Saturday, December 09, 2006

Why I Support R1 Zoning at Ponte Vista

It is now time for me to post why I support the maintaining of the current zoning at the Ponte Vista at San Pedro development site.

First though, I want to remind readers of my history in the area and my membership on a committee dealing with the Ponte Vista Development.

My parents brought me to the home I currently share with my wife when I was one-day old. That day was May 4, 1955. This home I grew up in is located in the first tract of homes built between Western Avenue and Miraleste Drive. It is in the neighborhood commonly known as the Crestwood area. It was originally called Eastview when it was developed. Now the home is in the Mira Vista Homeowners Association area of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.

I moved away in October 1976 to seek my fame and fortune. During my time away from the home, members of my family continued to occupy the home. My mother and father, then my sister’s family, lived in the home until 1998. My second wife and I moved back into what I call the “Wells ancestral home” and we have no plans to leave.

I attended Crestwood Elementary, Dodson Junior, and San Pedro High schools, and my first wife and her siblings grew up on Barrywood in the Westmont neighborhood.

I have worked for the variously named companies that began as AT&T and is now known as AT&T for over 26 years. I have driven a Manhole Van throughout Southern California, with most of the driving done on urban streets, hilly roads, and crowded freeways.

Earlier this year, Councilwoman Janice Hahn formed an advisory group to assist her and the community in understanding and making recommendations for what should be inside Ponte Vista at San Pedro. Three members of the fourteen-member group represent the interests of the residents of Rancho Palos Verdes, especially the eastern area of the city. We also endeavor to represent our San Pedro neighbors who live within two miles of the site.

Lucie Thorsen, Richard Brunner and I were appointed to Ms. Hahn’s Community Advisory Committee (CAC) by the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council. For me, it is wonderful Ms. Hahn included Rancho Palos Verdes in her group, and I am very appreciative to have been selected by my city council to represent their interests and the interests of the residents of eastern Rancho Palos Verdes.

Mr. Bisno purchased 61.53 acres of land formerly occupied by the families of military personnel. He paid $122,000,000.00 for the combined acreage. The site, formerly known as San Pedro Navy Housing was annexed into the City of Los Angeles via an ordinance, and the current zoning of R1, single-family homes, with up to nine homes per acre was established, in 1980

Mr. Bisno has submitted an application to the Los Angeles City Planning Department to change the zoning to allow 2,300 condominiums and town homes in an area now occupied by 245 unoccupied single family homes, mostly built as duplexes. His application is for 575 homes for residents’ 55-years of age or better, and 1,725 non-age restricted homes.

When I first thought about what the developer, Mr. Robert H. (Bob) Bisno was proposing, I thought about creating a self-test that I could use in evaluating each issue concerning the proposed project.

I thought of four words that all begin with the letter “R” when I pondered various issues.

With each issue, I wanted to know if it is “Reasonable, Responsible, Realistic, and Respectful” to myself, my family, my neighbors, and the residents I was chosen to represent.

At this time, and until Mr. Bisno’s plans for building 2,300 homes at Ponte Vista change, I must support maintaining the current zoning at the site.

For the residents I represent, I feel the current proposals are unreasonable, irresponsible, unrealistic, and disrespectful.

Under certain conditions that I have thought a great deal about, I would be very willing to discuss and be open-minded about, compromises to Mr. Bisno’s 2,300 home vision.

I am intrigued by the “hybrid scenario” which allows for fewer homes in the area, but with a greater number of homes for senior citizens. I am most willing to “talk up” alternatives to the project if they are reasonable, responsible, realistic, and respectful to the residents of eastern Rancho Palos Verdes and northwest San Pedro.

Mr. Bisno can begin building single-family detached homes with a ratio of up to nine homes per acre, almost immediately, if he chooses to. Mr. Bisno has been quoted as stating that he is not building “single-family homes at Ponte Vista”.

Throughout this blog I feel I provide accurate factual information that I can provide source documentation for.

In subsequent posts, beginning with "The Ugly Truths" I will provide details for my conclusions so they can be debated by everyone.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

i don't supppose anybody has asked bisno whether he gave svorinich permission to try and swing that northwest election?

he was quoted a while back saying "i had no direct involvement in the selection of candidates." or something to that effect.

does anybody doubt he knew svorinich was playing dirty?

tom said...

Mark,

I understand and respect your right to have your own opinion about what happens to the Naval property down the street from you.

This blogs' nature has turned out to be pretty much openly anti-Ponte Vista. So I expect to get a lot of nasty comments whenever I post anything. Despite the fact I've stated, I'm pro-community, not pro-Ponte Vista.

But I have to ask, with being so set on R-1, how does that affect your ability to deal with a DEIR which is obviously NOT R-1? The Advisory Committee was formed by Janice Hahn to give her input on what mitigations and features they would like to see in the project.

SOMETHING is going to be built there. We know it will not be single family houses because Bisno said outright he will not do that, and I believe him.

How does your stance affect your ability to give input into the group, and for the group to be able to come up with recommendations for Hahn? Won't that create a situation where Bisno will be able to negotiate with Hahn on-on-one to get what he wants?

M Richards said...

Thank you tom, for this initial comment on this post.

You have asked some good questions that help me further explain my position.

I am not "anti-Ponte Vista". I know something will be built there. Whether it is housing and/or a big high school remains to be seen.

As I have written, I am quite willing to openly discuss alternatives to building 2,300 homes inside Ponte Vista.

Dealing with the DEIR and Mr. Bisno's current insistance on building so many dwellings at Ponte Vista has driven me to the conclusion that keeping the current zoning of the property is best for the community I feel I represent and the entire community on the whole.

I agree that the committee was formed, in part, to give input about mitigations and features. The DEIR also suggests alternatives to Mr Bisno's plans and I feel our committee has the responsibility and reasoning to respectfully look into the reality of alternatives to 2,300 homes.

With the current building climate in the City of Los Angeles, I very much agree with you that R1-single family homes will most probably not be built inside Ponte Vista. This is the reality and it would be irresponsible for me to claim otherwise.

My stance on keeping the current zoning is based on my proplems with this particular DEIR and Mr. Bisno's current plans.

As you read through "The Ugly Truths" and farther down into "The Second Tour" you will read my debate with Mr. Bisno's current plans and then you will see read and see photos of Newport Bluffs. It is a 1,100 unit apartment complex that actually looks quite a bit like Mr. Bisno's vision for Ponte Vista.

I think it is unrealistic to imagine that the majority of the 13 other members of the committee don't have strong opinions on what should be built at Ponte Vista. They are acting more like a jury, in my opinion and keeping their opinions unpublished on a blog. This is their right.

It is also unreasonable, I feel, to believe that there are not some members of the committee who are also pro R1, at this time.

tom, you and many others have heard my questions and comments during meetings. I don't believe I am disrespectful to Mr. Bisno and his supporters and I try to ask questions that will attract the most complete answers possible.

There are at least three other members of the committee who, during the meetings, openly publicize their distaste for Mr. Bisno's current plans. Some of their questioning is more attack oriented, in my opinion, than my comments and questions.

I would like to hear more comments and questions coming from members of the committee who support Mr. Bisno's plans, if there are any. I have not heard much comments from these members, as opposed to some others on the committee.

If you know any committee members who support Mr. Bisno's current plans, please ask them to speak up more. I think the public would like to hear from some of the more quiet members of the committee. You all have probably heard enough from me, Lucie, Dan, and Leah to let you, kind of, figure out where they are coming from.

As to the comment from Mr. Bisno that "we are not building single-family homes at Ponte Vista", I feel that it is one of the more disrespectful things he has said during this processes.

Single family homes can be built on R1 (up to nine homes per acre) lots and they can be built on R1.5 lots that allow for many more homes per acre. Patio or Courtyard homes, as they are mainly called, could be built at Ponte Vista and still allow for many amenities, profit, and a new community for many people. It is my opinion that Mr. Bisno has problems with these types of homes because he "overpaid" so much for the land that he would have to sell these types of homes at a price range higher than similar homes elsewhere. There could also be a combination community that allows for senior condos in a guard-gated area, and Patio homes along public streets in the rest of Ponte Vista.

On the committee, I am one vote out of fourteen. I may have gone public with my stance, but I think fair-minded folk would agree that my conduct during the meetings and with Mr. Bisno and his staff and supporters is as respectful, reasonable, responsible, and realistic as I can be.

Tom, what does being "pro-community" mean to you? I think we both can agree that there is a building boom already underway in San Pedro. How big should our community get?

Thank you Tom for putting yourself out there, in a manner, and openly debating these topics. Both you and I are supporting the community by having debates like these and letting the public decide what side they are on. Keep it up!

I'm also looking forward to kris's input, not to mention the comments form folks who lean toward R1.
MW

Anonymous said...

i agree. bisno's retort to chuck hart was a complete example of who we're dealing with: a pompous ass.

Anonymous said...

I don't get it Tom. Why do you consistently believe that single family homes will never be built at Ponte Vista? Hello....the zoning is R-1. Until the City Council approves otherwise, single family homes WILL be built at Ponte Vista whether by Bisno or someone who buys Bisno out or nothing will be built at all. We know that single family homes is the best situation for the community. Right? Then we need to fight to assure the City Council denies the zoning change and all will be well. Come on Tom, if you want to do the right thing, let's keep Bisno honest by forcing him to build what was intended to be built...R1. Just say no to BisNO!!!!

Anonymous said...

I am posting as Anonymous because there seeems to be something wrong with the system and it keeps kicking outmy post when I try to log in under TOM.


Anonymous 11:18AM - You are absolutely correct in your assertion that the present zoning allows only single-family homes. But it is one of the freedoms of this country that people can ask for anything they want. Of course, they can be told "no". But they can still ask.

We cannot force Bisno to build anything. Just as I would not like to be forced to build a 3-bedroom home after I bought a plot and really wanted to build a 4-bedroom home. If I do not like the conditions placed upon what I can do, I am free to sell the property and move on.

This is what I believe Bisno will do. If he can't build what he feels is profitable, he will move on. "Good", you say. Yes, but this only solves our problems temporarily.

Eventually, there will be a councilperson representing our district who just wants the votes. There will be a City Council that wants the tax revenue. Then we will see a smorgasbord of housing/retail/commercial built on the site. All with no single entity who we can hold for accountability to mitigate the impacts of development.

Bisno has shown he is at least willing to talk and take in our ideas. I would rather deal with a situation like this, where we can go back to him and say "Hey, we kinda were interested in that 'hybrid' scenario. Let's talk more about it." The alternative is these little things springing up, under-the-radar, because they are too small to get anyone's attention.

Excuse me for straying a little from the question, but this is basically why I believe Bisno will never build single-family homes at Ponte Vista. Do some research on his company. He has never built one yet. Why should he suddenly start now?

Anonymous said...

Tom, again you are making assertions that the zoning will be changed. How can you possibly accept that assumption as if it were fact? Our job, as responsible citizens of San Pedro/RPV should be to influence the public and City Council to keep the zoning R1 (for Bisno or anyone else). And, yes, we (with the help of the City Council) can essentially force Bisno to build R1, or he builds nothing at all. If he builds nothing at all, he loses for sure...big time. If he builds R1, he will make a profit, just not as large as he'd like. If he sells the property off, he will have to sell it as R1. Who is going to buy the R1 property that Bisno failed to get re-zoned? Nobody that has an intention to build all this retail and commercial that you claim will be built, if we don't work a compromise with Bisno, will take that gamble that they can do what Bisno couldn't. Bisno will have to sell the property at a loss, and guess what, it won't happen. He will build the expensive (not $2M) R1 homes, make a profit, and work on his next multi-million dollar development. Just say no to BisNO!!!

Anonymous said...

Well, Anonymous 2:04PM, you have more faith in our city government than I do.

I am not asserting that the zoning will change for Bisno. It could stay the same. But at some point, someone is going to want tax revenues instead of vacant land. At that point, the City Council will sell us all down the river. You can mark my words. I've seen it happen before.

If he decided to sell the property off, small parcels would be easy to get zoning changes. All they have to do is point to all the surrounding properties. Then we are truly screwed. Look at all the 150± unit projects going up right now. All of them were zoned R-1 one also.

Just saying "no" to Ponte Vista is not like just saying no to drugs. It won't move to another area of town where people say "yes". We are stuck with it. We can work with the developer we have in front of us, or we can stick our heads in the sand.
-tom-

Anonymous said...

One battle at a time Tom. Bisno is first. Whoever wants to step up next and take a chance (just like Bisno) can do so. Again, Bisno will lose money if he sells his R1 land. The guy is currently losing money every day.
You paint a picture that suggests developers can just do as they please and will get anything they want in order to turn a huge profit, one way or another, and the city government promotes it because of their own greed. That is what I read in your response. I too also have little faith in our city government, but only when gone unchecked. Tom, do you have faith in the power of citizens assembling to influence policy and decisions made by our elected officials? If you do, then how can you possibly say "we are stuck with it"? Yes, if we just say no to BisNO, he will move on to where they say yes, just like the drug dealers.

M Richards said...

I'm liking these debates.

An ugly truth is that single-family homes can be built at greater than R1 zoning. R1 zoning is nine homes per acre.

"Highland Park" which has just been approved by the L.A. C.C. to be built near Gaffey and Capitol, is currently zoned for approximately 11.5 homes per acre. These homes on the original drawings were sketched as single-family detached homes. It looks like the homes will share common walls along each street.

If you want to see single-family detached homes at greater than R1 density, take a look at The Cape on 19th and Western. There is also a neighborhood of "Patio homes" on the south side of Capitol.

I continue to hold to my conclusions spelled out in this particular post. I tried to explain my reasoning in "The Ugly Truths".

I am encouraged by the debate going on in this comments section. I am seeing more reasoning than name calling, and that leads to better discussions and understanding.
MW

tom said...

Anonymous 3:57PM

Of course you are correct, Bisno is "losing" money every day. That is if you consider interest expenses, costs for developing the EIR, architectural and design costs, site improvements, etc., etc.. But this is what a developer does. They front-load costs when normal folks think it is crazy, but when it is time to sell, they make lots of $$$$. And as far as I am concerned they deserve it because they take lots of risks.

You are mis-interpreting what I am saying. I AM NOT saying developers can do as they please. What I AM saying is at some point the City will need the money. And we all know, whatever level of government we are talking about, they always go for the money. How much do you trust the City?

Bisno may, or may not, have the staying power to wait for the City to finally decide it needs the tax base. And perhaps I am a bit too cynical, but I believe in most cases citizens (assembled and organized or not) do not stand a chance when money and power start negotiating to preserve the cycle of money and power.

I firmly believe Bisno will never build single-family homes on this site. Besides him stating it outright (which I believe) just look at the history of his company and you will see they HAVE NEVER built single-family homes. I do not see them starting now.

Something else to consider. If you follow financial news at all, you would have seen over the last year that the stock prices of all the major builders HAS GONE UP. During a slowdown in the housing market! Doesn't this strike anyone as strange? It is because the people who analyze such things, realized that these companies (Bisno included) were now "land banks" hold huge amounts of real estate to be built upon or sold later. Why do you think Sears, who was in bankruptcy, purchased K-Mart? For the real estate the redundant stores sat on.

Stop intoxicating yourself with the image of a grassroots campaign which brings down Ponte Vista. It might in fact stop Bisno, but he can and will sub-divide the property and sell it off in pieces. This will make him money AND it will put LAUSD in a bind because now they have to exercise eminent domain over several (my guess, 10+) new developers putting up everything from condos, to strip malls, to office building and commercial space. It gets complicated in a hurry. So IT IS something we should worry about. Bisno has been relatively cordial with us. But make no mistake about it, when necessary he turns into a shark in a heartbeat. Just ask the folks up at Lincoln Place in Venice. I'd rather deal with him when he is still in the mood to talk. Those people up at Lincoln Place got slaughtered once they "went hard" with Bisno. From then on, he gave no quarter. I'd rather not be in that position.

Anonymous said...

Mark, I'm good with 11.5 homes per acre at Ponte Vista. Also, what was the history behind the Cape (aka. Southwinds)? From what I remember it also was a controversial development that the original developer wanted to build a large condo complex on but the zoning only allowed for single detached homes. I'm not sure there was a zoning battle that the developer lost or what, but the original developer did not build the Cape. Granted the Cape homes are of the "patio home" variety, but they are far better than townhomes or condos. Do you know what the density of the Cape is?

Anonymous said...

More San Pedro
Sept. 4, 2004
by Dennis Lim

For seven years, residents, City Council members, homeless advocacy groups, the Navy and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development have been at odds over the fate of 62 acres of land on the fringe of San Pedro...

Neighboring residents and Los Angeles Councilwoman Janice Hahn wanted to put the land on the market and let a developer transform the mostly duplex neighborhood into single-family homes, an extension of the suburban sprawl that covers much of western San Pedro...

Concerns about adding traffic to already busy Western Avenue and more students to already overcrowded local schools also weigh heavy on the minds of some.

But Hahn has promised traffic studies to look into ways of relieving traffic on Western and to holding the development to the same density the Navy had.

"All of us have come a long way from when this was proposed to be given away completely to homeless groups to where we are now," said Hahn, who has led the charge to keep the neighborhood residential...

Anonymous said...

From "Tom"

Of course you are correct, Bisno is "losing" money every day. That is if you consider interest expenses, costs for developing the EIR, architectural and design costs, site improvements, etc., etc.. But this is what a developer does. They front-load costs when normal folks think it is crazy, but when it is time to sell, they make lots of $$$$. And as far as I am concerned they deserve it because they take lots of risks.

Response: Yep BisNO is taking a risk and he just may lose. Oh well...

You are mis-interpreting what I am saying. I AM NOT saying developers can do as they please. What I AM saying is at some point the City will need the money. And we all know, whatever level of government we are talking about, they always go for the money. How much do you trust the City?

Response: Nope, nothing mis-interpreted "Tom". You are essentially saying it again. And again, no I don't trust the city when they go unchecked. The citizens need to make sure the City is clear on what we want and that the City knows we are watching how they react.

Bisno may, or may not, have the staying power to wait for the City to finally decide it needs the tax base. And perhaps I am a bit too cynical, but I believe in most cases citizens (assembled and organized or not) do not stand a chance when money and power start negotiating to preserve the cycle of money and power.

Response: I guess that answers my question about your faith in the power of citizens organizing to influence policy and decisions made by our elected officials...

I firmly believe Bisno will never build single-family homes on this site. Besides him stating it outright (which I believe) just look at the history of his company and you will see they HAVE NEVER built single-family homes. I do not see them starting now.

Response: Probably nobody has ever stood in BisNO's way when he built his monster high density housing complexes. People bought into his BS. If BisNO sees more money in it, he will build single family homes, no magic there "Tom".

Something else to consider. If you follow financial news at all, you would have seen over the last year that the stock prices of all the major builders HAS GONE UP. During a slowdown in the housing market! Doesn't this strike anyone as strange? It is because the people who analyze such things, realized that these companies (Bisno included) were now "land banks" hold huge amounts of real estate to be built upon or sold later. Why do you think Sears, who was in bankruptcy, purchased K-Mart? For the real estate the redundant stores sat on.

Response: Okay "Tom" whatever. BisNO makes money.

Stop intoxicating yourself with the image of a grassroots campaign which brings down Ponte Vista. It might in fact stop Bisno, but he can and will sub-divide the property and sell it off in pieces. This will make him money AND it will put LAUSD in a bind because now they have to exercise eminent domain over several (my guess, 10+) new developers putting up everything from condos, to strip malls, to office building and commercial space. It gets complicated in a hurry. So IT IS something we should worry about.

Response: I'm not intoxicated about anything "Tom". This is Pedro brother. If this town can organize, BisNO will lose and we will win. A strong successful and visable Grassroots effort is what we need to assure that the next prospective developer(s) will think twice before playing the 'ol re-zoning game.

Bisno has been relatively cordial with us. But make no mistake about it, when necessary he turns into a shark in a heartbeat. Just ask the folks up at Lincoln Place in Venice. I'd rather deal with him when he is still in the mood to talk. Those people up at Lincoln Place got slaughtered once they "went hard" with Bisno. From then on, he gave no quarter. I'd rather not be in that position.

Response: So I guess we should all fear Big Bad BisNO according to "Tom". He will slaughter us if we aren't nice and comply with his need to make more money. Can BisNO "slaughter" us any worse than stuffing 2300 homes down our throats?



"Tom", again, the facts... The property is zoned R1. If BisNO sells, it will still be R1. Ponte Vista is then considered a failure by any other prospective zone changing developers. Anyone who buys R1 Ponte Vista land, where profit hinges on a zoning change, is a gambler. I say...NEXT!!!!

"Tom", you know what I want. What exactly do you want from BisNO and how exactly do you think you will go about getting BisNO to see the light of "Tom's" vision of Ponte Vista?

M Richards said...

Howdy "tom" and Anonymous 12:04 AM,

Your debate is lively and I encourage you to continue your comments which can only help everyone learn.

"tom", it looks like the gremlins left and you are able to comment regularly, again.

As for The Cape and the other Patio Home complex on Capitol, I do not know their housing density or population density. I was seeking my fame and fortune, (I found neither) during their construction, and other members of my family were living in our "ancestral home".

"tom" brings up the fact that Mr. Bisno doesn't have a history of building single-family homes. I have led to believe that 80% of what Mr. Bisno's company develops is commercial buildings. "tom", since you seem to know his history, is this a fair statement?

I need to point out, if Mr. Bisno does decide to sell of his property in pieces, the first entity into his office would be L.A.U.S.D., I think. Whether they use eminent domain, land swap, or buys the land if Mr. Bisno sells it off, the monster will be built.
MW

tom said...

Before I start this post, I want to just clarify one point. From now on, instead of referring to Anonymous xx:yyA/PM in answer to Anonymous 12:04AM, I will simply refer to him as aNOnymous given his predilection to oppose Ponte Vista no matter what mitigations are offered if anything other than single-family homes are built.

Next, 2 points. Mark I agree with you 100% that if Bisno decides to cash in his chips, LAUSD will be the first one in the door. I promise that if that happens we will all be wishing we dealt better with Bisno.

Second point, what I know about Bisno and his companies comes from research on the internet. So far I have yet to find evidence of one single stick of single-family homes built by him or any related company. What I HAVE turned up is lots of commercial development, with only a recent digression into residential.

All of this leads me to the conclusions I espouse in my posts.

Let me remind people of something. Has anyone realized that LAUSD has still not been able to get onto the property to begin the work necessary for their scoping statement? Bisno has been successful at coninuing to block them from access. So we have a developer who is fighting LAUSD to a standstill. This is the LAUSD which has more money than god and solves every problem by just throwing more money at it. aNOnymous sarcastically comments about Big Bad Bisno. He is unwittingly correct. He has no idea how easily this guy litigates. Anyone with access should do a Lexis-Nexis search and see how much time Bisno's attorneys spend in court. aNOnymous might be well-advised to be a little cautious.

Besides that, aNOnymous' comments stink of NIMBY. What makes our country great is that people have the freedom to do what they want, including making a boatload of money. aNOnymous will say he agrees with this concept. He only has a problem when he feels it will affect HIS neighborhood. He is like the 4-year old who has learned the power of the word "no". Do you want to brush your teeth? "No." Do you want a bowl of candy? "No." Do you want a million dollars? "No."

While aNOnymous is busy sticking his head in the sand naively thinking if he says no long enough Bisno will go away like the boogie-man under his bed did when he was a child. Not going to happen. Bisno walks away from this one making money whichever way you look at it. aNOnymous say it himself. So our job is to figure out who can best work with us toward OUR goals for San Pedro.

As far as the comment about stuffing 2300 homes down our throat... how can anyone at this point in the process believe there is really going to be 2300 homes? Of course Bisno has to keep saying it. That's part of his role as a developer. But basically everyone else from Janice Hahn to Gail Goldberg to Betsy Weismann is saying it's not going to happen. Plus I agree with Mark that the "hybrid scenario" was "accidentally" presented ostensibly to illuminate another aspect of what could happen. I think it was a way to throw something out there which did not obligate him because it was not in the DEIR, yet he could evaluate the community's reaction.

Instead of wasting time and energy fighting something which is not going to happen anyway, why aren't we coming up with suggestions which will make the development more palatable?

Anonymous said...

Boy, "Tom" sure is touchy... We are having a hard time being challenged aren't we? Another funny thing is that "Tom" sure is quite the Bob BisNO barer of facts and information. He's an expert at predicting all of BisNO's moves. And he sure is getting upset at my use of NO in BisNO's name. Funny....
Hey "Tom", you tried to dodge the most important question buddy. I'm not going to let you off the hook. Here it is again. Now take a deep breath, get your panties out of a wad and stay focused. Here it is again...
"Tom", you know what I want. What EXACTLY do you want from BisNO and how EXACTLY do you think you will go about getting BisNO to see the light of "Tom's" vision of Ponte Vista?

P.S. - One last thing, Tom wrote: "What makes our country great is that people have the freedom to do what they want, including making a boatload of money. aNOnymous will say he agrees with this concept. He only has a problem when he feels it will affect HIS neighborhood."

Response: Damn right "Tom", I don't want BisNO to make a "boatload" of money at the expense of my neighbors.

M Richards said...

I'm not going to try to get between Tom and anonymouses out there. You are all doing a wonderful job of making your points and you seem to have developed some more thickness of skin.

I would like to help clarify some issues that you all can debate, discuss, and argue about.

On the bus trip I got a chance to ask Alan Abshez directly about L.A.U.S.D. and access to the property.

Anyone who suggests that Ponte Vista Development does not want a 2,025 seat high school sitting right where they plan to build the senior section of Ponte Vista, iw 1,000% correct.

Right now, L.A.U.S.D. is in a favorable position with the judge in the Superior Court in their quest to make studies necessary to create their own DEIR.
Ponte Vista has been willing to talk to L.A.U.S.D. and allow them onto their land if certain issues were resolved.

It is my opinion, and please don't faint as you read this, that Ponte Vista has not only a right, but also a responsibility to reject access to their land until certain conditions imposed by them are met by L.A.U.S.D. I think thier conditions aren't overreaching. I feel they are reasonable.

Mr. Bisno wants assurances that his land won't be unduly damaged.

He wants insurance provided by L.A.U.S.D. to cover any damages incurred during the study processes.

Mr. Bisno wants to be compensated for allowing access to his land. I don't know what daily fees he would ask for might be. If I allowed a film crew to use my house, they would pay me for using the house.

L.A.U.S.D. is reluctant to pay a fee to anyone for making the studies necessary to create a DEIR. It appears that if Mr. Bisno prevails and L.A.U.S.D. is required to pay a fee, it would create a precedent and L.A.U.S.D. might have to pay future landowners such a fee.

On this argument, I am siding with Mr. Bisno.
MW

The matter is still unsettled and in court proceedings.

Anonymous said...

Mark, "Tom" is lucky that I don't know what NIMBY is, otherwise I might of gotten upset!! HAHAHA..
signed,
aNOnymous

Just Say NO to BisNO!!!

tom said...

aNOnymous,

au contrare, I do not need to take a deep breath. I am not touchy at all. I do not know where you get this. Your egoistic attitude to think that you can affect me is laughable. Perhaps you just can't take someone being passionate about something. I think you are the one who has your panties in a wad because I call attention to the fact you say "no" to everything. This is not the purpose of this blog (as I understand its purpose by what Mark has written), and it is not the purpose of the Advisory Committee. Excuse me for wanting to make some forward progress and not waste everyone's time. I feel your intractable stance is incorrect and I am well within my rights to write my opinion about it without your insults. But whatever. I've had experience with people like you before and this is all you can do is stoop to insults since you cannot carry on a rational discussion when someone disagrees with your position.

NIMBY means "Not In My Back Yard"" It is quite a common phrase. So now I guess you can get upset.

I am not quite the bearer of Bisno facts and information, nor can I predict his moves. I merely research things before I run off at the mouth writing things which are not supported by evidence. This information is freely available to anyone who cares enough to do the research instead of being so self-important they think that if it is their opinion, it is automatically correct and all the rest of us should just fall on our knees in thanks for being bestowed with such pearls of wisdom.

By the way, I am not your "buddy". I would never associate myself with someone as dogmatic and narrow-minded as your posts indicate you are.

If you want to know what I want from Bisno and Ponte Vista, all you need to do is read my comments. I make it very clear what I would like to see. As far as getting Bisno to see my point, Mark will support me, I'm certain, that all it takes is talking to the man with a reasonable proposal.

Your concern for your neighbors over Bisno making money is touching, but reeks of condescending false considerateness.

It is a pity I have to explain it since it obviously went over your head, but the reason I highlighted your use of "BisNO" was sarcastic. This is a childish mantra which will not serve anyone. Least of all the community. Repeating it over and over will not make it go away. Perhaps the boogie-man analogy hit a bit too close to home?

When you grow up and are ready to have an adult dialogue, perhaps I will re-think whether you are worth any more of my time. Until then, I do not intend to waste any more of it on you. It's spitting into the wind.

confusious said...

tell me what EXACTLY IS HANS'S POSITION ON THIS ISSUE? SHE HAS BEEN VASCILIATING ON THIS ISSUE LONG ENOUGH.what is the city of rpv's stance? they want the tax revenues and don't give a damn about this side of the hill. excuse me, but, where are there comments in the public record to date? the mayor has no problem making a stance against sprawl on the other side of the hill in the pv papers hahn and rpv need to annunciate their position on this issue NOW if they do not then it must be ands will be assumed that you want biso to have his way. You owe the community an answer NOW.

M Richards said...

"Confusious", please calm down.

Our committee has lots of work to do before we make any recommendations and give them to Ms. Hahn or anyone else.

I think if you need to know Ms. Hahn's position right now, I would suggest contacting her, or a member of her staff directly.

I can't speak to what the members of the R.P.C. City Council are collectively thinking because they are prohibited from commenting as a group unless it is in a public forum which you are welcome to attend.

If you would like to know their individual opinions, you are welcome to Email them and they may respond to.

What I feel I owe to the community I have been selected to represent, is spelled out in the post you are commenting on and backed up by "The Ugly Truths".

I am not in any position to decide anything concerning Ponte Vista. I have been given the responsibility of representing citizens of Rancho Palos Verdes and the greater San Pedro area.

I have chosen to start this blog as a source of information and a conduit for discussion independent of Mr. Bisno and any government agency. As an information provider, I feel I am responsible, reasonable, realistic, and respectful. As a forum for discussion, this blog ebbs and flows with debate, argument, some humor, and comments from folks who seem to really care about the area of northwest San Pedro, eastern R.P.V., and San Pedro as a whole.

Now Tom, Kris, Imbg, Banditos Yanquis, and all the Anonymouses out there, please be nice to "Confusious" after you read his/her comments.

Either "Confusious" is playing a joke on me or "Confusious" hasn't read enough of the comments to learn how this blog is going.

Might we suggest the "Confusious" visit Life on the Edge and place a comment or two on that great site?

Let's not attack him/her for I feel he/she knows not what he/she is writing. I am very encouraged by the fact that the vast majority of folks who comment on this blog, understand where I am coming from and can agree to disagree.

"Confusious", you have every right to start your own free blog, just like I did and anyone can. You can create a blog by visiting www.blogger.com/start.

I am reluctant to meet the demands of folks who aren't related to me, employ me, or dictate their demands on me such as you have. If you ask nice, I respond in the best and most respectful way I can.

The aggressive tenor of your comment makes me unwilling to satify your requests and further answer you questions. If you won't be nicer, please don't comment. If you choose to be uncivil, then please don't read this blog.
MW

M Richards said...

Oh, and another thing or two, "Confusious",

When I read the article in the PV News about our then mayors personal feelings about the development on the hill, I took the time to write to the councilmembers and get their take on that situation and where was there concern for Ponte Vista.

I got back three responses that I have chosen not to share.

What I do know for a fact if that there are ongoing preparations by the Planning Department of the City of RPV to respond to the DEIR. They are writing their report they will send to Mr. Jonathan Riker of L.A.City Planning.

I also have gathered the confidence to feel assured that our city fathers are very much concerned with the possibility of having 2,300 homes constructed along Western Avenue. I have been and will continue to be encouraged by what I feel is coming from our city's government.

I am not in a position to comment on the city's position nor do I have the authority to disclose what any person within the government of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes thinks without their expressed permission.

I am part of an advisory group and I also happens to have a blog. So far, I believe I am the only member of the committee who has a blog and that fact may get me bounced from the committee.

"Confusious", if you feel as strongly about these matters as I feel you wrote, then please get the questions you have answered by the folks who will answer the questions you pose. Then you are most free and quite encouraged to share you answers and opinions in the comments section of each post, or I will create a post from a submission you Email me.
MW

M Richards said...

Oh,oh, and another thing,
My wife pointed out in your comment something that I thought I might have misread.

In your comments it seems to imply that if I don't write what you think I am supposed to write, then I must "want biso to have his way."

I strongly suggest you read this blog. I would like you to know that the councilmember for the 15th district is Ms. Hahn, and the developer is Mr. Bisno.

I think if you read the comments of people who even remotely support at least a portion of what Mr. Bisno want to develope, you will read that I am not a supporter of Mr. Bisno's current plans.

I am sorry to say, you provided a good chuckle for my wife and I with your suggestion that I must be a supporter of Mr. Bisno's current plans. I hope your feelings don't get hurt.

I don't know what comments are coming from your comment, but I suspect some folks might have a field day at your comment's composition and content.
MW

tom said...

Mark,

I read "confusious"'s post a couple hours ago. I've been pondering how to even begin to address some of the issues raised. Thanks for jumping in. I agree with your position completely.

confusious,

Mark is completely correct in what he writes. Officially he is on a committee which advises Janice Hahn who is the council member for this district. Nevertheles, I am certain he has had correspondence with RPV city officials also since that is where he lives and they are the ones who appointed him.

While Mark and I might disagree on certain aspects of the project, one thing that I absolutely have to concede to him is that he is not anyone's patsy. So to accuse him of wanting "...Bisno to have his way..." is completely ludicrous. In addition, he speaks for himself and does not have the authority to stake out the positions of the RPV City Council, or Janice Hahn. Demanding him to do so leads me to believe that Mark is correct in that you have not read enough of this blog to see it is a forum for exchanging ideas and trying to find some common ground for us to move forward. Of course the other alternative is that the post is a joke to bust his chops.

Either way, your demands for immediate answers unfortunately will go unmet. But you are in good company. I suspect that most of us who have been following this Ponte Vista issue for a long time would prefer our questions to be answered immediately. You are more than welcomed to join the discussion and let everyone know what you feel would be reasonable solutions to the problems we face, and the particular issues you find compelling. This is something Mark can do something about. Armed with an array of questions, suggestions and potential solutions, he can present these to the Advisory Committee who will then incorporate them in their recommendations to Councilwoman Hahn.

While I tend to agree with you that sometimes it seems the RPV City Council is not concerned with the east side of the hill very much, through my conversations and correspondence with the RPV planning department staff, I have gotten they impression they take Ponte Vista very seriously. Let's give them time to do what they do best.

Meanwhile, try not to get upset with Ms. Hahn and to let it get you so riled up. After all, she is a politician and playing to whatever crowd she is in front of comes with the territory.

Luckily, there are people like Mark, Calamari, Bandito Yanquis, out there making certain the process is transparent, open to the public, and looking out for your interests. IMHO that is all that can be done right now. After all, it isn't like Bisno is going to go out and throw together a complete housing development overnight.

Anonymous said...

i don't know guys, i think the comments from confusious were directed towards Janice Hahn and the RPV City Council, not the author of this blog or anyone else.

I may be incorrect but I think you misread his or her use of the word "you".

Am I wrong?

Anonymous said...

Confuse-ious (aka Confucius?) can elaborate, but I tend to agree with 5:49. It seems as if Hahn, like many a politician, has her finger in the wind. Based on her public comments, she doesn't support 2300, but does she support R-1??

It appears confusious wants an answer -- not an unreasonable request.

"Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses."

tom said...

Anonymous 5:49PM - I don't know. You could be right. I'd like to think that the tirade was directed at Hahn or the RPV City Council since Mark has a good job af trying to keep an open forum. No way to tell though unless "confusious" posts again to clarify.

M Richards said...

Thanks everyone, for being so kind to our new friend.

Perhaps "Confusious" is actually one of the regulars who is playing a joke on us. You folks have to admit, he/she did provide a reasonable chuckle in an otherwise less than humorous blog.

I think the "you" he is pointing his finger at is me. That is what make it that much more humorous. If the "you" is Ms. Hahn or the CC members in RPV, it make the comments less funny.

I'm thinking I got sucked into a gag on my first response to "Confusious". As a President once said, "Fool me once, shame on me...you, fool me twice.......you can't get fooled again."

Anonymous said...

Not to take away from confusious...But I just got home and Sheeesh "Tom", talk about personal attacks. I can tell that my words are like 60 grit sandpaper on your skin. It's gotten awfully thin!! So "Tom", time to wipe the tears off your keyboard and summarize for us your EXACT vision of Ponte Vista and EXACTLY how you would intend to achieve the goal. What EXACTLY is this "reasonable proposal" you speak of? I'm not going to go searching through your postings to get an unclear answer to a very clear important question. Here, I'll go first...it's easy.

aNOnmyous' Goal:
Influence the City Council to uphold the current zoning of R1 at Ponte Vista.

Method to achieve goal:
A two pronged approach of
a) Drawing attention to the issue.
b) Attacking the credibility of BisNO's application for re-zoning Ponte Vista.

Detail of methods:
a) We need to be loud. Believe it or not, many people do not have a clue of what BisNO is trying to do to SP/RPV with this development. We need to attract attention by coming up with catchy phrases like "Just Say NO to BisNO" and put them on posters, mailers, stickers, buttons, blogs etc, and then take to the street with demonstrations and pickets. We could try and attract the media and could even appear on a local cable show (that, by the way, I know is interested). The idea here is to call attention in a big loud way. Loud and angry.
b) Simultaneously, we have a group of people whose job it would be to take various sections of BisNO's support data and piece by piece break it down to expose all the assumptions, omissions and uncertainty in the data. That data would be used by an individual who would be very good at articulating that data to the public, media, council members etc, in order to drive home the "facts and data" side of our campaign.

I think something along those lines can get the attention of the City Council.

"Tom", my message and goal is clear, direct, unwaivering and it does not rely on trying to appeal to a person (Bob BisNO) who is purely motivated by making "boatloads" of money. You don't know what BisNO is thinking unless you happen to be BisNO himself or an associate. If you even begin to dig into the profit goals of Bob BisNO with your compromise solutions, he will slam the door shut in your face and you will be left with nothing but wasted time and no real goals. BisNO has no responsibility to the communities of SP/RPV. The City Council DOES. I choose to influence the City Council. I choose not to show any signs of compromise on this issue because the burden of changing the zoning is on Bob BisNO. The people who support R1 are in the drivers seat, for now, and there is no reason for compromise until BisNO gets his wish (if he gets his wish) and a zoning change is approved. Now "Tom" please don't reply with the old story of Bob BisNO walking away, and Ponte Vista turning into an Industrial Wasteland scenario. It's pure speculation, nothing more. I could speculate that a less greedy developer(s) could come in and make Ponte Vista work as R1 with a healthy enough profit to satisfy most property development company's goals. What's your go forward plan? Details please...Pretty Please?

aNOnymous

M Richards said...

Howdy aNOnymous,

I like the way you answered the two questions I would like everyone's opinion on. It is constructed differently than what "Gus" wrote and I found it easy to understand.

Would you like your 10:34 PM comments elevated to the most recent post I created for Tom? That post also includes imbg's opinions that I swiped from Life on the Edge.

Your position is quite in sync with my conclusions that I cannot support the acceptance of Mr. Bisno's current application for zoning changes. The only recourse I feel we have at this time is to call for the continued maintanence the current zoning within the property.
MW

confuscious said...

hey this is confuscious i am not a joke i have lived here all my life and have no bone in this fight except that i think this projact is rediclious At the taste of san pedro they had a booth when asked about the projects approval they said units would be ready to occupy in 24 months and they were
going to get their "entitlements"
why is bisno not building services for his residents? this project is huge and can anyone thell me exactly what the number of proposed residents is? gotta go but will be back and this issue is someting i will not be shy from.

Anonymous said...

Great comments 10:34 aNOnymous. Those of us who are aware support what you outline.

M Richards said...

Howdy Confuscious,
First, I replied to the comments you posted in the "Facts and Figures" post.

Second, you posed a great question that absolutely NO ONE can answer.

Not even Mr. Bisno knows what the actual number of residents at Ponte Vista might be.

In the Initial Study, the number 7,343 was published. In the DEIR, using extremely questionable methods of population projections that fly in the face of actual residential calculations, the number 4,313 was generated.

I used some "fuzzy" math on my own, (I found it fun and would encourage anyone to try their luck)and by using the projected number of bedrooms that Mr. Bisno himself told me he thought would be built at Ponte Vista, I got a number over 5,000.

Now here is another thing you might want to ponder, Confuscious:

If nobody knows the actual projected number of people who might live at Ponte Vista, how can anyone tell you how many vehicles will be driven by the unknown number of residents?

Again, you are invited to grab a calculator like I did and try to figure out on your own, what the numbers might look like.

The facts presented in the applicant's application, the current physical layout of the proposed development, numbers supplied by www.pontevista.com, and numbers found at various places on this blog should be able to supply folks with enough factual information about Mr. Bisno's proposal for them to make an independent opinion whether they support Mr. Bisno's current plans or not.

Individual opinions are important to have and make known to decision makers and others so an informed public can assist those with authority to make the best decisions for the whole community.

I know for a fact that some information passed out verbally at the Taste in San Pedro was factually untrue. I listened intently as a representative spoke to my wife about the development and I heard the rep claim things that were not factually correct.

Please don't hold your breath hoping for any residential units being built any time soon. It took literally years from the time JCC Homes began their processes to get the "Highland Park" development approved for the area near Gaffey and Capitol. It could take another two years for the site to be cleared of the petroleum tanks and equipment and cleaned up to a standard where home could be built on.

There are still too many "ifs" concerning Ponte Vista to put a real start date on construction. Mr. Bisno has his opinion about when construction might begin, but I don't know if that is a realistic date.
MW

Anonymous said...

To anonymous 10:31am.
Thanks for your encouragement. I'll tell you the reason why I engaged with 'ol Tom the way I did. It's because I wanted him to expose himself as the pro-Bisno, anti-San Pedro Pride person that he is, and then challenge him to clearly state his plan. As you can see he has no clear plan to move forward. From this, I'm hoping some people will show interest in the plan I put forth. If anyone, such as yourself feels like they would be interested in teaming up to put this plan in motion, please indicate that you are willing to help and/or lead. I will gladly put my name and contact info out on this blog if it looks like there is enough interested people. I need to see responses. I say let's take the next step and get out and Say NO to BisNO.
Thanks,
aNOnymous

Anonymous said...

Mark,
I see you went ahead and elevated my plan. Actually my start of a plan. Obviously there are allot more details that have to be determined before it could be put into motion. Thanks for the recognition. I do want to also submit that there should be a 3rd prong to the plan. It's the part that would be the contingency part of the plan. This is where compromise comes in. If at any point in the campaign it looks as if the City Council is going to approve some type of zoning change, we have to be ready with a clear cut compromise or hybrid plan that could be proposed. It has to be a real plan with clear substantiated reasons for the plan that make it acceptable to the community. But this absolutely cannot come out before we hit the R1 only campaign....it's strictly a fall back position (a very important position though that must be prepared ahead of time). So as you can tell, I do see value in all the compromise discussions, it's just that we have to put it in the proper order.
Thanks,
aNOnymous

Anonymous said...

aNOnymous,
Thanks for your work. I hope apathy doesn't rule the day here. Based on my anecdotal experiences, those who know, know, and those who don't are firmly against such a huge development once they know the basic facts. I'm talking about average residents, busy people with jobs, kids etc. with no vested interest in the former Navy housing property -- people who are not members of neighborhood councils and who don't normally show up at meetings.

As you and MW know, there are specific things residents can do to fight the massive, million dollar lobbying campaign funded by a wealthy Beverly Hills developer who sees San Pedro as a big $$ sign:

-call or write Councilwoman Janice Hahn to voice objection to any zone change from R-1. Phone numbers: 213-473-7015 or 310-732-4515

- BY JANUARY 30, write to the city official listed below to place comments in the record about the DEIR and concerns about any zone change (I believe the DEIR is on pontevista.com website.)

Mr. Jonathan Riker
City Planning Department
200 North Spring Street, Room 750
Los Angeles, CA 90012

-write letters to the editor of the Daily Breeze, More San Pedro, and the Palos Verdes Peninsula News

-Voice concerns to the local Neighborhood Councils. I believe three of them are or will be funding an independent engineering consultant to review the traffic impacts that are in the Ponte Vista DEIR. (On a side note, I think this will be a test on if the NC's have any real influence.)

-sign the R-1 petition (previously posted on this blog)

-Support any protests or picketing near the former Navy property. I think there were some of these awhile ago, along with signs posted along Western, but I haven't seen them in awhile.

Basically, since there are tremendous political and financial forces being exerted for a zone change, it will take a committed grass roots effort to maintain R-1. We'll see.

(aNOnymous, please post anything I may have missed)

M Richards said...

Howdy Anonymous 10:56 AM.
It's probably time for you to give yourself a new name and join us in our discussions as a "known" contributor.

You have made many great points and have furnished information that might make folks think I actually wrote some of your comments, instead of you.

Please come join tom, imbg, aNOnymous, Banditos Yanquis, mellonhead, Kris, Confuscious,and the others who have written using names other than just "Anonymous".

For those folks thinking of joining any protest groups that might be forming, you might want to get in contact with Doug Epperhart at Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council. A link to the Web site he runs in on this blog.

I truly don't know of any organized groups opposing Mr. Bisno's plans except the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council which picketed the site some months ago.

Here is plan that I can assist folks with.
Send me an Email to the address listed at the top of the blog and I will contact others who send their Emails to me on your behalf. This might be a way to have some security because I am pretty tight with information I don't want given out.

Although, at this time, because of my membership on the Community Advisory Committee, I feel I should not actively join any such group, I would be willing to be a clearinghouse for Emails of like minded individuals.

Thank you, Anonymous 10:56, for your comments.
MW

Anonymous said...

To anonymous 10:56,
Those are all great things that we all need to do (at least once!). I know Mark has posted the same type of info here in the past, but we need people like yourself to keep reminding us. We need to bring it all together into one cohesive plan. The independant review that the neighborhood council is paying for is awesome! The data that comes out will satisfy one of the most difficult points of the plan I outlined.
As Mark suggested at 5:29 PM, I will send him my contact info.

aNOnymous