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Blog: Does the Truth Matter?

One more reason not to vote for Measure A.

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 365 days 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 percent 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 1,000-room capacity on a consistent basis, an argument could be made to add some more but probably not 80 percent 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 Redondo Beach 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?

Read more about Measure A at Building The Best Redondo.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jim Light February 17, 2013 at 05:29 PM
How the zoning change happens is not the issue - though there is case law that supports rezoning by initiative. The issue you folks keep fear mongering about is whether the zoning is legal or not. Measure A does not affect the operating power plant. It lets the current plant operate until state law says it can't. AES has no vested right to a new plant or even a major modification to the current plant. Both are subject to local and state approvals. If Measure A succeeds, it will be the state denying the application. Not Redondo. If getting rid of the power plant is a "colossally stupid" idea, then there is a large segment of the citizenry you are calling "stupid". You really need to do your homework, Harry. Other cities have enacted zoning and other ordinances that made a new plant nonconforming. They did not get sued. Three of them have now demolished their power plants. Measure A represents increased revenue for our city. A new power plant would blight it for another 50 years. Your scheme, Harry, is the one that will cost the taxpayers millions, not Measure A. Harry, you really should do your homework before you post. Just in this article you have misrepresented facts multiple times... and they are all easily verifiable: - You stated the Council never approved Heart of the City - they did. - You stated no other city rezoned to make a power plant nonconforming - they did - You said Measure A would not impact the CEC process - it does.
Harry Munns February 17, 2013 at 05:36 PM
How zoning changes is not the issue? Are you kidding? IT'S THE WHOLE ISSUE. Just keep doing what you're doing Jim, You make what I'm doing much easier.
Jim Light February 17, 2013 at 05:55 PM
I think you need to reread my response. I stated how the zoning change happens is not the issue and that there is case law that supports doing zoning changes by initiative. I then stated the facts of the zoning change. You highlighted the fact that the plant is currently functioning like that was a big deal. I clearly pointed out the current plant is not affected by Measure A... Measure A lets it run until the current contract is over and the state deadline on ocean water cooling takes effect. I pointed out that if Measure A is successful, it will be the state denying the permit, not Redondo. At that point, Measure A gives AES more property value than the current zoning. I did address your zoning change statement... you just didn't seem to read it.
Jim Light February 17, 2013 at 06:10 PM
Oh, I see what you were driving at... you missed a word. There is case law supporting zoning changes by initiative. One key case is Arnel Development Company v. City of Costa Mesa. Zoning by initiative has been upheld on multiple occasions. In all of the debate going on since the Council put Measure A on the ballot, I've not heard this challenged. All of the No on A arguments have been about the zoning itself and its impact on property rights. I addressed those issues in statements above.
sheri patterson February 18, 2013 at 08:18 PM
Harry, you are not an attorney and it hurts your credibility to assert that you know more about the legalities of Measure A than our City Attorney Mike Webb. That is very arrogant of you. The FACT is AES Redondo is not needed and if Measure A passes, it will force the CEC to prove whether it must be here or not. All the data, Harry, confirms they will not override the will of the people when the plant can retire. They said it can retire at our council meeting last May. That is a leaping stretch to claim that citizens' "tricked" voters. Measure A gives us the best and most promising chance of retiring AES. and let's not forget that had our council stopped playing footsies with AES and actually played harball and negotiated with STRENGTH, the residents of Redondo Beach wouldn't be in this predicament. And had Mayor Gin not veto-ed the vote the council wanted to give the PEOPLE, we may also not be in this predicament. Residents are sick of tired of politics and development profits coming before common sense planning and ethical leadership. We've got our own mayor out knocking on doors handing out AES mailers full of scare tactics. Not data, 100% unstubstantiated fear based scare tactics. AES also has one of our planning commissioners on payroll. Why don't you ask residents how they feel about that? Or the fact that Mayor Gin & Kilroy wrote that residents never held public meetings in their ballot agrument, yet we have video footage from council mtgs proving otherwise.
sheri patterson February 18, 2013 at 08:33 PM
Harry, you wrote in your Easy Reader editorial months back that if anyone could show any data about the health implications of the power plant emissions, you'd rethink your position. So...not only did we post numerous scientific studies that show that particulate exposure is harmful to kids, senior citizens and those running or exercising outdoors (like many of us like to do), the major newspapers in the area recently released additional studies with even more known hazards red-flagging particulate exposure and claiming it is far more dangerous than previously known. Just like cigarettes-- it took awhile for the science to catch up and the shift in public awareness. Redondo families should not have to expose themselves to any increased health risk because AES wants to build a new, unnecessary power plant that will *increase* its emissions by 500%. I'm sure Dr. Grossman and other prominent, well known doctors that have openly warned against the danger of increased particulate emissions from a new AES plant, must not be as smart as you. Here is Dr. Robert Grossman's comment: “The particulate emissions from a new Redondo power plant are significant and will pose a threat to the health of our community. I strongly support Measure A” Explain to me why any resident should trust your opinion over one of the most well respected leaders on health in the South Bay?
sheri patterson February 18, 2013 at 09:25 PM
Again, now Mirassou is an attorney too. Here's a fact for all Redondo--- the No on A camp will not find any land use expert that will come out and put their license and reputation on the line stating Measure A is a "taking". First off, they would have already produced this if it was possible and their claims were more than just baseless scare tactics. Second, Supreme Court case law backs up Measure A. Not one case but numerous. When people draw conclusions with no fact or legal support, in direct contradiction to Supreme Court laws stating that courts will not require a city to pay for a taking unless zoning devalues land by 85-90%, I really don't value that opinion unless it is backed by well-established law and fact. There is a reason local attorneys are now coming forward and siding with the YES on Measure A citizens group. Because Measure A does not cost Redondo a dime, AES has no ground to sue for 10+ years and the open space can be recreational uses including ball fields and sports facilities, outdoor ampitheatre, museum and a whole host of revenue generating uses that fit into the "open space" definition.
sheri patterson February 18, 2013 at 09:34 PM
Harry, I question whether it's the power plant or the fact that residents took out the opportunity for future condos on this site that has all of you so upset over this. We, the citizens, did exactly what all the residents told us. They did not trust the city with regard to any zoning that allowed residential use. So residential is prohibited. I know all the Heart of the City characters in this city are so upset over this and the developers that have controlled our city for decades....but plain and simple. We honored what residents wanted. In 2006, 91% of Redondo residents polled stated they did not want more condos in Redondo Beach! I have to admit...I wonder why so many of you are threatened by the intelligence of Bill Brand and Jim Light? It' so obvious that Jim responds factually and respectfully each and every time. And the hate you have for him comes out in all of your posts. I'm wondering what he ever did to you, Harry, to deserve this.
sheri patterson February 18, 2013 at 09:39 PM
And Harry where is that magical millions of dollars that us tax payers will pay for coming from? Specifically, how and why will we pay millions of dollars? Let's back up our statements or we accomplish nothing but attempt to shamelessly scare voters.
Harry Munns February 18, 2013 at 09:45 PM
Sheri, I've never met Jim Light and the few times I've met Bill Brand I've found him quite pleasant. There's no hatred here. I strongly dislike their deceptive tactics. If you think Jim Light responds factually, you aren't reading his responses closely enough. Unlike Jim, I feel the people reading this material are smart enough not to need me to interpret everything they read so I try to minimize my responses to responses. Measure A has forced me to alter that policy somewhat because the story needs to get told now. Watch for a detailed post about Jim Light in the next week or so. If your mind is truly open, maybe you'll see him from a slightly different perspective.
Harry Munns February 18, 2013 at 09:50 PM
Sheri, what I said in the Easy Reader piece you mention is that I have yet to see any definitive proof of a connection between AES past, present or future, and any public health issues. The opinion of a doctor, however wonderful he might be, does nothing to change that. I'll address this issue in my next post and hopefully, it will be clearer.
sheri patterson February 18, 2013 at 09:53 PM
Harry, I could ask Jim Light's opponents for city council a handful of questions of various specifics of projects happening and they wouldn't know the details. Of course, they are keeping quiet on Measure A. They don't dare cite something they know little about. Both Fine and Ginsberg felt is was "safest" to recite the AES talking points. They said it will be a "taking" and end up in lawsuits. But the local attorneys in this town weighing in have refuted this baseless claim entirely. It's b.s. So quite frankly, it's probably better for their chances of getting voters if they remain quiet. Jeff Ginsberg was quoted as saying if he gets elected, he'll just use Jim Light as his consultant so he has the appropriate data and research on the issues. Even Jim's opponents realize they don't have the expertise that Jim has. Jim has been serving our community for the last decade. One of the councilman recently was quoted as saying "there is no doubt that Jim LIght is likely one of the smart guys in Redondo Beach". You may not like him, Harry. But residents want a leader that will fight for what is right and is smart enough to not allow untrustworthy officials to hoodwink the public. Those are the heros in our community.
sheri patterson February 19, 2013 at 04:19 AM
Harry, go back and re-read your editorial. That actually isn't what you said.
sheri patterson February 19, 2013 at 04:28 AM
Harry, the fact that you are hell bent on destroying Jim Light and have never met him, tells me more about you than anything else. I've worked closely with him for a year and a half and over and over I witness his integrity, respect for all, attention to detail, his concern for never wanting to harm or mislead any resident or fellow neighbor, his selflessness (in most cases, Jim is the last person tooting his own horn.) Those that know Jim know how incredibly humble he is. His talent is that of 10 people. And he is absolutely unwavering on his commitment to character. Maybe it was his time in the service or how he was raised, but his word is solid. He is a courageous leader and those of us who have had the pleasure of volunteering for him do it out of honor. I have not met a person like Jim Light in a long time. His old fashioned ways of strong character and courage are sorely lacking in a time where people lie and cheat often and are mostly self motivated. The fact that you would spend any more of your time attempting to discredit a man unworthy of your attacks, tells me all I need to know about you. Thanks
Wolfman February 24, 2013 at 08:43 PM
Jim Light is the only candidate for the people all the rest are in somebody's pocket
Wolfman February 24, 2013 at 09:01 PM
Harry Munns, What ever personal dislike you have for Jim Light is your business and not ours so please do all of us a favor keep your ranting comments to the real issues we have in Redondo Beach.. Thank You
Dean Curtin February 24, 2013 at 10:54 PM
Harry - My wife had the unpleasant experience of meeting you last summer when she was collecting Measure A signatures in front of RiteAid. Other collectors identified YOU as the lunatic who exploded into the crazy rant, getting nose to nose and yelling at my wife when she approached you. This unfortunate experience made her feel so intimidated and uncomfortable that she asked me to escort her on future collection efforts (I too collected over 100 signatures and was really hoping to meet you!) You are a loudmouth and a bully and the community is getting tired of listening to your hate-filled rants (of Jim, Bill, NPP, etc.) Do us a favor and stop talking, stop blogging, stop hating. Respectfully, Dean Curtin (20-year resident)
Jeff Cohn February 26, 2013 at 01:20 AM
Eric Pendergraft President of AES Redondo Beach was tied in with Enron and the "Power Crisis Fraud Scandal". What does that say about the company's management? Read this LA Times article from 2002 and see the stock price correlation chart link below. Enron was actually a better stock to own than AES which is down -45% over the last 14 years. http://articles.latimes.com/2002/nov/16/business/fi-williams16 https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=462874520444265&l=ec8f3e3f36
Tacit_Blue February 28, 2013 at 03:19 AM
All you guys claiming that because the City Attorney made no mention of the legality of the measure so that makes us safe from a lawsuit makes me laugh. The impartial analysis is not a legal analysis with respect to the legality/constitutionality of the measure. Go read the impartial analysis for Proposition 187, Proposition 8 and Proposition 22. All three were declared unconstitutional, yet there was no mention of potential lawsuits in the impartial analysis. So please spare me this BS that because the City Attorney makes no mention of lawsuits that you are on firm legal ground. That's just a load of baloney.
sheri patterson February 28, 2013 at 03:33 AM
Mary, again how interesting it is that those of you that prefer to vote no on measure A need to personally insult your neighbors. I managed the signature drive. So when you use the words "fraud" and "dishonest", I take offense. I am a current busy mom with a 2 and 4 year old and together with 100+ volunteers, many of them parents and seniors, we collect over 6,000 signatures. Because we waited until the last minute hoping that our own elected officials would do the right thing, we unfortunately had an extremely short window to execute. We gathered over 9,500 signatures & only needed help with 1/3 of them. If you research the normal time citizens are given to collect signatures, it typically takes months of effort. We did this in 40 days- a fraction of the normal time. I'm not sure I understand what you are trying to accomplish. Everyone is free to vote how they want. Those that signed the initiative mostly wanted one thing-- a vote. Whether one votes yes or no on Measure A, is irrelevant. All that matters is you now have that right and we gathered thousands more signatures than necessary. After 4 exhausting weeks, there were moments in 90 degree heat w/ clothes wet from sweat, that I wanted to quit. But then I'd notice the seniors twice my age out there unwilling to give up, smiling & talking to the great people of our community. I was blown away by their sacrifice & example. You are free to attack me but they deserve respect.
Grant Patterson February 28, 2013 at 08:41 PM
Mary, Now you want to weigh in on the gathering of signatures, another issue you have no clue on. As I am sure any of the 100+ volunteers would verify, when you do a signature gathering you always want to get about 30% more than required. There are many people that don’t know exactly which voting district they live in. Example, Hollywood Riviera is post office address Redondo Beach but votes Torrance. It would be ignorant to think that 100% of the signatures would be validated. You are again arguing a point that has no relevance to the power plant itself. By saying you were “Duped” (from your post), I guess you can only blame yourself. You had all the info in front of you when you signed. You sell insurance so I can guess that your signature on any document means a lot to you.
L. Campeggi February 28, 2013 at 09:07 PM
Sheri, Mary said she signed the "online" petition! She doesn't seem to realize that our online petition was NOT the Initiative Petition for Measure A! The Initiative Petition was the legal document necessary to "physically be signed by registered Redondo Beach voters," that required certification from the County Registrar. So, Mary saying she was "duped" into signing the Measure A Initiative is entirely incorrect! She likely didn't sign it at all ... doesn't understand the Measure A Initiative signatures had to be done in person on the legal document ... the "online" petition was a separate "poll" really, for lack of a better word. That's a little odd for her to be "calling out" something that she doesn't understand. Wow, huh?
Kelly Sarkisian February 28, 2013 at 10:57 PM
So what these pictures show is that npp misrepresented the truth in the opposition of the plant. I am shocked and surprised...not! I hope someone sends a follow up letter to clarify that fact that of the total signatures gathered, 1/3 were not by residents as was falsely stated, but from a paid firm. Although not illegal to gather signatures this way, it sure looks bad when you misrepresent that info to the state agency making decisions. It also will force the decision makers at the agency to take any npp information with a grain of salt. I wish npp could let the facts stand on their own instead of spinning, misrepresenting and falsifying, especially to a state agency!
Jim Light February 28, 2013 at 11:11 PM
The detail circled in red is stated accurately. Over 100 residents dedicated their free time last summer summer to gather signatures. That is absolutely true. Not sure what you are alleging is inaccurate. And, Kelly you must be kidding. Do you REALLY think that if Measure A passes the CEC will care how many ballot signatures were collected by residents and how many were collected by paid signature gatherers? I think they will focus their time on determining whether they 1) want to override the zoning, 2) if they do, does the data support the conclusion that power from this site is critical to grid reliability and cannot come from any other alternative.
Grant Patterson February 28, 2013 at 11:12 PM
Life, because your reasoning is killing me. Goodbye Mary, you are worse than talking to a 4 year old.
Grant Patterson February 28, 2013 at 11:19 PM
Mary, paid signature gathers doesn't mean paying people to sign. It simply means paying someone to sit at a store with a signature ballet measure that has the same information on it that the one that i had as a volunteer. Therefore "mudslinger" does it really matter if it was a volunteer or paid signature gatherer. Again you are simply diverting the conversation away from the reason for the Measure which is all the blight, pollution and unneeded power that a new plant would give Redondo. Luckily in 4 more days we will never have to communicate again.
Kelly Sarkisian March 01, 2013 at 01:39 AM
I assumed that you would understand, I'll try to explain further. Omission of important facts (1/3 of signatures were collected through paid consultants), that ultimately dilutes the intent of your message in less than truthful. By misrepresenting those facts, the strength of your citizen based initiave is weakened. You have claimed no knowledge of any of the signature gatherers that misrepresented the facts. When you pay a firm to gather signatures, they fervently gather them in an attempt to earn more cash. Cash based initiaves will garner signatures, by people who will misrepresent the facts to get a signature (and their payment) at all costs. This is where measure a had signature gatherers stating, "Get rid of the power plant, sign here!" which misrepresents the strength of measure a. At every turn, measure a folks (and their paid agents) misrepresent the facts to the public and state agencies to further their cause. You say AES does the same thing yet your side of the street is just as dirty. Jim answer these quick questions: What was the contract price per signature? What was the maximum number of signatures npp was willing to pay for/dollar amount or blank check? What kind of documented training was provided to the paid signature gatherers?
Kelly Sarkisian March 01, 2013 at 01:41 AM
Me too Grant!
Grant Patterson March 01, 2013 at 09:18 PM
Mary and Kelly, the problem is i keep getting email notifications that you are both still posting. you stop and i stop?
Kelly Sarkisian March 02, 2013 at 12:18 AM
No reply from Jim or his underlings, I guess my questions were too tough!

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