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The Regressive Agenda

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to call the people in Redondo Beach who speak out against any and all development, extremists. They hold extreme views, opinions outside the mainstream. They are also willing to back those extreme views up with actions intended to disrupt the things they oppose and draw attention to their agenda.

In fairness, I’m not aware of any illegal activities conducted by our local extremists aside from destroying an occasional political yard sign. So they don’t really compare to some of their counterparts who cause physical harm and property damage but they’re always looking for opportunities to put a stick in the spokes of progress, metaphorically speaking of course.

They’ve taken aim at the CenterCal project in the harbor. One of the regressives hopes he sees an opportunity to sabotage harbor development by writing to an organization that has funded CenterCal projects in the past. The tactic seems to be to supply this organization with a distorted picture of Redondo Beach and hope they decide not to fund the CenterCal project.

It would appear they hope an inaccurate letter or two will cause enough doubt to scuttle the whole harbor revitalization project. I doubt that will be the case but I decided to write my own letter just to make sure any future discussion had a little balance. Here’s my first letter.

“My name is Harry Munns. I served on the Redondo Beach Harbor Commission for eight years and served as its chairman for one year. I have also written a local newspaper column about our harbor/pier complex for six years. I recently discovered (your organization) had been contacted by some or our fellow citizens about the revitalization project Redondo Beach and CenterCal Properties have been working on for the past year.

“I won’t take up much of your time painting a picture of the struggle between the small group of citizens who insist on obstructing and interfering with any form of local improvement or development and the forward-thinking majority of the city’s population, represented by our city council. I’m sure you will figure out who’s who and what’s what without much effort.

“I’d like to inject a few facts into the discussion. The last local election cycle offered voters five opportunities to cast votes in support of the no-progress agenda. The citizens chose the alternatives to that agenda in four of five elections. Any claim that any group other than our city council represents the will of the people is simply not borne out by the election results.

“You should also consider the fact there has been some form of seaside recreation available to the public in Redondo Beach for more than a century. By nearly anyone’s appraisal, our waterfront is tired and outdated. Yet, people still visit by the thousands. Come take a walk on a Saturday or Sunday in the nice weather. You will see people young and old, couples, families and everything in between enjoying a little time off in our delightful seaside community.

“Those crowds are likely to double or triple when the amenities and attractions are improved. That’s what excites me and most of the city’s residents about what CenterCal plans to do here.

“In short, the CenterCal project is coming to a place where most of the local people will welcome it with open arms. Additionally, the Redondo waterfront has a 100 year track record attracting visitors. The modernized, revitalized waterfront CenterCal proposes is guaranteed an instant flood of visitors, eager to experience the next generation of seaside relaxation and recreation.

“I spent more than 20 years as an association executive. I’m guessing I grappled with many of the issues that challenge you day in and day out. One thing I learned is that while all constituents deserve to have their voices heard, you can never please everyone.

“CenterCal has gone to great lengths to listen to everyone’s comments and include their suggestions in the early planning stages of this exciting project. We can’t avoid the inevitable pockets of dissatisfaction but in the end, our city’s leadership and most of its citizens want the CenterCal project.

“It’s probably worthwhile for your organization to take a close look at Redondo Beach, its people and its politics. I believe you’ll find much more support than opposition and much more good than bad. I’d be happy to show you around if you decide to come for a visit.”


2 thoughts on “The Regressive Agenda

  1. David Mallen

    Mr. Munns:

    I respect your expertise on local matters. I am pro-growth. My neighbors and my family support a nice waterfront project, most assuredly. My open question to you (and to the City Council): How much must the taxpayers subsidize to make this private project pencil out? If CenterCal requires $$millions$$ every year in massive taxpayer subsidies, should the City Council not invite CenterCal to submit a less ambitious plan that requires less corporate welfare? In my opinion, a small city’s progressive pro-growth agenda is consistent with minimal tax incentives but not massive corporate welfare. Your thoughts?

  2. funbooker Post author

    Mr. Mallen,

    I think all your questions are valid and the people of this city deserve to know the potential range of financial responsibility they are likely to assume as a result of this project.

    But let me put things in perspective. The city is exploring the idea of entering into a pretty big business partnership with CenterCal. I don’t know what your experience in business has been but in my experience, partners share risk and reward.

    The city stands to make a considerable amount of money from harbor development. It isn’t realistic to think there won’t be risk or that all the risk will be assumed by one partner and none by the other. Business just doesn’t work that way.

    To put it another way, the only way to know precisely how much risk we are going to assume is to do nothing. Then we can calculate the extent to which the facilities in the harbor will degenerate from year to year. We can then calculate the types of businesses we will be able to attract, if we are able to attract any at all. We can then plug those calculations into our projections of visitors and revenue.

    There’s a good model we can study just down the road. It’s called Ports O’ Call Village in San Pedro. I invite you to take a walk through that complex. It’s probably worth noting that the city of Los Angeles has a multi-million dollar renovation planned for Ports O’ Call that’s getting closer to breaking ground.

    Look at it this way. If Ports O’ Call is updated and King Harbor isn’t, there will no longer be any competition for most run down seaside resort in Los Angeles County. Redondo Beach will own that title.



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