spivey, Redondo Beach

Beach Reporter, May 2010

Not a pretty view
You’re kidding, right? After 10 years of listening to all this, I am convinced that the powers that be and the masses here only really care about one thing: fighting with each other. Drive west on 190th/Herondo from Prospect, get to the top of the hill and look west. Take a real good look at what completely dominates Redondo Beach. Pittsburgh, the “Smokey City” of the 1950s, looked prettier. If you look close enough, you can see the new entrance scape to Catalina Avenue being swallowed up by the high-tension wires. That view is just lovely, something to really be proud of. I’m so happy to pay huge amounts of property taxes just to look at that mess every day.

What is the City Council’s legacy to leave after all this time? New sewer lines. That and the city employees’ pension plan. When can we take tours to see where our tax dollars are going? Here is a suggestion: Let’s ask AES (since it isn’t going anywhere or modernizing or tearing down the smoke stacks) if we can put up a three-ring circus inside its property. I’d say that’s good for another
20 years of debate.
John Wogan, Redondo Beach
Beach Reporter, May 2010

Consider the future
Realistic? Citizens decide land usage. It’s only a matter of money Practical? Therein lies the problem. AES will shut down for the right price, so let’s negotiate successfully to create a peaceful parkland area adjacent to the sea. Power lines’ right of way could also be available for parking, dog parks and picnics. Keep the seaside lagoon and make Redondo the family-friendly city we’d like. If we need to dig a bit deeper now for the future, we certainly should. The legacy we leave should be more than the demolition of stately homes replaced by concrete structures along the Esplanade and the demolition of the original heart of Redondo to create apartments and condos.
We must think of more than just ourselves and our lives, regardless of how good we might have it. What will we leave for our children and their children? What is already done cannot be reversed. But we have a chance now to partially right those wrongs. Let’s put ourselves in the proud position of consideration of our futures. A park, a park, my kingdom for a park.
Sandy Pringle, Redondo Beach
Beach Reporter, May 2010

Connect the cities’ parks
The best use of the property would be a park. My vision would to have this park connect to the jogging trail that runs on the old railroad right of way that runs next to Valley View. With the power plant gone, the power lines that run along 190th can go, too. In place of them would be a park and bike path. I’d like to see all the larger parks in Redondo and Hermosa connected.
The city needs to get going on this so that it happens sooner, not later. Chris Albertson, Redondo Beach
Revert to original state
Park space is measured in acres per 1,000 residents, and average park space in the USA is about 13 acres per 1,000. Even including beaches, Redondo has about 2.5 acres per 1,000 residents. This number would decrease further if the AES site redevelopment allowed for 2,998 condominiums.
The AES site is State Landmark No. 373: Redondo Salt Lake. Let it revert to its original salt lake state.
Mary Jo Cittadino, Redondo Beach
Beach Reporter, May 2010

There is a saying that doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results is the definition of insanity. If I were king for a day, I would listen to all those who worked so hard to stop the Heart of the City, voted for Measure “J” and put Bill Brand into the office of City Council. I would ask the local papers and city leaders to stop asking this same question over and over again in that insane hope that the community is going to answer what City Council members want to hear. Yes, I would take down that AES power plant and replace it with open spaces for all the public to enjoy. I would open up that hidden view corridor from PCH to the sea. With this, I would push surrounding property values up to where they belong and provide a destination that will become the drive chain for a renewed local economy.
Jim Vaught, Rancho Palos Verdes
Beach Reporter, May 2010

City efforts
Those who would argue that AES is here to stay need only remember who started the debate over the future of the AES site. In the last 10 years, the city of Redondo Beach has spent hundreds of thousands of tax dollars to push a mega-residential development plan for the AES site, the so-called Heart of the City plan. That plan included lots of engineering and conceptual drawings, studies on the fiscal and environmental impacts, and months of community meetings and workshops, not to mention the ballot initiatives in the last couple of elections.
Would the city have spent that kind of effort if there was no clear and legal path to obtaining the property?
Those who question the logic of discussing the future of the site, by claiming that the AES will never leave, are either misinformed, or are aligned with the pro-development forces who would do nothing with the site and bide their time rather than acquiesce to the wishes of Redondo’s citizens - that the AES site be converted to open space.
Stephen Carey, Redondo Beach
Beach Reporter, May 2010

Editor's Note: Stephen we could not of said it better!

South Bay's local paper The Beach Reporter asked their readers about the AES Powerplant site in Redondo Beach. The following letters from the community on this issue were published on May 6th, 2010 PART TWO:

Rezone property for future
Redondo Beach has a great opportunity to rezone the AES power plant site to eliminate industrial uses; and to work with various government agencies, conservancies, private foundations and the residents of the South Bay to create the beautiful waterfront park the South Bay so desperately needs.
This has been done in many areas in California, but for some reason the South Bay has missed the boat. Two power plants are being demolished in San Francisco, as well as one in San Diego. It’s time for state agencies and local governments like Los Angeles County and neighboring cities, not just Redondo Beach, to start the long process to make this a reality for us. The Sierra Club and many local leaders have supported this effort for the last six years. It’s time everyone got involved to make it happen.
One reason I ran for office and became a member of the executive board of the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club is to advocate for South Bay cities to restore industrial lands like this one for public use. How great would it be to drive past a beautiful park with a beautiful view where an ugly power plant sits today? Not only would this revitalize the business district here, it would dramatically improve the quality of life for everyone in the South Bay. Future generations are depending on us.
Joan Davidson, Redondo Beach
Beach Reporter, May 2010

Top of page

Area needs parkland
At this point, the AES power plant actually generates electricity for only a few months a year, sometimes as little as a few weeks, depending on demand. The power AES generates doesn’t go directly to the local community; it goes into the regional power grid. So the plant should not be viewed as essential, or even needed, for our local utilities infrastructure.
The era of seaside electricity generation, with all its associated environmental damage, is drawing to a close; and we should decide soon what future use is appropriate for our waterfront. Already, the voters of Redondo Beach have decisively rejected residential development for the AES tract, and the City Council has zoned the area nonresidential.
What’s needed now from an environmental, social and economic standpoint is parkland, especially since the South Bay is particularly “park-poor” compared with most of California’s urban areas. Our historic seaside salt lake and surrounding wildlife habitat can be restored; and local, drought-resistant native plants can flourish.
Both locals and visitors will have a better chance to enjoy and appreciate the phenomenal natural beauty of our coastline. Think a park will attract tourists better than industrial development? Of course. Will surrounding businesses prosper? No doubt.
Don’t be fooled by those who say we can’t afford to buy the place. California, through its Coastal Conservancy, spends hundred of millions of dollars every year to acquire and restore coastal parklands. With vision and forward- looking leadership, there’s no reason it can’t happen here.
David Wiggins, Redondo Beach

It’s about our quality of life
Redondo Beach residents voted for a park on the AES site in 2005, but the future of AES isn’t solely about a park. This is about the quality of life for the entire South Bay. Do we want a power plant and co-located desalination plant on our waterfront, or should the property be designated for nonindustrial use? That’s the question.
The Redondo City Council could vote now to rezone the AES site for uses other than power generation. That gives AES eight years’ notice that reindustrializing is not how the city desires to use its waterfront. This notice allows AES to fulfill its commitment to provide power through 2018.
This is not a “taking of the land” or use of eminent domain. The California state laws give the cities authority to zone lands to reflect the wishes of the people. The Redondo Beach City Planning Department presented this very option to the Redondo Planning Commission in May of 2004: http://laserweb.redondo.org/weblink/docview.aspx?id=59711.
Upon rezoning, AES would be faced with a decision regarding its property, which would no longer allow for power generation. At that time, various groups - State Coastal Conservancy, public sector agencies, the people, conservancies and private foundations - could work to buy the property and consider restoration of the wetland and/or other uses of the land as desired by the people who live here.
Redondo Beach has the authority to determine the future uses of its waterfront.
Councilman Bill Brand, Redondo Beach
Beach Reporter, May 2010

top of page

Quality of life could be enhanced
Beyond a doubt, the quality of life for South Bay residents would be greatly enhanced if the AES area was used for purposes other than reindustrialization. My family has seen some interesting plans for a potential park and wildlife area. We would hate to think that this is merely a dream.
Joan Barry Yamashiro, Redondo Beach
Beach Reporter, May 2010

Create space for residents to enjoy
As a Hermosa Beach resident, I want to show support for the citizens of Redondo Beach who have been blatantly ignored by the city of Redondo Beach. Residents have clearly expressed their desire for a park where AES currently stands. I understand that AES has a lease of the land through 2018, but I was surprised that the council has not chosen to rezone the AES site for other uses when it has the power to do this. AES’s plans to repower its plant and combine it with a desalination plant would not only be a huge eyesore at the entrance to the city, but will create pollution right next to our homes and harm our marine life.
The South Bay is park-poor, and we need to work together to create a space that residents can enjoy for generations to come. Other cities have done this, and we can, too. AES does not have the power to decide to be here for 100 years when it only has a lease through 2018. It can be gone in 2018. All it takes is a vote. Let’s finally get the Redondo Beach City Council on board.
Christine Wike, Hermosa Beach
Beach Reporter, May 2010

A regional issue
I found this week’s question easy to answer. Coincidentally, I just came across a mailer that was sent out by the Redondo Beach City Council dated June 1999. It called for a meeting to inform the public of alternative uses of the AES site, it mentions, “open for comments and suggestions.” The heading stated, “AES Redondo Beach wants to modernize its power plant” and “wants to make 25 acres available for reuse.” Since then I have learned that there used to be a saltwater lake located there. This area is situated along the Pacific Flyway; birds traveling from Canada to Mexico found nourishment at this juncture. It is no wonder we are losing some of our finest bird species; there is nowhere for them to stop for food. We have lost 90 percent of our wetlands along the California coast.
This should not just be a question for South Bay citizens, this should be a question for the entire region. My answer should be clear at this point. We should restore the area to the habitat it once was, let’s stop pussy-footin’ around. We should put it back the way we found it, because it is the right thing to do.
Jillaine Force, Redondo Beach
Beach Reporter, May 2010

Enlarge the marina
It is my contention that the true long-range future of Redondo Beach and its harbor rests on the eventual razing of the power plant and opening up the land it occupies for development. Until this issue is settled, it is foolhardy to try for any developments in the small amount of land which is already suitably developed. I am a longtime sailor and have a boat in the harbor at “M” dock. I like the harbor the way it is. There is not enough land available for a workable launch ramp. Look at the boat launch area at Marina del Rey to see what I mean.
With the power plant gone, the marina could be enlarged, and both a park and commercial development sustained. Let’s stop trying to squeeze new developments into space that is already being used. Let’s stop trying to cut off people’s views by buildings.
Robert F. Brodsky, Redondo Beach
Beach Reporter, May 2010

Think about the future
Industrial uses along our waterfront were once a viable option but as our city has grown they no longer are. Redondo and the entire South Bay needs open space and a view to our beautiful ocean, the very reason we live here, not an old polluting AES plant, a new polluting desalination plant or even more condos. A nature park there could become the jewel of the South Bay. It could be augmented with fee-based venues to help costs. Paths could be linked to the pier. After all, Redondo citizens voted on this issue and opted for a park with nature preserve, not more condos or a desal plant. Furthermore, the California Coastal Conservancy has said it would assist Redondo in this endeavor. Let’s think about future generations of the South Bay and come up with a sustainable open space area we can all enjoy.
Mimi Andersen, Redondo Beach
Beach Reporter, May 2010

Open space is possible
The large park idea for the current AES plant and surrounding industrial properties came in direct response to the city pushing large development for the site starting in 2002, with AES a willing partner.
Come 2018, if AES and its shareholders decide it makes good business sense to reinvest/retrofit tens of millions of dollars into a 50-year-old facility, convince state/ local officials to grant another license to generate power in a dense urban area and secure a contract to sell that power - more “power” to them. That’s our economic system, which I proudly support.
But for us to make no plans for securing a substantial amount of that property from willing sellers for public open space because the local AES GM says it’s not going anywhere or because a few city officials display their indignation at our efforts to date seems shortsighted. Should AES be successful to continue beyond 2018 with a smaller footprint as it advertises, that should free up property it may be interested in selling. Given how angry some local city officials were at AES last year, you’d think they’d want to lead this charge today.
Public open space on this site is possible if you want it. If you think this is a pipe dream, ask people and government officials in East Bay near Oakland, Ormond Beach in Ventura and Chula Vista; all communities that purchased and are restoring industrial waterfront properties for public open space and parks. Why not Redondo Beach?
Don Vangeloff, Redondo Beach
Beach Reporter, May 2010

Area needs a waterfront park
I’ve traveled all up and down the coast of California, the U.S. and around the world. I’ve seen beautiful waterfront parks elsewhere. Why don’t we have one here?
We need a beautiful park with a view of the ocean where people can relax, exercise and have reason to come here.
The beach is indeed our backyard, but the AES plant spoils it all for us. The city of Redondo Beach should work with the county, the state, the federal government and other agencies to claim our waterfront property for residents and visitors. What a great opportunity we have to improve our quality of life and upgrade our business community at the same time. Of course this is realistic. Other communities figure it out. Why can’t we?
Tracy Robison, Redondo Beach
Beach Reporter, May 2010

Supports open space
I support open space for the South Bay. The AES plant site offers the opportunity for open space for future generations to enjoy, given visionary and creative leadership now. In my opinion, the benchmark is Central Park in New York. Sure it could sell and develop that land, but is that the best value for the city, residence and visitors to NYC?
Redondo Beach residents voted for a park on the AES site in 2005. The South Bay Land Conservancy organizations and select community and state leaders are working hard to make the parkland financially realistic. See the possibilities at http://www.southbayparks.org/. Show your support with your wallet and your actions if you value open space.
I encourage South Bay voters and leaders to act to increase park land in Redondo Beach. The AES site offers an opportunity for creative leadership. Creative leaders can deliver economic benefits when creating open space and low traffic development. The entire South Bay will benefit by less traffic congestion and the economic benefits of a parkland planned for financial success. What Redondo Beach leaders do now will impact the the entire South Bay community so voice your opinions.
Kaye Gagnon Sherbak, President, VOICE, Manhattan Beach
Beach Reporter, May 2010

Archived Press and Opinion

Top of page

Top of page

Building a Better Redondo - All Rights Reserved
Contact Us at info@buildingabetterredondo.org

Building a Better Redondo
602 South Broadway Ave, Unit B
Redondo Beach, CA 90277

Building a Better Redondo (BBR) is a not-for-profit, 501(C)(4) organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of resident quality of the life in Redondo Beach and the South Bay area.


100% of
Snowy Plovers
parkland and
power plant
in the
South Bay

Plover photo by USFWS

only search BBR