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Blog: AES on the Run; San Diego City Council Opposes New Power Plant

AES runs scared while elected officials in another community oppose a new power plant.

While waiting for the results of the power plant phase-out petition signature count (the County is about one third complete), residents scored a minor victory showing that AES is running scared. This week, AES announced they have delayed their application so that they can add a shell around the plant in their plan. AES must think residents are stupid to think we'd suddenly roll over just because the plant is behind a wall... an 80 foot high wall.  An 80 foot high wall with three smoke stacks emitting more pollution. An 80 foot high wall moved closer to residential neighborhoods with three smokestacks emitting more pollution closer to the ground. An 80 foot high wall that requires the high tension lines down 190th forever. This is an insult... but it proves two things:

1) AES will do the minimum possible to get this thing built; otherwise, why wasn't the shell building in their original plan?

2) AES is afraid of the resident initiative.

We got them on the run! So stay the course. Keep the pressure on. We can win this one!

Meanwhile, another community is opposing a new power plant. The proposed Quail Brush 100MW peaker plant would be just outside the town of Santee. The plant would be on private property on open space outside of the town. In this case, Santee School Board, Santee Planning Commission, Santee City Council, and San Diego City Council all oppose the new plant. These organizations oppose the plant because of the pollution impact on residents, students and teachers, and the environmental and visual impact on a nearby park, Mission Trails. This plant is in an area that projections show needs more power in the future, especially with San Onofre down. The plant is 1/5th the size of that proposed in Redondo. The plant is in open space outside of town. Yet these organizations stood up to protect their residents.

Where is our School Board, Planning Commission and City Council?  

Why aren't they looking out for us the same way Santee and San Diego elected officials look out for their constituents?

In its new location our plant will be just hundreds of feet from residential neighborhoods along Catalina. It is 5x the size of the propose Quail Brush power plant. It will have 6,500 students within a 1.5 mile radius. Its lower stacks will release more pollution right into these neighborhoods. The City's own studies show the economic impact of the plant. These studies show that our plant is tightly ringed on all sides by incompatible uses, unlike the Quail Brush plant site in Santee. These studies call the plant the "major blighting influence" in the harbor. AQMD reps have testified to our Council on the health risks of these pollutants and that for several there is no safe limit of exposure. And the CAISO rep testified we can retire one ocean water cooled plant in our part of the grid. This is a no-brainer.

We voted them in. AES didn't. Why won't our elected officials do their job to protect surrounding businesses, residents and our children?  

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.

Bob Boren October 01, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Mike2, thanks. You get it.
Bob Boren October 01, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Lol....Mike2, I knew we would get the usual from this idiot. Hermosa is on the hook for 17.5M because of what their idiot "community organizers" talked them into, or as little as 3.5M if they let a different company do drilling very similar to what Macpherson wanted to do in the first place......but that's only the settlement amounts. How much did the legal team retained by Hermosa cost on top of the settlement amounts? Probably lots, because litigation went on for 14 YEARS.
Jim Light October 01, 2012 at 09:46 PM
Mike2 - We invite anyone to post the facts that back up their opinions. Niether you nore Bob Buttercup have done that to date. It's easy to simply naysay. If you believe what you say, you should have some basis. I'm glad you brought up the zoning. First, this is an upzoning. If the CEC approves the power plant application, the initiative zoning won't matter. If the CEC disapproves it, it's not rocket science to understand that waterfront commercial is much more valuable than industrial zoning. Besides, the Coastal Commission wouldn't approve other industrial uses at that site even if our city is dumb enough to try. So, we started with the density of development allowed across the entire pier and harbor area, derived the density per acre, and allocated that to the 52 acre AES site. That is where our development cap comes from. Then we took the Coastal Conservancy recommended land split and allocated the cap to that area to derive the FAR and height limits. So the AES property allows the same density as the pier/harbor area. Our zoning is equivalent to the zoning right across the street. It is unreasonable to assume AES should get more density than the rest of the harbor. The initiative gives AES plenty of land value. It is more than fair. The city did not go broke on any of the lawsuits you brought up. So what is your basis for crying the sky is falling here? It is baseless fear mongering. If you don't believe my facts, bring your own. We're all ears.
Jim Light October 01, 2012 at 10:08 PM
AES had a company appraise their land and submitted it to the State Board of Equalization. The valuation was $10 per square foot. The Board allowed them $180M in 2004 for the 28 acres that make up the actual plant. based on revenues from AES' power contract that expires in 2018. So without the contract and with a power plant that can't operate, that would bring the total land value to under $23M for all 52 acres. According to one local appraiser, you could expect up to $25 per sq ft in an established industrial park. So AES' land would be worth under $57M at best under the current zoning assuming the CEC denies their application. 15-20 acres of waterfront commercial would be worth far more. AES may sue, but they don't have much of a leg to stand on.
Jim Light October 01, 2012 at 10:24 PM
LOL Bob Buttercup - the Hermosa case all revolves around the city breaking a signed contract. Apples and oranges my friend. The initiative is a zoning action. The initiative let's AES complete their power generation contract. If the CEC overrides the initiative, then AES has nothing to sue on because the zoning has been overridden. If the CEC denies AES' application, the zoning gives AES more value for their land.
Alexander Starr October 02, 2012 at 03:16 AM
Mike2 and Bob Boren = Dumb and Dumber (aka ASPEL and DIELS), ignore documented facts and civil discussion, screaming insults with no data to back-up their arguments.....You two fit perfectly this famous line: “It is a tale . . . full of sound and fury; signifying nothing.” This quote from Macbeth.
Bob Boren October 02, 2012 at 03:54 AM
Hey, Alex, FO you stupid statist cretin.
Jim Light October 02, 2012 at 04:55 AM
Real class. Case closed.
Bob Boren October 02, 2012 at 05:16 AM
Same to you, Light. At least I'm not lying to the public. See you on Election Day, statist.
Jim Light October 02, 2012 at 05:42 AM
No lies here. You just have an aversion to data and testimony from state representatives. Election day is what the initiative is all about. When you have no valid argument, name calling is all that's left.
Mike2 October 04, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Jim Light you definitely know how to get someones anger flowing. Of course your blind follower Alexander uses name calling but that is fine. Do you ever consider the point that everyone else is wrong unless they agree with your narrow opinion. Your brown shirts of course follow you lock step. For instance Alexander calls two sitting council members names but how much time has he spent helping the city. I believe Council members Diels and Aspel have given combined 32 years of service Redondo Beach and that's just on commissions and the city council. You on the other hand Jim Light ran for election and lost then demanded you be placed on a commission then promptly quit because "Waaa No one listens to me." Reasonable people don't listen to you because your narrow points of view are bad for Redondo and unrealistic. After taking your ball and going home. Waaa. You go out and rally up poor unsuspecting uneducated residents and indoctrinate them into the Jim Light and Bill Brand school of "what we say is right and what everyone else says regardless of their experience is wrong. You then bring your followers down to the council meeting to have them regurgitate your crap and then when they are not speaking interrupt the council with childlike cat calls. Jim Light you are a real classy guy. Although I would not wish you on anyone please move to another city. Anywhere. Please.
DR October 04, 2012 at 03:16 PM
I wanted to share one important fact that jim Light left out. The San Diego example is based on a company attempting to site a power plant on land that is currently used for open space. It would convert non-industrial land to industrial land. This is not the situation we have here in Redondo Beach.
Alexander Starr October 04, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Mike2 wrote: " Diels and Aspel have given combined 32 years of service Redondo Beach " There lies the crux of RB's problem (and nationally). People know the political system is broken and corrupted by special interests. RB is a text-book example of how it's historical and current politicians have destroyed our old downtown, approved huge develpoments that have blocked ocean views at the Esplanade, and tried to ram a 3000 condo project at the AES site (aka "Heart of the City" scam). Now these same type of politicians want a new powerplant, while ignoring all state agencies reports saying it's not needed for grid reliability. The same politicians that are now fast-tracking and choosing a developer for the Harbor Redevelopment with minimum resident input. Yeah, 32 plus years of the same old game, right Aspel? Time to get rid of the political racket that has done so much damage to RB. If it was not for resident activism, Bill Brand, Jim Light, Nopowerplant.com, hundreds of volunteers), we would have the 3000 condos nightmare completed, measure DD would never have happened, and AES will build a new power plant that will blight our shores and pollute our children for the next generations. THAT would be the legacy of Aspel, Gin, Kilroy, Diels, and Aust----if they have their way..........
Jim Light October 04, 2012 at 10:49 PM
DR - You are right. I did not go that level of detail in the blog article, but I did clearly lay that out in my response to Stu. But that said, you are missing the point. For two years Councilman Brand has made motions for the Council to make a simple resolution declaring the Council opposes a new power plant. Each of the Council has stated its the wrong place for a power plant. Councilman Diels letter to Congressman Waxman says the Council opposes it. The City Attorney said there is no grounds to sue on such a resolution. But after two years, our Council has done nothing to officially oppose a power plant. You read a person's true mind in what they do not what they say. And notice the reasons the two council's and the School Board gave for opposing it. The same one's residents have been stating. They have a current and projected local generation shortage. We do not... Redondo is not listed as critical in any CEC or CAISO document. Their plant would be outside of town surrounded by open space. Ours will be across the street from our densely packed neighborhoods and is surrounded on all sides by incompatible uses. Their prevailing winds take the pollutants away from the town. Ours blows the pollutants into our neighborhoods. Somehow, despite all this, Santee and San Diego Council's oppose a new power plant while ours has done nothing. That is the point DR.
Jim Light October 04, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Just like Aspel in Measure G. He sent out a broadcast email saying those who oppose Measure G should leave town. Nice... my way or the highway. You have not heard anything like that from our side. What we will do is point out when someone says something, but does another or when their argument is flawed or baseless. Once again you have your facts wrong. Mayor Hill asked me to be on Public Works after my role in Heart of the City. I resigned when they were going to state that I supported a document I never got the chance to review. That is an integrity issue. I am in the good company of several other Commissioners who resigned due to shoddy practices including Gary Ohst and Alex Bannerman. So I never begged to be on anything. I did not cry. I did not go to the papers. I resigned and my letter explained that it was for integrity. I ran for office two years AFTER that. Out of five candidates I made the runoff. Aspel was a political insider with 8 years on the Planning Commission and strong ties to the Chamber and Rotary. Due to a new job, I could not walk the district. So between those, I lost that election. I am not sure what a loss in an election has to do with opposing the power plant. I subsequently served on the Citizens' Growth Management and Traffic Committee at the invite of Mayor Gin. While many dropped out, I stayed to the end.
Jim Light October 04, 2012 at 11:04 PM
And you have more facts wrong. I have not asked people to go to the council meetings on the power plant. Not sure where you get your data. But you don't seem to mind putting out inaccuracies. Yes, we've educated the public and we've cited and posted our references. WE support our statements with evidence. We point out when someone makes an argument that has no basis in data or is in contradiction with the evidence. Unlike yourself and Councilman Aspel, I've never suggested that people with opposing opinions should leave town. So, who are the bullies here, Mike2?
Mike2 October 05, 2012 at 01:34 AM
Alexander your pathetic. If you don't know the difference between career politicians in Washington who get paid way to much and don't have to live with the bills they pass and local city council members and commissioners who get a small stipends, if that, then what are you doing even chiming in. Oh, and Light and Brand had very little to do with defeating heart of the city. That was Chris Cagle who led that charge. But like the liars they are Light and Brand like to take credit. Please Alexander what have you done for our City. What time have you given, save maybe help get an initiative on the ballot that will end up costing us taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars because either you have no concept of property values and economics or you simply listen to whatever BBR tells you.
Jim Light October 05, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Mike2 - instead of calling names, why don't you tell us what you've done? We are prepared for the character attacks - bullying and name calling is the refuge of those with no supportable argument. Once again, setting the record straight... I never took credit for Heart of the City referendum drive, but there were a core of us who met and worked actions and strategies. I did the traffic analysis that showed the EIR to be flawed. When the Planning Commission and City Council ignored it, I wrote my first ever letter to the editor. Chris called me about putting out an LTE for a group get together. Chris then called the group together. So I give Chris full credit for taking the lead, but there were many key players... Jim and Ellen Allen, Chris, Jess Money and others. It took lots of people to get the signatures required in three weeks. Chris did not do this alone. I am sure he would say that himself. So your history is a bit myopic. As we've asked before please provide us your basis for "hundreds of millions of dollars". You keep throwing that out but you have yet to substantiate it.
Alexander Starr October 05, 2012 at 02:06 AM
Mike2. These "local council members" destroyed our old downtown, tried to cram 3000 condo project near the beach, approved massive developments on the Esplanade, and now do not oppose a new powerplant that will blight our coast for generations. These council members have been and can be as dangerous to our quality of life as are those career politicians in Washington. Residents have been fighting against overdevelopment in S. Ca. for decades, and RB is no different. Regarding you fear-mongering arguments and spin, each one is easily answered with DOCUMENTED reports and State and City data at: http://aesredondomustgo.blog.com/power-plant-faqs/
Fred Reardon October 06, 2012 at 10:41 AM
Statism? Are you kidding? Listen up Fruitcake, such JV squad, short sighted, Ayn Rand interpretation. All your objectivism is fine as long as it doesn't harm others. You contradict yourself by not applying private property concerns to individual RB citizens. Your anti-statism and more purely, existentialism slant, should more appropriately consider the individual rights and freedoms of Redondo Beach individuals as the starting point of such philosophical thinking. The threats of law suits and doing nothing together do not suffice to understand the RB citizen's human existence. Our government officials lack "authenticity" which is necessary to understand the RB citizens existence. Your argument must not only relate to private property (land) but also the air we breathe...our private property.
Fred Reardon October 06, 2012 at 10:42 AM
Redondo Beach, shrug the weight of pollution that others would have placed on our shoulders. Stand up for your individual right to clean air. Don't let the "state" take away your quality of life and your property values by sentencing you to years of living beside a neighbor (power plant) that seeks to pollute and devalue your surroundings. Take Bobs underlying theme to the Varsity squad level and fight for your property value, clean air (private property), clean landscape, and individual rights. If anyone is a statist, its Bob for attempting to burden us by shouldering the weight of the new power plant's negative impacts. Our life's work, our air, our property values do not belong to Bob or "the state." Even if it were for the collective good to have a new power plant, which the facts prove otherwise, it's not worth poisoning RB citizens individual freedom and health. So take your misguided view of statism and follow its true logical path to, which would more nobly, reflect the individual rights of Redondo citizens instead of those who seek to profit at our expense. The essence of opposing this landscape, noise, and air pollution is the concept of a heroic community, with its happiness and health as its moral and ethical purpose.
Bob Boren October 06, 2012 at 06:50 PM
@Fred, thanks very much for reminding of me of Rand - she is probably laughing at you right now. This situation is very similar to the main story in the first section of Rand's masterpiece "Atlas Shrugged" - she was making a very strong point against governments, crony capitalists, and special interest pressure groups that use a scare tactic to take another persons property away from them. We have Rearden Steel Company...Hank Rearden has invented a new alloy that is many times lighter and stronger than normal steel. He can't sell it to anybody, because the crony capitialists who have paid off the Government officials know that they will either lose business to Rearden or have to pay royalties to him as soon as this much superior product comes out. The government has been pushing Rearden to give his invention to either the goverment or the crony capitalists because it would give him an "unfair" advantage. But the real bottom line is that Rearden owns something that they want to steal, so they go on a public campaign to tell the public that Rearden Metal is a grave danger to "public safety". Jim Light is doing the same thing - using "grave danger to public safety" as a tool to take AES's property away. In the book, the concerns about the safety of Rearden Metal was BS, but there were all kinds of "facts and figures" from Gov. agencies presented. Light quotes the same kind of nonsense in his campaign to steal or make un-usable the property that AES owns. Pretty easy to see.
Jim Light October 06, 2012 at 07:40 PM
HeyBobby, please enlighten us on the facts that support your statements. Developers have confirmed that our zoning is workable. So how does the initiative make the property "unusable"? You neglect to mention that we also quote the impacts economically on the City and surrounding properties. These impacts are intuitively obvious, but they are backed by city studies. Please show us any substantiation of your arguments. You have yet to do that.
Bob Boren October 06, 2012 at 09:09 PM
LOL....you really don't get it, do you? People have lived next to Coal Fired power plants for years, and health concerns aren't as bad with those as you portray clean Natural Gas fired plants to cause. I don't need your phony facts and figures. I can't prove them wrong any more than you can prove them right - all you can do is point to sources and say they are reliable. I don't trust your sources (including and especially government agency sources). If you are that worried about a Natural Gas power plant that doesn't even run all the time, then you'd better start working on shutting down PCH, because the cars on that road are spewing more stuff into the air than the power plant will. And that's 24/7, day after day. Please don't insult our intelligence about the "zoning being workable". It's a taking, just the same as it would be if you re-zoned a McDonalds to not allow food preparation. AES is a power company. If you pull the rug out from under them, they can't use their property anymore. As I said many times, I've got your number. I'll continue to hammer away at you, AS I SEE FIT, and that doesn't include following your "instructions" and arguing over details in your facts and figures that mean nothing and have no bearing at all on the larger issue. In Rand's book, the statists were always trying to drag Reardon into an argument over the "danger" of his metal, too. Thats a no-win situation - the providers of the info knew the "facts" were false, but didn't care. Why bother?
Bob Boren October 06, 2012 at 09:14 PM
And as to the "property value" impact of the Power Plant....what a load of BS. Property values are quite high in the area of question, and you know it. Are they as high as Manhattan Beach? No, but they stack up really well against Hermosa. The quality of the housing inventory and proximity to freeways and high paying jobs aren't as good in South Redondo as they are in Manhattan Beach. That is why the property values aren't as high. It's not the damn power plant. Please......
Jim Light October 06, 2012 at 09:54 PM
Bob, Bob, Bob - "It's a taking, just the same as it would be if you re-zoned a McDonalds to not allow food preparation." Wrong again. The City did just that when they passed the 1992 General Plan change. The industrial area on Ruxton was rezoned residential. The Commercial area along Catalina where the Catalina Coffee Company is was rezoned residential. So, Bob, the City does this all the time. That wasn't a taking and neither is this. If you do a little homework, you will find plenty more examples. The company's on Ruxton sold their property to developers. AES can do the same if they want after the zoning passes. Your arguments do not stand scrutiny.
Jim Light October 06, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Bob, are you serious? Do you believe what you just wrote? This one is REALLY easy. Ask any real estate agent. Or, take a look at a residential unit just off Catalina in the harbor area and then compare to a similar residential unit a mile south of the power plant. The City did a very comprehensive study, but you can do it yourself. It is not rocket science. It is intuitively obvious. There are no two ways about it, proximity to the plant impacts property values. If you can't see it and you REALLY believe it yourself, you are in denial. Saying it over and over again doesn't make it true, Bob. The evidence proves you wrong.
Fred Reardon October 08, 2012 at 08:01 AM
Again Bob, consider everyones private property rights and our rights to clean air not just those of the polluter. The polluter will take away our clean air and diminish our property values. Therefore your argument is hypocritical since you elected to support a situation that takes away our rights...a true statist mindset. Go back to silicon valley and get a refresher course.
Fred Reardon October 08, 2012 at 08:09 AM
Bob and the power plant cheerleaders want to steal something we own...clean air, our private property values, our landscape via more pollution, and our health. That is why we will vote, to stop the statists from sticking smoke stacks in our face.
Fred Reardon October 08, 2012 at 08:29 AM
So it boils down to AES's rights to pollute and RB citizens rights to clean air. Therefore, let's put it to a vote. Surely Ayn Rand would have supported a democratic vote or she would have moved back to Russia? Let's see how many RB citizens support the health risks and new smoke stacks. Let's see how your statist argument holds up by opposing democracy.

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