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.


Anonymous said...

I used to live at Lincoln Place.

What Chris Yang conveniently leaves out of his letter, is that the Bisno company offered generous move-out bonuses, offered to pay for the moving itself, plus gave rent subsidies to compensate for the rent we used to pay and the rent in our new places.

I was lucky and took the deal, moving to San Pedro at a time when It was still possible to get an affordable apartment.

Mr. Yang also fails to point out that the entire complex had 1940s electrical wiring, 1940s plumbing and 1940 appliances. It was mostly a barrio. Take a drive of the neighborhood. Iron bars on all the windows, iron gates on doors, etc. "...landmark-worthy buildings..." What a joke! Their Renters Association tried to get this property declared a historical site. The were turned down flat. They were nothing but a bunch of old military housing apartments. Slapped together and meant to last only a few years. It is surprising they kept standing as long as they did.

THE ISSUE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH CIVILITY. I has to do with the right of a property owner to improve his property. The previous owner had done nothing. We all had decent deals offered to us and we were lucky to get them. When you let your lease lapse to a month-to-month rental, that is your own fault. Not that of the property owner. We could have gotten just 30-day notices.

These "poor" people who got put out on the street were just plain stupid. They just did not want to move. In addition, the number of 90-year olds was minuscule. Mr. Yang's letter makes is sound like it was a majority of the tenants when, in fact, it was only a few. There was plenty, and still is, of Section 8 housing available in LA. These people were just plain stubborn and stupid. Not even considering the Section 8, all the other apartments were way below market. Like I said, the previous owner didn't do squat. Not even raise rents when there was a turnover.

If you want to slam Bisno, that's fine. Just don't do it for something ANY property owner would have done to bring his apartment complex into market value. It's got nothing to do with civil. More like greed - on the part of the tenants.

Mr. Yang is just another knee-jerk liberal who wants everyone to have 1960 rents at the expense of the bourgeois property owner.

Oh, one last thing. Did Mr. Yang live there? Or is this just something he read in the People's Republic of Santa Monica press?

M Richards said...

Howdy Anonymous 9:21 AM,

Thank you for your comments.

After living at Lincoln Place and then moving to San Pedro, you seem to have a unique history that would allow your different perspective to help us all more concerning Ponte Vista.

What is your opinion of Mr. Bisno's current plans to build 2,300 units? Would you like to see the current zoning remain, and if so, why? What do you think about compromise as a way to find, possibly, the best solution for our community.

I wish you would Email me at so I could learn more from you. I never print names of folks who I am in contact with, unless they give me permission to do so, and many have not.

Your unique history stands out along with another person who actually lived in the old Navy Housing before it was abandoned, and now lives in San Pedro.

This blog offers everyone the chance to write their views and, even though many know my slant on the issues, I feel I am as fair to all as I can be.

I doubt very highly if Mr. Yang lived at Lincoln Place. You may wish to ask him directly if both of you come to a CAC meeting. He is probably the youngest person who attends the meetings.

Anonymous said...

you used to live in lincoln place? really? what's your name? How long did you live there?

i most certainly did not live in lincoln place, and if i did, i sure wouldn't have been interested in any "move-out bonuses."

i doubt anybody from lincoln place lives in pedro, and i doubt you know anything about venice at all.

Chris Yang

p.s. calling me a "knee-jerk liberal" and the santa monica mirror the "people's republic of santa monica press" isn't very civil.
p.p.s. i think you are full of shit.

Anonymous said...

actually Chris, your p.p.s. isn't very civil, which is exactly the reason I chose to remain anonymous 9:21am. given this overly aggressive response, you forfeit any rights at all to criticize anyone about civility.

secondly, a member of the board of the central san pedro NC moved here from venice. so you are wrong again, people DO move to pedro from venice.

third, the "people's republic of santa monica press" is a long-standing joke and has been around longer than you have. it's like the "people's republic of berkeley". most people who are liberal and actually live there take pride in being called this, so take a chill-pill.

lastly, anyone with half a brain would see that it was a losing battle. a month-to-month rental agreement is just that. if that is what you have, guess what? you are going to lose.

the bonus allowed me to move, put down my deposits on my apartment here and still have money left over. since when is making fiscally good decisions a bad thing?

by your reaction, I can tell you are probably one of those people who would have chained himself to his radiator and been hauled off to jail.

it is generally a good thing to know what you are talking about before you go writing it down in a public forum and embarrassing yourself.

Anonymous said...


first of all, i never said people don't move to Pedro from Venice. But hey, feel free to completely misstate what I've said or written.

secondly, you're contradicting yourself. saying in your first post this has nothing to do with civility. now you're criticizing me for being uncivil. get a life.

third, you state that you moved to pedro at a time when an apartment was still affordable. so you are indirectly making my point! apartments are no longer affordable, as so clearly pointed out in this week's more san pedro, because of the new development. or do you not know that rising real estate prices increase rents?! So in your mind, ponte vista will somehow solve that problem? If you think so you are fooling yourself.

Chris Yang