Eric Coleman, who has lived in Redondo Beach for 27 years, is running against three other candidates for mayor of Redondo Beach. He is an artist and a teacher who has never held public office.
Below are Coleman's responses to a questionnaire compiled by Patch editors with suggestions from readers.
Redondo Beach Patch: Why are you running for mayor of Redondo Beach?
Eric Coleman: The most fundamental question is why. Why run? I reckon people run for local office for basically one of a few reasons. Perhaps they are an individual who percieves their community heading in the wrong direction and wants to steer it back on track. Then there are a business owners who are tired of dealing with fees, fines, restrictions, red tape, and cumbersome oversight from the current officials. Still there is another group who pander to the people while pursuing their own vested interests. We can all agree, government is glut with the latter. I'd like to say I consider myself part of the first group. While I may seem flippant from time to time, I assure you that I care about my hometown and want to see it headed in the right direction.
Patch: In your opinion, what is the No. 1 issue facing Redondo Beach?
Coleman: The No. 1 issue we face is the lack of investment in fostering our sense of community. I have a comprehensive plan to fix this,that includes; reinstating the Red Cars, undoing the street festival freeze, expanding park space, increasing library funds, and curbing over-development. The key to our Red Cars will be frequency, comfort, later runs, service peaking in the summer. These bike rack augmented open air trolley cars would be wheeled, not running on tracks, as earlier models did, and connect all of Redondo.
Patch: What is your position on AES' plans to repower its power plant on Harbor Drive?
Coleman: Remember 'the Heart of the City' deal that fell through? The people were rightly suspicious of such a large-scale development. The arrogance alone of proclaiming one harbor section of Redondo as the 'Heart' of the City is enough to turn one's ear. What's Riviera Village then, the spleen? Artesia an artery? Wilderness Park a lung? Defense Row a pancreas? North Redondo chopped liver? The infrastructure was to be torn up and 3,000 condo units were to be installed along Catalina Avenue.
And they almost got away with it. The land grab might have silently passed in the night if it wasn't for the public being alerted to a planning commission report. The report boldly proclaimed traffic would decrease after the addition of three thousand condo units. And who was one of the entities behind this botched 'Heart of the City' land grab? None other that AES. Now the Chamber of Commerce says no way Measure A? Now I know; the Chamber stands up for the people—the people of Delaware and there large uncaring corporations.
Patch: What is your position on Measure A, the ballot initiative that would rezone the Harbor Drive property in hopes of preventing the construction of a new power plant?
Coleman: Recently there's been a lot of talk about Measure A being a "taking." Let's discuss what they have been taking from us for years. AES has been taking our waterfront, our skyline, and even our health. AES has also been taking advantage of tax loopholes grandfathered in by Edison. And now they want to give us a retooled powerplant in our backyard, which will spew 5 to 15 times more particulate matter into our air. Something else they want to give us is 38 acres of 'mixed use' zoning on the property with no guarantee that land won't slowly be sold off to condo developers. The plant is unnecessary to the grid and to the residents of Redondo.
Measure A settles the issue; rezoning the land 60 percent open space and 40 percent commercial, with a fund from the commercial area set up to pay for upkeep on the open space. AES will still own the land. This decision will effect our quality of life for decades if not a century yet to come. Yes on Measure A!
Patch: If elected, what are your top three priorities?
- Budget Issues and Scrutinizing Bureaucracy
- Connecting North and South Redondo
- Encourage Growth
Allow me to elaborate on the last two points; the Pier Revitalization contract is worth $200 million. That's not exactly peanuts. The contract is due to be finalized in March, the same month most of City Council is set to be termed out. With that coincidence over looked and more to the point; why is North Redondo being treated as a step child? The lack of consideration for the needs of North Redondo's residents essentially amounts to the building of a metaphorical wall between North Redondo and South Redondo. I say to Mayor Gin, tear down that wall.
Patch: Share one specific example of demonstrating your leadership and execution skills.
Coleman: While teaching, every Friday was Activities Day. Activities included science experiments, engineering stress tests, invention pitch, mock trials, and animations. After addressing the topic and generating ideas the class took over discussion and produced the end result. This is the pedagogical method. It's too bad it took Measure DD to force our Council to follow this model.
Patch: Why should people vote for you?
Coleman: Because I'm dynamic, and people like what I have to say about the changes that are necessary.
Patch: Is there anything else you'd like to say?
Coleman: Some see South Redondo as P.V. Junior and North Redondo as Lawndale Light; I, one the other hand see but one Redondo.
- Eric Coleman for Mayor
- Eric Coleman [Patch]
- Meet the Redondo Mayoral Candidates [Easy Reader]
- Redondo Mayor Candidates Answer Questions From the Beach Reporter [Beach Reporter]