Thursday, February 22, 2007

Letter from Bob Bisno

I am going to print the letter to the editor Bob Bisno sent into San Pedro Magazine, which appears in the March, 2007 edition.

An opponent of Mr. Bisno's plans to build 2,300 homes at Ponte Vista had his letter printed in the February 2007 edition of the magazine and a particularly offensive word was used in the letter and printed in the magazine.

Mr. Bisno has called folks like me "ranting elitists" in a column he wrote for a More San Pedro
edition a while back, but I don't feel it was as offensive as the word used in the last issue of
San Pedro Magazine. In fact, after Saturday, February 24, "ranting elitist" may be seen as a badge of honor, or button of honor, if you get my drift.

Name calling seems to be done on all sides of the Ponte Vista debate. I do feel that there is a bridge folks should not cross in order to reveal their true feelings about the subjects. In my opinion Barry Hildebrand crossed that bridge and the editor of San Pedro Magazine assisted him in that crossing.

Mr. Bisno and I talk openly and freely and we both know where each of us stand on the issues. Someone else would have to have their head in the sand to not know both of our positions on the Ponte Vista at San Pedro project. I am not here to defend any one's reasoning for working for Mr. Bisno's organization, but everyone who wishes to work should be able to find employment that doesn't infringe on their dignity, and they certainly don't deserve to be called words like Mr. Hildebrand used and the editor published.

Here is the letter from Mr. Bob Bisno.

Whether you support or oppose my plans to build Ponte Visat on the northwest side of town, all I ask is that you play civilly. Good people can - and will - disagree.

Actually, I have been impressed with the tone and mood at meetings so far. Most community members who disagree with our proposal for 2,300 homes have listened to our presentations thoughtfully, without heckling. I was downright impressed by the friendly -almost - jovial atmosphere at the last Ponte Vista Community Advisory Committee meeting on January 18. With almost 400 people packed into the room, it could have easily turned into a shouting match. But everyone was professional and courteous.

So you can imagine my surprise upon opening the February issue of San Pedro Magazine, only to find a letter to the editor accusing me of making "whores out of a few formerly good people by hiring them away from their former employers" to promote my "sick" plan.

Since when is it OK to use the word whore in a widely circulated media publication, especially when referring to women? I take that personally! So do the women involved.

The women who make up my Ponte Vista staff have too much integrity, too many personal connections and too much to lose to sell out to a slick developer that goes against their beliefs.

How could anyone lob such an insult at Irene Mendoza?

I can't think of anyone with a better reputation in this town. Irene has worked tirelessly for decades for civic causes - first at Wilmington Industrial Paint, where she coordinated the philanthropic efforts of company owner Walter Kemmerer; then as deputy for Councilman Rudy Svorinch Jr. and Councilwoman Janice Hahn. Republican or Democrat - none of that matters to Irene, whose passion for the community far outweighed her interest in politics.

Without her guidance and help, I doubt that the Vincent Thomas Bridge would be lit today or that the Fisherman's Memorial would be standing. Ask the families she helped when their home flooded or when their children died in accidents. Ask the folks restoring the Warner Grand Theater. Irene was there for them.

All of their married life, Irene and here husband, Ephraim, have lived on Third Street, a stone's throw from her husband's childhood home and the bell tower at Holy Trinity. That's the parish that schooled their three grown children and where they still worship today. Like many of their friends, Irene and Ephraim would like to downsize without leaving town. They like the freedom of jetting off to see their Jersey boy grandsons or hitting the road in their RV without worrying who's going to water the lawn. They've already signed and interest card for one of Ponte Vista's senior units.

And then there's Elise Swanson, my vice president of public affairs - an amazing woman who brings years of development experience and skills to the table. Like Irene, Elise is a former deputy to Councilwoman Hahn. Although you'd never hear her brag about it, I know for a fact that Elise deserves much of the credit for the current renaissance going on in downtown San Pedro. As the councilwoman's development deputy, she worked tirelessly to attract the right mix of developers and projects that will soon transform the long-blighted area into a vibrant commercial and residential district. With her development background, Elise has a lot of academic reasons for liking Ponte Vista. She likes the fact that it's urban infill as opposed to suburban sprawl. She likes the fact that the project will finally provide funding to fix Western Avenue gridlock.

On a personal level, Elise likes Ponte Vista because it offers the security, affordability and amenities she wants and needs as a single mother who is about to send her second child off to college.

Rochelle Gonzalez, my director of Community Relations, also deserves only the highest of praise. A former Harbor area deputy to Mayor Jim Hahn, Rochelle is one of the most poised and dignified young women I have ever met. Born and raised in San Pedro and a lifelong parishioner at Holy Trinity, she is eagerly awaiting the return of her fiance, who is serving our country in Iraq. Ponte Vista offers them the opportunity to purchase their first home in the community they love. Rochelle is also looking to attend law school and I personally believe she will be an asset to any school she attends.

Kristin Anderson, my office and facilities manager, is a resident of San Pedro. She came to the project because of her love of working with the community. Kristin's mother was a member of the Fisherman's Memorial Committee and one of the people responsible for preserving the history of the fishing industry in San Pedro.

Again, I hope we can keep the discussion on a higher level as the process continues for Ponte Vista. I believe in hiring the very best team for every project I undertake. I only hire people, men or women, who believe in me as much as I believe in them. If you have concerns about my project, let's talk. But let's leave the insults and personal jabs to the talk radio hosts and late-night comedians.

Bob Bisno
Ponte Vista at San Pedro.


M Richards said...

Okay folks, please allow me the honor and courtesy to be the only one commenting on this post.

I fear many opponents to Mr. Bisno's plans will find this post and his letter almost too good to pass up on dissenting comments, so I would appreciate being the only commentor so I won't have to end all the comments on this blog for a period of time, if there are comments I find too derogatory on this post.

I have many opinons about Mr. Bisno's letter but I am not here to slam the women who work for Mr. Bisno. They have their reasons and they appear to bring skills, resources, and name recognition to his organization.

It is sad to learn from Mr. Bisno that Holy Trinity Parish schooled Irene's three grown children. I thought the fine school was not meant for adults.

It looks like only one of the women working for Mr. Bisno is not interested in buying anything at Ponte Vista, at least, at this time. or perhaps she is having a difficult time saving for a loft in the development. Anybody out there got an extra 400 grand? I was also under the impression that advertisements were meant to be found in the want ads of a magazine.

Mr. Bisno did take opportunities to spell out reasons why Ponte Vista might be the perfect place for three of the women to buy homes at. I am wondering if Josh Stecker should have charged ad rates for that letter.

Mr. Bisno also appears to be a savvy head hunter as well. According to the letter, the women working on the Ponte Vista project are some of the best development-minded individuals in our community.

I hope Mr. Bisno realizes that there are many women who oppose his plans that are great individuals, as well. I am thinking of a woman who devoted her life to teaching more than one generation of students from Junior High and into college. This woman donated her time, intelligence, integrity, and money to aid people all over the world and who also celebrated her religion at several different places of worship in the area. The woman I am thinking about was selected to national education posts and recieved fellowships to study in Europe and China.

Mr. Bisno, there area many women on both sides of the issues surrounding Ponte Vista. Thank you for standing up for your employees just as I stand up for a single opponent, who is my mom.

Let's discuss and debate real issues and items more important to all of us than who did what and when did they do it. Today is important as we prepare for tomorrow.

Let's get beyond the name calling and move along.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe SPM gives Bisno so much space to grandstand.
I could just see him in one of his strategy sessions..."Hey ladies, why don't each of you give me a brief biography of yourselves so I can act like I'm interested in who you are as San Pedro's great civic contributors, and slam those damn ranting, name calling, chauvinistic elitists. I'll call my pal Josh at the magazine to give me all the space I want. It's a slam dunk, I told him we'd set his Grandma up with a deal on a condo. Sucker!! Ha hahahah"

Anonymous said...

well, you've gotta understand, bisno could literally buy SPM, Random Lengths, or MSP if he wanted to. Each one grosses less than a million bucks a year. To Bisno, that's chump-change.

so while they haven't been taking hard enough whacks at the guy, it's understandable why they don't.

M Richards said...

Anonymous 7:28, I don't know if Bob Bisno would like to become a publisher of papers, but you are correct that he could easily afford to buy RL. The other two, SPM and MSP are parts of larger papers and both of those papers are owned by a big conglomerent.

There has been some suggestion that since SPM and MSP are now owned by the same corporation, and SPM only comes out once a month, perhaps we may soon see the last delivery of SPM.

Whenever I do pick up an RL, which is rarer that one might imagine, I always see at least one advertisement for Ponte Vista. I am sure J.P.A. can claim to be independent, but his paper receives revenue from Ponte Vista and the last time I talked to him, he didn't have all of his facts straight concerning opposition to the project.

I am afraid if RL does do indepth coverage of opposition to Ponte Vista, many of us won't know about it because we tend to shy away from that periodical.

Anonymous said...

would be curious to hear what facts mr. allen had wrong about ponte vista?

M Richards said...

Anonymous 5:11 PM, What I was refering to was comments we both shared during a private conversation we had at the end of a cultural event.

If you would be willing to Email me with your name, perhaps I would be willing to share those comments.

I will print that Mr. Allen was unaware, at the time, facts surrounding the comment period for the DEIR and facts about that particular document. I was suprised to learn that Mr. Allen was not as learned as I felt a publisher of a San Pedro periodicaly should have been.