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Measure B

The No on Measure B (the Redondo Beach ballot initiative that will re-zone the AES power plant property) campaign doesn’t seem to be gaining the momentum it would need to succeed. My years of immersion in the issues and interacting with the personalities on both sides of the seaside development debate, lead me to a few theories that might help explain the apparent lack of energy behind opposition to Measure B.

My first theory has to do with Measure A, the 2013 initiative that proposed rezoning the AES property to exclude power generation, among other things. The petition that put Measure A on the ballot got thousands of signatures by asking a simple question. Would you like to get rid of the power plant?

My second theory came to life immediately after the reelection of District 2 councilman, Bill Brand in the same election. I concluded his decisive victory was attributed to a number of factors, chief among them his success in convincing property owners he was their champion in the fight to rid their neighborhood of the big, ugly, old power plant.

According my theories, thousands of residents showed their support for getting rid of the power plant by signing the petition. A majority of the people who cast votes for District 2 city council, in 2013 believed Bill Brand could help remove the power plant from our waterfront.

Those two theories lead to a third theory. The reason we aren’t seeing any ground swell of enthusiasm for opposing Measure B is because the core supporters of Measure A and councilman Brand see a clear path to the goal they all share with many of the rest of us.

Memes like reducing air pollution and removing the power plant for the good of the community have been used to shield the ambitions of a very small group of people. They successfully seduced thousands of citizens into supporting their campaigns but this one seems different.

AES drew the curtain back by offering a realistic, comprehensive plan to give them exactly what they claimed they wanted, removal of the power plant. Now, the same people who brought you Measure A want their fellow citizens to follow them in opposing Measure B.

Only this time, they can’t offer voters the chance to reduce air pollution and rid the waterfront of the power plant because that’s exactly what Measure B offers. In addition, Measure B offers a way to get it done that would benefit everyone.

So what’s left for the opponents of Measure B when AES has taken the pollution and monstrous power plant arguments away from them? Their yard signs say, Big Traffic, Big AES Profit$ and Big City $ lo$$e$.

Nobody likes traffic but if you want to avoid it, you’ll need to move somewhere lots of other people don’t want to live, like the desert. That just isn’t going to happen so traffic will be a reality with or without Harbor Village.

I haven’t seen any realistic projections of the amount of money AES stands to make from the proposed Harbor Village development. It’s probably a lot. I just don’t get the logic behind the argument that if AES, a public corporation, makes money, Redondo Beach loses something. They aren’t stealing the money they make from the city. They’re exercising their right to sell what they own and use it to do what corporations do, make money.

I won’t claim to speak with any authority about the economics but I will make a personal observation. I paid about $6,000 in property taxes per year for my modest house in North Redondo. Based on what I would expect to be much more valuable residences in Harbor Village and the number proposed, there should be a ton of money generated in property taxes. And that’s just one source of revenue. There will be others.

In my humble opinion, any voter in Redondo who doesn’t vote for Measure B is nuts. If the measure fails, you can expect to live with the power plant for a long time to come. If you like the power plant, vote NO on Measure B. If you don’t, you know what to do.

17 thoughts on “Measure B

    1. Marna Smeltzer

      I agree, it’s a no brainer!

      Traffic is a reality either way and anyone who thinks that holding Redondo Beach hostage from revitalization is going the help improve traffic or prohibit it from getting worse just isn’t thinking correctly. People will drive through our city no matter what as other cities grow and improve. The proposed zoning in Measure B is lower than the second lowest density (R-2) in the city for residential housing. Think of how HUGE that property is—2,178,000 square feet in 50 acres.

      Thanks Harry, as usual you lay it out very clearly!

      Marna Smeltzer

  1. Mary

    My thoughts exactly! People didn’t move to Redondo to escape traffic. The proposed zoning in Measure B is lower than the second lowest density (R-2) in the city for residential housing. Think of how HUGE that property is—2,178,000 square feet in 50 acres….to me, it’s a no brainer!

  2. Ed

    “…you’ll need to move somewhere lots of other people don’t want to live, like the desert.”
    That’s your solution? That’s as stupid a comment as I’ve seen on this debate, and that’s a pretty low bar.
    What an idiot.

    1. funbooker Post author

      Well Ed, I may be an idiot but if you think I was suggesting anyone move to the desert, you may want to re-read the article. I think you missed the point.

    2. funbooker Post author

      Well Ed, I published your post calling me an idiot because I assumed you might have some limitation in your ability to communicate. Your subsequent post calling me more names adds nothing to the discussion so it won’t get published. However, I encourage you to continue to post here because I welcome diverse opinions. You’ll just have to find some other way of expressing them.

  3. Erika Snow Robinson

    Love it! And couldn’t have said it any better myself! Thanks for getting to the root cause of what most puts a burr under my saddle: lobbying for years to get rid of the power plant (with a plan that’s a compromise to boot) and none of it still being good enough for them…SO GLAD to hear some sound reasoning. As one who’s all but been called an idiot by the JL/bb crew, it’s so nice to hear I’m not alone! Thx!

    1. funbooker Post author

      Thanks Erica, there are some people you want to disagree with you. If they begin to agree, you have to re-evaluate your position.

  4. lauren

    Thanks so much for this perspective. It’s simple. Yes on B. B good to Redondo beach and vote yeS.

    I like the part about it being property owners choice to make money on it. I’m sure if anyone of us sold out property today, we would want to make money .. that’s like a no brainer. Who cares, and I’m glad to hear they are a savvy business. I also like the fact that they went to centercal, to try and present a waterfront that could work all together, right now it’s a mess sown there.. good riddance power plant. may
    AES make a profit on their property … and Redondo Beach lose an eye sore, and gain a vibrant waterfront.

    Stop name calling… and if you truly don’t like Redondo Beach… as it appears you do. The. Like the article says you can move, aND the desert is a bible option. Properties values are less, and it’s got lots of activities ,and it caters to people that have an older mindset. It’s actually a great time to sell, interest rates are low, prices are up a bit and there are tons of buyers out the there . You could probably benefit from prop 60/90… take your current low property taxes and transfer one time…. it’s perfect solution.
    The only viable vote is..Yes on B

  5. Chris B.

    Want a realistic projection of what AES stands to make on this deal?

    During a recent phone-in town hall meeting regarding Measure B, the AES representative stated that the 50 acre lot, under the current Industrial Zoning, was recently estimated to be $27/sq. ft., which he then estimated to be between forty and fifty million dollars. I have since done the calculation for him:

    Current price of AES property: $58,806,000 @ $27/sq. ft.

    The AES representative stated that they had no idea what it would be worth once it was rezoned, which I find very unlikely. I researched the property value on my own, and came up with what I believe to be a very reasonable and conservative estimate:

    Price of undeveloped AES property should B pass (see basis for calculations below*): $522,720,000 @ $300/sq. ft.

    Keep in mind that developers also stand to earn an additional $348,480,000 on this property (ditto*), bringing the total (conservative) worth of the property to nearly a billion dollars. Are the citizens of Redondo Beach such suckers that they’re willing to give out such enormous profits for such little return to themselves? AES needs the citizens of Redondo Beach to allow this enormous profit. As such, we should be treated as equal partners, and the City of Redondo Beach should see an equal return: 50% of the AES sale. That is a true “win-win”. The current Measure B proposal is for suckers.

    *This estimate is derived by assuming the conservative average price per square foot once the property is developed (for residential and commercial) is $500/sq. ft. (number derived from residential property values on Zillow). The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy’s most recent calculations for California property is that land value is 60% of the final developed property cost (found here: https://www.lincolninst.edu/subcenters/land-values/land-prices-by-state.asp). This estimate does account for the 10 acres lost due to the public use mandate. This estimate does not account for area gained by building vertically, nor does it account for area lost due to required off-sets and other requirements.

  6. Chris B.

    Furthermore, you asked why their profit is any of our business in the first place: As stated above, because they can’t make that profit without our consent. If they need our consent, then it is not simply theirs by right.

    There are zoning laws for a reason.

    1. funbooker Post author

      Thanks for that information Chris. The reason I believe the issue of AES profits is a non-issue, is because the company is in business to make profits. Do we question how much money Body Glove or Northrop make in Redondo Beach? I want AES to make a TON of money from its business in our city. Then I want them to go out and tell all their friends in the business world that Redondo Beach is a great place to succeed and make money.


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