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Nasty Politics

With three months left before the Redondo Beach City Council election, the worst of politics has already begun to surface.

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.

Read more at Building the Best Redondo...

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Jim Light January 02, 2013 at 08:28 PM
We don't often agree, Harry. But on this one we are on the same sheet of music. We have suffered this through several campaigns. We've even had signs stolen and then defaced and placed in someone's yard. Definitely poor form but just as importantly it is ineffective.
Fred Reardon January 03, 2013 at 10:18 AM
Stealing signs is wrong. Stealing our clean air by supporting a new power plant (and/or doing nothing to stop it) with increased particulate matter is also wrong. It is unclear to me what Mr. Jackson intends to do to stop this new pollution? It appears that he thinks it is out of our hands? We need to elect candidates that will stand up for our rights to clean-air. We must not simply accept the the stacks shoved up our noses. We can send a strong message to the agencies charged with deciding whether or not Redondo Beach wants and needs a new power plant. Vote Yes on Measure A in March and support candidates that will look out for our families health and safety by taking a strong stance against this new pollution.
Kelly Sarkisian January 03, 2013 at 03:19 PM
Fred, the plant was here before you came here from the east coast. Why did you move here if the plant is so horrible? I think the best thing you could do is move away! That would fix two problems, one of mine, one of yours!
Jim Light January 03, 2013 at 03:28 PM
Ahh, but Kelly, that would leave the rest of us having to breath AES' pollutants. That would leave the negative economic impacts in place. That would jeopardize the $100M+ investment we aremaking on our waterfront revitalization. AES has undeniable negative impacts on our City, our businesses and our environment. Why force residents to move, when that would not solve the problem? By your "the power plant was here first" analogy, the site should then rightfully be a salt lake with an unneeded salt production business, like it was long before there was any power plant near this site. Since we don't need it's power any more, and haven't for years, it is time to retire the power plant permanently. It is a no brainer.
Kelly Sarkisian January 03, 2013 at 03:47 PM
No Jim, what I am saying it that it is foolish to compliain about a problem (self perceived or not) that you put yourself into. Fred chose Redondo, power plant and all. It's like going hiking in the snow without the proper gear, then blaming the state park dept for freezing to death. He has a personal responsibility in his situation. He can fix his situation if he really is worried about the plant. He chooses to live here and whine about the "plume". The easier and immediate solution would be to move away to a place with no industry. I think he should try Afganistan.
Harry Munns January 03, 2013 at 04:44 PM
Welcome to the Ground Hog Day (movie reference) conversation Kelly. Your voice is refreshing. Don't let the bullies suppress it. I'm still trying to figure out how a blog post about yard signs turned into a pre-redorded message about particulate matter.
Jim Light January 03, 2013 at 04:54 PM
Kelly, While Fred is one of the vocal ones, there are far many more residents and business owners of the same ilk. Would you have all them leave? Your ad hominem attacks ignore the base issues. Why should we allow one business so much adverse impact on our town? When many residents bought their homes the promise was the power plant was going away. Politicians said it, realtors said it, city staff said it. Mayor Greg Hill stated that ridding the town of the power plant was his mandate in 1997. The Heart of the City sold us on the phase out of the power plant in 2000-2002. We saw smokestacks come down under the promise the whole plant would be gone. We had a community visioning effort in 2004 which resulted in two visions, neither of which had a power plant. And the city staff who participated never stated keeping the power plant was required, desired or even likely. In 2004 City Staff recommended phasing out the power plant by rezoning. The City made a new power plant a "contingent use" and added the ability to specify a setaside for parkland in future development in 2008. And of course, the studies on the impacts of air pollution on health continue to reveal strong findings and evidence about how harmful the power plant pollutants are that did not exist just four years ago. This is not something that just started in 2011. This has been building since 1997. Things have changed substantially since the power plant was built. It is time to retire it permanently.
Harry Munns January 03, 2013 at 05:06 PM
Jim, I'm going to leave it to your political opponents to sift through all the claims you made above to determine what threads of truth exist therein. But one thing you said is great news. "And of course, the studies on the impacts of air pollution on health continue to reveal strong findings and evidence about how harmful the power plant pollutants are that did not exist just four years ago." Please name the studies of Redondo Beach...now notice I said Redondo Beach, not general studies about power plants and industrial pollution, from other places...Redondo Beach, I think my request is pretty clear here. I've been waiting for the studies of the air quality in Redondo Beach that substantiate your claims about the poor quality of our air. My mind is open on that subject but like many of my neighbors, I see through the smoke screen (excuse the pun) of self-serving, vague, political B. S. and wish you would produce the facts. Remember I said Redondo Beach. That is what we're talking about.
Jim Light January 03, 2013 at 05:09 PM
I agree this got off track of the topic. But if anyone is doing the bullying, it is Kelly. Fred asked where a candidate stands on the power plant, a legitimate concern. And he stated his opinion about the power plant. Note that no one asked Kelly to leave town, but that is her response to Fred's legitimate question and concern. Stating facts and opinions contrary to another's statements is not "bullying". It is called "debate". Ad hominem attacks are "bullying".
Jim Light January 03, 2013 at 05:19 PM
AES' own analysis in its application to the CEC shows that we do not meet state and federal standards for particulates. And then it shows that the new plant will add more and make it worse. When you have the money to fund the study of just Redondo Beach, you can ask for your own study. It will take years. We don't have the time or the money. There is ample evidence...even in AES' own submission. The Federal government is considering making the standards even tougher based on the corroborating recent medical studies showing just how bad these pollutants are. Even the AQMD rep testified to the City Council that there is no "safe" threshold for particulate pollution. The lower the exposure, the longer your life expectancy. But most disturbing are the recent studies that show the impacts on children's lung development. But even if you ignore the health and environmental impacts, you have the negative fiscal impacts on surrounding properties, businesses and the city itself. The City published its study on that in 2004 and concluded the power plant should be phased out by rezoning the property. We don't need the power. We should not let one company have such widespread negative impacts on our community.
Harry Munns January 03, 2013 at 05:29 PM
OK Jim, so what I hear you saying is that it's too costly to come up with facts so in lieu of facts you and your comrades are willing disguise opinions, bits of unrelated data and lies as facts, just to get your way. Thanks for the clarification.
Jim Light January 03, 2013 at 05:52 PM
No, you are twisting my statements. The studies we've cited are very applicable. And now we have AES' own submission that is very specific to Redondo. There are no "lies". If you think their are, please be specific. I am saying that what YOU desire cannot be competed by the time a decision is made. Your article is about nasty politics. In two of your responses here you have first called us bullies, when it was Kelly who was bullying; and now liars without substantiating your denigration. Who is being "nasty" here? I have always cited evidence and in most cases posted the actual data or the links, but I have at least provided the references. I'd be happy to discuss my application and assessment of those references, if you'd be so kind as to be specific as to which specific statements you think are in error.
Dan Strauss January 03, 2013 at 08:03 PM
Seriously... Why does every article have to turn into an argument about the power plant??? I am so sick of it I could puke. I'm waiting for a story on the pet of the week to somehow devolve into a power plant debate (This dog will die of particulates if the power plant isn't shut down!!!) I don't live in Mr. Light's district, so I can't vote for or against him, but if I did, I would be concerned about how much time he feels necessary to spend on comment threads responding to every. single. comment... On every. single. article. How would you have time to run the city if you feel the need to spend so much time responding to people on the internet?
Harry Munns January 03, 2013 at 08:18 PM
I agree with Mr. Strauss. This thread was about yard signs and dirty politics. I'll have a lot more to say about Measure A and the city council race as we get closer to the election but I won't say any more about either topic now.
Jim Light January 03, 2013 at 08:26 PM
Dan, These responses take just a minute or so. Patch emails me to alert me when they are made. It's neither time consuming nor hard. I follow the Clinton edict that you leave no attack unanswered. Seemed to work for him.
John Wike January 03, 2013 at 09:52 PM
This is typical behavior by Harry Munns. Jim Light has researched this issue more thoroughly than Harry Munns and all of Redondo's City Councilmembers combined (with the exception of Bill Brand). Jim Light's research is incredibly thorough, and unlike you, he sights actual references, much of which is evidence that is included in AES' own submission. You spend a great deal of time bashing Jim Light and zero time proposing a solution that will protect South Bay residents from being exposed to a massive increase in pollution from the new proposed plant.
Kelly Sarkisian January 04, 2013 at 08:16 AM
Is it just me or does Jim copy and paste everything. Nothing new but the same tired bullet points.
Jim Light January 04, 2013 at 02:56 PM
It reads the same because the opposition to Measure A plays the same unsupported fear mongering. I could easily accuse the Anti-A crowd of the same thing. Same fear mongering, same response. But you make my point yet again. Another ad-hominem attack, rather than a well supported argument on the issues at hand.
Kelly Sarkisian January 04, 2013 at 03:41 PM
Harry, It appears the same cool aid drinkers on here, who can't resist their cut and paste comments, also can't drive past a rival candidates sign. The behavior seems to be about the same. Give them time, they will be seen/caught, just give it time.
Harry Munns January 04, 2013 at 04:30 PM
I think you're right about who did it Kelly and I hope you're right about them getting caught. My gut tells me a simple minded person who would steal signs wouldn't be able to resist taking credit for it. If someone gets caught in the act and he or she tells the cops that one of the candidates knew about the thefts, then we'll have a lot to write about. Frankly, I'd just be happy if the sign stealing stopped but the other outcome would certainly make the race interesting.
Robert Keane January 04, 2013 at 05:12 PM
And therein lies the problem with Jim Light. If you disagree with him on any point it's an attack. How can you possibly govern this city, when you feel you are always being attacked. I want a councilman to be able to see all points of view, form a consensus, and be capable of reasonable compromise. Sorry Jimbo, you have none of these qualities
Jim Light January 04, 2013 at 06:36 PM
Robert - On the contrary. I always listen to well supported arguments and have changed my mind based on new data. Also contrary to your ad-hominem attack, I work well with people of different opinions, or I would not have risen to the level I have in the companies I have worked in. The Citizens Growth Management and Traffic Committee set up by Mayor Gin met for over a year. It had between 20 and 30 folks representing stakeholders of all types across the city. 90% of our decisions were concensus opinions. We did not start that way on each decision, but through thoughtful debate we came to common ground on the vast majority of items. I value differing opinions. I may present contradictory data that supports my side of the debate, but that is hardly an attack. When the opposing side has no basis for their side of the argument or is clearly wrong, I call them out on it.
Chris January 05, 2013 at 09:02 PM
Very interesting power plant debate not withstanding. However, the issue of missing signs seems quite simple to me. I for one am no keystone cop, but I have witnessed on several instances over the years in Redondo Beach minors tearing down signs just for fun. I would hope that operatives within our city council campaigns would not behave in this manner. Nasty politics like this is reserved for our neighbor Lost Angeles!

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