After considering the issue for more than five hours Tuesday night, the Redondo Beach City Council ultimately took no action to oppose the repowering of on Harbor Drive.
The current AES plant on Harbor Drive must be retired by 2020 due to a state ban on once-through cooling, where a plant uses ocean water to cool the superheated steam that powers the turbine, then pumps the ocean water back into the sea.
AES intends to apply for a permit from the California Energy Commission this summer to build a new power plant on its property near the waterfront. Company officials maintain that the new plant will be smaller, more efficient and provide electricity when it's not available from renewable resources.
- Complete coverage: AES Redondo Beach Power Plant Debate
Opponents of the plant, including slow-growth group Building a Better Redondo and political action committee No Power Plant, counter that a new power plant would run more often and thus pollute more, endangering the health of nearby residents, and continue to depress property values in the area.
On Tuesday night, about 50 people—the majority of whom appeared to support AES' plans to build a new plant—spoke to the council. Councilmen spent another hour and a half discussing the issue after the public comment.
Nevertheless, a motion from Councilman Matt Kilroy to approve Mayor Mike Gin's suggested resolution opposing the repowering but asking that AES work collaboratively with the city in case the plant is deemed necessary did not receive a second from any member of the council, including outspoken power plant opponent Councilman Bill Brand.
Brand's subsequent motion that the council resolve to oppose any power plant that would produce more pollution annually than the existing plant currently does also did not receive a second.
Upon advice from City Attorney Mike Webb regarding a "serial meeting" that took place among the council—one councilman spoke to two others at different times about the issue—the councilmen did unanimously reaffirm their intention for the city to participate in the California Energy Commission's hearing process as an intervener.
The intervener role is the most active a city or individual can take in the hearing process. Interveners may cross-examine witnesses and contribute evidence in the hearings.
In addition to the council's discussion on the proposed repowering, Peter Brand of the California Coastal Conservancy gave a presentation on large park projects across the globe and the role of the conservancy, as well as answered questions regarding funding for a large park on the existing AES site. Brand also discussed some of the findings from the conservancy-funded Studio 606 study on parkland in the South Bay.
Throughout the meeting, multiple councilmen expressed concern over the citizen's initiative submitted to the city clerk's office on July 3. The initiative aims to rezone the property on Harbor Drive to a mix of up to 40 percent commercial and institutional zoning and a minimum of 60 percent parkland. Power generation would not be an allowable use on the site after 2020 if the initiative is passed.
For a more complete recap of Tuesday night's meeting, read our live blog below. Entries are in chronological order; please forgive us for and notify us of any names that are misspelled.
5:53 p.m.: The meeting hasn't even started, and City Clerk Eleanor Manzano says she's already received more than two dozen speaker cards.
6:06 p.m.: In addition to the original resolution opposing the plant from last spring, Mayor Mike Gin, Councilman Matt Kilroy and Councilman Bill Brand have submitted their own resolutions as blue folder items. Gin's emphasizes the importance of the reliability of the grid, the city's desire to work collaboratively with AES on future uses of its property, and asking the CEC either to consider retiring the plant, or to ask AES to upgrade or build another power plant not in Redondo Beach.
Right now, they're talking about rearranging the agenda to move an unrelated item up first.
6:30 p.m.: Now for the presentation from Peter Brand of the California Coastal Conservancy!
6:32 p.m.: Peter Brand: "We have commissioned several studies to assist Redondo Beach ... to determine the feasibility of restoring the AES/Edison site for a park or wetland/habitat and economic development purposes."
"We are a small agency but have been around for about 30-35 years," Brand says about the Coastal Conservancy. He says they spend $30 million to $100 million per year on projects. "We've completed more than 100 waterfront projects...
"I would submit that great parks make great cities and great cities have great parks, with possibly the exception of Los Angeles."
6:33 p.m.: "Here is the opportunity to create a great park on your waterfront—a South Bay waterfront park," Peter Brand says.
6:35 p.m.: He talks about different studies the conservancy has done on the site itself, including the Studio 606 study from Cal Poly Pomona. Brand also says the city is trying to "shoehorn in a lot of amenities" that weren't there because the city wasn't planned.
Unlike the Beach Cities, Torrance apparently was planned.
6:37 p.m.: More talk about the Cal Poly Pomona study. He shows a timeline of the site, including the operation of the salt works and the construction of the Edison plant.
"All of the sites where Edison built their plants ... were in very sensitive environmental areas. They took the cheapest land they could find and dumped (the plant) right in the middle," Peter Brand says. It was before the Clean Water and Coastal acts.
6:39 p.m.: A photo of beach volleyball players and a comment about how people think that's all Southern California residents do draws some chuckles.
6:42 p.m.: Brand notes that Redondo Beach is "critically underserved" when it comes to parkland. "The vast majority of the South Bay's parks are less than five acres—very few are large," he says.
Cal Poly Pomona's study concluded that the AES site was the No. 1 opportunity to create more open space.
6:44 p.m.: "Does the power plant have to stay?" Experts concluded it was not necessary for the grid, and it could be retired and not replaced by a repowered facility in the near future, Brand says.
6:45 p.m.: According to Peter Brand, the California Energy Commission tends to respect the wishes of the local governments—in 30 project applications examined, only four instances where the CEC did not respect the city's wishes.
"We haven't fully done a power flow analysis (but) it looks like the major power lines would not be necessary if the power plant were to go away," he says.
6:48 p.m.: He talks about restoring the seasonal lagoons by Ormand Beach, where there used to be a power plant. "Politicians in Oxnard ... are unanimously in support of eliminating the power plant from their coast," he says.
The restoration plan for Ormand Beach will cost at least $100 million—but it would be twice as expensive per acre if they had to work around the power plant and its infrastructure. The Conservancy bought land from Edison, even though the company didn't want to sell it. "It gradually became clear to them that it was a good idea."
6:51 p.m.: Coastal Act policies dictate maximizing public access to the coast and public recreation opportunities; however, it should be consistent with the rights of private property owners. Nobody can force a private property owner to sell.
He goes through more sections of the Coastal Act. New power plants would not be coastal-dependent industries, so they wouldn't get preference under the Coastal Act.
"It's a big site and there are a lot of exciting things that could happen on it," Brand says of AES.
6:53 p.m.: Most of Brand's "models of success" (industrial areas converted to parks) had no funding to begin with, including Millennium Park in Chicago and Malibu Legacy Park. Funding came from property taxes, donations and hotel taxes.
7 p.m.: Brand's mention of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi draws a combination of groans and chuckles from the audience.
Now it's time for the council to talk.
Councilman Steve Aspel: "You probably should have stopped at the last slide." (The one with Pelosi.)
7:04 p.m.: The cost of an amortization study was $130,000-$170,000, according to City Manager Bill Workman. Aspel asks if the city needs one; Peter Brand says yes.
Aspel also asks if Brand has looked at how much it would cost for the Coastal Conservancy to buy the property. Brand says he can't give an exact number, but they have not done an amortization study.
Brian from Cal Poly Pomona comes up to the podium to answer a question about Irvine's Great Park. "They took a different approach where they actually designed it ahead of time," he said. Now they are redesigning it.
"We're like this big, compared to Chicago," Aspel remarks. "I don't know if our city has enough acreage in the city itself" to use property taxes. "The region will use it, and that's fine we can't put a wall up ... the region will use it as well as just the local cities ... but they're not going to volunteer to help pay for it."
Brand says they could set up an assessment district or a joint powers authority.
"Has that worked in other places?" Aspel asks.
"I'm sure it has," Brand answers.
7:08 p.m.: Aspel's main concerns are on how to pay for such a park. Brand says the conservancy has resources to help pay for it, but not pay for it entirely. The Coastal Conservancy's funding comes from general obligation bonds, which depend on the economy.
"We're at the point now where the next big water bond ... was not put on the ballot for this fall," Brand says. "Right at the moment, we're not sitting on a ton of money, no."
"Hermosa Beach sits right across the street," but Aspel doesn't see them contributing any money.
Now it's time for Councilman Bill Brand to talk to Peter Brand!
7:10 p.m.: Bill Brand is talking about his definition of "park" (or "defined community area") besides grass.
"We're not just talking about an area that's going to be a wide open space for people to hang out in," Bill Brand says.
Cultural facilities are totally appropriate for parks, says Peter Brand.
Having two "Brands" is sort of confusing.
7:13 p.m.: "I wouldn't make the commitment if I were you until we did some sort of analysis on what are 10 different ways (to get funding) including regional funding, including state funding ... you're not going to be able to do it by yourself," Peter Brand says.
7:18 p.m.: More funding talk.
"This is the vision that people have been looking for ... this is exactly the vision that I've heard a lot of people cry out for," says Bill Brand. He's going to give the Studio 606 book on the study to the library so people can check it out.
7:23 p.m.: Councilman Pat Aust notes that the presentation pointed out "all the things we don't have."
"We've spent $1.5 billion on the coast of California—" Peter Brand says.
"That's why you don't have any money," Aust counters. He asks if the conservancy would be willing to give them money right now.
"You don't need the money right now; you can't buy it off of AES right now," Peter Brand says. "You haven't even committed to the idea of a park yet and we wouldn't even give you a dime until you did."
"Nobody has any money, including us," says Aust. He brings up the initiative and asks if that would help. Peter Brand says yes. He also notes that other projects started with no money and managed to raise the money.
"If this was a former airfield, and this was federal land, and there were hangars that we could rent out, then we could probably get money," Aust says. He says "there's a big hurdle" when it comes to getting funding.
"Whether we do it today or five years from now. The South Bay Parkland Conservancy has been in existence for five years now and they don't have any money," Aust says.
"It happens differently in every situation," says Peter Brand.
Aust is done.
7:27 p.m.: Mayor Mike Gin thanks Peter Brand for coming and discussing possibilities.
"AES has already told us in prior meetings this year that they haven't been approached by anybody about selling their property," Gin says.
"I think clearly whatever happens this evening and whatever decisions are eventually made with regards to a power plant or not, there's going to be an opportunity there," Gin says.
Gin is a big fan of working collaboratively with AES.
"Obviously, we don't have any money as well so we would be looking to you folks for assistance in that area," Gin says.
Peter Brand asks what the private property rights are in this case; Gin says you need a willing seller: "I don't believe in taking a property; I don't believe in forcing ... a particular zoning on a particular property without the owner's consent."
7:29 p.m.: Aspel brings up the initiative. He asks if Peter Brand knows of any cities with similar initiatives.
"I couldn't give you examples, but downzoning is as appropriate as upzoning for any city council," Brand replies. But this city council is bound by Measure DD.
"We have the power of eminent domain and have never used it," Peter Brand adds, noting that they don't plan to ever use eminent domain.
7:34 p.m.: It's Councilman Steve Diels' turn to speak. He notes that Peter Brand last came after the "Heart Park" vote and asks about a funding matrix, but also says Redondo Beach was denied funding for state parks.
"The possibilities that are down there are amazing," Diels says. He says there's a "100 percent opportunity" for more park space there. Once again, he notes that it is private property, and he reminds the audience that the CEC can override zoning.
Peter Brand responds, "The CEC is not just a state agency that ignores local government initiatives."
7:36 p.m.: Diels asked if the Coastal Conservancy would be willing to fund the feasibility study.
"The last time we got a commitment from you, it wasn't honored," Diels says.
Peter Brand says he will go back to his office to discuss it.
Diels moves to ask staff to send a letter to the Coastal Conservancy to ask for funding for the amortization schedule.
7:37 p.m.: Diels notes that the Edison representative said at a recent meeting that the power lines would stay. He also asks if the Coastal Conservancy can help with greenspace in North Redondo.
7:38 p.m.: Now it's Councilman Matt Kilroy's turn.
He notes that the legislation that gave priority to critically underserved communities with regards to parkland also gave priority to low-income communities.
7:44 p.m.: Kilroy says it's fairly certain that at least some of the AES property will become open space.
Peter Brand says the zoning will influence the value of the property.
Kilroy: What will be more valuable, industrial or commercial zoning?
Peter Brand doesn't know. He says the city will have time to figure out what they want and how they'll pay for it.
7:52 p.m.: Bill Brand is talking about the situation in Carlsbad and the funding the city didn't get from the state because it didn't meet the "low income" requirement.
"It is very important what this council says about whether or not there will be a power plant here," Bill Brand says.
"You're hearing us set the tone that we'd like your assistance going forward," Bill Brand tells Peter Brand.
7:57 p.m.: "I really can't support an amortization study" if the land is not rezoned, Bill Brand says. Peter Brand interrupts with a statement about the power lines.
Peter Brand says a power flow analysis would be needed to see whether the power lines along 190th Street would stay. He notes that the city and residents' opposition could lead Edison to remove the lines.
"That would be an amazing corridor if those power lines were not there," Peter Brand says.
Bill Brand says he's spoken to a ton of people and agencies: "There is no answer if the power lines can go if the power plant is retired." It's an expensive study, and the city of Redondo Beach should not pay for it.
Bill Brand wants to amend the current motion on the floor to ask Edison or CAISO to put together a power flow study. Diels and Kilroy agree to the amendment.
"Ultimately ... we need to set the tone, we need to provide the leadership, say what we want to do," Bill Brand says.
7:59 p.m.: Aust: "Power lines don't just take the power out of AES. It's part of the distribution system."
8:01 p.m.: I think Aust's point is that Edison is a private company that would be unwilling to fund a power-flow survey on the power lines along 190th Street.
8:04 p.m.: Aspel: "This is just a receive and file presentation." He tells people that if they want to talk about the power plant
8:07 p.m.: Agoura Hills resident Bruce Boyer, who in a past meeting accused Chief Dan Madrigal of wanting boaters to die and applauded Charles Nichols for walking around Veterans Park with a rifle, is now somehow relating parks to Nichols' lawsuit against the city. Boyers claims that Nichols is suing over the confiscation of his rifle; Nichols' original lawsuit preceded his Veterans Park stroll by several months.
8:09 p.m.: Don Szerlip is now at the dais. He remembers when he was on the council and they were discouraged from finding an independent consultant rather than use the Coastal Conservancy.
"I find it fascinating to hear Mr. Brand this evening say consultants who can lay out the way to fund," Szerlip says. He calls the Studio 606 study "fascinating."
"Really, this is all surrounding AES," Szerlip says. "Just like the SBPC who says they're all about parks is really about the AES property."
8:12 p.m.: A participant in the Studio 606 study who lives in Redondo Beach explains the study itself. He says Cal Poly Pomona held up giving the study to the Coastal Conservancy until last week.
Gin says he looks forward to examining the report.
8:15 p.m.: Lezlie Campeggi discusses the original Studio 606 study meeting, and emphasizes that it was not just about the AES site. She says the study was based on several meetings held in the entire region and "it was the public input that honed in on that site."
Joan Davidson thanks Peter Brand for doing a presentation tonight. "(The project) will take vision and courage," she says. She also recommends statues for the sitting councilmen in the new park.
Additionally, she asks if the public comment portion of the next item can be held first.
Another speaker comes up to the dias. "I really think that change is hard and it takes a really long time to change," she says.
She encourages the council to create revenue from the site and people to read about natural gas, among other ideas.
8:20 p.m.: Steve Deming, a 15-year resident of Redondo Beach (random trivia: he's also got a book of cowboy poetry), says AES has asked developers for ideas on how its property could be developed. He talks about the Pike in Long Beach.
It sounds like Ratkovich wants to develop the property; however, development of the property isn't the issue.
The motion from an hour ago is approved.
8:21 p.m.: We're doing public comment first on this item, which is about a resolution to oppose the power plant's repowering.
Gin asks people to be respectful of everyone's viewpoint and the three-minute time limit.
8:25 p.m.: Diels doesn't trust the Coastal Conservancy to provide funding opportunities. Councilman Mike Webb notes that there was an inadvertent "serial meeting" between councilmen on this issue. A serial meeting occurs when one councilman speaks to two different councilmen on an issue at different times.
Webb notes that at least three of the councilmen have proposed their own resolutions. He wants to make sure it's one item, so people will be able to speak only once.
The council agrees to let people speak first.
8:29 p.m.: This is where you have to excuse me for misspelling names. Dave Bacon is first. He says that he opposes any resolutions that would prevent the city from cooperating with AES.
Arlene Staich is next. She thanks the council for gathering more information. "I think that we should work cooperatively with AES. I think there is a great opportunity for us to have a power plant," she says. She notes that there are power outages in Hermosa Beach and San Onofre is not working. She says that because we don't know future energy requirements, it's important to have a plant.
She holds up the AES brochure to emphasize her point.
Katie—I didn't catch her last name—says she's not opposed to parks. "I think tonight there are a lot more issues at stake than just a park," she says. Once again, she directs focus to the power outages in Hermosa Beach. She also mentions storms on the East Coast, last year's outage in San Diego and a recent outage in Torrance.
"I don't want anybody betting on my future power needs because if we're wrong, we lose," she says.
8:35 p.m.: Time for Russell Patterson. He's also showing support for working collaboratively with AES.
This is the first time a somewhat significant number of people have spoken in favor of AES.
Steve Conley has a background in engineering and says he knows the "whole process" will take a long time. "I think it's very premature just to say, you know, we don't want a power plant," he says. "The emissions, I know, will go down."
David Baird of North Redondo Beach takes his turn. "I support the AES power plant as it is," he says.
Lauren Cotner says she went to the first meeting of Building a Better Redondo, then spoke with AES project manager Jennifer Didlo. "We have the most useless waterfront that I've ever seen," Cotner says. She says that it would be fiscally responsible to bring in more development, and encourages working with AES.
8:38 p.m.: Jackie Voss says she wants something that will generate more income locally. "I support BBR. I would like to see things like some more eateries, some shops—things that are going to generate some income and things that are going to employ people," she says. She notes that she likes parks, too, but she wants to put structures there and a small park.
I'm not sure she understands what BBR stands for—they're the ones who want a large park with up to 40 percent commercial and institutional use.
It's Joe Linehan's turn. He thanks the council. "That man (Peter Brand) and his group are trying to close every single power plant we have in the state of California," he says. He claims that closing the power plant will make the city lose power. "What are we going to do when we turn on the lights? Think about it."
It's fairly clear that he wants a power plant. "We can get energy when no one else has it," he says, drawing laughter from the audience.
He also talks about how his water bill tripled when the Coastal Conservancy apparently shut down the water pumps to Southern California because of the delta smelt in the Sacramento Delta. "My point here is this, we have an opportunity to have our power. Don't give it away."
8:48 p.m.: Dean says he's here to support AES. "It scares me when I think that rezoning was reverse condemnation" will be used to "encourage" people to sell, he says, and warns the council to be careful. He says the initiative scares him.
Chris says, "I've heard a whole bunch of reasonable people trying to deal with an unreasonable problem." He calls Peter Brand's presentation "great theater" but he's "not sure it applies to us." He encourages the council to have a mixed-use development that lets AES do his work.
The next man, whose last name is Boyer (no relation to the Boyer who spoke earlier), says he supports AES.
This new guy just moved to Redondo Beach a little more than a day ago. He says he's a "little biased" because he's worked in energy storage. He suggests burying batteries underneath the park that will provide clean, renewable energy in a "cost effective manner." He asks the council to ask AES to look into energy storage.
Margaret Higgins says it's getting past her bedtime. She lives in the Salvation Army building on the third floor. "I look at it every day," she says. "I don't have much faith in AES."
Higgins says that AES doesn't care about the community because they haven't done anything to clean up the old facility. "We emigrated from England ... legally," she says. Her remark draws laughter. Continuing, she says it's the land of opportunity... and the power plant is very noisy when it's running. "Especially when it gets hot in the Valley, we suffer for it."
Gin says Higgins should talk to Didlo about cleanup issues, and hopefully they'll clean it up right away.
8:54 p.m.: Kelly Charles who lives in the Village condominiums gets up to speak. "Not one person has told me they're excited about this power plant—this new power plant that's being built," she says. She urges the council to pass a resolution opposing a new power plant.
Ed Jacola says, "I'm in favor of AES." He now says he's against parkland and wants it to be commercial area after hearing from "Nancy Pelosi's friend." Would he still be thinking the same thing if Peter Brand had not included the photo of him with Pelosi?
"Let's just think about what's best for Redondo," he says.
The next speaker: "I'm here because I'm an advocate of property rights." He says it "makes no sense" to turn it into a wetland like he thinks Brand wants. He doesn't think they'll be able to fund the purchase of the property because it's "extraordinarily valuable."
Kurt, who has a boat in the harbor and is a resident, says he would love it if all the power plants could be torn down. "We all need power, and Redondo Beach needs power, and I think the AES proposal is a win-win situation for everybody. They're downsizing the plant itself, the height of the stacks are going down, the number of stacks is going down," he says. He adds that the empty space is a "wonderful opportunity." "Our power needs are going up," he says. "This power plant is a clean power plant." He also adds that the current plant is a clean plant because it runs on natural gas. He should talk to Higgins.
8:58 p.m.: Tony Czuleger comes up to the dais. "Our family is probably one of the oldest families in Redondo," he says. He doesn't "buy it" when people say that the plant is driving down property values. "I'm for the plant, in a nutshell. I do like the idea that AES is willing to work with the city."
He wants BBR to pay for an environmental impact study for Torrance, Gardena, Compton, Los Angeles, Bell Gardens, etc. if the power plant is taken down. He also suggests drilling an oil well in the harbor to pay for the property. "That's a sticky subject, granted," he says.
Vic echoes "a lot of things that are being said here tonight in support of AES."
I think Bill Brand will have a lot to say once public comment is over.
9:02 p.m.: Lisa Rodriguez: "I support deliberate process and due dilligence" on plans for a new power plant. She wants to keep options open and opposes rezoning initiatives. "More importantly, I am not alone. I am standing as a collective voice of my neighbors who could not be here tonight," she says. When she says she wants to submit her own petition in support of the plant, someone in the audience announces that it's illegal.
Nobody on the council or city staff objects.
Walt: "I see a lot of the propaganda that AES put out over the past week ... is having impact on the citizens of Redondo Beach." He says the council and the mayor need to go forward with a "decision of strength" for the city. He calls AES' plant "ridiculous."
9:04 p.m.: "I'm here to implore you to vote to oppose the power plant ... Obviously, the propaganda campaign is working," says Lori. Putting a park next to a power plant "is ridiculous."
She says AES has admitted that a new plant will pollute the air "dramatically more."
9:07 p.m.: Roger Light has a big stack of papers with him. "Good to see you guys at a reasonable hour this time," he tells the council. He opposes the power plant, and accuses AES of deceiving the city. "AES is a plant that pays absurdly low tax rates," he says—though a new plant would pay more to the city coffers.
"The AES power plant past, present or future, if built, will kill people."
9:09 p.m.: Delia Vechi says that she has to say more now that people have spoken in favor of the power plant. She's been outspoken against the power plant and other city issues.
9:12 p.m.: This woman is focusing on the dangers of air pollution.
9:15 p.m.: This speaker calls rezoning the AES property "particularly appropriate."
9:20 p.m.: "I saw that smiling, beautiful model on the front cover and wondered how close she lived to the power plant," says Torrance resident Jim Montgomery. He calls it "an issue of trust." "I think AES has given us plenty of reasons not to trust them."
Once again, the conversation between Eric Pendergraft with another person about the energy crisis comes up. Montgomery reads from the same Los Angeles Times article that everyone else has pointed to, although this is the first time tonight.
When his time is up, he says someone else should read the rest of the phone transcript.
9:20 p.m.: Another woman speaks in opposition to AES' plans to repower.
9:22 p.m.: Doug Malpin from Torrance—he says he frequents Redondo Beach—says he's in favor of AES' plans. "You have to look at a practical solution to parkland ... and a 100 percent parkland solution isn't going to work," he said. (Note: The initiative calls for a minimum of 60 percent park.)
The next speaker arrived late. "I guess I missed the AES rally bus," he notes.
9:23 p.m.: In six more minutes, we'll have heard public comment for more than an hour.
9:30 p.m.: Martha Garcia Simmons, a homeowner in Redondo and a television producer, says she wants to do a series reporting on the power plant and air pollution.
She says Erin Brockovitch has expressed interest.
Danny Purcell asks why the power plant is supplying everyone with power and all the negative impacts are hitting Redondo Beach. He notes that it's the same argument people are making against a park—why should residents of Redondo pay for a park that everyone in the South Bay would use?
"Teaming with AES is a lot like George Bailey taking a job from Mr. Potter," he says. It's a Wonderful Life reference!
Don Szerlip's turn again. He notes that the studies for power availability only go through 2020. "There is no definitive absolute about what's going to be needed for the future," he says.
He says AES said it was operating at 50 percent capacity, while Bill Brand later said it operates at 5 percent capacity. Actually, I believe the plant is operating 50 percent of the time, but annually only produces 5 percent of the electricity it could.
9:31 p.m.: Dawn Esser, an outspoken opponent of AES, says she wants to see a resolution passed against the repowering of AES Redondo. She notes that studies going out to 2022 show that there will be 28 percent excess capacity. "We've had officials come up and say, 'Yes, a power plant can be retired. It's not needed for our power needs,'" she says.
9:35 p.m.: Shari Patterson, in response to Szerlip, quotes Aspel as saying AES used deceit to convince people to vote against the utility users tax measure. Why should we trust AES now? she asks.
She says she finds AES' statistics about particulate pollution to be misleading, and that it's "ludicrous" to expect people to go to a cafe next to a running power plant.
9:37 p.m.: Adele asks the council to pass a resolution to oppose the repowering of the power plant.
"Many of the power outages have nothing to do with the amount of electricity," she says. It's true—the recent outages were due to equipment failure.
9:40 p.m.: Trisha Light, an incoming senior at , is at the dais, and then there's only one more written request! Hooray! I have a feeling that there will be plenty of walk-ups.
Tom Bower brings up deregulation and urges caution. He has other ideas, too.
9:41 p.m.: Didlo just handed in a written request. Still at least one more to go.
9:42 p.m.: Two more to go. Didlo's just coming up now.
9:45 p.m.: "The state of California as you all know is working through a maze of issues," says Didlo. She reminds the council of the state's intention to reduce once-through cooling and greenhouse gases as well as increase the output renewable sources.
"I would suggest now is not the time to eliminate a clean, reliable, environmentally responsible source of generating electricity," she says. "AES plan explicitly includes eliminating the existing power plant."
She calls the pro-AES group the "silent majority."
She says there's a number of unsubstantiated claims regarding air pollution. "There's been people enhancing our photographs, adding plumes that don't exist," she says.
Her three minutes are up.
9:46 p.m.: Last written request... I think.
9:47 p.m.: "Societies are built on great compromise," says the current speaker. "When compromise happens, good things happen."
9:50 p.m.: Marna Smeltzer of the Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce says that she supports collaboration.
After listening to the marathon session earlier this year, "what was really clear to me is that we don't know—we won't know for a number of years—what the energy needs will be beyond 2020," she says.
9:51 p.m.: Mark Hansen of the King Harbor Boaters Advisory Panel says boaters are interested in how the extra acreage will be used. Bet he says they want more boat storage.
He wants the city council to go for the in-depth planning process. Hasn't that been discussed?
9:53 p.m.: Gary Thompson is anti-power plant. He says if AES was a good neighbor, it would be looking at alternative uses rather than applying for a new permit. Power plants belong in the middle of nowhere, he says.
9:56 p.m.: Campeggi's back. "I don't want to be standing here 10 years from now telling you, 'I told you so,'" she says.
9:58 p.m.: "Redondo has suffered under the power plant for more than 100 years," says the last (and hopefully final) speaker. Once the public is done speaking, the council will begin their own discussion.
I'll be very surprised if this is over before midnight.
10:02 p.m.: Gerry O'Connor from Manhattan Beach is here! He says he spoke to the Manhattan Beach City Council and asked them to pass a resolution. He says the Manhattan Beach City Council is waiting for Redondo to pass a resolution. What your inaction caused is an initiative to come forward" and a "misinformation campaign," he tells the council.
He notes that the blackouts have been due to infrastructure problems.
10:06 p.m.: "I wasn't going to speak and drag out the night too much longer, but I couldn't help myself," says Sean Guthrie.
He says air and water pollution are his two greatest health concerns, but he notes that he has greater concerns than the power plant. If the council chooses to oppose the power plant, he asks them to oppose smoking in public (it's actually banned in most public places) and automobiles.
Still at least one more speaker. Don Vangeloff of North Redondo says it's clear that AES "values" the decision of the city council. He doesn't want a power plant, and he says there has been "somewhat of a vacuum" of leadership on the city council about this issue. I think Bill Brand and Kilroy would beg to differ.
10:09 p.m.: PUBLIC COMMENT IS OVER. Time for the council to ask their questions and discuss it among themselves.
Gin wants to hear from Didlo about air pollution. She says that data will be included in the application they plan to file with the state in mid-August. They'll file with the regional air quality board in the first or second week of the month.
"We will do a public health assessment that will be conducted by professionals and it would be an independent assessment that would be conducted publicly," she says.
10:13 p.m.: Gin brings up the element of mistrust. He asks Didlo how AES would engage the community.
"We're in the process of figuring out what that process would look like," Didlo replies.
Gin asks if AES would be willing to pay for the costs of a community outreach process for input on future opportunities on the site because the property will likely need to be rezoned.
10:16 p.m.: "I think this is an opportunity for our community," Gin says, addressing his city policy resolution. "I think we do need to move forward on a decision tonight as AES prepares to submit an application."
He feels the reliability of the grid is paramount.
"I think it is critical that we collaborate with AES because it's their land," he says. Someone interrupts, but I can't understand what she was saying. "I think, you know, there is that strong possibility that what's there will stay there."
10:20 p.m.: Gin explains that his resolution acknowledges that the decision is up to the state, but it says the state should consider retiring AES Redondo. He also says that his resolution says that if a plant is necessary, AES should look for other sites and do everything it can to mitigate air pollution.
"We've allocated some of our budget to participate actively (as an intervener) at the California Energy Commission," he notes.
He wants to ensure that if built in Redondo, a new power plant would use the most modern technology available and would be as small as it can possibly be. He also wants to preserve the Whaling Wall.
10:20 p.m.: "I think there's a real opportunity for a win-win here," Gin says.
Now it's Bill Brand's turn. "Glad we didn't go 'til 12 or 1," he says, but the other councilmen tease him.
10:25 p.m.: "Not doing anything is deciding that you do want a new power plant here," Brand says. He gets a smattering of applause. He says the CEC will look at the desires of the local public. Right now, it looks to them like there's no significant public opposition.
"It's just frustrating for me to listen to people say, 'We might need the energy,'" he says. "The ISO came here... and he sat at that podium, and I asked him very specifically, 'Is there capacity to retire a once-through cooling power plant in the west L.A. Basin sub-area?' His answer was, 'Yes.'"
He says that when he started, he thought the plant might be needed, but he drilled down and spoke to tons of people and studied the issue in-depth.
10:30 p.m.: Brand notes that Carlsbad "got a late start, and they lost." It goes back to the "Kill it while it's young" comment last time.
He also says AES said particulate emissions would more than double in a previous letter to the city council. "Parts per million, folks, is a concentration," Brand says. He brings up one of his resolutions for tonight—one that says they oppose a power plant only if it's not cleaner.
10:32 p.m.: Brand emphasizes that the initiative gives "significant economic value" and a "proper phase-out period." Additionally, the initiative allows for up to 40 percent commercial and institutional use.
"I certainly did not want to write a citizen's initiative," Brand says. "This was not my first choice, by a long shot."
10:34 p.m.: Brand says he supports "almost all" of the resolutions (he wants to remove one paragraph from the mayor's because he thinks it's redundant).
10:38 p.m.: It's Aspel's turn. He brings up the Heart of the City project—"AES could have made a profit and got out of here." He reiterates that he won't support anything to oppose the power plant as long as the initiative is on the table.
He notes that he's happy that both groups came in. "Because they're supporting AES doesn't mean they're bad people," he says.
"I have received 22 phone calls ... and over 20 emails of people who won't come down here, and they don't want their email forwarded on to the city clerk because of, in their view, harrasment," Aspel says. "It's tough for people to come down and express an opinion when they might get heckled."
He tells Vechi that she can have 10 minutes to talk at his meeting on Saturday—not tonight!
"It's not just total annihilation," he says.
10:43 p.m.: "No one wants the power plant," Aspel says. "But it's not all doom and gloom ... I don't want to piss off AES so bad that they're not going to negotiate with us."
"No matter which way it goes, we're probably going to get sued," Aspel says. He says he's read the resolutions and he'll hear them. "When they say 'may,' 'shall,' and 'should'—that means nothing."
"It is our air, but it is their property."
10:47 p.m.: Diels says he wants to make sure his constituents from North Redondo Beach are heard. He says it's "simply false" that the council isn't doing anything. Once again, he brings up the "coastal reserve" proposed zoning from 2004.
"It should be known that ppl haven't been consistent on this issue from the beginning," he says. "There's been a lot of flip-flopping going on."
He says he's heard from more people supporting a new, smaller plant—and they're all from Redondo residents and not form letters.
Apparently two or there people in the room want a power plant in their backyard. Their raised hands and comments draw chuckles.
Diels continues to quote emails he's received.
10:55 p.m.: "Rich white people who live at the beach are at a distinct disadvantage," Diels says of legislation about power plants.
His statement brings up natural-gas burning appliances, property values and other issues.
"If we want the power plant to go away, we have to make it a stupid decision for (AES) to build it there," he says.
He calls the initiative process "backwards thinking," "rash" and "aggressive."
10:56 p.m.: Kilroy: "I think we can all agree that the existing power plant is a blighting influence."
11:03 p.m.: Kilroy says passing a resolution shouldn't prevent the city from working with AES. He'll leave the question of whether it's necessary to the CEC, especially with the shutdown of San Onofre.
He's rehashing a lot of what he's said before, as well as the concerns of others. His concern going forward is litigation. "OK—I'm scared," he says.
11:08 p.m.: Kilroy says he examined pollution issue, too. He says indoor particulate matter is also a problem.
"Residential use of natural gas produces 22 tons of NOx in Redondo Beach," Kilroy says. He also notes that a new power plant would produce less pollution than the old one did when it ran at a greater capacity.
"That's like comparing Torrance Car Wash and saying that it doesn't produce any water pollution!" he exclaims. (Torrance Car Wash has been abandoned for several years.)
"I would support the mayor's resolution mainly because I don't think it closes any doors," he says, "and because I don't think ... it's really compatible with the uses."
"The one thing I would not want to get involved with is litigation," he says."
11:09 p.m.: "It's been a very interesting evening," Aust says.
He says the city won't need any money from the Coastal Conservancy for quite awhile. Aust also says he won't support a proclamation or a resolution if an initiative is tied to it.
"(Jim Light) jumps in and had to submit his initiative at 4 o'clock on the third, knowing that we were going to be having this meeting on the 10th," Aust says. "It's no longer on the horizon; it's been submitted."
Aust is "absolutely not" against the people's right to vote. In fact, he wanted the city to have an advisory vote, but .
11:12 p.m.: Apparently, some of Aust's constituents were unhappy with the photo of a smiling young woman on AES' mailer.
"There was 50 people (who) got up and spoke," Aust says. "Thirty people were for support the power plant; 20 people were against."
Once again, Aust says he's going to make a motion for a public advisory vote.
11:13 p.m.: Nobody has yet mentioned walking up to a person and punching them in the nose. That was a major theme last time.
11:14 p.m.: Aust really, really wants this advisory vote on whether the council should oppose the repowering of AES Redondo.
11:17 p.m.: Aust says he hasn't read the most recent version of the initiative.
After more talk, he says that he had asthma as a kid when it was an oil-burning power plant and he lived nearby. His daughter apparently also had asthma.
Hey, Patch mention! Aust says being called a "beancounter" in a comment on the site is a compliment because he wants to "really know" how the people of Redondo feel about the issue.
11:20 p.m.: Aust now says that he thinks AES will try to repower the Redondo Beach plant. Previously, he maintained that he thought AES didn't actually want to rebuild the plant.
Aspel again. "Not to belabor the point, but it just keeps occurring to me that you'll be here 10 years from now ... saying the same thing," he says.
11:24 p.m.: "When we're accused of inaction by a resident of the city of Manhattan Beach..." Aspel pokes fun at the debate surrounding alcohol on the beach and the Centennial Gala in Manhattan Beach.
"Let's just have the initiative and see what happens," Aspel says. "I'm not going to support any of this fluff."
It's Brand's turn again.
11:32 p.m.: Brand notes that three power plants in the L.A. Basin will be coming online within the next few years.
"It's clear to me that we don't want a new power plant on our waterfront," he says.
Gin says he has a "real problem" with the initiative: "Should this initiative qualify, and should it be passed, it puts the city in a really bad situation, I believe, in terms of legal liability." If the city is sued, taxpayers will have to pay for it.
Aust moves for an all-mail ballot for an advisory vote on the power plant.
Webb says the motion is to override a mayoral veto, which would take four votes.
Gin: "Simply asking the question if you want a power plant or not, doesn't solve the problem ... It would have cost $100,000." He continues, "It's not that simple a question" because it's being asked in a vacuum. Gin wants a poll paid for by AES. "I believe that we're elected to make the best decisions that we can based on the information that we have."
11:35 p.m.: "I really think (an advisory vote is) a waste of city resources in a really tight budget that just passed," Gin says. He continues to explain his veto.
11:41 p.m.: I may be getting really tired, but did Aust really just volunteer his entire district's budget to fund an advisory vote?
"Trust me, you're talking numbers—trust me," Kilroy says.
The override vote fails—Diels apologizes to Aust and says it was too complicated. They all laugh.
Kilroy moves to become intervenors. The motion passes unanimously.
Gin's resolution doesn't get a second, so there's no vote. Brand moves to approve his resolution about only opposing the plant if air pollution increases. No second.
11:41 p.m.: Gin thanks everyone for coming. It's over.