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Zoned out

It’s so difficult to look at a group of sincere, well-meaning, fellow citizens who dedicate a lot of their time and effort to a worthwhile cause and have to point out where they’ve gone so drastically wrong. I don’t blame any of them. I blame the people they’ve chosen to follow.

When you’re being manipulated you usually don’t realize you’re being manipulated. You definitely don’t want someone pointing it out to you. I just don’t see anyone else looking at the AES Redondo Beach issue without a dense, emotional filter.

The folks who have waged war against AES have decided to take the matter of zoning into their own hands. They believe that by passing an initiative that will amend the current zoning, they can make it illegal for AES to continue operating.

But they really don’t believe that. I know this because of testimony at the recent city council meetings. One of the officials who attended the meeting (I don’t remember his name but I’m sure you can find it in the minutes) stated that the state can override local zoning and that there are instances in the past where this has happened. The Death to AES people want to make a statement.

Even though the anti-AES people claim to have raised $35,000 to get an initiative on the ballot, this process will cost the city money…our money. So if the state can nullify Redondo’s zoning changes with a swipe of the pen, why are the anti-AES people willing to spend our money to pass a meaningless initiative?

They need to make noise. Make no mistake. There’s nothing else to make noise about at the moment, nothing on the city council agenda until July, no application to the California Energy Commission until, perhaps, August.

They have no problem spending our money on a campaign whose most important result will be to get publicity for the re-election and election campaigns of two of the group’s leaders. The worst thing about it is we have no choice about whether we fund this political farce. If they get enough signatures, it’s game on.

So let’s say the initiative gets passed. We waste our hard earned money to go through the initiative process and word goes out that Redondo Beach has once again fought against development and business.

Take a look at the octagonal building. It’s the centerpiece of the Pier/Harbor complex yet it’s been vacant for almost 20 years. Why? It can’t be anything that frightens most businesses like a bad location. Go down there any Saturday or Sunday afternoon and you’ll see what I mean.

The answer is that developers and businesses learned long ago that Redondo Beach is anti-development and anti-business. Now some of our fellow residents have (in my hypothetical) taken a more extreme and frightening step in their efforts to create another Ports-O-Call Village, Utopia. A handful of citizens have spearheaded a movement that resulted in making it illegal for a legitimate, duly licensed, taxpaying, community supporting business to continue doing business in the city.

If that were to become our reality, every bar, restaurant, dry cleaner doctor and dentist office and literally any legitimately licensed business will have a genuine reason to be scared, very scared. Because the message will have gone out to them that if they suddenly fall out of favor with the wrong people, their business can be made illegal.

These are the kinds of unintended (or possibly intended) consequences that incompetent leaders fail to take into consideration before they lead their well-intentioned followers along with them off the cliff.

I stopped signing petitions in Von’s parking lot years ago when I discovered I’d supported something that the kid who shoved the clipboard in my face had completely misrepresented. I don’t want my signature and reputation on something that causes more harm than good. Do you?

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