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Measure A Would Increase City Revenues While Eliminating Power Plant Impacts

Carlsbad study corroborates Measure A proponents' position that the zoning would increase city revenues.

In 2008, the city of Carlsbad commissioned a study looking at potential city revenues from their power plant site. The site has a current power plant and the power plant operator wanted to add another new plant to the site. Carlsbad studied a variety of scenarios that ranged from all power generation; to mixes of power generation, commercial, hotel and park uses; mixes of commercial, hotel, and park uses without any power generation, and a new power plant plus a desalination plant.

The scenarios with no power plant and all commercial/hotel/park uses outperformed all scenarios that included a power plant. This study shows that Measure A zoning is better for Redondo Beach revenues than the alternative of building the new plant and allowing AES to add commercial development to the rest of the site. Measure A provides more revenue for the city while eliminating the negative environmental, health and financial impacts of the power plant on the surrounding neighborhoods and businesses.

Extrapolating the results of this study for Measure A, results in projected City of Redondo revenues of about $8.5 million per year. Current city revenues from AES are under $400,000 per year. On top of that, City studies show the power plant decreases business revenue and property value growth, decreasing city revenues from property, hotel and business sales taxes and placing the success of our new $100+ million harbor revitalization at risk. A new power plant is bad for city revenues.

Even with San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station offline during our worst heatwaves in years, AES Redondo Beach only ran at a paltry 6.18 percent of capacity through the first nine months of 2012. CAISO studies and testimony to the City Council demonstrate that we don’t need power from a power plant in Redondo. 

Now AES’ application shows that particulate pollution will increase from the 3.3 tons per year AES reports on the current plant to a projected 17.1 tons at AES’ lowest projected run rate. Their new cleaner plant will pollute more because it will run more.

We don’t need the power. AES and City studies show the significant negative environmental and financial impacts of the power plant. And now the Carlsbad study provides solid evidence that Measure A zoning would result in substantial increases in city revenue from its commercial/hotel development alone without even considering the increased tax revenue from increases in surrounding property values and harbor area business revenues.  

The building evidence paints a very clear and compelling picture. Do we vote for reduced city and business revenues, decreased property values, increased pollution, and 50 years of blighting impacts; OR, increased city and business revenues, increased property values, decreased pollution, and elimination of harbor area blighting influence? 

Voting Yes on Measure A is a no-brainer.

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 January 04, 2013 at 04:27 AM
Jim, is there a mayoral candidate who endorses measure A? As a new resident of district 1, you'll be getting my vote.
Jim Light January 04, 2013 at 04:53 AM
Thanks Jim! I do not believe any of the Mayoral candidates have endorsed Measure A. Matt Kilroy has been openly campaigning against it. Steve Aspel said he would not campaign against it, but he won't endorse it either. I've not heard Pat Aust's position, but he did not support it from his Council position. Bill Brand is the only Councilman who has adamantly fought a new power plant. Bill and I coauthored Measure AA, though much of it came from public input over the six months we posted and briefed the zoning. Bill is running for reelection for District 2 Council. Actually, had the Council take firm action, we would not have written Measure A. WE only started drafting it after it was apparent the Council would do nothing.
Robert Keane January 04, 2013 at 06:08 AM
You state that " Measure A provides more revenue......" that is a lie pure and simple and nowhere in Measure A is any revenue generating item. You cannot be trusted to tell the truth. What is a fact, is that the city will shell out millions to AES in legal fees. Why compromise and get rid of that ugly plant and get something manageable in return. The are liars, there are damn liars and there are politicians. Good luck getting any votes.
Jim Light January 04, 2013 at 06:50 AM
Robert, You cannot have read Measure A or the City attorney's summary. Measure A allows up to 430,000 sq ft of commercial development. The same density as the harbor. No lies. Three land use and environmental lawyers volunteered their time to educate the public on the legalities of Measure A. All three concluded Measure A is legal and would withstand legal challenge. While AES can sue, all three lawyers felt they would lose. The lawyers volunteered their time because they were appalled by the legal fear mongering.
Kelly Sarkisian January 04, 2013 at 07:47 AM
I beleive those lawyers could afford to "volunteer" their time after lining their pockets with the publics money in the BBR suit. Either way it's not a double blind study you are citing. It's just some lawyers who agreed with what you told them. Johnny Cochrin agreed with OJ too. The legality of the measure I am not concerned about. The lawsuit AES will level against the city is my main concern. I really hope I don't get to say " I told you so" as it will mean disaster for the city.
John Wike January 04, 2013 at 10:17 AM
Kelly, the proposed power plant will be a disaster for the entire south bay, exposing residents to 5-15 times more of the current deadly particulate emissions than we are currently faced with, 3 new smoke stacks lower to the ground and closer to our lungs, no chance of removing the massive power lines that mar so many peoples' views, lowered property values and reduced city revenues for at least the next 50 years!
Jim Light January 04, 2013 at 02:43 PM
Kelly, Yes Kelly. The sky is falling. If Measure A passes the city will go bankrupt. A tsunami will inundate all of South Redondo. An asteroid will plow North Redondo under. And any remaining BBR and NPP supporters will be turned into a pillar of salt. Once again youdon't seem to care about facts. First, two of the lawyers have never had any relationship with BBR or NPP. Second, BBR's lawyer waited for two years to get paid. Let's see you that long without being paid. Third, three judges found that the fees were reasonable. Fourth, the city could have avoided the all legal fees if they had not voted to violate the City Charter. Fifth, the city could have cut the bills in half had they chosen not to appeal the first judge's ruling. Please point out some case law that shows where a specific element of Measure A is illegal. The three indepedent lawyers all provided case law that supports that Measure A is legal.
Robert Keane January 04, 2013 at 05:00 PM
Ummm.....yeah.....not quite. Those power lines do not belong to AES, they belong to Edison and they are not going anywhere, power plant or no power plant. Measure does NOTHING TO REMOVE POWER LINES. The only thing that reduces property values in this city is the bottom falling out of the housing market city, and even then, it wasn't too bad. Redondo Beach has held its value and is a great place to live. Finally, the only reducing in city revenues is the payout to AES and its lawyers.
Robert Keane January 04, 2013 at 05:06 PM
No Jim. That's not what you wrote.What you wrote was "Measure A provides more revenue..." what you are saying now is, "Measure A has a possibility of maybe drawing revenue" Perhaps if you educated yourself a bit more on the political process and what a revenue stream is and isn't you wouldn't have lost all those elections. Educated voters with more than one issue see through your smoke and mirrors.
Jim Light January 04, 2013 at 06:57 PM
Robert, You are not quite accurate here. The initiative does call for the eventual removal of the substation, though it does not specify a timeline. We have a stong possiblity of removing the power lines if we get rid of the power plant. We have no chance if the plant is rebuilt.
Jim Light January 04, 2013 at 09:04 PM
Robert, you are quibbling. Measure A makes substations a non-conforming use. We did not specify a timeline for its removal but it does stipulate as soon as practical. We believe, based on an independent power expert's assessment, that there is one grid intertie at the AES substation. The tie is for two grid nodes that both go through the same substation near the 405. Interconnecting the nodes at the 405 rather than at AES would not be difficult. So if the power plant retires, the City has a strong case to go to SCE and the state to work the removal of those lines. The power expert caveated this, as have CPUC, CAISO and SCE representatives, that no one can tell for certain until a power flow analysis is done. Senator Ted Lieu has requested that analysis. One thing is for certain: If AES Redondo is rebuilt the lines will be required for the next 50 years. Measure A does two things: 1) It retires the power plant which eliminates the absolute need for the power lines. 2) It makes the substation a non-conforming use which gives the City the leverage to start working the removal of the lines. So Measure A is the ONLY option that would allow us to get rid of the power lines. Your statement about property values is inaccurate. The 2004 city study showed the impact over a 9 year period when housing proces were rising. Ask any realtor... proximity to the power plant lowers property values. City revenue from AES is less than $400K/year.
Jim Light January 04, 2013 at 10:01 PM
Quibbling Robert. The City gets less than $400K annually from AES taxes and fees (less than 1% of its annual budget) The city gets $1.8M from the pier/harbor parking lot more than 4x as much. You could put a parking lot on the AES site and make the city more money than the power plant. Certinaly commercial development would perform even better. If we compromise we get a new 85 foot tall ugly plant, closer to Redondo neighborhoods and 50 more years of blight, pollution, reduced property values and reduced business and city revenues. As to losses... we won Measure DD. We won the park vote. We successfully stopped the 3000 condos of Heart of the City and we stopped 200 condos on Torrance Blvd. We got minimum park and traffic standards established in the City. We stopped City staff from exploring paving over 1/3 of Seaside Lagoon for a parking lot. We won our lawsuit that forced the city to follow its own charter. We unanimously won the City's appeal. And we got Bill Brand in office. While I would love to win them all, this is not a bad track record.
Kelly Sarkisian January 04, 2013 at 10:46 PM
So as another nasty part of measure A you are going after more private property (SCE's). I guess there isn't a legal way for you to mandate that so there is no date or the removal. A better issue for you to put your energy into would be the homeless. Don't start with the less than compassionate thing either as I have done many things to support them. Go after the churches who feed the homeless in the city. The churches have caused the issue and it is a MAJOR problem and political issue. They (the homeless) have cost the city millions in health care and fire/police service. Maybe it can make Jim Light into a two issue candidate.
Jim Light January 04, 2013 at 11:25 PM
Kelly, I stand on my 10 year track record of standing up for the residents' quality of life. I opposed the 3000 condos in Heart of the City. I wrote the expose of the flawed environmental report the city tried to use to rezone Torrance Boulevard for 200 condos. I worked for over a year with 20+ other residents and business owners on the Mayor's Citizens Growth Management and Traffic Committee , which established new traffic standards and saved Redondo from high density upzoning to meet a housing mandate from the state. I opposed paving over 1/3rd of the seaside lagoon for a parking lot. I did water quality testing for Surfrider Foundation. And much more. Hardly a one issue candidate. Read my platform, track record and quals at www.jimlightforcouncil.com.
Fred Reardon January 05, 2013 at 08:23 AM
Kelly is so concerned about property rights? What a polluted argument. AES is trying to take our clean air (our private property) without compensating us, pollute it, and then rake in profits while our families suffer. It's weird that these pollution advocates cry about property rights at the same time they are attempting to steal ours. Kelly, you should have chosen a more noble cause. I smell a paid pollution promoter. Now you are attacking churches and the homeless? Goodness, the chain you carry must be quite burdensome.
Kelly Sarkisian January 05, 2013 at 03:26 PM
I guess since you havent found a "legal" way to steal SCE's private property, its not in your sights. I'm sure it's a matter if time till you set your sights on SCE with some trumped up reason. Fred we will see how you profit from this deal, I know your motivation is not pure. I'm tired of you suggesting I am paid for my comments. I'm just a resident that wants the plant gone while preserving private property rights. Your filthy tactics will cause you to fail. Your friend talks about ad hominem attacks yet you slander people at almost every chance you get ( big tobacco, AES, Confederates, ect). Mr light should reel you in as your rants/name calling is hurting his campaign. Im sure the voters will see the association between you two. Fred you also never mentioned why you moved here, you chose this "polluted" place, so get over it. Try New Zealand if your private property rights are being stepped on. I smell a private property thief!
Jim Light January 05, 2013 at 03:49 PM
Kelly, AES has no right to build a new plant under current zoning. Read the zoning: "(b) Criteria. Application for a Conditional Use Permit for a public utility facility, as required by the provisions of subsection (c), shall be subject to the following development criteria in addition to all other applicable land use and development standards in this chapter: .... (3) The proposed use shall have no adverse effect upon any abutting property, the neighborhood, or the City, and the proposed use shall protect the public health, safety, convenience, interest, and general welfare. In order to insure this provision and to comply with the purposes and intent of this chapter and the General Plan, any development standards or conditions may be imposed to create orderly and proper uses, as determined by the Planning Commission/Harbor Commission or City Council....."
John Wike January 05, 2013 at 04:30 PM
I agree with Fred. Kelly (if that is her real name) sure appears to be a paid pollution promoter. She is really grasping at straws, however. And the personal attacks are not doing much for her pro AES cause.
L. Campeggi January 05, 2013 at 04:56 PM
Kelly, I'm happy you wrote "I'm just a resident that wants the power plant gone while preserving private property rights." If that's the case, it's YES on Measure A that will get your vote. Measure A rezones the site AFTER AES' current contract with J.P. Morgan to produce electricity expires in 2018, and AFTER the date given by the State (2020) for the existing power plant to be retrofitted (too cost prohibitive for such antiquated equipment) or retired. And AES maintains ownership of their property. This is why AES is fighting Measure A: it doesn't interfere with any of their rights! There'd be no basis for AES to sue Redondo Beach. Measure A would never have been crafted had our own city government simply adopted a resolution to oppose a new power plant. When they failed to do so, after numerous appeals by hundreds to the city council, the citizens took action, in accordance with the law. It's a complex issue for sure. What is certain is that Redondo Beach is NOT responsible to buy the land, NOT responsible to remediate the land, and NOT responsible to develop it per new zoning, because AES owns it now, and will still own it if Measure A passes. AES cannot squat on the land either, as that opens up a huge can of worms for them and is not lawful. They don't want you to know that either. Without Measure A, and in the absence of Redondo Beach adopting a resolution to officially oppose a power plant with the CEC, we're going to get a new power plant.
Ryan Tucker January 05, 2013 at 05:58 PM
How exactly does one squat on land they own? You obviously don't know the legal definition of squatting. To even intimate that the legal owner of the land is squatting is absurd.
Jim Light January 05, 2013 at 06:24 PM
We agree. That is not our term, it is one our opponents use so we refer to it. AES has threatened to abandon the plant in place if Measure A passes. Measure A, City, State and Federal law prohibit this and give the city and state the means to take action if they choose to take this action. But we consider this fear mongering. AES has to pay taxes on the land. Because of the documented pollution AES must pay to monitor whether it is migrating to ground water. And, Measure A provides AES substantial financial incentive to sell or lease their property for the commercial uses allowed under Measure A. The lease or sale value is much higher if they demolish the plant and remediate the property, but they could choose to let the new owner/lessee do that. AES stockholders and board are going to want to get as much money as they can for the property, as soon as they can. They will not want to a sustained negative cash flow and ultimate legal fees if they abandon the current plant in place.
L. Campeggi January 05, 2013 at 07:25 PM
AES has threatened to "squat" by leaving the infrastructure of the old power plant "as is" if Measure A passes. The term "squat" is what AES used for that. Sorry for not making that clearer. (I've edited that from my original response to you, Ryan.) In this case, it would leave the property in a blighted condition - not allowed for any significant length of time with a zoning change that prohibits industrial use. Eric Pendergraft, AES-Southland President, testified to our city council in November 2011 (over a year ago) that the scrap value of the metal of the existing power plant would more than pay for the tear down/remediation of the property. And AES is obligated to do that, NOT the City of Redondo Beach.
Cindy Elias January 06, 2013 at 03:05 AM
Regardless of what the arguments are against Measure A, I hope you all realize that it is ultimately up to the CEC(California Energy Commission) as to whether AES will be allowed to rebuild a power plant. Measure A is more like extra credit for residents of the city who oppose the rebuilding of the plant. The CEC will take the outcome of Measure A into great consideration when making the decision about the power plant. So, instead of attacking Jim Light, you should really direct your concerns to the CEC who will be making the ultimate decision on the fate of the power plant.
Fred Reardon January 06, 2013 at 12:31 PM
Kelly, I came here many years ago to because I love the people and their forward thinking mindset, the weather, the beautiful ocean, and I found Redondo Beach to be a hidden little gem in Los Angeles County. California represents ecology, anti-racism, a healthy lifestyle, and compassion for others. All of these things I passionately embrace. Regarding the place I come from, I can't say people always feel that way. I work in the solar industry so therefore I do, indirectly benefit from opposing this new unnecessary fossil fuel burning plant. Myself and many others in the renewable energy sector have switched career paths because we believe in a better, cleaner environment for our children. Many people, in the renewable energy industry, like myself have taken pay cuts, to involved with clean energy, because we are not only passionate about it, but because we have seen the results. For example 20% of our CA electricity comes from renewable, clean sources. 20 years ago, none of us could have made that claim. Having worked on power plant sites early in my career, as a steel erector, on switch gear buildings, make up water buildings, pump stations, cooling towers, etc. I have witnessed how loud, dangerous, and toxic the environment can be when in close proximity. I also understand the necessity for gas fired "must run" plants as crutch until more renewable capacity comes on line and technology advances are set into place.
Fred Reardon January 06, 2013 at 12:34 PM
Unnecessary polluting fossil fuel burning plants detract from our ability to put more clean electricity on the grid. This proposed plant is not a "must run plant" (and certainly not projected to be) and it is too close to a densely populated area that already is saturated with pollution. Because of my awareness related to what is needed, and what can be avoided, I, admittedly, feel extraordinarily compelled to let my neighbors know that they are being hoodwinked. Regarding the confederacy, big tobacco, and AES, I can't say that I admire or romanticize any aspect of them since they all put money before anything else. I guess my tongue-in-cheek description of pro new power plant supporters as being "paid supporters" struck a nerve. It's quite honestly the only way I could rationalize why anyone would perpetuate such inaccuracies related to why we should support this new pollution. The pro power plant arguments are just so wacked out and unfounded. The fear mongering arguments are so cowardly. I can't get my head around why some people are so unwilling to stand up and fight something that can potentially do so much harm to our health, safety and economic climate. The only things I attain directly, from not having a power plant in Redondo Beach, are less landscape pollution, less noise pollution, less air pollution, less chance of a industrial hazard, and a better environment for economical development.
Fred Reardon January 06, 2013 at 12:37 PM
You can't help but wonder why AES is pushing so hard for a plant that is not a "must run" and not necessary for grid reliability? Look no further than their tenants desalination experiment which has already failed last February and resulted in a chemical leak which killed most of the aquatic life they were experimenting with. Many of us are concerned that it is AES's intent to lease property to the water district for a desalination plant. If that is the case, it appears we will be replacing one form of aquatic life killing (once through power plant cooling via ocean water) with another...an aquatic life desalination killing machine. Desalination will have an expensive and hungry appetite for electricity. I think AES is banking on it? I could care less about AES's sense of entitlement to operate a new plant here. They don't have a right to run a new plant. It's the decision of Redondo Beach citizens via zoning and the people of California via the California Energy Commission. So the notion that someone is taking their property is unfounded. They don't have a permit for a new plant. In fact, if you have read the CEC's recent comments regarding their application, the CEC has commented that the application is substantially incomplete.
Fred Reardon January 06, 2013 at 12:56 PM
Admittedly, like many other neighbors I have spoken with in Redondo Beach, I thought the plant was clean and didn't know it caused a health risk. Shame on me and my ignorance. Shame on me for believing it was being "phased out." Shame on me for exposing my wife and child to this toxic threat which I believe contributed to the premature birth of my child. It sickens me knowing that I may be exposing my family to a heightened risk of getting lung disease, lung cancer, asthma, etc. I now know the dangers. And, that is why I am choosing to fight this new pollution. Every day, I know many of us secretly pray that the plant won't run and threaten our health. Many of us are stubborn and continue to hope the insanity will end soon.
Fred Reardon January 06, 2013 at 12:57 PM
I often think it would be easier to move away and sleep better at night. However, another part of me says "fight this plant" it's the right thing to do. I am blessed to have many great neighbors and friends here which is another reason for staying. There you have it Kelly. I have been as honest and straight forward as I can be. I truly don't mean any ill will towards you. I am simply passionate about my beliefs wrong or right. I don't know if my long and tiresome litany will change your mind about a new power plant? Needless to say, I have definitely played my honesty card. I am confident that most of my neighbors in Redondo Beach feel as I do. They don't want this plant. And they are going to vote Yes on Measure A. And then they will do everything they can to convince the California Energy Commission to deny the new plant permit.
Grant Patterson January 07, 2013 at 05:54 AM
Kelly, thanks for the posts. The more I hear your unsubstantiated, foolish attacks on Jim Light, the more you've convinced me to vote for him. The honest guys always get attacked. His track record is actually quite impressive I must say. He has Redondo residents' best interest at heart. A quality hard to find these days.
Alexander Starr January 09, 2013 at 07:52 PM
Cindy, The CEC will NOT likely override Measure A zoning if it passes. Measure A is our only chance to stop a new power plant. From a State Auditor Report: "According to the Energy Commission’s sitting office manager, out of more than 130 applications, the Energy Commission has "overridden local decisions" regarding land use designations in FOUR instances." Summary: the CEC has DENIED new power plant permits in 97% (4 out of 130 cases) of the applications where local governments opposed a new powerplant! If measure A passes, we have a 97% chance the CEC will NOT override Measure A. 97% chance! I like those odds!! YES on Measure A

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