Blog: Hats Off to Volunteer Signature Gatherers

Volunteer signature gatherers follow the footsteps of our nation's forefathers.

For the past two weeks, about 100 volunteers have been giving up their free time to collect petition signatures to get the Power Plant Phase-Out Initiative on the ballot. These dedicated citizens have walked door-to-door or stood at Redondo grocery stores, farmers markets and other locations giving up their summer in the hottest conditions this year. While it it is great to meet residents who are supportive of the cause to rid our waterfront of the 's industrial blight and pollution, I don't think there is a single volunteer who doesn't have things they'd rather be doing. My hat is off to all of them.

What makes these volunteers tick? 

Most see this as a once in a generation opportunity. The last time Redondo had this opportunity was 1944. 

That opportunity was pushed to the wayside by the post World War II housing boom and the need for locally generated electricity. At that time the grid had much more limited transmission capability, plus ocean water cooling was much cheaper and at the time the area was already industrialized. But in 1960 construction of King Harbor was started west of the power plant... this represented a game changer and started the influx of incompatible residential and commercial uses. Fast forward 68 years, and we find a rarely used power plant that is non-essential to grid reliability tightly surrounded by high density residential, hotel and commercial development right up to its property lines. 

Many of the signature gatherers do not want to let this opportunity slide by again. 

Some are parents concerned about the impact of the air pollution on their children. Some are businessmen and women concerned about the negative impact on surrounding business revenues. Some just want a new waterfront residents can be proud of. 

And some signature gatherers were sparked into volunteering due to a sense of justice. These volunteers were so offended by AES' deceptive and heavy-handed marketing campaign that they felt something had to be done. Many residents have complained to us about the forcefulness of the AES phone survey where they felt the caller was trying to bully them into saying they support a new power plant. It has come to light that many of the pro-power plant speakers at the last council meeting that addressed the power plant issue, were treated to a cocktail party by AES at just prior to the city council meeting. And many saw right through the misleading AES mailer sent to about 10,000 residents. For example, AES' use of pollution statistics for the whole L.A. Basin and Orange County to try to imply a new Redondo plant adds little to our pollution. This marketing flies in the face of an AQMD official's testimony that in Redondo, the power plant and traffic are the two main sources of air pollution. And, that as a fixed source of pollution the power plant is a very substantial polluter for those in proximity to it. The deceptiveness of AES' marketing campaign drove these residents to take action.

And a large majority of the volunteers are appalled at the inaction of the city council. The bottom line is, if the city council did their job and fulfilled their obligation to represent the voters, there would be no initiative in the first place.

But regardless of their motivation, the signature gatherers follow in the tradition of our nation's forefathers. When the government ceases to adequately represent the people, the people take action. These signature gatherers are true patriots and represent the biggest force in democracy—the power of the people. They are what makes this country so great. 

A debt of gratitude

Redondo and Hermosa residents owe these signature gatherers their gratitude. Rather than sit around and complain about AES and our Council's refusal to act, they stood up and dedicated themselves to fight to get the issue in front of the voters. They voluntarily sacrifice their summer... their time off, time with their families, and time when they could be doing any of the other things that consume our time when we are not at work. 

These volunteer signature gatherers refuse to squander this once in a lifetime opportunity. And they are not afraid to take on a multi-billion dollar company from Virginia... a true David versus Goliath battle. And in doing so, their fight benefits the present and future generations of residents and businesses in Redondo Beach and Hermosa Beach. 

So when you see one of these crusaders at your door step, walking down your street, or standing in front of a grocery store, please consider stopping and giving them your thanks for their sacrifice and dedication. A little pat on the back goes a long way.

Oh, and also give them your signature if you are an eligible Redondo Beach voter who has not signed the petition yet. ;)  

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 September 28, 2012 at 12:53 AM
If someone makes an attack on those who oppose the power plant by namecalling or opinion without any basis in fact or in denial of the facts, I call it out. When the argument parrots the same unsupported or misleading rhetoric used by AES then I call it "drinking the AES Kool-Aid". For example AES uses LA Basin and Orange County-wide statistics on pollution sources to try to fool us into believing how little AES contributes to our air pollution. But, the AQMD rep testimony to city council verified what we have been saying... in Redondo Beach our main contributors to air pollution are cars and the power plant...and as a stationary source, the power plant impacts can be more critical. That is an example of how AES has published misleading facts to fool the public. When we publish a number or fact about the power plant and its impacts we have a reference and in most cases we have posted that reference for any of the public to make their own assessment. Actually, I might be more accurate to label it "drinking the AES cocktail". It is now well known that the one Council meeting that had a number of pro-power plant speakers was immediately preceded by an AES sponsored cocktail party at Chart House.
Robert Greene September 28, 2012 at 05:05 AM
Again you take the facts and skew to suit yourself. An event was hosted by the RB Chamber before the Council mtg. to which you refer. It was not a "cocktail party" nor was it sponsored by AES. The people who spoke later at the meeting did so because of their beliefs. It was a gathering of people who supported the compromise position that AES offers. No one was coerced into speaking after a cocktail. They're adults. They make their own decisions. BBR and NoPowerPlant hold meetings and rallies all the time. So, according to your logic from above, I guess that all people who've attended Council meetings and spoke pro initiative must have been at a BBR Kool Aid party. Otherwise, why would they get up and speak? They must have really been persuaded by the Kool Aid to voice their opinions against AES because the Kool Aid was soooo good and sponsored by BBR! YOU'RE A HYPOCRITE! You continue to finger point while doing the same thing you accuse AES of doing. I called you out on it and you just turned around and did it again. Hey, you should run for office! Your double speak will make you a great politician. It is insulting that you continue to insist that people are "on the AES payroll" or "drinking the AES kool-aid or now as you so claim, cocktail" if they support a compromise position that differs from your own. BBR and newcomers to your organization were entered into a raffle to win a trip to Hawaii to join on and gather signatures.
Jim Light September 28, 2012 at 05:45 AM
The difference between NPP's parties and the AES party is that at NPP parties, people donate to fight the power plant. A supporter donated time at their condo in Hawaii. Supporters bought tickets. The winner is responsible for their other expenses. NPP did not put out any money to fund the prize. We had residents, a councilman, and a reporter give us a different account of the pre-Council party. I never said people were not there of their own free will - you said that. Are you saying AES was not there? Who picked up the tab? The Chamber is a joke in this case. With AES as a Platinum sponsor of the Chamber, the chamber's position is conflicted. Several of their members have voiced their opposition and disappointment that the Chamber never even polled their members before taking a position. The division of the Chamber members was highlighted in an LA Business Journal article. AES does not offer a compromise. They want a new power plant AND mixed use development on the rest of their property. They engaged developers and have yet to hold a public input meeting. Residents get more traffic, more power plant blight, more pollution... AES gets even more profit. You call that a compromise?
Alexander Starr September 28, 2012 at 05:49 AM
"Resident reports AES compensating/incentivising residents to do community outreach" Read details at: http://aesredondomustgo.blog.com/page/4/
Jim Light September 28, 2012 at 05:55 AM
It is funny that out of a dozen City Council meetings regarding the power plant, the only one that any real turnout (about 30 people) of supporters for the power plant was the one where the party preceded it. It is also funny that the Council railed when one of the 70 some power plant opponents at the meeting commented the supporters must have bused in. We now know the Council was aware of the pre-party. Perhaps they should not have been so indignant as they knew the truth was not far off.


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