If you’re a registered voter in Redondo Beach you will probably be asked to sign a petition to get an initiative that will re-zone the AES property on the March 2013 ballot. Someone will come up to you and ask you a question you can’t avoid answering yes. Do you want cleaner air? Would you like to have a park and museums instead of a power plant?
The person or people who ask you to sign the petition expect you to say yes. I’m asking you to say no. Saying no will be the more difficult thing to do but in my opinion, it’s the right thing to do. I hope you will agree.
The person who asks for your signature and your money may tell you that the California electrical grid doesn’t need a power plant in Redondo Beach. That is an opinion, not a fact even though it will be presented to you as a fact. The endless assertion that AES Redondo Beach is not necessary is nothing more than a diversion used by the opponents of the power plant to fan the flames of their debate.
They’re hoping you don’t realize that their opinion, my opinion or your opinion will have zero impact on the final decision whether power should continue to be generated in Redondo Beach. It’s like arguing about who will win next year’s Super Bowl. We may believe we know who should win and we can explain our reasons in detail but it won’t matter how many people we tell or how loudly we scream our opinions. The game will be won by the team that scores more points.
The issue of whether a power plant in Redondo Beach will be needed for the region’s future electrical needs will be determined by the California Energy Commission. They will rely on data supplied by engineers and scientists not the citizens of Redondo Beach.
The AES opponents’ arguments about air quality and public health will be disposed of very easily by asking and answering some simple questions. Is there a verifiable, negative public health impact from the last 100 years of power generation in Redondo Beach? Answer, no. Is the air quality in Redondo Beach measurably and verifiably worse than the air quality in the rest of the Los Angeles basin? Answer, no it’s actually better than the vast majority of other communities within a 50 mile radius.
So what’s the real reason why some members of the community oppose the power plant? A couple of guys have decided they want a park in its place and they’re fundamentally opposed to anyone making money from that land or anyone getting to live there if they can’t afford the kind of housing that would be built on that property. Oh yeah. One of them commutes to work and he’d rather not sit in traffic during his morning and afternoon drive times. A small, handful of people are desperately trying to convince the rest of us it’s in our best interest to force AES out of Redondo Beach. It isn’t.
The only way to get the best deal for Redondo Beach and the entire South Bay is to engage in constructive dialogue with AES and find a solution that’s fair to all. The signature you place on the petition for an initiative to change the zoning will lead us further from that solution. So when someone asks you to support their ballot initiative, do the more difficult thing and the right thing. Just say no.