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RESIDENTS IGNORED IN
URGENT CARE PROCESS


By Nicole Barkopoulos


My husband and I, Paul and Nicole Barkopoulos,
have been spearheading outreach within our Oak
Ave and 33rd St. community, due to mounting
concern regarding the impending Urgent Care
facility that will be opening in our backyard, at
3215 N. Sepulveda Blvd. As have other members
in our neighborhood, we have been working to
get the city to require a Conditional Use Permit
that would require a proper impact analysis on our
community, including traffic, lighting, and security.
We were originally given information by the City
of Manhattan Beach Community Development
Director informing us that our concerns were
being heard, and we would have an opportunity
to discuss this when the item was placed on
the agenda at a council meeting. We were also
assured by Ms. Anne McIntosh that we would be
kept updated if there were any new developments.
We were given a date for the meeting, which has
now been pushed back three times, with the most
recent date being in September. As we all now
know (based on the ongoing construction and large
sign erected on Sepulveda), during this time they
have approved the permits for the Urgent Care,
without any such meeting or notice having
taken place. Interestingly, the permits were issued
on the same date my husband and I sent over a
demand for public records to begin petitioning
for a lawsuit to our city Mayor, councilmembers,
as well as the city attorney, further voicing our
concerns. These concerns, once again, seem
to have fallen on deaf ears. Construction has
begun on the project because the city issued
permits on June 23, 2017. The permit issued was
that of an “Office, Business, and Professional”.

Early Campaign Positions Point to More of the Same; Less Participation

Recently the City Council moved the date of the next city
election (after the one in March 2017), in part to encourage
more voter participation and turn-out. In the last issue
of the Observer, I advanced the thought the candidates
themselves bore some responsibility to a demonstrated
lack of interest.
I questioned whether in the last election (March 2015),
whether any candidate really distinguished themselves
from the others in respect to past meaningful issues
championed or conventional assumptions challenged?
Did any candidate last election or any other provide a
vision for the future beside perhaps some ephemeral
“small town” preservation support.

. . . .. . . . .  to read more

 

AT LAST, THE HISTORIC
PRESERVATION PROGRAM IS
ON ITS WAY.


By Jane Guthrie


As you may remember, the Manhattan Beach
Historic Preservation Ordinance was adopted
in February 2016, but the program was never
funded. Until now.


This year’s budget, which was just approved,
includes money to get the program up and
running. And the new Community Development
Director, Anne McIntosch, has experience with
Historic Preservation programs and actually lives
in a Mills Act home, which will help immensely.


The projected launch of the program is early
September. There will be an informational
website, application forms ready to use, and
a list of qualified preservation consultants.
Property owners will be able to apply to for
Landmark status as soon as they can get
their application completed. There are six basic
criteria for landmark status. The applications will
be reviewed by the Planning Commission.


We anticipate having several public informational
programs to assist resident interested in these
programs, including the Mills Act, which is a tax
incentive program for Landmark owners.


In November, the City will put out an RFP for what
is called a Historic Context statement which is
basically a document that traces the history
of a city from its founding and the early days
through the development of neighborhoods and
commercial districts. It documents architectural
themes and styles that are associated with the
periods of development. The context statement
will help applicants position their property along
the chain of Manhattan Beach’s history.


In February, a new, revised Mills Act Ordinance
will be presented to Council. The previously
approved ordinance expired in the interim and
needs to be updated.


The future looks promising. Visit us on facebook
or on our website for more information.
mbconservancy.com

 

The Manhattan Beach Education Foundation
Great Institution or a Symptom of Something Wrong?

 

By Michelle Murphy

The Manhattan Beach Education Foundation (MBEF) does wonderful
things for the students of Manhattan Beach. In 2015 they provided more than $6 million in funding for K through 12 classrooms including paying for 71 educators and a host of enhancements to local schools. That sum amounted to 9% of the Manhattan Beach Unified School District’s (MBUSD) total budget.
MBEF solicits tax deductible contributions from individuals (over 5,000 donors in 2014/15) and corporate sponsors (Chevron and Sketchers each donated $50,000 and Waste Management $25,000). Each year MBEF holds a yearly wine auction fund raiser. One of the largest charity wine auctions in Southern California and perhaps the country, the 2016 Wine Auction raised over $1.1 million for MBEF. Each year, as specified in MBEF’s by-laws, the Manhattan Wine Auction contributes a minimum of one-third of the event proceeds to the Endowment Fund. 

Manhattan Beach has one of the few K-12 public school endowment funds anywhere – and maybe the largest.

. . . . .. . . . .  to read more

 

Paragon/Gelson’s Project Update

 

By Eileen Neill

I would once again like to thank the Manhattan Beach Residents’ Associations (“MBRA”) for hosting the community forum on the proposed Gelson’s project on October 21st. It was a well-attended meeting with a robust discussion.  Unfortunately, the Paragon public relations machine has kicked into high gear and they are attacking residents in opposition to this project on their website. Paragon has hired a high powered public relations (“PR”) firm that specializes in damage control, Vectis Strategies, to assist in manipulating public opinion
and our elected representatives to be in favor of their project, despite its
flawed plans. Most recently, they published a lengthy post to their Facebook page, Bringing Gelson’s to Manhattan Beach, which stated the following:


“During a recent meeting with project opponents, we encouraged each of them to reach out to us personally with any questions or concerns. We did not receive a single request to discuss the project in a constructive and factual manner. The invitation remains open to all community members and we encourage everyone to read our “facts” page, reach out to us directly with any question, and sign the petition to stay up to date on the real facts!”


For those of you who attended that MBRA meeting, you will recall ........

. . . .. . . . .  to read more

 

Call to Action-Keep Sepulveda Safe!

 

By Eileen Neill

The article provides an update on the largest commercial development that has just come on deck in Manhattan Beach – the Gelson’s superstore. The City’s Planning Department staff accepted the plan submitted by the developer last month and it is now open for 30 days of public review and comment. I am not sure how such a ridiculously short period of time for review of hundreds of technically written pages by residents was deemed acceptable, but this practice seems ripe for change at the ballot box, fellow voters.
Luckily, our group, Manhattan Beach Residents for Responsible Development (“MBRRD”) has reviewed prior plan submissions in great detail so that we can put a somewhat cohesive comment package together, but even so, we are finding this to be a very
restrictive constraint. Here are the key takeaways so far from this project:
1. No left turn light at Sepulveda Northbound and 8th Street – While planned for by the City, it’s installation is not in the current two-year infrastructure implementation plan that has been presented at
recent City Council meetings. It is shown as in the design phase only. This is a traffic safety issue given the blind hill at that intersection.
2. Deceleration lane too short – The developer has incorporated a 78 foot deceleration lane. For this site, CalTrans guidelines call for a 300 ft. lane. Below are the lengths of deceleration lanes of other Manhattan Beach businesses for comparison purposes.
1) Pollo Loco & Hotel - 310' (Northbound @ 8th)
2) Manhattan Mall - 305' (Northbound dedicated lane)
3) UCLA Medical - 264' (Southbound @ Marine)

. . . .. . . . .  to read more

Editor’s Column

Ed. Note: Observer articles reflect the views of the writer and do not speak for those members with differing opinions. The Observer provides a voice to those who wish to express personal comments on local Manhattan Beach issues.

Public Comments for the proposed Gelson's project...

Mark Shoemaker

Public Comments for the proposed Gelson's project will end August 22nd. Please remind the City of the importance of enforcing Coded, and your concerns over the "Significant Impacts" that 3896 daily visits to this site will have on parking and traffic on Sepulveda and residential neighborhoods. Parking for the Plan is way under Code for what will largely be a high end fast takeout (like the Whole Foods). Paragon the developer is planning to lease spaces currently used on 10th for the Post Office, as well as remove public parking on 8th and Sepulveda to try and accommodate the sites traffic issues and under Code parking. Without adequate parking, all the above will cause increased parking and traffic in our residential area. Please ask the City to have the developer perform an EIR. Here are the email addreses to use:

CityCouncil@citymb.info (sends one email to all City Council Members)

PlanningCommission@citymb.info (sends one email to all Planning Commission Members)

EHaaland@citymb.info (Eric Haaland, Planning Associate)

cm@citymb.info (Mark Danaj, City Manager)

Thank you very much!!!

Room for Improvement

 

The recent approval of drafting an RFP for a hotel behind the
Manhattan Beach Mall crystallizes the typical lack of good process,
transparency and accountability one now expects from our City
Council.
This proposal came out of nowhere. The only prior discussions in
public were at a sparsely attended April 14, 2015 council study
session. The proposal for agendizing the topic for a general council
meeting was made at the tail-end of the August 4 council meeting.
Yet surprisingly the topic quickly shows up on the August 18
agenda, when generally agendas are fixed months in advance.
The August 18 agenda item was opaguely entitled “Discussion of
a Development Strategy for the Property Located on Parkview,”
and the accompanying staff report provided the leanest possible
description that “Council directed staff to place on a future agenda,
a discussion regarding a development strategy for City-owned
property located on Parkview.” Frankly, it is impossible for a
resident to cogently assemble remarks and comment on this topic
given the paucity of information—now even more difficult under
Council’s new restrictive comment periods.
Inconsistent Rationale. Even more confusing is the rationale
various councilmembers used in justifying the project, especially
when inconsistent to prior city representations. Mayor Burton the
recent Manhattan Towers recent $96 million sales price, though
only half-leased, as suggesting a robust area for activity. But
those attentive to Burton’s past remarks of October 2014 might
remember that he justified a new Economic Development Manager
was needed because the Manhattan Towers was only half-leased.
Another councilmember concurred with project citing low hotel
vacancy rates such as the weekday occupancy rate of the Marriott,
just east of the site, was 85 percent. Yet it has only been a year
since Council was touting that we needed to raise the transient
occupancy tax rate to fund a tourism and employee training
initiative to drum up hotel business.

 . . . . . . . . .  to read more

 

 

A David vs. Goliath Battle is Taking Shape

By Eileen Neill

 

We have seen a stepped up PR campaign by Paragon Commercial trying to garner support for their Gelson’s Superstore project. They distributed a glossy mailer to all residents and have procured the support of the Chamber of Commerce. It is clear they have the financial means and the intent to garner as much support for their project as they can. What they seem not to be able to address, however, are the neighboring residents’ concerns regarding traffic and parking congestion and noise as well as safety.


Manhattan Beach is increasingly under siege with outsized projects that pose a real threat to our culture as a quiet, laid back beach community. Whether it is the Mall, Polliwog Park, Gelson’s or Metlox, the common thread of these projects is further encroachment upon the many residential neighborhoods that comprise Manhattan Beach. Unfortunately, as we have seen from the letters to the editor in favor of the Gelson’s project, these development proposals are winning the support of residents because there appears to be a perception that bigger and newer is better.


Our group, formerly Manhattan Beach Neighbors, is working
vigorously to oppose this development. One of our goals is to
provide other Manhattan Beach residents with regular information about this project and hope to increase opposition so that together, we can have an impact on whatever commercial project is ultimately developed on the site, which is located on Sepulveda bordered by 6th and 8th Streets on the South and North and Larsson Street on the West. Below is a summary of the key points regarding this project:


1. Under Manhattan Beach city code, the 27,500 sf grocery store should have about 35 more parking spots than are currently provided for in the proposed plan. They are asking for a parking variance of about 30%, which is huge. . . . . .

. . . . .  to read more

School Board Lesson of the Day:

O is for Overreach!

by Joseph Ungoco

 

In order for representative government to function properly, a city has to have the processes in place for residents to comment on issues and topics being considered by their elected officials.

In November 2014, Mayor Powell made a point of mentioning increased transparency of local government and that made a deep – and lasting - impression on me as a relatively new resident

who is civic minded and has always played an active role in my local government. At recent meetings, the members of the City Council have put greater emphasis on going above and beyond the minimum notification requirements, essentially soliciting more active participation on the part of city residents in public hearings on important topics.

 

At a previous City Council meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Burton spoke eloquently in defense of transparency during the discussion of appeals – henceforth to be known as Council Reviews – of

Planning Commission Resolutions. I firmly believe that Manhattan Beach residents can actively participate in their representative government by interacting with both the City Council we elected

and the Commissioners whom they appoint. We do however have a rogue element in our city government, the Manhattan Beach Unified School District AKA the School Board. My issue with the School Board is not one of transparency, but rather of purview. The School Board’s current plans for the Middle School expansion into the existing park land of Polliwog Park, which it owns, include an Olympic size swimming pool and a new auditorium. Even the School Board’s own architect acknowledges

that middle schools are not usually built with a pool - of any size. The Middle School currently has an auditorium and the newly proposed ones seems to have dimensions similar to the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center which is less than a mile up the road. As an aside, I saw the Middle School Choir perform  . . . . . . . . .  . . . . .  to read more

What Needs to be Retaine

 

by Jan Dennis


How big can a small town grow before it loses its character and charm? Many of the Downtown business people want to
see Downtown “change”. Will it be for the better or will downtown turn into a suburban shopping mall, adding large parking structures- --or perhaps will the historical character and architecture of the downtown be reduced to just another group of store fronts which tourists like to wander through.
The Urban Land Institute was hired by city council to address some of these issues; the opening sentence in its report stated: “The City of Manhattan asked that the Urban Land Institute take a look at the City’s downtown and help provide strategic advice to formulate a vision for the next 20 years.” To this end,
if you are interested in the reconfiguration of our downtown, go to the city hall and pick up the ULI report, read through it, and call your council members with your suggestions.


Possible suggestions:
1. Suburban shopping Mall type
2. Commercial strip (wide streets, lots of parking)
3. Historical character—restoring but not destroying
4. Little Tourist village---- This needs some draw; i.e. the Beach--


People make a small town. But if the direction is to be a destination for restaurants…..so be it!

 

 

City Hall Update

 

The divisive issue of Undergrounding remains an ever-constant concern to Manhattan Beach residents.  The issue of financial
responsibility for maintaining underground lines made as part
of the undergrounding changes without the approval of the
Public Utilities Commision, is a recent submitted question;
another 40-year resident writes she lives under the threat of
constant undergrounding high cost and inability to finance
possible charges…


Recent inquiries about the current undergrounding status
indicate that the assessment process for district 12 is almost completed; the city has decided to move forward with districts 12 and 14 at the same time since they are adjacent. This will delay the vote at council for district 12 until late fall. Cost estimates for District 14 are done except for Edison…and this should take another two months. Subsequently a survey will be
done to determine whether to move forward; each district will vote separately. In time there will be a public council meeting, estimated to be in November.


While none of all this has been substantiated, there seems to
be more fact than rumor. The most frequent question which
resonates is cost—and we are several months away from
those numbers. Residents are urged to keep aware and
informed.. . . .. . . . .  to read more

Underground Questions Surface


By M. Joan Lockney


I recently read an article published in the Beach
Reporter---an article stating that under-grounding
is back. I noticed that there is not one vote
per household but that the number of votes
depends on property assessment. Doesn’t this
system almost guarantee an outcome that the
City Council wants---a ‘yes’ vote? I do wonder
about the legality of one group of citizens of a
city granted favorable treatment. If it not illegal,
it should be.
Several questions come to mind: Are those
of us who are old-time residents in smaller
houses second-class citizens? It is the older
residents of this city who have the most to
lose in this process. We all know it is wise to
have an emergency fund, especially in old age,
since old age is difficult, particularly from the
standpoint of health. Now we could be asked
to give the city money—in some cases a lot of
money---for a project we do not choose and
one that is questionable. Younger residents
might have money concerns, too. To name a
few: college tuition costs for their children, high
house payments,. . . .. . . . .  to read more

Gelson’s Development Update

By Eileen Neill

It has been fairly quiet on the Gelson’s development front
because the developer is still accumulating its response to
the many issues raised by residents during the brief public
comments period which closed on August 22nd. There
were approximately 500 public comments submitted to
the City, about 100 of which were either outright opposed
to the development or had significant concerns mostly
related to traffic safety and parking. We were pleased with
these 100 comments as the City only notified residents developing the Sepulveda Corridor over the next couple of years. Let’s make sure this project gets implemented well so we can set a good precedence for future developments on this major artery within our community.


Please follow us on Facebook at:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/ManhattanBeachNeig
hbors/446288268864439?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

 

and
Stop Gelson’s:
www.facebook.com/groups/1646139085619784/

. . . .. . . . .  to read more

Downtown Specific Plan a
Victory for Residents

By Michelle Murphy

Nearly two years ago MB City Council hired ULI, Urban
Land Institute, not the local branch which would have
been cheaper but the East Coast main unit of ULIers who
flew in and stayed at Shade hotel and met with stake
holders about the future of our downtown areas. Initially
the stake holders were only to be those who make or wish
to make money from our town. No voter residents were
invited. When residents (thanks Jackie May) protested,
a committee of downtown residents was created to add
their input to the mix. ULI recommended that we create
lots more parking (under the Von’s lot or under some other
part of downtown) and consider raising height limits and
generally provide more space for more development. After
all most of the consultants were professional developers
and if you’re a hammer then everything you see is a nail.
These proposals awakened residents both downtown and
all over town. People participated in community meetings
and voiced their concerns about losing our small town
charm. And the Planning Commission and City Council
listened to residents. The December 6 Council meeting
was a culmination of years

. . . .. . . . .  to read more

City Council Election  Musings
By Phil Reimert


Next March three MB council seats will be up for election. Eight candidates have registered to run including two incumbents. On Thursday, February 2 at 6:30 in Council chambers, MBRA will host a forum open to all residents to meet the candidates. As a general law city, the council members are elected by us to steer the city government--in effect, they are US. So first each of us must figure out for ourselves where we think Manhattan Beach should be heading, then vet each candidate to determine how closely he or she is aligned with our vision. Although you may like someone personally, .......

. . . .. . . . .  to read more

 

SILENT GENERATION

 

By Janet Murphy

Has anyone noticed that the voices of residents at Council  meetings are primarily from the older generation? Where are the young voters? Why are they mute?
The Council decision to continue elections in March does not bode
well Manhattan Beach. Voter turnout at these odd number year spring elections is not even 20%. Special interests can back
candidates and put them in office without much opposition. Those who want to build towers and cover our open space with concrete are not sitting idle. They vigorously push their agenda forward. Apathy will cost us the beauty we have enjoyed in Manhattan Beach.  

Look at what happened in the United Kingdom. Polls showed that only about 19% of people between the ages of 18 and 24 supported a British exit from the E.U. 59% of the UK pensioners wanted their country to leave. The pensioners won out by a margin of around 1.3 million votes. The younger generation did not get out and vote for what they saw was their future.
I am in the US “pensioners” age group and am more conservative

. . . .. . . . .  to read more

 

City Hall Update

The Manhattan Beach Mall expansion court case is scheduled for October 12, 2016, at 9:30 am---Dept. 86-- (Judge Amy Hogue)
Los Angeles Superior Court, 111 North Hill
St., Los Angeles, Ca.


In discussing the Downtown Specific Plan and its guide lines to maintain what residents view as its remaining downtown charm, it has been suggested that the key is SCALE. This means retaining some of the small shops, keeping construction to scale, preventing
one huge store to replace the small shops, imposing restrictions on ground floor use, on height and size.


Construction Hours Modified Ordinance No. 16-0007, as adopted, will amend the Municipal Code to provide a process for allowing modified construction hours on a case-by-case basis. Hours
for construction activity under limited circumstances may, upon request, be modified by City Council. Noise disturbance criteria
will be considered and conditions to mitigate any adverse impacts may require prior notice to residents and businesses in the vicinity.
The Director may modify hours for interior construction on commercial property under limited circumstances.


Hours regulating construction activity are:
Monday to Friday: 7:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Saturday: 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

. . . .. . . . .  to read more

 

The Manhattan Beach Education Foundation
Great Institution or a Symptom of Something Wrong?

 

By Michelle Murphy

The Manhattan Beach Education Foundation (MBEF) does wonderful
things for the students of Manhattan Beach. In 2015 they provided more than $6 million in funding for K through 12 classrooms including paying for 71 educators and a host of enhancements to local schools. That sum amounted to 9% of the Manhattan Beach Unified School District’s (MBUSD) total budget.
MBEF solicits tax deductible contributions from individuals (over 5,000 donors in 2014/15) and corporate sponsors (Chevron and Sketchers each donated $50,000 and Waste Management $25,000). Each year MBEF holds a yearly wine auction fund raiser. One of the largest charity wine auctions in Southern California and perhaps the country, the 2016 Wine Auction raised over $1.1 million for MBEF. Each year, as specified in MBEF’s by-laws, the Manhattan Wine Auction contributes a minimum of one-third of the event proceeds to the Endowment Fund. 

Manhattan Beach has one of the few K-12 public school endowment funds anywhere – and maybe the largest.

. . . . . . . .  to read more

DÉJÀ VU - MANHATTAN BEACH UTILITY UNDERGROUNDING


by Robert Bush

Déjà vu – feeling one has had an experience before. Manhattan Beach City Council and Edison will again force Utility Undergrounding (controversial, unethical and immoral project) on the residents. Moratorium is over and the City is proceeding with Districts 12 and 14. Assessment cost for Undergrounding the wires may be as much as
$50.000.


Truth About Undergrounding Edison Electric Institute says Undergrounding Costs Outweigh Benefits. Undergrounded wires are not more reliable. Repairing overhead lines is easy and can sometimes be done by one worker. The costs of undergrounding are prohibitive. Only justification for Undergrounding is “intangible,
unquantifiable benefits.”


Undergrounding Survey A survey would be sent out to the residents to ask if they approve or disapprove of Utility Undergrounding. City Council proceeded to manipulate the voting procedure and considered a bribe for one district and Gerrymandered another district. Southern California Edison doubled the assessment costs on two districts, because they had made an error in measurement.


Fraudulent Edison Public Utilities Commission had a ratepayer-funded incentive program to reward utilities for customer service and employee safety, but Edison’s employees were gaming customer-satisfaction surveys to help the company and managers win bonuses and ratepayer–funded incentives. Edison was charged with Fraudulent Activity and fined $30 million and ordered to refund $81 million to customers.


Nuclear Edison Edison-run San Onofre Nuclear  ....

......... . . to read more

The ULI & Downtown Specific Plan
By Joseph Unguco

I originally sat down to write this as an update on the public workshops on the implementation of the ULI report into the Downtown Specific Plan, but I feel the need to address the methodology of community engagement that the consultant is using to conduct the project. As I moved through the crowd at the first workshop, I noticed a general feeling of uneasiness in the crowd. Some might chalk this up to a belief in the futility of these “exercises”, a belief that public opinion doesn’t matter and that these workshops only serve the purpose of allowing decision makers to say that they asked for public comment, gathered it, and, in the jaded opinion of the participant, will ultimately ignore it and move forward with their original nefarious plans. I’m not of this belief, but then again I’m still the “new kid” in town. As I worked my way through the stations backward to avoid the crowd at station 1, I began to find the proposals somewhat complex and confusing. I should note that participants had the option, throughout the exercise, to qualify their answers with comments on sticky notes as well as to opt out of the question altogether and only provide a written comment. The next day I attended a meeting of the Downtown Specific Plan Advisory Committee. I should note here that I did not attend as a member of the general public or in my own right as a resident or representative of MBRA. I was filling in for a fellow MBRA Board Member who sits on the committee as a member of the Downtown Residents Group. My point is that at this meeting I saw the quantitative data collected the night before and can confirm that the qualitative data remained in the presentation. By the time the consultant presented the results of the workshop to the City Council, that qualitative data had been transcribed verbatim into the report. I say this to allay any fears the participants might have that their comments had been lost along the way. Their voices were indeed heard.
I was not able to attend the second workshop, but I was
present in Council chambers when the consultant presented the data. The report again contained a full transcript of all of the participant comments. A few members of the public spoke on the topic during the Public Comment portion of the agenda, but the actual agenda action .......   . . . . .  to read more

Property Rights…..

by Bob Douglass

 

 Yell “property rights” and you’ve hit a nerve close to the heart.  Whether it is commercial or residential property, owners’ perceptions will differ.  Some will hear it in the context of living in a democracy, while for others it triggers an alarm, warning of rights threatened and entreprenuerial options being “taken away”. 
  To understand these reactions is to recognize two basic classes of property owners.   The first, and by far the largest, consists of homeowners who have settled in, and are committed to Manhattan Beach for the long haul.  They buy their homes, pay taxes, send the kids to local schools, get into Little League or church functions, or whatever.  They are, in a word, residents.  What happens to Manhattan Beach happens to them because this is their Home Town, their community.
  For these people, property rights are rarely an issue.  Those who decide to add the fence or build the barbecue, do run into the bureaucratic process, but in the overwhelming majority of cases, the outcome is satisfactory.  They like being on good terms with their neighbors, so mediation and compromise are frequent in dealing with questions of exercise of “property rights”. This kind of attitude arises from residents’ sense of community and commitment.  For them a reasonable appreciation of their property over the long term is anticipated, not the prize of quick profit that motivates speculators.
  Speculative investment is elemental to the second group: real estate investors.  “Investors” see Manhattan Beach less as neighborhood and more as marketplace.  Protection of “property rights” is more related to protection of profit.  The archetype of this group is the speculative developer, who actually owns property for only as long as it takes to develop and sell it.  Frequently he is syndicated, with partners, even corporate backing.  And while they certainly are entitled to free enterprise, residents must realize that in pursuing their goals (profit), conflict with the goals of residents (preservation of neighborhood atmosphere) is likely, even probable.

 

Call to Action!

by Tess Rikard-Ruiz

 

     Several months ago another Watch Group was formed in Manhattan Beach. The goal of Manhattan Beach Neighbors is to keep up with the status of Paragon Development’s new

project between 6th and 8th Streets on the west side of Sepulveda. Their proposal includes a 27,500 sf Gelson’s Supermarket, mezzanine area of 1,812 sf, two more retail spaces of over 7,000 sf, and a parking area of only 158 spaces. Gelson’s will employ over 50 people at each shift and they have requested parking variances on our neighborhood streets for the overflow (there are 15 spaces currently slotted for employee parking). This number does not include the employees for the remaining retail spaces. The impact to our quiet Hill Section streets and the lovely neighborhood areas east of Sepulveda will be tremendous.

     Another huge concern is the traffic problems this development will create on Sepulveda which is a main artery for commuters. There is no turn lane on Sepulveda for this huge development. The effect will not only create a traffic nightmare, but it will also create a major safety issue. There have been five deaths in five years at the intersection of Sepulveda and 6th Street. We are still waiting for the report from the Manhattan Beach Police Department for 8th and Sepulveda. A member of our group, Mark Shoemaker puts it best, “The more I look at the traffic flow, the more I can't see how existing streets can handle limited entries and exits. Northbound Sepulveda having to turn left at 8th. Southbound Sepulveda turning right at  . . . . . .  to read more

“Sitting Ducks Await the Storm”

 

By Stephanie Robins

 

Residents have good reason to worry. Polliwog Park and the surrounding neighborhoods may well be under siege from floodwater again this winter as the area braces for the heralded “Godzilla” El Nino predicted by climatologists. The Polliwog Storm Water Retention Basin, which serves an area of approximately 750 square acres on the east side of Manhattan
Beach, remains reliant on L.A. County outflow infrastructure constructed in 1950’s and 60’s that has become grossly inadequate to meet today’s needs.


The City has long been aware of this dangerous situation. The 1997 Storm Drain Master Plan Study found the County main line pipes to by only 55-70% of the capacity then required. The County subsequently determined that most cost-effective means of addressing the deficiency would be to build a parallel

relief drain at a projected cost of $20-$22 million (in 1999 dollars) but no corrective action was taken, and the severity of the situation has increased markedly with time.

 

Concerned residents were told the 1995 flood was a 50-100-year rainevent; however, the winter of 2004-2005 brought even worse flooding.  The construction of MBMS in 1998 resulted in the loss of 3-4 acres of critical permeable surface area, and current building trends continue to further deplete the amount of absorbent land. In addition, the MBUSD School Board continues to pursue a construction bond of historic proportions that will include hardscape regional recreational amenities in and around Polliwog that will further strain the neighborhood’s only line of defense against flooding

and the impact of contamination from runoff containing viruses, pesticides and toxic chemicals. Understandably, many people are alarmed by this issue.


According to the results of the Community Budget Priority Survey presented to the City Council this past March, infrastructure ranks subordinate only to public safety as a community concern. Though our current Council appears more responsive than in years past, the consequences of decades of neglect remain to be addressed.

 

Residents should make their concerns know by emailing our council members and speaking out at council meetings. (Public input on all topics is now allowed at the beginning of meetings.) While we will all be thankful for an abundance of rain

this winter, Polliwog’s imperiled neighbors are hoping that it won’t turn out to be too much of a good thing.

 

 

In response to residents who have asked about the status of the Manhattan Village Mall Expansion Project, and the related lawsuits filed some months ago, current word is that the case against the Mall expansion has not yet been set for trial. On July 8th the lawyer and judge will meet to discuss whether they are ready to set a trial date.  If set, it will probably be scheduled for some date later this year or early the following year.

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After more than 25 years’ MBRA efforts to bring to the attention of the residents that they had been paying an undisclosed waste billing charge they mistakenly believed reflected only the full cost of direct refuse service, staff acknowledged the true charges. Previously and variously known as Administrative Fee, in Lieu Fees and Taxes and/

or Contingency Fee, its new title, City Recovery Cost, would now

be noted in our combined Refuse/Water bill and acknowledged as (additional) refuse costs.

 

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