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Who's Redondo Beach's Person of the Year?

TIME magazine named President Obama its person of the year for the second time. Tell us who you think should win from our town!

On Dec. 19, Time magazine named President Obama its Person of the Year, again.

The magazine invited votes on 40 candidates, including the president, Gabby Douglas and Kim Jong Un. Other options included The Mars Rover and the Higgs Boson Particle, Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, and Apple CEO Tim Cook. But, the president took the title again four years after he first won the award as president-elect in 2008.

But who cares about the same-old, same-old? Who is Redondo Beach's Person of the Year—the man or woman who, in Timespeak, “most influenced the news this year for better or worse”?

Tell us your pick and why he or she should be Redondo Beach's Person of the Year in the comment section below.

Bill Brand December 27, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Hey Robert, I never sued the City. In fact, I was sued as a party to the lawsuit you are referring to. Get your facts straight before you start attacking elected officials. Btw, 4 judges agreed with my lone voice on the Council. But it's time to move on.
Alexander Starr December 27, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Well written Sheri! I second that Jim Light is RB's Person of the Year. It's incredible the amount of work he has done and does protecting our little beach city. Without him and his selfless efforts, we would never have the "opportunity of a lifetime" to get rid of the polluting AES power plant while stopping the building of a new one that will blight ourt coast for future generations and pollute our air, lower our property values, and negatively affect business growth around the harbor area. YES on Measure A ..........and thank you Jim Light (Plus Bill Brand and the NopowerPlant.com ladies, and the hundreds of volunteers who got Measure A on the ballot!)
L. Campeggi December 28, 2012 at 04:39 AM
I have to agree with Jim Light as the Redondo Beach person of the year. Whether or not one agrees with all of his views, what is undeniable is the fact that this man spends an inordinate amount of time doing what he can to make a positive difference FOR THE PEOPLE of Redondo Beach. Jim is abundantly sincere in his desire for Redondo Beach to be the best possible place to live; a city that promotes the health, safety, physical and fiscal well-being of our community, catering first to the people. Effective and trustworthy leadership is rare. Mr. Light has been instrumental in achieving both, as evidenced by his co-authorship of Measure A (along with Councilmember Bill Brand), his openness in educating the public, blending that leadership with another group (NoPowerPlant.com), revising the Measure A initiative based on input from the public meetings held in April and May 2012, as well as phone calls, emails and input from elected officials. His leadership morphed into hundreds of volunteers participating, and 7,468 registered voters who signed the initiative (Measure A) in 40 days, qualifying this historic event for the ballot! That's quite an impressive achievement for a private citizen, which is a testament to Jim Light's commitment to improve Redondo Beach for all.
Grant Patterson December 28, 2012 at 05:09 AM
I personally would vote for Jim Light as well. He is a citizen that has tirelessly fought for the betterment of our city. Not being paid nor having any financial gain for fighting for his and his neighbors well being is a person that i can stand behind. Unfortunately in todays world I think it is really hard for someone with true values and integrity to win such award. It is very rare today to have someone be willing to fight for others and risk being attacked by people and companies that have no values or ethics. Way to go Jim, keep up the good work and fight regardless of recognition of "man of the year". Your are the man of the year for thousands of Redondo Beach residents no matter the outcome of this poll.
BG Stine December 28, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Marna Smeltzer who has worked for the RB Chamber of Commerce and Visitor's Bureau for 25 years. The last 17 as Pres. and CEO. Probably not a controversial choice. Not a political person just a female business person who has steered the Chamber and in essence the City during good times and bad. RB heavily relies on tourism dollars and under Smeltzer's direction the City has gained tremendous good from the Super Bowl 10K, the Lobster Festival and other high profile, revenue generating events. She has not been a one-note, i. e., AES power plant or Measure A activists, etc., leader. She has been a sustaining force of leadership for 25 years.
Kelly Sarkisian December 29, 2012 at 02:36 AM
I think there are many more people that have done more for the city than Mr Light. He has one issue, he isn't concerned with any of the other issues. I'd vote for our charities, our teachers, our churches, our cops and firefighters. They actually serve the city, in a thousand if different ways. They have improved the lives of all 69,000 residents!
Robert Keane December 29, 2012 at 05:45 PM
You cannot have your cake and eat it too Mr Brand. Your group and Jim Light sued this city and cost us hundreds of thousands of tax dollars. That is not protecting the public interest. But.....no matter what side you take in this power plant (I don't like the damn thing either) the FACTS are that you and Jim Light failed to negotiate a reasonable rate with your attorney and they got rich off of us. $550.00 an hour!! Because of you, we handed over $313,000 to a lawyer. Take responsibility for what you've done
Stu December 29, 2012 at 05:52 PM
The request was for one person not a multitude.
Stu December 29, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Ms Smeltzer is most certainly a controversial choice. She most certainly is a political person.
Jim Light December 29, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Mr Keane, Your statements are non-factual. First Bill Brand was named on the lawsuit. He did not sue the city. Second, the lawsuit was backed by donations from hundreds of Redondo Beach residents. Not just one or two people. Third you neglect the reason for the lawsuit.... the City Council violated the City Charter. Four judges agreed that the City violated the charter. Had the City followed the charter as urged by hundreds of residents at multiple council meetings, the city could have avoided ALL costs. Fourth, the City threw good money after bad driving up the legal fees by filing a frivolous appeal, which they subsequently lost. Fifth, all four judge's agreed the fees were reasonable. You fail to point out the facts that the judge's did point out. BBR's attorney was recognized as an expert in land use and environmental law.... "...this court recognizes Mr. Angel and Angel Law as a leading expert in the field of environmental, land use and administrative law...". Also, BBR's attorney had 70% of his hours "at risk" if he lost the lawsuit. So Mr. Keane, the costs of the lawsuit were entirely the fault of the City Council who chose to ignore the City Charter, which they swore to uphold when they took office. They have no one to blame but themselves.
Jim Light December 29, 2012 at 06:42 PM
It if obvious Mr. Keane is on a smear campaign. His statement is wrong. Bill Brand was named on the lawsuit as a defendant. The City Council knowingly chose to violate the City Charter (the law of Redondo) despite testimony from hundreds of residents threatening to sue them if they chose to ignore the City Charter. The City Council could have avoided ALL legal costs had they listened to residents and followed the City Charter they all swore to uphold.
Robert Keane December 29, 2012 at 07:44 PM
I'm not on a smear campaign, I'm on a TRUTH campaign. TRUTH: Jim Light and his his group (which has always included Bill Brand) sued the city and collected hundreds of thousands of dollars of tax payer money. TRUTH: Jim Light and his his group (which has always included Bill Brand) allowed their lawyer to charge $550.00 an hour! They NEVER negotiated a lower rate! TRUTH: They have a history of not acting in the public's best interest. They care only for their own issues and safeguarding my tax dollars isn't one of them! Mr. Light, all your quotes mean nothing to me. Only your actions.....and your reckless spending and belief that the tax payer is responsible for your hobby is all I care about. How about you take those "donations from hundreds of residents" and give me some of my money back!
Christine Wike December 29, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Unfortunately, under Marna Smeltzer's leadership, Redondo's Chamber (which didn’t vote on this as an organization) has put its name and AES dollars to support a new power plant that will pump five times more particulate matter pollution into our air for the next 50 years (equivalent to at least 240,000 more cars on the road), destroying Redondo's chance of a revitalized harbor. Redondo's Chamber has lost a great deal of credibility and support due to this irresponsible decision.
Jim Light December 29, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Mr. Keane - your distorted and misleading facts point to a personal smear campaign. TRUTH - Bill Brand has never been a member of BBR. TRUTH - You neglected to point out that there was more than one rate. The rate you quote was for the head of the law firm. There was a much lower rate for the others in the firm. FOUR judges found the fees to be reasonable. They considered our lawyer an expert in the field. You have zero way of knowing what we negotiated with our lawyer and your statement on the negotiation is false. TRUTH - Had the City Council followed the Charter and the will of the people, there would have been ZERO legal fees. TRUTH - I have acted in the interest of the public who are against high density condos, who want a vote on major zoning changes, and who expect their City elected officials to follow the will of the people and the City Charter. As you say actions speak louder than words. What have you done for the City? Rather than lob inaccurate personal attacks, why don't you run for office?
sheri patterson December 29, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Mr. Keane, you are unfortunately putting forth trash absent of fact. How can you ignore that our elected officials thought they could get away with breaking the law? Especially just after the entire City voted with a high % majority to put power back in the hands of residents due to the LACK OF TRUST in our elected officials. They wanted large zoning projects to go before the people from here on out. And the City tried to sneak an enormous Pier/waterfront zoning project through WITHOUT putting it to a vote. Exactly the sort of corruption residents are fed up with. This is most disturbing of you and reveals more about your character that you are protecting the City officials that caused the lawsuit. Jim Light and the residents' lawyer tried numerous times over and over to get the City to uphold the law and honor the VOTE of the citizens. They arrogantly refused. They knew full well that if they lost they'd have to pay the fees of the residents' lawyer. Our lawyer again tried to persuade the City NOT to appeal as it would be another disaster for them and more wasted money. They again arrogantly refused! Shame on you for defending dishonest and unethical elected officials who deliberately WASTED hard-earned tax dollars. This is the sort of cronyism that has plagued Redondo politics for decades. Residents want honest, law-abiding leadership.
Christine Wike December 29, 2012 at 10:21 PM
Jim Light deserves to be Redondo’s Person of the Decade! This year alone, he has thoroughly researched grid requirements and power plant impacts and presented this data to the public and Redondo’s Council for consideration. When the Council failed to act in time to oppose the new power plant, Jim helped to raise funds for legal fees, organize public input meetings and draft the Measure A zoning initiative to phase out the power plant at the end of its current contract, which will protect us from a massive increase in pollution if Measure A passes. Mr. Light has also been committed to managing growth, protecting open space and beautifying the city (most recently contributing a significant portion of the funds needed to complete the Esplanade’s new mosaic tile bollard project). He has demonstrated years of commitment, leadership and follow through to everything from preventing zoning for 2,998 condos when he opposed the Heart of the City to correcting errors and developing a consensus on intersection traffic standards when he served on the Citizens Growth Management and Traffic Committee to giving residents a vote on large zoning changes when he drafted and campaigned for Measure DD
Alexander Starr December 29, 2012 at 11:16 PM
"This is the sort of CRONYISM that has plagued Redondo POLITICS for decades. Residents want HONEST, law-abiding leadership." This sums it all perfectly. JIM LIGHT for City Councilman! A honest voice of reason we can trust.........
Tim Sole December 30, 2012 at 12:43 AM
Mr. Light, I understand where you stand on the power plant Here are my questions for you, I do after all live in your district of Redondo Beach. Gun Control, for or against? Homeless education and training in our community, I stop at the Starbucks on Artesia every morning, they seem to being helping by keeping them warm, what are your plans on getting them to be self sustaining? Smoking and Drinking on the pier? Police and DUI checkpoints? Business taxes? Obscene commercial rental rates? Liquor licenses? Those also are issues that I need to have knowledge of your position on, prior to voting. I will also ask the same questions to those you are running against, that's what informed voters do.
Jim Light December 30, 2012 at 01:30 AM
I think this is off topic from the article, but I will gladly answer your questions. Please send me an email at jim.light1@verizon.net.
sheri patterson December 30, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Mr. Keane, the interesting point for those who haven't done their due diligence on the economic pts of the power plant issue, is they 'appear' to be concerned about tax $$$ (as many of us are) but they have not acknowledged the millions of dollars in lost tax revenue caused by AES' existence on our beautiful waterfront. Yes, likely upwards of 10 Million Dollars we lose every year from that nasty plant with AES only paying taxes on ~22 Million Dollar land value (which we all know is a joke for 50 acres). We have a golden opportunity with the Shade Hotel and 100 Million $$ investment by CenterCal on the Pier, and it's unfortunate folks are willing to throw away millions in ANNUAL revenue, due to increased land value, increased nearby business and residential property values, increased sales tax from more successful businesses and a significant increase in TOT tax (a premium revenue source to the City)--no plant means economic growth. It's beyond irresponsible to allow a new plant allowing AES to rob our City of so much revenue. And the millions more to the City means much bigger numbers get contributed to our schools. And it also means the school district can protect the millions we are currently giving them to improve facilities and make our schools one of the most attractive districts. AES has one plan: cheat, pollute and blight Redondo. Send their profits to Virginia and China. They win. We lose. This City has zero legal obligation to allow them to rebuild in 2018.
Mike2 December 30, 2012 at 03:54 PM
I choose Harry Munns for person of the year Sheri, Measure A places a 36 acre park on prime California real estate. The cost of the park is estimated to be a minimum of $2 million per year. That doesn't include the forthcoming lawsuit if Measure A passes. Which means the plant will probably stay there for the next 25 years, Don't believe me? Look at the pier. You may believe the lawyers paid by BBR, who will get paid exorbitant amounts of money to fight the lawsuit over the next quarter century (no conflict there). I, and many others whose egos are not caught up in this thing, don't believe these lawyers. A judge will decide if spot zoning 50 acres is a taking. Most real estate people I know, with enough experience to provide a valued opinion, believe AES has a much better shot of winning the lawsuit than BBR. Why not put a nice hotel and conference center or other establishment that will attract the mid to high end consumer on the remaining 38 acres and let AES build their new plant. Beats the pants off of a park that will attract people who don't spend any money in our city. I have nothing against this crowd but you can't look at them as an economic engine for our city. Thats ludicrous. Also, AES has an economic incentive to tear down the existing plant and build a new smaller cleaner plant, opening up 38 acres to reinvigorate our harbor and new downtown. Which means it could actually happen. That's how things get done in a capitalist society.
Jim Light December 30, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Mike2 Measure A zoning allows a resort hotel. Any hotel developer will tell you they'd prefer building next to a park rather than a power plant. Per studies on similar land use trades, we can expect the commercial portion of the Measure zoning to generate on the order of 8.5M annually in City revenue. Much greater than the less than $400K the current plant generates for the city. And the revenue would more than cover the maintenance on the park portion. Though I am not sure where you get your figure. City studies show the current plant has a blighting effect on the harbor area. What other beach city has mini-storage and a dirt farm two blocks from the beach? We should not put our harbor reinvestment and revitalization at risk by allowing a new unneeded power plant. All the lawyers at our panel discussion were unpaid for their time. Two of them volunteered because they were appalled and disgusted at the misinformation and fear mongering being thrown out by the power plant advocates. Studies on the impact of parks show their net positive affects. They raise property values and attract users who spend money in the area. Despite naysayers, Redondo parks are well used by residents. Look at Alta Vista, Perry and Aviation parks. And by state standards we are deemed "park poor". Lower than any of our sister cities on the coast. The power plant is not needed. It's documented negative impacts make the decision to phase it out a no-brainer.
sheri patterson December 30, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Mike2 (AKA AES or possibly Harry Munns nominating himself- LOL) Measure A has been reviewed by multiple land use firms and has earned the praise from all-most notably one of the more successful firms in the country. The bright & successful residents that got involved could likely be the most well-respected, well-credentialed citizens with proven track records in business, law, engineering and finance. None of these executives would have joined the citizens' group (NPP) had they not felt the commitment to ensure the Measure was legally and economically sound. Half of our team are Republicans. The work over the last 1.5 yrs has been an incredible showing of commitment to put a promising vision forward for our community. The open space requirement does not mean it's a 36 acre park. And no, Redondo's track record of developing every square inch of our land and building high rise condo projects that block every view in So Redondo is not the sort of vision we sought after. You fail to understand how open space and balanced development projects work to 'increase' the value and success of projects ---especially, on a site that cannot handle much development. Measure A has earned the respect of numerous uber successful visionaries. Why would you not know this? Because you are too busy spouting off falsehoods and too busy trying to justify a power plant that will marr our waterfront regardless of its size. Industrial smoke stacks don't fare well next to 5 Star hotels.
sheri patterson December 30, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Mike2, interesting that numerous CEO's, CFO's and other quite successful executives that participated in Measure A's vision don't seem to you to be the "type of people that know how to drive economic growth". Interesting, maybe if you knew the titles and corporations these men and women run, you might reconsider your statements. They most definitely ARE the type of residents that would pay $300 or $500/night to enjoy a resort like Terranea, their high priced food, drinks, shops etc. Name any 1st class resort area that has industrial zoning across the street? Do you think that sort of clientele is foolish enough to spend top dollar relaxing while inhaling and viewing a toxic cloud cover from polluting smokestacks? No, they want fountains, an open plaza, bike paths, cafes, walking trails, a garden, a museum, outdoor fire pit, a place that has something special-- maybe outdoor art classes? The possibilities are endless. Open space amentities are what fuel successful development, which = more money to the City. There is open space next to the Ritz, Montage, Terranea...where's the crime & ppl with no money to spend there? There is a reason why our harbor hotels cannot get greater than a 3 Star rating, and given that hotel TOT tax is the best source of revenue for the City...your plan of putting another half successful hotel next to a power plant seems quite foolish. The reality is AES is costing Redondo tax payers millions in lost revenue & a 2nd class waterfront.
Jim Light December 31, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Mike2 - Spot zoning...50 acres? You can't be serious. First off zoning that large an area is not spot zoning. Second, making an incompatible use compatible with surrounding uses is not spot zoning. Either you don't understand land use law, or you don't mind misrepresenting it in your posts. No wonder you won't use your real name.
Bill Brand December 31, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Thanks Stu, but I nominate Jim Light as well. His integrity, selfless and tireless effort to improve the quality of life for all Redondo citizens makes me proud to be associated with him. And unlike all his current competitors for City Council in District 1, he has been doing this for over 10 years. Thank you Jim for your leadership and unwavering commitment to the betterment of Redondo Beach. I don't agree with you on everything, but your integrity, hard work and passion for everyone and all the issues, not just the power plant, are what is missing at all levels for the political spectrum. I would vote for you every opportunity I had, and would be proud to serve with you on the Council. For those of you who think Jim is a one issue candidate, I assure his list of issues and monumental efforts for the last eleven years is long. Rezoning the AES site is just the latest in a very long list. I'm sure even he can't remember all he's done. And he has persevered in the face of insults he does not deserve. His opponents have twisted facts and obfuscated the truth all the time to further their own agendas. And Jim just keeps going and going. He's a good person to have on your side. Thanks Jim!
ew dunbar December 31, 2012 at 08:17 PM
yes to Jim Light. ed dunbar
Dawn Esser January 02, 2013 at 12:30 AM
Jim Light is by far the Person of the Year for Redondo! He has dedicated years of his life to ensuring the residents of Redondo are heard and represented in this City! Residents of Redondo should be eternally grateful for his work on stopping Heart of the City condo fiasco, passing of Measure DD, ensuring the Mayor and Council adhere to the law and City Charter by putting Measure G on the ballot, and for writing Measure A to ensure our waterfront is not blighted for another 50 years by a polluting, unneeded power plant! Thank you Jim for putting your brains, talent and time in protecting our City for me, my family and my neighbors!
Dawn Esser January 02, 2013 at 12:40 AM
In supporting AES's plans to rebuild a power plant on our waterfront and continue the years of economic and visual blight to Redondo businesses and residents, Ms. Smeltzer is certainly not a good choice for Redondo person of the Year! She has sold out Redondo's waterfront businesses for one platinum member who has negatively impacted Redondo's environment and economy for years!
Jim Montgomery January 06, 2013 at 08:30 PM
I agree completely with the nomination of JIm Light for Redondo Beach Person of the Year. I've known Jim for a couple years now and In that time, I have found him to be someone with qualities that we should all aspire to have. He is one of the most selfless, sincere, honest, hardworking and intelligent persons I have ever met. Redondo Beach (and the world) would be a much better place if it was filled with more Jim Lights! I want to live in a South Bay that matches the vision that Jim has. Redondo Beach could hardly find a better person of the year. I hope he will be chosen and beyond this I hope the citizens of Redondo will do themselves (and the rest of the South Bay) a favor and vote Jim in as District 1 City Councilmember. He is everything we need and deserve in an elected official.

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