This being my very first Patch blog contribution, I feel obligated to first introduce myself. First let me mention I'm not on AES payroll, I'm not a fan of having a Power Plant in our city, and I don't profess to be an expert on all things political, zoning or otherwise. I'm simply an average 49-year-old gal with two incredible kids and a fantastic husband living in a city that I've always loved and been proud of. While I've never over-involved myself in politics, concentrating more on worthy charities and both of my children's school functions and enhancements, I've always taken the time to vote whenever any local or otherwise election comes around. Those of you who are familiar with me know I am an avid supporter of anything involved with bettering our children's lives and the world they live in. I've served on the board of our local teacher parent organization as an elected official for 4 years, and the years I didn't take a board position, I served as a chair for numerous events. I've worked in and out of the children's classrooms, and volunteered in another 100+ school related events. I'm not one to sit idly by when I see improprieties; I've been known to take on City, State and even National organizations when I see an injustice in regards to the children in our city. I take offense when someone tells me I don't care about my children simply because I oppose Measure A; those who know me absolutely know I care about ALL children—my own, those in my city, state, country and even the rest of the world.
That being said, I want to reiterate that I am not on AES payroll despite the fact I've been accused of being employed by them or being a consultant hired by them in many comments here on the Patch. I'm neither. What you read here today are my own words, my opinions and feeling about Measure A. I will back my opinions up with facts, links and reasons why my opinion is what it is as much as possible.
You may wonder why I'm taking the time to do this, so let me tell you. Back in August of 2011, I received an email from an elected city official asking me to sign an online petition claiming it would get rid of the Power Plant. In retrospect, I should have spent more time investigating the validity of such a statement and the potential repercussions of the poorly drafted proposition which would follow, but the Photoshopped pictures and promises of a "New and better Redondo" were enticing enough for me to forward that email off to several hundred of my contacts. I feel responsible if any of those contacts felt or feel that I endorse or condone Measure A in any way. This is my chance to set the record straight to them. I'll be forwarding this blog link over to the 4,300+ contacts in my personal account as soon as it's live. Hopefully, they will forgive my irresponsibility and realize that since the Measure wasn't yet written, no one had any idea of exactly what it would entail.
Here are concerns brought up by the impartial analysis:
"Measure A also requires 60-70% of the site’s acreage to be converted to a 'public parks/open space allocation.' A legal question exists regarding the interpretation of this requirement" and
"Measure A would require the City to adopt these subsequent modifications. A legal question exists regarding the enforceability of this provision. Initiative measures generally cannot adopt indirect legislation or delegate the City’s police power to another entity."
Generally, where "a legal question exists", attorneys and judges need to get involved and that costs money—in this case, taxpayers money.
Some of the reasons I oppose Measure A are as follows (in no particular order, except for the first one):
1. Most Importantly, Measure A will NOT "get rid of the Power Plant" as its supporters adamantly advertise. You've heard time and time again from everyone on both sides of the fence that Measure A will not get rid of the Power Plant. The Daily Breeze article this morning confirmed this again in their fourth sentence:
"The rezoning itself wouldn't kill the plant—that's up to the California Energy Commission."
“Urging a 'no' vote is AES and much of the city's political establishment, along with the Chamber of Commerce. The two latter constituencies are represented by a relatively new organization called Redondo Beach United for a No Vote on Measure A. While Redondo Beach United holds the same perspective as AES, the two groups are separate. Redondo Beach United has not accepted 'a dime,' from AES, said spokeswoman Lisa Rodriguez.”
One of the authors of the Measure purportedly told the School Board that Measure A doesn't get rid of the Power Plant. Read here for more information:
"The truth is, Measure A will change the zoning of the AES land. It has absolutely no power to shut down the power plant nor does it have any effect on the process AES has embarked on to get a new permit from the California Energy Commission."
2. I don't believe Redondo needs another park across the street from Veterans Park. There was a comment on a blog that "Redondo residents aren't the ones visiting Veterans Park now, why would they want one across the street." This led me to do a survey last weekend (I'm a "show me" person—I like confirmation and facts). My family walked down to the park (really through the park-we were going elsewhere) and asked every person we saw if they lived in Redondo Beach. Zero folks admitted they were residents of our fine city. I'm not convinced our residents would appreciate and enjoy a much larger park virtually across the street. Additionally, where is the revenue to develop and maintain such a place. The California Parkland Conservancy has said they don't have any money to give out for us to develop a park. The South Bay Parkland Conservancy hasn't raised a dime in years and won't be able to fund this either. The money has to come from somewhere.
3. It exposes our city to imminent lawsuits, and other costs potentially in the Millions. No matter how many times Measure A supporters claim there's no basis for the property owner to file a lawsuit, one of their supporters is a bit more honest, saying "Phasing out their inappropriate uses will be difficult and we may get sued, but it’s the right thing to do for the entire South Bay." See the very bottom of this page. Setting ourselves up for a lawsuit isn't the right way to go. Remember, there were two "legal questions" posed in the Impartial analysis. We all know California is one of the most (if not the most) litigious states in the nation. We've been told by the property owner and city officials that the passing of Measure A will set us up for a court battle. Supporters of Measure A say don't be afraid, but why wouldn't we be afraid of something guaranteed to break our bank account?
Back to the Daily Breeze article on 3/3, even Edison is warning us:
"Mere days before the election, Edison officials similarly warned of 'unintended consequences' if the measure passes. A delegation of Edison officials visited the Daily Breeze offices last week to say that if the power plant goes away, the company would have to pay 'tens of millions of dollars' to reconfigure its transmission lines and distribution system. The kicker: the company would seek to recoup that money from Redondo Beach and its residents, not customers elsewhere."
4. It's just plain wrong—constitutionally, morally, civilly. You don't take someone's property away from them or change the way they can use it. According to our outgoing mayor, "Measure A is a government taking of private property without the consent of the property owner." Whatever our feelings about the Power Plant or the Compay that owns/runs it, this isn't a Communist country—it's still America. If someone told me I had to let the public come in and use my swimming pool on weekends, there'd definitely be some legal notices being issued. AES can afford the best and highest priced lawyers to fight their legal battles; are we ready to fight so hard for sometihng when we know deep down inside it's just plain wrong?
One resource that helped base my decision to vote NO on Measure A came from an hour long broadcast on South Bay by Jackie. In this broadcast, she interviews three gentleman, two who may be construed to have a vested interest in steering our No vote, but the third is a 40-year resident, Kevin Sullivan, who hasn't served as a City official in 10 years—he's got no agenda. One of his statements: "The level of development allowed by Measure A isn't sufficient to purchase it and maintain it." There are so many good points in the broadcast—it's an hour long, but well worth it—even if you break it down into 10-minute sections.
Mike Gin assures us "The City Council has taken steps that provide a more effective alternative to Measure A." and "Measure A will mire the city in lawsuits for years to come, costing millions of taxpayer dollars."
Four out of five of the existing council members, eight out of twelve running candidates (including three out of four of our mayoral candidates), the Chamber of Commerce and the outgoing mayor OPPOSE Measure A. These are officials we elected and know more than we do about politics, zoning, etc.
Republicans, Democrats and AFLCIO all Endorse NO on Measure A, Read here
The Republican Assembly District Central Committee voted "unanimously" to endorse No On Measure A. The Los Angeles County Democratic Party voted, by a 78 percent vote, to endorse No On Measure A. The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor endorsed No On Measure A.
Measure A supporters believe this is the only chance we have; I have more faith than to believe that. Mike Gin assures us "The City Council has taken steps that provide a more effective alternative to Measure A." While the passion most Measure A supporters have is admirable, it seems to be working against them when they attack innocent residents who have a different opinion. Neighbors who oppose the way Measure A was written and believe this is not the way to get things done are chastised, condemned, berated, belittled, cyber-stalked, and called every name in the book. I've heard from many friends and neighbors who were on the fence, but they've come to make a decision after reading and seeing some of the attacks on others in their community. You'd think that should make an opposer of Measure A happy that we're gaining votes, but it's more painful to see the hostile environment created by this measure.
Sadly, it appears this measure has done nothing but tear a good city with good people apart. Whatever the outcome on Tuesday, the wounds this measure has caused will not go away without a lot of work and healing. Let's work on building that bridge back to civility amongst neighbors.
Until Tuesday, investigate, research, read everything you can, ask questions, and empower yourself with knowledge so you make the right decision for your family and the rest of Redondo.
Other Helpful links: