Blog: If You Can't Dazzle Them With Brilliance, Baffle Them With Bull

AES spending hundreds of thousands of dollars because they know Measure A is the only real threat to approval of their new power plant.

AES is showing its desperation. They know that Measure A is the only real threat to their application to build a new plant in our town. They know that the CEC will not likely override zoning approved by a vote of the residents. They know that the Redondo Plant is not critical to our grid reliability and that there are more critical sites and better alternatives than building a new plant in Redondo. 

AES’ only real hope is to deceive or scare residents into rejecting Measure A. And they are trying to do just that by spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to bombard us with unsupported fear mongering, intimidation, and inaccurate statements everywhere we turn. They have indundated our mailboxes. They have bought two ads on Verizon and Time Warner. They have plastered billboards along our roads—a first in Redondo politics. They have bought lawn signs. They have paid for robocalls and “push” polls. They have even paid residents to be their mouthpieces. 

This is our town. AES is a Virginia based, multi-billion dollar company that could care less about our community. AES Southland President, Eric Pendergraft does not live here. The AES Project Manager, Jennifer Didlo, does not live here. They want to build a new plant in our town and take the profits to Virginia. They don’t have to live with the  blight, pollution, and ruined views of a new power plant. We do.

But that is not enough for AES, they want more. If AES REALLY cared about the community, they would build the new plant in the middle of their property to provide the maximum buffer from all the surrounding uses. Instead, AES has moved the new plant as close as they possibly can to Redondo residential neighborhoods so they can free up the maximum amount of land to further increase their profits by adding mixed-use, commercial/residential waterfront development  on top of the new plant. So we get traffic and condos on top of the blight, pollution and ruined views—AES gets even more profits. Nice.  Some of our opposition calls that a “compromise”.

Look at the AES propaganda. None if it says we need power from this site. Most of them are one line statements about how devastating Measure A will be. The one statement about a "tidal wave of taxes" is from some guy from up north who is developing 600 homes in California. But there is never any substantiation or justification for any of the statements. 

In general their statements cannot be supported. Measure A is a zoning change.  It does not require AES to sell or give away their property. It does not obligate the City to buy any property. It does not raise taxes. It does not mandate a “regional” park.  The major difference between Measure A and current zoning is the phase out of power generation and replacing it with up to 433,333 square feet of commercial/institutional zoning ... the same density allowed in the harbor and pier zoning. Measure A zoning is on firm legal ground as it is built from existing city zoning, follows the recommendation of the 2004 City staff report, and includes input from three different land use legal firms. The City Attorney's Impartial Analysis of Measure A does not assess that the Measure A zoning is illegal or represents a "taking." The growing number of local attorney’s supporting Measure A shows they are not concerned about the legal grounds of Measure A.

I was particularly amused/disappointed with former Fire Chief Dan Madrigal putting his name to one of the most misleading and unsupported statements of the AES campaign. Here is a guy who lives in Laguna Hills, who living on the $200K+ salary PLUS health care benefits that WE taxpayers must pay for the rest of his life, helping AES with their unsupported fear campaign. 

Madrigal claims Measure A hurts funding for first responders while increasing the need for staff. This statement does not bear scrutiny. 

First off, City revenue from all 50 acres of the AES site is less than 1% of the total city revenues… in fact City revenue from AES barely covers Madrigal’s retirement benefits. The AES site produces less city revenue per acre than any other commercial/industrial use in the City. The pier/harbor parking lot produces way more. On top of that, a City study and staff reports call the power plant the “major blighting influence” in the harbor. The study shows substantial business revenue and property value depression in the harbor area, attributed to the presence of the power plant. In fact, the City and County formally deemed the property “blighted.” So not only does AES not pay its fair share, it depresses City revenues from the surrounding community. The commercial portion of Measure A would blow away the City revenues from AES—and removing the blighting influence will further increase city revenues from the surrounding community. So Measure A is BETTER for funding firefighters and police.

Secondly, AES and the former fire chief assert that open space requires more police and firefighter staffing. But a recent look at crime statistics reveals otherwise. Over a 90-day period, Veteran’s Park had just six police reports—none were violent crime or theft. Over the same period, the Riviera Village had 32 police reports and the area surrounding the Galleria Mall (they don’t report the crime that takes place at the mall) had a whopping 137 police reports—both areas had theft, assault and vandalism. The fear mongering that Measure A’s open space creates a greater need for police and fire staff is just not supported by the evidence.

I could take on each of AES’ unsupported fear-mongering statements, but I think you get the drift. 

AES used this same approach to defeat the ballot measure that would have required them to pay their fair share of City tax revenues. Councilman Aspel was quoted by the Easy Reader:  

“We estimate that by the end they spent $300,000 to $400,000 to send out campaign flyers with misstatements and outright lies.”  “Unfortunately, people who voted by absentee ballots were voting based on fear and not the truth. I firmly believe people were duped by AES….”

Don’t let yourself be duped by AES and their seemingly bottomless pocket book.  AES is desperate because they know Measure A is the ONLY serious threat to their application to build a new plant. Residents can never match AES’ campaign expenditures. But look which arguments are better supported and reasoned. Look who takes the time and effort to substantiate their statements.

Vote for a better future for our town. Vote for a waterfront free from industrial blight. Vote for cleaner air in our community. Vote for increased city revenues. Vote to make our town the Crown Jewel of the South Bay. Vote for a legacy we can all be proud of. 

Vote Yes on Measure A.

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 February 26, 2013 at 06:14 PM
Not sure what you are asking Michael. Measure A zoning allows the same density of development as the harbor area. That is up to 433,000 sq feet of development, which would generate more city revenues than the $365K AES generates today for the city. The City estimates the 45 room Shade Hotel would generate $550K per year of the city... so just one boutique hotel on the site would generate more than AES does on 50 waterfront acres today. Plus, with the blighting impacts removed, surrounding business revenues and property values would go up further increasing City revenunes.
Jim Light February 26, 2013 at 06:16 PM
Yes the AFL CIO wants their 20 permanent positions for the whole power plant and the temporary construction jobs. This is short sighted and robs Redondo of hundreds of permanent jobs.
David Mallen March 03, 2013 at 04:12 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."
David Mallen March 03, 2013 at 04:12 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."
Wolfman March 24, 2013 at 04:52 PM
Facebook, Aol,Huffpost,and now Patch just delete posts they don't agree with is Un American


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