Remember Heart of the City? It was a plan to demolish part of the AES Redondo Beach power plant and develop the land into something the community could use.
You’ll hear references to that plan or more accurately, that plan to make a plan. There never really was a plan. You’ll also hear that “the people” killed that concept. True, there were quite a few people who made passionate pleas to the city council about how awful it would be to develop that land. Lots of material got printed in the local press.
Those passions were fueled by the same kinds of distorted information that turns a statistic like running at 5% capacity into running 5% of the time. Some of the well-meaning people who spoke with so much passion had been hoodwinked into believing there was a plan on the table to build 3000 condominiums. I keep trying to tell these guys, if your argument is powerful enough, it will stand on its own without the lies and distortions. They just don’t listen. That could be part of the problem.
Back to Heart of the City. What really happened was that the city council at the time, decided not to pursue zoning changes that would allow development of the site. Redondo Beach citizens never voted on it but it’s clear the public outcry contributed to the council’s decision.
I don’t remember all the details of all the potential plans but I remember one. It had a canal cut through to the AES property from King Harbor. From what I remember, there were some kind of residential buildings adjacent to the canal. It conjured images of Naples in Long Beach or Oxnard and Ventura harbors where canals wind right through residential neighborhoods.
Maybe the people who came out against Heart of the City were bitter because they realized they would never be able to afford to live there. That’s kind of pathetic. I would never be able to afford to live in any of those place but I fully recognize how much they enhance their communities. I can still row a boat or paddle a kayak in all of those places. I have done exactly that and enjoyed it immensely.
The potential for the entire South Bay to experience and enjoy the enhancements Heart of the City would have provided was destroyed by a relatively few people who just wouldn’t consider any possible outcome other than the one they wanted. People like that scare me. I’m scared again because they’re back.
Whenever I drive or walk past the power plant I say a silent and extremely sarcastic, thank you to some of the leaders of the movement to oppose Heart of the City. I say the names to myself. I won’t use names here but I tell them thanks. Thanks for ensuring we all get to see this monstrosity every time we go past it. Thanks for ensuring it will be here for generations to come. That’s what the opponents of Heart of the City did for the South Bay.
Heart of the City was a rare opportunity to engage with AES to find a way for the community to get something other than air pollution from that nice hunk of land down by the harbor. Those opportunities don’t come around too often but it seems barely 10 years after Heart of the City, we have another one.
The all or nothing attitude prevailed last time and it didn’t get the city anything but a lot of hard feelings and wasted money. I really, really hope the citizens of this city don’t let the same narrow minded people who intimidated a group of politicians into backing away from something that could have been enormously beneficial to the community, do it all over again.
That would truly be the definition of insanity.