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Letter: Safety Should Be City Hall's No. 1 Priority

Redondo Beach can't allow staffing levels to continue to fall in its fire and police departments, writes Elaine Cherlin.

The stabbings at the Galleria and the beating death on Pacific Coast Highway and Avenue F heightened my concerns about cuts to public safety staffing in Redondo Beach.

I know City Hall faces financial constraints caused by the past few years of economic turmoil. But police department staffing levels have fallen below the national average for communities of our size. We can’t allow this to continue.

The safety of our residents, schools, and businesses must remain City Hall’s first priority.

I attended a coffee for a city council candidate who invited Redondo Beach Fire Captain Isaac Yang and Redondo Beach Detective Carlborg to update us on their departments. These articulate gentlemen put a human face on the risky consequences to you and me if we fail to address staffing cuts.

They also spoke about long, exhausting shifts in downsized departments staffed by personnel who have already taken salary cuts to help the community. They explained how the departments are forced to operate on overtime shifts because of limited staffing numbers; it is not how they want to operate.

I want to thank Kimberly Fine, a City Council candidate in District 1, who invited us to meet Officers Carlborg and Yang. I hope the community will follow her lead in rebuilding the robust public safety team our city must have to thrive.

Elaine Cherlin
Redondo Beach

Letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the views of Redondo Beach Patch. Letters must be less than 500 words and are subject to editing for space, spelling, punctuation and grammar. Also, anonymous letters will not be published, so remember to include your real name. You can email your letter to Redondo Beach Patch editor Nicole Mooradian at nicole.mooradian@patch.com.

Robert Keane January 10, 2013 at 04:03 AM
It seems as if all the talk on Patch is about the power plant. Where do the candidates stand on this? What will they do if elected?
Nicole Mooradian (Editor) January 10, 2013 at 04:51 AM
Hi Robert, We're getting ready to roll out our election coverage. In fact, I'm reaching out to all the candidates tonight to invite them to participate on Patch, as well as to let them know we'll be sending out a survey on the issues in the coming weeks. Once we get the surveys back, we'll publish them.
Matthew Kilroy January 10, 2013 at 06:13 AM
I totally support increasing the number of police and fire personnel. We have hired 3 new firefighters which should relieve much of the overtime that had been required last year. The police situation should have been addressed earlier but there have been retirements that hadn't been anticipated. Recruitment for new police officers is happening as well as "lateral" transfers from other police agencies. It takes a year before a new police recruit can patrol on their own. Bottom line is I would make restoring staffing levels a priority.
Jim Light January 10, 2013 at 02:37 PM
I support restoring our public safety staffing levels to levels that don't require overtime heroics to provide adequate round the clock coverage. But I doubt anyone running for office would say anything differently. I don't think this will end up being a differentiator between the candidates.
Kelly Sarkisian January 10, 2013 at 04:53 PM
Mr Kilroy, you already had the opportunity to address the problem with staffing levels. I'm my opinion you are a little late to add that idea to your plan. You allowed the CM to dessimate public safety by your lack of action on the council. I beleive the retirements were planned, most seem to leave right around 30 years. Some may have left early due to the lack of support from the City Council and the constant taking of benefits by the CM.
Kelly Sarkisian January 10, 2013 at 05:04 PM
Mr Light, you cannot divert your attention to more than your one campaign issue. A short comment on a news article will not suffice on this important issue. Your platform doesn't cover this in any way. We all know you are a one issue candidate! Don't try to patronize for votes, it's not appealing. If you had spent 1/1000th of your power plant time on this issue I could give you some appreciation. Too bad it wasn't on your radar, it's been a big problem in the city for multiple years.
Redondo Beach POA January 10, 2013 at 11:58 PM
Perhaps the Redondo Beach Police Officers' Association can give some facts. Five years ago the Police Department was at 105 sworn members. Today we are at 84 and its anticipated we will be at 83 by the end of the month. That number isn't due to unexpected retirements, it's due to not filling vacancies. On a regular basis, we run short in patrol and try to cover open shifts with overtime but can't always do it. For cities with a population of 25,000 to 100,000, Redondo Beach is in the top 10 for alcohol related injury collisions and the motor unit has been reduced to one full time motor officer. Last week two teens were stabbed by an unknown assailant at the galleria mall. The city used to share the cost of hiring uniformed police officer's to patrol the mall exclusively, but has stopped paying their share and the number of officer's has been cut. Earlier this year a man was dragged out of a bar on the busiest street in the city and beaten to death on the sidewalk. There are a great many issues facing our fine city, but we believe that Public Safety is the first priority that government has to its citizens. We hope that everyone turns out to vote in the March election and when picking a candidate they choose one who puts Public Safety first. You can go to our website www.redondobeachpd.com, follow us on Facebook or follow us on twitter @redondobeachpoa
Jim Light January 11, 2013 at 01:00 AM
Not true Kelly. You can read my platform at www.jimlightforcouncil.com. And if you look at the "Ten Year Track Record", you will see that I have been defending resident quality of life on multiple issues for over a decade. Fought Heart of the City, Authored Measure DD, the City Charter change that gives us the right to vote on upzoning passed by City Council. Served on Mayor Gin's Citizens' Growth Management and Traffic Committee that defined minimum traffic flow standards for the city. Stopped the conversion of zoning on Torrance Blvd to zoning for 189 condos. Did water quality testing in the harbor and along our beaches for Surfrider Foundation. Ran the local Coastal Clean Up day station at Veteran's Park for years. I am proud of my record here in Redondo. You cannot fund the additional police and fire staff without City revenues. My platform addresses ways to protect and increase City revenues. I currently participate in a multi-city group that is fighting sequestration. Sequestration would be devasting to the aerospace industry in our area, which in turn will decrease city revenues as many of our residents are in the Aerospace industry and they spend money in Redondo businesses. You can attack all you want Kelly...but you could at least get your facts straight.
Kelly Sarkisian January 11, 2013 at 01:26 AM
Way to add to your platform after my comment Jim, a little to late as I have a screen shot of your platform prior to my comment. Way to pander! If you are going to pander, at least make statements regarding public safety that dont involve the power plant.
Jim Light January 11, 2013 at 02:14 AM
Kelly, You seem to be more fixated on the power plant than me. But since you brought it up, the power plant is a health issue. And that is how it is referenced in that section of my platform. I would bet all candidates can truthfully say they are for public safety and an adequately staffed police and fire department. All of us are concerned about the safety of our town and residents. The question is does their platform produce the revenues required to fund it? I encourage all voters to go to my website. I am sure they will come to the conclusion my platform is detailed and definitive. There is no pandering. There is no political fence sitting to try to appease everyone. With me, what you see is what you will get. Voters should make sure their candidate's website is definitive enough so everyone knows where they really stand. Then they should check their qualifications to validate they can execute on what they promise. And finally voters should look for a track record that shows their platform is more than words. With me, what you see is what you get. No pandering. No non-commital political mumbo jumbo that can be conveniently interpreted any way you want. My platform is backed by a 10 year track record of doing what I say I am going to do as Councilman if elected.
Kelly Sarkisian January 11, 2013 at 03:19 AM
So does that mean you did add it after I mentioned it? You forgot to answer. I'm not surprised you added it to the end of your list, as I beleive it's your last priority. The revenue for those positions was probably spent on the pier lease holds. A pier for the tourists at the cost of the residents safety!
Robert Keane January 11, 2013 at 04:43 AM
I don't quite understand how you can have take this position Mr. Kilroy. You have been on the council the whole time the police department has been cut. Is this just an empty campaign promise? The cops say that they have been cut 20% and it's not because of unexpected retirements. How do you explain the difference? Are they not forthcoming or are you uninformed? You say the police situation should have been addressed earlier. Why didn't you? Or if you did,can you direct me to the council meeting that you told the city manager to hire more police officers or can you show me a memo directing him to do it? Unfortunately you have your record to stand on
Robert Keane January 11, 2013 at 05:02 AM
Jim, you are a single issue candidate and everyone knows it. If I search through all of the comments, blogs and articles how many will I find where you talk about the importance of public safety. Your own platform on the topic is ridiculous. You make no commitments to keeping Redondo Beach safe. The first thing on your platform is about an issue not even in your district. Tell us what "adequate" police and fire services are? For christ sake, commit to something other than your single issue. You don't think public safety is very important, but where I Iive in Area 1, my neighbors and I think it's the most important thing and I am appalled that the city has leveraged my safety to balance their budget.
Robert Keane January 11, 2013 at 05:05 AM
I want to thank the Police Officer's for everything that they do to keep us safe. The residents who live here support you and need you. If you say a candidate is supporting you then I will seriously consider voting for them
Jim Light January 11, 2013 at 05:10 AM
Kelly, I am not an incumbent. I had nothing to do with the pier leases. I opposed Measure G zoning.
Kelly Sarkisian January 11, 2013 at 07:28 AM
Way to avoid the issue! You didnt answer the question, its a public forum and you blatently appear to be pandering. Its time to answer for the good of the voting public and a little transperancy in your campaign. When did you add your public safety part to your platform? It's ok to be building your platform as issues come to light. I think the problem here is that you have been blinded by the power plant thing and been missing the other issues in the city!
Fred Reardon January 11, 2013 at 10:26 AM
Jim Light's got it right. Vision, intellegence, dignified composure even when attacked constantly by pollution advocates he remains a gentleman. We couldn't dream up a better representative. Please vote for him.
Jim Light January 11, 2013 at 03:04 PM
My platform is hardly pandering. And it covers many more issues than the power plant. It is you who keep focusing on that. I am sure I have missed some issues in the City. If someone asks me I will state my position on them. My platform is VERY transparent and detailed. And it is backed by a decade of performance for the people of Redondo. You can read all about it at www.jimlightforcouncil.com.
Alexander Starr January 11, 2013 at 08:42 PM
With the polluting powerplant gone and the 40% commercial portion developed, there will be a surge of revenues for Redondo, and we can hire more police! http://redondobeach.patch.com/blog_posts/measure-a-would-increase-city-revenues-while-eliminating-power-plant-impacts YES on Measure A and Jim Light for City Council (District 1)!!!!
Elaine January 12, 2013 at 01:06 AM
Huh? How can Mr. Light assert that voters cannot differentiate between City Council candidates in District 1 on public safety staffing? The police and firefighters endorsed one candidate in this race, Kimberly Fine.
Jim Light January 12, 2013 at 01:23 AM
Elaine, The firefighters and police did not even interview all the candidates. I will bet that all candidates will honestly say they are for restoring police and firefighters to the needed staffing. I doubt any candidate is anti-public safety. That is what I meant about differentiate.
Jim Light January 12, 2013 at 01:35 AM
Robert, If you read my platform and website, you would see I am more than a one issue candidate. I have a ten year track record of fighting for resident quality of life, health and safety. The waterfront is important to all of Redondo from many perspectives. It has been underperforming fiscally and that has impacted city revenues. The revenues needed to fund firemen and police. That underperformance is attributed to the power plant by City studies and reports. We have monumental decisions to make on the power plant and on the Center Cal development, that will affect our waterfront and City revenues for decades to come. We also have a big decision on land use coming up at the Bristol Farms site...I hear a big mixed use plan is in the works. So Robert, once again you attack with no basis. My platform and track record are at www.jimlightforcouncil.com.
Robert Keane January 12, 2013 at 04:48 AM
A surge of revenue? When? 10 years from now? We need cops and firemen now!
Barth Lampy January 13, 2013 at 07:00 PM
Thank you Jim Lights Brother-in-Law.
Dianne Prado January 13, 2013 at 07:59 PM
Our police officers and fire fighters have kept Redondo Beach consistently safe and should be commended for their efforts. I do not think anyone would move to hinder their efforts or invalidate any support to our local police and fire fighters. Despite the fact I am also running for District 1 City Council, to undermine Jim Light's track record of 10 years and call him a "single issue" man is preposterous. One of the main reasons Measure A is even on the ballot is because of Jim Light.
Jim Light January 14, 2013 at 01:16 AM
Pure class Dianne... Thanks!

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