Maintain Manhattan Beach as a residential community.
Preserve the residential character and quality of our neighborhoods.
Provide information and education to the residents.
Encourage broader participation in city government.
Assist individuals in their interaction with City Council and City Staff.
Support candidates whose efforts further the objectives of our organization.
The MBRA is available to help you! We can research, provide data, and lend support to residents concerned with traffic, parking, and incompatible development in residential neighborhoods. MBRA can assist you with navigating through City departments and City policies and procedures.
Why We Are
by John Scott
It was during a prolonged period of change and anxiety, threatening and intrusive issues that Manhattan Beach Residents Association was formed. Then, as indeed now, our goals remain ever constant. They are our raison d’etre; they are the foundation upon which MBRA evolved, worked,
responded and grew.
Twenty-five years ago residents of this small beach community were beginning to feel disenfranchised by their local government. Many complained that grievances were not being heard and information was not adequately forthcoming. What was sadly lacking was thoughtful response, fact-finding opinions, attentive listening to residents, decisions made only after all views and
concerns had been expressed, and most significantly, avoiding even the faintest perception of predetermined decisions, actions, recommendations. The Manhattan Beach Residents Association (MBRA) and its membership publication, the Observer, were born, recognizing the importance of vigilance based on adequate information and the significance of our shared conviction that: we are
part of a whole, that what affects one area, affects us all.
We knew we would not be complacent about integrity or about unfair or uninformed decisions made by City Hall. We would not accept anything less than a fully responsive and representative Council, Commissions and Staff. When you settle for less, less is what you get.
The Association was formed in the summer of 1988. The purpose was to help the residents of
Manhattan Beach find solutions to issues and changes in their neighborhoods. The goals were—and
. To maintain Manhattan Beach as a residential community
. To preserve the residential character and quality of its neighborhoods and local businesses
. To provide information and education to the residents of the community
. To encourage broader participation in city government
. To support candidates and efforts to further the objectives of the organization.
Grass roots organizations such as the MBRA have often appeared to elected civil servants as the
proverbial “thorn in the side”. However, when a single cry of a resident is muffled or lost when it
is deemed an irritant or hindrance to the agendas proposed by government, then there must be
As an all-volunteer organization we remain committed to question, present, inform and engage in meaningful exchanges with government offices of Manhattan Beach as they affect the quality of life in this unique seaside municipality.
From its beginnings, residents facing issues and changes in their respective areas which they deem
threatening and intrusive, were urged to contact MBRA for support and assistance. To this end we helped enlighten, make changes, find solutions---and this commitment remains in effect today.
It has always been the mission of MBRA to let its members know there are other sides to the important issues of the day, and it has steadfastly pursued the goal of presenting the unvarnished facts---giving residents the opportunity to make their own judgments.
The job of MBRA is to promote awareness, make issues more transparent, and give the residents an alternative voice. Indeed, the mission continues. After all, that is what we are!
The Voice of the Observer
Former New York City Senator Patrick Moynihan stated
“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion; everyone is not entitled to his own facts.”
Beginning with our first September, 1988 Observer issue, we endeavored to present articles which contained verifiable facts; to these, however, we added opinion, fact-based and personal, relating to content.
It was not our intention to put out a paper just to print bland
community announcements; rather, we recognized and responded to a growing apparent need expressed by the many residents who sought a representative voice, one which lent credibility and strength and support to individual and community issues.
In that earlier time frame residents told us they often felt
intimidated or ignored when appearing before that council. They sometimes felt subjected to draconian measures which they found embarrassing and arrogant and which served to discourage resident participation. And so they welcomed a Manhattan Beach Residents Association which shared their concerns, understood the inherent difficulties, and which offered whatever expertise and research we could. To this end the Observer added its voice, one of reason and conviction.
A review of years’ past issues finds a mix of articles, interviews and general information, but we also did not hesitate to point out areas about which MBRA strongly questioned Council and Commission decisions. The Observer did more than observe: we questioned, helped effect changes, won some causes, lost some, applauded as well as opposed city actions and recommendations.
Was there any negative response to our many articles during the ensuing years. Of course. We take no advertising and are therefore responsible only for presenting members’ views and to comment on city-wide issues which frequently do not appear in our local weeklies.
In the process we earned some less than benign labels. I say
“earned” because we did not hesitate to stand firmly against what was viewed as irresponsible community development projects. Only in talking about nothing can we be sure not to arouse any controversy.
If what the Observer sometimes provided was controversial, it was because we were shaking up the status quo, where a 5-0 vote was the desired testimony to unanimity. Still, we were successful in making our point. We were serving the residents’ need to learn more about city-wide issues, furthering an MBRA goal to ‘provide information and education to the residents of the community’.
Controversy can have positive results.
The Observer strives to create an effective voice in maintaining a balance in the quality of life in our neighborhoods. It is the voice of, by and for Manhattan Beach residents.
It will continue on the road it undertook in 1988: to reflect our members’ views, facts and opinions, even when those whose motive we question refer to us as ‘dissenters’,
Our response to this is “Dissent is what reduces Democracy from a quiet death behind closed doors”.
The Observer will continue to keep those informational doors open. It will continue to try even harder to retain its integrity and purpose. It will continue to be our collective voice---and it will continue to be heard.