Blog: AES Desperation Shows in 4th Anti-A Mailer

Desperate, AES' fourth mailer against Measure A relies on unsubstantiated, misleading fear mongering while avoiding key facts.

One need read no further than the disclaimer required by the Fair Political Practices Commission to cast doubt on the claims included in the fourth and latest Anti-Measure A mailer that Redondo voters have received this week. The required disclaimer clearly states: “Funded by donations from AES Redondo Beach.” The rest is what you would expect a power plant company to say about a Ballot Measure that opposes their new plant. It is clear, AES is getting desperate.

Note what is missing from their new flyer. The new flyer:

  • Does NOT say the power grid needs power from this specific site and this specific power plant.  That's because, the CAISO has not deemed AES Redondo critical.
  • Does NOT show that their new plant will produce less pollution. That's because, their applications show particulate pollution will increase 5x to 15x what is reported today.
  • Does NOT say the power plant will improve property values or business revenues.  In fact, City studies show the plant's negative impacts.
  • Avoids acknowledging that Measure A allows up to 430,000 sq ft of commercial space  because it erodes their trumped up revenues claims.

Instead the mailer relies totally unsubstantiated fear mongering. 

Let’s look at the misleading statements:

Misleading Statement: Measure A has no provision to pay for the park element

Fact: Measure A is a zoning ordinance and zoning documents never address funding. Measure A includes up to 430,000 sq ft of commercial/institutional development (the same density allowed in the harbor).  That commercial element is based on studies conducted by the State Coastal Conservancy and Cal Poly Pomona Landscape Architecture Department (Studio 606)  on hundreds of successful projects similar to Measure A. In fact, a State Coastal Conservancy official commented that we were too generous in our allocation of commercial uses. The commercial element is designed to generate significant positive cash flow for the city to fund the cost of park maintenance. 

Measure A does not require the city to buy the park land from AES. The flyer ignores the commitment from the State Coastal Conservancy to garner park funds from multiple sources. The funds would not be needed until 2020... ample time to build up the financial resources.

Misleading Statement: Measure A violates private property rights

Fact: One of the primary roles of city government is to ensure compatible land use development through zoning. AES has no right to pollute our air, impact community property values and impact business revenues. Even under existing zoning, they have no right to rebuild a power plant. And the current zoning authorizes the city to require an undesignated size park set aside. The big difference between current zoning and Measure A is NOT the park element. The big difference is the phase out of the power plant and its replacement with commercial uses. In fact, when campaigning for the current zoning Councilman Steve Diels (who signed the latest mailer) stated: “Vote yes to: allow park use at the AES power plant…” Why did he not worry about AES property rights in this campaign?

Measure A merely carries out what Redondo Beach staff recommended in 2004. The staff recommended rezoning the site and phasing out the power plant. That is what Measure A does. The city study examined the legality of the rezoning and sited ample case law supporting the action. Recently a panel of three independent and unpaid land use and environmental attorneys all concluded that the rezoning contained in measure is legal and does not violate property rights.  See www.nopowerplant.com for videos of these attorneys responding to resident questions about the legalities of the zoning in Measure A. Measure A does not take AES' property away from them. Just like all of us, they are free to develop their property in accordance with the zoning or sell it to whomever they want.

Misleading Statement: The power plant provides jobs.

Fact: Currently, AES Redondo employs about 55 employees. According to AES, the new plant will need only 20 to 30 keep it running as it is newer, more modern and smaller. The commercial element of Measure A would employ far more people and the lack of a power plant would eliminate the negative impact of the power plant on surrounding business revenues, increasing employment in harbor businesses.

Misleading Statement: The power plant provides revenue for fire, police and other city services

Fact: According to AES, they provide less than $400,000 in City revenues. That is about 0.4 percent of city revenues. By comparison, the harbor/pier parking lot produces over $1.8 million in annual city revenues. Just putting a public pay parking lot at the AES site would provide the city more revenues. The Cheesecake Factory and Crowne Plaza are amongst the City’s biggest sources of commercial revenue. With up to 430,000 square feet of commercial development, Measure A would produce far more city revenues. And of course, the mailer avoids mentioning that city studies call the power plant the “major blighting influence” in the harbor area. This study shows that property values are impacted by up to 40 percent and that businesses in the harbor area grew at 1/10th the rate of businesses elsewhere in the city. Why would we risk the over $100 million investment in harbor revitalization that has just started by allowing a new power plant?

Misleading Statement: Measure A does not guarantee the California Energy Commission will deny the new power plant

Fact: If residents don’t pass Measure A, we will get a new power plant blighting our waterfront through 2070. There is only one case we are aware of where the CEC denied a plant that was unopposed by the local city. Since our City Council has passed no resolution opposing the power plant, the only opposition they would see is Measure A. AES had to acknowledge Measure A in their application.  According to a state report, out of 131 cases with strong local opposition, the CEC has only overridden the zoning/opposition 5 times. While Measure A does not guarantee we stop the power plant, the odds are in our favor. And if we don’t pass Measure A we are pretty much guaranteed a new plant.

Misleading Statement: Measure A is the result of a small number of zealots.

Fact: Many of us are passionate in this fight to rid our waterfront of this unneeded, polluting, blighting eyesore. So let them call us zealots, but we are hardly a small number. Measure A zoning includes the input from residents, boaters, bicyclists, Harbor Commissioners, City Councilmen, business owners, the State Coastal Conservancy, and the State Coastal Commission staff. Over 100 residents gave up their summer free time to gather the signatures that got Measure A on the ballot. And nearly 7,500 registered Redondo voters signed the petition that qualified Measure A for the ballot in just 40 days. 

Bottom line: We have AES on the run and they are getting desperate. This is their fourth flyer—they are throwing tons of money at defeating Measure A. Since they cannot refute our statements that the plant is not needed, will produce more pollution and impacts property values and business and city revenues, they rely on unsubstantiated fear mongering. Read through their claims and do a little homework. Their flyer falls apart pretty quickly with a little research. Redondo residents are smart enough to see through their exaggerated and misleading claims. Residents have a right to be outraged by this blatant attempt to mislead voters. Shame on AES and those who signed the flyer.

Support our harbor revitalization. Improve our air quality, views, property values, and business and city revenues. Stop the new power plant by casting your vote “Yes on A.”  

And when you make your decision on who to vote for on City Council—make sure they strongly oppose the new power plant.

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.

Mike Walker December 22, 2012 at 04:31 AM
AES violates private property responsibilities.
Dale Smith. December 25, 2012 at 10:13 AM
The city is going to have to raise our taxes to make up for the lost taxes with Nordstroms and AES leaving, I hope you are all ready to pay your fair share.
Fred Reardon December 25, 2012 at 11:47 AM
If this plant moves ahead our lungs will be filled with a bunch of nasty pollutants. I hope your ready financially, physically and morally to fight the resulting disease and sickness.
Jim Light December 25, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Measure A will not affect Nordstroms one way or the other. But Measure A allows up to 430,000 sq ft of commercial, which will blow away the revenues the city gets from AES. According to AES, they provide less than $400K in city revenues each year. That is less than 1% of city revenues. The pier and harbor parking lot provide $1.8M in revenue. We'd do better with a parking lot instead of a power plant.
Jane December 26, 2012 at 04:23 AM
There's really no reason to post or read this nonsense. There's not a fact in it. This is a taking, fair and square. It's not a lick different than eminent domain.
Jim Light December 26, 2012 at 06:51 AM
Jane, it's all facts. You seem to ignore them because you don't like them. Three unpaid, independent lawyers all agreed Measure A is not a taking. It neither takes AES property nor does it rob them of the ability to profit from the land. City staff recommended zoning that phased out the power plant in 2004. It is quite a lick different than eminent domain. It sounds like you don't really understand what that means. Perhaps you never read the Measure G zoning that is currently on the power plant site. Measure G zoning allows the Council to mandate an unspecified portion of the property as parkland. You can find this current zoning on line. Where were the cries of property rights and eminent domain when that zoning was passed? The big difference in Measure A from current zoning is not the park allocation. It is the phase out of power generation. The city has changes allowable land uses many, many times through the years. An example... Ruxton Lane industrial uses were changed to residential... there are over 200 condos there today. Those changes were not decried as impacting property rights. It seems the cries today are more politically motivated than anything else. The City has done much more dramatic zoning changes in the past.
Fred Reardon December 26, 2012 at 10:25 PM
Jane appears to be paid new power plant support. She and AES are trying to take our clean air without compensating us, pollute it, and then rake in profits while our families suffer. These PIMBYs do not own the air we breathe.
DR December 28, 2012 at 11:22 PM
I was at the presentation made by those three attorneys, and I examined their resumes, websites, and although they have experience in this area, they are by no means experts. I'm sure that three other attorneys could have different opinions, would bring a lawsuit, and cost the city and taxpayers a substantial amount of money (win or lose). If it really is about the pollution, go after wood burning fireplaces, or something that really makes an impact to the pollution numbers. VOTE NO ON A - THERE IS A BETTER WAY
DR December 28, 2012 at 11:26 PM
Fred, Why is it that anyone that doesn't agree with you, and the clan is "...a paid new power plant support"(er)? https://www.facebook.com/NoOnARedondoBeach
Jim Light December 28, 2012 at 11:43 PM
DR - Perhaps because the words so closely match AES' misleading propaganda. Perhaps because prior to the single Council meeting where AES had any real resident support, they and the Chamber threw a little cocktail hour to incent participation in the Council meeting. Perhaps because at least one resident and one planning commissioner are on AES' bankroll to advocate for the new power plant. Perhaps because the "chamber" mailers are funded by AES. Perhaps because in the last year, AES suddenly began throwing money around the community to buy their support. And perhaps because Measure A opponents are quick to cast aspersions without substance. It is unfortunate, but AES' deceptive tactics cast doubt on those who really do support the AES application without any conflict of interest.
DR December 28, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Thanks for the response Fred.
Jim Light December 28, 2012 at 11:54 PM
DR - your assessment of the attorney's is inaccurate. In fact, one was praised for his experience and expertise by the Judge who ruled on the City Charter violation. And don't forget the City Attorney and staff recommended this very course of action in 2004. This rezoning is legal and City has done it time and time again throughout its history. How do you think Ruxton Lane went from industrial to condos? Why is Catalina Coffee Company now a non-conforming use? Why was Mayor Gin able to veto a development project called Pearl Plaza that conformed with all zoning? Because the city has the power to control development compatibility through zoning. We can and should limit wood burning fireplaces. We will continue to get cleaner burning cars. But that does not mean we should allow 17 tons of particulate pollution from an unneeded power plant along with its blighting influences on the harbor we are about to invest over $100M to revitalize. It's not needed. Even with San Onofre out, the plant only ran at 6.18% of capacity. We have three new power plants coming online next summer in our part of the grid that can produce way more than this power. If we stop the new plant, we lower pollution and we eliminate the blight and inconsistent uses and its negative impacts on business and City revenues. We should not risk our harbor revitalization. It is time for the plant to go.
Jim Light December 29, 2012 at 12:10 AM
DR - Here is Judge O'Brien's assessment of Frank Angel, one of the attorney's on the public board the evening you reference: "...this court recognizes Mr. Angel and Angel Law as a leading expert in the field of environmental, land use and administrative law..."
Kelly Sarkisian December 29, 2012 at 02:16 AM
DR, Fred not only makes assumptions that people are on the AES payroll but big tobacco and Confederates. Fred has profitted in his personal life through big industry on the taxpayers dime and he partakes in big tobacco. He appears to be what he hates. I beleive he may have financial reasons for his support of the measure. Mr Light is a one issue candidate that isn't mature enough to allow other adults to have their own opinion. He and his friends jump on anyone with a different opinion like a bully in the school yard. Once again Mr Light and Fred, no need to comment, this wasnt addressed to you!
Jim Light December 29, 2012 at 07:16 AM
Kelly, I am afraid you are shooting from the hip. My participation in our community goes way back before the power plant issue. I served on the local South Bay Surfrider Executive Committee in the 90's leading such programs as their local water quality testing. I have been on the boards of two local non-profits. I have volunteered for parade planning and set up, beach clean ups, replacing non-native with native plants, etc. I helped gather signatures to stop the 3000 condo zoning of Heart in the City. I exposed the environment study flaws that stopped the rezoning of Torrance Blvd for hundreds of condos. I served on the Citizens' Growth Management and Traffic Committee. I was a coauthor of Measure DD which gives all voters a say on major zoning changes throughout the City. I led the successful lawsuit that found the City violated the City Charter. I pointed out flaws with a proposed zoning change that would affect commercial zoning throughout the city...halting that change. And I am a co-author of Measure A. Way more than one issue on issues that affect the whole city. I could mention more, but this is ample evidence to disprove your unfounded and unsupported personal attack on me. You could at least do a little research before you go launch your ad hominem attacks.
Fred Reardon December 29, 2012 at 10:13 AM
People against Measure A want to "take" our clean air. Changing the zoning does not take AES's property. The zoning change prohibits AES from running an air pollution generating operation and leasing their property to an aquatic life killing desalination operation. After the zoning change, AES can do whatever they want with the property as long as it conforms to the zoning and doesn't involve sticking smoke stacks in our face. AES is the only entity trying to take something...our clean air. Therefore, those against Measure A, support threatening our health and safety. It's not a stretch to demonize them. Think of the elderly and the children of Redondo Beach when you cast your vote in March. Think about the toxic plume, with all its particulate matter, blowing into the windows of your family, your neighbors, and school children and ask who is responsible for this happening? We have municipal codes that state polluting the air is against the law. These laws should be enforced related to a new power plant operation. Of course I am against anyone who argues for more dangerous pollution.
Fred Reardon December 29, 2012 at 10:15 AM
You may ask what we Redondo Beach citizens attain from making arguments for Measure A? We get to stop a large corporation, that pollutes all over the world, from polluting our community. What are pro-power plant supporters getting for supporting all this new pollution? Probably money, fossil fuel contracts, reverse osmosis filter sales, campaign contributions, etc. Plant In My BackYard (PIMBYs) supporters say I'm a Bully for trying to stop a bunch of nasty toxic airborne chemicals from floating in our windows for years? These pro-pollution cheerleader arguments get more bizarre every day. Next they will be threatening to place Measure A supporters before Joseph McCarthy to testify and defend against the notion that anti particulate matter is un-American? Instead of running this current Joseph Goebbels like propaganda campaign, AES's efforts would be better served by developing a environmentally friendly plan for their property in Redondo Beach. With a little effort they could do so much good with the property and start healing their reputation. We can only hope that, before this is all over, AES will have an "Ebenezer Scrooge like" transformation and start doing right by their fellow man. Until then, plan on voting Yes on Measure A in March of 2013.
Grant Patterson January 07, 2013 at 06:11 AM
Jane, I just read the entire impartial analysis from our City Attorney, Mike Webb. There is no substantiation for your above claims. Zero.
Grant Patterson January 07, 2013 at 06:18 AM
Fred, you are correct about AES trying to take our clean air without compensating us for it. They are grandfathered in with regard to their emissions and don't have to comply with current Air Quality Management District (AQMD) standards. In fact, Exemption 1304, which the AQMD is giving them, prohibits AES from having to pay the Millions that would normally be required for them to dramatically increase such dangerous pollution. The Sentinel plant, a new plant coming online in the area this summer had to pay 53 Million to offset their toxic emissions. How much do you think AES Redondo will have to pay for the rebuild of this plant? Not a single penny. Hoodwinked isn't even the correct word for what they are doing to our community and what they are getting away with. Residents need to do their homework. The exemption they are using with their application is public knowledge and any resident can view their application and verify this data.
mark schoennagel February 22, 2013 at 05:56 PM
Dale one of the biggest problems I have with AES is that they take so much from the community, but give very little back. As Jim mentions they paid on $400,000 in taxes last year to Redondo Beach. Thats it. They employ a handful of people, less then 40 I have heard which will go down further with a new plant. In return, they lower our property values, keep people away from Redondo- instead opting for the Hermosa pier, they pollute, they are an eyesore, and sadly they lie. A lot. AES doesnt care about Redondo Beach. Not one lick. If they did the site would look a heck of a lot better now then it does, Long ago they could have torn down the non-function portions of the plant to be a good neighbor but they havent. They just dont care. I love the rendering AES just released of the new plant surround by a marvelous open grass area. How much do you want to bet if AES has it their way thats no all turned into miserable condos? If AES paid taxes I would surely agree with you Dale but the fact is they dont. Not enough to ruin our community. YES ON A!
mark schoennagel February 22, 2013 at 06:04 PM
Perhaps its because most of the people who seem to be against A dont use their full name. DR, Jane...then there is Kelly Sarkisian who decided to pick a last name, but it clearly isnt hers. The worst part DR is that these people never EVER post facts. Its just a one or two sentence reply to Jim usually fact filled responses. Stop hiding and post your real name and post some facts if you want to be taken seriously. Im a home owner in Redondo Beach and proud to take the fight to AES. If you believe what you write stop hiding, Dr.
David Mallen March 03, 2013 at 03:52 AM
From a conversation I had this morning with one of the finest coastal land-use attorneys in California: "If AES is foolish enough to sue after Measure A passes, the Court will dismiss the AES case within a few months and order AES to pay the City's attorneys' fees under the anti-SLAPP laws of California Code of Civil Procedure Section 425.16."
Dale Smith. March 07, 2013 at 08:54 AM
Looks like the people have spoken, the power plant will stay as it should. Hermosa Beach and Gardena are the only cities in the South Bay area that don't have a major industry supporting the region. Some of you day that AES is lowering the value of your homes, how can that be, I would bet that the power plant has been in operation longer than 99% of you have even owned property in Redondo Beach.
Grant Patterson March 07, 2013 at 04:36 PM
Dale, please give your expert reasoning for why the power plant in Redondo "should" stay. Is it a personal feeling or a professional analysis? A salt lake lagoon was there 99.9% longer than a power plant, should it have any rights?
David Mallen March 07, 2013 at 05:16 PM
Mr. Dale Smith: Always room for difference of opinion. I agree that very few people have spoken: less than 75% of registered voters. (Shameful?) I fear that some voters spoke based upon bogus fears of lawsuits and other false information spread by AES and City Council Traitors -- Aust, Kilroy, Diels, and Gin -- who behaved like paid lobbyists. We are taking the fight straight to Sacramento, to Gov. Jerry Brown, the California Energy Commission, and the PUC. Will you take action and make your voice heard? This is a health, safety, and business issue to many voters. AES can make hundreds of millions off its land and build a new plant on cheaper land and make more profits, and the people can have a better harbor area. Is that so much to ask?
Dale Smith. March 08, 2013 at 04:34 AM
I made my voice heard, I voted no, also, I am going file a complaint because there were people in front of the polling place telling everyone to vote yes on A. i think that is in direct violation of voting laws. Also a sign of desperation.


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