Monday, April 30, 2007

The Public Road to Mary Star High School

I need your help on what may be an extremely important "community benefit" concerning the Ponte Vista at San Pedro development and the new Mary Star of the Sea High School.

Background; To the best of my current knowledge, this is how access to the new high school campus east of the Ponte Vista site was approved of when the Federal Government still owned the land what we now call Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

During construction of the new Mary Star of the Sea High School campus, all traffic would use access to the site via the public, Taper Avenue route. All vehicles could use Gaffey Street, west to Westmont Avenue, then north on Taper Avenue, and onto the site.

When the Federal Government still owned the land now owned by Bob Bisno, there was an agreement struck that allowed for access through the property using S. John Montgomery Drive, when the school was opened to students, in September, 2007. I recently found out that access to the opened school would also be allowed for members of the faculty, staff, deliveries, and visitors, through the southeastern access at Taper Avenue.

Students to the new campus would be required to use the access from Western Avenue, that, when construction was approved of, was S. John Montgomery. Students would not have the option of avoiding Western Avenue, but members of the faculty, staff, deliveries, and visitors would continue to have the option of not having to travel on any portion of Western, if they chose to use Gaffey Street, instead.

Things change.

Bob Bisno acquired the 61.53 acres of land the Federal Government sold. Included on the land is S. John Montgomery Drive. That road has become part of private property now owned by Bob Bisno.

Bob Bisno wishes to change the current zoning of R1 and, as a "community benefit", would provide a public road from Western Avenue to the new campus, without cost to the new school.

The problem with that "community benefit" is that Bob believes he would only be required to provide the new road if the current zoning of the property is changed to what he wants which is, specific plan zoning. This change of zoning would allow him to build 2,300 condominiums along Western Avenue and points to the east.

Bob also contends that he could NOT be required to build a road to the new campus if the property were to remain with its current zoning. Betsy Weisman, the head of L.A. City Planning for the area claims that he might be required to supply the access, but Bob disagrees with that.

No matter what happens with a road from Western, the new campus would still be allowed access to certain drivers via Taper Avenue.

I believed, and I think many others may have been led to believe that Taper Avenue would be closed off to all access to the new campus once either S. John Montgomery or a new road from Western was utilized. During the course of the meetings of the Community Advisory Committee, two members of that group had full knowledge of the agreement between the school and the neighborhood, concerning the access issues involving both the neighborhood and the new school.

I probably should have known much earlier about the arrangement struck between the neighborhood and the school. I, and many others I feel, slipped up on our responsibility to fully understand the agreement, because it does impact the Ponte Vista project. It would have been both nice and correct for the two members of the CAC who knew of the agreement, to fully disclose it, during the prior months of the CAC's existence.

Bob contends he is under no obligation to build an access road to Mary Star through HIS property, if it remains R1 zoning. I am glad I am not a taxpayer living in the City of Los Angeles, if and when Bob brings a lawsuit against the city, if it tries to require him to build a road to the new campus over R1 zoned land.

I need your help with your knowledge and opinions. If anyone knows where I can find precedent for a landowner to be required to provide access to property he/she does not own, but already has public road access to that site, please let me know.

I need your opinions in this matter, too. What do you think about a school and neighborhood that would agree to allow older, more experienced drivers to have the option of avoiding Western Avenue, but require students, the less experienced and younger drivers, to use Western Avenue, which will already have more traffic on it no matter what zoning is used at Ponte Vista?

Should we have known about the agreements struck when the new campus was approved of? Should we have been informed earlier in the Ponte Vista discussions about this agreement? Do you feel it is right that a neighborhood that has both Western Avenue and Gaffey Street as primary ingress and egress routes, dictate to the rest of us who is required to use Western Avenue?

If Bob Bisno can be required to build an access to the new campus, for Western Avenue, and the Ponte Vista site remain with its current zoning, then all is wonderful, as far as the R Neighborhoods Are 1 supporters and folks who have signed the R1 petition are concerned.

I don't want anyone to get too angry about the deal struck between the school and the neighborhood, but I feel someone should have considered informing all of us closer to the beginning of the discussions about the Ponte Vista project, and its possible impact on the new school.

If you think this post is long, you should see how long my essay is on this subject. Ithink many folks think I am already boring enough.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Group Thanks You For Your Signatures

R Neighborhoods Are 1 wants to thank the approximately 5,500 folks who have joined the call for R1, NO COMPROMISE, to keep the current zoning at Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

By thanking all of the folks who have listened to the truth about Ponte Vista and have determined, on their own, that 2,300 homes are just too many, and keeping the current zoning is better for OUR community, some members of the steering committee want all to know that it still is a great beginning!

The signature collection if far from over. It appears that the surface has only been scratched and the more members of OUR community who learn about Bob's current plans, are willing to state by their signatures, that they will not tolerate a developer coming into THEIR community and attempting to shove an overly large project down OUR throats.

Bob and his group have not been able to honestly demonstrate that any zoning change is needed at Ponte Vista, according to many members of R Neighborhoods Are 1, or folks who support that group.

On March 23, 2007, Councilwoman Janice Hahn was presented with petitions totaling 3,096 signatures calling for keeping the Ponte Vista site R1, its current zoning. Since then, signatures have been collected at a rate of over 65 per day, and the rate appears to be increasing.

It is absolutely true that Bob has gathered more signatures on his petitions than have been collected demanding R1 be kept at Ponte Vista, so far. It is absolutely true, that paid petition gatherers for Bob have used wording that has been condemned by employees of Mr. Bisno's. So we know that many of the signatures gathered by Bisno's paid gatherers were collected under questionable conditions. I know, for a fact, that a petition gatherer for Bob use language that was factually incorrect. My memory is pretty good, and I remember what the gatherer asked me to do.

There is still much to be done in collecting more signatures on petitions. R Neighborhoods Are 1 needs to get the word out that signatures on the R1 petitions are vital in its attempts to demand that Ponte Vista remain with its current zoning.

In politics, signatures can mean votes. For a politician to ignore the increasing rate of signatures being gathered, demanding the zoning remain as it is at Ponte Vista, might mean troubles when re-election time comes around. Even though folks may feel their signature on the R1 petitions means very little, each signature adds to the total, and the total counts very, very much.

Would an elected political figure thinking about being re-elected or seeking higher office, ignore 15,000 signatures? I don't think they would.

The time for being nice and asking for something is over. Bob Bisno had plenty of chances to sit down with elected and selected members of OUR community and discuss a development that had fewer numbers of units. Bob waited too long, probably thinking he wasn't going to have to deal with OUR community. He is wrong!

Since the new slogan; "R1, NO COMPROMISE" was issued, the time for negotiation is over! The thought of compromise is finished, and the time Bob squandered, not dealing with OUR community, has passed. Bob had his chance, and he let it slip away.

Now it is time to start important meetings and demonstrations that states, R Neighborhoods Are 1 means business and means what it says.

I will be giving out details of the first meeting of supporters of R1 at Ponte Vista, hopefully by Tuesday evening. An event is almost completely planned where supporters of R1 can gather to meet, share ideas, learn more about the goals of R Neighborhoods Are 1, and really go forward with a strong campaign demanding R1, NO COMPROMISE.

This meeting will be entertaining, informative, open to all who support R1 at Ponte Vista, and will introduce OUR community to the folks helping R Neighborhoods Are 1 work for OUR community's benefit. The meeting will be short enough to enjoy, without leaving attendees feeling they didn't get the information they needed. It will also be a meeting where folks interested in helping R Neighborhoods Are 1 do the tasks required of a growing movement, can volunteer for tasks like demonstrating, phone banking, petition gathering, and whatever else the group needs volunteers to do.

The movement need you. It needs you now. It needs you now and into the future, if it is going to achieve the goal of keeping Ponte Vista with its current zoning.

On a personal note, I realize that the Ponte Vista issue has been the most divisive issue to come to OUR community in a very, very long time. Not only are we struggling with a developer who want to build too many homes in OUR community, we are also struggling with the problems are kids and their parents are having with the Eastview Little League issue. Sometimes it seems OUR community is being overwhelmed by development of large residential projects, commercial building, and Port of L.A. issues.

But I am also encouraged when I witness the banding together of community members who seem to increasingly be coming together to keep Ponte Vista R1. I am also pleased to be able to support Eastview Little League's effort at finding a permanent home.

I am also very encouraged when I see folks walking up to the R1 petition table and without any call from me for support, they simply pick up a pen and begin the petition process. It is amazing to me to see that folks who gather petition signatures and can get around without crutches, only have to mention Ponte Vista and many of the members of OUR community just grab the clipboards out of their hands and start filling them out. It means the information if finally getting out there and many more members of OUR community are learning about the TRUE issues surrounding Ponte Vista.

Whenever I am asked a question about Ponte Vista, I answer all questions truthfully, or as truthfully as you believe the DEIR is. I need to go no further than the information provided in the DEIR, Initial Study, and other public-source documentation to provide the true answers.

When folks are provided the truth and the more they learn about Bob's current plans, the easier it is to get signatures on R1 petitions. When I hear an R1 petition gatherer make a comment that is not as accurate as it should be, I advise them of the correct answer and that is all I need to do.

When anyone tells you that R1 means 500 homes at Ponte Vista, they are factually incorrect. R1-1XL means that up to 429 single-family, detached housing units, of no higher than 30 feet tall can be built on lots of not less than 5,000 square feet, within the boundaries of Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Odds and Ends 10

First, I want to commend the Web master at The site is continuously being updated and there is much more information in the "news" icon of the site.

Included within the site are "backlash" letters from folks who disagree with the positions taken by members of R Neighborhoods Are 1. I can write that I have never viewed any similar type of opposition information from any site supporting Bob Bisno's current plans for Ponte Vista.

You may not agree with R Neighborhoods Are 1, but it does take guts for them to print letters opposed to their views.

Trivia: Using data supplied by the Draft Environmental Impact Report for Ponte Vista at San Pedro, the number of vehicle trips generated when the project is built out, according to Bob Bisno's current plans would estimate there will be at least 9,212 more vehicle trips on parts of Western Avenue, each and every day. This piece of trivia does not take into account the number challenged by many who suggest that the number of daily trips added to Western Avenue might possibly be at least 50% higher than that number referred to in the DEIR. Use of the 9,212 vehicles per day addition to traffic on Western Avenue should be considered as the settled minimum number until officials at the City's Department of Transportation rule that number may be incorrect.

Some members of the steering committee of R Neighborhoods Are 1 are currently planning for the first meeting of supporters of R1 at Ponte Vista. The meeting currently in the planning stages will provide information, entertainment, and be the first major gathering of individuals who support demands for keeping Ponte Vista with its current zoning. When the date of this first meeting is set, I will publish it on this blog, the date will be published on the R1 Web site, and it will also be advertised.

Being a former member of the CAC, I have written to the remaining members of that committee and asked that they consider some points I feel are very important. First, I think the CAC should not make recommendations about amenities for the project until they have created the recommendation for what THEY want to see as far as the density of the development. I believe Bob should tell everyone at the next meeting whether he is still considering to build 2,300 units on the site. He may be asked by committee members if there is a number of dwellings he would be willing to consider, other than 2,300-units. If Bob declares that he still intends to build 2,300 units no matter what the CAC decides, Then the CAC is not only well within its right to recommend R1 remaining at the site, it should also strongly suggest to Ms. Hahn, that both she and the CAC have run into a brick wall with Bob's current plans and that they can make recommendations to Ms. Hahn that will probably fall on deaf ears of everyone at Bisno Development Corp.

R1 NO COMPROMISE. These word were suggested to me, yesterday, as wording for a new button that folks wore at last night's meeting. I made a little over 100 of them, but if you want one, I will be handing them out at Ralph's on Western at Capitol beginning at 9:00 AM on Saturday April 28. While I am still the oddball of the group, I continue to be a very strong support of all but one of the many things the group supports, and last night's meeting almost got me to put on one of those R1 buttons for the first time.

It may be strange to a lot of people that I am the one who puts all the buttons together, but only wears buttons that do not have "R1" on them. As I have written before, I am the oddball and I have my own particular reasons for my position. But for each and every one of you who have signed the petition, worn a button, and demand R1 be kept at Ponte Vista, your charge and I strongly suggest to you that you DO NOT COMPROMISE!

The Board of Education of the Los Angeles Unified School District is going to vote on the new school proposals for our area on May 22, 2007. Both Bob and I do not want any school built at Ponte Vista, and I favor Neal Kleiner's position for a 9th grade learning academy at Angels Gate.
There are at least three sites outside of San Pedro that could handle a 6-8 acre, 810-seat high school, without condemning any residential property. Everyone should do as I do and demand that LAUSD look for places outside San Pedro to build a school to ease the overcrowding at Narbonne. I know that the old driving range at Mulligan Family Fun Center is going to become an industrial building, but it would be better to use the right of eminent domain to acquire industrial property rather than residential property.

Every vote for Neal Kleiner to fill the school board seat currently held by Mike Lansing is also a vote for R1, in my opinion.

Neal Kleiner and Richard Vladovich are much more qualified for filling the seat than the current seat-holder ever was, and both have the qualifacations to do the job.

Neal Kleiner never had to return the $250,000 that Dr. Vladovich accepted, then returned from Mayor Villaraigosa's supporters. Neal Kleiner spoke out that he wouldn't accept campaign contributions from Bob Bisno or the Bisno Development organization.

I don't know what Dr. Vladovich did with the contributions from lobbyists and supproters of Bob Bisno and his groups, but I do know that Bob and Richard did meet on at least one occasion and out of that meeting, Bob encouraged eligible voters in our area to consider voting for Dr. Vladovich.

Neal Kleiner stood with members of R Neighborhoods Are 1 at a recent protest demonstration, outside of the gates of Ponte Vista.

Neal Kleiner has spoken to members of the CAC during at least one meeting.

Neal Kleiner wears the R1 button I made as proudly as I wear a button supporting his campaign.

I have attended every single CAC meeting and I don't remember Dr. Vladovich at any of the meetings.

I do not know Dr. Vladovich's opinion on what type and number of residential units should be built at Ponte Vista, but if Neal Kleiner has an opinion, shouldn't we know Dr. Vladovich's opinion?

With Mr. Kleiner's support for R1, it means he doesn't want the overcrowding of our schools 1,725 non-age restricted units at Ponte Vista would most certainly bring to our schools.

Mr. Kleiner doesn't want to see too many parents having to drive along Western Avenue just to get their kids to Taper Avenue School.

Mr. Kleiner knows that sending too many kids over to cross Western Avenue to get to Dodson Middle School would be more dangerous that the number of children crossing from a 429-home development.

If Dr. Vladovich supports Bob's plans to put 1,725 non-age restricted condos at Ponte Vista, and have the school age children living there riding along Western to get to Taper, or crossing Western on their way to and from Dodson, who do you think is more concerned about the safety of our school-aged children?

Neal Kliener. R1=less students, less overcrowding, more safety in a smaller development.

Send Mayor Villaraigosa, Janice Hahn, and Bob Bisno a clear message. Send Neal Kleiner to be the new member from our area to sit on the Board of Education.

For the sake of all of the current and future students at Taper, Dodson, and Narbonne, Neal Kleiner is the obvious choice in terms of safety, overcrowding, and quality of education.

Note: Even though I reside in the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, I am still eligible to vote in elections covering LAUSD issues and board members. The portion of my property taxes that go towards public education, go to LAUSD and the L.A. City's college district.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The April 26th CAC meeting

The CAC met this Thursday with more fun, debate, poor manners from some opponents, and a report by members of the Department of Transportation (DOT) that was confusing, maddening, questionable, and downright weird.

First, it comes as no surprise that the two fellas from DOT were late getting to the meeting, because of heavy traffic. That happened last time, too and is what is expected from DOT these days.

The report, given by Mike Bagheri's boss what listened to with most of the audience, including Ms. Hahn, I saw, having looks of confusion, bewilderment, and anger at the report.

The report itself was a recount done in March on three intersections along Western Avenue. The intersections where along Western at P.V. Drive North Avenida Apprenda, and Weymouth.
There have been no recent recounts done on Western at Delasonde/Westmont, Trudie/Capitol, or First Street, where many folks cross Western in east west directions.

The report found higher traffic counts at Weymouth and Avenida Aprenda, but some lower counts at P.V.Drive North.

What do these new recounts mean? Probably absolutely nothing because there were not more intersections recounted, and the report was only a partial report if you take into account all the intersections that should have been recounted. Janice Hahn asked to a new traffic study to be undertaken and we all got just three intersections.

One of the big disputes involves the number of trips to and from Ponte Vista that will actually be when Bob finishes his 2300 units. Bob was allowed to use a formula for "High Rise Condominiums" which is less than "Condominiums and Town Homes" which he is actually building. The difference comes in because his buildings will be 4-6 stories each and the highest buildings falling into the "Condominiums and Town Homes" category are not as tall.

If the number of trips per day were based on the "Condominiums and Town Homes" formula, the total number of trips in and out of Ponte Vista would increase about 46% over the formula Bob is allowed to use.

The two from DOT did apologize that they could not take into consideration the formula for more traffic, even though it was used for Playa Vista, which has 6 storey buildings in places, I believe.

The speaker apologized for just about everything in his tiny report. He complained that he didn't have enough resources and he couldn't answer questions from CAC members.

The fellow did say he would consider whether the formula that is more in line with what Bob is planning, should be used to calculate what may actually happen to Western. He has been asked to return to the CAC with a further report.

Some members of the audience, mainly opponents of Bob's current plans were somewhat rude and made remarks they probably shouldn't have.

I was, yet again, impressed by the large number of folks who support R Neighborhoods Are 1 showed up at the meeting. Again, that crowd was probably more than double or triple the number of supporters who showed up.

An wouldn't you know it, many folks got a brand new button! The new button read "R 1" and below that it read "NO COMPROMISE". It was a fine button and considering the price everyone paid for the button, it was well worth it.

The CAC FINALLY created two recommendations for Ms. Hahn. They supported having a separate Senior Housing section built at Ponte Vista, and they recommended that a public road be built from Western Avenue to the boundary of the new Mary Star campus.

Had I remained on the CAC, I would have voted for the Senior section, but after learning about the two routes to and from Mary Star, I would have voted against having a public road. A public road that feed only Western can only mean more traffic on Western. If the folks living near Taper Avenue allow faculty, staff, visitors, and delivery via Taper, then they should not burden the rest of us with having students use only Western Avenue to access the school.

One comical illustration that kept repeating itself in the DOT report is that there now appears to be a new intersection along Western, according to the visuals used in the report. Has anyone ever been on "Avenue Aprenda"?

Ray Patricio was back to provide even more humor to the meeting. I did not see Linda "Bob Bisno is going to save San Pedro" D'Ambrosi at the meeting. Perhaps she didn't have anything to wear to match her red face.

I want everyone reading this post to understand a couple of basic truths.

1. The Community Advisory Committee makes recommendations.
2. R Neighborhoods Are 1 makes demands.

R Neighborhoods Are 1 demands that Ponte Vista at San Pedro remain with its current zoning structure.

The Community Advisory Committee is nowhere in sight to making recommendations on density or zoning.

What seems to have more power, a recommendation or a demand? It depends on who is demanding and what are they demanding. If enough people let Janice Hahn know they demand that the current zoning be kept, and votes are riding on her decisions, then R Neighborhoods Are 1, and the growing number of OUR community members who support them, will have the power to have their demands met.

The RoadS, as in two, to Mary Star

I learned tonight that there will be not one, but two accesses to the new Mary Star of the Sea High School in northwest San Pedro.

Here is how it was described to us at the CAC meeting, tonight.

When construction is completed, the school is opened, and a "public" road through the Ponte Vista project is completed, there will be two routes that SOME folks will be able to use as ingress and egress to the campus.

For the faculty, staff, delivery persons, and visitors, the more experienced drivers, if you will, they will be allowed to use the public road OR Taper Avenue. Now this is very important. this fact means that these folks will be able to access the campus without necessarily having to drive one inch along Western Avenue.

The students, you know, the more reckless and least experienced drivers will be REQUIRED to use ONLY the public road to go to and from Mary Star. That means the least experienced and most reckless drivers must travel along at least a portion of Western Avenue to go to and from school. Parents driving their children to and from Mary Star would use Western as well.

Does this seem fair? I don't think so.

Apparently Mary Star and the homeowners association down near Taper and Westmont created a deal that would allow certain folks to use the public Taper Avenue, Westmont, Barrywood, and Gaffey to access the campus. These folks would drive along Taper Avenue until it connected to the PRIVATE road on the Mary Star Campus.

There are a whole lot of problems with the scheme, in my opinion.

Parents living in Ponte Vista who wish to drive their children to Taper Avenue Elementary School would not be allowed to take the safer, closer route to the school, around the Mary Star campus, to Taper Avenue. All of these parents would be required to travel along Western until they made a left turn, east on Westmont.

Would children attempting to travel by walking, bikes, skateboards, or scooter be allowed to transit the private roadway around Mary Star to gain access to Taper.

How would folks be kept from traveling east on the public road, then along the private road, and back onto Taper Avenue?

If folks are allowed to save time, and trouble using Taper, then why can't everyone use Taper for ingress and egress? I know the answer to this one, but it stinks, IMHO.

It looks like the people who regularly have to use Western will be again slapped in the face by homeowners who are only willing to accept a certain number of cars through their neighborhood.

Mandating a public road through Ponte Vista would make it that much harder to keep the site exclusively R1. Betsy, the planning person is of the opinion that Bob could be required to provide the road, even if the current zoning remains the same. Bob disagrees with her and he believes he bought all the land he bought and unless he gets zoning changes, he is under no obligation to provide a public road anywhere at Ponte Vista.

This last point is probably the most important point that needs to be settled. We already are going to get the ATSAC system Bob tauts as being the be all end all to traffic mitigation. We are going to get ATSAC whether there is one house 429 houses, zero houses, or some number higher than 500 built at Ponte Vista. It is not up to Bob for us to get ATSAC, so that mitigation is null and void in his attempts to build according to his current plans.

I am also of the opinion that IF a public road is built at Ponte Vista, Bob would have to have some zoning relief, or he doesn't have to build it. This all could end up in yet another court battle and that is not all that bad, if you think about it.

For the R Neighborhoods Are 1 supporters, this information is yet another feather in your cap, in my opinion. If Bob doesn't build the road, that is just one more "community benefit" that won't need to be fought over and no compromise to keeping the site with its current zoning is required at all.

I just feel that this, seemingly, sweetheart deal Mary Star made with the homeowners near Taper, makes the rest of us have to deal with MORE young drivers along Western that we shouldn't have to.

No public road, no compromise, no problem!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

CAC Meeting Thursday

Councilwoman Janice Hahn's Community Advisory Committee meets at 6:00 PM, Thursday April 26, 2007 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, in San Pedro.

There is supposed to be a report by members of the L.A. Department of Transportation gang.
We have not heard if they are going to present a report on the new Traffic Study requested by Ms. Hahn. Heck, it seems nobody knows what they are going to report on. Many of us think they don't know, either.

This is probably going to be a fun and important meeting. I don't expect any surprizes from Mike Bagheri and others at DOT, unless they have found where they placed their reasoning.

I think Bob and his gang will show up in force after finding themselves being befuddled by large numbers of folks representing R Neighborhoods Are 1, that showed up for the last meeting.

Now here is a question. If you believe in R1 and you believe that members of the Community Advisory Committee should represent your wishes, are you willing to demand that members of that committee call for keeping the current zoning at Ponte Vista, what it currently is?

How would you feel if the folks you believe represent your interests come up with recommendations that call for some kind of compromise and some zoning changes?

When I was a member of the CAC, I was informed that I represented the wishes of the folks in R.P.V. who I was supposed to represent. As many of you know, I was one of the more vocal members of that body who challenged many of the issues and dealings with the folks at City Planning. Should I have called for keeping R1, the current zoning for Ponte Vista, if I had stayed on the CAC until recommendations were made?

Do you think you have a right and responsibility to call for members of the CAC you believe should represent your interests, for them to recommend keeping the zoning as it currently is?

Do you think the majority of members of the CAC will listen?

In defense of the CAC, they are being lobbied heavily by some members of Janice Hahn's staff and folks from the Planning Department to come up with numbers of units that would mean zoning changes for Ponte Vista. They are now under tremendous pressure by some folks in L.A. government and planning to make recommendations that will essentially be a compromise set of recommendation that would lead to Janic Hahn POSSIBLY calling for compromise and zoning changes. Is that what you want?

I am asking these questions because I know I am the oddball in the R Neighborhoods Are 1 organization. If you don't know my position, then please check other posts. I would like to know where you stand about whether the CAC is still strong in representing your interests, or after the pressure placed on them, beginning to bow to the wishes of certain unelected folks in government and planning?

If you feel that the CAC is heading down the wrong road, I strongly suggest you attend the meeting and let them know your feelings.

Bob Bisno is not compromising in any way, in writing, that I have been able to find. If the CAC makes recommendations that might lead to zoning changes, how would you feel about that?

Who does the CAC really represent, or even if they represent anybody, and what are your current expectations of the members?

Please remember these 13 individuals have volunteered to be in a fishbowl and attacked from all sides. They are members of OUR community and I certainly do not want them to make decisions they will be criticized for, by anyone, because of their service to US and the recommendations they MAY make.

Who knows, perhaps they might vote to all drop out because of the pressure from certain members of city government and planning. Who might that hurt? Perhaps no one.

Folks, I still feel the CAC is doing the best they can under increasingly more pressure and higher demands to come up with recommendations that Janice Hahn may just ignore and would probably be ignored by Bob, anyway.

If you don't want compromise and want 23oo units built, let the CAC know.
If you dont want compromise on the current zoning of the site, let the CAC know.

Let the CAC know what you want and WHY you want it.

Time is beginning to run out. The CAC is now being almost ordered to come up with some recommendations soon. If you believe the CAC should represent you, then now is the time to let them know.

I am not changing my basic position, but I now recognize that if Bob Bisno is not willing to compromise, he may let the CAC do the compromising for him and that would be a lose-lose for the members of the CAC, Janice Hahn, and OUR community.

Bob Bisno must compromise FIRST, before any recommendation from the CAC is even put on the table. If he abdicates his responsibility and allows unelected government workers and planners to pressure the CAC to come up with compromise recommendations, We all lose and Bob win-wins.

Let Tom Field and I stand out in the desert and take the heat from all sides by our calls for compromise. There only needs to be two of us before Bob blinks. No blink, no compromise.

A "Point of View" Contribution

Here below is a point of view from Valerie Smith-Griffin.

"Back in the day", as a youth attending Dana Jr. High, I vividly recall the "wars" that routinely simmered between the "Slavs" and the "Croatians" and how one afternoon, while opening my Yellow Submarine lunchbox to Twinkies and Tab, fellow "scrubs" and I wondered if the Croatians REALLY bombed Slav Hall. A few years into the future, there was the mystery and ongoing debate of "urban myth or reality" of the downright eerie "Tin Can Man", who was allegedly a tormented teen that wore tin cans on his feet and roamed the fields of Friendship Park - and only the most foolish would venture into the park at night. Even more enlightening to me and entertaining as hell was the "Paul is Dead" fiasco, and not to be outdone, the Warren Commission Kennedy Assassination debates. In recent years, I have reached the conclusion that while the unsubstantiated "Pedro myths" and the news that universally panicked Beatles fans and roused politicos caused ample commotion, all are as significant as a tinker's dam compared to the topics that seem to be as controversial to San Pedro as the Iraq War is to the world, the Ponte Vista project, and it's second cousin, Eastview Little League.

Because the Ponte Vista project does not include housing for the homeless and poverty/low income (housing), I've decided it to be just another greedy vulture venture. I'm certain that if an 80-year old hotel were on the property, we'd see plans for conversion to $800,000 1-bedroom lofts. I'm uncertain as to where our homeless will go when Pacific Avenue becomes a swift-moving river but I'm certain it won't be Ponte Vista. Hey, maybe they can pitch tents across the street - at Green Hills.

And call me a demented Pedro whore but not all of us feel children should have a priority when it comes to open space. Our dogs? absolutely, but children? No. Not all of us living in San Pedro are parents or, if we are parents, our children have interests other than a mitt and a bat. The BOD ( Board of Directors) needs to stop whining like horny alley cats and find a location outside of Pedro. I don't know about the rest of you but to me, the price of gas ALONE, dictates the urgent need for a Target. I'm not sure where the rest of you buy your softer than a baby's rump toilet paper and ooh-la-la underwear, but I'm not willing to pay $4.00 per gallon en route to Torrance Target as I whiz by DiCarlo's ghostly fields. The delightful screams of children playing are not necessarily music to my ears, thank you. Given the choice, I'd much rather hear the sound of Satellite radio on aisle nine.

Valerie Smith-Griffin

Well, this is certainly a different contribution than I have seen. I think Ms. Smith-Griffin can imagine how hard she may have punched into the bellies of the former players-now parents of Eastview Little League.

I for one, being a former player at Eastview, am not going to touch this argument with a ten-foot pole. I do find her opinion concerning Ponte Vista to be refreshing and different than many of the opinions I have heard before.

Valerie Smith-Griffin worked on the decade of the 1970's room at the San Pedro High School's Centennial Celebration. She created a panel that was very reflective of her senior class from the high school, and it was by far, the most artistic panel of the decade.

Valerie also took the best photograph of our beloved Cookie that has ever been taken and both Terri and I have that photo deep in our hearts. Cookie, of course, loved being petted by Valerie and everyone else during the construction of the panels in our back yard.

Thank you Valerie, for your contribution. I think it may spur even more debate.

Editor's note: Ms. Smith-Griffin chose to include her point of view concerning Eastview Little League in a post that also included a point of view concerning Ponte Vista.

Normally this blog does not deal with the very heavy issues surrounding Eastview Little League, but the editor was a former player, has opinions about the issue, but considers this blog is better suited dealing with all things Ponte Vista. Unless and until Bob blinks and allows Eastview Little League land he originally offered to them, I feel Eastview Little League is better suited working with their own Web sites and blogs. For the record, I did sign the Save Eastview Little League petition.

This blog called for Bob to immediately open the gates to the area where the current baseball field now sits on the south side of Ponte Vista. I believe that Bob should step up to the plate and give the league the land as a demonstration that greed is not his only reasoning for keeping them off of that land. Eastview Little League would have ball fields ready for next season, Bob might look less hated in the community, and it would show some folks that MAYBE Bob does understand the words, "community benefit."

I have also called for off-leash dog parks at Ponte Vista.

Numbers Really Don't Mean a Thing, But.

Bob likes to taut numbers.

Here are some numbers about this blog. Thank you, each and every one of you, who have visited, commented, and debated on this blog.

188 viewable posts.

623 comments, of those 167 have come from me. I save all of the comments because they also are Emailed to me.

As of 6:15 PM, 6,986 visits since September, 2006, with 11,528 pages viewed.

Average number of visits per day, 65.

Now to be honest, there are a lot of visitors who just click on and then leave without any time measured against their visit. There are also several visitors from and (none of them me) whose visits are counted twice each time they visit this blog.

I appreciate all the folks who have visited this blog to learn, argue, share, wonder, and keep concerned about the Ponte Vista at San Pedro project.

This is a free blog where no one is beholding to any advertiser or financial backer. Please feel free to share your thoughts in comment or perhaps, a contribution of a written post.

My site meter should be available for everyone to view.

I am still, simply amazed.

Be well,
Mark Wells
aka M Richards

Two Legends Join Protest

Another protest demonstration was held this morning, outside the gates of Ponte Vista by members of R Neighborhoods Are 1. Lots of folks honked their horns as they drove by on their way northbound on Western Avenue. Just think of how their commute will change if Bob gets his way and builds 2,300 condos and adds at least 9,212 mor cars on Western every day!

For the second time, the legendary "Elvis" Trani has received a humongous number of honks of horns as "The King" demonstrates for what he feels should remain at Ponte Vista.

The second legend is Mr. Neal Kleiner, smiling and wearing the tie,one of the two candidates running for Mike Lansing's seat on the LAUSD Board of Education. Mr. Kleiner also opposes Bob's current plans and wants everyone to know that he won't take political contributions from Bob Bisno. With Neal is R Neighborhoods Are 1's own Gabriel Rivas.

If you look in the back into the background of the picture you may notice that Dr. Richard Vladovich, the other candidate to fill Mike's old seat, is not in the picture. Could it be that he was having ANOTHER meeting with Bob Bisno? Who knows? We all do know that Dr. Vladovich wasn't at either of the protests. What is Dr. Vladovich's stance on residential development at Ponte Vista?

In this photo, I allow you the chance to decide which sign you prefer. The sign in front calls for Ponte Vista to just simply keep the current zoning it has had for many years now. The other sign shows the dream of an out-of-OUR-community's developer, who wishes to build a private condo development, behind gates, and guarded to keep folks he may feel are not worthy of coming into Ponte Vista, away from.

For more pictures of both protests, please visit

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Don't Throw the Card Away, Yet

Here is my card I received from Bob and the gang yesterday. There have been calls for just throwing it away, but perhaps there could be some use for this card.

As you can see, the card has both mine and my wife's name on it. It I were to send it in with one of our signatures on it, would Bob count us both as becoming supporters? Pehaps he just might.

As you can also see, the address on the card just happens to be the address of Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

The phone number. (888) BEN-ICE1 or "Be nice 1" That doesn't sound like it is coming from a "ranting elitist", does it?

Now look closely who actually signed the card If it isn't none other than

Dabby Duck, the lesser known cousin of his more famous cousin, Daffy.

When some folks get junk mail with postage paid return envelopes and cards, they put whatever they want to in and on the envelope or card and mail it in. Bob and his group won't get charged postage if cards aren't mailed in. I can imagine someone or many, many, many someones mailing thier cards back in with somewhat questionable information on it just to see if they get counted and Bob's organization would get charged for the postage.

I know mailing one card back in that is not completely factual won't cost Bob hardly any money, but what if lots and lots and lots of folks do the same thing? Bob did not send any of us legal documents with this mailing, and I doubt that we are under any legal obligation to provide Mr. Bisno with factual information, unless of course, you includes the words: "mix of singel-family housing, condominiums, and townhomes..."

So I think I will send this card back to Bob. Perhaps you can find your card among the garbage the vast majority of you placed it with.

I'm being nice and I didn't print my phone number as reading "eat poop" did I?

How About a Contest?

What about having a contest to see who can create great cards to return to Bob?

Below is the first entry from Ann. Her entry would fit into the "serious' category, the judges feel.

The judges have thought about having different categories for entries. The categories are as follows: Serious, Humourous, Artistic, and Bland.

There aren't many rules about what should or should not be on entries, other than no profanity, no dirty pictures, no personal attacks, and things that would not make us all appear to be as "nice" as supporters want us to be.

Please Email your .jpg entries to and not only will I try to include your card on this blog, I will also enter your card into the contest.

Prizes? O.K. Would a personalized button be alright? This is a free contest and the prizes have been donated by the judges, so there is no money that needs to change hands. HOWEVER, if you feel like bribing judges, then you can make your check out to
R Neighborhoods Are 1, and send it to the address on their Web site.
Unfortunately any and all bribes would be appreciated, but they will not influence the judges' opinions in any way.

The judges for this contest are: Mark Wells, M Richards, Sven Ludvquist O'Brien, Nel, Gus, and Dr. Vlegalgruber.

Please folks, have fun creating your masterpieces like Ann did.

The deadline for entries is soon because we want you to mail your entries back to Bob and his gang as soon as possible. Let's say May 3 will be the deadline, o.k.?

Thanks again Ann, for your entry.

Stop! Go to Life on the Edge

Howdy folks,

Now I want you all to stop reading this post and click on to Life on the edge at or click on the link to the right.

You are most welcome to come back here anytime, but I would like to to view the post created on Monday April 23, by "Banditos Yanquis".

Thank you.

Monday, April 23, 2007

That Mailing!

Did you get it? I finally did at about 5:45 on Monday afternoon. A wonderful person faxed the mailing to me so I could read what the folks at Ponte Vista are STILL claiming. Then when my pre-printed post card arrived, I finally got a look at what Bob paid for.

First, I looked everywhere for the word "compromise" I didn't expect to see it, so I wasn't surprised when I didn't find it.

This mailing looks like Bob's original proposal and I don't see anywhere in it where he even suggest some of the things he has talked about changing from his original proposal. Isn't it about time Bob, at least, puts into writing some of the changes to his plans he has mentioned to the CAC and others?

I think what I am going to do is copy the mailing on this post and make my own comments in between the paragraphs. Watch out though, you might learn some facts that contradict Bob's writing.

“Remember when communities were more than a collection of homes?”
Sure I do Bob, OUR community is more than a collection of homes, it is a real community made up of diversity in construction, diversity in population, and a great diversity in income.

“Our neighbors were our extended families. Seniors. The young. The starry-eyed kids just starting out. All of them, sharing in the life and vitality of the community. We learned from each other . And everyone was a little bit richer for it.”
Hey Bob, some of our neighbors are real members of our families, especially in San Pedro. Perhaps our neighbors were a bit better at sentence construction, too. Ponte Vista might allow for some seniors to live closer to their families, but don’t bet on those younger members being able to afford to live near mom and pop.

“The Ponte Vista residential community offers 575 condominiums built especially for seniors in a gated community and 1,725 condominiums and town homes that will appeal to everyone-from first time homebuyers to those looking for a little bit of luxury." Bob, I thought you mentioned several times that you were thinking about uping the percentage of Senior Housing to 40%. What happened to those comments? To suggest that housing at Ponte Vista “will appeal to everyone” is not only very dogmatic, but it is untrue! Yes Bob, first time homebuyers might be able to buy a home at Ponte Vista if they make somewhere near $100,000.00 per year. Then they would still need, according to your own documentation, a yearly salary of about $144,000.00 to maintain their lifestyle in their 650 square foot condo, or did I miss something?

“Ponte Vista will be built around an abundant network of resort-like open spaces, including a 2.5 acre Village Green with connecting walking trails and bike paths. The center piece of the development will be a beautiful two-acre water concourse with numerous outdoor plazas for relaxing, lush gardens, and fountains.” I did not know until now that trails were actually paved walkways. I always considered trails to be made out of dirt, rocks, and sometimes asphalt. Would “hikers” on the “trails” like meeting bikers on the “bike paths”? In Bob’s drawing, I haven’t been able to find any dirt trails or specific bike paths. Of course Bob forgot to mention that these “resort-like” amenities would be private and not available to the general public, or community, if you will.

“A senior center will offer adult education and recreation classes. All homes at Ponte Vista will be within walking distance of the main clubhouse, several swimming pools and a fitness facility.”
Private, non-public, not open to the general community, should probably have been added to this paragraph to let everybody know how segregated Bob’s community will be compared to the rest of OUR community.

“The experts have spoken and Ponte Vista is getting the green light. The City of Los Angeles has agreed that Ponte Vista can fully mitigate the traffic impacts generated by 2,300 homes at Ponte Vista. The residential development will provide millions of dollars in traffic mitigation for communities in the harbor area – things like providing the state of the art Automated Traffic Surveillance System on Western Avenue and at seven intersections in Wilmington. Adding a new signal at Peninsula Verde on Western Avenue for residents and fixing the freeway on and off ramps at Pacific Coast Highway and Anaheim – long time community problems that will finally get fixed with the help of Ponte Vista.”
Oh really? Why has Councilwoman Janice Hahn called for a whole new traffic study to be done? If nothing has been approved concerning Ponte Vista, why are drivers along Western already being impacted by the installation of the new system? It is because, Bob, Caltrans is already doing their part and it is not based on anything you may or may not do! I do appreciate your funding of the new signal at Peninsula Verde Drive, but it probably would meet the “warrants “ necessary for installation, if anything were to be built at Ponte Vista. How can you provide something that has already been approved of and is slated for installation?

“Ponte Vista will replace abandoned, blighted property – the former 62 acre Navy housing site – with a beautiful new master planned community that will focus on “smart growth” principals. A “walkable” community that will take traffic off of Western Avenue by offering on-site retail services. A shuttle service that will take residents to the doctor, to the beach or shopping. A concierge service will match up residents who commute to work in the same direction. All smart ideas to get people out of their cars and into good transit solutions to improve air quality and reduce traffic."
“Well, isn’t that special?” Bob’s “master planned community” might only be smart to the folks who buy into it. Is Bob going to use the concierge service to match residents of his community with members of OUR community to help traffic. I think not! The “on-site retail services” Bob mentions, are going to be the very last part of the development built, according to the documentation, and it will be built years after the first units are built IF plans don’t get changed due to unforeseen economic conditions that might require later phases of the development to be changes or eliminated altogether.

“A six-acre public park will be open to all residents in the harbor area to enjoy with family and friends.

Ponte Vista will provide a permanent public road to the highly anticipated Mary Star of the Sea High School. Students of the High School living at Ponte Vista will find an easy walk to the school."
I guess it is never too late to learn something new. With this last paragraph, I have now learned that “highly anticipated” means under construction, because that is what is now happening with the new school.
And about that “six acre” park. I think I am going to have to post the actual documentation about the real size of the park. It is listed on the drawings as being 5.46 acres in size. 5.46 is less than five and a half, so it is more correct to consider the park being a five-acre park instead of a six-acre park.

As Steve Marconi commented and as illustrated by this Ponte Vista mailing, it really looks to me that Bob Bisno really considers all of us to be stupid. That is not very nice, Bob. Not only do you skew the facts, even your mailing has some glaring flaws in its format and word usage. It has some wording that you think makes up sentences, yet they do not even have a verb.

Bob Bisno, I am proud of my P.H.D. It is the highest diploma from a public institution I have. My “Pedro High Diploma", is just one of the many thousands that can be found in homes in OUR community. I don’t believe I am as stupid as I feel you think members of OUR community are. Many of us can read and there is a large group of people who are learning about your attempts to bring to OUR community a segregated, private, and privileged project that would not fit in to OUR community.

And yes Bob, I too, can spell “speculation”.

Another Contribution of a Post

This is a post contributed by A. Johnson.

I am sure you got the pretty postal flyer from Ponte Vista and how they intend to mitigate traffic everywhere except Western Ave and P.V. Dr. North, the direct impact of this mess. 2,300 homes. Usually families own at least 2 vehicles. Okay, maybe not seniors. At least 3,000 (low figure) more cars spilling onto Western Ave in rush hour, 7:30 - 8:00 am., and afternoon rush hour. Can you imagine how I feel now trying to get to work at that time along with everyone else? My husband leaves at 6:00 just to miss this mess. Ponte Vista is not even developed yet. Neither is that MONSTER fully completed you are talking about. Let's not forget that new high school.

Ponte Vista really wants me to sign their postcard, saying that I accept their property and devaluation of my life. Everyone wants to be a prisoner in their own little community and not drive anywhere, and just shop there in Ponte Vista. "Smart Growth" sounds like a great idea, but will it work? Bisno and his clan should be legally bound to live, breath, work in that development for at least 5 years. Let them be prisoners in their own newly developed community. See how they like to deal with the traffic. Let them feel the full impact of their development. They should live there. It's too much for our community. We are already getting overly crowded. Enough is enough.

My aunt used to work for a property management company. She warned me about condos, CC&Rs, close neighbors, usually the ones whom you share a common wall, above you, below you, or to the side of you; and rules and regulations of what you can and cannot do in your own little living space. We heeded her comments, and found ourselves a nice house. God forbid your neighbor who lives above you has work done on their plumbing from a non professional. Leaks and puddles and water damage occur in your living quarters and the unit below yours!!! Who pays for that? Property management usually doesn't get involved. It's not common space. Is it mandatory for everyone to get home owners insurance. And how do you regulate that? All the horror stories I have heard from her and other condo owners! I will stay away as long as I can from those types of places.

Life as we know it will change forever, and not for the best. If that area needs to be developed, that place should be developed into single family residences, with a lot of green space between homes, kind of the way Laguna Nigel, Aliso Viejo has been developed. Not as many residences can be developed, but it would be a little kinder. I guess it's the all mighty dollars that speaks the loudest.

I wonder, who were the 10,370 people who support Ponte Vista? Are they in this area? Where do they reside?

A. Johnson is just like so many wonderful we have been meeting while a group of folks from R Neighborhoods Are 1 stand outside local supermarkets and ask folks to consider signing the R1 petition. She is a regular person, who is not as involved as many of us are with the issues about the development.

This is another example of a member of our community who wants to share their opinion about Ponte Vista, but probably doesn't have the time to attend the various meetings and other functions that happen, concerning Ponte Vista.

I find it very refreshing to read opinions from community members who have a strong opinion about Ponte Vista, but may not have the opportunity to share their opinions with others.

I did not get the mailing Ms. Johnson was referring to in her post. But she did fax the item to me as I was preparing this post. Thank you for that, Ms. Johnson. Perhaps Bob won't waste postage to the 90275 zip code, or there is some other reason I didn't get the mailing.

Actually folks, some of the individuals working for Bob Bisno, and many seniors on his advisory boards, wish to move into units at Ponte Vista, if and when they are built. We'll see how many real senior supporters still want to buy a market-priced condominium at Ponte Vista once they learn the real prices and other costs of moving out of their pre-proposition 13 home and into a condo with much, much higher taxes, homeowner association dues and other fees they never had to pay for.

Thank you again, A. Johnson, for your post.

John Peterkovich's Letter to the Editor

John Peterkovich had his letter to the editor published in the Sunday April 22, 2007 edition of The Daily Breeze.

I do not know Mr. Peterkovich, I don't believe he has been to any CAC meetings. I have never heard his name used during any steering committee meeting of the R Neighborhoods Are 1 group.

I don't believe Mr. Peterkovich is "connected" with any group either supporting or opposing Bob Bisno's current plans for building 2,300 condos at Ponte Vista. How very refreshing!

Mr. Peterkovich decided to write a letter with any apparent influence by anyone, I feel. He is one of a great number of individuals who may not be as active as others are, when dealing with issues surrounding Ponte Vista, but he is willing to include his opinions on the matters.

I found his conclusions on "fuzzy math" completely different than mine, and I was impressed at how people see things differently and are willing to write about what they believe.

I think everyone should have an opinion about Ponte Vista and those opinions have every right to be read, heard, and seen by everyone.

Here is Mr. Peterkovich's letter:

Bisno's fuzzy math still prices out most

In the April 14 guest column in More San Pedro, Bob Bisno states that his goals are compassionate and altruistic, in that all he wants to do is help the working people of San Pedro. He alone could provide affordable housing to the masses. Teachers, union members, nurses and police officers would be his beneficiaries. All he requests is to be exempt from current zoning laws and build to a density that is five times greater than he is allowed. He does not state what zone he is applying for but this density would be consistent with L.A. City zones R4 or C2 .

His goals sound very noble, indeed, but as my dear pappy always told me "let's follow the money." In his second paragraph Bisno states "a new single-family home in Ponte Vista would cost in the neighborhood of $1.5 million." The following paragraph states "building 429 new single family homes at Ponte Vista" would be too pricey for local families.

Let's do the math: 429 homes at $1.5 million each equals $643.3 million. Wow, that seems like a lot, but everyone is entitled to make a living, and this was the approved legal use of the property when he purchased it. But the purpose here is to make these homes more affordable, so let's take that $643.3 million and divide it by the proposed 2,300 units; that comes to $279,783. So, for his project to be successful he needs to average $279,783 per unit.

When I went to school average meant that one half were above and one half were below the average. However, Bisno's affordable homes start at $330,000 for a 600 square foot unit. That's $550 per square foot for a unit slightly larger than a two-car garage. The other example is an 850 square foot unit for $467,500, again $550 per square foot for a little less than two two-car garages. He further accounts for 1,125 units being in this "affordable" range, but makes no prediction where the other 1,175 units would be priced.

I don't know about you, but I am coming to the conclusion that it is not about serving the community, but rather lining the pocketbook. Please, Bisno, say it ain't so. An old saying states "figures don't lie and liars don't figure."


San Pedro

Thank you John A. Peterkovich for your interesting letter.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Odds and Ends 9

It looks like we are all still waiting for an explanation from the folks at Bisno Development Corp. on who Mr. Bisno arrived at the figures he wrote about in last Saturday's More San Pedro Guest column. I have written to Vice President Elise Swanson of that organization asking for supporting documentation and she wrote back that her group will make the facts known to the public "in the near future".

You may be interested in reading a Guest Column in the Saturday April 21 edition of
More San Pedro responding to you know who's recent Guest Column. The guest columnist for this new piece is the same person who responded to last year's Guest Column from Bob Bisno.
Thanks you to Ms. Farr, the new editor of More San Pedro for making this special inclusion in the magazine.

Trivia Time:

In Bob Bisno's current plans for having a 575-unit Senior Housing section, the DEIR reports that the Daily Trip Generation for this section alone will be 2,001 trips per day, with 46 trips during the peak AM hour and 63 trips during the peak PM hour. Adding in the remaining 1,725 non-age restricted units would bring the daily trip generation total to about 9,212 trips per day.

By contrast, the DEIR reports that in the 429 (R1 only) alternative, there would be 4,106 daily trips generated, with 322 trips during the peak AM hour, and 433 trips during the peak PM hour.

It should be noted that all figures documented in the DEIR for trip generation have been part of the many areas questioned by some opponents of Mr. Bisno's current plans.

I certainly hope that with the new proposals for building two new public senior high schools in San Pedro, instead of just one at the Ponte Vista site, our community does not become even more divided than it already seems to be. Personally, I do not believe a school should be built in San Pedro to ease overcrowding at Narbonne H.S. as SRHS #14 is not projected to be.

I think building a 1,215-seat senior high school in the Point Fermin area of our community is also not only a poor idea, but I did find it very funny when I first heard about it from the folks at LAUSD.

With Ponte Vista, we are all still dealing with the largest residential development proposed since Playa Vista was approved in the City of Los Angeles. To have these two new schools being considered now doesn't seem fair or just that we have to also deal with these schools, too.

I hope the folks in north San Pedro don't fight for having a big school built near Point Fermin just so they can have a smaller school or no school at all in Ponte Vista. I also hope OUR community members living closer the where LAUSD now wants to build the new project, don't require that the entire community accept a 2,025-seat high school at Ponte Vista.

We all need to work together to find some kind of compromise, try and get LAUSD to look elsewhere to build a school to ease the overcrowding of Narbonne, and find the best and smallest ways to ease the overcrowding of San Pedro High School......Go Pirates!!!

Next Thursday's Advisory Committee meeting is scheduled to feature "gang" members from the Department of Transportation of the City of Los Angeles. Comedy galore might become the highlight of that meeting, IMHO.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

2,025-seat SRHS #14 DEAD....BUT..........

A review meeting was held Thursday evening to inform the public of a new set of proposals by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and their facilities division.

Plans to construct a 2,025 seat senior high school at the Ponte Vista site in northwest San Pedro, have given way to a new set of proposals.

This post will deal with the particulars and facts as presented by Mr. Rod Hamiliton of the facilities division of the LAUSD. I will try my best not to interject my opinions in this particular post. Of course, everyone should have an opinion but I think I can address mine in a subsequent post.

The new plan consists of building two new senior high schools in San Pedro. At the Ponte Vista site, LAUSD still plans to build what is now called South Region High School (SRHS) #14, as an 810 seat senior high school. Information about that site is below.

A new proposed high school, which has the designation of SRHS #15, is proposed to be a 1,215-seat senior high school on land currently owned by LAUSD at Angeles Gate, which was part of what was Fort MacArthur.

Here are some new details about the proposal for SRHS #14.

810 seat senior high school campus on between 6-8 acres of land within what is now known as Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

The 30-classroom campus would be comprised of two "small learning communities", and would be built to ease overcrowding at Narbonne High School.

The "preferred site" is still in the northern portion of the Ponte Vista site, where Bob Bisno want to construct his Senior Housing section, according to his current plans.

The site is within San Pedro, but like the rest of the Ponte Vista site, it is within the Wilmington-Harbor City Community Plan Area.

With this new proposal for SRHS #14, there is not a more detailed description of the site available at this time.

Here are some facts about the newly proposed SRHS #15.

The 1,215 seat senior high is proposed to be built within a 28 acre preferred site on land LAUSD already owns at Angels Gate, or Fort MacArthur.. If I remember correctly, the land required to build SRHS #14 will be about 12 acres.

The 45 classroom campus will have three "small learning communities" and will ease the overcrowding of San Pedro High School.

There are no site plans as yet for this campus, and many, many issues still need to be addressed.

One of the biggest issues as yet unaddressed is ingress and egress of the campus.

There are already LAUSD facilities in the larger site which the district owns near the 28 acre "preferred site."

The Board of Education is slated to vote for approval of the two new site plans on May 22, 2007. The meeting is open to the public.

Councilwoman Janice Hahn spoke at the review meeting and said that she liked the idea of "500 seat academies" and as I stood behind her when she made her remarks, I believe she said she did not like both proposals for a 810-seat school and a 1,215-seat school. She also applauded the districts efforts at working towards compromise and wishes more talks will be held dealing with compromise.

A Councilman from the City of Lomita spoke and suggested that a school to ease overcrowding at Narbonne should be built closer to Narbonne and perhaps in Lomita.

These are the facts as I know them right now and the opinions of two Council members.

Your comments are very welcome.

Some Thoughts About the New Proposals

Five public senior high schools in San Pedro?

A new senior high school near Taper Avenue Elementary, J.F. Cooper Continuation High School, Rolling Hills Prep, Mary Star of the Sea High School, and Dodson Middle School?

A new public 1,215-seat senior high school with the closest public road being Alma?

The first thing I think about is AT LEAST LAUSD is dealing with compromise. I think they blinked at the huge school in northwest San Pedro and are now trying to come up with something that, they feel, will work.

I have to give these folks for turning the corner on past performances. During the first two meetings the folks at LAUSD were not the nicest folks to come into our community and demand that we take a 2,025-seat school on Western Avenue. I am impressed with Mr. Hamilton's willingness to talk about compromise, even if he did sound a bit rough about the Ponte Vista site.

So, the first thing I spoke to the assembly about when it was my turn to talk was that I appreciated their position on willing to talk about compromise. Now if I can just get a certain developer to talk about compromise, perhaps our community will start going somewhere.

Rod Hamilton, the head of the facilities issues for this area told the crowd that Bob Bisno had just lost his appeal in appellate court, that blocked access by LAUSD to do their testing at the Ponte Vista site. He expects testing to begin shortly. Rod still wants to build the smaller school right where Bob wants to build his senior housing.

The LAUSD will need to acquire any land at Ponte Vista that Bob doesn't want to sell them by the use of suing Mr. Bisno for the right of eminent domain for the land required to build the school and access to that school. There could always be some kind of a deal where Bob might willingly sell the land to LAUSD, but I am not holding my breath on that item.

As for putting any LAUSD school at Ponte Vista, I am still opposed. Even if everybody becomes lovey-dovey, a school at Ponte Vista would only have Western Avenue as an ingress and egress route, and that simply, is not enough for me.

Councilwoman Janice Hahn still thinks 500-seat schools placed throughout the area would be a good idea. Bob Bisno did say at times, that he would entertain ideas concerning a 500-seat school at Ponte Vista, but unless there is a road from Western Avenue to Gaffey Street built, I would not even support a 500-seat school at Ponte Vista.

Now, what about a 1,215-seat senior high school at Angels Gate? Well here I am torn. To think that Alma could possibly handle having another high school anywhere near it, is ridiculous, knowing where that part of Alma would be affected.

There is a small, almost, road going through L.A.City land near Gaffey and 30th Street that would have to be purchased and highly upgraded by LAUSD if access from Gaffey were offered. I have no idea what the residents of the north side and the south side of the area might think about having to give access to a high school via their streets.

Some folks have pointed out that IF LAUSD built a new school down at Angels Gate, one of the mitigation points might be a new large swimming pool that the public could use. Rod Hamilton suggested that both sites would have recreational facilities that would open to the public.

Back to SRHS #14. Rod Hamiliton was quite profound when he said that if the Board of Education approved the new set of proposals, then he was ready to go full steam ahead on the 810-seat campus at Ponte Vista, especially since his side won the most recent round in court.
It seems he was not interested in the Lomita location issue or the other issue in north San Pedro.

You see, folks, There is a site in north San Pedro that LAUSD already owns. It is a site that currently has a very low enrollment continuation high school and a science center on it.
If you move the students, (probably 60) from the continuation school in north San Pedro to the school site that already has students at it at Angels Gate, and move the science center from where it is now, to the Angels Gate area, where there is much more in the way of science activities nearby, then think of what you could do with that land?

This issue would be a very, very, very hot button. If you built a new 810-seat school on Barrywood, it would anger the residents in that area, for sure. But if you did build such a school there, it could be accessed from both Western Avenue and Gaffey Street.

Of course, building any school in San Pedro to ease overcrowding of a school located in Harbor City and very close to Lomita is just really stupid, IMHO. Surely there are sites that can be found for an 810-seat school closer to Narbonne. We are no longer talking about a 2,025-seat school and there would only be a need for 6-8 acres. Just how big is the student parking area at Narbonne anyway? SPHS has no student parking on campus, why shouldn't Narbonne's student parking area give way for a 4 storey academy structure?

So let's try to get SRHS #14 moved out of San Pedro. Let's take a tour of the Harbor City/Lomita areas and help the LAUSD find a better spot to build a school to ease the overcrowding of Narbonne.

As for the overcrowding at San Pedro, I feel that a ninth grade academy at Angels Gate, with about needs for 1,000 seats would probably work.

We'll see, and I await your comments.

Illustrations of SRHS #15 site

Here are two illustrations of where LAUSD may build SRHS #15.

The first photo is taken from my memory of the presentation given at the Thursday meeting where the new campus was revealed to the public. On a slide of the site, there was a red box, a bit smaller than the one in this photo that suggested the possible location of the new campus. I don't have the PowerPoint presentation yet to copy the slide, but I think you can get an idea where some of the folks at LAUSD think the new campus should be.
The illustration below, is taken from the pamphlet given to me by Mr. Rod Hamilton and it shows the entire area owned by LAUSD as the preferred site.
If you go back and look at the first photo, you may see some of the very big road problems that would face such a large campus at Angels Gate.
Alma is too narrow on the west side.
There is no break in the housing on 30th. Street.
The road on the east side, near the intersection of Gaffey Street and 30th. Street is old, too narrow, owned by the City of Los Angeles, too steep, and would have to be completely rebuilt.
The road, 36th. Street on the south side is too narrow, is up the hill from 37th. Street, is part of an almost enclosed neighborhood, and would probably have to use Paseo del Mar as the arterial for that route.

There is probably no need to even consider the existing intersections on Gaffey to the park and cultural center.

How might information about SRHS #15 impact what may or may not happen at Ponte Vista, and why should I bring this up on a blog concerning Ponte Vista?

Just as the Ponte Vista project has divided this community in terms of residential development, one might consider that a new division might be created by LAUSD suggesting that folks towards the southern end of OUR community, accept a high school in their area as well.

I hope, beyond hope that we do not become even more divided because of the schools issue. I don't think a four-year high school should be built at Angels Gate, but I do have a suggestion.

IF folks can compromise on a 9th. grade academy at Angels Gate, PERHAPS LAUSD would fund a new swimming pool there for use by both high schools and the public. We could possibly get the old Gaffey Street pool replaced by one funded by LAUSD. PERHAPS, even though most 9th. graders aren't 16-years old, we might get LAUSD to build a parking lot or structure that could be used by the public and the cultural center during the evenings and on weekends.

But my ideas are just mine and I hope everyone considers whether they would tolerate a new campus at Angels Gate, and what that campus might look like.

I feel the best results come from compromise. I think we can do better by talking things through, learning as much of the facts as possible, and trying to come up with the best plans possible for everyone.

Again, if you have strong feelings about either SRHS #14 and/or SRHS #15, the LAUSD Board of Education is slated to vote for these new proposals on May 22, 2007. There is not much time to get organized, so we all had better begin talking......a lot......and real soon!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Releasing Pricing Information

In last Saturday's More San Pedro insert of The Daily Breeze, Mr. Bob Bisno had a guest column published where he stated some possible prices for units he is proposing to build at Ponte Vista.

I wrote to Ms. Elise Swanson, a Vice President of Bisno Development Corp., seeking source documentation Mr. Bisno used for the figures he wrote about. I did this because I had never read in any formal documentation, of what the price for the least expensive unit might be at Ponte Vista and I heard Mr. Bisno himself say what he thought the least priced units might go for.

The figure Mr. Bisno mentioned to me and the figure stated in the guest column are different.

Mr. Bisno can say and write whatever he wants about the possible prices for units at Ponte Vista because he is the developer and he, above probably anyone else, would and should know what the prices may be. It is his right and, I believe his responsibility, to tell all of us what the prices might be because of the storm of controversy over the word "affordable" when used by supporters and opponents of his project.

Here is the body of the reply to my Email to Ms. Swanson, regarding the source documentation concerning the prices Mr. Bisno used in his guest column:

"Thank you for your interest in our pricing information that appeared in Bob’s column. As a team, we have decided that we will release our documentation on pricing to the entire community in the near future."

Well, that is fair enough for me. I just hope the "near future" is closer to now than later. Perhaps before supporters, opponents, and even those of us who wish for compromise deal much more with possible pricing, we should wait JUST A LITTLE WHILE for the folks at Bisno Development to provide the documentation Ms. Swanson claims is coming.

Also I think we all need to agree that the housing market is undergoing some changes and those changing issues may last for sometime in the future. It is fair to suggest that pricing for units proposed by Mr. Bisno might change, reflecting the changes now and in the future of the housing market.

That MONSTER and Other Photos

This post originally was published on March 13, 2007. Since then "that MONSTER" was given the name of Seaport Luxury Homes, and their Web site, has come online and has been revised several times.

I wanted to move this post because I recently received a comment from someone who bought a unit in one of the other two developments on Fitness Drive. I think this person made some good points that I feel should be shared.

The first two photos are of what I call "that MONSTER". Its address is 28000 South Western Avenue, and it is the Sea Port Condominiums at San Pedro.

(If you move your mouse over each picture and click the mouse, the photos should be enlarged for better viewing.)

It is NOT part of Ponte Vista at San Pedro, and I am happy to report that more community members are becoming more informed about how it is not part of Mr. Bisno's current plans, but it is important in any discussion and debate of Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

According to the ordinance passed by the Los Angeles City Council, 28000 Western Avenue is approved for up to 136 units of residences.

The first view is a panning shot of the building along Fitness Drive. Fitness Drive will have three condominium developments consisting of a 62-unit structure nearest Western Avenue, Sea Port Condominiums with 136 units, and Casa Verde Estates, with 129 units. All of these units will have only Fitness drive as their ingress and egress road to Western Avenue. Fitness Drive has a stop sign, currently at Western Avenue. There MAY be plans to connect Fitness Drive with any public road built in Ponte Vista, but currently, there is no access road between the developments on Fitness Drive and the Ponte Vista site.

This second shot is of the back of 28000 Western Avenue as it looked on March 13, 2007. A portion of the Ponte Vista site is in the foreground. As you will note, there are two levels of parking under four levels of residential building. Mr. Bisno plans to have all of the parking under the buildings at Ponte Vista and below ground level. Mr. Bisno also plans a number of buildings with six stories of residential units above ground, so this photo may also present a good illustration of what the height of Mr. Bisno's six-story buildings might be.

At this point I feel it necessary to remind readers about two very important facts. The building which appears in these two photographs is of a development of 136 residential units. Mr. Bob Bisno's current plans call for NINE buildings at Ponte Vista that would have more units than the one pictured here. There is one building drawn on the Ponte Vista site plans that is shown to have 187 units, 51 units more than the building photographed here.

If you notice very closely at between that MONSTER and the building to its right, you might notice what appears to be a very small road. There is actually a narrow roadway between these two buildings. It is used as access to and from the garage parking of the building on the right.

This next photo is of Fitness Drive looking east. The 62-unity condominium building is in the foreground to the left. Looking further down the drive and to the left, you can see that MONSTER, or at least a tiny section of it. Notice how the large truck and trailer take up much of the width of the drive. Looking to the very end, Casa Verde Estates is at the end of the drive.

The Photo below is of the building closest to Western Avenue on Fitness Drive. It is a 62-unit structure. Not one of the 20 buildings currently planned for Ponte Vista at San Pedro will have as few units as this building has. The closest number of units per building at Ponte Vista is scheduled to have 67 units.

This last photo is of that portion of Casa Verde Estates that abuts the Ponte Vista property. It is primarily a three-story structure with underground parking. This development sits between that MONSTER and "The Gardens" condominium development. There appears to be no access between Casa Verde Estates and any road or access to the east or south, other than Fitness Drive.

This photographic journey along Fitness Drive illustrates three different developments, with three different totals for units per building. These three developments, taken together, can provide a small illustration of what may be built at Ponte Vista.

Ponte Vista at San Pedro, as currently planned, will have 20 residential structures with a total of 2,300 homes. Nine of the buildings will have more units in them than "that MONSTER", but none of the buildings will have as few at the building on Fitness Drive closest to Western Avenue.

None of the three developments pictured are part of Ponte Vista at San Pedro, but every resident in the three buildings will be severely impacted by traffic issues if an access road between them and the public road planned at Ponte Vista is not built.

Monday, April 16, 2007

A Little More Stuff

I hope when you read the posts on this blog, you take the time to read the comments, too. Some very interesting debate and lively "discussion" takes place in the comments sections. Sometimes comments about topics are within another post. Please have fun and consider joining the debate.

I strongly urge the folks who are putting on the April 19 meeting about reviewing the SRHS #14 project have just a very few words to say. How about, "Plans for building a 2,025 seat senior high school on the Ponte Vista site have ended." That's all I want and need to hear. Anything else, like any continued statements about building such a large school in northwest San Pedro should be shouted down with the highest volume of people shouting their discontent about continued suggestions that such a school should be built.

Moving posts around this blog is very easy. Sometimes you see posts moved up or down on this blog. Perhaps you may think you are reading something you thought you saw posted on another date. Please don't fret, it is not your mind wandering, it's these posts that move around.

Really gang, you all should come to the next CAC meeting. Please read the post about the free Thursday night event. The next one is April 26 and the comedy team from the City Department of Transportation is going to put on a show that will probably have all of us in stitches. There are newer traffic counts being conducted now on Western. P.C.H. is looking like their ATSAC is going in, too.

Don't ever take walking free of pain for granted. If you see me, the answer is avascular necrosis, or osteo necrosis. Osteo necrosis translates to bone death and it is a treatable condition. When blood supply is cut off to bones, they begin to die. 90% of the folks who get osteo necrosis get it in their hips. That's where I've got mine. Please don't feel sorry for me. See how much writing I get to do when I am not climbing poles or crawling under or over houses?
Besides, the wonderful things they are doing with titanium these days, makes me look forward to becoming partially metallic. Part of me will be just like the case of my Panasonic Tough Book work laptop computer.

Need some more humor? Take a look at

Facts: Believe Them or Not!

I think we need to review some true facts about Ponte Vista at San Pedro. I am seeing far too many folks make too many uniformed comments. If someone is going to debate or attack someone else's position, I feel it would help if facts were used instead of rumors and errors.

There is a great deal of information about the Ponte Vista at San Pedro project that is available. If anyone has a specific question, please email it to me and I will try my best to truthfully answer each and every question. Whether you support Bob's current plans or not, I will answer your questions confidentially if you would like and I will be happy to give you information to bolster whatever side you are on.

I absolutely, positively feel that, the more you know about Bob's current plans, the less you will like them.

Here are some true facts you may or may not know:

Councilwoman Janice Hahn's Community Advisory Committee meets to create and provide recommendations to the Councilwoman.

The current zoning of the site that would eventually become Ponte Vista at San Pedro was established in 1980 by a majority of the members of the Los Angeles City Council when the land was annexed into the City of Los Angeles with the adoption of Ordinance Number 154-525.

If the current zoning remains at Ponte Vista, a developer would be allowed to build up to 429 market-rate, single-family, detached housing units on lots of at least 5,000 square feet. Those housing units could be up to two stories in height or up to 30 feet in height.

If a developer were to seek a "density bonus" by offering qualifying units, with the same zoning, the developer would then be able to build up to 536 residential units.

A 429-unit development on the Ponte Vista site would allow for a housing density of approximately 7 dwelling units per acre.

As currently planned, The Ponte Vista development would be comprised of twenty residential buildings, listed as "high-rise" residential buildings of 50 units or greater. The smallest building listed on the site plans would house 67 units, the largest building would have 187 units.
(The Seaport Luxury Homes condominium project now under construction next door to the Ponte Vista site will have 136 units.)

If a developer was only allowed to build up to 429 units (R1) on the Ponte Vista site, they would be under no legal obligation to provide any public access to the new Mary Star of the Sea High School through the Ponte Vista property.

The Los Angeles Unified School District is processing plans to possibly build a 2,025 seat Senior High School on approximately 15.03 acres of land now owned by the Ponte Vista developer. The school district would use the right of eminent domain to sue the developer for land necessary to build a school and a jury trial would be required for the price of the land to be ascertained, and the right of eminent domain to go through.

The area of Ponte Vista at San Pedro is equal to 0.09614 square miles.

All ingress and egress for Ponte Vista will be from Western Avenue, and ONLY from Western Avenue.

2,300 units with an average sales price of $712,500.00 would create $1,638,750,000.00 in sales.
Total expenditures and costs by the developer, including the price of the land: $939,000,000.00.

The difference between the cost of the land and costs associated with developing the current project, and the income created from selling 2,300 units: $699,750,000.00.

Nowhere in the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the project are the words:
“single-family housing” mentioned together.

The spending impact that might be generated from the project is based on the number of units and not the population of those units.

The median price for a housing unit in the City of Los Angeles is approximately $581,140.00.

The average sales price if the project has 2,300 units is approximately $712,500.00.

The residential makeup for the City of Los Angeles is 61.4% renters and 38.6% owner-occupied.
The project as planned will be 100% owner-occupied, or that is what the developer claims.

The “approximately 6 acre” acre park is actually 5.46 acres and as such, it is closer to being an “approximately 5 acre park.”

There are six alternative plans for the project listed in the Draft Environmental Impact Report.

The Initial Report for the project listed the potential population of the project would be 7,343 residents.
The Draft Environmental Impact Reported lists the potential population of the project would be 4,313 residents.

The project, as currently planned, would be a guarded and gated development and the retail businesses would only be for residents and guests.

The Draft Environmental Impact Report and the drawing submitted with it showed a misalignment with the Mary Star of the Sea’s campus, currently under construction, east of Ponte Vista. The public road proposed in the legal documents do not line up correctly with the route to the new high school.

The U.S. Navy ended the auction for 41.95 acres if Ponte Vista land on March 7, 2005. The winning bid of $88,000,000.00 was placed by Mr. Bob Bisno and the Bisno Development Corporation.

An additional 19.58 acres within the Ponte Vista area was conveyed to a homeless advocacy group using a “Housing Assistance Conveyance” from an act that became law in 1994.

Mr. Bisno purchased the 19.58 acres of land for $34,000,000.00.

Breakdown of acreage and cost:

41.95 acres at $88,000,000.00 equals $2,097,753.40 (approx) per acre.
19.58 acres at $34,000,000.00 equals $1,736,465.78 (approx) per acre

61.53 total acres for $122,000,000.00 equals $1,982,772.63 (approx)
Per acre.

The statement, associated with the current plans by the developer that: "Ponte Vista will be a mix of single-family housing, condominiums, and town homes affordable to middle-income residents and first-time homebuyers" is not true.

I have complete copies of the Draft Environmental Impact Report and the Initial Study of the project. I have documents for the Southern California Association of Governments. I have the ability to find an abundance of information from the 2000 Census.

Go ahead folks, ask away and please be informed when you try to debate, discuss, or argue the issues.