Friday, March 30, 2007

Odds and Ends 6

Doug Epperhart has a great piece, IMHO, in the Saturday March 31 edition of More San Pedro.
Folks can usually visit on the Friday evening before the next edition of the magazine appears, to get a head start on what will be in the issue.

Continuing to research all things Ponte Vista and wanting to help clear up any confusion or unintentionally errors by anyone, I will include something from the Initial Study for the Ponte Vista at San Pedro development. This document is included in appendix number 2 of the Ponte Vista at San Pedro, Draft Environmental Impact Report, that was released to the public on November 2, 2006.

First I must inform everyone that R Neighborhoods Are 1 claims that the population of the development may be approximately 7,343 residents. The Draft Environmental Impact Report, (DEIR) which was published after the Initial Study was done, lists the possible residential population of the project at 4,313 residents.

There is a difference of projected population of 3,030 residents. I will include the portion of the Initial Study and the footnote that mentions what the population might be and why it might be that. The figure used in the DEIR is under much scrutiny by many individuals and is continuing to be a subject that may require reevaluation by the Planning Department and decision makers.

Below is a portion of the Initial Study having to do with what was then considered a "potentially significant Impact" point. The Initial Study was published on July 11, 2005. That was just about four months after Mr. Bisno used the winning bid to acquire the property.

Now, from Section 12 of the Initial Study, Discussion "a)", Page 36 of the study:

"Potentially Significant Impact. The proposed project would induce direct population growth by adding 2,300 multi-family residential units and approximately 7,343 new permanent residents to the project site. 15 ( The number "15" refers to the foot note that I will include at the end of the paragraph). Compared to the most recent use of the site, in which 245 residential units and approximately 880 residents occupied the property (based on the same Community Plan demographic estimate), the proposed project would represent a net increase of 2,055 units and 6,463 residents. Therefore, the potential for the project to induce substantial population growth in the area, either directly or indirectly, will be addressed in the EIR."

"15" Now the footnote:
"Based on a ratio of 3.59 persons per dwelling unit for the non-restricted multiple-family units (Source: Wilmington-Harbor City Community Plan, SCAG community projection for 2010), and an average of 2 persons per dwelling-unit for the senior-restricted units."

Mr. Bisno has tauted the recommendation from SCAG, the Southern California Association of Governments, both orally and in writings. SCAG has projected the population for 2010 in the area. Nobody still really knows how many folks might actually live at Ponte Vista.

It is therefore reasonable, in my opinion, for anyone to use the approximate number of potential residents at Ponte Vista to be 7,343 persons. Without more definitive studies that would suggest otherwise, and having so much trouble with the figures presented in the DEIR, I think IF Mr. Bisno wins approval for zoning changes that would allow him to build 2,300 units, as his current plans call for, it would be realistic to approximate the potential population at 7,343 persons.

Trivia for this post:

The closest Los Angeles Unified School District Middle School to the Ponte Vista at San Pedro site is located totally within the city limits of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes. Every single human currently living in the City of Los Angeles and wishing to attend or visit Dodson Middle School, must enter the City of Rancho Palos Verdes to accomplish the task.

The next Community Advisory Committee meeting is scheduled for Thursday April 12, 2007, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, in San Pedro. The starting time for the meeting is 6:00 PM and the cookies are great!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

April 2007 San Pedro Magazine and One Great Letter

The April 2007 San Pedro Magazine landed in my driveway while I was sleeping. It is a good issue I feel, and it includes some good things and one bad thing.

It also includes one very great thing. Chris Yang wrote a letter to the editor for this issue. There are two other letters to the editor concerning Ponte Vista and/or Mr. Bob Bisno in this issue, but Chris' letter is extremely literate, it makes some fantastic points, and it may be one of the best letters to the editor written about Bob Bisno.

Here is Chris' letter.

It's interesting to see that Mr. Bisno wants people to "play civilly." I wonder if some of the former tenants of a property owned by his old company, Transactional Financial, thought his attempts to evict them were civil. Longtime tenants of the Lincoln Place Apartment complex in Venice, including elderly women and children, were all subjected to a lengthy campaign to push them out in search of higher rents.

According to a report appearing in the Santa Monica Mirror in July 2001, the president of a tenants association formed to combat the campaign alleged the owner was guilty of a "... reduction in services, failure to maintain the landmark-worthy buildings and grounds, frequent threats of eviction, disruptive construction work, and refusal to renew Section 8 (government subsidies), some for residents in their 90s." Not renewing government assistance for 90-year-old tenants? That doesn't sound very civil to me.

Or what about the time Mr. Bisno yelled at a member of the Community Advisory Committee after he asked about the construction of single family residence units. "We don't plan on building any single family residence units! Does that help you, Chuck?" That doesn't sound very civil to me.

How about Bisno Development's over-sized economic assertions? Is it civil to promise local business owners that Ponte Vista's tenants (which nobody currently knows ho many there will be because nothing has been approved of yet) will spend $101.5 million within a five-mile radius? What if the actual amount is really in the $15-30 million range? Will Bisno Development cough up the rest of the money, or just look the other way after it moves onto another project in another town. That doesn't sound very civil to me.

Then there's the developer's local lobbyist, who somehow manufactured a slate of pro-development candidates for the Northwest Neighborhood Council Election. Sure, Mr. Bisno might not have had any hand in choosing the candidates, but that's what he paid good money to that lobbyist for. Is it civil to hire an uncivil lobbyist? I wonder. So while I disagree with Mr. Hildebrand's diction, I find it highly amusing (if not completely laughable) that Mr. Bisno's response includes a request that people act with civility. How can he ask something of people that he himself in not capable of doing?

Chris Yang
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

Now the bad thing, I feel.

The L.A. Harbor International Film Festival is coming. Along with the article is a picture of Bob Bisno, a sponsor of the festival, with Stephanie Mardesich.

Mr. Joshua Stecker, you are the Editor-In Chief of the publication. Ponte Vista at San Pedro is the most divisive issue to torment our community in a very, very long time. Mr. Bob Bisno is the developer of the project. I understand that he is a supporter of the festival, but I wish you would have chosen to use a photograph of a supporter other than Bob Bisno standing next to Ms. Mardesich.

While there are many folks who approve of Mr. Bisno's current plans, there seems to be a large number of community members who not only oppose his current plans, but also have pretty bad feelings towards Bob Bisno. To some, you provided a pleasing photograph. to others, you provided a photo of someone we would just as soon be rid of.

A Friendly Debate

A very strong R1 support I will name "John" and I have been engaged in a friendly and very little debate as to what we both believe should be built at Ponte Vista.

I believe the debate is friendly because I like John, he make some really great points, and I am not that far off from agreeing with him and his arguments.

John believes that Bob Bisno would be required to build a public road to Mary Star High School, from Western Avenue, should the property remain R1. Sadly, he is mistaken in this belief. When the Navy owned the site, and on the occasion of the approval to build Mary Star High School, the public access road was deemed to be S. John Montgomery Drive.

When the land was sold at auction and remaining land purchased from Volunteers of America by Bob Bisno, the agreements to have S. John Montgomery Drive as the public access to Mary Star, ended. It was always agreed and part of the approval process for Mary Star, that once the school was built, vehicular access to that site via Taper Avenue, would be terminated.

Bob Bisno would be required to build a public access road from Western Avenue to Mary Star High School IF the zoning were changed from R1 to some other zone, on at least a portion of the Ponte Vista site.

Whether misguided or not, there appears to be a number of local residents of a certain age that would like to see a Senior Housing section at Ponte Vista. Any such housing, if greater than R1 density would require a zone change for that piece of property which the higher density Senior Housing would sit on.

John believes that Ponte Vista should remain with its current zoning. I don't really disagree too much with his ideas and his reasoning. But I feel that to get the public road to Mary Star High School built, and the rest of the other mitigation factors achieved, plus a couple more things I would like to see, I feel a development of some Senior Housing units, in a guard-gated community should be built. I also feel any other housing on the site, should be built on R1 sized lots.

I have changed my opinion a bit from when I last listed my thoughts. I thought that 920 units, consisting of Senior Housing, workforce housing, and other condominium-type units could be built on up to 40% of the available land at Ponte Vista. Now, I think that perhaps those 920 units should all be included in a guard-gated Senior community, complete with public Senior Center.

Workforce housing and non-age restricted units would allow more cars into that 920-unit than strictly Senior Housing would probably allow. But the community, according to the recent survey, suggests that workforce housing and units for middle and low-income units were more preferable to Senior Housing. I would still like to see the seniors who are strongly advocating for housing for them at Ponte Vista, get their way.

The rest of the site that would have housing built on it, should remain R1, I strongly feel. I think Bob Bisno can make profits on whatever he builds at Ponte Vista and I don't care if he loses money because he probably paid too much for the land in the first place.

"John" is not wrong with most of his thoughts about Ponte Vista, IMHO. He is among a surprising number of folks (to me that is) who do not want any compromise and demand that the property continue its current zoning.

"John" may feel that 500 homes at Ponte Vista is appropriate, but he and others who demand keeping the current zoning would not find 500 homes at Ponte Vista, should a development of market rate housing be built. The number of homes allowed for at the Ponte Vista site, under current zoning guidelines is up to 429. If the developer seeks to get a density bonus by supplying some houses to low-income families, he could then build up to 536 houses.

Something is going to get built at Ponte Vista, we all know that. What will be built there is still up in the air. Bob Bisno did practically shout that "there will be no single-family homes at Ponte Vista", even though he claims in his survey that there will be.

I wish all the debates about Ponte Vista were as friendly as the debate John and I are having. He is a wonderful guy with a high degree of intelligence and a great love for our community.

If John and others win out and Ponte Vista remains R1, I would have absolutely no problem with that. Seniors in our area would probably have to move to Torrance where many senior units are currently being built or sold. At least Torrance is closer to our community than Riverside, Hemet, and San Bernardino are.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Some Thoughts, With Figures and Some Survey Results

Might the "focus groups" Mr. Bisno claims to have used to help him create his current plans for Ponte Vista at San Pedro, been wrong with their knowledge of our community?

Could the "supporters" who want separate Senior Housing at the development, have misconceived the number of folks who really want that type of housing built?

If the facts, figures, and survey results differ so much from what is currently planned for the development, who got it wrong, and/or why is the proposed development so far off from what is actually present in our community?

I do not know the factual answers to these questions, but I do have figures and survey results that seem to clearly show that the current proposal for Ponte Vista at San Pedro does not fit into the stream of figures and the actual sentiment of the community, if you believe the results of the recent survey.

As to the demographics used in the Draft Environmental Impact Report and those found in the Census of the United States of America, for 2000, there are marked differences which will be included in this post.

As for the survey results, they were collected from a recent telephone survey paid for by Mr. Bisno's organization. Whether you believe them or not, is purely up to you.

Here are some figures collected from Census 2000 and The Draft Environmental Report, presented to the public on November 2, 2006.

Population Data
[from 2000 Census]

Demographic Area, # or Households, Average # of Persons per Household

Zip Code 90731, 21,344, 2.63
Zip Code 90732, 8,794, 2.39
Zip Code 90274, 9,366, 2.66
Zip Code 90275, 15,304, 2.66
Zip Code 90710, 8,284, 2.96
Zip Code 90717, 8,402, 2.49
Zip Code 90744, 13,966, 3.8

Total Households, 85,460, Average, 2.82

Ponte Vista [from DEIR], 2,300, Average, 1.88
Unrestricted Units, 2.0
Senior Units, 1.5

Ponte Vista drew its estimates for its project from census material for buildings containing more than 50 units. However, the data reveals that those buildings are almost entirely studio, one or two bedrooms units. If three and four bedroom units are included in the calculations, then average household size rises dramatically. Also, the average household size (2000 Census) for 55 years and older in new, attached construction in the City of Los Angeles is 2.48 persons per unit.

Median Income
[from 2000 census]

Demographic Area, Median Household Income

Zip Code 90731, $ 35,910
Zip Code 90732, $ 63,614
Zip Code 90274, $117,979
Zip Code 90275, $ 95,643
Zip Code 90710, $ 42,999
Zip Code 90717, $ 42,182
Zip Code 90744, $ 30,259

Average Median Household Income, $ 54,685

Ponte Vista estimate of average income per
household for project [from Ponte Vista DEIR], $144,000

School Age Population
[from 2000 Census]

Demographic Area, Households in Zip Code, Nbr in Age Group 5-19, Nbr Per Household

Zip Code 90731, 21,344, 12432, .605,

Zip Code 90732, 8,794, 3519, .40

Zip Code 90274, 9,366, 5013, .535

Zip Code 90275, 15,304, 8179, .534

Zip Code 90710, 8,284, 5633, .679

Zip Code 90717, 8,402, 4130, .491

Zip Code 90744, 13,966, 15323, 1.097

Totals, 85,460, 54729, .640

Ponte Vista Student
Generation Numbers, 2,300, 199, .115
[from DEIR]

A telephone survey was conducted and the results published on March 8, 2007.
This post will not dispute any results of the survey. I feel the survey is what it is and interpreting the full results are up to the reader of this blog. The complete survey can be found within the posts of this blog.

I will accept that, after the project was described to respondants of the survey, 63% of them favored the project, according to the way the project was described by the poll taker. I must be noted that there were factual errors in the description of the project, according to the main pollster and Mr. Bisno, himself. Be that as it may, I will continue to agree that 63% of the respondants favor the project, and the rest of the numbers are, seemingly, just as accurate.

When is comes down to what the respondants gave for reasons for supporting the project, 41% of them listed "The area needs more housing for middle/low income families." If this is correct, then the figures for income tend to illustrate that housing at Ponte Vista, as currently planned, would not fit into that category of housing that the higest percentage for reasons for supporting the project, actually has.

Mr. Bisno and probably his "focus groups" want a separate section for seniors, 55-years of age or greater. According to the survey results, only 16% of the folks gave "It offers affordable housing for seniors", as a reason to support the project. The figure in between the two percentages listed is that 17% of those surveyed gave "It benefits the whole community" as a reason to support the project.

According to the results of the survey and the number of residents of our community actually aged 19-years old or younger, it appears that some folks working to develop the current plans for Ponte Vista may have gotten their concepts wrong.

Another fact about the reasons for supporting the current project, appear to be that the same percentage of respondants who favor "It offers affordable housing for seniors" is equal to "Don't know" for reasons for supporting the project. 16% want "affordable housing for seniors", and 16% "Don't know" what their reasons are for supporting the project.

When Mr. Bisno claims he wants to provide housing for "middle income workers" and "workforce housing", he may have hit on what the majority of folks in our community really want. It seems to be inconsistant with the current pricing prospects for units at Ponte Vista which may be in the $712,500.00 median price range, to be affordable to the majority of folks in our community who want new housing.

Perhaps Mr. Bisno, myself, and many others have gotten it wrong that our community wants separate housing for seniors in our area. The survey results seem to indicate that we are in the same league with community members who don't know what they want at Ponte Vista, and both groups are vastly outnumbered by those who want middle/low income units.

When all the facts from the census are posted, concerning age groups within the zip codes included in this post, facts will be presented to show there are move residents 19-years of age or younger than there are older folks in our community. This was a surprising find for me and others. Many of us thought that San Pedro was an aging community. To the contrary, San Pedro is one of the areas where there are more children living there than senior citizens. Those numbers were presented at the last Community Advisory Committee meeting and I don't have a paper copy yet showing those numbers.

Who got the concepts of the current project wrong? Or, did they get it wrong at all? Who were the members of the "focus groups" Mr. Bisno claims he used to create the project that is included in the Draft EIR? If Mr. Bisno paid folks to come up with a project that our community really would like to see, should he ask for his money back because the project is so far off of what the survey results suggests the community is really looking for?

Why are so many prominent folks in our community striving so hard for a Senior Housing section of the project, when it seems so few of us really want such a section?

Even I continue to consider a separate Senior Housing section as a compromise for Ponte Vista.

In fairness to the respondants and the rest of the community, it should be noted that R1 remaining at Ponte Vista would vastly impact the 41% of the survey group that gave the reason, "The area needs more housing for middle/low income families". R1 would probably create a wonderful place for upper-middle income folks to find a brand new home in San Pedro, but "low income" wage earners would have to look elsewhere for a home UNLESS Mr. Bisno applies for and received a density bonus for offering homes for lower income families at Ponte Vista. If he did that, the number of homes within an R1 community there would jump from up to 429 units to up to 536 houses at Ponte Vista.

Finally, it seems to me that somebody, or sombodies, got it wrong when they plannes Ponte Vista. Maybe it was intentional, maybe not. But clearly, according to the demographics and along with the survey results, the current Ponte Vista at San Pedro plans do not fit into what the community really wants or needs, for that matter, I feel.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Defending an Industry

Realtors and real estate agents are having a tough go of it right now, I feel.

Sometimes folks represent real estate as a side job. For others it is a full-time job and even a career choice.

Currently there are many housing units on the market. I don't know what the short-term and long-term future holds for the marketing of real estate, but it looks like we could be in for a rough and tumble time.

People who represent home for sale and purchase earn income from the successful completion of the transactions. Income earned goes back into the economy and we all benefit when every industry's economy is booming. We all need the benefits that the real estate industry provides, within reason.

Please don't think I would write that we should have major developments in our community just so the real estate industry benefits. That industry makes money whether a single-family detached home is bought or sold, or a large development has buying and selling going on.

We now are witnessing the gathering of interest in Seaport Luxury Homes. "That MONSTER" is scheduled to be occupied in the fall of this year. The web site: is up and not running smoothly at all by many accounts of how it still, seemingly, ignores the city where the development is actually being built in. Interest in the development should be growing now that there are also folks representing units for sale within the development.

I do not begrudge any person involved in the real estate industry from trying to make their livelihood by selling units at Seaport Luxury Homes. The income these many folks will earn will go back into our economy and that is a good thing. Many of the folks who will earn commissions on the sales of these units live in OUR community and even though it looks kind of like the development is being marketed to folks outside our community, the folks who live here and will earn money here, will help our economy. If there are residents of our area who would like to live at Seaport, perhaps they will be able to get over the obvious snubs of San Pedro found on the Web site and in the advertisements.

I would rather see local members of the real estate industry make money from the sale of units at Seaport than I would having non-locals take home a check. Torrance, for me and at this point, is a non-local area.

If some folks have a problem with so-and-so doing such-and-such with regards to both selling units and Seaport and being involved with community issues, then there is hope they realize that sometimes and income is just as important as an issue. We may not like their stance on the issues, but we should not protest their quest to provide for themselves and their families.

There are some folks very critical of Bob Bisno's current plans who are also in the real estate industry. There are members of R Neighborhoods Are 1 who are in the industry, just as there are several members of the Community Advisory Committee, and even some government workers who represent real estate for sale. I am quite sure that there are many supporters of Bob Bisno's current plans who deal in real estate.

It would probably be wrong if an ardent supporter of the current Ponte Vista plans, who also deals in real estate, is denied the opportunity to represent single-family, detached homes just because they support the development of 2,300 condominium units at Ponte Vista.
We should not be angry if a real estate agent or Realtor comes to board meetings for the Ponte Vista Advisory Board and then turns around and sells many R1 properties in OUR community.
Those folks need to make a living, too.

I would like to see every supporter of the current plans for Ponte Vista have the opportunity to sell single-family, detached homes at Ponte Vista, if a compromise is not found. Similarly, if there is a compromise found that is in the best interest of all of us, then all folks who represent real estate for sale, whether they are currently supporters or opponents, they all should have the ability to sell whatever is built at Ponte Vista.

Seaport Seems to be Learning

If you take a look at, after viewing it over the weekend, you seem some subtle, but noticeable changes.

On the "vicinity" menu page, the photo has been changes and not the building is visible, under construction, in the lower part of the photograph. What is still missing is the words, "San Pedro" anywhere on the shot. To the left of the photo, the words, "San Pedro" now appears in the text.

Also within the "vicinity" menu, under the "Entertainment" page, the first link now is for
"San Pedro Restaurants". Clicking on that link sends you to the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce Web site.

I will give the Webmaster for Seaport a little credit for making a few changes very quickly. Is there a whole lot more changes that should be made on that site? That depends on whether enough folks in our community tell them to change their site. They have made a little start, IMHO, but I can seem many more changes should be in order for that site.

If you think more changes should be made, please contact the Seaport Luxury Homes sales folks at:

Also, is up and running and you might want to give that site a look-see.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Petition Versus Petition

Saturday March 24 has just about ended. Earlier today I posted that 3,090 petition signatures had been gathered supporting R1 at Ponte Vista.

By viewing you can learn that, as of today, 3,196 petitions supporting Mr. Bisno's plans for 2,300 homes and no R1 at Ponte Vista have been gathered.

Mr. Bisno claims 5,377 supporters to his current plans. My blog had 5,390 visitors as of 11:03 PM, tonight.

What does this all really mean? Probably absolutely nothing other than we still are a very divided community and that is not good for anybody.

Are we watching a petition signing race between paid gatherers and volunteers? Perhaps yes, but with the roll out of R Neighborhoods Are 1, for Mr. B. to stay in the race, he may have to contract for a whole bunch more paid petition gatherers.

R1 Petitions

Recently, 3,090 signed petitions that support keeping the current R1 zoning for the Ponte Vista at San Pedro site were handed over to Councilwoman Janice Hahn.

Currently, more petitions have yet to be counted and there is still a strong commitment to gather more signatures.

The delivery of the petitions to Ms. Hahn's office also signals the real roll out of a new group.

R Neighborhoods Are 1 is a grass roots organization of all volunteer members who are against Bob Bisno's plans to build 2,300 homes at Ponte Vista. At this point the vast majority of organizers of this new group support the concept of keeping the site with its current zoning and do not believe that changing the current zoning, established by the Los Angeles City Council, would be beneficial to the community, the families, and the individuals who currently live in San Pedro, eastern Rancho Palos Verdes, Lomita, Harbor City, and other surrounding areas.

Buttons and lawn signs are being produced for this new organization and there is Web site that will be published on the Internet in the next day or so.

This is a photo of the first button for the new organization. Different buttons will be created and available soon, so you can build a collection. "Ranting Elitist" buttons will continue to be available.

Please visit: in the next couple of days, to learn more about this new group and find ways to join the organization and help support it.
Since this is my blog, I am now going to move to a more opinion type area.
Bob Bisno and your organization and your supporters, you had fair warning about
R Neighborhoods Are 1. Many folks like me and even some of your supporters have called for compromise. Some of us, including folks who are on your community Board of Directors have called for compromise. I talked to Joe, one of the supporters who regularly speaks at the CAC meetings, and even he feels there should compromise.
But you waited too long, IMHO. I wasn't kidding when I told you and others that an organized group of community members was forming to object to your current plans for such a massive development in OUR community. You had every chance to publicly call for a reassessment of the numbers, but you continue to hold on to what I feel is the unreasonable, irresponsible, unrealistic, and disrespectful idea that 2,300 homes on 61.53 acres in northwest San Pedro is good for our community.
If you have problems with R Neighborhoods Are 1 Bob, then you only have to look into the mirror to see the person who necessitated its creation, I think. You have been asked by folks to come up with total dwelling counts that are fewer than 2,300. When you changed from 4-6 story buildings down to 3-4 story buildings, still you want 2,300 homes on the site.
Robert Bisno and his organization have brought more divisiveness into our community than any other project of plan, according to many community members. I believe had you openly discussed some total count with fewer units than 2,300, this post would not have been written, I feel. You probably should have realized by the time your survey was published that you could have avoided all this by entering into open discussions with many of us in the community to try to find a compromise.
If you witness rallys, see buttons and lawn signs, find out that more folks sign the R1 petitions, and understand you probably don't vote in the 15th Council District, you know that any more divisiveness in our community is on your shoulders, I feel.
Some part of me feels very sad that R Neighborhoods Are 1 needed to be formed. I am one of the growing number of community residents who call for compromise. But I am still troubled by Mr. Bisno's continued call for 2,300 units. Even though there is an article stating that he may be ready to talk real numbers, I feel he waited to long and there is still a trust issue I have with him.
I am one of the original "ranting elitists" Bob Bisno referred to in his piece in More San Pedro.
I believed then that keeping Ponte Vista with R1 zoning was the best for the entire community.
Compromise entered my vocabulary and I struggled with concepts dealing with finding the best number of units for our community, other than 429 and 2,300. Folks who call for compromise still seem to be unheard on all sides of the issue. That is fair and I do not begrudge anyone from having a strong opinion to keep Ponte Vista R1.
I am also a bit angry with Bob. (There, I wrote it for the first time). I wish we could have come together just after the Draft EIR was published and looked realistically at finding a number of units that best fits into the community at large.
I will continue, for the time being, to call for compromise. I will also actively support
R Neighborhoods Are 1 as it grows and changes. Our community if filled with rational, reasonable, responsible, realistic, and respectful folks who are looking at developments that mirrors their beliefs. In supporting the idea of keeping Ponte Vista R1, community members have the right to voice their feelings and those feelings should be taken seriously by developers, elected officials, volunteers, and others.
I would be remiss, I feel, if I didn't repeat what I believe. I think it will be more difficult keeping Ponte Vista R1 than it would be for 2,300 units to be approved. Is it worth the fight? Yes, I believe that if enough community members feel as strongly as they apparently do, then the area should remain R1. Will it be one heck of a fight. Yes, I think. But it may be worth it to ourselves, our families, our community, now and in the future.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Odds and Ends 5

Another week has passed in the ever demanding saga of Ponte Vista.

During the meeting, absolutely zero people brought up the termination of the facilitator during the regular meeting time. It was almost as if Mr. Griego and company had never existed. Strange. I do want to thank Mr. Tony Torres of Mr. Griego's staff. He worked very hard for the CAC and he will be missed. The whole bunch from DSO will be remembered, I hope.

There is a tiny movement afoot by folks on all sides of the Ponte Vista to actually work towards a compromise number of units on the site. 1,700 units may turn out to be the next "ceiling" for the number of units built. That is a good step, IMHO, but it still is too many units for my liking.
If you add 1,700 (the ceiling) to 429 (R1, the floor) you get 2,129. Divide that number by two and you get 1064.5. How do 1065 total units at Ponte Vista strike you?

There is a lot more talk from all sides about having different types of housing on the site. One very strong supporter I talked to Thursday night thought some patio-style homes would work well at Ponte Vista. Thanks Joe for your good sharing of opinions with me. You made some good points and you demonstrated that even a strong supporter of Bisno's current plans is willing to make room for compromise.

"Affordable" seems to FINALLY be used less by supporters of the current plans. My table (at the earlier March meeting) and many other folks would like to use the words, "workforce housing" to describe the lowest prices housing at Ponte Vista. Bob Bisno also gave a credible description of what he thought "workforce housing" is. He described it as housing the teachers, union workers, and other middle-income folks would possible be able to purchase at Ponte Vista.

Workforce Housing might be the units Bob Bisno was referring to when he made the claim many months ago that he might offer a "3% rebate" to buyers who fit into certain categories.

I was finally introduced to the Seaport Homes Web site. "that MONSTER" with its Web site of may actually be a real monster because of something I learned.

As you can read below, I have left the Community Advisory Committee. I need to get caught up to speed with my new duties as a member of the Rancho Palos Verdes Traffic Safety Commission, that I was just appointed to. I am one of two new members to the Commission and I need to devote many hours to catching up to where the five returning members are so I don't stumble through meetings and be an anchor to the group. I definitely will be working many more hours dealing with the Ponte Vista project and another big development also across the border from R.P.V., but in Rolling Hills Estates. This blog will continue and I no longer have to be as nice as I have been to the folks at Bisno Development. And of course, R Neighborhoods Are 1 is coming!

Please take a look at the post contribution from Tom. He has written his ideas down and has provided some very interesting proposals. We don't agree on the total number of units, but Tom has done a good job at describing what he would like to see.

With Tom's contribution and my comments, I feel anyone should not feel they would be attacked by me by creating a post to list his or her ideas about they feel should be at Ponte Vista. I like to think I am more fair than the folks at Bisno Development. I don't call folks who don't totally agree with me, "ranting elitists" and I discourage use of foul words no matter what side of the issue you are on.

Sometime tomorrow, visitor 5,377 will visit this post. Currently Mr. Bisno claims 5,377 folks have filled out cards supporting his current plans for Ponte Vista. Mr. Bisno is also continuing to pay petition gatherers to get more folks to support his current plans. The R1 petitions are still being circulated and the number of folks who demand keeping the site R1 surprises me to no end. Anyway, what do my 5,377 number and Bob Bisno's 5,377 number mean? Absolutely nothing! They are just numbers we both can use for whatever purpose we wish and they have actually no resemblance to anything true or factual, IMHO.

The CRAP on the Seaport Web Site

You folks need to strap something around your head to keep it from exploding when you look through the Seaport Luxury Homes Web site.

Take a look at: on an empty stomach because you will lose your ability to keep from vomiting when you read through this compilation of trash.

Your first quest is to try and find how many times "San Pedro" is used on the site. You are going to need to concentrate while looking through the main menu items on the site. Yes, there it first appears, in the actual location listing.

I looked up the restaurants mentioned on the site. I have yet to find one in San Pedro. Even under the "Greek" listing, Papadakis Taverna is completely missing!

This site tries so very hard to make folks believe the development is nowhere near San Pedro, let alone actually being located in San Pedro.

The site also mentions Ponte Vista and the amenities it states will be within that project.

The Seaport Luxury Homes site is laughable in most instances. It does, however offer actual comparisons to the pricing that might be at Ponte Vista and it is informative in providing unit illustrations that can be compared to the illustrations at

Take two or three too many Valium before embarking on a look through of the Seaport site, send the kids to Grandma's and the spouse out shopping. Put the pets as far away from you as possible and have a towel handy to put into your mouth so you won't grind your teeth.

If there was a contest in our area for tall tales, this site would win over every other entrant, even

Mellonhead, a commentator on this blog provided me with the address of the seaport site. This contributor deserves many thanks for opening up our eyes to this eyesore that still is
"that MONSTER" to me.

"that MONSTER" has a Web site

Thank you extremely much Mellonhead, for providing the Web site address for what I have been calling "that MONSTER" which can be viewed under construction from too many places in the area. is the address of the site on the Internet. On Western Avenue, it is 28000 South Western Avenue. The project actually sits on Fitness Drive, but I don't think this project fits anywhere.

The Seaport Luxury Homes site does provide some interesting comparisons to what Ponte Vista has drawn for some of their offerings.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

March 22 CAC Meeting

Another fine meeting, IMHO, was held by Ms. Hahn's Community Advisory Committee, (CAC), for the Ponte Vista project.

The folks from the Planning Department made more clearly to read and understand drawings of the three proposals that were submitted by the three working groups of the CAC during the last meeting. The also brought more pictures of different types of housing in our area for use to use as examples.

It seemed we all had a good time with our pens and yellow sticky pads, writing comments about each of the three drawings and the photos of the homes we liked and disliked. At the next meeting, the CAC will learn what the sticky notes told the planners about the drawings and the types of housing.

We also got quite a lesson about demographics in the San Pedro area. Almost 29% of the folks living in San Pedro, (90731, and 90732) are 19 years old or younger. There are more folks under 29 years old than there are over 49 years old.

There are more renters than there are homeowners and the average income, in 2006 dollars for the two zip codes is about $70,282.00.

The CAC still heard the word "affordable" from some supporters even after the chairman asked that many, many folks have used that term in the past and the CAC knows that many supporters believe the housing at Ponte Vista will be affordable.

There was finally a clear definition by Mr. Bisno and his attorney as to who would be allowed to purchase a home in the "Senior Housing" section of Ponte Vista:

One purchaser must be at least 55 years of age.
Someone older than 45 years of age could live in the home if they are related to the home owner.
Disabled minor children dependent upon the homeowner, and other disabled family members aged 45 years or less could also live in the section.
A primary care-giver, such as a health care worker, could stay in the section during the treatment of a qualified resident.
When a unit is sold, it could only be sold to an age-qualified person and the residents would have to conform to the qualifications set out in the previous title.
Any change to the status of "Senior Housing" may be written in such a way that only action by the City Council to change the section from "Senior Housing" to another type of housing would be necessary.

My impression of the meeting was that it was another very constructive event. Some sticky notes demanded R1 zoning remain, but compromise seemed to rule the meeting if one took the sticky notes seriously.

All in all, for this being my last CAC meeting as a member, it was good. Go ahead, read below.

I'm Moving Over

I applied for, and won acceptance to become one of seven members of the Rancho Palos Verdes Traffic Safety Commission.

Traffic and traffic safety have been a major concern in and adjacent to Rancho Palos Verdes for a long time. Having such a long history in this area, I know a lot about traffic and roads on the peninsula. I understand that major developments near Rancho Palos Verdes, both along Western Avenue and up near Peninsula Center in Rolling Hills Estates are putting pressure on the folks who live in Rancho Palos Verdes.

Rancho Palos Verdes is actually unique among almost any city in the world. Not only do we have major roads and highly traveled routes, we have small roads, big and small intersections, a college, many other schools, long driveways, rural-type streets and even a portion of a major route that is constantly in motion.

Traffic safety is a major challenge in our city. Rancho Palos Verdes is very hilly, there are many blind curves, narrow roads, steep grades, and an ever increasing population.

In accepting the challenge of taking on a two-year commitment to work hard on traffic safety issues in my city, I knew I would have to step away from one of my current activities.

I was appointed, in part, by the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council ,to be a part of Ms. Janice Hahn's Community Advisory Committee for the Ponte Vista project. The same City Council members also voted me to become one of the two new members of the Traffic Safety Commission.

I have chosen to move from the Community Advisory Committee to join the Traffic Safety Commission. The Traffic Safety Commission will have five returning members and I am one of two new members to fill out the seven seats on the commission.

There is a whole lot of catching up to do on my part to come to a point where I can assist the returning members to help carry on the issues they have been working on. My studies have already begun, and I look forward to attending the next Traffic Safety Commission meeting for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes on April 23.

Leaving the Community Advisory Committee, (CAC) does not mean I will step back from being involved in the Ponte Vista issue. To the contrary, I will work with my new group on dealing with many issues involving traffic and safety around the Ponte Vista site. This blog will continue and as I have written before, R Neighborhoods Are 1 is coming!

Working with the other members of the CAC has been something I will never forget. I never knew there were so many folks so very dedicated to do their very best to find what is best for OUR community. I think the CAC wowed the Planning Department with their abilities to understand and make proposals that will help everyone go forward with the creation of a specific plan for the Ponte Vista project.

I hope everyone understands that the CAC is a group of volunteers that don't necessarily agree with each other but are coming together in the best interests of OUR community to deal with the most divisive issue to come before us in a very, very long time. Criticize them if you think you need to, but they are a group of pretty gutsy folks who have laid themselves open for attacks on all sides by a whole bunch of folks, and they are all stand-up people who are working to tame one very anxious lion.

As I have not missed a CAC meeting as a member, so I feel I won't miss a meeting as just a regular member of the public. Will I take opportunities to make comments? What do you think?

Will this blog continue? See the last question in the previous paragraph. Becoming unencumbered by having this blog while serving on the CAC is gone, effective right now!

Do I still believe in compromise? Yes I do, for now. Remember when I wrote that
R Neighborhoods Are 1 is coming? I mean it! We all have an opportunity, for a very short time, to try to come together with at least the start of compromise. Once the new group gets going, it may steamroll over attempts to compromise and assert only R1 zoning being kept at Ponte Vista.

If that becomes the case, it is only Bob Bisno, Bisno Development, and the "supporters" who will be to blame. Many of us are trying for a compromise. Some of us have been trying for months, others are just coming to their own conclusions that now is the time to compromise. Bob Bisno has very little time, IMHO, to come out with some reasonable numbers or the chances for compromise could fade away.

I am hoping the new group will allow some time for compromise, but there are too many people who have waited too long for Bob Bisno to budge and his hesitance to move is costing all of us time and energy. This is my personal warning folks. I used to be an R1 now and forever guy. I can still find plenty of good reasons to go back to that mindset, but I choose to fight for a compromise. I strongly suggest supporters and folks in the Bisno Development organization start really talking about compromise with reality, reason, responsibility, and respect.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

More About "Facts"

A writer living in Lomita California wrote a letter to the editor of the Daily Breeze and it appeared in the March 20, 2007 edition of the paper.

The writer is opposed to Mr. Bisno's current plans and was troubled with her Mayor's activities concerning the development and the lack of representation by folks living in Lomita to the processes involved with the development.

The writer also included "facts" that were actually in error. An anonymous contributor to the comments section of this blog seemed to chastise the writer for the errors.

I think everyone should admit that there are far too few individuals who know enough facts about the project and that both the supporters and opponents of the current plans might not have done enough to correctly inform concerned individuals the truths about the project.

The anonymous contributor appeared to represent that they know the "facts". I have studied the project, many of the documents, and done quite a bit of independent study about many things concerning development in general and this project in particular.

I would like to add some facts that may help everyone on all sides of the issue.

First, I hope you notice that whenever I write about Mr. Bisno's current proposals, I use the word "current". The facts are that what is written about in the past and even up to today are the current proposals, ideas, and project descriptions that have been used. Mr. Bisno himself, seems to have changed his current proposal if you believe the first descriptive used in the survey is the truth. I think it is reasonable to suggest that the current plans are current right now and may very well change in the future.

Indications are that the smallest unit currently proposed at Ponte Vista will be approximately 600-650 square feet. Mr. Bisno and Bisno Development suggests that the price for that unit will be in the "high $300,000's" range. Them smallest conceptual drawing to be found at is of a unit of approximately 850 square feet. No prices is listed that I could find for any unit at Ponte Vista, on the site.

Is 5.46 closer to 5.0 or 6.0? Mr. Bisno and folks at Bisno Development have proposed to have a "6 acre public park" at Ponte Vista. When you look at the drawings supplied to the Planning Department for review of the project, the lot described as "Public Park" is 5.46 acres. It would be incorrect to round up the acreage to the higher number when it is, in fact, less than 5.5 acres. Neither the drawing nor the figures calculate the roadside parking for the public park because it is included in the "lot" designated for the road.

Currently there are approximately 245 homes, mostly duplexes, abandoned on the site. When they were built, there did not need to be a zoning designation for the property because the Navy doesn't need to use municipality's guidelines for zoning. The current zoning was established when the City of Los Angeles used an ordinance to create the current zoning.

The current zoning for the 61.53 acres of land is two-fold. There are approximately 45 acres of land designated R1 for single-family, detached homes on approximately 5,000 square foot lots, and there is approximately 15 acres of land designated OS1 for open space. The open space land is primarily along the steepest hillside adjacent to the fences for the Defense Fuel Supply Property.

"Affordable" continues to be a debatable word. It is very true that many members of the community might find the average projected price for a unit at Ponte Vista of approximately $512,500.00 to be affordable to them. Others believe that homes at Ponte Vista will be priced for low income or low-middle income folks to have the opportunity to buy a unit. It is more factual for everyone to use the terms, "market rate" or "market price" homes rather than "affordable". It is true that in the past, Mr. Bisno has suggested that some units may be offered with rebates going to qualified workers in the area. The one factual percentage I heard Mr. Bisno speak of is "3%" as a rebate. Whether this is still on the table or not is something I do not currently know, but I heard him say it.

The number of bedrooms at the project is still not based on fact. Mr. Bisno conducted a little "side meeting" during another meeting where he and I wrote down percentages of units by the numbers of bedrooms they may have. I do not know if any of those numbers are accurate, but since Mr. Bisno is the developer, I believe this original concept to be just that. I cannot write, that the numbers included in a previous post will be the final tally of bedrooms at Ponte Vista.

2,300 units at Ponte Vista is not a fact. it is a proposal and only the current one at that. There are indications that there may be some compromises in the number of units finally built at Ponte Vista.

R1 is a factual zoning currently at Ponte Vista, but I would be in error to suggest that R1 will be the final zoning at Ponte Vista. It is true that there is a development of single-family detached homes within the City of Los Angeles currently under construction. As you can read, the prices of these homes begin at over $1.5 Million Dollars. It is true, however, that according to the head of City Planning in the Harbor Area, there probably will not be R1 housing developments of any large size approved of in this area.

It is reasonable and probably factual to write that is would be harder to keep the Ponte Vista site R1 than it would be to get approval to build 2,300 units on the site. HOWEVER, changing the zoning requires that proper mitigation be achieved and/or proposed, according to the decision makers, for any zone changes to be approved.

Now back to my opinion.

Folks need to learn the facts. Whether you support Mr. Bisno's current plans or not, we all need the most accurate, factual, and up-to-date information possible.

It does a disservice to everyone when facts are distorted by all sides. When the Ponte Vista Newsletter chose to print only a partial statement by a group, it harmed everyone, in my opinion. I think there needs to be factual honesty when discussing and debating the issues. It is one thing to claim that a certain groups ignores anything other than R1 when the statement clearly stated that the group was working on a development of BETWEEN R1 and 2,300 homes.

Both R1 and 2,300 homes seems to be incorrect now in thinking about the least and most number of units at Ponte Vista. Clearly to me there is growing evidence to demonstrate that compromise will win out and a number of units that best suites the entire community can be found with intelligent, honest, factual, and open discussion.

Failure by all parties to get on the ball right now and suggest alternatives as to number of units will divide us, even more, in the not to distant future. There is now a small window of opportunity to come together before other events unfold. This development, according to many in the community, has already divided us more than anything else has.

I Am Wrong and I Apologize

I am very sorry that I have made too many comments about the lack of new R1 zoned housing within large developments in the City of Los Angeles.

There is one large development of R1 homes being built in the Westchester area of Los Angeles.

Standard Pacific Homes has Onewestbluff. You can find information about it at:

The homes at Onewestbluff are luxury homes. I actually installed some phone lines last year at one of the model offices on the site. It is true that many of these homes have spectacular views. Some of the great views are of Playa Vista!

It is also fair to say that these homes range in price from about $1.870 Million Dollars all the way up to $2.8 Million Dollars.

It is my opinion that if R1 homes were built exclusively at Ponte Vista, prices of those homes would be probably in the range of $1.5-2 Million Dollars if they were about as luxurious at the homes at Onewestbluff. Homes with less luxury and a bit lower level of amenities would cost less, I feel.

So yes folks, there are still R1 developments being built in the City of Los Angeles. They are affordable to those folks who have the income to buy them, so it is quite possible to assert, as many folks who support Mr. Bisno's current vision that homes at Ponte Vista are "affordable."

Onewestbluff, affordable homes for those who can afford them. Ponte Vista, affordable homes for those who can afford them.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Meeting Thursday

The next meeting of the Community Advisory Committee is Thursday March 22, 2007 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in San Pedro.

The meeting should begin at 6:00 PM. The committee will again work with the Planning Department.

As always, public comment will be welcome at some point during the meeting. At the last meeting there were public comment opportunities both towards the beginning of the meeting and then again towards the end of the meeting. Persons wishing to address the Committee need to fill out speakers' cards that will be available.

I do not have information about the former facilitator or any future facilitator for the group, that I am willing to post on this blog.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Things That Make Me Say, Hum.

According to Mr. Bisno's current plans for Ponte Vista at San Pedro, he wants to build 2,300 homes within buildings on 20 lots. Buildings will have different numbers of units in them with the smallest building having 67 units and the largest building having 187 units.

Throughout most of last year and until just recently, the project's plan called for 20 buildings of between 4 to 6 floors each. Mr. Bisno said just this past week that now the buildings would be 3 to 4 floors each.

How can 2,300 homes be built in buildings with so much fewer floors in them?

Mr. Bisno and others within the Bisno Development have stated that the smallest home at Ponte Vista would be approximately 600-650 square feet. The smallest conceptual floor plan found on the Ponte Vista Web site illustrates a "studio" type home of 850 plus or minus square feet.

Why is there no illustration of the 600-650 square foot home Mr. Bisno claims will be built at Ponte Vista?

Included in the illustrations on the Ponte Vista Web site are 3 and 4-bedroom units. If you look at the illustrations you will see that those homes appear to be on the corners of the buildings.
The majority of homes proposed to be built at Ponte Vista, by Mr. Bisno himself, consist of either 3 or 4-bedroom units. If you look at the site plans for the project there are 20 buildings listed on the site. Each building has four corners and each corner can have two units per corner.

How can there be so many units built on corners when there appears to be too few corners available for the number of units Mr. Bisno plans?

Walking is something that is good for folks to do. Senior Citizens walk just like almost everyone else does. Many seniors might like to walk from their home at Ponte Vista to the nearby shopping center a bit south of the southwest corner of Ponte Vista.

Why didn't the planners of Ponte Vista put the Senior Housing closer to the shopping center so seniors would not have to walk so far to go shopping?

Why would I even suspect that any of these questions will be answered by anyone who is in a position to know the real answers?

Friday, March 16, 2007

Survey Results

I want to first thank "Anonymous 1:00 PM, for a copy of this report.
I know I said that I would publish the results after they were made public but I chose not to pick up one of the only 20 hard copies of the report made available because I know that one will magically appear on my doorstep in the coming days, (thanks to Bisno Development) and I thought other folks who would have to wait longer than the CAC members need to wait for their copies, might be better served if they got a better choice.

The contributor to this post is actually a supporter of Mr. Bisno's current plans and he wrote a comment chastising me, which you are all welcome to review on another post.

TO: Community Advisory Committee
FROM: Richard Maullin and Rick Sklarz, Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & AssociatesDATE: March 8, 2007
RE: Summary of Public Opinion Survey
SURVEY SAMPLE AND METHODOLOGY:Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Associates (FMM&A), an independent public opinion research company, was recently engaged by the Ponte Vista residential community project to conduct a random sample survey of 500 registered voters living close to the proposed project to assess the extent of support for the project. The survey was conducted by telephone starting February 9th and ending February 12th of this year.

The survey’s respondents were selected at random from voters living within the 90710, 90717, 90731, 90732, and 90275 zip codes and within the following geographical boundaries:·
South of Lomita Boulevard on the north·
East of Palos Verdes Drive East on the east ·
East of Miraleste Drive on the east· North of West 9th Street on the south ·
West of Gaffey Street until it runs into the 110 Harbor Freeway, and then west of the 110 Freeway

The survey’s margin of error due to pure chance is plus or minus 4.4 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. The margin of error for the subgroups within the sample is higher depending on the number within a group.

To ensure all voters could participate in the research, the survey was translated into Spanish for those who preferred to answer in that language.



More than three-fourths of voters in the survey area consider the area’s quality of life to be excellent or good. (See Figure 1)
Among voters with a positive assessment of the area’s quality of life, nearly three in five believe the quality of life will remain the same while 22 percent think it will get better in the future. But almost one in five (19 percent) think it will worsen. For the 21 percent who say that the quality of life in the survey area today is just fair or poor, four in ten have expectations for the future that it will continue as it is today and nearly an equal number (39 percent) believe it will get worse. But 20 percent are more optimistic and believe the quality of life will improve. (See Figure 2)

Figure 1
Perception of Quality of Life in the Survey Area
(“Overall, how would you rate the quality of life in your area?”)
Excellent - 30%
Good - 47%
Fair - 17%
Poor - 4%
Don't Know/NA - 1%

Figure 2
Things Getting Better/Worse Among Respondents Saying Quality of Life is “Excellent/Good” and “Fair/Poor”
(“In the last two or three years, do you think things in your area have gotten better, gotten worse, or stayed about the same?”)
Excellent/Good Much better - 8%
Somewhat better - 14%Stay the same - 57%
Somewhat worse - 13%
Much worse - 6%
Don't know/NA - 3%

Fair/Poor Much better - 6%
Somewhat better - 14%
Stay the same - 40%
Somewhat worse - 22%
Much worse - 17%
Don't know/NA - 1%

Survey area voters identify traffic concerns and the cost and availability of homes to own or rent as the most prominent issues or problems facing residents of the survey area. Other significant concerns include property tax bills, air pollution, particularly from the Port of Los Angeles, and crime. (See Figure 3).

Figure 3
Problems in the Survey Area
(“Now I am going to read you a list of issues or problems we have heard people talk about in your area. After I mention each one, please tell me how serious of a problem it may be for you personally?”)
Extremely/Very Serious Problem S.W./Not Serious Problem DK (Don' Know)/NA
Traffic congestion on local roads 64% 34% 2%
The availability of homes that working class families can afford 57% 34% 8%
The cost to rent an apartment or home 55% 35% 10%
Traffic on Western Avenue 54% 42% 4%
The amount people have to pay in property taxes 50% 36% 14%
Pollution from the Port of Los Angeles 48% 51% 2%
Air pollution 42% 54% 3%
Crime including drugs dealing and abuse 36% 58% 6%
Sinkholes and potholes on local streets and roads 34% 64% 2%
Crime such as gang violence 33% 66% 1%
The rate of growth and development 32% 63% 6%
Cuts in funding for city services such as police and fire protection 32% 55% 14%
The quality of local public schools 32% 52% 16%
The availability of open space for recreation 31% 65% 4%
The availability of adequate public transportation 31% 58% 11%
The availability of recreation areas and/or parks 28% 71% 2%
The availability of good jobs close to home 28% 60% 14%
The need for senior citizen housing in the area 27% 57% 15%
The availability of funds to pay for local services and programs 27% 48% 25%
The quality of police services in your area 23% 71% 5%
Students from outside the community attending neighborhood public schools 19% 56% 25%
Abandoned and blighted property in your area 13% 82% 6%

Perceptions of growth and development in the survey area

Figure 4 reports that large percentages of survey area voters agree with statements that more residential and commercial development can be expected in the local area, revitalizing abandoned and blighted property improves the local economy and quality of life, and that there is a shortage of housing for the area’s growing senior population. On a separate note, more than eight in ten (84 percent) agree that more funding is needed for anti-gang programs.

Figure 4
Agreement with Statements About Growth and Development
(“I am going to read you some statements about growth and development in your area. After hearing each one, please tell me whether you agree with it or not?”)

Total Agree Total Disagree DK/NA
We need more funding for anti-gang programs to keep kids out of gangs 84% 13% 3%
In general, revitalizing abandoned and blighted property improves the local economy and residents’ quality of life 79% 14% 7%
There is not enough housing for the growing population of seniors in our area 76% 20% 5%
It is inevitable that there will be a lot of residential and commercial development in San Pedro and the Palos Verdes Peninsula because Los Angeles continues to grow and more people want to live here 73% 23% 4%

Respondents were asked whether they personally consider each one of the factual statements provided in Figure 5 to be serious concerns or not. As Figure 5 reports, three-quarters consider the fact that housing prices in California are the most expensive in the nation to be an extremely or very serious concern. Seven in ten express a similar degree of concern over the fact that fewer than one in five Californians can afford to own the home in which they currently live.

Figure 5
Concern About Housing in California
(“I am going to mention some facts about housing in California and your area of the state. After hearing each one, please tell me whether you consider that fact to be a concern for people living in your area?”)
Extremely/Very Serious Concern S.W./Not A Concern DK/NACalifornia’s housing prices are the most expensive in the nation 75% 22% 2%
Fewer than one in five Californians can afford to own the home in which they currently live 70% 29% 1%
The Los Angeles area ranks second to last in home ownership rates in the nation, with only New York City having a lower rate of home ownership 47% 47% 7%
Census data shows that San Pedro and the entire Harbor community have produced too few new housing units over the past several years to accommodate the area’s population growth 43% 51% 6%
In the last five years only about eleven hundred new housing units have been built or are under construction in the San Pedro and Wilmington communities 27% 69% 5%

When asked to assume that a new residential development could be proposed somewhere in the survey area and to name the one or two features most desired for that development, survey area voters volunteered the responses captured in Figure 6.

Figure 6
Volunteered Responses About Desirable Characteristics for Future Residential Developments.(“Suppose a new residential development project was proposed for your area. In a few words of your own, what are the one or two characteristics or features you would most want the project to have?”)

I would not want a new residential development project in my area - 16%
Affordable - 15%
Replacing trailer parks with homes/single family spaces - 15%
Adequate traffic control/parking - 13%
Parks/recreation areas - 9%
Security - 5%
Senior citizen center/housing - 3%
Build new roads - 3%
Family oriented - 2%
Attractive homes - 2%
Offer public transportation - 2%
Better air quality/water - 1%
Needs to be around shopping outlets - 1%
Don't know - 23%


As Figure 7 shows, overall, 59 percent of survey area voters say they are aware of the Ponte Vista residential project. However, slightly less than a third of all survey area voters (31 percent) claim “to have heard or seen a lot” it. The remaining 28 percent say they only have heard or seen “a little.” The largest percentage of voters (41 percent) says they have not heard about the project.
Figure 7

Seen/Heard About Ponte Vista Residential Project
(“I would like to ask you about a specific project in your area. Have you seen or heard anything about the Ponte Vista residential project?”)
Yes, a lot - 31%
Yes, a little - 28%
No, have not heard about it/ Don't know / NA - 41%

Voters in the survey area who are fifty years of age or older are somewhat more likely to be aware of the Ponte Vista project (64 percent) compared to voters under fifty (58 percent), as are White Anglo voters (69 percent), Republicans (65 percent) and Rancho Palos Verdes residents (75 percent) in the survey area. Familiarity with the project (66 percent) is greater among those living within 1.5 miles of Ponte Vista and substantially less (49 percent) among those living 1.6 miles or more from the proposed project site.

After respondents were asked how aware they may be of the Ponte Vista project, they were asked, “In general terms, based on what you already know or my just mentioning it, do you favor or oppose the Ponte Vista project,” with no further description or information other than the project name. As Figure 8 illustrates, the largest percentage (40 percent) said they needed more information or did not have an opinion.

Survey respondents were then provided the following basic descriptive facts about the Ponte Vista residential project and, after hearing them, were asked, “Having heard this description, does the Ponte Vista project sound like something that you would favor or oppose?”

· The project would have 2,300 new homes, with a mix of single-family housing, condominiums and town homes affordable for middle-income families and first-time home buyers;

· The project reserves twenty-five percent of the homes for residents over the age of fifty-five;

· The project’s homes would be built on a vacant 61.5 acre plot known as the Old Navy Housing site on Western Avenue and Green Hills Drive in San Pedro;

· The project plan preserves forty percent of the land as open-space, which includes parks, gardens, waterscapes, hiking and biking trails, and public recreational areas including two new Little League fields.

More than three in five voters (63 percent) in the survey area, as Figure 8 shows, said they would favor the Ponte Vista residential project -- more than double the “before information” support level -- while opposition slightly diminished. In FMM&A’s experience, this level of support for a major urban residential project is exceptional and illustrates the potential for broad acceptance and support for the project within the survey area.

Figure 8
Support for Ponte Vista

Before information:
Favor - 30%
Oppose - 30%
Need more information/ Don't know - 40%

After Project Description
Favor - 63%
Oppose - 28%
Need more information/ Don't know - 9%

With basic information in hand, women (66 percent) are more favorable to the Ponte Vista project than men (59 percent) who are somewhat more undecided. Those under age 50 are more supportive (77 percent) compared to those who are 50 years of age or more (48 percent). Republicans and independent voters favor the project more than Democrats, 65, 69 and 59 percent respectively. However, opposition percentages according to party registration are nearly the same as Democrats have a larger number of undecideds (14 percent) compared to Republicans and independents (4 and 6 percent each). Support is greater in the San Pedro and Lomita portions of the survey area – 67 and 62 percent respectively – while a plurality of 46 to 38 percent favor the project in the Rancho Palos Verdes section of the survey zone. Distance from the project -- initially important for basic awareness of the project -- is not a factor in support or opposition once the project’s basic description is provided to survey respondents.

The primary reason volunteered by respondents to explain their support for the project is the need for more housing for middle and low income families, including the elderly. Additional reasons for support include the Ponte Vista residential project cleaning up the degraded Old Navy Housing site and providing open space and recreational amenities that would benefit the surrounding community as well as Ponte Vista residents. (See Figure 9) These volunteered reasons for supporting the Ponte Vista project strongly echo the sentiments of survey area voters when respondents were asked whether they agree or disagree with general statements about growth and development in the San Pedro/Palos Verdes Peninsula area as presented previously in Figure 4.

Figure 9
Reasons for Supporting/Opposing Ponte Vista Project
(“In a few words of your own, why would you (Support/Oppose) the Ponte Vista project?”)

Reasons for Support % Reasons to Oppose %
The area needs more housing for middle/low income families 41% It will increase vehicle traffic/congestion 48%
It benefits the whole community 17%
There are too many people already/Area is already over populated 26%
It offers affordable housing for seniors 16%
There is a lack of space /Too many houses already built 16%
It created public recreation areas 9% There are no plans for additional roads 6%
It preserves open space/parks 8%
There is no need for project 6%
It will fix up the Navy base 3%
The housing is not affordable 3%
It will improve traffic 3%
It is a poor location 1%
It will provide additional off road parking 1%
The land should be for homeless people 1%
It includes a new public school 1%
Seniors/55 and over should have their own houses 1%
Don't know 16% Don't know 12%

The primary reasons volunteered by those opposed to the Ponte Vista project are 1) concern that the project with increase traffic in the local area and 2) general opposition to additional population growth in the area. However, as figure 10 illustrates, voter support for the Project reduced only slightly – remaining twice as great as opposition – even after respondents heard the following statement voicing these traffic concerns, as well as two other opposition statements:

§ “Ponte Vista will generate thousands more daily vehicle trips in and around San Pedro resulting in major gridlock, damage to our roads and highways and to our quality of life”

§ “Ponte Vista is too large for San Pedro and the surrounding communities. The Ponte Vista developer wants to build 2,300 homes on land zoned for only 500 or so homes.”

§ “Ponte Vista does not set aside enough land as open space and parks that can be used by the public. Less than ten percent of the property would be open to the public if this project is built.”

Figure 10
Overall Support/Opposition for Ponte Vista Project

☼ Support Before Information
Favor - 30%
Oppose - 30%
Need more information/ Don't know - 40%

☼ Support After Project Description
Favor - 63%
Oppose - 28%
Need more information / Don't know - 9%

☼ Support After Positive Statements
Favor - 65%
Oppose - 24%
Need more information / Don't know - 10%

☼Support After Negative Statements
Favor - 59%
Oppose - 30%
Need more information / Don't know - 11%


Figure 11 shows the percentages expressing support for and opposition to the number of potential housing units that might be included in the Ponte Vista project.

Figure 11
Assuming Number of Residential Units, Favor/Oppose Ponte Vista Project
(“Would you favor or oppose the Ponte Vista Project if ____ residential units were included in the project?)

☼ 2,300 residential units
Favor - 38%
Oppose - 48%
Don't know - 14%

☼ 1,900 residential units
Favor - 44%
Oppose - 42%
Don't know - 14%

☼ 1,700 residential units
Favor - 50%
Oppose - 37%
Don't know - 13%

Figure 12 shows the rank order of importance assigned by survey area voters to community amenities that could be provided to the local area by the Ponte Vista project’s developer.

Figure 12
Importance of Funding Specific Community Amenities
(“Let me name some amenities that could receive funds from the Ponte Vista project. After hearing each one, please tell me if you think it is important or not for that benefit or amenity to receive funds from the Ponte Vista project.”)

Very/S.W. Important Not Too/Not At All Important
A free community shuttle service in and around San Pedro 81% 17%
A little league baseball park 80% 19%
Community center with facilities for seniors and youth 77% 22%
A new library in north San Pedro 74% 24%
A road connecting Western Avenue and Gaffey Street 74% 21%
A community swimming pool 49% 49%
A dog park 48% 50%

Figure 13 provides a list of Ponte Vista Project features or effects where, after hearing each one, 65 percent or more of the survey’s respondents said that having that feature or effect would make them more inclined to support the project.

Figure 13
Impact of Ponte Vista’s Specific Features, Elements or Effects on Project Support
(“I’m going to read you a list of specific features, elements or effects associates with the Ponte Vista project. After I mention each one, please tell me whether that aspect of the project makes you more likely or less likely to support Ponte Vista?”)

Total More Likely to Support Total Less Likely to Support No Difference/ DK/NA
The developer will pay for synchronizing traffic signals and installation of computers and sensors to reduce traffic congestion at 23 intersections over 5 miles on Western Avenue 72% 12% 16%
Ponte Vista will pay for a six-acre public park with picnic areas and other community amenities, including parking 70% 13% 16%
Ponte Vista will contribute fund to smooth out traffic flow at Five Points 70% 11% 18%
Purchases by Ponte Vista homeowners will contribute more than one hundred million dollars to the local economy each year and provide hundreds of family-supporting jobs for local residents 69% 11% 21%
Ponte Vista will permanently protect almost 25 acres, or forty percent of the land, as open space, which includes recreational centers and acres of streams and lakes 69% 8% 23%
Ponte Vista will contribute funding to upgrade local traffic intersections and widen roads to improve traffic flow throughout the area 67% 9% 24%
Ponte Vista would build a permanent access road for the new Mary Star of the Sea High School Campus to prevent traffic congestion in the Taper Avenue neighborhood 66% 12% 23%

Figure 13, Continued
Impact of Ponte Vista’s Specific Features, Elements or Effects on Project Support

Total More Likely to Support Total Less Likely to Support No Difference/ DK/NA
Ponte Vista will be located on approximately sixty-two acres of abandoned and blighted vacant land in San Pedro on Western Avenue 66% 12% 22%
Ponte Vista will require that at least twenty-five percent of the homes sold are for residents over the age of fifty-five 66% 9% 24%
The Ponte Vista community will include a seniors only community of at least 575 homes, which requires all residents to be over the age of fifty five 65% 17% 18%
Ponte Vista will generate more than eight million dollars in new tax revenue every year to fund local police and fire services, hospitals, schools, street repair and other critical local services 65% 16% 19%
Ponte Vista will contribute funds to improve the Anaheim and Pacific Coast Highway on-ramps to the 110 freeway 65% 9% 26%

Thank you again, anonymous 1:00 PM for providing the infomation to this blog.

It is up to each reader to determing whether this survey means anything to him or her. It should be repeated that Mr. Bisno's staff, according to Mr. Bisno himself dissapproved of this survey in the first place.

I would also feel that I would be remiss if I didn't also repeat one "error" which is a quote Mr. Bisno himself used to describe the first attribution when the project was described to respondents to the survey:

"Survey respondents were then provided the following basic descriptives facts about the Ponte Vista residential project and, and after hearing them, were asked, "Having heard this description, does the Ponte Vista porject sound like something that you would favor or oppose"

-The project would have 2,300 new homes, with a mix of single-family housing, condominiums and town homes affordable for middle-income families and first time homebuyers."

This description is a factual error, according to Mr. Bisno, the pollster and many folks in the room. The description lends folks to believe that "single-family homes" would be apart from "condominiums and town homes" and leads people to picture detached residences instead of homes inside larger buildings.

This error is eggregous because it is factually incorrect and included as the first descriptive, and therefore, the most important descriptive concerning the project.

When I asked Mr. Bisno if this "error" was deliberate, he replied directly to me and the audience, "That is a very fair question." He did not continue to answer the question.

It is my belief and opinon that Mr. Bisno, a lawyer himself and credited with being the sole author of this descriptive sentence used it deliberately to make respondents believe that there would be single-family detached homes at Ponte Vista, when in fact, none are planned.

To many supporters, it seems that this is just a very small issue, but to many folks interested in continuing to seek the truth and realistic outcome for the property, it serves no one to deliberately distort the truth as much as Mr. Bisno apparently did with this description.

Both Mr. Bisno and I were surprised to see the 41% number of respondents who thought workforce and first time homes seemed more important than senior housing at Ponte Vista. both he and I support the idea of senior housing at a number higher than 575, at this time.

I think it is troubling to supporters and those interested folks who oppose the construction of 2,300 homes at Ponte Vista, that so few members of the community know much about the project or even care about it. I guess all sides have their work cut out for them to find more folks interested in what becomes of the property and traffic in our area.

Another Post Contribution

This is a post contribution for a resident of the Point Fermin area of San Pedro. I believe it is the first contribution of a post by an individual who supports only R1 development at Ponte Vista that I have published.

Supporters of Mr. Bisno's current plans to build 2,300 homes at Ponte Vista continue to regularly attack me and this blog for it stand on the issues. It took over 5,000 visits to receive a contribution such as this one. It feel it shows that this blog, myself, and contributors to posts on this blog are reasonable, responsible, realistic, and respectful.

This post comes from "Laura" and she left her real name and work title with me so I could verify who she is and where she works. I believe she is a true person and she has an opinion that many folks have.

But to be fair, you all must remember that I do not call for only R1 if proper mitigation can be achieved for the area. This post actually is somewhat in opposition to my ideas but it is demonstrative of a number of peoples' concerns and I always wrote that I would post contributions that I don't necessarily agree with.

Thank you "Laura" for this contribution.

Hi M. Richards,

I live in San Pedro and would like to get personally involved with the Ponte Vista project. I am a real estate appraiser for a government agency and I live in SanPedro (Pt. Fermin area). I cannot devote too much time as I work full-time and have a 3 year-old, however, I think I could lend my expertise and opinions.

I personally believe that the entire project should be kept R-1; the only reason any developer wants to change zoning is to maximize profit. Bisno is not motivated by trying to do what is best for the community, ie. providing affordable housing for seniors and the "work force".

As a condo owner who would like to buy a new R-1 home, I cannot find one project in LA County where the developer has not changed zoning in order to build Planned Unit Developments (PUDs)-essentially it is a single family residence structure that sits on a lot that is smaller in size than required by R1 zoning (typically 5,000 sf under R1), or condos.

There is a demand for new R-1 and prospective buyers would be willing to pay a premium in order to have at least 5,0000 square feet of land for a lot. The only alternative is to buy a mature, older home or go buy new in the Inland Empire.

The traffic on Western is another issue that no matter what traffic mitigation efforts are applied will not relieve the problem. The existing congestion is bad and will only worsen with additional population.

What can I do to help?

The Survey

Ms. Donna Littlejohn's article concerning the poll appeared in the March 16 2007 edition of
the Daily Breeze.

It is important, IMHO, to note a very important "error" at the beginning of this post, concerning the telephone survey.

Respondents to the telephone poll were read a series of four points in the description portion of the phone poll where the pollster read verbatim from a script the four descriptive sentences about the project.

Here is the first sentence of the description of the project given to respondents:

The project is a "mix of single-family housing, condominiums, and townhomes affordable for middle income families and first time buyers."

Reading that description would logically steer folks to believe that "single-family housing" was separate from "condominiums, and town homes" because all three types were described and there was no indication that the "single-family homes" were actually planned to be homes inside condominium and townhome buildings.

Just after the description was presented, and audience member asked the pollster if that description was an error because there has never been "single-family housing" as one would logically imagine as detached homes for families at the project. The pollster did acknowledge that the description was an "error."

Further questioning about this acknowledge error brought the comment from Bob Bisno that he was responsible for creating that particular description of the project and therefore, it was his error he admitted to. I asked Mr. Bisno directly if this "error" was intentional. After being heckled by the few supporters in the room, Mr. Bisno looked at me and said, "That's a very fair question."

It seems to me that Mr. Bisno, a lawyer, crafted the primary descriptive sentence for the entire project to include a type of housing that he knows he will not offer at Ponte Vista, but is one type of housing that many folks who would be called, live in. Reasonable people will believe that "single-family housing" means detached homes within a development and that Ponte Vista would include single-family detached homes along with condominiums and townhomes, based on the description authored by Mr. Bisno, himself.

I feel that there can be no true survey of what folks really think if misinformation is included in a poll, especially as the first description of the project that, according to poll results, almost 70% of the community knows little or nothing about.

Ms. Littlejohn accurately provided posted results of the survey in many areas. She also interviewed Mr. Bisno and must have been in communication with folks on Ms. Hahn's staff.I think her article is accurate.

Both Bob Bisno and I were surprised that 41% of the folks surveyed feel that there should be more housing for middle/low income families. Mr. Bisno and his supporters have been pushing hard for senior housing which it seems only 16% of the folks who took the survey seemed to want more of.

I was also saddened to learn how few community members know much about, or even seem to care about what happens at Ponte Vista. I think both supportive groups and folks opposed to having 2,300 homes built at Ponte Vista have not done enough to inform more community residents about the project. All sides should probably redouble their efforts to get whatever words out that benefit their side of the issue.

Ms. Littlejohn's article is the first print work I have read that includes discussion by Mr. Bisno concerning compromising about the number of homes at Ponte Vista. While I was very encouraged to read that, recent events have given me pause to wonder just how believable Bob Bisno is. I won't feel confident that Bob Bisno would actually concider an actual number of homes fewer than 2,300 until I read or hear him say it, directly. Even then, I may be skeptical.

Mr. Bisno claimed at the roll out meeting that his staff at Ponte Vista Development was against having the telephone survey conducted in the first place. Mr. Bisno terminated the services of Victor Griego, the CAC's facilitator without any advice from the members of the CAC. Bob Bisno is now attempting to provide an employee of his organization as the interim facilitator for the CAC without going to the CAC for approval.

Perhaps Mr. Bisno still doesn't wish to adhere to the four words I usually keep in mind when I write something or speak about the project. Is it reasonable, realistic, responsible, and respectful?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"Workforce Housing"

Tonight, folks learned what "workforce housing" means to Mr. Bisno.

Normally, workforce housing would be housing that would be affordable to blue collar workers, middle, middle income folks, and others who make of the bulk of middle income families.

During tonight's meeting, someone asked Mr. Bisno about the affordability of homes at Ponte Vista as it may be viewed as workforce housing. Mr. Bisno's response was that he felt members of the ILWU, all 13,000 of them (according to Mr. Bisno), could be considered to have the "workforce housing" income necessary to buy a home at Ponte Vista.

Now really! Members of the ILWU make some of the highest wages of any "blue collar" workers in the world, and they damn well deserve it! but to compare income levels of ILWU members to the rest of us "blue collar" workers is shear folly. The folks working the dock have some of the most dangerous jobs in the world and are well compensated compared to teachers, factory workers, government employees, and yes, even folks who work for AT&T.

To try to compare my hourly wage to someone who works up in the cab of an A-frame crane is absolutely ridiculous.

Bob Bisno seems to feel that his development would be a great place for only members of the ILWU and senior citizens to find homes he believes are "affordable".

The "single mothers" Bob Bisno continues to write and talk about gave comments at the January 18 Open Forum. Both women commented that they were members of the ILWU. How do I know this? I was there. Not only did I hear these women, I wrote down what they said.

So it seems single mothers can find a home at Ponte Vista as long as they are members of ILWU and have the income those jobs offer.

Please don't get me wrong folks, I have been a loyal member of the CWA for over 26 years so I know the benefits of a good union job. I would have to work about 12 hours a day, six days a week to have the income necessary to buy a home at Ponte Vista.

Now about young buyers. Young buyers MAY be able to afford a 600 square foot loft type unit at Ponte Vista for just about somewhere in the "high $300,000.00" price. That price could actually be $399,999.99 and still be under $400,000.00.

When I came back from technical training while serving in the U.S.A.F., my bride and I lived in a studio type apartment. It had a wall between the living area and the kitchen area, so it was a bit different than a loft, which is basically just a big open area with a bathroom separate for the large living area. I need to tell you that while we were newlyweds still, we both felt a bit hemmed in by not having a sleeping area separate from the regular living area.

The 600 square feet loft Mr. Bisno envisions as being the least expensive type of housing at Ponte Vista would be like living in a 20 foot by 30 foot open box, all for just under $400,000.00.

There is a report that states it would take a yearly gross income of $107,000.00 to be able to purchase one of the loft type units. So if two incomes are not used in funding the home, would a single income person making at least $107,000.00 per year be classified as having a "middle income"?

Bob, You Mistated the Facts Again

The following is from a piece written for the March 2007 edition of the Ponte Vista at San Pedro's newsletter.

"Even after hearing from hundreds of Ponte Vista supporters and buyers, Councilwoman Janice Hahn's Community Advisory Committee (CAC) has decided to ignore our seniors, working families, single mothers, and young buyers who want to live at Ponte Vista. On February 8, the CAC voted to continue consideration of R-1 zoning (single family homes)."

What the CAC decided is that it would consider a development of BETWEEN R1 zoning and 2,300 homes. How do I know this, Bob? Because I wrote it! Our CAC DID NOT limit its discussions to only R1 zoning and as anyone who attended the meeting last Thursday knows, we actually came up with ideas which actually considered NO R1 zoning.

Before you folks at Bisno Development write something, please check your facts! If you have a problem with facts, just let me know. I have more facts that can be substantiated concerning the project than it seems you do.

Normally I would not use Mr. Bisno's first name by itself, but this time he has disrespected himself, the CAC, and the organization he feels is truthful.