Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Ugly Truths

This post will probably make folks on all sides of the Ponte Vista debate uncomfortable with me and my conclusions.

I have already angered many supporters of Mr. Bisno's plans to build 2,300 homes inside his Ponte Vista Development. But I will probably anger quite a few folks to support "R1" zoning on the site. Let's see how this will all turn out.

I have shifted my thinking from being a "supporter of R-1" to concluding that the current zoning of the site, which is zoned R1, for up to nine homes per acre, should be maintained and the application of any zoning change by Mr. Bisno be denied by the Los Angeles City Council.

Mr. Bisno and his organization have the burden to prove to decision makers, potential buyers, and current residents in the area, that what he has proposed for the development would be the most beneficial to everyone. I have concluded that he and his organization have not, as yet, met that burden of proof.

Since I have concluded that Mr. Bisno's proposals have met my necessary standards to have a change of zoning approved, I have created some steps that he may take where I would find comfort in discussing alternatives to his proposal that I could, finally support.

For me to consider alternatives to Mr. Bisno's current plans, the following steps should be taken;

There should be a third traffic study, paid for by Mr. Bisno and completely independent of any government entity, the developer's organization, or the Planning Department.

There should be an announcement by the Mr. Bisno that he is openly willing to discuss reasonable alternatives to building 2,300 homes at Ponte Vista, no matter what any government department or office says. This announcement should be publicised his Web sites, and in newspapers in the area.

There should be an inclusion into discussions with representatives of L.A.U.S.D., concerning SRHS #14, so all parties could be well informed and can make their opinions and facts known.

Ponte Vista must have public streets in the non-age restricted portion of any multi-building development.

The developer, along with local business owners, should do the unprecedented act of discussing parking issues if Mr. Bisno continues to apply for a zoning change.

If those conditions are meant, then I would be very willing to thoughtfully discuss alternatives and scenarios that don't include 2,300 homes or nine homes per acre.

A very ugly truth that many supporters of R1 probably don't know is that there are no large acreage R1 zoned sites that have been approved by the L.A. City Council lately.

There must be an acknowledgement by all sides that San Pedro needs more housing units. Even though their would be no homes built in Ponte Vista that would mitigate any housing needs in the San Pedro Community Plan, homes in the area still need to be built.

Mr. David Olivo of the L.A. City Planning Department confided to me that he knows of no current R1 developments on large parcels of land within the City of Los Angeles.

An ugly truth I must remind readers of is that I feel I represent the majority of eastern Rancho Palos Verdes who want to only see R1 at Ponte Vista. While I will always consider "San Pedro" home, I live in a city whose eastern residents will be severely impacted by a large development at Ponte Vista.

Another ugly truth is that I do not believe many of the facts and figures, purported to be true in the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR), rise to the level of believability that would be required for the approval of a zoning change.

The DEIR was paid for by the developer, who contracted with a private company to produce the DEIR. Once the DEIR was completed, it was sent to the L.A.City Planning Department to be scrutinized for correctly reporting facts and figures. The Planning Department is not the decision maker for any zoning change. The department accepts the DEIR for publication under its name after it has assured itself that the contents of the document is complete and truthful, as far as they are concerned.

Different methodologies of studying the same thing, often produce different results. Because I continue to have doubts about some of the facts and figures purported to be true in the DEIR, I am not willing to "gamble" the future of the area by recommending approval of the developer's
application, at this time.

7,343 or 4,313. How many residents might actually live at Ponte Vista in a 2,300 home development. It depends on the report you believe is true. I have generated a different set of possible population numbers that may or may not be more accurate. Because this is also and ugly truth, I continue to feel the current zoning of the site should not be changed.

Mr. Bisno has called folks who are "R1 supporters", "ranting elitists". I feel this is not only very untrue, but derogatory on it's face. Just today as I pulled out of a parking space in my Honda Element, I made sure I did not sideswipe Mr. Bisno's black Rolls Royce. The ugly truth here is that I regret Mr. Bisno continues to call many R1 supporters "ranting elitists", and I feel continuing animosity by Mr. Bisno, towards R1 supporters, but not me personally, suggests that he devalues may folks I represent.

Something is going to be built in the area now known as Ponte Vista at San Pedro. An ugly truth is one of the "somethings" being considered is a 2,025 seat senior high school. Mr. Bisno may correctly claim that the L.A.U.S.D. has been unwilling to negotiate with him on access to his land and reservations he has about building such a large school at Ponte Vista.

Mr. Bisno has publicly and privately said that he would be willing to discuss a "fewer than 1,000 student" campus at Ponte Vista. All parties should redouble their efforts to sit down and openly negotiate about the possible future of 15.03 acres within Ponte Vista. Failure to do so may find Mr. Bisno beginning construction on buildings that might be condemned and demolished even before they are completed.

Because nobody really knows at this time whether there will be more protracted litigation issues surrounding the proposed school, I have concluded that the current zoning at Ponte Vista, be maintained.

An ugly truth is that a public road between Western Avenue and Gaffey Street must be built if any multiple-building developments are approved in the Ponte Vista area. There is a vocal opposition to this proposal, but that opposition is not coming from Mr. Bisno or myself.

Another ugly truth is one that many people, including myself, have written about before. Mr. Bisno paid approximately $122,000,000.00 for a total of 61.53 acres that is now known as Ponte Vista at San Pedro. Buying land at any price can be a gamble. Paying well over the expected selling price for land is surely a gamble, in my opinion. I haven't read in any publication where a land owner is allowed to build anything he wishes to on that land, just because he paid a great amount of money for land that may not have actually been worth what he paid for it.
It is not mandatory for the zoning to be changed just because the land owner may have overpaid for the land.

A very ugly but accurate truth is that, unless Mr. Bisno builds single-family detached homes inside Ponte Vista on a ratio of up to nine homes per acre, (up to 429 homes) there will be no R1 development at Ponte Vista. Mr Bisno has been quoted that there are no plans to build single-family homes at Ponte Vista. Mr. Bisno chose to make that claim and I believe he is very determined to build large, multi-dwelling buildings on his site. Currently, Mr. Bisno is allowed to build homes according to the current zoning for the site.

In conclusion, It is my feeling that Mr. Bisno's application for changing the current zoning on the site should be denied until such time as Mr. Bisno submits an amended application that provides the best possible outcome for me and the residents of eastern Rancho Palos Verdes I was selected to represent in this matter.

9 comments:

tom said...

Mark,

While I find many of your points to be on-target, there are some which are (IMHO) based upon misconceptions of the project. Some of these misconceptions, I feel, come from lack of clarity in some of the material which has been produced by the developer for the development.

The devil is in the numbers. Which one's you use; whose are accurate; which one's are accepted by the City, etc. If that can be sorted out, perhaps we can all come to a better understanding of the proposal.

Somewhere (again, one of those "senior moments") you asked me what I meant by "pro-community". I won't get into it now, because it will cause me to digress and I already tend to do that too much. Plus there are some things I would rather keep private, so I'll probably relay them to you via email. But I did want to say in brief that it means I want to have San Pedro retain its heritage as an old Portugese fishing port town, while still being able to improve aspects of the town so we can become more prosperous economically. There has been a lot of bemoaning over the closing of the canneries. While we needed the jobs, I don't miss the canneries. They were low-end jobs with no future, no place to grow. I want to give our children something with more potential. That is the brief definition of pro-community.

Also a couple lines quoted from a private email to M Richards which I thought would be ripe for general consumption:

"...But today, the site would not let me log in on some occassions, and then just would not take the post on others. So I guess they had a gremlin in the server for a while. I hope it is gone now since I will attempt to post again. I don't have the time to write as many treatises as you. But I will try to add as much as I can to the discussion.

As far as the anonymous ones who hope to get me upset, they have yet to learn that it takes more than a few electronic smudges on a computer screen to get to me. Their goal is to eliminate anyone whose view dissents from theirs. I won't give them that pleasure..."

Meanwhile, let's start a dialogue over these "ugly Truths" and examine what can be done to resolve some of the issues you've raised and how we can get Bisno (and the other developers putting up projects all over town) involved in creating a gestalt plan where we all wind with an better place to live.

To begin, let me comment re. my attitude toward the DEIR "monolith". It is not that I take everything in it as gospel. It certainly is not. But it is what the City Planning Department has chosen to work with. There is the rub. Even if you believe the planner paid for by Bisno sold their soul to him (which I do not) they STILL could not put out numbers which were not reviewed and approved by the City. Attacking the basis of the EIR, attacks the Planning Department and they take that very personally. IMHO it is counter-productive. There are ways to suggest "tweaks" which will bring about a more livable development - e.g. the "hybrid scenario".

-Tom-

p.s. something is still going on with the server because it will not let me post under my blogger login. If this posts, I think I found the problem; themigration to beta.

M Richards said...

Tom, once again you are first out of the gate with your comments, thanks.

Yes, I blog in beta now. I remember that I did have troubles posting comments and I had the word verification turned off for some time. If you think turning it back off will help others comment, I will turn it off again.

The canneries provided first and second incomes to generations of San Pedrans. They probably provided low wage income, but without them, San Pedro would not have had the history it has.

Did you know there are plans being made for Fish Harbor? One of the current complaints that made be fixed is that fish caught and off loaded in San Pedro, in many cases, has to be trucked to processing plants in Los Angeles and then trucked back to the port for shipment. In the revitalization plans for Fish Harbor, a new canning site is envisioned.

Tom, you and everyone else are encouraged to "digress" and offer for posting, your opinions and facts you have gathered. I still would like you to send me your creation via Email that I can include as a separate post.

I did have some missconceptions about the creation and publication of the DEIR. I don't discount the reputability of the folks who created the documents, but I do question methods they used as opposed to other methods used by other authors of these types of reports.

The Planning Department can be faulted if they are supposed to question the methods used in the production of a DEIR. If they have no responsibility to do that, then that is fine with me.

Their "seal of approval" does not mean they agree with everything in the documents, according to a member of the Planning Department I have had discussions with. What is set in stone in the DEIR was not chiseled out by the Planning Department. They just tried to make sure the chisel was sharp.

Your comments about wanting to give children more potential to find better jobs than cannery worker type jobs got me pondering.

In San Pedro, downtown especially, the trend is more toward developing residential than commercial or retail, it appears by the skyline. An office building imploded with a boom to make room for condominiums. Where once a bank and other businesses stood, the Bank Loft is rising. The Center Street lofts has already changed the landscape of downtown.
The Bridge to Breakwater dream is still just that for much of the distance.

It is wonderful to offer our children places to work in the area, but where is that, exactly? San Pedro has long been thought of by many as a "bedroom community". I don't see much of a trend in any other direction when I look out and see residences being built or on the drawing board for the vast majority of the very little remaining land in our community.

Developers, it seems, are still coming to San Pedro to build bedrooms, not businesses. We will get our Target and perhaps a Wallgreens. But where, locally, will all the new residents of our community work? If you claim the port will generate many of the jobs these folks will go to, I think we are still questioning whether economics will dictate a move of cargo transportation to new harbors in Baja, where land and labor is so much cheaper.

Going from being the highest creditor nation in the world to the highest debtor nation in the world may have a significant impact on our port, in the future. I am not secure with the notion that high paying longshore jobs will be around forever in our ports. If these types of jobs go away, then San Pedro remains the home of many commuters as it now seems to be, and these commuters will drive to jobs with lower wages than is currently generated by the port.

These last paragraphs might be construed as a defense for Mr. Bisno's current plans, but please know that is not my intention. Mr. Bisno is attempting to construct "market rate" homes that do not follow guidelines set for "affordable homes" as defined by the City of Los Angeles and other municipalities. If jobs do actually leave our area, Mr. Bisno's current vision of providing the quality of homes and the amenities he is drawing up, will either go away, or he will.

Also, no one knows whether phase 1 of Ponte Vista will look anything like phase 6 of the development. If the economy takes a tumble during the development and construction process, then the developer might be forced to change his vision of what type of homes he builds and the amenities he provides down the road.

Unless Mr. Bisno builds the entire project in one big construction push, which he said he won't do, even he can't tell you what the last structures being built would look like.

I've left my train of thought derailed by the Field of Dreams.
MW

tom said...

Mark,

Word verification was not the problem. The problem was trying to comment using my blogger login without having migrated it over. That is done now, so I do not anticipate any more problems.

Regarding the canneries, you offer an interesting counter-point to my saying I did not miss them. You are absolutely correct in that they gave a particular flavor and historical richness to San Pedro. Yet time moves on. Unless we are prepared to live like they did during the era of the canneries, we have to take that heritage, preserve it, and still move forward. There is an island west of Kauaii named Niihau. In order to live there you must agree to live in the ancient Hawaiian lifestyle. No electricity, no modern appliances, etc.. I know this is a stretch, and I'm doing it on purpose, but to preserve the heritage of San Pedro, are we willing to do this? I think not. For a small isolated island it is workable. But for us as part of a growing metropolis it is not. We have to remember the past, and honor it. But we need to move forward.

Nevertheless, some type of revitalization of the fishing industry in San Pedro would certainly broaden our financial base and make us less "beholdin'" to the Port.

To the best of my knowledge it IS part of the Planning Departments responsibility to ensure that numbers are generated using methods which are approved and accepted. Still, you are correct, they (the Planning Department) does not need to agree with the final output.

In regards to whether Bisno builds houses in the last phase which resemble the first phase is always open to debate. However, from a sales and marketing viewpoint, it just does not make sense to change the product. Having not been on any of your field trips, I don't know whether Bisno has shown you any of his other projects. Wouldn't that be the best measure of consistency?

Of course I left the most difficult question until the end. Mainly because I do not know how to answer it. If I were king of the world, it would be an easy fix. But unfortunately I am not, so some brain-storming is required. Yes, we can build houses, but how do we create jobs? No one wants to commute to Corona to their job. That is just setting up the reverse situation for why people started moving out there to begin with. Then industry followed because they wanted a workforce close to the facility. This creates quite a quandary.

But all of this is going so far beyond the scope of the DEIR which the Committee has been asked to review and make suggestions on. It is basically the same problem the city has been wrestling with for years. Shouldn't we try to stick to the task at hand?

M Richards said...

Howdy Tom,
While I was listening to the fellow at the November 30 meeting talking about the fiscal impact Ponte Vista might have on the area, as well as listening to Mr. Bisno and some of his supporters, I was led to believe that there are already jobs in the area that need folks living closer to them. I may have been mistaken, but I thought I was given the impression that there will be jobs created in the area for new residents as well as existing jobs need closer workers.

I would certainly not want to go back all the way to the time we new the fishing fleet was back in port by the smell all over San Pedro. But the idea of a small processing plant for the few fishing boats left in the area, might help our economy and bring back a little of the aroma of old San Pedro.

I am still at a loss to figure out where all the new jobs are going to be created in the area we live in. Basically, we are out of space for much more commercial and retail businesses. I suppose we could enlarge Pier 400. I am very much against the enlargement of China Shipping and the Berth 97-109 project because of the potential environmental hazards that thier DEIR suggests.

If we bank future jobs on the livelyhood of the port, we might get a shock if the economy takes a dramatic downturn or many of the operations currently going on at the port move south into Mexico due to labor costs and transportation fees.

I think we should stick to the task at hand. You and I are dealing with the task of trying to figure out what is best for our overall community in light of Mr. Bisno's application to permanently change the zoning of the area known as Ponte Vista.

At the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council meeting on Monday night, the attendees, me included, broke into small groups to try to get a better handle on the DEIR and make possible suggestions on how NWSPNC will create their comments to Mr. Riker. As we both know, the nieghborhood council has gone on record opposing Mr. Bisno's plans.

What came out of the four groups dealing with various major issues with the DEIR is that everyone was in agreement that the DEIR is incomplete and there are many questions left unanswered by the DEIR.

I didn't have to inject any opinions on my part when I listened to the board members and others comment and ask questions they need answers for.

My conclusions about the DEIR are just as independent as I hope yours are. I think the vast majority of people who have actually read portions of the document also feel it is an incomplete and/or questionable document.

I can't afford having the future of our area being dictated by this document with all of it's flaws and incompleteness.

I would hope anything built at Ponte Vista keeps the same design and amenities from phase 1 of the project until its final buildout. I didn't even consider this could be a problem until I was discussing the project with an older gentleman who has been on many committees, task forces, and has a much larger knowledge base than I have, about these matters.

Playa Vista's buildings and landscapes are very different, even in their first phases of construction, than the original plans called for. Originally, many of the buildings were going to be smaller in size and blend in more with each other. Now there are larger buildings of starkly differing designs sitting right next to each other and for me, my vision is of a mish-mash of styles.

Playa Vista is not what the Ponte Vista site would look anything like. But if Playa Vista had so much trouble keeping to the original views, how can anyone be sure things won't change dramatically from what we see in the artist's conceptions, to what is actually built?

Tom, please keep up your great debate.
MW

tom said...

Mark,

It's just a guess, but maybe the jobs are service-related? It will take a lot of people to maintain the project once it is finished, not to mention the ongoing senior care. I got the impression at the Nov. 30 meeting they were talking about construction jobs. Despite the general contractor being out-of-state, they still have to hire locals from what I understood the carpenter's union rep to say. Other than that, I am as much in the dark as you are.

What came out of the meeting at the NWSPNC as far as comments? It would be interesting to hear what they thought was important.

I agree with you 100% that we cannot afford to have the future of our area hanging on a document which seems to have a great many flaws, misconstrued assumptions, questionable data. I guess this is part of what the Advisory Committee is meant to clear up?

While I believe it would be counter-productive for any developer to change his product mix during the build-out process, such an event is not unheard of, or impossible. Perhaps we should be asking Bisno for assurances that this will not happen?

On another note, I have been accused of not stating what I wanted from the project. I think I have been fairly clear in this thread. If you don't agree, please let me know and I will try to make my thoughts more detailed and easier to follow.

Tom

M Richards said...

Howdy Tom,

For this comment, I will call myself "Gus" for the hypothetical purpose of letting everyone know what "Gus" thinks.

"Gus" would like you to know that he doesn't believe that most persons employed in "service-related" jobs could afford homes priced in the range Mr. Bisno seeks to build them for. It has been mentioned that the income level needed to by the median priced home at Ponte Vista (probably a 3-bedroom unit) would be about $140,000.00 per year. I am in a "service-related" job and "Gus" would have to work at least 10 hours per day for about 24 days a month, each year to make that gross income. "Gus" chooses to not work for so many hours per year.

I think for most of the readers' sake, and for ease of other contributors, it might be best for anyone wishing to, to state their opinions of what they feel should be built at Ponte Vista, and why.

"Gus" is finding, by his reading, that many folks who are "Anonymous" and others (imbg for one) are not presenting their cases in format that is conducive to easier understanding by many of the readers to this blog and these comments who choose not to respond.

"Gus" wants to read, in very simple terms, what someone feels should be built at Ponte Vista, and why the contributor feels that way.

"Gus" is now going to give his (not Mark's or M's) thoughts on what should be built at Ponte Vista and why as an example that many readers should be able to easliy understand and make comments based on his writing.

"Gus" believes that Mr. Bisno should get approval for up to 1,200 homes at Ponte Vista, with 60% senior housing and 40% non-age restricted housing.

He believes a convienence store, complete with a pharmacy should be on the property, and that the streets and park areas within the non-age restricted part, be open to public access.

"Gus" also feels that Mr. Bisno should work with L.A.U.S.D. on voluntarily welcoming an 800-student academy onto Ponte Vista, or accept the 2,025-seat senior high school on the southern protion of Ponte Vista, and not where he wants his senior housing to go.

Now this is why "Gus" believes what he believes.

1,200 homes, with 60% senior housing, would meet Mr. Bisno's public thoughts about expanding the current number of senior units. Gus feels that the total number of homes and amount of senior housing would be have similar traffic counts as single-family homes, without actually building any single-family detached homes at the project.

"Gus" thinks if public access to the non-age restricted streets and amenities is allowed, it would foster a better community relationship with the entire area.

"Gus" likes the idea of a convienence store, including a pharmacy, would lessen the number of car trips because, for small items and medicines, residents will have the opportunity of walking to the nearest small store and pharmacy.

"Gus" understands the need for another high school in the area. He thinks an 800-seat academy could be built at Ponte Vista, but he doesn't understand much about what amenities would students lack with such a small campus. Would there be sports fields, gym, arts, and shop classes on the site?

"Gus" can't rule out the need for the big high school, but he thinks that it should be situated in the southern portion of Ponte Vista as a courtesy to Mr. Bisno's wishes to put his senior housing where he plans to build it.

"Gus" knows that the property won't have single-family detached homes unless they are Patio Homes because: a) the area really needs a lot more housing, and b) those types of homes would price most folks out of buying at Ponte Vista.

"Gus" worked at a McDonald's for over 35 years. He still sees "KISS" in his dreams. "Keep it simple, stupid" is his mantra.

Do "Gus'" comments help folks?
MW

tom said...

Mark,

"Gus" seems to have a down-to-earth viewpoint of this issue that many of us might inadvertently lose while in pursuit of items which pique our personal interests.

The only question I have for Gus is whether he is the sole wage-earner in his household. I can readily understand his reluctance to put in 10-hour days, 24 days a month. I didn't like it when I was a young man, and I certainly have less of an appetite for it now. I'd much rather be out on the golf course. Actually, his reasoning is very straightforward.

I must confess when you said he still dreams of KISS I thought you meant the band.

As for some of his points.

I think there is an allocation for retail in the development, but if memory serves me right (and please give me a break here and remember my Alzheimer's!) it is only 10,00 sq.ft. I don't know if that is enough to fit what would be required to reduce off-site car trips. This might be one suggestion for Bisno.

Gus's point about the school and the smaller academy lacking the amenities of a larger school is pretty spot-on. However Janice Hahn is dead set against a big school, so I do not know what Bisno could do about that.

Regarding the school in general, does anyone remember when Rod Hamilton got pinned down by Betsy Weismann at one of the fir Committee meetings? It seems that even though in their public presentations they offer up a "site" where they want to put their school, officially in writing they have not yet done so. They are still classifying the entire 62 acres as their "designated site". As Mark pointed out in his comment about being compensated if a movie company used his property to shoot a film, he would expect to be compensated; wouldn't it stand to reason that you would also have them specify which part of your home they would be using? Wouldn't you refuse them if they didn't? Isn't Bisno entitled to the same rights? I know I would want to be. I really think this is the sticking point. They won't tell Bisno, or at least negotiate in good faith, over where the school would go. My answer (and I suspect yours and most others) would be the same as Bisno's and tell them to take a flying leap...

But back to Gus. His ability to see the need for housing that is affordable is the key. The ultimate numbers can be worked out pending review and verification of population and traffic numbers which have been so all over the map as to leave everyone uncertain as to where it would finally wind up.

I think this comment thread would do well if it is cut and pasted into it's own entry.

M Richards said...

Howdy Tom,

You have made some great points again.

"Gus" told me that his wife, "Betty" works part time.

"Gus" would like to see anyone who is interested in professing opinions about the whats and whys of Ponte Vista put them in a form somewhat similar to the way "Gus" put his opinions.

Your comments on the possible retail space is what is planned at this point. There has been a assessment that retail space be very limited to a Dry Cleaning business, a small coffee shop/food store, and possibly a day care center.

I do think it is very much in the realm of discussing alternatives to the retail area that would assist seniors more and supply further amenities to the general public if access to Ponte Vista is open. I think there is a strong belief among most of us discussing Ponte Vista, that the senior area, no matter how big it is, where it finally is, and what it looks like, should still have a guard-gated entrance as well as a remote-accessed entrance.

For the L.A.U.S.D. to have access to Mr. Bisno's land, I think a contract with specific wording and fee schedule would be the correct thing to have. It is not something L.A.U.S.D. wants to start to do. But it is simply the proper thing to do. I would regret Mr. Bisno's complete denial of access to his land under every circumstance, but he has a right to get paid for access to his property, if he chooses.

I, being the creator of "Gus" must caution folks not to be confused by the word "affordable" with respect to Ponte Vista.

Ponte Vista may provide housing that many folks can afford, but there are no plans to have any housing for sale that follow the strict guidelines required for calling the housing "affordable" in the sense of these types of housing requirements.

Ponte Vista's home prices will be dictated by the market that is current at the time the homes are placed for sale. There is a rebate scheme afoot for certain buyers who fit into specific job categories, but those folks will probably need an income higher than most "service" jobs pay.

Tom, I need your help in identifying which parts of these comments should be elevated to post status. I don't know if you want the all the comments elevated or just certain ones. You get the call on this one and I'll do whatever your wishes are.
MW

tom said...

Mark,

IMHO the description of "Gus", his situation and what he would like to see, should jump up to its own post. Viewing things in that light helped to cut through some of the other issues I am as guilty as anyone else of letting infiltrate my comments. It sort of brought things back into focus. Perhaps if the discussion gets back on track, figuring out which numbers, generated by whom, are accurate and make sense.

I'll try to keep my own ego out of this, so my comments don't need to go with it. Let people start fresh. People can look at them here if they are really interested. The important thing is to get the focus back on people like "Gus" and "Betty".

I think we are on the same page re. LAUSD. I can empathize with Bisno not wanting people on his land without proper insurance, contracts, etc. But LAUSD is so used to being unfettered, this is a difficult concept for them to swallow. Much less the other item you mentioned of the precedent it would set. Seeing what unfolds will prove interesting.