Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Comment Period has Ended

The public comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Report concerning the Ponte Vista at San Pedro development has ended.

Many folks are glad that the clock has finally struck midnight. I have typed and typed and been at least slightly involved with many sets of comments, including three personal ones of my own.

All the comments will now be reviewed by members of the City Planning Department in their quest to create a specific plan for the development and construct a Final Environmental Impact Report. It has been reported that the comments will be reported on sometime later, in the Summer.

Is your job done? No!! Now we shift to creating recommendations for inclusion into the specific plan and your help is still greatly needed.

The Community Advisory Committee, created to aid Ms. Janice Hahn in making recommendations to be included in the Final Environmental Impact Report and the specific plan Mr. Bisno will use to develop Ponte Vista, will need your input to help it make those recommendations.

At the next public meeting scheduled for February 8, 2007, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, the committee will work on and take public recommendations for what should be included in the 6 acre public park Mr. Bisno is promising for the southern area of the Ponte Vista site. Public input and comments are vital because Mr. Bisno has claimed that community members and not his development company will build the park according to the wishes of the community.

As we wait to view the outcome of the comments to the DEIR, there is still much the public can do to let everyone know what should be done, and not be done with the 61.53 acres that make up the Ponte Vista site. I will be creating a post relating to my current opinions on the proposed SRHS #14 that looms in the background of any discussion concerning the Ponte Vista property. Folks who support and oppose Mr. Bisno's current plans should continue to meet and create strategy for their respective paths forward. Groups may want to high tail it up to 200 N. Spring Street in Los Angeles with placards letting the folks know at City Planning what they want at Ponte Vista. Protest and support should not end now that the public comment period has ended.

During the following few months, I would like to post some of the other comments concerning the DEIR to let folks know some of the issues the Planning Department needs to clear up. Some of the most important comments extremely critical of the DEIR were not about traffic or population, at all.

Perhaps we are nearer to the end of the beginning. I think when the results of the comments come out, then we will either be at the end of the beginning or the end of the end for the prospect of building 2,300 homes at Ponte Vista.

I am still looking for the word "compromise" to come out of the trailer on the site of Ponte Vista.

To all the supporters, opponents, and undecided folks who cared enough to send in your comments, thank you. Your concern and your interest in finding the best outcome for the area and the entire community is appreciated.

Now, please be well and go to bed.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

"A New Place to Call Home"

Here is a post contribution from Ginger Grant.

Ginger Grant moved with her family into the Navy Housing area in northwest San Pedro in 1974 when her father was transferred to the Long Beach Naval Station.

After Ginger's father retired from the Navy and went to work at Todd shipyard, the family moved into a home on North Meyler Street, just a short distance away in the lower Eastview neighborhood.

Ginger grew up and now is raising her kids in a home just one block from where her parents still live.

Ginger provides us with a very unique look at living in two areas directly affected by the Ponte Vista at San Pedro development. Her ability to tell us all about life in the Navy Housing area as well as growing up and living so close by, gives her special insight into this area and the surrounding community.

Thank you Ginger, for contributing your story to this blog. I hope this may inspire others to share their upbringing in our community as well.

“A New Place to Call Home”
By Ginger Grant

I find it incredulous that on the Ponte Vista at San Pedro Web site the following statements are made: “A new place to call home. The way it used to be, the way it ought to be.” They should have included, “the way it is, and the way it might very well be.”

I lived on S. John Montgomery Street, which is one of the streets in the old Navy Housing tract when my dad was transferred to the Long Beach Naval Station in 1974. We lived in the “Chiefs” housing. Our home, now empty, can still be seen from Western Avenue.

After my dad left the Navy, our family moved into a home very close by near Capitol Drive and I grew up living in the lower Eastview area of San Pedro, not far away from that home on S. John Montgomery, that now sits empty.

Today I am living my life and raising my kids just one block from my parents and I really know the way it used to be and the way it ought to be!

For me, growing up in both areas, this is the way it used to be.

The “Chiefs Housing”, where we lived when my dad was in the Navy, are the houses along Western Avenue that run down several streets and used to meet up with many apartment buildings the lower ranked Navy personnel lived in, on the east side of the project. The apartments were all torn down years ago and now that area is going to be used as the new Mary Star of the Sea High School.

The house we lived in on S. John Montgomery Street was a “normal” house. It had three bedrooms, a living room, dining room, kitchen, laundry room, front and back yards, and even a 2-car garage. It seemed to be just like many of the other homes outside the fences of the Navy Housing.

The streets all had speed humps so there were never any cars racing up and down, and we could ride our bikes in the streets without any thought of being hit. I had friends who lived in the apartments that are now gone and except for all the kids moving in and out because their dads got transferred, it was a pretty normal neighborhood.

My sister and I played softball for the Navy League and the field was right behind our house. It is now the overgrown space between the old Racquet Club and the Navy Housing. The old field and the stands our parents and friends watched up play from have been gone for many years.

Most of the families living inside the area did their main food shopping at the Naval Base on Terminal Island. That big store was kind of far to go for a few things we might need so there was a little store inside the Navy Housing area between the houses and apartments where folks with I.D. cards could buy stuff to get them by on. Next to the little store were some meeting rooms where I had my Girl Scout meetings .
The area had M.P.’s patrolling, so crime was non existent. To me and my friends, it was a very safe place to grow up in, and fun, too.

When my dad decided to retire from the Navy, my parents chose to stay in San Pedro and we moved from the Navy Housing to a home on North Meyler, between Channel Street and Capitol Drive. My dad went to work for Todd shipyard, and my parents still live in that same house.

When we first moved into the home, Capitol did not go through to Western Avenue and the 7-11 was actually on Capitol next to the little park, instead of where it now is on Gaffey Street. Because Capitol did not go through and there was a little park so close to our home, it was a nice, safe, child friendly neighborhood with low traffic and lots of friends to grow up with.

My brother and I walked to Taper Elementary School and my sister could walk to Dodson Junior High up the hill. She “could” walk, but it always seemed she got a ride.

Even after we moved in to our new home on North Meyler Street, we still kept our Navy privileges because my dad retired from the Navy. So that meant we could still ride our bikes into the Navy Housing site and visit the little store for Ice Cream or something my mom would need. I still played softball on the old field but soon after moving to Meyler, the field was closed for good. This was the beginning of the end for the Navy Housing. The store closed and the houses lost all their families. It seemed like such a waste to me for those homes to sit unoccupied. Eventually all the block style apartment buildings near Taper Avenue were torn down and the houses became training grounds for various law enforcement people.

Our new neighborhood was great though. The Eastview Little League was only for boys, but when I got into the 6th grade, they allowed girls to join. My best friend Georgia and I begged our parents to let us try out, but our parents thought we could get hurt so we were left to enjoy watching the games from the stands and buying stuff at the snack bar.

We grew up smelling fresh baked bread from DiCarlo’s Bakery and we could watch movies at the old drive-in from my friend’s house right behind it.

When I attended Dodson Junior High School I got a paper route delivering
the Daily Breeze. I was the only girl delivery person and I had the largest route! My brother and our friend from down the street would race home from school to get our bikes and go deliver our papers. Once a month we collected the money people owed for their subscriptions and that was a lot of money for a 12-year old to girl to walk around with. But it was safe back then. When attended San Pedro High School, I got my first “real” job at Ports o Call where it seemed everyone else had jobs, too.

Over the years my little area of San Pedro changed; Capitol was made to go through to Western Avenue, the 7-11 was moved to the corner on Gaffey, the D.M.V. was built next to it, the Long Beach Naval Shipyard closed (yeah it’s not in my neighborhood but it was the reason I was there to start with), tons of houses/condos/apartments were built, Todd shipyard closed, the drive in movie theater was torn down, Di Carlo’s Bakery closed, and the Eastview Little League fields will soon be gone.

The biggest change seemed to happen as more and more people moved into the area. Traffic increased and crime went up, too. I understand this happens whenever more people move into an area this size.

Today I live around the corner from my parents and my kids attend Dodson Middle School and San Pedro High School. I don’t feel it is safe for them to walk to school like it used to be for me and my siblings. It takes me 45 minutes, on a good day, to get both of them to school and picking them up is something I dread each day because of so many cars.

People driving on Western Avenue and Gaffey Street know what I am talking about. If the traffic is like the way it is now in the middle of the day, when people are at work, what can it possibly be like with 2300 additional homes?

The Ponte Vista Web site has another statement; “A place alive every night with the light of a million stars.” No, I’m sorry, that is not quite right, in my opinion. Those “stars” should be “headlights” because that’s what will be lighting up the night…all the cars parked on Western trying to get somewhere. But the folks at Ponte Vista assure us the degree of traffic planning they did will make if feel like there are half that number (of 2300 homes). Hhmmmm, traffic is awful now and feeling like it’s only 1150 instead of 2300 is going to make it better?

Now let’s add the Target and the new homes planned for “Highland Park”, both going in near the corner of Capitol and Gaffey streets. All the traffic that will bring into my neighborhood will change it from the way it was and the way it ought to be, to the way it should never be and will be long gone, forever.

Bob the builder will say whatever is necessary to achieve his goal regardless of the actualities of it. First and foremost this is his business and he is doing it to make money, not to make San Pedro a better place or provide any wonderful community places where we can all get together and sing campfire songs.

My youngest son will promise me he will clean his room and take out the trash and whatever else, if I will give him whatever he it is he wants at the moment. However, once he has gotten his way he “forgets” all about the promises. Once Bob the builder gets what he wants and those 2300 homes are built, he won’t be giving any thought to those of us parked on Western.

I’ve lived here most of my life and because everything I grew up with is gone and the future holds so much over development for this area, I might as well go to another neighborhood somewhere, where citizens are content remaining in a neighborhood and not allowing so much development. I am sad that my neighborhood has to change this way.

What “ought” to be at Ponte Vista? To be honest and at this point, I am not sure what I would like to see there. I know I don’t want “more” than what is already there, as far as housing.

As far as any type of park goes, we have parks. Peck Park, Harbor Park, and even the park down the street from where I grew up. Unfortunately, none of those parks are safe enough for me to let my children go to. People from other areas, drive in on the weekend to the park on Capitol near Gaffey and it’s disgusting to walk by on Monday mornings. I feel a new park (at Ponte Vista) will bring more criminals with more paint cans and I call 311 almost daily, as it is.

I don’t think there has to be something on every available piece of space there, but that’s just me.

I think the Community Advisory Committee is better suited for deciding what would be best for that area, unless it is another Starbucks, ha, ha, ha. I disagree with any plans to put another one (Starbucks) on Gaffey Street.

I am still reeling with the news about the new development on Gaffey, south of the D.M.V. I had no idea there will be more homes built along Gaffey, or else I just blocked it out.

You know that just because you can change something, doesn’t mean you should.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Two Vistas

Anyone wishing to read the comments regarding the DEIR for Ponte Vista and submitted by the Mira Vista Homeowners Association, please click on:

Thank you.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Welcome to New Readers

Welcome to any and all new readers.

If you are visiting this site for the first time based on finding the address from Page 2 of the Saturday January 27 edition of More San Pedro, thank you for visiting.

This blog was started in 2006 as a source for documenting facts and allowing opinions to be shared concerning Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

The posts are very, very long in most cases. Many of them post facts that I can use stored documentation to back up. Opinions do not require the use of facts, and everyone if free and encouraged to make comments and create posts to contribute to this blog.

If you look into the archives, you will be able to find lots of information about Mr. Bob Bisno's plans for using 61.53 acres of land in the northwest area of San Pedro, California, to build a gated community of 2,300 condominiums and town homes.

You will also be able to read why I oppose such a large number of homes being built on that property.

There is a post dealing with the Los Angeles Unified School District's desire to use the right of eminent domain to acquire up to 18 acres of land currently owned by Mr. Bisno to build a 2,025 seat senior high school inside the area of Ponte Vista.

Comments to any and all of the posts are sent to me via the Email address at the top of the blog and everyone is welcome to Email me at that address, anytime.

I encourage debate and free discussion on all matters relating to the Ponte Vista development and other developments in the area. I do not condone name calling, use of bad words, and personal attacks on anyone other than me.

Life on the edge is a blog that is both very interesting and avoids spending so much ink on the Ponte Vista development. Several regular contributors to that blog post items of varying interests to our communtiy. I visit "LotE" at least once a day, and I recommend that you do, too. The URL for that blog is:

If you find this blog is not up to your liking and would like a chuckle or two, please visit my humorous site The main difference between men and women is explained in just three sentences and the true nature of most males will be revealed.

So again, welcome and thanks for visiting!

Mark Wells
AKA M Richards

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Oops, Zowie. Sheesh!

This posts deals with two Letters to the Editor in two different publications.

I feel in fairness, I need to point out to "Ruth" and others some truths she and others may not know.

Here is "Ruth's" letter from the January 25 edition of The Daily Breeze.

Ponte Vista project invites congestion

Homeowners in Rancho Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills Estates, Palos Verdes Estates, Harbor City and Lomita, beware of the Ponte Vista Development that is planned for Western Avenue.

Bob Bisno, the developer, has been wining and dining the community trying to convince them that 6,822 new residents, two new high schools with 5,000 students, plus employees and four-story businesses along Western Avenue will bring nothing but bliss for our neighborhood. I disagree.

There will be a tremendous increase in traffic congestion on all our streets, especially Western Avenue and Palos Verdes Drive North, on freeway on- and off-ramps, car, truck, emergency vehicle noise and pollution, crime increase plus damage to our infrastructure and harbor views.

The area is now zoned R-1 for single-family dwellings. That is how it should remain. If you agree, let Janice Hahn of the Los Angeles City Council hear you with letters, phone calls and e-mails.

In fairness to Mr. Bisno and his supporters, may I correct "Ruth" on some of her facts.

"Ruth" from Lomita, the projected population of Ponte Vista is going to be 4,313. Well, that is one number that has been used. Another number is "4600". Still a third number, this one from the Initial Study, is "7,343". In all fairness to everyone, nobody can actually pin down a real projected population of Ponte Vista, at this point.

Two new high schools will not have a total of "5000" students. SRHS #14, the high school proposed on between 15 and 18 acres of land currently owned by Mr. Bisno would only have 2,025 seats for students. Mary Star of the Sea High School will be in the range of 600 or so students.

Ponte Vista will not have "four-story businesses along Western Avenue". The original plans do call for four-story or higher residential buildings along Western Avenue, but Mr. Bisno has stated that he would build up to three-story buildings along Western Avenue.

All other remarks in the letter seem to be perfectly O.K. to me, but I am not a Ponte Vista supporter.

Now to the Zowie and Sheesh!

I though about printing Barry Hildebrand's Letter to the Editor from the latest issue of
San Pedro Magazine but I just don't have the stomach. I found one word particularly offensive and I don't condone that kind of name calling. Barry is a grand gentleman, though. He is always very helpful and extremely knowledgeable about many things involving the peninsula. He has volunteered on many committees and he has vast experience in community issues involving my city. Mr. Hildebrand is a credit to R.P.V., but I wish he hadn't used that word to describe some current employees of the Bisno Development Co. (that word rhymes with "doors")

I think the strength of Mr. Hildebrand's thoughts were marred by the use of a derogatory word. He made some excellent points that might be ignored by some because of some of his words he chose to use.

We have had enough name calling by Mr. Bisno and others who support Mr. Bisno's plans. Opponents shouldn't stoop to their level, I feel.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Real Defenders

Donna Littlejohn wrote an article that appeared in the Saturday January 20, 2007 edition of The Daily Breeze.

In her article, which is titled: Ponte Vista Forum Finds Defenders, I feel she accurately accounted for many of the speakers who spoke in support of Mr. Bisno's project.

I don't mind at all that I did not read about many of the statement made by critics of the plan to build 2,300 homes on 61.53 acres of land in northwest San Pedro, because I will deal with that further down on the post.

Please enjoy Ms. Littlejohn's article.

Ms. Littlejohn also wrote, what I feel is a very good article, in the same edition of the paper. It is an article concerned with my city's response to the Ponte Vista at San Pedro project.

I have placed a link to that article as well, for your enjoyment.

Ponte Vista has its defenders, no doubt about that. Whether they feel they have accurate information about the project, or whether they know as many facts about the project as I hope they would, I have nothing personally against any defenders of Ponte Vista.

Many defenders of Mr. Bisno's plans may have the opportunity to sell their larger San Pedro homes and move into smaller digs in the Senior Housing section of the planned project.

There are defenders who feel they believe that condominiums and townhomes being planned for Ponte Vista might actually be lower priced than similar units and even many single family homes in the San Pedro area.

It was certainly apparent that, during the forum, supporters of Mr. Bisno's plans have been given information from Mr. Bisno's organization and that they accurately shared what they believe to be true.

I happen to feel it is in every one's interest that folks like me help to defend everyone in the nearby residences and the community as a whole.

I also think defending the truth and attempting to inform everyone, including supporters and defenders of the Ponte Vista project, is very important, too.

It is also true that misinformation is ripe on all sides of the issue, but I still feel this blog provides more accurate information than just about anywhere else. To be sure, there are plenty of critics to this blog, and that really keeps be constantly seeking to provide the truth and clear up confusions, but I would stack my facts up against anyone else and have a real go around seeing who is more correct.

Defending the entire area should be critical to everyone, I feel. I am one of the staunchest defenders of Mr. Bisno's right to build homes on his property per the current zoning guidelines on his property. But it is not up to me, Mr. Bisno, or anyone in city government to defend his right to build homes using guidelines for R1, because he already has that right and ability to do that construction.

Many of us are defending our current way of life and transit issues. Defenders of Western Avenue are passionate about not letting traffic get more worse than it will already become. These defenders do not believe that construction of 2,300 homes at Ponte Vista could actually provide a "less than significant" addition to our already significant traffic woes.

So to the defenders of Mr. Bisno's plans, please be as well informed as you can and know that there are defenders out there who want to make sure that everyone in the community is kept from having to deal with such a large development near our homes and that Western Avenue won't become a four-isle parking lot.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Mark's Report on the Open Forum-Part 1

Here is my report on the speakers' portion of the Open Forum held on Thursday January 18, 2007.

This is not a scientific report. I am using only my notes I collected at the forum and they were written as speakers talked. I think I was able to understand almost all the speakers.

Based on my note-taking, here is my report.

I counted 71 speakers who got up to give comments.
44 speakers spoke "generally in support" of Mr. Bisno's plans.
25 speakers spoke "generally in opposition to Mr. Bisno's plans.
2 speakers appeared to be "undecided" and gave different comments.

I will identify each speaker based on where the notes appeared in my notebook. I am sure you can figure out this format on your own. I don't wish to identify individuals by name.

The following notes are based solely on what I believe their comments were about unless I use quotation marks around wording. Then, the quoted words are exactly what they said.

There were other committee members, as well as a facilitator who wrote notes about speakers.

So here goes the comments.

1-1 This gentleman represented unionized carpenters and he claimed there is an agreement by Mr. Bisno to use only unionized labor during construction of the project. He was in support of Mr. Bisno's plans and he claimed his brother can't afford buy a home in San Pedro and he feels the homes would be affordable at Ponte Vista.

1-2 A representative from Harbor Interfaith Council wants the committee and project proponents to remember the homeless. She commented that none of the money Mr. Bisno spent to acquire a portion of Ponte Vista from the Volunteers of America has, as yet, gone to support any of the homeless. "Don't leave out homeless folks."

1-3 L.A. County will grow in population by over 30% in the next decade and there needs to be high density housing to meet the growing needs. There is a huge housing shortage in the area.

1-4 The project is about greed and money. This man feels that San Pedro might lose its identity.

1-5 The Southbay Latino Chamber of Commerce supports Mr. Bisno's plans.

1-6 The numbers used in the DEIR don't match calculations used by the CRA and suggests the truer number of residents is more like 3 persons per household. Seven different methods were used with various developments, each one having a higher density than the calculations in the DEIR.

2-1 Remember what we felt about the Gardens. We survived. "Every other development in California has a senior section."

2-2 This speaker passed out an outline of his comments to committee members and commented on how the trip generation figures in the DEIR do not match other counts from other similar sized developments.

2-3 U.C.L.A. graduate believes R1 is too expensive and that Ponte Vista would be affordable.

2-4 Air quality, the whole process, and traffic issues were questioned by this speaker. Consider the total population in San Pedro when deciding about Ponte Vista.

2-5 Wants good project for Seniors (The following got a very big laugh from everyone in the room) "Very competent City Planners."

2-6 Very concerned about traffic, sinkholes. Would like to see a development along the lines of "The Cape" and "Bay Watch" (single family-detached "patio" or "Courtyard" homes)

3-1 Traffic has solution (by mitigation) Didn't want "500" homes but thought the "2,200" homes was the right amount of homes.

3-2 Representative from Torrance Chamber of Commerce. Likes project. Talked about all the dollars coming in to businesses in the area. He did not mention San Pedro by name, nor did he talk about businesses in San Pedro.

3-3 Concerned about traffic and density. Lives in the Gardens. She was the only speaker to wear an R-1 button. Thanks!

3-4 A Planner from the City of Rancho Palos Verdes is concerned that the "3 phases" of the development proposal were not being followed as promised in an earlier meeting. He asked a specific question; "Where is the specific plan?"

4-1 A representative from the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce likes the project and supports Mr. Bisno's plans. He feels development would be "very pleasing"

4-2 Rolling Hills Riviera resident doesn't want a zoning change. He thinks that the buildings can be built without changing the zoning. (He didn't seem to understand. he thought 2,300 homes could be built without changing the zoning)

4-3 Rolling Hills Riviera resident and former chairperson of several Ponte Vista advisory committees wants committee members to put their personal opinions aside and come back with "unbiased" recommendations. She also likes the idea of Senior Housing.

4-4 A Council member from the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, speaking as an individual. Informed us that the committee would be receiving a letter from the City of Rancho Palos Verdes and admonished each one of us to look at it. He claims that over the last ten years only 400 new homes have been built in the City of R.P.V. and worries about the quality of life in eastern R.P.V. if such a large development is built.

5-1 President of Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council doesn't care about figures, tables, numbers and such. He is concerned that his children would be left with a better environment than what was in the past. He wanted Western Avenue to be looked at as a "unique" place.

5-2 ILWU member for 10 years looking for a safe home and housing area for her family. She likes the security of a gated community and had to move away from San Pedro to a safer place...Long Beach.

5-3 He wants Email address to send Emails to the committee. He said Westside (L.A.) residents can't leave their homes after 3:00 PM and the project doesn't provide an answer for changing the character of the area.

5-4 Mary Star of the Sea Parish representative likes the proposal and is pleased that Mr. Bisno will provide access to the new Mary Star high school. 5,600 family members are represented by the new high school and the annual income of the families of current students is $41,000 per year.

6-1 Peninsula Verde resident objects to the plan and rejects the findings in section 4-J of the DEIR. Very much wants a traffic signal on Western Avenue at Peninsula Verde Drive.

6-2 Likes the affordability of Ponte Vista. "All the (traffic) problems have been solved."

6-3 Very funny speaker doesn't want zone change. Claims Mr. Bisno should "Take whatever you can get and get out of town!" ( Loud laughter from all) Claimed meeting of 110 seniors at Peck Park and only 3 folks supported Mr. Bisno's plans. He thinks 200 seniors driving on Western Avenue, and high school students driving on Western Avenue, as well would be a bad thing. He also claimed home sales were down in area.

6-4 This speaker asked all potential buyers to stand up and then asked all of those who could afford $1.5 Million Dollars to buy a (R1) home to remain standing. Everyone sat down, except one person. He wants to "Stay where we love."

7-1 38-year resident wants ILWU discount (possible 3% rebate per Mr. Bisno)
Doesn't like other communities commenting on Ponte Vista and thinks 300+ units are being built at Rancho Verdes Tennis condos (143 condos are being built) There are too many cars on Western Avenue.

7-2 Montecito resident (P.V. Drive North, west of Western Avenue) Concerned that P.V. Drive North, already heavily impacted would get worse. Previous development proposals in Torrance have all be changed from original plans to final outcome.

7-3 Northwest San Pedro survived all prior problems and would like senior housing. She visited other senior developments in not-nearby areas and thinks the senior housing would be affordable.

7-4 Lives in Gardens and feels South Bay Board of Realtors will put money in their pockets with this project. Too much traffic. Resales have potential questions right now.

8-1 Harbor City-Harbor Gateway Chamber of Commerce. Supports the project.
"(San Pedro is) one of the last best kept secrets." Wants high quality development.

8-2 Quality of project is high and likes the idea of senior housing that would allow the solution to stay in the area.

8-3 "Criminal to even consider making this dense a development" Market rate homes are not affordable housing.

8-4 Need access to Gaffey Street, no matter what the zoning of the site is or becomes.

9-1Co-chairman of the Senior Advisory Committee thinks the project is "A betterment for San Pedro."

9-2 Keep an open mind. He can't afford a home in San Pedro right now and thinks Ponte Vista will be affordable. It is better to stay, live, and work in San Pedro.

9-3 Phenomenal project. Likes the fact that the Hahn family has made projects a priority and wants the number of senior housing expanded. He claims opponents don't want change.

9-4 He believe in real growth in California. "We all have to adjust" (to known increases in population). He would like to see 1,700 homes at Ponte Vista.

10-1 This individual asked "Where are things going at Ponte Vista?" She likes the idea but it was clear to everyone that she didn't know anything about the actual planning of Ponte Vista or what types and numbers of homes are proposed for the site.

10-2 A Banker is very much in favor of project and claims he has helped finance a number of senior projects in the South Bay. "This is an affordable senior project." Ragsley, his cat wants to live in Ponte Vista, too.

10-3 The President of the Rolling Hills Riviera HOA is concerned about whether emergency personnel can get access to the area. He said "affordable" housing at Ponte Vista is really market price homes. He questioned whether the area could accommodate the increased population.

10-4 Longshoreman for 8 years with a daughter very active in the area but can't afford to buy a home to live in San Pedro. Currently a renter, she believes homes in Ponte Vista would be affordable. She also believes the traffic mitigation is fine.

11-1 His current house is too big for just himself and his wife. He would like to live in the senior housing area of "Monte Vista in San Pedro." He feels San Pedro has a reputation to be inclusive.

11-2 Traffic along Western Avenue is essential. Participation in commerce decreases when traffic increases. She worries about evacuation plans in such a high density area.

11-3 Wants East View Little League back into the equation. He would like the red car extended and he would like to see the neighborhood of Rolling Hills Riviera put back into San Pedro. (Actually, Rolling Hills Riviera was in unincorporated L.A. County prior to annexation into Rancho Palos Verdes)

11-4 He likes the reality of the project. He feels it is affordable and believes the mitigation is being done correctly but would like some more traffic mitigation.

12-1 concerned about traffic, condition of sewers under Western Avenue and believes there are too many units planned.

12-2 Wilmington Neighborhood Council representative. " Supports Ponte Vista affordable housing project."

12-3 A future buyer believes the average costs of homes are going up and Ponte Vista gives opportunity for affordable housing. Likes the 6-acre park being planned and thinks the landscaping would be good. Wants approval of zoning changed to "R3".

13-1 Asked a specific question; What is projects minimum house price. Eastview is 1300 acres with 2,500 homes. How can 2,300 homes fit on 62 acres at Ponte Vista? Too many homes.

13.2 Need more mass transit. He has idea for mass transit. Claims 91 freeway is border for MTA with not enough buses leaving San Pedro and going beyond the 91 freeway.

13-3 Rolling Hills Riviera HOA Board member is concerned that Western Avenue is only route in or out of her area. The density of Ponte Vista will be too high. Plans look very beautiful, but outcome is in doubt.

13-4 Likes the senior housing and thinks it will be affordable. "Affordable senior housing is important."

14-1 Lives in South Bay and thinks zoning should be changed from R1 to R2. Seniors won't be a traffic problem because they are usually only out between the hours of 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM. Want to be close to kids and grandkids.

14-2 Rolling Hills Riviera residents claimed Ponte Vista would be a "projected catastrophe".
Has problems with current mitigation and doesn't really know how big project will be and who will foot the bill for more mitigation.

14-3 Wants active life in senior housing. "Life goes on, things change."

14-4 Central San Pedro HOA Board member claims that 3,200 families support Mr. Bisno's plans. Feels everyone will have a chance of buying a home at Ponte Vista.

15-1 Likes proposal. "People, get over it!" She used to have to drive four hours to go 30 Hawaii.

15-2 Thinks Ponte Vista is a beautiful project and he wants to live in the senior housing. He wondered what the price is of a single-family home in San Pedro is. He is a Vietnam Vet who wants a chance to buy in Ponte Vista.

15-3 Y.W.C.A, worker who helped design the senior portion of the project and believes it will keep long-time residents of San Pedro together at Ponte Vista. "Good for community, good for seniors."

15-4 Co-chair of the senior advisory committee said; "Let's move along." She wants to get together for many activities.

15-5 Thinks proposal is best use of land. Quality, safe, open space. He supports "R3" zoning and doesn't want 2,025 seat senior high school in area.

16-1 Wants to stay in San Pedro. She claims that when previous developments came, traffic survived and there is lots of development going on in the area.

16-2 Likes the development. She claims the future is important. "San Pedro is the place to live."

16-3 His traffic solution is to build a subway under Gaffey Street and link it to the Green Line. Likes the proposed project and believes that area has been dormant for too long.

16-4 Wants extension of public comment to the Department of Planning but doesn't know if " Mr. Bisno will give it to us." Don't put traffic problems on Mr. Bisno.

16-5 Is very concerned about traffic mitigation. Wants table 4-J-10 of the Ponte Vista DEIR, Traffic and Transportation section studied more. He feels the traffic counts in the table show 52 of 52 intersections will be impacted and that 52 of 52 intersections will get worse, according to LA DOT/Ponte Vista section.

17-1 R.P.V. resident who grew up in San Pedro believes that family is important and Ponte Vista will give folks the opportunity of staying fairly close together.

17-2 "If you think this project is affordable, you've been fooled." She has problems with the quality of life and believes that city government is betraying the public trust in supporting this development. She also reminded us of a quote by the head of L.A. City Planning; " can you spell speculation."

So there you have it. All the comments as best as I can remember and as well as I can read my chicken-scratch, being left-handed and all.

I am too tired at this point to continue on with this post. Please go ahead and mull it over. I'll be back after some sleep to create another post including my comments and personal notes on the night's events and speakers.

Thank you for reading this long post.

Mark's Report on Open Forum, Part 2

So now that I have had about 5 hours worth of sleep, I will continue with comments and my personal opinions concerning the forum.

Imagine a room filling with people as the meeting time approached. Can you see that about two-thirds of the people that would eventually overfill the ballroom were wearing yellow and black "Ponte Vista Supporter" buttons. Again, I was impressed. Not only had the supporter items changed from rectangular signs to yellow buttons, the buttons were quite a bit bigger than my little black R-1 buttons. And only one of them was worn by a speaker.

Comments were heard (and made by me) concerning the vast ratio of "supporters" to folks who wore no buttons at the forum. It should be noted, for the record, that Mr. Bisno not only paid for feeding the committee as he always has done, the forum was the meeting where Mr. Bisno also paid for dinner for authorized supporters.

Both the meeting and the forum in which Mr. Bisno provided dinner to his supporters saw the largest ratio of supporters to others turn out. This seems to play out that the idea is to get the largest group together, feed them.

Everyone else, except some folks who wore supporter buttons and crashed the dinner buffet of the committee got to enjoy snacks and liquids provided by Mr. Bisno. The supporters used these tables for deserts, it appears.

I was genuinely impressed by the number of folks who turned out in support of Mr. Bisno's plans. I was more impressed by many of them who actually gave opinions that seemed to be their own. I am not suggesting that there weren't a number of supporters who didn't "tow the line" in repeating words like "affordable", "Quality" and "all traffic issues have been mitigated", but there were some unique comments from supporters, whether Mr. Bisno liked that or not.

The representatives of various groups supporting Mr. Bisno showed up and gave good comments to the committee why their group supported the project.

The union members representing skilled trades that will build whatever goes into Ponte Vista stuck around for the entire meeting and were courteous listeners to all speakers. Being a union member myself make be a bit more biased on this issue, but I applaud their attendance, and their contribution to the forum.

All the Chambers of Commerce who supported the project were represented at the forum, too. Their speaker gave their reasoning. I was amused that the Torrance C.of C. speaker talked about all the monies that would pour into area businesses, yet failed to include San Pedro, by name, in the communities that would see benefit to businesses.

There was no representative of the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce that spoke at the forum. This is understandable when the committee learned from Mr. Jack Baric, a committee member and someone associated with the San Pedro C. of C., that the group was not yet in a position to comment on the project. The committee knew this so not having our own Chamber of Commerce endorse the project at the forum was not an issue and shouldn't be an issue by anyone.

There were a good number of quotable quotes, in my opinion. There were both supporters and opponents who didn't really have much of a clue what actually is being proposed at Ponte Vista.
One supporter asked what the buildings would look like, even though there were illustrations posted at one end of the room.
Several supporters wondered where the office for Ponte Vista is. We couldn't tell them during the forum that the Ponte Vista office Ponte Vista. I am sure one of thier representatives informed these folks where to go for information.
One supporter said he didn't want "500" homes at Ponte Vista, but he thought the "2,200" was a fine number.
One supporter liked the project, but said he would like to see 1,700 homes on the site. Here was a guy that didn't "tow the line", I hope he is not reprimanded by the organization.

Opponents of the project also weren't shy about being misinformed about the project. They spoke with any coaching from any organization, it seems, so their misinformation is understood, for the most part, by me.

"Affordable" was the word most often used by the largest percentage of supporters who spoke at the forum. I will always wonder how these fine folks know that any home at Ponte Vista would actually be affordable and how these homes might be so much less expensive than other homes in the area.

When Mr. Bisno and I had our sidebar where he gave me his personal opinion on the POSSIBLE breakdown of bedrooms per unit, I don't remember anybody standing behind us listening to our quiet conversation. I wonder how these supporters know something that hasn't been given to the committee, the press, other supporters, opponents, or the rest of the public for that matter.

Mr. Bisno's lofts, (that's no bedrooms, unlike some of the lofts being constructed around town) are estimated to begin pricing in the low to mid-low $300,000 at this time. Mr. Bisno told me that there will be approximately 60% of the homes as three-bedroom units, no matter if they are in the senior section or not, and 10% of the units will have four bedrooms each. Mr. Bisno told me that the big, four bedrooms homes might have an asking price in the area of $1.2 Million Dollars.

None of the prices for any unit anywhere at Ponte Vista will include the monthly HOA fees that may be in the $350.00 to $5oo.oo per month range.

Some opponents who spoke claimed the homes were being sold at "market price" or "market rate" and will be in line with prices of homes in the surrounding San Pedro area.

Lack of needed housing in the area was also claimed by supporters as something the project would help alleviate, if built with 2,300 homes. Claims were made that R1 would not bring enough homes into an area that needed many more homes for the influx in population and jobs into the area.

Opponents claimed the project contained too many homes and some didn't believe that there would be enough jobs with a salary required to buy any homes at Ponte Vista.

"Quality" was also a word much used by both supporters and opponents. Supporters claimed the homes would be built with a high degree of quality construction and amenities and the quality of life in a gated community would be very high.

Opponents suggested that quality of life of folks who didn't buy at Ponte Vista would suffer greatly by such a large development and some claimed that R1 homes (up to 429) would certainly have a high degree of quality in them.

Supporters also equated quality with safety. Two single mothers spoke that they felt buying an "affordable" home at Ponte Vista would guarantee a good quality of live, added security, and a better chance for their children. It must be mentioned here that these two moms were I.L.W.U. card holders with 10 and 8 years respectfully as card-carrying longshorewomen.

It is very true that card-carrying I.L.W.U. members can very easily have the income necessary to buy just about anything they want, wherever they want. There are already some gated condominium and patio-home developments in the area of San Pedro and R.P.V.

"Senior Housing", fell just behind affordable as the reasoning for supporting Ponte Vista. There were, perhaps, a majority of supporters that were of the age to buy a home in the senior section of Ponte Vista. Many speakers talked about the benefits of living in a senior complex of homes.

There wasn't a general opposition to the idea of senior housing. As a matter of fact, I have called for the enlargement of the ratio of senior housing to non-age restricted homes at Ponte Vista.

The largest opposition to the idea of senior housing came from both supporters and opponents. Having more seniors driving on Western Avenue and the fact that senior housing at Ponte Vista would require our oldsters to drive on Western to just about everywhere except Green Hills brought some of the biggest laughs and cringes of the evening.

"Mitigation" Supporters who spoke about traffic mitigation claim that all the mitigation in the DEIR is finished and everything proposed was correct, now "let's move on." These supporters feel Mr. Bisno will pay for all the proposed mitigation and that only the mitigation proposed in the DEIR needs to be done to completely deal with any problems on Western Avenue.
Mitigation appears to be a done deal with supporters and they are very pleased that Mr. Bisno has completely taken care of all potential problems with possible traffic issues.

Opponents, on the other hand had a very different take on traffic mitigation.
One opponent used the DEIR itself to claim that traffic at 52 of the 52 intersections studied would be worse if the proposed project is built.
At least one opponent reminded all of us about the sinkholes and one of the opponents brought up the possible future sinkholes of the storm drains that haven't been looked at yet.
Many opponents questioned the facts and figures presented in the DEIR and how they were markedly different than numbers used with other projects

Supporters claimed that mitigation is fine as it is and the committee should move on with other areas. Committee members, such as myself, have read many different parts of the DEIR and I can assure everyone that we don't just deal with traffic.

Everyone, including Ms. Hahn, acknowledge that traffic is the number one issue concerning anything that would go into Ponte Vista. Ms. Hahn and others thought that further mitigation should be looked at.

Opponents wanted you to know that the primary means of traffic mitigation proposed by Mr. Bisno, that being the synchronization of the signals between 25th Street and Palos Verdes Drive North, and beyond on Western Avenue was going to be done by the city and CALTRANS. What supporters didn't mention, but opponents repeated several times was that all the ATSAC was going forward and the funding was in place, no matter whether Mr. Bisno paid for it or not.
So the primary benefit Mr. Bisno proposed is already moving forward, with him or without him.

Opponents wanted a trust fund created for, and more study done on more traffic mitigation measures, over and above what Mr. Bisno proposed because they were already in the pipeline.
A few folks talked about using more of the Western Avenue Task Force recommendations in mitigating the Ponte Vista traffic issues.

On a very important note for me, both Ms Hahn and a supporter called for a new road linking Western Avenue to Gaffey Street, no matter what gets built at Ponte Vista. As you may know I have been calling for this for many months now and there is a fairly large post concerning my vision for that road, buried in the early posts of this blog. Please take a look at my pictures.
Thank you Ms. Hahn and Supporter for coming on board with this idea. You done good!

Overall, I feel that the forum brought to light several factors that should be looked into by the next public forum.

First, I hope more supporters become more informed as to the real facts of the project before they speak to committee members who have gone over the DEIR in some detail and have a much higher knowledge of Mr. Bisno's actual proposals than the vast majority of supporters seem to have.

Second, if opponents want to have a larger turnout for their side, I suggest the two Neighborhood Councils openly in opposition to Mr. Bisno's plans pay for feeding their folks. It was evident that providing dinner brings out more people. Well perhaps, a better phone tree, and organization workers to contact folks was the real reason so many supporters came out. It is easier for Mr. Bisno to pay staffers to make sure seats are filled than for volunteers on the other side to get folks to come to meetings.

That last paragraph being written as it is, it must be noted that during regular meetings of the committee, more opponents show up than supporters.

Third, everyone should get their facts straight and supporters should demand that Mr. Bisno publicly state what the price ranges might be when units are built. Everyone should also encourage Ms. Hahn to give her thoughts on how many homes at Ponte Vista she could consider. I would like to hear a range of numbers. Ms. Hahn has publicly opposed the concept of building 2,300 homes at Ponte Vista. Because she has claimed what she doesn't want, how about a range of numbers she could be comfortable with.

Forth, it is time to start the process of compromise. I have written and most knowledgeable folks have accepted two ideas. a) 2,300 homes will not be built at Ponte Vista, and b) the final development will not be zoned R1. It is my belief that it would be much harder to keep the site R1 than it would be for Mr. Bisno to build his 2,300 homes, but both proposals should now be set aside and real thought should be put into creating a real specific plan that addresses real issues that can be considered by decision.

I would hope by the next public forum our committee would be able to listen to speakers address a very different Ponte Vista than the one proposed by Mr. Bisno. Our committee is very willing to make recommendations when the comment period for the DEIR ends and we should be able to have some realistic facts and figures in proposals that folks can really sink their teeth into and let us know what they think.

Fifth, I wish Mr. Bisno would end his quest to control every aspect dealing with the CAC and start a real dialogue with members to find the best outcome possible.

Just before we left for the forum, we all received a package that presented "letters" from 82 supporters of Mr. Bisno's plans. On a first look, the "letters" were all written on blank paper, hand written in ink and most of them had a date of December 5 or December 6, 2006.
Perhaps that was Mr. Bisno's strategy session and dinner that we weren't invited to.

Many of the short "letters" claimed the writer approves of Mr. Bisno's plans and doesn't want R1 zoning at Ponte Vista. Great coaching Ponte Vista!

Mr. Bisno has sent members of the committee pamphlets for prior meetings where he wants to present presentations in favor of his project. Our committee is supposed to be "unbiased" as a supporter claims. Why won't Mr. Bisno let us do our duties without a presentation at each meeting? Please let us take the comments, both oral and written from the forum and give us time to digest them without any intrusion by Mr. Bisno and his staff.

Sixth, during the forum, Mr. Greenwood stopped the meeting to admonish folks not to heckle speakers they did not agree with. It was sure fun to laugh during the funny bits, but unfortunately Mr. Greenwood had to take to task opponents of Mr. Bisno's plans who heckled a supporter. The vast majority of the crowd were supporters and they were at least courteous enough to keep their heckling at a very low level. I am quite pleased to report that the loudest things heard at the forum was laughter and not shouting. Everyone should be very proud of all of us for behaving like adults.

Seventh, thank you for your comments both oral and written. Committee members want you to know that we are as unbiased as we can be and we are doing what we are doing to support the best interests of all of us who live and work in the area. I would appreciate any Emails concerning any issue, including this blog. My Email address is always at the top of the blog.

I want everyone to have the best and most factual information possible. Although I disagree with Mr. Bisno's current plans, I also need to let everyone know that my very strong support of R1 and keeping Ponte Vista's current zoning by no way means I am not willing and able to consider alternatives that would have the final development at a higher density than R1 (up to nine homes per acre) I know this paragraph offends both sides of the issue, but as I was quoted in the Daily Breeze on Thursday, "we're all in this together." Let's compromise.

My Comments to the "Eighty-Two"

On the very day of the first open forum, committee members found on our doorsteps, a package from the Bisno organization.

The package contained a cover letter signed by Mr. Luis Dominguez who I personally know and our wives are good friends.

Mr. Dominguez's letter concerned "82 letters from interested buyers, both seniors and others (who) support the 575 senior units and the 1,725 non-age restricted unity at Ponte Vista."

All the letters were addressed to Ms. Janice Hahn, were all on plain white paper, used ball point pens, with one exception, and were written over a seven-day period with most of the letters having either a December 5, or December 6, 2006 date.

I have decided to comment on the letters and refer to this group as the "Eighty-Two".
I promise not to belittle any of the authors and will use facts, and not opinions as much as possible during my comments.

To the "Eighty-Two",

I appreciate having been able to read each letter and think about what everyone wrote. I am sad to say, though that you have either been misinformed about substantial facts, or the facts were not provided to you prior to your authorship of the letters.

Most of you do not support making the site zoned R1. Many of you have asked Ms. Hahn to not support making the site zoned R1. One of you want 2,300 homes built while still maintaining the R1 zoning. Many of you do not wish to have Mr. Bisno be forced to build per R1 zoning requirements.

Here are some true facts concerning the 61.53 acres that make up Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

Currently about 46 acres of the property is currently zoned R1 which means on that land, up to nine homes may be built per acre.

Approximately 15 acres of the site is currently zoned as open space. These zonings were created using an ordinance approved or by the majority of the members of the Los Angeles City Council that zoning was not used by the U.S. Navy for the construction of the homes currently standing at the site.

Ms. Hahn cannot approve of making the site R1 because it already is. Therefore, she and the other members can't change the zoning to R1.

Mr. Bisno has every right to build up to 429 homes in Ponte Vista at San Pedro without seeking any zoning changes. He knew this when he acquired the property through an auction process and subsequent purchase of approximately 19 acres from the Volunteers of America.

Do any of you "Eighty-Two" know the prospective price of any home proposed at Ponte Vista? Would you like to? Do you believe that whatever price Mr. Bisno and his associates place on the homes would make them "affordable" in your individual eyes? Has anyone in the Bisno organization shown you proposed details on the actual number of bedrooms per unit in both parts of the development. Would it surprise you to learn that up to 60% of the units being proposed will have three bedrooms?

I am afraid so inject that if you don't know the answers to these questions, you may have been misled in your quest to find a truly "affordable home" at Ponte Vista.

Mr. Bisno is planning to sell his homes at "market rates" or "market price". That means he will sell the vast majority of them at whatever the market will bear.

Mr. Bisno has claimed that he will offer a "3% rebate" to certain buyers in selected employment categories, but he has not said he will give a rebate to any seniors, unless they are employed in the selected occupations.

Truly "affordable" housing can exist in a development on a limited basis and the criteria is based on pricing structures maintained by government agencies.

Many large developments offer what is called "Controlled Priced Units" or CPU's for short. Developers provide a selected number of homes at "below market" prices to allow individuals such as teachers, emergency workers, and similar valuable professions, the opportunity to buy homes they would not otherwise have the income to buy.

Mr. Bisno is not offering to sell any Controlled Priced Units at Ponte Vista, at this time. If you would like to seek out a CPU and feel you might qualify, you would need to visit Playa Vista where there are some available.

The Draft Environmental Impact Report states that the income required to purchase a home at Ponte Vista will be approximately $141,000 per year, per household.

At our Open Forum last night, we learned from a representative from Mary Star of the Sea Parish that the median income of families sending their children to the current high school is $41,000 per year. This means that there would be approximately zero families that could send their children to the new Mary Star of the Sea high school campus, east of Ponte Vista, and still afford to buy a home at Ponte Vista.

The estimated projected cost of the lowest priced unit at Ponte Vista, which will be a loft type condominium, is over $300,000.00 if I am not mistaken. If I am incorrect with that figure I would hope someone from the Bisno organization would set me straight and I would be more than happy to adjust the minimum price.

In a sidebar conversation, during a regular meeting of the Community Advisory Committee, I quietly asked Mr. Bisno to give me the breakdown as to number of bedrooms he thinks would be in the various sized units at Ponte Vista. Mr. Bisno told me that up to 10% of the homes would be four-bedroom units. I asked him what the price range for those homes might be and he answered "approximately $1.2 Million."

Mr. Bisno also wrote down the number 60 when I asked him what he feels the percentage of the 2,300 homes would be built as three-bedroom units. As we talked quietly we both concurred that these homes may be in the range of $700,000-$800,000.

To be sure, $750,000 for a three-bedroom in San Pedro is probably a good price, but would these homes be in the price range of any of you members of the "Eighty-Two"?

Have any of you considered the monthly Homeowners Association Dues and monthly fees required to fund the ongoing business inside Ponte Vista. If you learned that these monthly fees would had as much as $375.00 per month to your bills, would that create a financial bind?

Has anyone in the Bob Bisno organization given any of you figures as to what the monthly fees and dues would be? if so, please Email me because a lot of us would sure love that information.

Guards, gardeners, office staff, maintenance, and other items need to be funded by someone. Or they have to be funded by everybody.

To the senior authors of the "Eighty-Two", would it surprise you to know that I not only support senior housing at Ponte Vista, I would like the ratio of senior housing raised. I think 60% of the total number of homes should be built for seniors.

Are you seniors aware that there are no plans to build a pharmacy at Ponte Vista or a small store that folks can easily visit for basic food and sundries so you wouldn't have to drive as much on Western Avenue?

To everyone,

These "Eighty-Two" authors want something great in their lives. I know we all want the best for our families and our community. I know that sometimes we get excited by the prospect of something new and possible.

I hope everyone is concerned about learning as much truth about Ponte Vista as possible. I love the illustrations and I have seen its "twin" in Newport Beach. I can't think of anyone who wouldn't like living securely in a place like I visited. But reality is reality and Ponte Vista's "twin" is actually a giant apartment complex.

So before anyone signs on any dotted lines, please, please get the facts, all the facts, and think long and hard about changing the way you live for something that may or may not be better.

Be well,

Bedrooms: By The Numbers

I have to admit the November 30 meeting notes, where I was provided the possible numbers of bedrooms within Ponte Vista by Mr. Bisno himself, now appears to be very difficult to read, even to me.

Here is another attempt by me to post the numbers given to me by Mr. Bisno during our unauthorized, sidebar discussion during that evening's regular CAC meeting.

These numbers were given to me by Mr. Bisno as an "off the top of his head" type of disclosure and, by no means, are the official totals that may be in line if he is successful in having an ordinance adopted allowing him to actually build 2,300 homes within the Ponte Vista area.

There will be two sections to the project. Here are the numbers generated for the Senior Housing section of Ponte Vista at San Pedro, according to Mr. Bisno's personal thoughts:

575 total units.

30%, or about 173 homes would be studio or 1-bedroom type units

60%, or about 345 homes would be two-bedroom units.

10%, or about 57 homes would be three-bedroom units.

Adding the number of bedrooms together would give you a total of a about 1,034 bedrooms within the 575-home Senior Housing section.

Now I will move to the non-age restricted section of the development:

1,725 total units

Approximately 16%, or about 276 homes would be "lofts" and have no walls between sleeping areas and living areas.

44%, or about 759 homes would be two-bedroom units.

30%, or about 518 homes would be three-bedroom units.

10%, or about 172 homes would be four-bedroom units.

Adding the number of bedrooms together would give you a total of 4,036 bedrooms in the non age-restricted section of the development.

This brings brings the total numbers of bedrooms that MIGHT be at a 2,300-home Ponte Vista development to:

5,070 possible total bedrooms or sleeping areas within Ponte Vista.

Let's now compare that total to the possible population given by the DEIR for the same sections.

The DEIR's numbers suggest that there will be 1.5 seniors per unit in the Senior Housing section of the Development.

The DEIR also states the there will be an average of 2.0 persons per unit in the non-age restricted section.

Adding the totals together you get a total possible population, according to the DEIR of 4,313 residents of Ponte Vista.

The DEIR also states that the project will provide 2.5 parking spaces per unit inside the complex.

According to the DEIR's statistics, there will be 5,750 vehicles for residents at Ponte Vista.

The bottom line figures, if you believe them, are as follows:

4,313 humans will use 5,070 bedrooms in a community and travel in 5,750 vehicles.

These are the numbers, believe them or not.

Here are some of my personal opinions, based on the numbers provided.

1. I only believe Mr. Bisno's thinking when it comes to the possible number of bedrooms within the development, at this time. Mr. Bisno gave me those figures to help me and my thought process in dealing with the issues surrounding Ponte Vista. I think his vision for the number of bedrooms and the amenities of the development are very interesting and deserve great study and discussion.

2. The other figures simply are not credible and do not appear in real life, in Los Angeles, and surrounding communities. The DEIR uses figures generated from sources that have been placed in question by a great many number of people. There are many ways to study the same concepts and I feel the information produced in the DEIR, while validated by other sources to some extent, also require the use of several different uses of methodology to be certain that we will get the best possible facts and figures.

3. It is implausible for me to think that there will be up to 757 beds, assuming one person per bed, going not slept in, every night, inside Ponte Vista. Mr. Bisno and supporters of his plans have repeatedly stated there is a need for more housing in the area, and more people need a place to lay their head at night. 757 empty beds per night seems a bit "elitist" to me.

4. If each and every one of the projected 4,313 residents of Ponte Vista drive their vehicle out of the gates every day, then there will be up to 1,437 vehicles parked at Ponte Vista each day.
Is it logical to believe that up to 24.9% of all the vehicles at Ponte Vista never get driven?
Why would the DEIR allow for such a high percentage of parking spaces if so few cars might actually be inside Ponte Vista, if you believe the DEIR's facts.

5. Total population, numbers of bedrooms, and vehicle counts, all generated by the DEIR or Mr. Bisno himself do not appear in real life. I can certainly believe Mr. Bisno's bedroom counts because of a (sort of ) twin development in Newport Beach, that looks strikingly similar to the illustrations for Ponte Vista. The vehicle counts and population numbers are simply not found in the L.A. area.

6. Many people taut the "unique" quality of Western Avenue and the fact that the area is on a peninsula and has limited ingress and egress points. It seems inconceivable to me to put such a large development on a piece of land so vital to the routes used by a large population to navigate in and out of the area. The closest Paramedic unit to any home in R.P.V. along Western Avenue, needs to pass the development site in order for residents to receive emergency assistance. While traffic might be a great issue to everyone, It is a grave issue for those of us who will depend upon a unit that must travel past Ponte Vista to provide us with Paramedic service.

7. I have chosen not to list possible pricing structures of the various types of homes at Ponte Vista because I do not have enough information to provide a more accurate breakdown of potential prices. I will include the following general items that I have found out about, concerning possible prices, based on what I have been hearing from Mr. Bisno himself, or folks within the Bisno organization.

a) It seems the starting prices for studios, lofts, and one-bedroom units might be in the range of the low to mid-low $300,000.00

b) Mr. Bisno has suggested to me that a four-bedroom home might cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.2 Million Dollars.

c) Mr. Bisno and I have both agreed that the monthly dues and fees paid for by residents at Playa Vista are quite a bit higher than he anticipates the monthly charges might be at Ponte Vista.
Playa Vista uses a two-tiered monthly fee structure. First there is a set monthly fee that all residents pay and a second fee based on the price of the home. Some residents of Playa Vista are charged approximately $500.00 per month and others are tasked with paying over $1,000.00 per month. Both Mr. Bisno and I agree that the Ponte Vista monthly fees would be more in the line with the $500.00 per month fee, but there is absolutely no guarantee with this figure.

d) The homes inside Ponte Vista will all be priced equivalent to the asking prices of similar sized units in the San Pedro area. There will be some selected residents that might be given a 3% rebate, based on their occupation, for new homes at Ponte Vista. That matter has not, as yet, been set in stone.

In summary, I feel that there are many folks who still have great problems with having 2,300 homes built at Ponte Vista, and I am one of those folks. I have enjoyed and very much appreciate Mr. Bisno's willingness to share his views on matters not very many folks have been privy to. While I feel there must be compromise on all sides of the issues concerning Ponte Vista, I am committed to finding the best possible outcome for the current and future residents of the area. Please remember, when this project is finished, Mr. Bisno still won't live here.

More Condos becoming Rentals

I received this article on Friday morning and I thought it would be germaine to the discussions concerning Ponte Vista.

Mr. Bisno and the DEIR use population figures based on owner-occupied, high rise condominiums based on the 2000 census.

How might the population of Ponte Vista be affected if a large number of condos are not occupied by their owners? Why didn't the DEIR have alternative figures based on that possible outcome?

Here is the link.

It is also interesting to note that the project in Newport Beach that most represents the illustrations and ideas proposed by Mr. Bisno at Ponte Vista is an apartment development and not owner occupied housing.

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Letter, Or At Least The First Page

This is the first page of the "INTER-DEPARTMENTAL CORRESPONDENCE", which is the letter from Mike Bagheri.

And now............some more of the story.

Donna Littlejohn's article in the Saturday January 13 edition of the Daily Breeze dealt with this 25 page letter Mike Bagheri sent out. The first page of that letter appears above and you are free to read it. Just place your mouse over any area of the page and left click (PCs that is).

Ms. Littlejohn has confirmed to me that her source for the letter was someone in the Bisno organization. I must thank Mr. Bisno and his organization for releasing the story to Ms. Littlejohn. This may have been the only way committee members and the public might have found out about it.

The letter was set for release on Friday January 12. Mr. Gordon Teuber, an assistant to Ms. Hahn, was sent the letter at about 10:24 AM by Mr. Bagheri. Mr. Teuber sent the letter later in the day to John Greenwood and some others. I did not get my copy of the letter on Friday.

I hold no fault in this matter with Mr. Teuber or Mr. Greenwood. I don't even know if they took the opportunity to open the attachment of the Email informing them of this letter. It really doesn't matter because they both were Emailed the letter AFTER Mr. Bagheri spoke to the committee last Thursday evening.

Mike Bagheri of the L.A. City Department of Transportation has his signature on the first page of the letter. He knew the release date would be Friday January 12 when he came before the committee and the public, the evening before.

For Mr. Bagheri to not provide committee members the courtesy of at least, informing us that the letter would be released the following day is one of the issues many of the members of the committee are very disturbed about.

Mr. Bagheri also knew the contents of the letter, yet he must have deliberately chosen not to inform us of its contents as well. Might this be one way of telling volunteer committee members to F%#@ O^^?

Mr. Bagheri seems to have continued to propagate the feeling that many bureaucrats within government are arrogant when it comes to dealing with the public. I feel he has done a disservice to Mr. Bisno, our committee, the Department of Transportation, and the image of bureaucrats in L.A. City Government.

Had our committee been informed of the existence of the letter on Thursday evening, perhaps we could have questioned Mr. Bagheri about it and not created a heavier fog of credibility over our Community Advisory Committee.

It appears we were deliberately left out of the loop of information for whatever reasons Mr. Bagheri chose. This may slow the process down and that will not be beneficial to anyone.

I will write more about credibility in another post. I can imagine that Mr. Bagheri will now garner a even lower level of credibility by some members of the committee and many members of the public. That would also make anything he signs off on have a lower level of credibility as well, I imagine.

I have written about how I believe Mr. Bagheri was not willing to provide the committee and the public with a level of courtesy we might expect from folks we pay the salary of. I can also put into question his duties and who he may really be responsible to. While I have not found any collusion between Mr. Bagheri and Mr. Bisno concerning the DOT analysis of the Traffic and Transportation section of the DEIR, I may be considered ignorant by some members of the public who have already mentioned to me they believe that DOT and Ponte Vista Development CO. were working together to document findings that were predetermined at the outset. This also suggests that Mr. Bagheri has lowered the credibility of Mr. Bisno's plans.

I hope Ms. Hahn and Mr. Teuber will get to the bottom of this issue and provide all parties with a full explanation and measures designed to not let something like this happen again as our committee reviews other sections of the DEIR that bureaucrats within city government have to sign off on.


Credibility. It means so much for being a fairly small word.

It is something we all seem to want, yet we sometimes work to destroy the credibility of others, or committees for that matter.

It is something that can be so hard and expensive to get, yet so easy for others to lose for us.

It can be very financially expensive to acquire and be lost with the stroke of a pen.

Credibility has always been at issue with both Mr. Bisno's plans and Ms. Hahn's Community Advisory Committee. This post will deal with the credibility of both. It will also deal with the credibility of the R1 issue, later in the post.

Mr. Bisno has spent thousands and thousands of dollars trying to establish and keep his plans to build 2,300 homes at Ponte Vista, credible. His organization funds the Community Advisory Committee as a way to demonstrate he credibility to use the Specific Plan system to achieve the goals he has set. I applaud his funding and his continued willingness to deal with a process that many developers would never choose as a way to move their developments forward.

The credibility of the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) is something I have tried to help establish and maintain in what may be an increasing fog of concern as to our ability to assist Ms. Hahn, the City Planning Department, and the entire community in finding the best possible outcome for everyone concerning Ponte Vista.

Both Mr. Bisno and the CAC always need to be focused on establishing and keeping the highest degree of credibility that can be achieved. When a city bureaucrat does something that many folks consider very wrong, it affects both Mr. Bisno's plans and the CAC concerns.

Is it fair to question the credibility of both Mr. Bisno's plans and the CAC? Sure it is I feel, and it is an important test for Mr. Bisno and the CAC to always find ways to maintain credibility.

Why should the CAC be credible? There are many reasons to fight for and keep our credibility as high as we possibly can.

First, the volunteer members of the committee feel that we can have an impact on what is built at Ponte Vista despite what Mr. Bisno feels or what other people think.

Second, members have taken it upon themselves to serve both Ms. Hahn and the processes to the best of their abilities.

Third, it is in the best interest of the public, I feel, to have real community input concerning a development of such a large scale and an overriding significance for Western Avenue and several communities.

Forth, having the CAC demonstrates a willingness by Ms. Hahn to include regular folks in the governing of the community. There is no stipulation that we agree with Ms. Hahn on any issue concerning Ponte Vista and she seem willing to respect whatever recommendations that might come from the CAC.

Fifth, several members of the CAC are very interested in making sure that our community doesn't get "bowled over" by a big developer and the members want to have some oversight to the processes and plans Mr. Bisno submits.

Sixth, having community input in such a large development HOPEFULLY might provide a more investigative side and the CAC can watch for and address issues that may appear to be in conflict with the best possible outcome.

Seventh, failing to provide for the best outcome possible would be disastrous to the entire community.

Eighth, Ponte Vista is only one of many projects being proposed or being built in the area. CAC's could become tools that the community could use to monitor and deal with projects not yet proposed and the credibility of this CAC is important if others might be needed in the future.

Now I am going to shift the credibility issue away from the CAC and onto proponents of R1

Is it important to test the credibility of plans to keep Ponte Vista R1? You bet it sure is. Mr. Bisno has been doing his best to test that credibility and supporters of R1 need to work just as hard to stay credible, in my opinion.

I will use me as the best example I can find to test the credibility of Mr. Bisno's plans and, as an R1 supporter, to test the credibility of that issue as it relates to me.

Mr. Bisno has consistently planned for building 2,300 homes on 61.53 acres of land in northwest San Pedro. For many reasons, I feel that 2,300 homes are just too many homes to be built with only Western Avenue as the only major road access for the development and everyone else that currently uses Western Avenue.

Is it credible to support R1 at Ponte Vista? My support of R1 is to maintain that current zoning because I believe the application Mr. Bisno filed to have a ordinance passed by the L.A. City Council to change the zoning to allow him to build 2,300 homes should be denied and the DEIR which the application is supported by is, in my opinion and for many reasons, not to be credible enough for issuance of any zoning change.

Should staunch R1 supporters be considered credible. I believe that supporters of having the area now known as Ponte Vista continue to be zoned R1 no matter what, have an uphill battle to remain credible if plans are made to drastically lower the number of homes to be built at Ponte Vista. Thier will be a much harder task and one that I can applaud, but I might not remain in that fight for a lengthy period of time.

Must the area always remain R1? The most credible answer to that is no. Within the City of Los Angeles, and for large developments like the scope of Ponte Vista, R1 or up to nine homes per acre simply are no longer being built. It may be a very sad truth for many people, but reality is reality. That is why folks who say "R1 now and R1 forever" have a very hard road ahead for them.

Do these last few paragraphs test my credibility? I think they do. Some staunch R1 supporters may find that I might be a "sell out" for suggesting that the area might not always remain R1. Supporters of Mr. Bisno might claim that I only want R1 because of Mr. Bisno's current proposal. They would be absolutely correct!

Are R1 supporters who have like reasoning to mine that far off from Mr. Bisno's plans? No, not really. I think it is only in two areas that I have a major disagreement with Mr. Bisno and his supporters. These two areas could be cleared up very easily with both sides employing just one simple word. Compromise. What could be the percentage of the total number of homes built at Ponte Vista designated Senior Housing? What is the total number of homes that should be built at Ponte Vista. These are two very big questions and one very big reason to support the credibility of the CAC, in my opinion. Please put your trust in us to find the best possible outcome for all of us. Give us chances to fail and shine and assist everyone in the process.

I would also implore Mr. Bisno to stop with the name calling. Now it seems he is calling some "ranting elitists", "whiners" due to their distrust of the DEIR. With what happened with Mr. Bagheri and the letter concerning part of the DEIR, why wouldn't some people question the credibility of the DEIR and city officials who had their hand in it? Name calling also increases the loss of credibility of people who stoop to that kind of level, I feel.

Friday, January 12, 2007

January 11 Meeting Highlights.

First, I think I am going to call the Automated Traffic Synchronization and Control system, ATSAC. This system, monitored from L.A. City Hall, East deals with the synchronization of traffic signals in the City of L.A. and can also control signals in other areas, depending on the management of the systems.

Mr. Bisno claims, as one of his most important mitigation proposals, to provide ATSAC at all the intersections between Palos Verdes Drive North and 25th. Street along Western Avenue.

Guess what? It will be done anyway whether Mr. Bisno pays for it, or not.

The signals along Western Avenue between 25th Street and 1st. Street are owned, controlled, and managed by the L.A. City Department of Transportation. The signals from Summerland to Palos Verdes Drive North, and beyond are owned, controlled, and managed by Cal Trans.
Both organizations have plans and funding being implemented to provide ATSAC for their respective areas and the ATSAC control for the stretch of Western Avenue will be given to L.A. City D.O.T. Both the L. A. City D.O.T. and Cal Trans have documents that give details concerning the start dates for building the system and how long it will take to bring ATSAC online in our area.

The bottom line with ATSAC is not dependent on anything Mr. Bisno does or does not do. There is funding proposed by Mr. Bisno to help pay for the systems. Some of that funding, not needed for ATSAC in the area has been proposed for five other intersections in the surrounding area and some mitigation work for Five Points.

Committee members, like myself, made comments that we would like to have presentations from a variety of parties concerning the Ponte Vista project. We would like to hear comments and have question and answer sessions from people who are experts in their various fields. We will be inviting to speak and provide comments representatives from L.A. City Fire Department and Police Department, as well as L.A. County Fire Department and Sheriffs Department.

Four Neighborhood Councils in and around our community represent homeowners, business owners and various other stake holders. We will invite representatives from the Harbor City, Northwest San Pedro, Central San Pedro, and Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Councils to give their comments and have a question and answer session with the committee members.

We have not, as yet, invited representatives from the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce to come and comment and Q and A, because they have not finalized their comments and we will be inviting them at some future date, I firmly believe.

The committee is not yet in a position to invite any representative of L.A.U.S.D. to give their comments and Q and A session. I feel we will give them an opportunity at a future date, as well.

It is still very clear that traffic is a giant issue concerning the Ponte Vista project. Questions posed to the L.A. City Department of Transportation, by committee members haven't been answered yet and that is a bit annoying, I feel, so close to the end of the comment period. Mr. David Shinder from the traffic engineering firm hired by Mr. Bisno did answer questions posed by committee members and Mr. Nave, during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Unfortunately, I found the D.O.T. representative to be much less informed about the project than I would have thought he should be. I only know the gentleman's first name, Mike. My opinion is that he spoke as a bureaucrat does and it was hard pressed to get concise, direct answers.

The best presentation was given by our own Mr. Jerry Gaines. He and another committee member, Mr. Sal Sotomayor were both on the Western Avenue Task Force that published their report in June, just one month shy of Mr. Bisno's project being announced. Mr. Gaines pointed out the recommendations the WATF made and the ones that were immediately implemented and looked at very strongly. Mr. Bisno's DEIR had the opportunity to include more of the WATF recommendations in the Traffic and Transportation mitigations, but they chose not.

I think the committee will be poised to begin the recommendation process once we have digested the information we will learn at the Open Forum and heard from the variety of representatives we will invite to speak to us. I feel that we all know Mr. Bisno's position and have a very clear understanding of his proposed project. Mr. Bisno has been given opportunities to present his side of the issues in prior meetings, including a November, 2006 meeting which was devoted to his presentation of his proposals. It is my opinion that it is now the committee's responsibility to seek out as much information from many other sources so we can provide Ms. Hahn and the L.A. City Planning Department with the best recommendations possible.

On a side note, it was also made known tonight that Northwest San Pedro and Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Councils have hired an outside traffic consultant to read the Ponte Vista DEIR and make comments concerning the documents. It will be up to the Neighborhood Councils whether they want to share the information with the Community Advisory Committee in person or in writing.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Pacifica Creek Park

This is the "soon to be proposed" Pacific Creek Park -San Pedro development. I am including it on this blog because IF this is not a hoax, IF it is actually planned to be a real proposal, and IF it finally becomes a proposal, Ponte Vista would become about the size of a nat on an elephant.

Mr. Richard Royce of ventureEXPO has corresponded with me about this project. Essentially it is a redevelopment project of Pacific Avenue between 1st. and 22nd. Streets, in San Pedro.

Details of the proposal apparently aren't ready to be released, but I figure it is worth posting the information I have received so far and allow myself some comments about this "soon to be proposed" project towards the bottom of this post and welcome comments from others.

I think this is one way Mr. Royce and others proposing the redevelopment of Pacific Avenue can have a compass to review how their plans may pass through interested members of the community.

Anyway, it is a relief from "all things Ponte Vista" except....are the new high school student-residents around part of Pacifica Creek Park going to be going to SRHS #14 when it is finally built?

The first photo is an aerial shot of the approximate area of San Pedro encompassed in the Pacifica Creek Park dream. You can click on the photo and it should grow somewhat.

As you can see by the photo, there is a great deal of downtown San Pedro's area that would be taken up by such a redevelopment plan. And Pacifica Creek Park may be only one of many proposals for the "needed" redevelopment of the area.

Below is a card which purports to illustrate the creek and the placement of the park lands and bridges of Pacifica Creek Park.

At first glance, my impression was, "this is too incredible to be real", and perhaps it is. But what the heck, it still is a very interesting thing to look at and it gets me wondering what else might be out there in the redevelopment of Pacific Avenue.

This last illustration came to me only this morning. It answers some questions I posed to Mr. Royce, but it also generates a whole lot more questions and comments.

To me, it looks like the bridges will be actually vehicle bridges through the development. I also noted the parking spaces and the vehicle direction arrows associated with this illustration.

I have imposed conditions on myself for posting these illustrations and illuminating Mr. Royce's vision on my blog. I will take the opportunity to comment on the "soon to be proposed" proposal and welcome comments from Mr. Royce, his fellow planners, and anyone else wishing to post any comments regarding Pacifica Creek Park.

First, some useless trivia. The creek running through Pacifica California is the San Pedro Creek.

I wrote to Mr. Royce that I would be creating this post and made some of the following comments to him.

7th, 9th, 13th, 17th, and 19th streets should have unrestricted access across any redevelopment of Pacific Avenue, in my opinion. These have traditionally been roads that have transported us to both sides of Pacific Avenue since they were built. Both 9th and 19th Streets have intersections with Western Avenue.

As I look at the last illustration, I am trouble with narrowing 7th and 9th Streets to make room for diagonal parking. These two streets should be kept as wide as possible and I wouldn't think of putting a cobblestone bridge over the five streets I feel are essential to keep freely open in any project.

I think there will be many emergency personnel, parents, business leaders, and others who will question limiting so much vehicular traffic between what would essentially become West San Pedro and East San Pedro. With so much residential development being built east of Pacific Avenue, I can imagine some stress at the ability of folks to get to major food stores, all of which are west of Pacific Avenue.

Access to the Harbor Freeway and the Vincent Thomas Bridge is a major concern for everyone in San Pedro, I feel. The lack of effective access to the 110 Freeway via Pacific Avenue has been a long standing issue. I would think any developer of any redevelopment of Pacific Avenue would be required to provide mitigation for that problem. The idea of folks in what would become East San Pedro, having to get to the 110 Freeway and the Bridge via Harbor Blvd presents a great many problems, especially with the new Waterfront Development Plan under consideration.

All is not negative in my commenting, though. Pacific Avenue need redevelopment very badly, in my humble opinion. There could be almost unlimited opportunities for residential and employment growth in the area. Perhaps this redevelopment might bring real affordable housing to the area as well as a good mix of other residential types and commercial and retail opportunities.

This could be an area in the harbor where higher density would be more welcome. Placing higher density housing closer to retail and commercial development would help everyone. Perhaps a small, light rail system along the route of Pacifica Creek Park could allow everyone clean, effective, and cost efficient transportation in the area. Connecting such a small line to a larger line, such as the current lines, would aid transportation issues for the entire area.

If a developer is wise, they can construct a redevelopment area and tie it in with the tourists that come to visit San Pedro and embark and disembark on the cruise ships.

Ponte Vista claims to be "smart growth" in our area. With some heavy corrections to the Pacifica Creek Park plan, in my opinion, this, or some other redevelopment of Pacific Avenue would be much smarter.