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 www.pontevista.com 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.


Anonymous said...


Better check your notes. Janice Hahn called a special closed meeting of the CAC to tell you guys to get off the dime and rule out strictly R-1 and rule out 2,300 untis. The CAC passed a resolution to that effect. The very next meeting Leah Marinkovich said she was not willing to rule out R-1 and made a motion to rescind the previous meeting's resolution. The motion passed and the resolution was rescinded.

This DOES NOT mean that the CAC is considering a project BETWEEN R-1 and 2,300. It means that everything is back and up-for-grabs; including R-1; including 2,300 units.

Of course you are going to call me a Bisno sympathizer, or perhaps employee, or perhaps a name expressed by symbols (&*#@^). Whatever. It still proves the point that whoever doesn't agree with your position will be castigated, no matter how long we have lived in the community, how much we want to work for an acceptable project, or any other mitigating factor. You throw around big words about getting on the ball right now, but in fact your words are divisive and spiteful. How in the world do you expect anyone to contribute to in an environment which is this vitriolic?

M Richards said...

Hum anonymous 8:55 PM, you probably should let me know which one of the CAC members you are because you seem to know what was said during the "closed" meeting.

You are most correct to note that the CAC did pass, but later recinded the motion calling for a development BETWEEN. The fact remains that a motion to that effect was passed by the CAC and that is something we both must agree on.

If you feel I am too harsh on folks who criticize me or folks like be, that presents me with some trouble. I do not feel that I have been too harsh on folks who continue to chastise me, except for "Ignorant Supporters" which I did write after a particular hard evening of being attacked and having to listen, yet again, to folks who continue to lack clues.

I also try not to throw too many big words around. I don't have a college diploma, just a "PhD" (Pedro High Diploma) so I try to avoid words I shouldn't use.

Let's discuss some more about folks who don't agree with someone's position, shall we?

There is a certain developer who has used name-calling regularly when talking or writing about folks who do not agree with his current plans. I do not feel that supporters who believe in this developer's current proposals have any business castigating others if they do not totally agree with the developer.

I was even able to create a series of buttons that many people who saw them, found them to be humorous and many buttons have been passed out. It wasn't I who referred to folks as "ranting elitists" but it is me who got the opportunity to make fun of the wording and, hopefully, deflate some of the name-calling.

R1 should not be ruled out IF proper mitigation can be achieved. I don't think you would disagree with me on that, would you? Do you support plans to build units according to Mr. Bisno's wishes if proper mitigation cannot be achieved? I hope not.

You seem to be connect in some manner with Bisno Development, in some way. I am sorry you are not willing to divulge your identity to me so we can have a proper discussion and a better debate. You may, of course, actually be a CAC member. Or, you might be a member of one of the Boards Mr. Bisno uses. Any way you look at it, no matter what you say or write, you continue to hide behind being anonymous. I should think your credibility could be called into question because you are not willing to put your name to the comments you write.

Look, anonymous, things are moving forward. I am trying to let folks know the truth and I encourage you to join me in that mission. The CAC is working with the Planning Department and progress is not only being made, but it seems the members are possitively acting to find what will be the best for OUR community.

If you attended the last meeting, you know, saw, and learned what we did. You know that my table did not call for any R1 housing and actually had a larger Senior Housing section than what is currently planned. You would have seen all the members in attendance doing fine work towards helping to create a wonderful set of drawings and ideas for the Planning Department and Ms. Hahn to try and use.

If you really want to work for an acceptable project, then work with me and not against me to find the best results for everyone.

Anonymous said...


anonymous 8:55pm here

I have to reply in parts so here goes:

1. Sure, I have to agree that there was a consensus AT ONE MEETING, where it was agreed to consider development BETWEEN. This is irrefutable. However, just as irrefutable is the fact the consensus lasted just one meeting and was then rescinded. That automatically puts all options back into play.

2. I'm connected with this project in the same way others in my neighborhood are. We are concerned about what is going to happen to our corner of what has been a nice place to live. Just because I make certain I'm informed about current developments doesn't connect me with anyone.

3. As far as posting anonymously, why should I be different than everyone else who posts up here. You being the sole exception as having revealed your identity. Yet still, you yourself post under an alias. Don't I have the same rights? Is "mellonhead" someone's real name? Or "Calamari"? Or "Banditos Yanquis"? I think not. I chose not to have my email swamped by someone who disagrees with opinions I've stated. (not a jab at you, but perhaps someone who is upset enough to call women "w?*&^s" in a letter to the editor would not be as restrained as you.) This is my right. We can still have a reasonable discussion over the issues.

4. When I wrote "big" words, I should have written "high-minded". The point being not that you used 25¢ words which needed to be looked up in the dictionary, but that you talk a lot about "getting on the ball" yet still manage to prevent forward motion by continuously debating over minutiae.

5. In a different string of comments you remark that some "lawyer-type folks" contend that since the DEIR shows 20 lots, that is all which could be built. I'm glad we agree that this is a stretch. These "lawyer-type folks" need to do some more research. Just because a DEIR proposes 20 lots doesn't make it so. In addition the 20 lots are specified as having multi-family dwellings on them. If this DEIR doesn't fly, neith Bisno, nor his opponents get to cherry-pick. "Zero-growthers" can't pull that number out of context and say that is all he is allowed to build.

6. Now probably the most important point. Since you have written it many times, I'm assuming what you wrote in your reply was just a typo and should have said "GREATER THAN" R-1 should not be ruled out IF proper mitigation can be achieved.

This is a VERY nebulous standard. Who decides "proper mitigation"? There are many, many people who will never, ever agree that there is "proper mitigation". So who will it be? The Planning Department? LA DOT? Members of the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council? "Proper mitigation" and who decides it needs to be much more tightly defined.

7. Which brings me, finally, to my last point. People need to take a deep breath and calm down. They need to be able to see past the end of their noses. There is going to be SOMETHING built at Ponte Vista. By Bisno, or someone else. Even if it ends up being R-1 with 500 SFRs. But in a neighborhood council where entire slates are being decided by a few votes (literally 3 or 4 in some cases) it probably is not a good idea to upset a thousand new voters. If it winds up being even 1,200 units, that is 2,400 new voters in the district. These people will have an HOA. They will remember that the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council tried to deny their existence. They will remember that it is being run like a little private dynasty by the president and her husband. They will remember that other neighborhood councils attempted to insert themselves into OUR district and change OUR neighborhood to match their desires even though they do not live here. All it would take would be a slate of candidates and a minimal effort and it would produce an entirely new Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council. It's not too many steps from there to change the by-laws and eliminate all the restrictions which have been put in place with no other goal than to keep the current board members in power. Can you say bye-bye?

The dissent, bad feelings and animosity some of these fanatics are sowing will come back on them. Instead of screaming No! No! No!, why don't they try to work to get to reach something they can live with? This is Los Angeles. It is a growing city and a growing state. If they don't like how dense it has become, Wyoming has lots of space just waiting for them.

M Richards said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you, anonymous 8:55 PM.

I believe we are getting closer than farther apart.

I do appreciate you comments greatly! They are intelligent and remind me there really is no obligation to reveal yourself to readers of this blog. Just a note to you, I do correspond via Email with folks on different sides of the issues and I never reveal who I write to unless they allow me to identify them.

As I hope you have read before, I ma not as adamant as many others are to keep Ponte Vista R1. You also bring up good points about who and how "proper mitigation" may be achieved. Perhaps that is one thing that folks will have to work on to decide what really constitute "proper mitigation". Perhaps you should be one of the residents who is asked whether the mitigation confirmed by the FEIR will be proper, just like others who will weigh in.

You make an excellant point about membership in Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council. Even though I probably can qualify for membership if I join a group, I have stated before that I do not believe someone like me who lives in R.P.V. should join that organization. I do appreciate the good works they do, but I think it would be a stretch for me to join a group in another city.

One of the big drawbacks to R1 only, is that it would only allow for approximately 429 houses to be built. Both sides continue to use figures like 500 or up to 650 units, but those figures would require higher density zoning to be approved.

I have stated by several means that it is my opinion that it would probably be easier to get approval to build 2,300 units at Ponte Vista than it would be to keep the entire site with its current zoning. Betsy Weisman stated that she doesn't believe a project of this size in the area which it is in, would end up being R1.

Both Northwest S.P.N.C. and Coastal S.P.N.C. have had their boards vote against Mr. Bisno's current plans. I can't write as to why they did this because I am not a member of either organization.

I also have a battle going on with several members of Northwest in my quest to have a road built between Western Avenue and Gaffey Street. The ideas I have, the drawings I have created, and the wishes of many people, including Mr. Bisno and me seem to have run into a brick wall with some folks down near Gaffey Street. I was even told by one person who is active in the community that they would see me in court before any such road was built.

There are many people who continue to consider 2,300 as the ceiling for the number of units at Ponte Vista, and R1 as the floor. Many of them are waiting for Mr. Bisno to come away from the ceiling before they are willing to come up from the floor. There is a window of opportunity that will close fairly soon to have Mr. Bisno come away from the ceiling.

As much as I can write about compromise and coming together, R Neighborhoods Are 1 is coming and that may add more wrinkles into the debate we all are having.

Anonymous 8:55 PM, I think we can now work together to come up with ideas about lowering the ceiling and raising the floor. Somewhere in the numbers game should be a number that is best for the entire community. Whatever that number is, it should be comfortable with both you and I, along with everyone else, I feel.

There should also be discussions about types of housing at Ponte Vista, and more questions answered about what folks really want built at the site.

Both Mr. Bisno and I were surprised by the 41% versus 16% ratio of homes versus senior housing units. If the focus groups Mr. Bisno claimed he used to come up with the original plans for the site were that far off from the survey results, perhaps it is a good thing that development has not progressed farther with the original plans. Now we can step back, look at what folks really want and try to build housing that works for everyone.

I don't think asking folks who have lived in the area to move if they don't like what is coming is very fair. If it is true that there is space in Wyoming, then many folks might wish to have people interested in moving into Ponte Vista look to Wyoming, instead. The housing should be more affordable in Wyoming and that is what many, many supporters of the project have repeatedly claim they want, "affordable housing".

Once I was a hard-liner for keeping the site R1. Now I call for compromise and I have witnessed two folks who are members of the Ponte Vista Board of Advisors use that word in public. Maybe it takes just a couple of us, hopefully including you, to break open the compromise issue and get something down that will work for our community. I don't really know numbers yet, but suggestions by everyone for something other than R1 and 2,300 need to really start flowing in, IMHO. I think we all can make cases for whatever number we think is best. Perhaps a large number of folks will suggest a certain number or numbers that are plus or minus 100 units of the number.

It is too bad that there are still too many folks who demand either 2,300 or R1. We are a community that needs to come together with a number that brings us back together and doesn't continue to keep us apart.

Thank you again, anonymous.

tom said...


Please check your email. I sent you something I wanted you to see before tonight's CAC meeting.


Anonymous said...

What is the current zoning of the property? He can build on what he bought. Nobody would stop him, and 100% of the community would accept it. This community does not owe Bobby Bisno a compromise, so why even discuss it? Real simple. Build the highest barrier to Bisno's big payoff possible. If Bisno gets anything better than R1, we are screwed as a community whether it's 1300 or 2300. You can bet on these words..."Any compromise will be a disaster for San Pedro." I'll be back on this blog to remind MW, Tom and anon 8:55 when we are gridlocked on Western, can't find parking at the grocery store and the schools are outragously more dense.

M Richards said...

Howdy anonymous 9:43 PM.

Currently the 61.53 acres that make up the site includes two different zonings.

Approximately 45 acres are zoned R1, that means one residential unit of a single-family type for on a minimun sized lot of 5,000 square feet.

The other approximately 15 acres is zoned OS1 for Open Space. This area sits approximately exactly where the L.A.U.S.D. has made an illustration for where they would like to build a 2,025 seat senior high school. L.A.U.S.D. wants to look at a 24 acrea site on the northwest area of the site and use 15.03 acres, according to their initial study, for the school.

I do not know how believable it is to think that the election of either candidate to the seat on the school board would necessarily cause the "killing" of the proposed large high school, but it is a hopeful sign. Both Dr. Vladovic and Mr. Kleiner has stated they do not want a large high school built on the site.

But forces within the bureaucracy of L.A.U.S.D. still seem to be pretty strong.

With all the reading, listening, studying, writing, and other learning I have done about this "Ponte Vista thing", I can still find many reasons that there are lots of folks who belong to what I call the "R1, now and forever group". They have more sound reasoning for their position than Bob Bisno has in attempting to build 2,300 homes on the site, IMHO.

While I don't currently belong to the group that continues to advocate for R1, now and forever, I have to admit that I am just about at my wit's end, if I have any wit at all, with Bob Bisno's continued call for 2,300 homes on his site.

Calling for 2,300 homes by anyone at this stage only keeps pouring fuel onto the fire, I feel. I certainly do not feel that 2,300 homes has any possibility of being approved for the site and now, according to a group of folks, both supporter's of Bisno and opponents to the 2,300 scheme, it appears that 1,700 is the new ceiling for the number of homes, of the first "real" compromise in numbers of units.

I really think that if the Bisno organization doesn't get off the dime and propose a lower total number of homes at the site, the new group will come into play and we will finally have an opposition group with muscle and clout to properly stand up against this developer's plans.

As he always seems to be, Bob Bisno is still in the driver's seat. Only this time, he has a quickly diminishing chance to make some progress or he'll lose his car seat and be left in the pits.