Blog: Waxman, Hahn Agree Working With AES Is the Solution

Know the whole story before you give your signature.

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 Power Plant website, Rep. 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 Rep. 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 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 Power Plant people use to get their park.

Read more at Building the Best Redondo...

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Jim Light August 19, 2012 at 05:40 AM
Harry, You missed the main point. Both of them clearly stated their opposition to a new power plant on this site: Hahn: "Given that power production is not necessary from this particular location, the substantial negative impacts of the plant on the surrounding communities and the health and welfare of their residents is not justified." Others have weighed in as well.... Waxman: "I believe we should remove the power plant from Redondo Beach." Huey: "This is the wrong spot for a power plant. " Lieu: "The decision as to whether to have a new power plant will affect residents for generations, and because it is so important, I believe the voters should have a say in the process, and that's why I support a voter initiative to let the residents of Redondo Beach decide whether they want to have a new power plant." None of them have advocated working with AES for a power plant AND commercial development. You seem to avoid that all important nuance. They are saying work with AES to do something other than a power plant.... unlike our City Council and unlike your previous posts. We invited AES to talk about zoning without a power plant. AES declined.
Jim Light August 19, 2012 at 06:34 AM
Force AES out of business? Are you serious. They operate 132 power plants and 13 utilities and rake in a cool $17 billion a year. AES will not go out of business over this power plant - they are going to build two new ones unopposed in Alamitos and Huntington Beach. The CAISO has stated these two plants are the best ones to rebuild because of their location on the grid. As far as "circumventing the City's political process", initiative is part of that process guaranteed by the state constitution and incorporated in Redondo's City Charter, if you have ever read it. Initiative is there for situations where elected officials fail to adequately represent their constituents. We think that is the case here. And the vote will determine that for certain. None of the state and federal elected officials we have spoken with can believe our Council has not taken action. When the Council refuses to act, the people must. The people cannot just pass a resolution opposing the power plant due to limitations on initiatives. Initiatives must enact law. Our only option is zoning to phase out the current plant and prevent a new one. That is what we've done.
Harry Munns August 19, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Jim, you and I agree on many things. The power plant doesn’t belong here. It needs to go. It pollutes the air. I’ll take that one step further. Even though I don’t think a park is the best use of that land, if I was given a choice between the power plant and a park, I’d vote for the park. I’d even sign a petition to support a viable plan to put a park on that property. So far, no one has come forward with such a plan. What I mean by a plan is an agreement to purchase the property from the owner, financing and buy in from elected officials and the community. Think Mike Zislis and Shade Hotel. He had all those things and now he is on track to see his vision realized. You have no such plan. What you have is a a bunch of ill-conceived tactics, zone AES out of business in Redondo, get insiders to write letters to the editor using your words, get the city to pass a resolution, all of which, in my opinion, will lead the city of Redondo Beach and the entire South Bay further from our shared goal of getting rid of the power plant. On the day you sign a deal with AES to acquire their land for your park, please contact me. I will do everything in my power to show my support for your plan.
Jim Light August 19, 2012 at 06:22 PM
I'm glad we agree a new power plant is bad for Redondo. In case you haven't read the initiative, we are not zoning it all park. In fact if you spread the square footage of commercial development in the initiative across the whole 52 acres, the density of commercial development allowed is the same as the total harbor/pier commercial density allowed. That means big bucks for AES and big revenues for the city. Residents cannot work an agreement to buy AES property. The City has failed in showing leadership to get to a no power plant solution. The only avenue left to residents is the initiative. The initiative was reviewed by two land use firms. We shared it with the State Coastal Conservancy and the Coastal Commission staff. The density and park/commercial split is based on a study the Coastal Conservancy did of similar successful industrial rehabilitation projects. In fact, the Coastal Conservancy felt we were overly generous to AES. Our plan has been well vetted and won't put AES out of business. If you think I write all those letters to the editor for other people, you are sadly mistaken. And you are insulting the people who took time to author those letters. I don't understand your path. If you do not draw the line at "no power plant" when dealing with AES, you get a power plant. It is plain and simple. And Harry, the day we sign the deal to acquire the park, we won't need your support. The hard work will be done.
Alexander Starr August 19, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Munns rants falsehoods once again. I am going to call him out on each one. Lie # 1. "....all seem to agree that it can only be accomplished by working with AES". False. Hahn, Waxman, Huey, etc. all stated they do not want a new power plant. "Working" with AES will 100% get a new power plant, Lie # 2. "...our shared goal of getting rid of the power plant". False. YOUR public statements + "goals" with the city council has always been to coordinate with AES for a new power plant. Lie #3. "...given a choice between the power plant and a park". False. The rezoning initiative is for 60-70% open space (park, sports fields and jogging and biking paths, etc.) and 40-30% commercial/institutional uses (retail, restaurant, hotel, offices, parking lots, institutional uses). Not 100% park.
Alexander Starr August 19, 2012 at 07:51 PM
Lie #4. (....I’d even sign a petition to support a viable plan to put a park on that property. So far, no one has come forward with such a plan.). False. Viable plan in the initiative for Commercial/Institutional 30-40% portion: AES could get huge value for the land sold or leased to developers and operators Viable plan in the initiative for the park 60-70% portion. The California State Coastal Conservancy will attract the funding from a number of available sources – none of which burdens Redondo residents. And the park would pay for its own sustainment. Dozens of parks have been funded this way. This is public info. Viable plan in general: Rezoning Initiative will increase City revenues: Many studies show that properties next to parks have property values increased by over 30%. The value of new businesses and residential property would rise increasing tax revenues to the City. This can be reviewed in much more detail at: aesredondomustgo.blog.com/power-plant-faqs/ Lie # 5 "...force AES out of business...)/ What a joke. AES is one of the largest companies in the world. Lie # 6 "...get insiders to write letters to the editor using your words). I write my own letters using my own words, thank you very much. So do all the other of hundreds of active concerned residents that you have just insulted once again.
Alexander Starr August 19, 2012 at 08:34 PM
I can see why you were "appointed" to the Redondo Beach Harbor Commission by Mayor Greg Hill in 2005. You could not win a public office if you paid them, as AES is doing now with more lies marketed to the public with slick mailers and hiring PR hacks like you.
L. Campeggi August 19, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Mr. Munns, nowhere in Ms. Hahn's letter to the CEC or in Mr. Waxman's press release did either recommend to work with AES. Nowhere! Yet that is the sensationalistic headline of your article. Hahn's "work with" reference was to the CEC to work with the state agencies - let me repeat that - to the CEC to work with the state agencies to RETIRE the AES Redondo Beach power plant. Waxman's statement to AES and state agencies was to urge them to PERMANENTLY RETIRE the power plant. Again, nowhere did Hahn or Waxman state that anyone should work with AES. You made that up on your own, probably hoping that no one would notice as you neglected to post Hahn's letter and Waxman's press release in their entirety. So, not only do you insult those who take the time to write letters and comment here and other places, but you insult our intelligence as well. If you really don't want a power plant here, sign the initiative. And hey, here's a thought - get involved and do something to help make sure we don't get another power plant here. But as Jim alluded to above, that would require doing some hard work. I guess it must be easier for you to write nonsense instead.
Harry Munns August 20, 2012 at 05:57 PM
It's fun to de-construct false arguments and find the truth. In the case of the AES controversy, it's almost too easy. Here are some examples. Truth - There is no public health crisis in Redondo Beach that can be linked to a power plant that's been operating for more than 100 years. Truth - The air quality in Redondo Beach is far superior to nearly every city in Los Angeles county. Truth - No elected officials other than Bill Brand have endorsed the initiative to rezone the AES property. I could go on and on. I know the people who have chosen to ignore the truth won't change their minds. I'm only hoping to reach the people who think for themselves, the ones who can still see the truth. I'll let someone else have the last word here and resume my policy of not commenting on comments. In a few days I'll examine what this little adventure to antagonize AES is likely to cost us all. If you think these little tantrums come cheap, think again..
Jim Light August 20, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Harry, Two elected officials outside of Redondo have endorsed resident opposition: - Ted Lieu did a press conference supporting an initiative to determine the will of the voters. - Henry Waxman's press release states he "joins the opposition of local leaders and residents". The only local elected official to oppose the power plant is Bill Brand. And the resident opposition is leading the intiative drive. So your statements are inaccurate. And you have seen the list of elected officials and candidates who have openly announced their opposition to the power plant. You are quick to condemn, but I've not heard your plan in light of the fact that AES will not negotiate unless a power plant is included. So what is your soluton? And, if you oppose the power plant, why are you executing your plan? Criticism is easy, action is hard. As to your argument on air pollution, so we enjoy better air than most of LA which is amongst the worst air pollution in the nation. Should that be our barometer? Should we not strive to make it better? AES and PCH are our biggest polluters. PCH is widely dspersed mobile sources. AES is a stationary source. We can eliminate this source and prevent an increase due to the projected run rates of the new plant. THAT should be the measure. Of course, you avoid the fiscal and other environmental impacts. You SAY you oppose the plant... your arguments show otherwise. It's not time for whining. It is time for action.
Harry Munns August 20, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Perfect example of how you bend the truth to get people on your side, Jim. I wrote, " No elected officials other than Bill Brand have endorsed the initiative to rezone the AES property." That is an absolute fact. You refute it with a statement that has nothing to do with my statement of fact. Two elected officials outside of Redondo have endorsed resident opposition" Resident opposition is not the same as endorsing changing the zoning laws and outlawing AES in Redondo Beach, which is what your initiative proposes. I'm trusting the intelligence of my friends and neighbors to see the truth. OK, now you can have the last word. I promise.
Alexander Starr August 20, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Munns - why don't you address all the lies you wrote that I exposed one by one? We are not distracted by your latest rant, changing the topic.
Tim Sole August 20, 2012 at 07:10 PM
How about if we start a petition to make sure that what ever way this dispute over the power plant is settled, the worker bees are taken care of. It should be worded such that, if your side wins, then your side becomes immediately responsible for creating employment for the worker bees at the same or better "Living Wage/Benefits" they currently have and pay the worker bees out of your own pockets until those jobs are created. If you want it your way, step up and be responsible for all of of the issues involved.
Alexander Starr August 20, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Just Tim: www.aesredondomustgo.blog.com/power-plant-faqs/ 10. What about jobs? Rezoning will INCREASE jobs. According to AES, they currently employ just 55 employees. They admit a new plant will reduce the number of employees to about 30 required to run and maintain the plant. The commercial development allowed by the new zoning would create many more jobs than the new power plant. For comparison’s sake the average Outback Steakhouse is open for business six to eight hours per day and employs 31 to 32 people. The City website shows Cheesecake Factory employing over 250 employees. The 30% commercial/institutional component of our proposed zoning would increase employment opportunities in the City.
Jim Light August 20, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Huh? Who is bending what? You said Bill Brand is the only elected official supporting the initiative. Ted Lieu had a press conference in favor of the initiative. And Waxman supports us in our efforts which include the initiative. Both are elected officials. You are quibbling semantics.
Jim Light August 20, 2012 at 09:09 PM
There are two new power plants, NRG El Segundo and Walnut Creek, being built right now just a few miles from AES. And more in the pipeline including AES Huntington and Alamitos. With the new plant AES proposes, employees would drop from about 50 to about 30 (per AES). So 40% of the current employees will have to find new jobs regardless. The commercial component of our plan employs many more people than a new power plant. Cheesecake Factory and the Crowne Plaza are amongst the top 10 employers in Redondo. Good business in the harbor will increase jobs. The removal of the power plant will result in increased business revenue, per city studies, and that will end up increasing the number of employees even more.
Bruce Szeles August 20, 2012 at 10:54 PM
It's Harry "I'm not going to comment on comments" Munns. NEWS FLASH. Harry can't help because it is ALL about Harry. Again, no solutions and no outside the box thinking going up on Harry's blog. Isn't time you step down as our boaters rep on the Harbor Commission. Ten years is long enough. I'm sure there is another boater who could better represent boaters interests in the harbor. What happened to term limits on commissioners?
Tim Sole August 21, 2012 at 02:59 AM
I did read what you all had to say. Here is the question you didn't answer. Do "Service Jobs" pay the same, Do they have the same benefits, are we replacing skilled "Living Wage" jobs with lower paying service sector jobs that do not include benefits. It all sounds good, until we look at the actual opportunities versus what is currently available to the worker bees, Are you going to pay the difference between the two. If your side wins, you need to step and pay the difference. That includes all of the normal things, health, dental, life insurance, 401K or pension plan. Come on, step up and own the reality. I'm a business owner, I know what these things cost and I'm not afraid. Step up folks and own the reality.
Jim Light August 21, 2012 at 05:02 AM
Who will pay the "living wage" salaries and benefits of the 40% that get laid off when AES builds their new smaller, more efficient. less manpower intensive plant? Should we keep the old technology just to keep them employed? Should AES pay the "living wages" and benefits for potential employees at businesses impacted by the plant's presence? Should AES pay the difference in property values on the properties it impacts? I'm an exec at a local aerospace firm and I know what these things cost. But when we have to lay people off because the government cuts funding on a program, those employees aren't paid a "living wage" by the congressmen who cut the budget. We don't live in a society that guarantees you a job in what you want to do in the place you want to do it. The workers can find a job at the new plants coming on line elsewhere, move to a plant that will hire them, or change industries and jobs. I guess your argument is we owe it these people to keep the old plant forever. And ignore all the negative impacts on the community that surrounds it. I think it is you who needs to step up and own the reality.
Fred Reardon August 21, 2012 at 08:04 AM
The people of Redondo Beach see through Harry's and the new AES Plant cheerleaders' toxic smokescreen. There is not enough of a buffer between the proposed AES toxic stacks and therefore not enough area for the toxins to disapate before entering our lungs. No economic or grid supplement argument can justify the risk to our communities health and safety. AES does not own the air we breathe. Harry and his AES cohorts are hoping you don't sign the initiative. Harry makes these pathetic arguments against the initiative hoping that the agencies, deciding the new power plant's fate, will not have a strong message from the people of Redondo Beach opposing it. Ask anyone who lives in the shadow of the AES power plant, who isn't on AES's bar tab, if they are concerned about the overwhelming evidence related to the increased odds of getting cancer, lung disease, asthma, heart disease, pregnancy complications, etc. when living in close proximity to a power plant toxic plume. Harry's hoping that, because the toxins released from smoke stacks are invisible, people will think it's ok for he and his AES buddies to pollute the air we breathe. We have a legal right to oppose any new pollution that can harm our families. Harry's argument related to talking and working with AES is ridiculous, decieving and will result in tons and tons of toxins raining down on our families. 
Fred Reardon August 21, 2012 at 08:05 AM
What has Harry done to help us avoid this toxic situation? Has Harry and his buddies in the Redondo Beach government sat down with state or federal officials in an attempt to avoid a new plant?  Has Harry and his buddies tried to work with AES to develop a plan that does not involve polluting our lungs for the next 50 plus years? No, on the contrary, he and the other AES supporters have mislead, used stall tactics and threats to derail any attempts people in opposition to a power plant have proposed. Simply put, Harry is willing to dismiss the studies, the pollution, the rights of those that are not being represented, a sense of urgency, and the threat to our health and safety for what? There is only one conclusion to draw from Harry's arguments, he's doing everything he can to ensure we get more nasty polluting smoke stacks stuck in our face.
Tim Sole August 21, 2012 at 10:06 AM
Jim, being a small business owner, I see the impact of people who do not have "Living Wage" jobs on a daily basis. Also being a small business owner, I really understand how any changes our government makes affects small business. Large companies are basically all the same, down size, outsource and cut cost. Even when doing those things have an impact on their own customer base. Small business creates jobs, large companies and government destroy them, that has never changed and never will. I'm just a hard working little guy who finally woke up and started asking tough questions. The environmentalists and AES are both the same wolf in sheep clothing, they both do nothing but destroy things, one destroys our health and the other our destroys our economy, So, yes I do own the reality. So, please spare me the crap about the 40% that will be let go, I like all other small business owners get a dose of kicked in the butt every time an environmentalist or large company gets their panties in a bunch. You guy's want it, own all of it!
Jim Light August 21, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Sorry Tim, I don't buy it. I am a small business guy as well. Our company just started in 2004 and we fought and scratched our way up to over 450 people. So I get it. In my view AES has at least as much negative fiscal and economic impact as it does negative environmental impact. Over the same 9 year period, harbor businesses grew at just 1/10th the rate of Redondo-wide businesses. What other beach town has a dirt farm and mini-storage two blocks fromt he waterfront? Just as AES is not responsible for their downsizing the staff by 40% or their impacts to other employers that surround them, we are not responsible for the AES employees. It is ludicrous to propose we keep the power plant on the premise that it is our responsibility to employ 30 AES employees indefinitely. The argument is pure bunk. AES will be building two new plants in our area. NRG El Segundo, Sentinel, and Walnut Creek power plants will be coming on line this summer. AES employees can apply to work at these new plants. Or any of the other 13,778MW of new power generation in the pipeline across the state. Our initiative incents both office and institutional development - either of which will mean more high end jobs in the harbor area - without the negative fiscal, economic and environmental impacts of the power plant.
Fred Reardon August 21, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Tim, Please figure out a way to run your business and pay all your wages without exposing my family to this dangerously close toxic smoke stack plume. Good for you Tim!  You get cheaper business expenses and we get pollution dumped all over our families and friends. Thanks for supporting this out of town business, AES, that does nothing but require nearby residents to pay dearly for their existing archaic operation and newly proposed, yet still archaic operation, via pollution, disease, and increased odds of getting cancer, lung disease asthma, etc. Don't subsidize your business at the expense of my family's health. Those of us, who do not want new smokestacks stuck in our face, are not extreme environmentalists. We are people who drive or walk by this powerplant every day, smell it's fumes, breathe in its toxic smoke, and stare at it day in and day out knowing that it can't be good for our families' and neighbors' health. Change your mindset and position on this new, inappropriately located power plant plan. A lot of us own businesses and we're not cowering to AES. Advertise your business as a no power plant supporter. As a business owner, let people see your vision of a cleaner, healthier Redondo Beach.  People will remember that you took a stand, cared about the health of Redondo families, and sought a healthier environment for your neighbors. 
Tim Sole August 21, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Fred, Nice, but at no point did I ever say which side I supported. To be very clear, I'm asking tough questions of both sides. What I am saying is that, I don't think anyone cares about the human cost. I also live in the Southbay, I also have to breathe the same air as everyone else, I also understand that I pay a premium to enjoy living in the Southbay. If the people that want it removed economic impact statement is not correct, own that and be held financially responsible for it. That includes insuring that the current workers aren't tossed to the side. If the AES environmental study is not correct, they need to own that and be held financially responsible for it also. They also need to make sure their current employees are taken care of. With change comes responsibility, whichever side wins the battle, needs to own the win and be responsible for all of it. I myself, have not made up my mind one way or the other. This is an issue that I may just ignore at the ballot box, I would rather vote for things that I understand. The truth as I see it, I don't think either side have really logically thought this through. I can tell you that I have signed the petition and truly believe this belongs to a vote of the people. Which side my vote ends up on depends on who can give me the real truth, not an opinion of what might be.


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