Tag Archives: Harry Munns

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Does the Truth Matter?

If you want me to vote for a person or an idea, you better tell me the truth. Because as soon as I find out you aren’t telling me the truth, not only do you lose any chance of my support, you guarantee my opposition.

I’ve expressed my opposition to Measure A in the past for a number of reasons, it’s a stupid idea, it’s unprecedented, it isn’t supported by any public officials other than a few locals who may well see their property values increase substantially by removing the power plant.

So for me, misrepresenting facts is just one more reason to oppose Measure A but it’s also an important reason. Taking liberties with the truth says a lot about the nature of the argument and the integrity of the people making the argument.

Here’s an example. I got an email plea to support Measure A that included this statement. “Around 2000, AES worked with the City to squeeze zoning for 1,500 condos on their property. The City released this as the Heart of the City plan in 2002. Shockingly, our Planning Commission and City Council approved this plan unanimously despite strong resident opposition. “

The truth is that Heart of the City was never approved by the city council. In fact, it was never voted on by the city council. The truth matters.

Here’s another example. City council re-election candidate Bill Brand sent a message to potential voters that included this statement to support his claim that Measure A will produce $8.4 million in revenue for the city. “Do the math, it’s easy! 800 hotel rooms x $300/room x 365days x .8 (80%occupancy) x 0.12 = $8,409,600/year just from bed tax on the hotel rooms… “

Well, here’s the real math. Redondo Beach currently has about 1000 hotel rooms. They get about 75% occupancy. That means on an average night 750 hotel rooms are paid for and occupied.

Most informed observers agree Redondo Beach doesn’t need 800 new hotel rooms. Do you know why? We can only rent 750 of the 1000 we have now. Do the math, it’s easy!

If we were renting somewhere near the 1000 room capacity on a consistent basis, an argument could be made to add some more but probably not 80% more. Unless something changes like they move the airport or Disneyland closer to Redondo Beach, we will host approximately 750 hotel room renters per night for the foreseeable future.

Bill Brand and Jim Light don’t understand these basic facts yet they want you to allow them to guide our city’s policies for the next 4 years as council members and for much more than 4 years by passing Measure A. Suggesting Redondo Beach needs 800 new hotel rooms can only be one of two things, ignorance or an attempt to mislead.

A small army of volunteers got some smart and responsible people to sign the petition to place Measure A on the ballot by asking them if they wanted to sign a petition that would get rid of the power plant.

The truth is, Measure A will change the zoning of the AES land. It has absolutely no power to shut down the power plant nor does it have any effect on the process AES has embarked on to get a new permit from the California Energy Commission. The truth matters.

In other words, Measure A does not get rid of the power plant. After 7,000 Redondo residents were tricked into signing the petition, Bill Brand stated these facts in public testimony in front of the RB School Board.

If you were one of the citizens who was duped into signing the petition or if you’ve been following the war of words over Measure A, that has to be extremely confusing. Did you believe Measure A would shut down the power plant? If so, why was Councilman Brand telling the school board Measure A will not shut down the power plant?

Here’s a question for my fellow Redondo Beach voters. If the truth matters to you as much as it does to me, don’t you have to wonder why it doesn’t matter as much to Bill Brand and Jim Light?

From Rust to Dust, The Round Building Comes Down

demosmallFor 20 years the centerpiece of the Redondo pier stood as a monument to the inaction of city government. It was called variously the round building, the octagonal building and Parcel 10. It became known as an eyesore, a monstrosity and a mess as it lay empty and decaying year after year.

It wasn’t always that way. Prior to the devastating pier fire in 1988 the round building housed a variety of restaurants on its two floors. People came to eat, drink and listen to music. The nearly 180 degree view of the Pacific made it a popular spot. By all accounts, the businesses that operated there through the years enjoyed success comparable to other businesses in the area.

Then the pier burned and after the spectacle viewing novelty wore off, the crowds diminished. Businesses that remained along the Redondo Beach waterfront suffered. The city took action to rebuild the pier in what could only be described as a flash in city government time, 7 years.

That’s when the first misstep occurred. The city decided to take possession of the round building and use it as a staging area for rebuilding the pier.

The tenant at the time wasn’t completely against walking away from a business that had suffered considerably from reduced foot traffic. But he expected to get paid for his pain and suffering. Lawyers sniffed a payday amidst the lingering fumes of burnt creosote. In the end, tax payers paid a hefty sum to settle with the leaseholder and the city took possession of the property.

As recently as 4 years ago there was talk about finding a tenant for the round building. City staff issued requests for proposals and reportedly got a few responses. Around that time the discussion began to include the building’s structural integrity and whether or not a new tenant would have to tear it down and start over.

The Kosmont Companies prepared an asset management plan for the city. Among other things, it proposed consolidating city owned properties such as the round building with existing leases.

Longtime master lease holder Steve Shoemaker, who operates the Fun Factory, fit that description perfectly. In addition, he had a keen interest in building a carousel in that space. He brought a proposal to the city that included self-funding the entire project without any expectation of using taxpayer money.

The city rejected his offer. Members of the city council cited some unresolved and unrelated legal matters as a reason for rejecting Mr. Shoemaker’s proposal. That move left some observers wondering whether we were hearing the whole story. There was also speculation about whether Mr. Shoemaker had legal recourse against the city after his rejection. Neighbors and visitors to the pier got nothing except a few more years to watch the paint peel and the wood rot.

We have nature (and the threat of lawsuits) to thank for doing what our city government was unable to do for two decades. High winds in the past few weeks blew down a section of the makeshift structure covering the windows above the marina walkway. Fortunately, it happened at night and no one was hurt.

City staff alerted the city council of an imminent danger to public safety. The city entertained bids that ranged from $80,000 down to $30,000. They accepted the low bid with the understanding the project would get fast tracked.

The fences and sandbags went up the first week of February and demolition was complete before week’s end. The debris will get hauled away for another week and little more than a concrete slab will remain.

No doubt we will hear stories about all the fun people had at the round building, its unique architectural qualities and its contribution to our local culture. That may all be true but those positive elements came to an end long before the bulldozers started tearing it down.

To me, the demolition of the round building marks the first, substantial event in the resurrection of the Redondo Beach waterfront. So let’s hope it doesn’t take fires, windstorms or worse to get the rest of the job done.

Praise for the Redondo Beach Board of Education

My first contact with the Redondo Beach Board of Education  (school board) occurred a few years ago when my son and a few of his 4th grade classmates were invited to present a dramatization of some California historical events. I was a Harbor Commissioner at the time. I found the environment very familiar, citizens like us giving up their evenings to sit in a meeting room and try to do things to help the community.

My next visit to the school board came a year later when some Jefferson parents sent an email requesting volunteers to speak at a meeting. Jefferson was the last RB grammar school to have 6th grade. The others had all begun sending their 6th graders to middle school. The parents I joined wanted one more year of 6th grade at Jefferson.

I spoke briefly in front of the packed room. Jefferson is a great school run by people who care about education. Like me, the other parents wanted as much of that as they could get for their kids.

The school board ignored me and the other parents and voted to discontinue 6th grade at Jefferson. I couldn’t understand how our eloquent arguments could have received such a cold reception. I was sure this would prove to be a bad decision by the school board.

I was wrong. My son went to middle school and he absolutely loves everything about it. He has me wake him up early because he can’t wait to get to school.

When I look back and remove my ego, (you know, the voice inside that tells me I’m right no matter how much evidence I see to the contrary), I recognize what happened. The board members knew things I didn’t know. They knew the trend in education was for 6th graders to migrate to middle school in preparation for high school and beyond. They spent time like I did as a Harbor commissioner, gathering information and examining the issues.

They did what we elected them to do, make rational, informed decisions to help guide the city’s education system and produce the best results. Even though I disagreed at the time, I know now they got it right.

They got it right again in December when they refused to bend to pressure to endorse Measure A, the misguided ballot imitative that asks Redondo voters to change the zoning of the AES power plant and make it illegal to generate electricity on their property. I admire the courage and wisdom they exhibited in the face of pressure from the loud and ever-present zealots who have attached themselves to this issue.

We elect and appoint people with the expectation they will look rationally at the issues that come before them and make the right decisions. That’s what the school board did with the Jefferson 6th grade decision and that’s what it did when it chose not to support Measure A.

The whole idea behind a ballot measure is to circumvent the city council. So the RB council won’t vote as a group one way or the other on Measure A. But they did vote against passing a resolution denouncing the power plant.

I’ve looked at the no power plant information online, I can’t find an elected official other than councilman Bill Brand who co-authored Measure A, who supports it. Look closely at any responses to this statement. You may see something like, Ted Lieu said the citizens should be able to vote on a power plant but that’s not the same thing.

I’m talking about an elected official making a public statement that he or she supports Measure A. I’m pretty sure you won’t find one.

In fact U. S. Congressman Henry Waxman wrote, “I’m submitting my statement, I explicitly told Councilmember Brand that I was not endorsing the ballot proposal. I think it is unwise and will lead to a great deal of litigation, even though I am sympathetic to their goals.”

So if you hear someone who supports Measure A say they don’t have politicians endorsing the iniatiave because they haven’t asked them for their support, it’s pretty clear from Congressman Waxman’s statement they have all been asked for an endorsement and they have all declined.

As a voter, you should ask yourself why? It sounds like such a good idea to vote against the power plant. Why would the Redondo Beach School Board, the City Council and every other elected official refuse to support Measure A?

I can’t speak for them even though I’m pretty sure the answer can be found in Congressman Waxman’s statement above. I will say our other elected officials, like our School Board and City Council, have taken the time to look closely at Measure A and the potential damage it will cause the City. Their refusal to support the short-sighted ballot measure is the equivalent of a unanimous vote. No on Measure A.

Nasty Politics

My friend Michael Jackson, who has taken on the formidable challenge of unseating an incumbent in the Redondo Beach City Council race, told me his uphill battle just got a little more difficult. It seems a person or people have embarked on their own campaign, a campaign to remove his name from public view.

It seems in the last week, five banners his campaign paid for and placed around the city have been stolen. The first thing I thought when I heard about it is probably the same thing you thought when you heard about it. Who stole the signs?

As I worked through the question, my first thought was someone who dislikes him for some reason stole the signs. That didn’t make sense, I’ve known Michael for a few years and he just doesn’t seem to evoke that kind of response from people. He’s a good guy and people like him. In fact, on the Harbor Commission, I’ve seen him work for harmony at times when I’ve chosen to give up on that possibility.

The next obvious answer would be one of his two opponents in the District 2 city council race.  That one’s just too crazy. I can’t imagine a legitimate candidate for Redondo Beach City Council who would automatically assume his or her message was so weak the only chance of winning was to try to remove all of Michael Jackson’s yard signs from the city.

If it was just a rash of random yard sign thefts, the other candidates’ signs would be gone too but they all seem to be in place. That leaves only one group from which a suspect in these thefts could be found, supporters of one of Michael Jackson’s opponents.

No doubt, people get passionate about this political stuff. I’ll be honest. I thought about destroying a yard sign for the party I didn’t support in the 2012 presidential election. There are two reasons  I didn’t follow through with those impulses, One, I’m not a sleazebag. Two, I’m not a thief.

I also knew that if my candidate’s message was sincere and persuasive, he’d win the election. More fundamental than that, I had to believe my candidate had a message. If a supporter or supporters of one of the candidates in District 2 feel the best way to win the election is to commit larceny on behalf of their candidate, I have to believe it’s an act of desperation by people who understand their candidate has no message.

You might say that stealing something like a lawn sign that costs $5 or $10 isn’t really stealing but I’d argue strongly against that. Someone had to earn that $5 or $10. Whether or not you agree with the candidate’s beliefs, he has a right to believe them and a right to try to convince other people to support him. Stealing that sign is not only larceny but an attempt to deny him his rights.

So when I say Michael Jackson’s uphill battle to unseat an incumbent got more difficult, I’m saying that unlike a similar attack on his political arguments, he has no way to defend against some sleazebag creaping around in the dark of night trying to steal from him and deny him his rights.

If I was one of Michael Jackson’s opponents and I had nothing to do with stealing the signs, I’d take this opportunity to get out in front of this thing and declare that not only did I have nothing to do with it, I have no knowledge of who might have done it. Because if some whispered news of the sign theft details were to find its way to a candidate and that candidate didn’t alert the police and tell the police everything he or she knew about the sign thefts, that candidate would be complicit in those thefts.

I’m not a lawyer, but I’d guess some charges could be filed against a candidate in addition to the charges filed against the actual thief if the candidate had knowledge of such a theft. It’s probably unlikely a thief would be caught in the act but if the police got lucky and found the person or people who committed these thefts, they would probably want to know whether anyone including a candidate was involved in, or aware of the series of thefts.

Other than the fact five signs have been stolen, the whole discussion is merely speculation. But the idea of reporting  a crime intended to help a political candidate raises some interesting ethical questions. Reporting the theft to police wouldn’t be a very nice way for a candidate to repay someone who thinks he or she is helping the cause. But from where I stand, it would be the only moral thing to do, the only way a person worthy of public office could behave.

Now I just hope some good citizen comes forward and helps the police figure out who stole the signs.

Hope for District 2

There’s definitely a place in this world for people who feel so passionately about a single issue that they devote most of their time and energy to that issue. Elected office in general and elected office in Redondo Beach is not one of those places.

The reasons are simple. When you get elected to serve a group of people, they have a right to expect you to devote all the time you have available to a variety of issues that effect them. Every hour you spend fighting for some obsessive cause is an hour you don’t spend tending to the needs of your constituents.

I have long held the opinion that serving on the Redondo Beach city council has evolved past the point where we can reasonably expect volunteers to have enough time to do the job right. A full-time job and/or a young family compete for a council person’s time, which is why I don’t currently harbor any aspirations of serving on the council. If you add a time-consuming crusade like forcing a local business out of the city, you just can’t expect to have enough time left over to do a job that requires more time than you have without the crusade.

My friend and colleague, Michael Jackson, has a flexible work schedule, a grown family and no crusades. I have worked with him and I know he’s a reasonable, hard-working guy who understands how government works and has a sincere desire to do what’s best for all Redondo residents.

I’ll have plenty to say about Michael’s candidacy as we get closer to the election. Today I want to point out he has the endorsement of the city’s police and firefighters associations. Follow his campaign by clicking here, www.jackson4redondo.com. He needs to unseat an incumbent, something that’s always difficult. Join me in helping him bring leadership and fair representation to Redondo Beach’s District 2 and the whole city.



Finally, a plan for the AES property

Full Disclosure: As of this date, I have never met nor have I had a conversation with any employee of AES.  In spite of accusations posted here and elsewhere, I have never been paid one cent by AES or anyone representing the company. I met one time with someone I’ve known for a few years who recently started working as a contractor (I assume) for AES but that’s as far as my contact with the company goes and has ever gone. Oh yeah, I did call the plant for a comment on a story I wrote about noise a couple years ago.

I guess I also have to disclose I attended an event on Saturday, November 3rd during which plans for the new power plant were unveiled. AES bought me lunch but for anyone who may want to spin that into something more sinister I offer this assurance. If I ever decide to sell my opinions, it will cost a lot more than lunch to buy them.

My biggest criticism of the highly vocal and visible little group of people who want to force the power plant out of Redondo Beach has been that they don’t have a viable plan. All they would have to do to prove me wrong is to act like every other group of people who have a plan to develop a plot of land in the United States. Acquire the land, go through the regulatory and permit process and start building.

Nopowerplant.com cannot and will not follow this simple process that everyone else in the country who has a plan for land development has to follow. Why? Because they have no plan, at least no real plan.

AES has a plan and about 150 invited guests got to see it Saturday. Noticeably absent were all our elected officials and the true leaders of Redondo Beach, the city staff. I guess plans for radical changes to the largest single piece of property along our waterfront,  with the potential for development, aren’t very interesting to these people. I would have thought the opposite.

The AES plan will build a new power plant and vacate 75% of the land that currently houses power generating equipment and supports various functions related to power generation. AES spokesperson Jennifer Didlow summarized the company’s plans to remove the existing structures and clean 38 acres of land, much of which borders Harbor Drive. It doesn’t take much imagination to see how that development could change the entire character of Redondo Beach.

Didlow vowed to do it all without any taxpayer money. I guarantee nopowerplant will not and cannot make the same claim. In fact, their initiative has already cost Redondo tax payers money. Wait until the lawsuits start.

Didlow didn’t seem to acknowledge much of a threat from nopowerplant. Honestly, I’d have to agree. The enthusiastic crowd at the plant Saturday proved that there are quite a few people in the city who won’t be led by lies and distortions like, “Do you want to sign a petition to get rid of the power plant?”

Lying to all those people in front of Albertson’s and Whole Foods may have gotten nopowerplant a small victory before the war even began but the claim that 7500 signatures on petitions that were acquired by false pretense somehow represents the will of the community is a much bigger and more self-defeating lie. I saw the proof on Saturday.

The $100,000,000 decision

One of my major complaints about Redondo Beach city politics is that city staff has way too much influence on everything from the strategic plan to the award of contracts.

Opponents of this opinion would say that’s the way city government was designed. Our elected officials are volunteers who generally have full-time jobs. In some cases, they have young families that require quite a bit of their attention. Council members rely upon professional staff to take the time to delve deeper into issues than they are able to do themselves. The city pays the staff to provide guidance on some issues, especially the ones they don’t have time to thoroughly research.

I’m sure this is very helpful in some, maybe most instances. Anyone who’s read a city council agenda has seen each item has some indication of what the staff recommends. Some recommendations are  written on the agenda. Other items have a staff report attached within which the staff recommendation is clearly displayed.

Staff reports usually weigh the pros and cons of an issue in a way that appears unbiased and fair. Recommendations are usually explained briefly after the major issues have been weighed and discussed.

We can’t know how much each council member relies upon staff recommendations. I suspect they would deny any claim that the staff exerts undue influence on their decisions. I beg to differ.

More often than not, the information provided by the staff makes up 100% or nearly 100% of the information that’s entered into the public record on a particular issue, other than council discussion. In addition, council decisions follow staff recommendations something like 96% of the time.

I’m not suggesting there’s anything inappropriate about that. Maybe the staff gets it right 96% of the time. Just don’t try to tell me the staff doesn’t wield major influence over the direction our elected officials lead this city. I have evidence to the contrary.

I do think there are times when staff recommendations are not appropriate and may call into question the reasons why staff attempts to move the council toward or away from a particular decision.

Case in point, the staff recommendation on the award of a contract for development of the 15 acres that’s available in the center of the pier/marina complex. The staff has issued a recommendation the way they always do. I have no opinion one way or the other about who gets the contract. In fact, I trust the council will make the decision that’s best for the city. But if there was ever a time when the council should exert some leadership over the staff, it’s now.

Unlike something like waste disposal or pollution standards, there’s no reason to believe city staff would have more access to relevant information than members of the council. There’s also no reason to believe the council won’t invest all the time and effort necessary to make the best decision.

The major risk I see with following the status quo of staff leadership on this issue is the possibility that a losing bidder some other commercial interest or the public would question the basis for the staff’s recommendation. There’s potentially $100,000,000 at stake. That’s more than enough to make people ask questions.

One question that could get asked is whether anyone on the city staff, their relatives or associates has any prior relationship with the bidding companies or anyone connected to those companies. They might also want to know exactly what contact each staff member has had with the bidders and their representatives. It would also be fair to ask whether there are any financial relationships, even something as seemingly insubstantial as a pension invested in one of the companies, its parent company or some subsidiary. If I lost a $100 million bid I’d certainly be asking these questions and more.

Of course, council members should be held to the same scrutiny. But staff recommendations are a single source with a verifiably powerful influence on council decisions. I’d like to see the council tell city staff, “We’ve got this one.” and instruct the staff not to provide recommendations. That would bolster the confidence among everyone involved that the contract award is a council decision based on what’s right for the city.

Redondo’s Open Sidewalks

When I  got out of my car at the Bank of America on Catalina, I was greeted by a familiar sight. Two guys stood by a card table with pictures of President Obama slogans for a former presidential candidate, Lyndon Larouche.

They were familiar because they did the same thing in front of the Hermosa post office. I complained to the HB police. I asked the police whether they had a permit to solicit support for a political cause on a public sidewalk. Apparently they didn’t have the necessary permit. The dispatcher sent a patrol car by to talk with them. They haven’t been back since.

One of the Larouche campaigners pointed out to me that they had the right under the constitution to assemble and exercise their rights of free speech. I’d be the last person to suggest we deny anyone their free speech rights. I’ve been threatened, accused and insulted because I’ve exercised these rights but I’ve never felt threatened because I know I have the right to do so.

I don’t know much about Lyndon Larouche other than he’s run for president a few times, had something to do with the U. S. Workers Party and served time in prison for violation of postal regulations. My problem is with their imagery.

The Larouche campaign table had a few large pictures of President Obama with a Hitler mustache. I’ll admit, if I’d seen the same picture with G. W. Bush under the mustache, I probably wouldn’t have had as much of a personal reaction. But my objection wasn’t about my personal political beliefs or freedom of speech. It was about community standards.

Almost 70 years after the allies defeated Adolph Hitler and his Nazi party, the memories those images evoke still offend a lot of people. It isn’t illegal to display a Nazi flag or to give people the Nazi salute. We don’t see those things happen because they would violate the community’s sense of right and wrong.

Based on current polls, about half the country disagrees with Obama’s policies. That’s healthy, democratic discourse and it’s part of what makes our country great.

Kids learn about the criminal and immoral behavior of the Nazis. We also teach them that the President is our country’s leader, the person who represents the American people to the rest of the world.

I believe mixing an image that represents the horrendous evil of the Nazi era, with the image of our President, sends a message to kids that’s confusing and inaccurate. Whether you believe in the policies of this administration or any other, our community has standards and these images lie outside those standards.

Unlike Hermosa Beach, our police department has no regulation it can enforce to remove these images from our sidewalks. I stopped in at the RBPD and spoke by phone from the lobby to someone in the building. She said the Larouche supporters have a perfect right to do what they do on the sidewalk and display the images of Obama with the Hitler mustache.

I asked whether that applied to everyone. The officer on the other end of the phone hesitated, then said it did. So I asked if it would be OK for others to set up their card tables up and down the sidewalk. She said yes.

So it seems if you have a cause or a political point of view and you want to set up your table and posters in Redondo Beach, our sidewalks are open. Come on down.

Waxman and Hahn agree working with AES is the solution

It’s nice to know that the reasonable, rational people  who have expressed an opinion about how to solve the AES problem, all seem to agree that it can only be accomplished by working with AES.

In a letter to the California Energy Commission posted on the no powerplant web site, Representative, Janice Hahn, wrote, “I urge your organization to work with CPUC, CAISO and AES to retire this facility.” Notice she said “work with” and nothing about working against.

A press release quotes Representative Henry Waxman as saying, “I encourage AES and  California’s regulatory agencies to take this opportunity to permanently retire this facility and  to allow redevelopment of the site.”

Did either of  those representatives say anything about forcing AES out of business? Did they mention circumventing the city’s political process, the one that determines zoning and re-zoning? Did they even mention using an initiative to make it illegal for AES to conduct business in Redondo Beach?

No, no and no. And they never will because these seasoned politicians would never endorse tactics that are clearly counterproductive. They know there’s a right way and a wrong way to achieve our shared objective of discontinuing electricity production in Redondo Beach.

Unfortunately, the people who so desperately want you to support their ballot initiative hope you won’t notice that opposition to the power plant does not equate to an endorsement of their initiative. Nor is it an endorsement of the other tactics the no powerplant people use to get their park.

This is true for the politicians who have come out in favor or retiring the power plant and it can also be true about you. You can hate the powerplant and feel no need to sign a petition to change the zoning. I do.

What’s this? Haven’t I been keeping up with the news? It was recently announced that the proposed zoning will include museums, and some limited commercial development, not just a park.

I did get that news. I haven’t read the document describing the proposed zoning but I will guarantee the following. There is some backdoor way into 100% park/open space. How do I know this without even reading the document? Because the park people haven’t changed their objectives one bit. They’ve simply found a new tactic they hope to use to their benefit and they will continue to spin it the way they spin so many other parts of their message.

Before you read this post, didn’t you think Janice Hahn and Henry Waxman supported the initiative? It should be clear now they don’t and they won’t. Do you like being duped? I don’t.

So don’t let them dupe you into believing I’m a supporter of the powerplant. I’m not. Don’t let them make it about me. It isn’t. I’m just the messenger. Don’t shoot!

Just say NO!

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.