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Hermosa Beach Letters to the Editor for 2006

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 The Daily Breeze – June 3, 2006

Letters to the Editor

HB bond editorial was one-sided

After speaking with Opinion page editor Mike Carroll regarding the May 26 editorial on Measure A in Hermosa Beach, I found out that he never spoke with anyone on the "No" side. He only spoke with people on the "Yes" side of the measure.

Is this his view? Then I assume the paper agrees with him and allows him to print it. Therefore, it's the paper's view.

I have never been in agreement with the fact that a newspaper should even have an opinion on these matters. Newspapers are supposed to report the news in an unbiased manner. How can you form an intelligent opinion when you have only spoken to one side? I read the paper to get information and form my own opinions. Others may not, so the Daily Breeze's one-sided opinion can certainly swing a vote in your direction.

If construction delays caused the budget to be wiped out, then what happens if there are more delays this time around for whatever reason? Is school bond No. 3 coming?

The cost from the legal action was small by comparison to the wasted monies by the school board. Is it right for the hired contractors to put their money into the "Yes" measure? I believe only two parking spaces will be gained in redoing the parking lot when they will still be short about 150 spaces.

If they built all the classrooms they needed now, they wouldn't have to consider moving the kids to North School in the future, would they? Have you considered the cost to the retired citizens of this bond? I doubt it.



Editor's note: Opponents did not place an argument opposing Measure A in the ballot. We tried to review factual information about the bond measure before writing the editorial, which is the collective view of the newspaper's Editorial Board.

Why oppose school upgrades?

My question to those who oppose Measure A in Hermosa Beach and Measure T in Torrance is a simple one: You claim you want school facilities modernized and more classrooms built. Since the passage of Measure A and T is the only way that is going to happen, then why are you opposing these ballot measures?

It is fine with me if you want to shoot yourself in the foot, but leave the feet of our kids out of your ill-advised opposition to Measure A in Hermosa Beach and Measure T in Torrance. Present and future students should not have to pay the price for your self-serving agendas.


Hermosa Beach

The Beach Reporter – June 2, 2006

Letters to the Editor - We Get Letters

In support of Measure ‘A'

I urge Hermosa residents to vote yes on Measure “A.” This bond is the most effective way to build new classrooms and rehabilitate old buildings.

The opponent to this measure - the so-called Committee for Responsible School Expansion - uses a mantra favoring classrooms and opposing taxes and waste, themes that resonate with our residents but that on further inspection simply do not apply. Not surprisingly, their campaign does not appear in the ballot arguments where it would be subject to review and rebuttal.

Measure “A” will build additional new classrooms. There is no other source of funding for new classrooms. Voting against Measure “A” is a vote against new classrooms. Period.

Currently, Hermosans pay less in tax to support our local schools than we do to support El Camino. The bond will reset the school tax rate to $21 per $100,000 of assessed value, an increase of 0.007 percent (that's seven one-thousandths of 1 percent) to the rate approved by voters in 2002. CRSE claims that this is a doubling or tripling of taxes, a nonsensical notion. Perhaps CRSE should take remedial math in the classrooms the district plans to build with Measure “A.”

The “waste” and “budget” themes are code for “do what we want, not what the community decided” - any projects not acceptable to this small group are waste. In fact, the only true waste is that caused by CRSE's lawsuit against the district, a lawsuit that has cost $1.6 million (and counting) in cost increases due to delay.

Greg Breen, Member, Hermosa School Board

The Daily Breeze – May 23, 2006

Letters to the Editor

School upgrades hinge on Measure A

I am writing to encourage Hermosa Beach residents to vote "Yes" on Measure A. There are concerned citizens with honorable intentions on both sides of this issue. I say "Yes" on Measure A because I want our community to maintain excellence in our schools, and I believe that having safe, comfortable and well-maintained schools is an important part of a quality education.

Measure A will build more classrooms, upgrade the North School site and finish the work not completed by Measure J. Where does the money come from to make school improvements? Right out of our pockets! Yes, it is our responsibility to provide funding for our local schools.

The proposed $21 assessment for Hermosa taxpayers is less than neighboring cities, approximately $33 for Redondo Beach, and $38 for Manhattan Beach. We should not shirk our responsibility, and we should be concerned that our tax dollars are not wasted. Fortunately, Hermosa's oversight committee actually does conduct meetings. Check our district Web site ( for more information than you will have time to read. Concerned citizens can and should get involved with the oversight committee.

Measure A opponents say we should have built classrooms instead of a gym. Measure A will build classrooms, so if you are in favor of classrooms, vote "Yes" on Measure A. Hermosa Beach is a wonderful small town. Let's protect our way of life and the quality of our schools. I encourage residents to vote "Yes" on Measure A.


Hermosa Beach


Does the public understand that the group opposed to Measure A is in the minority?

The core group of the opposition was in favor of a gym and part of the process until it came to site selection on the Valley campus. At public community meetings, it was decided by the majority of the people in the process and at meetings that the gym should be placed on the southwest corner of the Valley campus. A minority (the opposition) wanted the gym to be on Valley Drive. They lost.

The same core group opposed Measure J. It passed by a near super-majority; the opposition lost. The same group filed an injunction and lost. The opposition was at the Costal Commission hearing and lost again. They filed a lawsuit and lost one more time

This minority just does not get it. They are zero for five. The majority wants capital project funding continued for our schools. Please go to and see the large list of Measure A endorsements.

On June 6, please support the children of Hermosa Beach and vote "Yes" on Measure A


Hermosa Beach


Too many drivers ignore crosswalks

Though the installation of a traffic signal to replace the pedestrian crosswalk at the intersection of 16th Street and Pacific Coast Highway in Hermosa Beach is welcome (albeit long overdue and too late for one local family), the crosswalks that remain along PCH and other South Bay thoroughfares are inadequately marked and, for the most part, ignored by motorists.

On a recent Sunday, while driving, I carefully stopped at a crosswalk along PCH in South Redondo, as is required by state and local traffic laws, to allow a father and daughter to cross the street. It's bad enough that I have to keep one eye on my mirror to see if I'm going to be rear-ended and wince when traffic in oncoming lanes blindly flies past the signs and yellow street markings. But to top it off, a careless driver in a nice, new red Mercedes Benz changed lanes to pass around my stopped vehicle and proceeded without a blink at a good clip through the crosswalk I was stopped at.

Fortunately, the father-daughter pair were being careful and did not assume that because I had stopped to allow them to pass, other drivers would be as attentive.

My point is this: The pedestrian crossings not located at traffic signals in the South Bay must be upgraded with integrated flashing lights in the pavement and at sign level, as is done in Santa Monica and other cities, before someone else is killed in a crosswalk.

Additionally, some crosswalk traffic stakeouts by local law enforcement might do some good -- or at least send a message to drivers who haven't the courtesy (or brains) to keep an eye out for pedestrians crossing in designated areas. Otherwise, if the local crosswalks can't be improved, take down the signs and paint out the street markings so as not to instill a false sense of security in those who are simply trying to get across the road and live to tell about it.


Redondo Beach

The Daily Breeze – May 22, 2006

Letters to the Editor

Duclos wrong choice for HB council

The more I read about Hermosa Beach City Council candidate Jeff Duclos, the more I can't help to think that he's a man who has lost his way and is fighting for his survival.

First, though he's running for council, he spends all of his time talking about our schools. Sure, our schools could use help, but if he's serious about schools, he should run for school board instead of using them as a way to pander to unsuspecting voters.

Second, in a recent letter Duclos saw fit to write accusations about other candidates when only a few sentences later he pledged that he was a clean, issue-oriented candidate. Trash your opponents in one paragraph and talk about how you don't do that type of thing in the next. Did I miss something?

Third, during the November 2005 election, Duclos advertised himself as a public affairs consultant. Now, perhaps after some polling, he advertises himself as a teacher and small business owner. Will the real Jeff Duclos please stand up?

I don't know who I'm going to vote for yet, but I do know that I'm not supporting anyone with such a mixed and erratic message. Hermosa Beach deserves a strong, honest and positive council representative. When I find that person, that's who I'll vote for.


Hermosa Beach




The Beach Reporter – May 11, 2006

We Get Letters

Editor's note: As we do in every election, May 25 is the last week The Beach Reporter will print letters on the candidates and issues in the June 6 Hermosa Beach election. This allows a candidate to respond in writing or otherwise to any letters about him or her in the last week before the election. We only run letters on the candidates which are substantive and discuss the issues. We do not print simple endorsements. We do not print malicious, mean-spirited or libelous statements about candidates.


City changed its mind

Gary Brutsch advised the owner of 726/728 Prospect “should have stipulated on the agreement to purchase this property that the offer was made contingent on the ultimate granting of permits to construct the structure as they had planned.”

If Brutsch attended the April 11 council meeting, he would have heard that the owner visited the Planning Department on two occasions to confirm that 726/728 Prospect aren't merged lots prior to entering into escrow. They then hired an architect and engineering firms to design their lots. When time came to apply for a permit, they received a letter from the Planning Department indicating they were considering merging the lots, which is a year later.

As a Realtor, Brutsch should know no seller will accept a contingency or hold property in escrow for a year, and no buyer will spend the time and money to have the property designed, planned and ready for permit if they know there could be a potential lot merge.

The Planning Department confirmed the owner can build two houses and the owner made the decision to buy the lots based on the city officials' advice. The property has two addresses, the owner isn't asking for a favor to split the lots. Let's be fair and put ourselves in the same situation as the property owner. How would you feel if you put your life savings into an investment and all of a sudden the City Council wants to devalue your investment at the last minute?

Tracy Dieser, Hermosa Beach


Hold decision until after election

On April 24, the Hermosa Beach City Council decided to rewind the tape and erase the vote it took April 11 to merge the lots in the 700 block of Prospect. The council decided to rehear the matter May 23.

The council decided to undo its prior vote because only three of our four City Councilmen were present at the April 11 meeting. The council determined that the issue was of such import and implicated the rights of enough residents that it warranted the entire council's attention and consideration. (Note: the Hermosa Beach City Council is operating with only four members until the vacant fifth seat can be filled after the June 6 election).

I agree with the council that density-impacting issues like this are vitally important for our city and deserve the council's full attention. One need look no further than the roomful of concerned residents in attendance at council chambers April 11 to understand this.

This matter is so important that I believe the renewed hearing should be postponed until after the election when it can be heard by a full complement of council members. Plainly, affording issues like these a fair and open hearing by a full City Council outweighs whatever slight delay waiting for a fully constituted council imposes on the interested parties.

Quality-of-life issues like this are too important to let a less than full-strength council decide. Let's delay the hearing on this matter until after the June 6 election.

Patrick “Kit” Bobko, Hermosa Beach

Editor's note: Bobko is a candidate for Hermosa Beach City Council in the June 6 election.


Disclose the questions used in poll

I read with great interest Hermosa Beach City Council candidate Jeff Duclos' letter alleging that a “push poll” was conducted for the upcoming City Council election. I find it disingenuous for Duclos to make this allegation without providing any information about this push poll. He never mentions what questions were asked in this so-called push poll.

I've been involved in politics for more than 30 years and what Duclos says is a push poll may in fact be a legitimate political poll. For example, it's common in a political poll to paint the poll's client in the best possible light and the client's opponents in the worst possible light to find out the best case scenario for the poll's client. Questions like: “Candidate ‘X' wants to lower your taxes and candidate ‘Y' wants to raise your taxes. Who do you support?” are not uncommon in a political poll. No one involved in politics would call that push polling.

Duclos says that he's committed to running a clean campaign; in the interest of the voters, it's important that they know the questions asked in this push poll. I call upon Duclos to disclose the questions asked so that voters may make an informed decision.

Fred Huebscher, Hermosa Beach


A partisan race?

I read Jeff Duclos' letter about polling in last week's paper. Duclos complained about this polling and claimed to be the honest candidate. This weekend, I had a person knock on my door on behalf of City Council candidate Duclos. Far from being honest, she was not forthcoming in her disclosures. After asking her where she lived several times, she came clean that she was, in fact, a Redondo resident and a member of the local Democratic Party club. I asked her some questions about the candidate on several Hermosa issues, and she knew the answers of none and had no idea what her candidate stood for. She was there to get more Democrats elected to Hermosa Beach City Council. I guess Duclos wants to turn this into a partisan race.

In my 25 years in this city, I have not had residents from other cities and representing a specific political party knock on my door for a City Council race. Over the years, I have had more than a dozen candidates themselves ask for my support and welcome a discussion on local issues. Not once did that candidate push an agenda from a political party. I worry that Duclos (who came with his wife to my door) will be beholden to those who got him into office, his wife and the Democratic Party. I suggest that Duclos stop worrying about polls and start conducting a nonpartisan race by himself.

Richard Anderson, Hermosa Beach


Vote carefully

Regarding Measure “A,” let us closely examine the description of projects listed before we further encumber ourselves. The list is primarily items of general maintenance plus the gym (and tell me one more time why we need that).

Four years ago, we committed our money to the same sorts of projects plus classrooms and a science lab. So far, all we have is an unfinished gym and some maintenance work. We gained no classrooms or anything that would improve the quality of education.

This School Board may have us paying $13-plus million every four years simply to maintain its whims if we continue to dole out money to it. Think before you vote.

Linda Igo, Hermosa Beach


School and city can work together

Congratulations to the Hermosa Beach Teachers Association for its endorsement of Jeff Duclos, the first time it's ever endorsed a candidate for the Hermosa Beach City Council. At a time when school districts and teachers are undersupported by local, state and federal government, the creation of a stronger relationship between our City Council and our School District is long overdue. This endorsement recognizes an opportunity for our City Council and our children's educators to work more closely together to achieve the very best for our children.

Dency and Moira Nelson, Hermosa Beach


The Beach Reporter – April 20, 2006

Letters To The Editor

Week of April 20

Editor's note: Last week we asked our readers about the Manhattan Beach School District's choice of committee members to explore the option of selling district land.


Committee is a sham


The April 13 article on the MBUSD advisory committee on land sale shows that this committee is fatally flawed.

In fact, the committee is a sham. At least six of the 11 voting members have a clear conflict of interest in favor of selling district land. According to the article, five work either in real estate sales or construction.

Then there is Steve McMahon. That McMahon sits on the committee is reminiscent of Scott Smith's position on the disgraced Bond Oversight Committee. McMahon hardly represents the community. He is the administrator who suggested this committee in the first place and now he has a seat on it to make sure things go his way. Proceeds of the developer land grab will boost district cash reserves, which can be siphoned to raise his and other district administrators' future salaries. Yet he sits on the committee as a voting member, a clear conflict of interest.

So there are six votes, a majority, likely to support the sale of district land. Lining their own pockets, or those of their friends, will be a temptation likely to trump looking after the interests of future generations of Manhattan Beach children.

The purpose of this “advisory committee” is transparent, to recommend the sale of district land, and its members were selected to make sure the job gets done. This school board, with the exception of Bill Eisen, who pointed out that the committee is unbalanced in favor of development, is as slippery as the last one.

Olivia Stinson, Manhattan Beach

Teaching the wrong lessons

In his letter published April 6, Lance Widman states that the CRSE forced a “six-month delay,” due to its suit regarding Valley School's construction. Widman said, “This caused construction costs to increase more than $100,000 for each month it was delayed.”

Now let me get this straight.

Does he really expect us to believe that this construction cost increase, which by his calculation totals $600,000, would never have occurred had construction simply continued? This contract was apparently open-ended enough to allow such increases during the delay. Widman expects us to believe that, magically, all construction costs would have been stable had there been no delays caused by that nasty evildoer CRSE group? Something tells me the monthly construction increases would have happened anyway. Who the heck is doing the cost control on this?

Widman then finishes up his letter stating that “Measure ‘A' provides $13.1 million to finish Measure ‘J' projects. It also makes significant additional improvements in our schools.” To think I thought I was getting that with Measure “J.”

This is a great lesson to teach our children. Budgets don't really matter and if you use up all your money, just charge up some more on the taxpayer dime. Sheesh.

Tom Graner, Hermosa Beach

It's all about the gym

“Measure ‘A' passage will enhance the quality of our children's education, add value to our homes and continue Hermosa's distinguished reputation of excellence in education.” This is a Lance Widman quote. Since when does a bond extension enhance education? This extension is for enough money to pay for the gym. It's teachers who enhance education and programs that are taught by teachers. Teachers are responsible for the distinguished excellence awards the district has received, not the buildings in which they teach.

The gym has become the almighty sacrifice. The attitude to build the gym come hell or high water is quite apparent. Blame the neighbors for the cost increase instead of admitting that one board member constantly antagonized the negotiations - shame on you.

The laundry list was very impressive for passage of “A” and yet in Widman's letter, modernization was successfully completed under budget. Why is the new list a mile long?

Classrooms at both Valley and Hermosa View will be needed. Yet you justify building a gym and dropping classrooms. Physical education is definitely necessary but with the weather we have here, outside P.E. works fine. I realize that you consider the gym two classrooms but could a social studies class and an English class be held in the gym?

Had new space been found for the gym instead of taking playground space and the handball courts, I would have supported it. As the situation is now, I cannot support it or the extension of the bond “A.”

Mary Lou Weiss, Hermosa Beach

Editor's note: Weiss is a former School Board member.

Can't get the Community Center back

I must admit that I'm perplexed by the comments in Miyo Prassas' letter April 6. I do not know where she gets her misinformation. Aesop, perhaps.

Among her most glaring mistakes are her comments about the Community Center. Unnamed city officials and unreferenced documents say the Hermosa Beach City School District can get back the Community Center simply by asking for it? These provisions are not in any document I've seen, nor have I spoken with any city official who thinks this. I do not know the source of this oft-repeated yet entirely and absolutely untrue urban legend about the city simply giving the Community Center back to the School District. It is disappointing and somewhat surprising that people actually spout this folklore, and I hope folks will take the few minutes to read the documents before swallowing this pabulum.

Even if the district could get the Pier Avenue site back, the whole notion that we should move the middle school out of a recently refurbished facility and to a site that has not been updated in 30 years seems a bit retrograde, to say the least. Prassas correctly states that new construction is expensive, but maybe I missed the part about how cheap it would be to acquire, refurbish and update a 70-year-old facility.

Greg Breen, Hermosa Beach School Board member

Defending Measure ‘A'

Unlike the court of law where “the whole truth” is the gold standard, half-truth and arguments of convenience frequently become the standards of public discourse in the court of public opinion. Contrary to Jackie Tagliaferro's misinformation, the new construction at Hermosa Valley School includes a new library/ media center, two new science labs and a multipurpose gymnasium facility that provides new teaching stations to meet state-required standards for student physical education. It's not just “the gym.”

Escalating costs due to construction delays caused by CRSE's frivolous lawsuits directly resulted in two additional classrooms being eliminated from the proposed project that should have been built. As of Jan. 31, the district has had to spend more than $60,000 successfully fighting these legal extortions, money that could have been better spent on teachers and classroom needs.

Selling education assets (North School), as Fred Huebscher suggests, is shortsighted at best. Like his opposition to Measure “J” in 2002, he simply doesn't get it that quality education for our children depends on quality teachers, curriculum and facilities to meet student needs. North School may be needed to accommodate future enrollment growth.

Measure “A” will finish modernization projects at Valley and View Schools, build new classrooms, improve technology access, upgrade student support areas, improve student health and safety, and make major repairs at North School with no change in the tax rate approved by 65 percent of the voters in 2002. A “yes” vote on Measure “A” is our investment in our children, their future and our community.

Lance Widman, Hermosa Beach School Board member

Sending the wrong message

Regarding the decision to merge lots on Prospect sends the wrong message. I wonder how much is this one going to cost us, the citizens of Hermosa Beach, from a lawsuit, in what appears to me to be a loser for the city. I live in Hermosa Beach and I have not received a notice from the city that they're causing a change in the zoning ordinance again. I have sold tall-and-skinny properties to good people on Prospect who love their homes and are grateful to have that choice at a price they can afford. If one or two council members want nothing but castles to be built on these lots, then let's put it up to vote on in the next election. I am shocked that the council members ignored the staff report and make this decision based on two members. Let's be fair. Chuck Heidman followed all of the rules, let his project go through and tackled the bigger issue properly. I suggest that all the residents be notified before the council in acts another “zone change”

Mike Watson, Hermosa Beach

Contingency plan

How to control structure and population density has been a political football for decades. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the political trend was to provide multiple unit buildings to attract population growth. The hope was that these new citizen residents would shop locally, thus providing needed local sales tax revenue. As the population grew and density became an issue, councils amended zoning standards to preclude lot division and reduce future density. Councilman J.R. Reviczky suggested at the recent council meeting that the action of past councils has worked. He pointed out that as a result of the council's enactment of low-density zoning, Hermosa's population has remained at a fairly constant level over the last several decades.

One such zoning change oversees that many multiple unit structures are being replaced by single family dwellings. I agree with the council majority that this parcel should remain as a single lot.

The contractor has claimed that this council action will cause financial hardship. I disagree; this designation will allow the developer to build a nice single-family residence on this site. To preclude this type of situation, the contractor and his representative should have stipulated on the agreement to purchase this property that the offer was made contingent on the ultimate granting of permits to construct the structure as they had planned.

Gary Brutsch, Hermosa Beach


The Easy Reader – August 4, 2005

ER Letters

Get out of abusive relationship

Dear ER:

I’m greatly concerned about the letter “Three is majority?” (Letters, ER July 21, 2005). Since Lance Widman signed this letter as president of Hermosa Beach School Board. I would presume that he had the concurrence of his Board and also of the superintendent. The professional mediator (Widman) broke all sorts of rules when he started the name calling, like gang of three and thugs -- great way to be able to work with these people! Plus there were other derogatory remarks that were not necessary. He says that the district is willing to meet and engage in candid conversation and arrive at a settlement that is mutually satisfactory.

My suggestion to Widman is stay home and let someone else meet with these people. It is quite obvious that he totally resents the three names he mentioned. How can a settlement be arrived at when he felt compelled to write a letter insulting the people with whom he is trying to negotiate a mutually satisfactory agreement?

I’m really sorry that this has turned into such a big problem, but name-calling and nasty remarks will not make Widman a savior. Instead, he just continues to antagonize people!

Mary Lou Weiss

Hermosa Beach

Editor’s note: Weiss is a former member of the Hermosa Beach School Board

Loud and clear

Dear ER:

I read with interest Dennis Noor's complaint of the "noise" level in the Pier Plaza area (Letters, ER July 21, 2005). First of all, it was Saturday night, traditionally a night that people may be out and about and have a more relaxed attitude than on a work night. Next, Pier Plaza is the home to several businesses that provide music for the enjoyment of their patrons. While a visitor from another area may not be aware of this, Noor apparently lives in Hermosa Beach and should be aware of this, as he is, apparently, quite well versed in our Municipal Code. His condescending/patronizing attitude toward the Hermosa Beach Police Department is offensive as is his statement that he was a "victim" of noise pollution. This is similar to someone going to the airport and then complaining about the airplane noise. If Noor is offended or feels victimized by amplified music, don't go to Pier Plaza on a Saturday night. To expect the Police Department to respond to his trite whining is ridiculous. The attitude he exhibits is a larger problem that the amplified music on Pier Plaza. He appears to need a nap, preferably in some quiet place.

Sylvia Simmons

Hermosa Beach

The Easy Reader – July 14, 2005

ER Letters

Crying out loud

Dear ER:

On a July Saturday evening between 8-9 p.m., I was enjoying dinner on the patio of the Fish Market Cafe, located on Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach. What was unmistakably amplified music could be heard the entire time that I was there (approximately 1 hour). After dinner, I rode my bike in front of a local establishment on the Plaza and determined that the live, amplified music was spilling out its front door that was wide open. The Municipal Code of the City of Hermosa Beach states that any business having amplified music must close their doors and windows. This law has been in effect for a long time and a recent "80 foot rule" was just added by the City Council a few weeks ago. Two Hermosa Beach Police units were parked side-by-side nearby, on the Plaza in front of Hennessey's Tavern, so I decided to inform the officers of the violation that I was witnessing. I approached a young, rookie officer first and stated what I saw and heard and he said, "I don't know anything about any ordinance.........they didn't tell me anything at our briefing.” I stated, again, that there is a law, which now includes the "80 foot rule", but he didn't seem to know anything about either of them. I said that I would talk to his sergeant and I asked where I could find him. He then pointed to the officer in the police unit next to him. I approached the officer in the next unit with the same concerns as stated above, but this time the officer (a lead supervisor) told me, "It's not a law yet and if you want to file a complaint, go to the station and make a complaint and then you'll probably have to testify in court.” He also stated, “The noise police come by here around 11 p.m. and make an evaluation to see if any citations need to be written.” It is my interpretation of the code that the ordinance has no time restrictions, and is enforceable 24-hours per day. He then asked me, "Where do you live, over on 15th Street?", which is irrelevant since any citizen from any area can be a victim of the noise pollution on the Plaza. That's why the laws were written!

Our patrollers are there to serve and protect and they do a fine job most of the time. But for them not to act on this violation only ads to the confusion and troubles that, unfortunately, describe the Pier Plaza that we know today.

Dennis Duke Noor

Hermosa Beach


HB School Board should air

Dear ER:

The Hermosa View/Valley School Board discusses and makes decisions on extremely important issues. The Board meetings in the past were accessible via cable TV and could be made accessible again. Airtime is available from Adelphia and the City Chambers are fully equipped to air the meetings. Do you desire to be better informed about the decisions being made on behalf of our schools and the students? If so, contact the Hermosa School District Administration and School Board members and tell them that you would like the meetings to be televised.

Jackie Tagliaferro

Hermosa Beach


Safety first for lifeguards

Dear ER:

Thank you for exposing dangerous, excessive beach lifeguard truck traffic (“Beachgoer hit by lifeguard truck on Santa Monica beach” ER, July 7, 2005). LA County Lifeguards are attempting to hide behind total neglect for our safety. And no other press has let the public know.

Why is it that the Lifeguard Chief interviewed does not know the extent of the injuries a week after a beachgoer was struck by his truck? How can he consciously say that one beachgoer collision every other year is “rare” or within a tolerance? Two accidents in three years are ridiculous. Beachgoers don’t expect that they are putting their lives in danger by lying on the beach!

Ever since the enormous lifeguard building was approved at the Hermosa pier, I have observed an increase in the fleet of trucks and the excessive number driving on our beaches. Every trip by a truck not only puts us in danger, but disturbs our peace and impacts the environment. While I have full support for our guards, some of the drivers have developed a pompous attitude because they are the only ones in Los Angeles that can drive on the beach. Others stop watching the water and take more time and gas to drive from their tower, to watch someone or make an announcement that could have been easily done on foot. Others get a thrill at driving through a flock of seagulls.

Let’s put a stop to this. Lifeguard trucks should only be driven when a person’s life is at stake.

Name withheld

Redondo Beach

The Daily Breeze – July 15, 2005

Letters to the Editor

'Gang of 3' disrupts settlement talks

Over the past several months, representatives of the Hermosa Beach School District have been meeting with Hermosa Valley School neighbors to discuss their concerns about the new construction project at Valley. These include noise, parking and after-school facility uses. A mediation meeting was held on June 3. I believe significant progress was made.

In a consummate act of bad faith, however, the Gang of Three (Jerry Compton, Earl Keegan and Doug Robbins) unilaterally halted those settlement discussions. In a June 22 letter from the Gang's lawyer, their nonnegotiable settlement demands are to redesign the project "to include only classrooms and a science lab" (no library/media center) or move the gym to the parking lot "adjacent to the Adelphia location" (losing even more valuable parking spaces) or eliminate "nonschool use (of the gym) after school hours" (a clear violation of state law).

These demands represent a grand extortion of our kids, our schools and our community. The Gang of Three has flashed the "wiggling digit" at the more than 60 percent who voted "Yes" for Measure J's modernization and new construction projects. Our Valley neighbors should roundly condemn these political thugs for hijacking their legitimate concerns to satisfy their personal agendas.

The district remains willing to meet with our neighbors' representatives who truly represent their concerns, engage in candid and constructive discussions and arrive at a settlement that is mutually satisfactory.


President, Hermosa Beach School Board Hermosa Beach


Public-sector costs are soaring

Your two consecutive editorials referring to the financial woes of Orange County's retirement system and unrestrained spending in the state budget bring to mind an observation. Over the past few weeks, I have met several people who told me they work for "the state." They previously held private-sector jobs and left them for better pay and retirement in their new jobs with Sacramento.

I also met a mid-30s man who had been with a major aerospace company for many years but who was dissatisfied with the long hours and travel requirements. He left that employer for a new job with "the state" that according to him had less stress and improved pay and retirement benefits.

California can only pay its employees with the taxes it collects from the private sector. In fact, the fiscal problems about which you wrote are simply a result of the financial demands being made by government exceeding the ability of the private sector to pay them.

The demands of tax receivers are greater than what taxpayers are able to pay. Nothing could make this situation worse than the trend I mentioned. When the benefits of public-sector workers surpass those of the private employees who pay their salaries, the death of the golden goose should be anticipated and may not be too far distant.


The Daily Breeze – July 11, 2005


Sex offenders put public at risk


For six weeks, police say, Joseph Edward Duncan III repeatedly molested Shasta Groene, age 8, whom he had kidnapped from her home in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Her brother Dylan, age 9, was kidnapped with her and, Shasta has said, was repeatedly molested too. Shasta is home. Dylan is believed dead. Duncan is in jail.

In an exceptionally tragic twist, the same night Shasta and Dylan were taken, another of Shasta's brothers, her mother and a friend were found beaten to death. Duncan is suspected. But the brutal scenario of children kidnapped and even killed has become all too familiar: a violent sexual predator whose sexual crimes began early in his life. Who has been in and out of prison for violent sexual and other offenses. Whom mental health professionals found not "amenable" to treatment, but not so much a risk for re-offending that officialdom kept him from roaming for his latest victims.

The professionals are well aware that every sexual predator released is at risk of re-offending. Legislators are aware that the laws governing the release of offenders put the civil liberties of predators ahead of the public safety. Only ordinary folks, it seems, are well aware that the safety of more children is at risk with every sexual predator released.

They should be aware: It's their children put at risk because of a great social experiment in treating sexual offenders even while acknowledging that there can be no zero risk of offending -- and while allowing the release of offenders deemed not "amenable" or flatly resistant to treatment. The anecdotal evidence is in, however, as the statistics trickle in: Absent constant monitoring, convicted sexual predators cannot be safely released into society. And constant electronic monitoring, though an improvement, is no sure bet.

What were Washington state officials thinking in releasing Joseph Edward Duncan III? What are they and those from other states thinking now? They cannot take their decisions back in any case where the risk becomes the reality to children they do not know. The consequences to them are nil.

But the public is due fuller explanations of the risk-assessment analysis of sexual predators. And the law that relies on their expert analysis needs legislators' review, too.


The Easy Reader - June 23, 2005

ER Letters

Why fee for Wi-Fi?

Dear ER:

The Wi-Fi franchise agreement that the City of Hermosa Beach is planning on executing needs some clarification. This new franchise is nothing more than another DSL-like product offering services similar to the ones already available. Second, a franchise for this type of technology use cannot be unreasonably withheld by the local government (SCE, Adelphia and Verizon do not own or control this right of way, the people do). Thirdly, unlike (the city-owned network), this new network charges fees for use. The city-sponsored Wi-Fi network is open to the public and is totally free to the public (and faster than DSL – I might add).

How the two are similar is only in the delivery of the Internet signal. The city-sponsored network is a test area to see if the technology works. As this new franchise company plans to use the same equipment, the free city network equipment choice has been validated. The city-owned network held classes (please, do some more) and was a low cost community network service; this new franchise is a full-service, for-profit, truck roll type of service.

If the City Council had not deadlocked on the second phase of this project, a company like this one could offer premium service layered over the city’s own network, thus accommodating those who want to hook up themselves and those who need the in-home service calls. I would suggest that instead of working on a franchise agreement, the city build its network out and let this franchise company layer e-mail, spam blocking, rich security features, gaming and host other applications.

The license fees the city would receive from the likes of this company, Treyspan, would allow the continued free use of the basic Internet for those who want to hook up on their own. I am sure other ISP’s like Earthlink, Velocity, ALLTEL, and Speakeasy could and would get licenses. They would rather pay the city of Hermosa a license fee than pay Verizon $28 a month for the right to resell DSL service.

I hope from the fact that another company sees the value of operating in our great city, that other city councils will see the value in community networking and be leaders in delivering IP (Internet Protocol) packets to their residents. The core of all data, voice, and video can be done wirelessly for pennies only if our local government can see that they need to be the owner of that infrastructure, not Verizon or Adelphia.

Richard Applebaum

Hermosa Beach


Walk on the wild side

Dear ER:

As both a pedestrian and a bicyclist who has used the bike path and The Strand for almost 25 years, I take serious issue with "Setting the wheels in motion" (“Letters,” ER June 2, 2005).

The letter writer does the cause of safety a disservice when he writes, "Tell that to Susan Ellis, the 64-year old Manhattan Beach resident who sustained injuries when she was struck by a bicyclist while walking across The Strand,” and implies that the bicyclist was speeding.

Ellis was struck on the bike path at 24th Street in Manhattan Beach, which is widely separated from The Strand. The only possible contributing factor that was reported (“Bike, pedestrian crash ends in woman’s death,” ER May 12, 2005) was lack of visibility. There is no evidence that the bicyclist was speeding. There is no bike path speed limit at that point, in any event.

What would improve safety on the bike path is the posting of warning signs in Manhattan and Hermosa everywhere the bike path intersects a street, walkway or stairway, especially at the Manhattan Pier, and the trimming of the shrubbery between 35th Street in Hermosa and the Manhattan border. There are a few warning signs in Manhattan, but they are only on the few buildings where there are intersections with the bike path. The Manhattan Pier area is especially dangerous because busloads of children from non-beach areas are unloaded right next to the bike path at the end of Manhattan Beach Blvd. and their adult supervision is totally inadequate.

Bill Seaman

Redondo Beach

A CuRSE against you

Dear ER:

A lawsuit has been filed against the Hermosa schools by a group known as the Committee for Responsible School Expansion (CRSE) in an attempt to stop new construction planned for Hermosa Valley School approved by voters in the 2002 Measure J election. This group has held the public school board construction meetings hostage with their delaying tactics have already cost the school district hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, in increased construction costs. In addition, defending the present lawsuit is depleting the school district of funds that could otherwise be used for textbooks, supplies and teachers.

We are writing to correct the misinformation being disseminated by a handful of people.

Fiction: The concerns of the neighbors have been ignored.

Fact: The School Board has bent over backwards to respond to and accommodate the concerns of the neighbors. Two years and hundreds of hours have been spent listening and responding to concerns of the neighbors. Numerous revisions in architectural plans have been made to address their concerns.

Fiction: The District is rushing forward without considering other options.

Fact: The current plans have been under discussion for years. Every conceivable alternative, including gym placement, has been analyzed several times, including the suggestion by one of the neighbors that the school should annex the Marineland Mobile Homes park for school expansion. Apparently taking someone else’s home is okay but it is a litigious grievance if the school impinges on this particular neighborhood’s street parking.

Fiction: The proposed construction will be detrimental to the real estate values of the neighbors.

Fact: Good schools raise real estate values. All of Hermosa can benefit from better schools. Several years ago, Los Angeles magazine did an article on secret, desirable neighborhoods in the Los Angeles area. The neighborhood north of Valley School was one of these desirable neighborhoods, largely based on its proximity to the school. This neighborhood will only continue to benefit from its proximity to the school. The rest of Hermosa and our students should be allowed to benefit from an updated, quality school.

Fiction: This group will support a different version of the plan.

Fact: The opponents of the current plan have objected to all plans for new construction and have never indicated a single, feasible, proposal they would support. It is another delay tactic that will cause more plans to be drawn and submitted to the State and Coastal Commission for approval, which will further deplete the construction funds.

Fact: The Environmental Impact Report has identified possible parking concerns under the hypothetical situation where several school facilities are used for special events simultaneously. In addition to the fact that Board and school policies would undoubtedly prevent this hypothetical from ever occurring. This concern begs the question: Where in Hermosa isn’t parking congested? Moreover, the School Board has indicated its willingness to support restricted parking in the adjacent neighborhood. Additionally, the EIR’s assumption that every car that parks at the school will only be transporting one person and that no one will walk to the school for the various events would seem to present unusual circumstances for school parking requirements.

Fact: The cost of defending the current lawsuit will not come out of the construction fund but out of the School’s General Fund – money which could go to teachers, educational programs, textbooks and supplies. This is the same General Fund parents are being asked to supplement with $600 for each student because of the State’s cutbacks in educational funding.

Fact: The lawsuit is brought by a few people who knowingly purchased homes near the school and have benefited by their proximity to the school. CSRE’s actions now are adversely affecting the quality of our kids’ education as well as the wallets and pocketbooks of Hermosa Beach residents.

It is time for Hermosa Valley School’s neighbors to be good neighbors themselves and allow the School District to move forward with construction of a library, gym and new classrooms, including two science labs. The community as a whole should demand it.

Hermosans United for Truth and Excellent Schools

Heide Burnett, Katie Milstead, Jennifer Harris

and 117 other Hermosa residents


Back-bending for a gym

Dear ER:

I object to the complaints that the Hermosa School Board has not responded to concerns of the neighbors regarding the gym proposed for the school. Since the very beginning, I have observed that the concerns of a few neighbors have dominated the process. The first proposal was to put the gym in the northwest corner of the property, but the neighbors objected. Then various locations on the north end of the property were proposed. Again, the neighbors objected and the location was moved. It is quite obvious that the school board has bent over backwards trying to appease the few who have concerns.


This shell game has continued for two years and it is clear that the few people objecting simply do not want a gym. The majority of the citizens and parents want not only a gym, but also the classrooms and a library as the current plan shows. It is time for the Committee for Responsible School Expansion to allow the construction to begin and drop their frivolous lawsuit. It is unfair to the people of Hermosa and the children in our schools.

Cindy S. Quane, First Vice-President

Hermosa Beach Education Foundation

Naked intentions

Dear ER:

I am writing to urge the neighbors of Hermosa Valley School to drop their lawsuit and allow the construction to begin. Our kids need the new classrooms, a library and a gym. The neighbors need to stop bullying the school with their selfish and baseless concerns about parking. The citizens, and especially the parents, of Hermosa should stand up and demand that this project start this summer – no more delays! We must put the interests of the whole over the fears of a few.

Kathryn B. Milstead, board member

Hermosa Beach Education Foundation

The Easy Reader - June 16, 2005

ER Letters

The path of Zen

Dear ER:

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness: fundamental concepts of our nation and the ideals many have sacrificed much for so that they may continue to be enjoyed.

These essential human rights fit well with a bike ride on The Strand, and not so well with advocates wishing the prohibition of most adult-wheeled travel on The Strand (“Letters,” ER, June 2, 2005).

While some people are clueless on how to use the tremendous resource that is The Strand, I don't feel we should throw away one of the best bike rides in the nation, if not the world, because it is not perfect. Instead, we should embrace our blessing, and count ourselves lucky that communities came together to provide this exceptional ride.

Ask any tourist, no matter where they are from, if they have a ride like this at home. Yet we take it for granted, because it is so natural, normal, and everyday. Truly, few places afford a flat, easy, uninterrupted ride by the beach. From little kids riding a new toy, to people riding north for the day to look at the people in Venice, it is a singular resource to be treasured.

It lets people, especially teenagers, commute, shop, and visit up and down the beach, without cars. This is a very important concept to support in these days of impersonal societies, fat stomachs, and expensive gas.

While most freedom involves some risk, and the recent deadly accident is upsetting to any thoughtful person, to ask for a prohibition of skate boarders and bike riders under the threat that next time it will be somebody's kid is simply a bad idea. Nobody can predict the future. Throwing fear into the mix, does not make this assumption more valid. The police of both Hermosa and Manhattan support a more reasonable attitude — not thinking the situation fundamentally changed from previous years.

A ride on The Strand in the summer sun is good for you. Just in case you are a whippersnapper without my miles of deep Strand cruising experience, cruise slow is the guiding mantra. It's a zen thing, dude.

Richard Elliott

Redondo Beach

What would Lance do?

Dear ER:

Those of us residing in the South Bay, have the luxury of living near a long stretch of concrete called The Strand. In some places, it is both a bike and pedestrian thoroughfare and in other areas it splits into two separate paths. Now I cannot speak for all those people trying to be like Lance Armstrong but at least for myself, I take great pleasure in being able to bike this area daily from Hermosa to Marina del Rey. I do however take caution towards walkers, skaters and other bikers because I do not want to harm them or myself. Now as we are all aware of, there was an unfortunate accident between a biker and pedestrian. But, I feel it is very sad that the only conclusion one letter writer could come up with (“Letters,” ER, June 2, 2005), was to completely close The Strand to adult bikers and skateboarders.

The path has been used for many years, and hopefully with everyone using a little common sense it can continue to be used for many years to come. So my suggestion for the war of words going on as of late is for both young and old persons walking across the path to look both left and right before crossing. As well, bikers, even if you have clip-in shoes, please walk your bike in posted areas. The summer is here and The Strand will bring many, many people to the area, so if we all use some care, consideration and common sense towards each other, hopefully we can all get along and have a safe summer.

Michelle Wattles

The Easy Reader - June 2, 2005

ER Letters



Setting the wheels in motion

Dear ER:

I couldn’t help noticing the irony in the publication of the two articles regarding bicycle safety on The Strand. Hermosa Beach Police Chief Michael Lavin is quoted as saying the “speeding on The Strand is not a major problem.” Tell that to Susan Ellis, the 64-year old Manhattan Beach resident who sustained injuries when she was struck by a bicyclist while walking across The Strand. Of course, you can’t because she died from her injuries. Incredibly, Lavin goes on to say, “The only reason we are down there [writing tickets] is that the council told us to.” Obviously, the Hermosa Police Department doesn’t have a public affairs advisor. More power to the council, but I hope they don’t need to remind Lavin to chase bank robbers, too.

I’ve been in federal law enforcement for 31 years now, but I’m not one to be compulsive about enforcement to “the letter of the law.” I’ve learned that discretion is perhaps the most important factor in enforcing compliance. But, clearly Lavin hasn’t spent much time on The Strand or he’d realize that many adult bikers dangerously exceeding either the posted speed limit or the legally “safe” speed limit. Lavin is also quoted as saying that “usually people are very, very angry to get them [tickets.]” Gee, that’s a surprise. I haven’t arrested any dopers in my career who’ve been particularly thrilled to be going to the slammer. You know what? Not only are the bikers speeding, but the faster they’re going the bigger the attitude they have. Bikers seem to think they have the right of way on The Strand.

It’s a miracle that more pedestrians haven’t been injured or killed. I’ve been nearly run over several times crossing The Strand by First Street. So has the lady who lives across the street from me. One biker verbally challenged me when I didn’t respond to his “excuse me” when he cut me off on his bike. Well, excuse me! I’m a jogger and not in the habit of carrying on conversations when I’m busy sucking in air.

The real danger, obviously, is to kids; they’re constantly running across The Strand and never look to see if there’s any cross traffic. They’re kids and you just can’t hold them to the higher standard of caution that you can hold an adult to.

I’ve got the solution so Lavin won’t have to risk angering people any more: prohibit adult bike riders on The Strand altogether. While you’re at it, do us all a favor and prohibit adult skate boarders, too. They have worse attitudes than bikers. Don’t wait for another injury or death on The Strand. It will happen again and next time it may be somebody’s kid.

Name withheld by request


The $50,000 question

Dear ER:

I had to laugh at Fred Huebsher's slamming Hermosa Councilman Sam Edgerton for his so-called special interest of downtown merchants (Letters, ER, May 19, 2005). Huebsher’s comments criticized Edgerton for receiving campaign donations. How else do you finance a campaign? When Sam beat Fred four years ago, Huebscher spent a record $50,000 trying to get a seat on the Hermosa council. Less than a thousand dollars of that money was from any individual connected with Hermosa Beach. His campaign stands for one of the biggest local political financial failures of all time. Maybe if he was able to gain the support of businesses and people who live and work in the South Bay he could have been elected. The true fact is Sam Edgerton initiated the crackdown on noise on the Plaza. Two other council members were only interested in the placement of heaters, TV's and podiums. Small wonder when Huebsher writes he always twists the facts.That is why $50,000 did not get him elected.

Laura Paul

Hermosa Beach


Fort Lots-o-Priorities

Dear ER:

Wow! What a privileged community we've become. While the parents here worry about their children getting a splinter from the log cabin replica at Fort Lots-o-Fun, parents in inner-city communities worry about their children being approached to buy crack or being hit by a stray bullet. I survived Fort Lots-o-Fun when the cowboy and Indian heads peaked above the fence and way more shrubs provided hide and seek camouflage. I also survived the metal rocket ship that swayed in the wind at Dominguez Park. And I survived the Our Lady of Guadalupe playground, which had (gasp!) no playground toys at all. I wish a committee with this much passion had rallied to save the Bijou, or protested the opening of Starbucks, Coffee Bean, and Subway in downtown Hermosa, or to prevent over-sized sherbet and coffee-colored homes with pillars and blocks that look like they are made of Styrofoam from being crammed into lots that previously housed one home, or to clean up the condoms, tampons, and hypodermic needles that wash up on our shores. I am not against growth and progress, but when the once sleepy, unique, bohemian, modest town that I grew up in begins to lose its character and become homogenized and gentrified I feel bitter and sad. Maybe because I am not a parent yet I do not understand, but I hope that when I become one I will teach my children to be grateful for what they have, to value more than large homes and toys, and to share with those who have less.

Marie Taylor

Redondo Beach


The Easy Reader - May 19, 2005

ER Letters

Seriously Stranded

Dear ER:

My first thought in reading the article about Lawrence Petersen being ticketed for speeding on The Strand in Hermosa Beach (“Police Reluctantly Ticket Strand Speeders,” ER May 12, 2005) was, “Oh geez, here we go again.” Having lived in Hermosa Beach for over 18 years and on The Strand in Manhattan Beach for five years, it seems that every couple of years or so an “Us vs. Them” argument between cyclists and pedestrians gets waged in the press.

While I’m sure Petersen is a courteous cyclist, those of us who regularly use The Strand for walking are often confronted by people screaming, “On your left,” as they whiz by on their multi-speed bikes. For sure, in some cases, it’s because discourteous pedestrians walk in the middle of The Strand, unconcerned that they share the path with those on wheeled conveyances (including skateboards, roller blades, and roller skates).

For Police Chef Lavin to say that speeding on The Strand is not a major problem, may I direct his attention to the articles in the same issue of about the Manhattan Beach woman who died from injuries sustained in a bike/pedestrian crash (“Bike, pedestrian crash ends in woman’s death”) and to The Strand fight that sent a Hawthorne man to the hospital after being “brushed” by a cyclist’s handlebars (“Police Beat”). I suspect the definition of “brushed” is different if you ask the cyclist or the pedestrian.

While I realize that Ellis’ death is unusual, there are many mishaps on The Strand in both Hermosa and Manhattan (even with a separate path) that are not serious enough to be reported, but that still cause injury -- even if they’re only scrapes and bruises. And this doesn’t account for all the near misses that occur.

Finally, while I think Petersen should take the ticket to court because the judge is likely to reduce the $351 fine, his argument about the appropriate speed limit is moot. Whether the speed limit is 8 mph or 10 mph or, by California law cannot be posted (on a roadway) below 15 mph, he was still speeding. At 19 mph, he was exceeding even the 15 mph speed limit by roughly 27 percent.

Scott Alden

Palos Verdes Estates

Unsafe at any speed?

Dear ER:

It was interesting that two different articles addressed speed limits on The Strand (“Bike, pedestrian crash ends in woman’s death” and “Police reluctantly ticket Strand speeders,” ER May 12, 2005). Manhattan Beach Traffic Sgt. Bryan Klatt is quoted as saying “the maximum speed would be between 20-25 miles per hour” while Sgt. Paul Wolcott of Hermosa Beach notes that 19 mph is excessive on The Strand. I realize the two areas are distinct, with homes directly opening to The Strand in Hermosa Beach but even at the 8 mph limit I hope pedestrians are looking before walking across The Strand, treating it much like a street. We can enforce and regulate this issue to death but I note in my frequent use of The Strand that most people use courtesy and regulate themselves (an exception being recent fight between a bicyclist and pedestrian in Hermosa Beach). A little common sense and community spirit will go a long way. My question: how can the Hermosa Beach PD enforce a speed limit on vehicles (bicycles) that are not equipped with speedometers? A quick check on the Internet also shows that not all radar guns are expected to be accurate at low speeds. Is the HBPD using low-speed radar guns?

Helen Monahan

Redondo Beach



Path of controversy

Dear ER:

I rarely agree with the political views of the Easy Reader but, let's admit that it has the courage to discuss very controversial local issues, including various aspects of illegal immigration, the gay/lesbian connections in the Redondo Beach mayoral race, the hundreds of thousand of dollars spent by the Manhattan school board on one disabled student (while programs for many gifted students are shrinking) and the situation on the bike path. While other local papers became billboards for the lucrative real estate market, Easy Reader found space on its pages to discuss the death of a local resident on the bike path in Manhattan and even a ticket given to a biker for excessive speed on the Hermosa Strand. The bike path is a major attraction in South Bay. My wife and I ride our bikes daily there and are fully aware of all dangers related with this endeavor. In Manhattan, the bike path is not for walking dogs, jogging, strollers with babies -- it is "For Bikes Only," as is clearly written almost each mile. A lot of local folks and visitors are unaware of this fact and have to be first educated and, then, controlled and ticketed. Two years ago I explained this to a police sergeant and he promised to address the issue. Since then the sergeant has been promoted to lieutenant but nothing more has been done about limiting the bike path to bikes. And now we face this tragedy. Besides the resident being killed, the biker had seven stitches on his head (with a speed of just about 10 mph!).

Manhattan police are very good in certain departments. Just try to park during the time of street cleaning; you’ll be immediately ticketed for $35 (a high price for the folks on a fixed income). It is beyond my comprehension why the police cannot be similarly efficient in preventing accidents on the bike path. The bike path is a road. If you need to cross it, cross it straight, not at a diagonal. Do not walk along it. Surfers have to be aware that their boards are quite long and have to be carried vertically, not horizontally. While in Hermosa The Strand is for both pedestrians and bikers and the speed there has to be controlled, the Manhattan bike path is not – The Strand is for pedestrians, the bike path is for bikers. You want to have pleasure of visiting our town, do not take away ours -- of biking.

Yury Gurvich

Manhattan Beach

Fact checking

Dear ER:

Bondo Wyszpolski made a statement on the front page (“Marching orders” ER May 5, 2005) that is completely untrue and rises to the level of blood libel. It is your editor’s responsibility to personally investigate and take appropriate corrective action.

Wyszpolski alleged that “with Israeli consent 2,000 people were killed.”

The facts were investigated by both the U.S. and the Kahan Commission of Inquiry. The Lebanese police estimated that 460 had been killed in both Sabra and Shatila. According to the Lebanese account, 35 were women and children. The rest were men -- Palestinians, Lebanese, Pakistanis, Iranians, Syrians, and Algerians. The highest estimate (P.L.O.) was 700-800. The camps housed approximately 200 armed men operating out of numerous bunkers and they had plentiful supplies of weapons and ammunition.

As part of the U.S. plan to transfer authority to the Lebanese, we (Gen. Chaim and my command) pressured Israel not to enter the camps. The Phalangists had pledged not to commit violence. However, when they entered the camps they went on a killing spree to avenge the deaths of Lebanese president Bashir Jemayel and 25 of his followers who had been murdered by the PLO in a bomb attack that had taken place earlier in that week.

Most of the killings took place by knife when the Israelis detected the Situation they ordered the Phalange out thus saving countless lives. The Kahan Commission, dominated by Sharon’s enemies, found that Sharon bore “Indirect responsibility” since he should have anticipated the possibility of Phalangist violence.

Please check out the facts and take appropriate corrective action.

Dr. Howard Laitin


Pander express

Dear ER:

I could not help but laugh when I read Hermosa Beach Councilmember Sam Y. Edgerton's email to Aloha Sharkeez' owner Ron Newman regarding Councilmembers Reviczky and Keegan (“Edgerton’s email takes colleagues to task,” ER May 5, 2005). He claims Reviczky and Keegan are engaged in "a witch-hunt during an election year" because they want to strictly enforce bar and restaurants' use of public property on the Pier Avenue Plaza. Edgerton is engaging in behavior akin to the "pot calling the kettle black" since he is pandering to the bar and restaurant owners who so generously provided almost 50 percent of his campaign contributions during the 2003 election. And I dare say that even if Reviczky and Keegan are taking action because it's an election year, they won't be rewarded with campaign contributions from special interests.

Fred Huebscher

Hermosa Beach


MB sheds light

Dear ER:

Recently, I attended the Manhattan Beach Community Police Academy to see how the department operates. I was amazed at what I did not know about the police department and its duties. Over the course of nine meetings/classes my learning curve went straight up. So often the police are seen in a negative light as many of the community are unaware of what law enforcement entails. During these classes we met and heard from many great officers about their job assignments and duties. We discussed the process of recruitment and how officers are selected and trained. We were exposed to many areas, from SWAT operations and traffic control to juvenile and child protection programs.

I think the most powerful way of learning is hands-on….and that was what a four-hour patrol ride-along experience with one of the young, outstanding officers did for me. It was fantastic. The officer shared many of the issues and policies that he deals with on a daily basis. I truly feel that all police departments should offer a similar program using MBPD’s curriculum as an example. When communities are knowledgeable of the many duties of police work and law enforcement then public safety will go to the top of their support list.

I wish to thank Manhattan Beach for the great experience!

Sara Sellars

Manhattan Beach


Dear ER:

Till now, I've enjoyed the Barfly column, but I found the recent bit about the lady feeding the pigeons ("Barfly" ER April 14, 2005) as unfeeling as it could get. In Europe, a different mentality exists. Each cafe waiter shakes the tablecloths in the street, precisely so the birds and pigeons (actually, they are Rock Doves...look it up), can also eat. Since all the cafes do this, only two or three pigeons frequent each cafe or restaurant, so no one cafe has an invasion. I have always felt, since I was small, that one returns in the next life, as the person or animal one has most maligned in this life. So you better hope a kind soul like that lady comes along to feed you!

May Gordon

Hermosa Beach

The Easy Reader – April 28, 2005

ER Letters


Judicial review

Dear ER:

I have been a lawyer and a judge for almost 50 years. I have retired from the Superior Court but continue to work as an alternative to deadening boredom. Thus, you may safely assume that contest and controversies are not and have not been alien to my life. I have lived in the beach area for many years and seldom actively engage in local politics, but this Koenig matter is too much (“Union Cattle Gets Another Shot,” ER April, 2004). I only recently received a permit to construct an addition to my home. A year of effort, almost $10,000 to architect, structural engineer, and the city permit fees later, I have a permit. Now I must endeavor to survive the building of the new room. The city planning and building departments were superbly responsive, but they are obviously understaffed and inundated. Thus I am appalled to learn that a planning commission member undertook the role of general contractor allegedly without a license, and built an addition to a restaurant without a permit, which said addition egregiously and clearly exceeded the height limit. And now the Council, despite all of the above and instead of insisting upon the filing of criminal charges, is contemplating the granting of a variance? Is this possible?? Is there some aspect of this matter which I have no knowledge? Or, as seems clear, will the granting of the variance be simply another outrage perpetrated by those who are elected to govern equitably, being fair to all, as required by their oath?

Richard G. Berry

Hermosa Beach

Late night rumblings

Dear ER:

The Redondo Beach City Council meeting Tuesday night was a total sham. The council sat and did not hear a word the residents stated about quality of life. The Hennessey bar/restaurant scheduled to open on Catalina will impact lives by repeating history. Dante’s Inferno and Catalina Cantina? Remember those battles? Teachers came with their children last night. All they want is to live in Redondo and bring up their children. They also want to have a night’s sleep. Now they will have the third contentious situation — another bar/restaurant opened until 2 a.m. Councilman Gerard Bisignano clearly did not listen to any of the legal ramifications. Mayor Greg Hill, a lame duck, set the stage and allowed Hennessey to talk endlessly at the podium.

If this city council cannot listen to the taxpayers and residents and only gives credence to wealthy restaurant owner businessmen who live in Rolling Hills, then something is very wrong. Residents deserve to come first. People need to come before personal gain when it comes to decisions by the council. There is a letter from Paradise Restaurant on record, which has two existing locations, stating it is willing to accept the restricted hours for the location proposed by the Planning Commissioners. That desirable space would not have remained vacant.

Vote on May 17 for council candidate Jim Light who spoke before the council and represented the concerns of the residents. This council has to say good night and goodbye.

Kathleen Lorenzen

Redondo Beach

Light-hearted observations

Dear ER:

The Redondo Beach City Council is out of control. In the past few weeks they voted themselves a pay raise and evicted all small boaters from Portofino Marina. But April 19 they achieved an all time low. Our council overrode Planning Commission and City Staff recommendations by permitting Hennessey’s new restaurant/bar to stay open until 1 a.m. This restaurant/bar and its parking lots are just 15 feet from the bedrooms of babies. Imagine the noise of two valet parking lots with cars starting, bells pinging, belts squealing, and doors slamming 15 feet from your bedroom window until 1 a.m. Now imagine an infant exposed to that environment.

These councilmen profess to protect your quality of life. In reality, if you have lots of money and you are politically “connected,” you become “more equal,”(to quote Orwell in our Animal Farm-run council). The rest of us peons are just here to pay taxes. And, let’s not forget Paul Hennessey. Contrary to his wife’s litany of philanthropic contributions, Hennessey proved his true colors as he refused to budge on his closing time. Padding his wallet is obviously more important than the families living 15 feet from his new establishment.

Shame on Mr. Hennessey, and shame on our Councilmen. Valet parking until 1 a.m. just 15 feet from the bedrooms of infants…have they no shred of decency? I am appalled by our council’s actions. My heart goes out to the families that must bear the impacts of this travesty.

Jim Light

Candidate, District 1 Redondo Beach

Honor your Mother

Dear ER:

The 25th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22 should spur each of us to ensure that our irreplaceable natural environment will survive another 25 years. Indeed, it’s the perfect day to cut the environmental impacts of our shopping, our driving, and our diet. Yes, our diet.

Production of meat and other animal products dumps more pollution into our waterways than all other human activities combined. It’s the animal manure and the runoff from animal feed crops, which carries soil particles, salts, pesticides, fertilizers, and organic matter. Meat production has been degrading our forests to pastures, feed cropland, then arid wasteland. It is the greatest threat to wildlife habitats and preservation of endangered species. The grains and soybeans we feed to animals could sustain the 840 million starving people in the Third World.

This Friday, let’s celebrate Earth Day in the most fitting way – by replacing meat and other animal products in our diet with a rich, tasty variety of vegetables, fresh fruits, and whole grains.

Jack Matler

Hermosa Beach

The Easy Reader – April 14, 2005

ER Letters


One trick columnist

Dear ER:

I must complain about the April 7 “On Local Government “ column of April 7 by Bob Pinzler.

Instead of a thoughtful, constructive political article, an unfair attack was made on Ellen Allen by assuming a hypothetical situation where the ex-candidate would have been a “one trick pony,” then carefully explaining how these one issue ponies are the worst council people possible, ask any city manager.

Allen was also criticized for her decision to withdraw from a losing political contest. None of Allen’s reasons for this decision were discussed, nor was mention made that a fight to the bitter end might not advance a needed spirit of local political compromise. The only justification for former councilman Pinzler’s negative statements seems to be that’s how he did it and that’s how it works.

For Pinzler to suggest that his losing mayoral campaign was better, or more correct, than another’s losing, sincere effort, goes beyond useless hypothetical criticisms into the simply untrue.

Pinzler than continues a self serving agenda, stating the Redondo council would be correct in ignoring both park plans. He bases this incredible statement on the number of voters who did not choose either plan, yet omits that this tally amounts to roughly six percent of the votes cast, a total of which he must be well aware.

Astoundingly, he then advocates a council decision based on this six percent non-vote. In my book, this is hardly the democracy our founding fathers had in mind.

While neither Pinzler nor myself have the great political wisdom or insight of a Thomas Jefferson, at least I have the good sense to keep my yap shut and not illuminate that considerable gap by writing disingenuous political columns.

Richard Elliott

Redondo Beach

Schmalz thanks

Dear ER:

I want to thank all of my friends, neighbors and supporters for their hard work and dedication in my campaign for Mayor of Redondo Beach. As expected, it was a competitive and close election. Unfortunately, we came up a little short on election night. But there was no shortage of effort and enthusiasm on your part. I can’t tell you how grateful my family and I are for all the new friends and supporters that we met during this remarkable campaign. There were many people who contributed money, time, and tireless effort to help our cause. We can’t thank you all enough, and we will never forget what you did for our campaign.

I especially want to thank the voters in District 4, where I have served as the City Council representative for the past four years. You overwhelmingly voted for me in the Mayor’s election. Your continued trust and support for me as your councilman and as a mayoral candidate meant a great deal. I was proud to be District 4’s first choice for Mayor.

We also had wide support in other parts of the city. As of the last vote count, we tallied 2,127 votes-only 234 votes out of the runoff. I was honored to receive every single one of those votes.

Finally. I want to congratulate Mike Gin, who was the top vote getter in the election, and Gerard Bisignano, the second place finisher, and wish both of them the best of luck in the May 17 runoff election. I also want to congratulate Ellen Allan who narrowly missed the second runoff spot.

My term on the City Council expired on April 5. Steve Diels will be the new District 4 councilman. I congratulate Steve on his election and wish him the best in his duties. I have thoroughly enjoyed my term on the council. Public service as an elected official is a tremendous honor, but it also takes a huge commitment of time and energy. As I leave office, I am looking forward to spending more time with my family and with my law firm. Thank you again to all the friends, neighbors, and supporters who made this campaign an unforgettable experience for my family and me.

Kurt Schmalz

Redondo Beach

Out on a gym

Dear ER:

What can be done to alleviate the parking and noise at Hermosa Valley School when construction is finished on the new gym and the classrooms that are being built to replace the portables? Fact to be noted: at the end of over $15 million worth of construction the School District will not have one extra classroom! Yes, there will be new classrooms built but they are replacing portables. Of course if the district keeps the “new” portables, which they have had since last June, then they will have extra classrooms.

Classrooms and an upgraded school campus for our students-that has always been my priority. I assumed that the District was going to add more classrooms and upgrade the campus. I suppose that will happen down the road when they try to pass another bond to “Build New Classrooms”!

So now that a gym is being built, the District has not done anything to mitigate any concerns. They allow plenty of opportunities for the community to talk and talk they have done for almost four years. What about the library that at present sits in a portable? The new proposed Library has been slowly whittled away to save more money for the gym. One of our own School Board members actually stated “Do we really need a library when we have so many computers and the Internet?” Please tell me that our librarian and the library are not going to continue to stay in the portables.

To suggest a few issues for the District to consider:

-Lock gates North and West a half hour before and after the public events to:

-Encourage general public to park in Vons and not in the neighborhood.

-Limit the time of the public use on the gym due to noise.

The District needs to show some concern to the community and put some rules and regulations in writing.

Jackie Tagliaferro

Hermosa Beach


Cyberspace versus real estate

Dear ER

It makes me very angry that Hermosa Council members Edgerton and Tucker pretended to be concerned about the minute possibility of having to spend a few dollars of taxpayer money in order to support WiFi. I am even angrier that they have now cavalierly, with no public hearing or discussion, decided that the city can afford to commit millions of dollars on the acquisition of the storage rental property across from city hall. Keep in mind that Wifi was very likely to pay for itself, but that the inflated guesses of potential income from real estate are unlikely guestimates.

Roberta Moore


Handicapping the parking system

Dear ER:

I read with interest the article (“Woman’s handicapped spot okayed over neighbor’s parking concerns,” ER March 24, 2005) regarding the controversy about painting handicapped parking spaces on city streets. I find it incomprehensible that such a space was approved for a resident who has a garage and driveway that he can use to park his vehicle. I find it equally puzzling that there was a question about approving a space for a woman who has neither and qualifies as being disabled. I have lived in Hermosa for many years and have always had a garage until I moved to my current residence, and now have to fight for a parking space within a reasonable distance of my home. I am constantly amazed by the number of people who have both garages and off street parking available to them who choose to store their many vehicles on the street.

The couple who lives across the alley from me has a two car garage with two parking spaces in their driveway. They have five vehicles, all of which have parking permits. The garage has never had a car in it. One vehicle is parked in the driveway and never driven because the muffler system is not street legal. The other driveway spot is properly used as parking for the wife's car which she uses every day. The other three cars are stored on the street, sometimes not even moving for street sweeping. They just put a note on them saying they are broken so they don't get ticketed. Last week two of them were marked by parking control because they had been parked so long, and they just switched the cars to the other space. This is clearly abusing the system and is something that needs to be addressed. It would be more work for the city to make sure that people used their own garages and driveways, but this is done in other cities and should be done here. This, along with not issuing resident parking stickers to employees of all the businesses in the impact area and not painting a blue curb for someone who has a garage and/or driveway would be a great start to leveling the playing field for those of us who have no choice but to park on the street and would greatly appreciate not having to walk blocks with our groceries, or to just be able to go home at night. Anyone who is truly handicapped should qualify for special help and not be made to feel that their able-bodied neighbors are going to resent them for it.

Sylvia Simmons

Hermosa Beach

Redondo’s Option C

Dear ER:

Thomas Jozwiak’s letter (ER April 7, 2004) regarding the Redondo Beach “Park Plan” hit the nail on the head. Although I was not fond of Option B on the Redondo ballot, it was realistic and would not cost taxpayers any money. If the proponents of Option A truly believe that the current owners of the property are going to donate their property to the City, or that there is any money in the City or State coffers to purchase the land, think again -- there will be no donation and there is no taxpayer money to support this pipe dream. In any case, they were unable to think about what would happen if the landowner refused to donate his valuable piece of land, or if “we the taxpayers” would not pony up the millions of dollars to be sucked up by a black hole of costs. Jozwiak figured it out and so did I. What will happen is after the moratorium is lifted in September. The landowner will start to develop his property. Neither the proponents of Option A nor Option B will get their way. The landowner will develop Option C. There was considerable compromise by the proponents of Option B. There was no compromise by the proponents of Option A. Remember, Option A people, for every action there is always a consequence. Now, live with Option C.

Stewart Kahn

Redondo Beach

Esplanade care

Dear ER:

During my sixty-six years of living on the Avenues, I have enjoyed walking along the Esplanade. Recently, I have been dismayed by the debris and graffiti that is collecting on the sidewalk. How often do professionals clean these benches and sidewalks? Surely, our high city taxes are adequate for the upkeep. The Esplanade is one of the few open views of the ocean in our South Bay.

Marian Back

Redondo Beach

Heartfelt thanks

Dear ER:

The Manhattan Beach Police Department and the Manhattan Beach Department of Parks and Recreation held their annual ‘Volunteer Recognition Dinner’ at the California Science Center on April 8. This year’s theme recognized that volunteers don’t necessarily have time to spare but they do have heart to spare. Over 1,000 volunteers contributed approximately 22,000 hours of service to the City this past year. This year’s event could not have been as successful without the efforts of the following people: Millie Newton, Erin Williams and Sally Rendler. Additionally, many thanks to the California Science Center, Beaches Restaurant, Corner Bakery, Jamba Juice, Islands Restaurant, Pancho’s Restaurant, Uncle Bill’s Pancake House, Coco’s Restaurant, and Skechers for generously donating door prizes.

Officer Neal O’Gilvy, MBPD

Eve Kelso, Community Programs Supervisor


The Hermosa Beach Neighborhood Association

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