Tag Archives: Redondo Power Plant

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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.

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.

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?