Tuesday, July 31, 2007

L.A. Times Article on Traffic Counting Methods

Here is an article from the July 31, 2007 edition of "The Los Angeles Times" concerning the way traffic is counted and how the City of Los Angeles is different than other cities and why the method of counting traffic generated by large developments in L.A. should probably be changed to reflect how different L.A. is from so many other cities.

Local traffic count method sought

Two on the council want L.A. planners to find more accurate ways to predict the effect of a raft of new building projects on roadways.

By Sharon Bernstein, Times Staff WriterJuly 31, 2007

With road congestion worsening and development booming, L.A.'s top planner and other city officials said Monday that Los Angeles may be underestimating the traffic generated by all the new projects and urged major changes in how the estimates are made.

The effort to more accurately count traffic comes amid growing concerns about how the building boom underway downtown and in the Westside, San Fernando Valley and other parts the city is affecting already jammed streets and freeways.

The city Planning Department uses a national model that takes into account traffic patterns in several cities, including New York, San Francisco and Miami, to predict how much traffic a project would generate. Developers are then required to pay for left-turn signals, freeway offramps and other roadway improvements meant to lessen congestion caused by people going to and from new structures.

But Planning Director Gail Goldberg on Monday said the national standards might not work in Los Angeles, which has an unusual amount of urban sprawl and a limited mass transit system.

Rather than rely on information from cities with better transportation systems or less sprawl, Los Angeles should develop its own system of estimating traffic based on the way people here drive and where they live, she said.

"We are seriously underestimating the cumulative impact of the growth in a community," Goldberg said. Without changing the way we estimate traffic — and integrating that information into a citywide system of community plans — neighborhoods could become more and more congested, despite the city's best efforts to keep traffic flowing, Goldberg said.

Revised traffic counts could create obstacles for developers if shopping centers, condo complexes and other projects were judged to generate more traffic than the national model indicates. And if those projects were found to have a greater impact on traffic, the cost of such improvements could soar.

If the city chooses to develop a sophisticated model, the effort would require extensive research. Planners would have to count cars on streets and freeways throughout the city and develop mathematical models to consider the number of car trips generated by people going to and from shopping centers, homes and businesses. The model would also have to consider the effect of people who drive into a neighborhood from other communities or cities.

"The traffic counts need to reflect the neighborhoods where development occurs," said Councilwoman Wendy Greuel, who represents the Valley. She and Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who represents the Westside, will ask the Planning Department at today's council meeting to propose new ways of estimating the impact of development on traffic.

Properly estimating traffic has become an issue as several large projects are coming on line around the city. Included are high-rise condominium towers planned for Century City, mixed-use developments along Hollywood Boulevard and a proposed expansion of the Sherman Oaks Fashion Square mall.

Local residents have complained that the city is underestimating the traffic effects of the developments. But supporters have said that because the projects include a mixture of residential and commercial uses they would generate less traffic because the residents can walk to work or shop there.

Ellen Vukovich, a board member of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Assn. who is concerned about traffic and overdevelopment, welcomed a new way to predict traffic. But she said it could be years before the model is complete — and by then the large projects in the pipeline would be built."

It sounds really good, but in the meanwhile, what are we supposed to do?" Vukovich said.

She suggested that the city put in place moratoriums on growth until the new data is available.

Robert Scott, a former president of the Los Angeles Planning Commission who also heads a Valley business association, said he supported the idea of getting better data, but was concerned about the city's motivation.

"It's always good to be more factual, but if the purpose is to stifle economic development, that would be a mistake," Scott said. "We don't need to make it tougher for people to get through the process."

The move to improve the city's traffic data is part of a broader effort by Greuel and others to consider the cumulative effects of development on communities when deciding whether to allow a project to go forward.

Earlier this year, she asked the Planning Department to estimate the effects of development on a crowded portion of Burbank Boulevard. New local traffic data, she said, could be incorporated into community plans the city is developing for its neighborhoods, so that the overall impact of development could be better understood.

Gloria Jeff, director of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, said it was not yet known whether local data would show that traffic is higher or lower around new developments than previously believed.

But, she said, having better information would mean that residents would feel more confident that the city was acting responsibly to try to curb congestion."Los Angeles-specific numbers would give confidence to communities that their unique needs, wants and desires are being considered," Jeff said.

Genevieve Giuliano, director of the National Center for Metropolitan Transportation Research and a professor at USC, said the city should hesitate before discarding the national model, which was generated by the Institute of Transportation Engineers and includes detailed information about a wide variety of developments and urban environments.

"Unless you are doing something very unusual that's not covered by the formula, it wouldn't be worthwhile to do your own survey," Giuliano said.

Moreover, it's quite possible that once the data is in, the results may be quite different from what city officials expect.

Donald Shoup, a UCLA professor who is an expert on development and transportation, said he thinks the new numbers will show that Los Angeles is overestimating the amount of traffic caused by new developments, not underestimating it.

That's because the national data includes many suburban locations and doesn't take into account public transportation that is available in Los Angeles, Shoup said.

Moreover, real data from the city's most congested areas could show that people are actually driving less, simply because it's so unpleasant to get in their cars, he said.

"A new condominium complex in Century City will not generate as much traffic as one in Orange County, because the traffic is so bad in Century City that people will want to stay close to home," he said.

"People can walk to the Century City shopping center, they can walk to work, walk to restaurants and theaters."

Still, Shoup said he welcomed the proposed change. "Either way, we'll find out what the difference is," he said. "I think it's a good idea."

Monday, July 30, 2007

Some More Words About the CAC

First, I would like you to read an editorial from the Sunday Daily Breeze:

Ponte Vista panel's work is worthwhile

Daily Breeze editorial

Developer Bob Bisno continues to express optimism about his plans to build 1,950homes on surplus Navy land along Western Avenue in San Pedro despite an advisory committee's rejection of the project last week.

Bisno said the Ponte Vista Community Advisory Committee's work, which culminated in a 10-1-1 vote against his plans for a mix of town homes, condominiums and senior housing on the site, was "outside the process through which a development must go to get the entitlements."

It is certainly true that the advisory committee appointed by City Councilwoman Janice Hahn won't have the final word in this ongoing debate. The city's Planning Department, planning commission and the City Council ultimately will decide what type of development is appropriate for that part of San Pedro.

That said, however, we think the advisory committee deserves some respect and applause for reviewing this complex issue for the past year. The people who served on this panel, including Jerry Gaines and John Greenwood, have long records of community service. Their views, along with those of Councilwoman Hahn, will certainly hold some sway over city officials who will make the final decision.

We don't have any magic land-use formula that would carry the day in this case. Opponents and detractors have voiced arguments involving Western Avenue traffic, economic development, affordable housing, single-family housing, open space and the need for a new high school campus. But we do feel that the committee's review at least pushes the process along toward a resolution.

A compromise might be found between the 1,950-unit plan and the panel's leaning toward 535 units under the site's current single-family zoning.

Minimizing the value of the committee's work is not likely to move this debate further. By all means, let's hear from all the stakeholders. But we would warn against becoming too hung up on specific numbers at the extremes. That leads to a drawing of lines in the sand rather than finding common ground.

Mr. Jerry Gaines wrote a comment that deserves reading, too:

"Ponte Vista panel's work is worthwhile"

The Daily Breeze is to be commended for recognizing the efforts 13 citizens invested in time and study for a full year to review the proposed Ponte Vista project. John and I and other members worked to find a balance between environmental impacts (mainly traffic) and the economic goals of needed mixed housing for the community. I remain optimistic that at the end of the day the Bisno Development Company will refocus on the level of density a mixed housing project can utilize that will not add more traffic to Western Ave. than what traffic would be added from a single family detached home project of some 500 units. This can be achieved with a mix of condominiums with senior only housing. We have confidence that the Los Angeles City Planning Department will review our study materials that noted different housing projects at lower densities (between 900 and 1,300 units)than Bisno Development Company's 1,950 units, and determine that such a project is of merit for the community.- Jerry Gaines
posted: Sunday, July 29th at 15:58 PM

Now, here are some secrets about the CAC you might not know.

From the beginning of the tenure of the CAC, there were six members who leaned towards R1, myself included. I didn't demand R1, but there were four members who were leaning much more towards than two of us six.

I left the CAC after the March meeting, so that left five members, by that time, who were still very much considering R1 at the best result for OUR community.

One of those five really considered compromise, but grew more fed up with Bob and his attempts to control the CAC's mission that the member fell back into heavily supporting R1.

Folks five is less than thirteen, as far as I know. I and others thought that if a minority report was ever written by the CAC demanding the current zoning remain at Ponte Vista, it would have been these five members who would have stood by that report.

Two members of the CAC were pretty much on the side of Bob Bisno. Both individuals were in the business community and one represented a whole group of businesses. It is logical and quite understandable that these two members seemed to want a large development like Ponte Vista and in conversations I had with one of these two members, they pretty much told me that they favored a much larger project.

Five plus two is seven. Two of the seven were supporting a much larger density development than the five who wanted to keep the zoning current at Ponte Vista.

What about the other six members. I can't have any more pride and respect for the six members who tried their very best to find a range of numbers between 429 and 1,950 units at Ponte Vista. Al, Sal, Jerry, John, Dan, and Jack worked so extremely hard to understand the situations, discuss, debate, learn, teach, and work with OUR community in their best attempts to come up with a range of numbers of units.

I have strongly supported keeping R1 at Ponte Vista for two months now, but I did try to find compromise numbers myself and could have been swayed toward a development of up to under 1,200 units had I continued on the CAC, with the help of the six members who worked so hard.

I fully expected that there would have been a majority report written with the approval of the six members and the two members who supported a larger Ponte Vista than all of the rest of us did.

When anyone attacks the CAC, especially those members who worked so hard to try and find the best result for OUR community, not only do I get very defensive, but I feel I need to express the truth.

The passion that Jerry, John and Dan exhibited in trying so very hard to come up with something they thought would be acceptable to the members of OUR community demonstrated heroism that we rarely see around here. These three, along with Sal, Al, and Jack stayed in the trenches until the bitter end and they still managed to demonstrate their dignity, intelligence, grace, understanding, and vast knowledge of OUR community, while living almost under a microscope. Nothing anyone on the CAC could do would have pleased many members of OUR community, we all knew that going in, yet still we took on the challenge.

I thank the two members of the CAC for their effort in supporting what they wanted. They put out great effort, gave of themselves, and gave to the community they represented.

The eleven remaining members truly deserve our praise, out thanks, our pride in them, our acknowledgement that we know they went through hell and came back strong.

For those of us who support R1 and keeping the current zoning at Ponte Vista, I thank Rick, Richard, Leah, Lucie, and Chuck

For those of you that wish for a number of units between 429 and 1,500, we all should thank Al, Jack, John, Jerry, Sal, and Dan. These six gentlemen are the best for giving OUR community a view into the best we have.

If any single person is the reason that the CAC finally recommended keeping the density at Ponte Vista equal to the current density allowed for, the CAC strongly put that "honor" on Mr. Robert H. Bisno, himself.

For anyone in OUR community to blame any other individual for making sure the CAC would call for keeping the current density allowed for currently at Ponte Vista, Bob Bisno should take that blame and own it as his own, I feel.

Remember months ago when this blogger and others stated that Bob was running out of time in developing a plan that called for far fewer units than 2,300? Remember when he was told that he probably waited too long, and then he was told he waited too long. Guess what? He waited too long.

Remember when Bob was told that 2,300 units would not be approved of at Ponte Vista? Oh yeah, that was at the very first meeting of the CAC. Bob didn't listen, apparently.

Remember when Bob was warned that there would be a group created to try its best to stop him from continuing his plans for 2,300 units? I guess he only got part of that warning.

Now it seems, Bob is looking at more and more opposition from OUR community and folks in government, as well as, perhaps, other developers who are watching what happens here and how it might affect their plans for building something their community doesn't want.

Bob and his supporters can complain until hell freezes over and one fact will remain; Bob's wish to continue with plans that have met so much opposition from so many people in so many places, is doing nothing but harm to the genuine supporters of his who really want senior housing or a new place to call home.

Bob, like I have said from the beginning, it didn't have to be this way.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

"San Pedro First", Isn't!

I am going to place an article from today's Daily Breeze about who actually gets the right of first refusal when a condominium unit is sold.

If this law applies to the sale of condominium units at Ponte Vista IF Bob actually gets approval for any condominium units, it is the City of Los Angeles that must FIRST be allowed the right to purchase units and not any private person, anywhere on this planet.

Los Angeles condo sellers don't buy into new fee

Add-on for affordable housing is $150 -- but it's never bought a unit.

By Kerry Cavanaugh
Staff Writer

Since April, homeowners selling a condo in Los Angeles have had to pay a $150 fee to the city under a 33-year-old affordable-housing ordinance that has never produced a single affordable unit.

Few condominium owners know about the new fee or the arcane law, which gives the city the right of first refusal to buy most condos built after 1974.

Without money to purchase units, the city has always waived its right. But, short on cash, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles voted earlier this year to begin charging condo sellers $150 for the waivers.

Annoyed that condo sellers are stuck with a pricey processing fee for a law that has produced no affordable housing, Realtors have begun to lobby for repeal of the ordinance.

"It's ironic that an ordinance that was well-intended to foster affordable housing in the city actually has new fees now that are raising the cost of housing," said David Kissinger, director of governmental affairs for the South Bay Association of Realtors.

Some city staffers had started the work needed to overturn the ordinance under former Mayor James Hahn, but that effort was dropped.

Now, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is considering using the ordinance to buy condominiums throughout the city and use them to create affordable housing in more expensive neighborhoods.

"If it enables the housing authority to begin to acquire affordable units in market-rate projects throughout the city, then you could really pursue a mixed-income strategy throughout the city," said Helmi Hisserich, Villaraigosa's deputy mayor for housing and economic development policy.

Although the housing authority and city don't have the money to buy market-rate condos, the agency is developing a strategic plan that would include where and how it could buy units.

The so-called 15 percent ordinance was originally envisioned by former Councilman Ernani Bernardi as a mandate to get developers to set aside 15 percent of new units as affordable.
The ordinance would have been among the first inclusionary zoning laws in the nation, but it was opposed by developers, and the City Council decided to make the affordable housing requirement voluntary when the measure was adopted in 1974.

Under the law, developers are asked to make a "reasonable effort" to rent or sell 15 percent of the units in new buildings as affordable to low- and moderate-income families.

If developers choose not to set aside affordable units - and no developer so far has ever chosen to - they must record a document with the property title granting the city a continuous right-of-
first-refusal to purchase up to 15percent of individual condominium units in a project.

Most condos built after 1974 have this requirement on the title, and during escrow the seller's agent must file a form with the housing authority asking the agency to waive its right to buy the unit.

For the past three decades, the housing authority has processed the waivers and never opted to buy a unit.

"We haven't had the funds to maximize the ordinance the way it should be or could be used to retain and provide affordable housing units," said John King, acting director of planning with the housing authority.

The agency now processes 600 waivers a week.

But Realtors wonder why the city needs to collect $150 per waiver - more than $4 million a year - to rubber-stamp a form saying the city doesn't want to buy a unit.

"It just doesn't seem possible that it could cost that much," said Rick Otterstrom, chairman of the Beverly Hills/Greater Los Angeles Association of Realtors' public policy committee.

"It's been there for 33 years and it's never been used even once, but it still encumbers and inconveniences owners and Realtors and escrow companies. It should be done away with."

Well how about this idea?

Let's say some condominiums do get approved for Ponte Vista. Wouldn't this become a great showcase in not only OUR community but the whole of the City of Los Angeles to actually provide low-income housing at Ponte Vista without any density bonus.

Wouldn't you all think Bob would be able to provide what many, many supporters are calling for in the way of low-income housing?

It probably would put Ponte Vista on the map as being a community willing to allow for low-income residents by the use of the City purchasing units that then would be resold to low-income wage earners.

Wouldn't it be spectacular if Mr. Robert H. Bisno, being the community-minded individual he claims to be, be one of the first developers to actually support this program and even sell some of his units at lower than market rate prices to the City just as a sign that he really means what he says about providing housing for first-time home buyers and others who certainly cannot afford $330,000.00 or more for a 600 square foot unit.

If Bob really wants Ponte Vista at San Pedro to be unique among developments, here is a chance for him to prove it to all of us.

Let me state here and now that if Bob will sell units to the City of Los Angeles so that they can resell those units to low-income families, I would not object to having up to 1,100 units built at Ponte Vista. I think Bob would be able to provide for seniors who do not want to move all the way to Torrance California AND he would be found to be one of the most generous developers in the City for reducing prices for some of his units so low-income individuals actually have a chance to buy a new home in northwest San Pedro.

Naturally, until I see Bob's plans for up to 1,100 units with senior housing AND allowances for the City to buy units at reduces prices for the benefit of needy low-income folks, I will continue to support keeping the current zoning at Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

Learning about the City's plan to attempt to acquire units for low-income buyers is something that I feel would be good for OUR community. I know the City does not have the funds to purchase units at this time, but perhaps if Bob does what I hope he will do, caring, considerate supporters of Bob's plans might contribute money to the City of Los Angeles, for this particular cause. Heck, how about the folks working in the Ponte Vista site office take up a collection. If they did, I'd even drop by and make a contribution.

I am not trying to be too funny about this. Bob has stated that he is community minded and cares about low-income wage earners, first-time home buyers, and working families. Let us see you caring Bob really is, O.K.?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

One Less Blogger Cares

This quote comes from another blog that was concerned about Ponte Vista. Now it seems that blog is only concerned with one person's opinion. That opinion is now stating that he doesn't even care about anyone else's opinion, even supporters of Ponte Vista, as I read the following paragraph:

"• My purpose here is to write my opinion, only my opinion. No one else's. I really have come to not care what others to think about Ponte Vista."

This is a little sad because this individual did read others' opinions and did make comment on the ones he agreed with and he attempted to illustrate his points to folks willing to read them.

They say that giving up is hard to do. It looks to me that it was quite easy for that other blogger.

I do care about the opinions of supporters of Bob's and opponents of his current plans, whatever they truly are.

Keeping everyone engaged in discussion and debate by illustrating that many of us still care about the opinions of the members of OUR community and how we can find ways to come together, even though Bob and his plans have divided us so much.

I won't stop listening, reading, and learning what OUR community really cares about and I think I have provided a medium where debate and discussion can occur, outside of the CAC and Bob's influence.

Kara has scolded me about former battles with someone who has written he no longer cares what I or Kara think. Kara was correct and I moved a post to my uncensored blog and got it away from here.

As the CAC goes away, we all need to stay as informed and interested as possible, I think. We need to have more debate and discussions, too.

Don't worry folks, this blogger cares about what your opinions are, even though I might strongly challenge those opinions. At least I care.

And What About Those Petitions?

Ms. Elise Swanson claimed in a newspaper piece that there are about 15,461 folks who support The Ponte Vista Development.

Which development do the majority of the supporters support?

For about two years Bob and his gang were recruiting supporters for a 2,300-unit development in northwest San Pedro. Mr. Bisno's organization hired a contractor to provide paid petition gatherers for much of the time.

Everyone who signed the petition supporting Ponte Vista at San Pedro signed a petition for 2,300 units to be built there.

Don't you think the honest thing to do is throw out all those petitions that were supporting 2,300 units at Ponte Vista, now that Bob Bisno has stated that there will not be 2,300 units built at Ponte Vista?

I think if I changed the content of the plans I was getting petitions for, those petitions would be moot and should be discarded because they are supporting something that will not be built at Ponte Vista, according to Mr. Bisno, himself.

But I guess the correct to do, as far as I am concerned, is not something Bob and his advisers seem to agree with.

Now it appears there are about 15,416 individuals who support having both 2,300 units AND 1,950 units at Ponte Vista, it seems because of the continued use of petitions supporting 2,300 units.

I am sure glad the R1 petition calls for something as simple as leaving the current zoning intact at the site. I don't think anyone reading that petition can be confused as to the zoning of the site, even though Bob threatened about 722 or 724 single-family detached houses could be built there. Even with a density bonus, we would still get less traffic during the day than with 1,950 units.

Using the PM rush hour figures to confuse supporters of Ponte Vista is another thing those individuals tried. So what if there are more cars during the PM rush hour with an all R1 development. At least there would be about 2,000 fewer cars on Western during the entire day than with his 1,950 monster. Check out those numbers and you will find that this it true.

A Statement Remaining on the Ponte Vista Web site

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

I feel it should sometimes be reprinted, something that still remains within the pages of the Survey and still on the Ponte Vista Web site.

Sometimes when we remember the past, or writings from the past, we will remember why we are all doing what we are doing to keep the zoning current at Ponte Vista.

The only "single-family housing", as the vast majority of thinking people believe that type of housing is, is the letter opener pictured in an earlier post.

When Bob and I are Wrong

Bob is wrong, I feel, on many issues and of course, with his plans for Ponte Vista.

I have been wrong many times to, but I contend when I am wrong, OUR community benefits.

Perhaps Bob and I need to continue to be wrong.

I was wrong when I debated an R1 supporter early on, who wondered why I was thinking that there was absolutely no way the current zoning could be kept at Ponte Vista. I was wrong and I believe now that I am correct in thinking the current zoning can remain at the site.

I was wrong when I considered that a road from Western to the new Mary Star campus must be provided. Now I know that it probably was never a good idea to subject other drivers on Western the opportunity to share that road in the morning and afternoon with 16,17, and 18-year old drivers, sometimes racing to get to classes.

I was definitely wrong when I thought the CAC would create two reports, one recommending a range in numbers of units at Ponte Vista, and the other demanding R1 zoning remain at Ponte Vista.

I guess I was wrong with all my attempt to find compromise with "XXX". He/she never really lowered the number of units over a three month period and it seems he/she probably never will. I was probably very wrong engaging him/her for as long as I did, but I felt that I needed to try to find some number between 429 and 1500 that I could live with.

I don't feel I am wrong for WISHING for some senior housing at Ponte Vista, but so many others believe I am wrong for that wish, so I included it.

Perhaps I am wrong for not listing facts, figures, articles, findings, and lawsuits involving many of the past developments and personal housing issues Bob Bisno has been involved with. I haven't taken the time or energy to list all of them, but you are all welcome to do your own research on what has happened in Berkeley, Santa Monica, where Mr. Bisno lives, and facts about all the companies he is or has been involved with.

My only defense for my being wrong, is that when I am wrong, OUR community wins. Some of my guesses have been incorrect and we now have a 10-1-1 vote by the CAC totally rejecting Bob's plans for the 61.53 acres. In speculating that there would be a majority report calling for a range of units at Ponte Vista, boy was I wrong on that and it turned out to be an 8-4 vote calling for keeping the density at Ponte Vista equal to R1.

I certainly was wrong at the very beginning of the CAC's mission when I tried to be as objective as I could when dealing with Bob and his organization. I found out early and often that I personally could not trust much, if anything coming from Bisno Development.

I don't think that I am wrong now in suggesting that Robert H. Bisno and his companies, agents, lobbyists, and employees will probably play hardball with all of us, including me and the great members of R Neighborhoods Are 1.

Elise Swanson was quoted as saying that there are about 15,416 supporters of Ponte Vista in the community. I think it about time we consider those supporters in some light.

Would I be wrong to consider many supporters of Ponte Vista as being "compensated supporters"? BDC puts on events throughout the year where they invite supporters and potential buyers to check things out.

It appears that BDC rented out the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium to host a function for invited guests.

Prior to at least several CAC meetings, supporters were either fed dinner at the Hotel or given vouchers for meals at other restaurants.

If someone gives you something of value like entertainment, food, goodies and the like, wouldn't you feel that was compensation of some kind in order to gain and/or keep your support?

I don't know all the legal stuff, but I feel that if someone gives me something attempting to gain or keep my support, I would have to consider that "compensation"

Would I be wrong in suggesting that many folks who support Bob's plans have benefited in some way for their support? Would "compensated supporters" be a fair name for many, but not all of the folks Elise and others claim to be supporters of Ponte Vista?

I am to the point, tongue in cheek, where I don't know if it is better for OUR community when I am right or when I am wrong. Perhaps I have the advantage Bob doesn't have;

Whether I am right or wrong, OUR community wins. I haven't seen anything that Bob has proposed by having such a large development in northwest San Pedro, that could be considered right for OUR community.

Senior housing is a wish I have, a public road from Western to Mary Star is something many folks wish for or demand, but the expense all of us would eventually have to pay in order to have those two items is just too expensive for OUR community, I feel. I don't think I am wrong in suggesting many, many folks in OUR community feel the same way, too.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Odds and Ends 23

Isn't it "odd" that Bob is now claiming the process he endorsed and paid so much for, he now considers to be "outside the process"?

The "end" of the CAC's mission appears at this time to be with its meeting in August where they will finalize and submit their report to Councilwoman Janice Hahn with their recommendations that soundly rejected (10-1-1) Mr. Bisno's current plans and approved recommendation for keeping the zoning current at the Ponte Vista at San Pedro site (8-4).

Many of us waited to learn that the CAC would actually adopt a majority report and minority report calling for a range of density and unit numbers in a majority report and a R1 minority report. We were wrong in our thoughts and were surprised when the CAC did what it actually did.

Signatures on R1 petitions continue to come in and there should be no letup in the collection of signatures of learned individuals who want to keep the quality of their lives as high as it is, at this time.

The R1 group is allowed to collect signatures at this Sunday's Music by the Sea, but paid petition gatherers must remain on the public sidewalk on the edge of the park to collect their signatures. A group supporting R1 has paid the organizers to attend the affair while the permit holder has indicated he has not been paid one cent by Bob and/or his contractor to be allowed to be in the park while the permit holder holds the permit for the park.

If anyone sees individuals on the grass or in any other part of the park attempting to collect signatures in support of Ponte Vista at Music by the Sea and Shakespeare by the Sea, it would be appreciated that you report what you witness to the booth sponsored by the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council, so they can alert the permit holder and have those paid petition gatherers told to leave the park or they will be escorted out of the park and onto the sidewalk where they have every right to be.

I think I have covered just about everything that has happened this week surrounding Ponte Vista in posts on three different blogs. It will take me a little longer to find out and confirm what business is going to replace the jo-ann's that is going bye-bye at the corner of P.V. Drive North and Western Avenue. I have heard it is a market of some kind. The parking situation in that area has decreased substantially since the last supermarket was there and that was a long time ago.

There are, of course issues I can remind folks to look further into by visiting other posts.

So Bob doesn't like the outcome of his own game. He brought it to Ms. Hahn and City Planners. He paid for the whole thing, He endorsed, committed himself and his organization to the game he now calls "outside the process". This is one of the many issues I feel everyone should think about when they think about the credibility and true feelings of Mr. Bisno.

We have seen in writing statements that have been proven to be false and I still keep those statements on file if anyone wishes to challenge me or anyone else on these matters. We have seen events, paid for by Mr. Bisno's organization, that attempt to gain converts to his position, but it seems his position changes from time to time.

He has told us exactly what his 2,300-unit would look like and the amenities it will have. Then he changed his mind and is now telling us exactly what his 1,950-unit project will look like and have in it. He continues to use the words; "will", "will have", "will be", "is going to", "is going to have" as if they were true facts. One true fact that Mr. Bisno may tell you, but usually is not included in any statements he makes is that; Absolutely nothing has been approved of for being built at the Ponte Vista site. I can tell you that the site will remain R1, but that would not be the truth and it would not be correct to state as fact that the site will always remain with the zoning it currently has.

Mr. Bisno provided funds to create a letter opener in the shape of a single-family home, yet he has stated that there will be no single-family housing at Ponte Vista. He even stated that there would be "single-family housing" in the wording of the survey he paid for and still he contends that there will be no single-family housing.

Mr. Bisno made statements at the June 18 rollout of his lower number of total units plan and attempted to state that if R1 remains at the site, he might apply for density bonuses for Ponte Vista. This was the first time, to my knowledge, Bob expressed verbally in public, his "intent" to use density bonus at Ponte Vista.

His "threat" was quickly countered by the fact that there is nowhere in any application of any proposal to use density bonuses and everyone was informed that he has the right to use density bonuses with any application for any number of units at Ponte Vista.

On June 18, it appears, Mr. Bisno had as his best defense against R1, the "threat" of density bonuses. It is extremely unlikely that Bob would truly consider density bonus at Ponte Vista, no matter what number of units is actually applied for, in the opinion of many, many individuals.

This "threat" is another example, in my opinion, of Mr. Bisno's use of the English language to further confuse gullible persons.

After witnessing the collecting of perhaps several thousands of signatures on the R1 petitions, I feel I am in a position that I can claim that we see about one person in a hundred folks we greet at supermarkets who either support Bob's plans, whichever one is valid at the time, or won't sign the petition because they disapprove of keeping the zoning as it currently is at the Ponte Vista site.

All the R1 petition gatherers I watch are cordial and we never argue with folks who claim support for Bob's project.

I think I need to let you know what I witnessed at a prior CAC meeting, because of the statements that the Ponte Vista debate is an emotional issue.

There were two pictures on the front page of a recent edition of The Daily Breeze.
The bottom picture illustrated on of the many, many buttons I have made and donated to the cause.
The top photo was of the back of the head of Mr. Tony Ringor. During a meeting of the CAC in which Ms. Hahn attended, I believe the meeting where Mr. Bisno rolled out his 1,950-unit plan, I was sitting so close to where Ms. Hahn was standing, I witnessed Mr. Ringor crying to Ms. Hahn and carrying a handmade sign for her and others to read. When I state "crying" I do mean just that. I saw tears on his cheek as he tried to speak to Ms. Hahn who seemed very, very comforting to Mr. Ringor and did her best to calm the gentleman down.

Mr. Ringor at that very moment was the most emotional moment I have ever seen from anyone, at any time, at any place, concerning the Ponte Vista at San Pedro issue.

Mr. Ringor's actions do demonstrate very disturbingly, I feel, that this issue is still very emotional with both supporters of Mr. Bisno's and opponents of his plans. I feel that is too bad.

We should be beyond most of the emotional outbursts and we should deal with all of these issues from a more thought provoking arena. Emotions ran very high at the beginning and that was probably the time to express our emotions. But now, I feel, we must look into our thoughts and ideas and discuss and debate these issues more intelligently than emotionally.

Bob may be emotionally upset that his process he found to be "outside the process", but that doesn't mean we need to be as emotional and less thoughtful, concerning the issues.

Fight, debate, discuss, and work intelligently and let Bob and Mr. Ringor display their emotions to all of us.

I am very defensive of Mr. Ringor's passion for something he truly believes in. I think and feel that there are supporters of Mr. Bisno's who are just as resolved to get Mr. Bisno's plans (whatever they truly are now and in the future) approved, as there are thousands of us who do not wish for any changes in the current zoning at the site.

Mr. Ringor and anyone else has the right and duty to defend what they really believe in, just like so many of us have the right to question Mr. Bisno and his plans.

We must not condemn Mr. Ringor in any way. I can report what I witnessed and still feel that Mr. Ringor is trying his best to support Mr. Bisno's plans. Tony Ringor is also a member of OUR community and whether we concur with his opinions and feelings or not, I am thankful that there are some folks who have strong opinions and feelings and are willing to express them, even though I don't agree with them.

Mr. Ringor is doing his best to support what he feels is in the best interest of himself, his family, and the community that supports Bob's plans. We must not feel, in any way, that we should support what Mr. Ringor believes, but we need to acknowledge that there are folks who are passionate about Bob's plans, whatever they are, and that there truly a number of individuals who strongly wish for senior housing and/or a huge development in northwest San Pedro.

I will defend Mr. Ringor's wish for senior housing because I continue to wish for more housing for seniors in OUR community. I just believe the "cost" to OUR community would be too high for the limited benefit of having senior housing at Ponte Vista.

There are areas in San Pedro in and around the Crescent Drive area that would be able to hold the density required for senior housing in San Pedro.

I wish and hope everyone who is troubled by the San Pedro Peninsula Chamber of Commerce's endorsement of Ponte Vista would let their Board of Directors know that they should reconsider their endorsement of Ponte Vista and, at least, temporarily rescinding that endorsement until the full membership has a chance to weigh in on that endorsement.

The Board and the Chamber's Executive Director, Ms. Camilla Townsend, know who belongs to the Chamber and they know how to contact those members. I personally know of members who want the zoning to remain current at Ponte Vista, but they MAY not be in the majority.

Since it appears that there was "bungling" going on during the announcement period of the Chamber's endorsement AND there was some statements that the reporting of that endorsement had some problems AND some members of OUR community are hopping mad about the endorsement such that they are claiming they will not shop in San Pedro AND since the CAC and so many others are against what the Chamber's Board endorsed, I think that the Board should try to make correct, and revisit their endorsement OR come out strongly and attempt to defend that endorsement. Remaining silent on the issue is not something that I feel is in the best interest of the Chamber and those who oppose the endorsement of Ponte Vista by the Chamber's Board.

Really Bob, You Lost Your Own Game Where You Made the Rules

Really Bob, stating that the CAC was "outside the process" is such a stumble on your part, it would be laughable if it wasn't a statement that is going to get even more members of OUR community mad at you

It is your process that you are now condemning! Remember Bob, I was there at the first meeting of Ms. Janice Hahn's Community Advisory Committee for the Ponte Vista project where you indicated that as part of YOUR attempts to get the zoning changed to specific plan zoning, YOU were supposed to create citizen groups to give advise about your plans and schemes. The CAC was set up for the "community benefit" of Ms. Hahn and YOU!

If the CAC was truly "outside the process" as you wrote in the Daily Breeze on Friday July 27, 2007, it appears you spent thousands of thousands of dollars renting the ballroom, feeding the CAC members and the audience, providing tours for CAC members, and sending out thousands of pages of literature (propaganda, I feel) about your project.

When you stated last August that you wanted and needed a group like the CAC to learn about and discuss the project, I for one believed you were serious and committed to the process until the end of the CAC's mission.

It appears that you cannot even wait until the next meeting of the CAC to even suggest that the group was "outside the process" which turned out to be the process you supported with your money, time, staff, and a lot of supporters' time and effort attempting to get the CAC to come to decisions you seem to have made at the very beginning of the CAC's tenure.

There are little children, mostly little boys who come up with a game they feel they can win at, but when they actually lose the game, they then say the game wasn't fair and the other kids didn't play by the rules.

Mr. Robert Bisno, I played by YOUR rules during the time I was on the CAC. I endured many attempts, I feel, you and your subordinates attempted to do to take control of the CAC's actions and mission. I listen to hundreds of your supporters say the same thing over, and over, and over again, with only TWO of your supporters calling for compromise in public.

Your demonstrations of getting supporters to come to meetings by the use of paid dinners means that many of your supporters need some kind of compensation to support the "weapons of mass development" you are attempting to force on OUR community.

That is so sad Bob. Now it seems you are hosting an invitation-only gathering at the Cabrillo Aquarium for your supporters. What more might you offer these individuals to help you continue your fight to bring into OUR community more groups than yours oppose.

As I have written recently, we should all be very cautious of what Mr. Bisno is capable of. It seems the game he brought to our community didn't turn out the way he wanted and now he states that the game HE tried to play, the one HE paid for, the one HE claimed to be committed to, and the one HE endorsed, was "outside the process".

It only took a very few days to see what reaction OUR community would see from Mr. Bisno and his reaction is not surprising, but it is for someone so removed from the elementary school yard. I feel claiming his game is now "outside the process" is like that little boy not getting what he wanted, so he said the game he created wasn't fair and he now wants everyone to play another game he thinks he has a chance on winning. Fortunately, thousands and thousands of members of OUR community don't need to be paid or paid off to play whatever game Mr. Bisno comes up with and there is ever-growing indications that whatever game Mr. Bisno tries, he won't win.

Thank you again to all the great members of Ms. Hahn's Community Advisory Committee. After seeing what Mr. Bisno says and does, OUR community owes you a great deal of thanks for your commitment to OUR community and keeping us from "weapons of mass development."

Thank You Mr. Robert H. Bisno

Thank you Mr. Bisno for supporting so highly a process you now state is "outside the process."

Without your support these many months, OUR community would not have had the opportunity many other communities miss out on when confronted by "weapons of mass development" such as your 2,300-unit Ponte Vista at San Pedro project you have submitted an application for.

Are you going to change your current application requesting changes in the current zoning to a "specific plan zone"? Or are you going back and submitting a new application for different types of zoning at Ponte Vista.

Do we have the opportunity to go back to the very beginning of the application processes and get a new look at a new proposal with new zoning requests?

OUR community received a unique look into what a developer of a massive project has to go through and many, many of the issues involved with those processes.

Had you chosen to not use the process you supported before you stated that the process you supported was "outside the process", we probably would not have found so many faults with your plans.

I know you were most likely required by the Department of Planning for the city to provide the process you supported by now say is "outside the process." We were told that with the application for zoning changes to a specific plan zone, the developer must take steps not normally required of other developers who apply for different types of zoning changes.

Thank for providing the great food, especially the chocolate chip cookies everyone had the chance of enjoying. The ballroom you paid for was adequate most of the time and the tours you paid for allowed CAC members the chance to look at other types of developments and the development you have modeled Ponte Vista using.

The game you supported was a game you tried to win, but it seems OUR community was able to see that the rules you tried to impose were not followed and reasonable, responsible, realistic, and respectful individuals from those who just signed the R1 petition to those 13 great members of OUR community who gave so much of their time, energy, and spirit, without any monetary compensation to OUR community.

"Outside the process" is what you say now, but it sure wasn't what I heard you say last August. You claimed to support the CAC, along with Ms. Hahn. You stated your beliefs that no appear to be counter to what you now feel. Perhaps you felt that you were required to stand up and state your support for the CAC process, when all the while, behind your eyes and mouth, you felt compelled to do something you really didn't want to do.

Well thank you anyway, Mr. Bisno. You allowed OUR community a good look at your project and now you are giving us a great look at your character, I feel.

We played the first round of your game. OUR community won that round and now you want to change the game after only one round. I am more than happy to stick around and watch you change the rules of a game you are trying desperately, I think, to win.

Please remember Mr. Bisno, there are many members of OUR community that play hard, play fair, and play to win. We also know that we will keep the referees honest, too.

The Housing Slump and Ponte Vista

I have enjoyed reading all the comments from folks about the current housing slump and all the related issues dealing with mortgage failures and building problems.

I think I need to echo something that Bob has stated and something we probably should think about.

There are cycles to the housing market. There are booms and there are slumps. It seems we are beginning a true slump and it will probably get very, very bad before it gets any better.

Not only are we watching the Centre Street Lofts offering two years of not HOA dues or fees if a unit is purchased there, we are also seeing the senior development on the corner of Arlington and Sepulveda in Torrance not selling out like hotcakes. No more can supporters of Ponte Vista state that they will have to move as far away as Hemet or Riverside to find available senior housing because the senior housing nearby in Torrance is not selling out.

In Miami, according to Bloomberg news, condos are currently being offered for sale discounted 30% from their original price, but still there is more condo development under construction, in Miami.

Anyway, we all must realize that the first new unit of any kind at Ponte Vista will be built years from now, in all likelihood. I think Mr. Bisno would agree on this and want you to know that fact.

If he changes his current plans from seeking specific plan zoning to other types of zoning, time will also be added to that process.

Mr. Bisno probably doesn't want you to know that OUR community is prepared to put up one hell of a fight to keep a project like the one he is currently proposing, out of northwest San Pedro.

I would like you to know that we need to all be less emotional and more thoughtful about these matters. The housing slump will probably last until our new President helps to ease the problems we are currently seeing. It may even take five years to get housing back up and running smoothly. Does anyone other than folks supporting Mr. Bisno's plans have a problem with that, as far as Ponte Vista goes.

In a down market, I think folks in the real estate industry won't want to see a flood of new housing coming onto the market when they are trying so hard to marked the current housing. I think these local folks in that industry will want to keep Ponte Vista, and its own marketing folks, out of the market for as long as possible, but that is just my opinion.

Bob may be able to sit on the property until he sees the housing slump going away or there are new folks in government who support "weapons of mass development".

Bob may wish to sell pieces of the property he owns. The only trouble with that is now that there truly is a movement in OUR community, also supported by other movements and organizations in the greater L.A. area, we have created an environment where if someone tries to come in and build what OUR community feels is inappropriate for that area, they will be more than encouraged to pass up on buying any of Mr. Bisno's property.

Let's all watch what Bob does in the coming weeks and months. We should look for a developer who is now finding it a much tougher road to get this project under construction. The housing slump now probably won't affect his plans in the long run unless his financial backers find his position to be too questionable with their money.

The housing slump may slow Bob down a bit, but please don't take any position that would give up any of your critical review of his plans, I think.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

That Recent Letter to the Editor

I didn't expect to see my most recent Letter to the Editor in the Daily Breeze today because I wrote is last week before Ms. Townsend wrote the letter that appeared on Monday.

I still feel we should let the folks at the Chamber know we don't like their endorsement of Ponte Vista and the CAC's actions further back up our side of the issue, I feel.

It is correct I think, to get a bit cranky, but that is about as far as we should probably get. I have shopped and will shop San Pedro and I can't imagine not visiting the Whale and Ale, 22nd Street Landing, Trani's, Union War Surplus, and a great number of truly good businesses in San Pedro.

I am glad to learn that there has been a tentative settlement in the labor strife that has been going on and we won't have to worry about businesses losing money because strikers would probably need to save money. Now we can all settle down and continue to shop San Pedro.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Daily Breeze Article on Wednesday July 25, 2007

Here is where you can find the article written by Ms. Donna Littlejohn concerning the Community Advisory Committee's actions during the July 24 meeting.


After seeing one of the buttons I made on front page of the paper, Terri is not so mad at me anymore for the time I have spent and the dollars we have donated for all the button materials and the big button press.

Temporary stickers may get a point across, but I have been very pleased to be able to provide a more permanent device representing something many people agree on and wear from time to time.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

July 24, 2007 CAC Meeting Notes

When I am wrong I will try my best to admit it as soon as I learn that I am wrong. Boy oh boy was I wrong in my guess about what the CAC would be doing at the meeting. Sometimes being as wrong as I was becomes a pleasing thing. This inaccuracy on my part was particularly pleasing.

Janice Hahn's Community Advisory Committee for the Ponte Vista Project met and made two motions that were passed by the members.

The first motion passed with 10-yea votes, one-nay vote, and one-abstention, (Jack Baric was out of the country) which basically stated that they rejected Bob Bisno's current plans for Ponte Vista because they were deemed not viable to OUR community. In a nutshell, there were some members who were so fed up with Bob's plans and his inaction's (my opinion) and unwillingness to present a reasonable proposal to the CAC, (again my opinion from listening to them) that they recommended rejecting Bob's plans outright, as they stand now.

The second motion had two parts. The first part dealt with proposing that the density of Ponte Vista be recommended to be equal to the density of R1. The second part of the motion concerned having the Ponte Vista area moved out of the Harbor City/Wilmington Community Plan and into the San Pedro Community Plan. That motion passed with eight-yea votes and four-nay votes.

So in motion number one, the CAC rejected completely, Bob Bisno's current plan for Ponte Vista. In the second motion they called for R1 density at the site.

Mr. Jerry Gaines started the evening out by reading the first motion in a demeanor that suggested to me that he was completely fed up with Bob. He used forceful language to create a picture, in my opinion, that Bob had so many chances, opportunities, days, months, and years to come up with a proposal that was reasonable, but the best he would do was a 350-unit reduction in total units.

You could hear in Jerry and John's voices how frustrated they were in what Bob has proposed and how far away it is from any reasonable, realistic, responsible and surely respectful plan that the CAC could have actually used.

It was also remarkable, in my view, to watch Ms. Hahn nodding in agreement when the frustrations with the Traffic Department and Bob's plans were discussed.

I know in the beginning of the CAC's mission we were asked to come up with recommendations to bring to Ms. Hahn for a development that best fit OUR community. We tried. The members of the CAC worked so very hard to try and use what they learned and knew, all the while being confronted by a developer who stood his ground and moved only on cosmetic items and not real numbers or a true lowering of density.

Tonight's votes were a clear expression that Bob had more than enough chances to come up with plans that the CAC could work with, but he didn't. You don't compromise using such a tiny difference in density, I feel. When I wrote that "Bob blew it" it now appears that the CAC backed me up on that statement.

The one CAC member who voted nay on both motions thought the CAC should have come up with the density numbers and let Bob agree or disagree with those numbers. Well, they did. The CAC, with its motion tonight set the density level at up to nine units per acre. In net terms and according to the DEIR, the net density is 7.0 units per acre and that equates to "about 429" units according to Ms. Betsy Weisman, the supervisor of the Planning Department for the Harbor and Wilmington area.

The next meeting of the CAC is August 20, 2007 where they will approve their 23-page report they will send to Ms. Hahn. It does appear to me, at this time, that the August 20 meeting will end the mission of the CAC.

So as of July 24, 2007 here is what we are looking at;

Bob Bisno still has not submitted an updated or amended application for the 1,950-units he promised to build last June 18.

Mr. Bisno has never had published the number of bedrooms count in his 2,300 0r 1,950-unit plans. He did promise in writing that the numbers were submitted, but several of us have been looking and we can't find them.

Bob Bisno's paid petition gatherers, at least one of them, continue to make false claims that both Mr. Bisno and Ms. Swanson have tried to get them from doing.

The CAC passed two motions; one rejecting Bob's plans from consideration and one stating that they are recommending density equal to R1 or up to 9.0 units per acre.

R Neighborhoods Are 1 and all the fine representatives of that group have collected over 10,236 signatures on petitions calling for keeping the current zoning at Ponte Vista or "R1".

Thousands and thousands of members of OUR community have had their representatives on the CAC truly represent their feelings and wishes.

I completely blew my idea about what the CAC would do tonight. For that, I very happily apologize. Of course I think Donna was also thinking as I was so we both tanked this one.

Marshall's, Traffic, and Things Some People Forget

At tonight's CAC meeting I made my comments. My comments informed the room that Marshall's was coming to town.

After the meeting ended, Elise Swanson, a Vice-President for BDC came to me and said that traffic generated by retail is four times the traffic generated by housing.

Ms. Swanson is absolutely, positively, 100% correct and I would defend her facts as being true.

There are some facts that I feel we need to remind folks about retail and where it is put.

Marshall's is a retail sales business that is being constructed in a space vacated by a retail sales business. There is no zoning change and it is basically a one-for-one exchange; retail out, then retail in.

If Ms. Swanson wishes to complain about this then I have a proposal for her. Why doesn't Bob do a one-for-one exchange at Ponte Vista? Currently there are 245 duplexes on the Ponte Vista site. If we allow Bob to build whatever he wants and keep the exact density that the 245 duplexes had, then I don't think I would object to that at all.

Marshall's needed no zoning change. They didn't wish to put a much larger store than the building is now. In fact, there is a swimming pool in the place once occupied by part of the old Do-It center.

There are also folks who are angry that San Pedro was not involved in consideration of the Marshall's going in, as it will affect Western Avenue. That could have been a good argument if Marshall's were replacing a retail sales business, I guess. But with the one-for-one and not grand size enlargement of the existing structures, I don't see where their anger is coming from.

I would think that both supporters of Bob's plans and opponents of Bob's plans would welcome a new store where the prices are not as high as other stores and the clothing lines are being refreshed.

What Marshall's does do is probably make a new cause for another traffic count along Western once it opens to see how the increased traffic will affect whatever Bob wants to build at Ponte Vista.

So I guess here is one more question to answer; Do you prefer 1,950 condos on Western or a new Marshall's?

A Few Thoughts From Mark Wells

I need to be honest and state that I feel had Mr. Jack Baric been at the CAC meeting, I believe the second motion would not have been passed in the way it was written.

With my background of considering compromise prior to May 29, I feel Jack was and is a very important member of the CAC for many reasons.

I think Jack also wanted to work for a compromise plan. He was passionate with his comments, thoughts, and feelings throughout the time of the CAC.

He asked questions based on information he wanted to learn and he worked extremely hard at being the best he can be while serving on the CAC.

We can't know what Jack might have done tonight, but I feel that the vote and or the motion would have been different had he been able to attend.

I know well that Jack had some real troubles with Bob's plans yet he did inquire of Bob on many issues and he really attempted to look for numbers and ideas that could have been used for some kind of compromise.

Without Jack, the folks who looked for a true density compromise didn't have a vote there to alter the motion or at least make a better statement.

Last month some of us calculated that there were five members of the CAC that would vote for R1. We figured on two members supporting a high density development and as it panned out, we got to see how those two voted, tonight.

With five votes for R1, that left eight votes for something other than R1 and I was thinking that those eight votes would be enough to suggest a density that would allow for between 900-1200 units. I think Jack would have been a driving force to use with other votes to get that through.

But it seems that Mr. Gaines and Mr. Greenwood, along with Mr. Dixon were so fed up with Bob, perhaps nothing Jack could have done would have been enough. But I do think he always used reasoning to suggest a compromise that was never to be.

I was amazed to listen to Mr. Jerry Gaines and Mr. John Greenwood tonight. They sounded completely disgusted with Bob's plans and Bob for not bringing forth even a mention of a set of numbers that could have been reasonable to them. They seemed to echo what many other frustrated individuals wanted to say to Bob and Ms. Hahn.

I fear that we may lose a good source of community input if the CAC ends its mission on August 20. I think community members should have the best access possible to information and to air their opinions. With this blog I and contributors and folks who comment have the opportunity to share, but there are more folks who don't read this thing in our community that have opinions and with to share them.

One way, in the future you may wish to learn and be heard is at the meetings of the Northwest and Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Councils. If you want to visit Central, you are welcome to, but it may take them a couple of months to get themselves up to the level that Northwest and Coastal already are as far as their own infrastructure goes.

We all should keep ourselves and others informed as the issue passes from the CAC, through the Planning Department and on the way to the Planning Commission.

I think the next big item to be published is the Final Environmental Impact Report which should include all the comments made on the Draft Environmental Impact Report. I do know of some very thought out comments from both Northwest S.P.N.C. and from the City of Rancho Palos Verdes. Of course I liked the three sets of comments I produced, but that is to be expected.

Please Bisno Supporters, Don't Trash R.P.V.

At tonight's CAC meeting, after the two motions passed, several Ponte Vista supporters wearing their "I support Ponte Vista" sticky tags, attacked folks living in Rancho Palos Verdes.

Why did they have to stoop so low and do that? Many residents of R.P.V., especially in the eastern area, either did not approve of being annexed into R.P.V. or like me, never had the chance to vote on it.

There are probably a couple thousand residents of R.P.V. who consider themselves San Pedrans because when we lived where we live, it was in the 90732 zip code and our return address was "San Pedro."

I don't besmirch San Pedrans because there is a potential development across Western that is so giant, many San Pedrans don't even like it.

I don't condemn San Pedro and its citizens when they drive their kids through our streets to the two LAUSD schools in R.P.V.

I also don't like when CAC members were attacked for just living in R.P.V. There were only three members actually selected to serve on the CAC and represent R.P.V. One of them, me, left the CAC. Of the thirteen members of the CAC, only two remain to represent a city that shares a portion of a state highway with San Pedro.

I didn't plan that a member representing businesses in San Pedro actually lives in R.P.V. That member did not support either motion passed by the CAC, anyway.

In their hearts, many residents of eastern R.P.V. consider themselves San Pedrans and those are the folks who actually come to the CAC meetings and oppose Bob's plans.

There are residents of R.P.V. that not only co-chair a Board for Ponte Vista, but also repeat praises towards Bob Bisno and his "saving San Pedro" (Sorry I had to write that, but that speaker lives in R.P.V. and this posts defends R.P.V. residents).

So if you are attacking folks who live in R.P.V. and believe they are the "bad guys" who oppose Bob's plans, I suggest you learn who actually lives in R.P.V. and where they stand on the issues before you condemn all of us.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Marshall's Coming to OUR Community

I know many of you (well o.k., not many of you at all) have been wondering what is going on at the old Do-It Center site between the Regal Cinemas and Bally's.

I had the rumor confirmed by the Rancho Palos Verdes Planning Department that a new Marshall's is going in on the top level of The Terraces.

It looks like Ross, Dress For Less is going to have even more competition now. Just think, a Ross, Marshall's, and a Target so close to each other.

There is plenty of parking for the new store and plenty of parking is going to get more scarce in the future so we should enjoy it when we can.

Something good is being constructed on Western. Gee, isn't that a delightful change?

Movement of Bile

I moved a post from this blog to the uncensored blog and I hope nobody goes there. There are times I won't censor myself, but I will move posts when I feel it is best.

The Chamber's Letter to the Editor

Camilla Townsend, the President and CEO of the San Pedro and Peninsula Chamber of Commerce shared with me the letter to the editor that was finally published in the July 23 edition of The Daily Breeze. Below is that letter.

July 20, 2007
Editor, Daily Breeze

Dear Editor:

Your Thursday article (SP Chamber Endorses Ponte Vista Plan) contains some inaccuracies that need to be addressed. The motion passed by the chamber board did not endorse any specific number of units and certainly not the maximum build out of 1950 units currently proposed. The intent was to support development on land that has been a blight in our community for many years.

The motion supports a residential community that fully mitigates traffic impacts and includes a variety of unit sizes and styles. The intent is to see built a mix of family and senior units and to have quality housing available for a range of buyers with differing financial means. We want to insure that the community would receive the maximum benefit from the Ponte Vista project and recognize that this will only happen with multiple units at the site, rather than single family housing. These benefits include a dedicated road to the new Mary Star High School Campus, 10 acres of parkland and open space for the community, a $1 million trust fund to provide additional traffic mitigation if needed, and a “San Pedro First” plan to create a preferred buyer program and discounts for area residents, regardless of the number of units.

Among the reasons supporters on our Board voted in favor, were: the employment opportunities, both temporary and permanent, that will be generated by the project, as well as the fact that much needed workforce housing will make the area more attractive to employers. The fact that Ponte Vista will be designed to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) specifications also was an important consideration to the board as it looks at the overall environment of San Pedro. The Ponte Vista plan incorporates 40% open and green space to create a highly “walkable” neighborhood.

The Ponte Vista Project has many more processes to go through before a final plan is approved, with the ultimate number units and other issues being influenced by the Councilwoman’s CAC, the developer, the Harbor Area Planning Commission, the Los Angeles City Planning Commission, and the City Council.

Again, we want to make sure that traffic concerns and other quality of life issues are not negatively impacted by this or any other development project in San Pedro.

We hope this fully clarifies the Board of Directors action and intent.

Anthony Santich, Chairman of the Board Camilla Townsend, President and CEO

I think Ms. Townsend and I agree that the reporting on the endorsement in not one, but two articles in The Daily Breeze did not present an accurate report of the motion.

The endorsement also appears similar to the resolution passed by the Board of Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council, which when written by their Land Use and Planning Committee was specifically written to NOT be an endorsement of Bob Bisno's Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

I can understand the intent of both motions, but I don't have to be happy with either of them, and neither do you.

It is disappointing to see the rejection of the possibility of single-family housing at Ponte Vista. It appears their motion also can be considered to not call for Patio-style single-family, detached condominium units, either. It looks like they are rejecting detached housing of any kind. This is my opinion as I read the endorsement and letter.

Folks asked me about the Chamber's action just about everywhere I went this past weekend. These folks aren't as involved in the R1 movement as I am, but they wanted to know what I thought and they wanted to share their opinion with me.

One opinion was that was given to me is something I do not know the answer to, but thought it was a good point. Should or did the Chamber Email its members before it approved the motion, to gauge the opinions of members of the Chamber? I know business owners who want R1. I have no idea about what percentage of members lean more toward R1 than what the Board approved in their endorsement.

Perhaps the Chamber did poll its members. If it didn't, I think that would be more evidence that their Board attempted to "jump the gun" even though I know they studied the issue for a long time. Isn't it puzzling to more folks that even though the Chamber studied the issues before it passed its motion of endorsement, they still seemed to go against the growing number of members of OUR community who are really questioning over development in San Pedro?

Even though we may not agree on this endorsement, I think we can still enjoy spending our hard earned money at establishments in San Pedro we have known for so many years or may just be getting to know, now. It is O.K., I think to offer comments of displeasure, or write a letter or two, but please continue to shop San Pedro.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

CAC Meeting, July 24

The next meeting of Janice Hahn's Community Advisory Committee for the Ponte Vista project is TUESDAY July 24, 2007, beginning at 6:00 PM at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, in San Pedro.

We NEED every person supporting R1, or keeping the zoning as it currently is on the site, at this meeting. Call your friends and neighbors, bring in busloads of folks, this is a very important meeting and one that should not be missed.It is expected that the members will discuss and make recommendations for the density and/or number of units they would like to pass along to Councilwoman Hahn.

There could be two recommendations. One recommendation by a majority of members calling for a range of numbers for units and/or density. The other recommendation, unfortunately probably in the minority opinion, is for R1 and keeping the current zoning as it is, at the site, and not approving any ordinances that would change the current zoning.

It would be good if the Planning Department representative weighed in with an opinion about what that department might allow in their report about the site, but I can't say that will happen.

I hope that there are chocolate chip cookies there, along with all the other goodies provided. We need to thank Bob for paying for them so all of us could be treated, but that doesn't mean we need to agree with him on anything.

I also wish we are all civil. I apologize beforehand if any of my laughter is offensive to any of you, but sometimes statements are so ridiculous that I just can't help myself. I don't usually make any other comments from my seat other than laughter.

I also need to warn folks that some folks use their first amendment right of free speech inappropriately sometimes, but I can't help that, either.

Let's have the best time possible. Let's listen to the committee members, Bob, Betsy, Ms. Hahn if she attends, and all the comments from the floor.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Chamber, the Reporting, and Where I Shopped

I still don't agree that the San Pedro and Peninsula Chamber of Commerce should have endorsed any development that excludes the opportunity to build R1 zoned housing. That is basically what the Chamber did.

I did find that the reporting of the actions by the Board of Directors, including most basic information about the motion passed, was sloppy. I don't understand why the same reporter who didn't seem to get the adopted motion correct was sent back to do a second article that still, in my opinion, was sloppy.

I did what I suggested should be done with this matter. I wrote a letter to the editor of the Daily Breeze and I was a bit cranky to a business owner at a Chamber-member store.

On July 21, at approximately 12:05 AM, I bought the third "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" book sold at Williams Book Store, in San Pedro. I did state to the owner that I was displeased with the Chamber's actions and we had a chat about that while I waited in line to buy the book Terri has already begun reading.

So I think I was honest in what I suggested. I wrote, spoke, was a bit cranky, but in the end it was a great time waiting with lots of folks for 12:01 AM to roll around. With Williams Book Store you must realize that you will not find the seventh volume of the saga at reduced prices. The deluxe edition will set you back about $70.00 and the regular edition is about $37.88 with tax. But hey, it is a favorite business in San Pedro and the member businesses need folks to shop in them for their survival. I don't think harming local merchants because of what their Board of Directors did is a good thing. What is a good thing is to let those member-merchants know you are not happy with their organization and that you would like them to relay to the Board of Directors, our displeasure with their actions.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Odds and Ends 22

This edition of "Odds and Ends" will probably be a long one and may be edited during the day.

There are two comments that I have decided to reject not because of their content, but they deserve to be used on this post and carry an explanation.

Rebecca Chamblis sells real estate on the peninsula and in San Pedro. She writes blog pieces on the Active Rain Real Estate Network. She is a new hero in the quest to keep the zoning as it currently is, at Ponte Vista.

Two "Anonymous" comments were received listing the URLs for posts on the Active Rain network, written by Ms. Chamblis. I have already written to her to ask her permission to use the postings on my blog, because they are wonderful and provide information I am not able to provide.

The two comments I am going to reject contain only the following information which I have checked out, viewed, and found to be what they truly are:



These are writings by Ms. Chamblis that I feel deserve reading. Thank you Rebecca

Oh, what a week this is turning out to be. We finally saw stars after our return from our Alaska vacation and we are glad to be back home.

I was thinking this week would be a calm week as far as the Ponte Vista issue goes, because the next meeting of the CAC is not until next week and there didn't seem like too much was going on last week. I must admit that I was very wrong.

Foul mouth guy is now banned from this blog and comments I believe coming from him in the future, whether they contain foul language or not, will be copied and placed on my uncensored blog that I hope nobody ever views again. Even though he has used cleanser on his mouth on this blog, I feel he is probably "XXX" and I don't want to publish any comments from Foul mouth guy on this blog. We are done with him on this blog.

It looks like "XXX" created a false blog about the R1 group and used my name and Doug Epperhart's name when creating fictitious comments purported to have been written by us.

If the author of that blog resides in the City of Los Angeles, statutes in the law state that he committed the crime of identity theft. It is bad enough for Bob to actually publish falsehoods in his survey and in other print material, but to have someone probably associated with him break the law, shows what Bob and his bunch are willing to stoop to in order to push their over development on OUR community.

I did applaud the San Pedro and Peninsula Chamber of Commerce's study and interest in taking time before they made their "endorsement" of Ponte Vista. It is sad to learn that during that time they seem to have dropped a gun on the floor and shot themselves in the foot.

In today's Daily Breeze, there is already an article that may seem to describe how the Chamber is now trying to dig the bullet out of their foot, by qualifying their stance.

I think it would be appropriate for the Chamber to do the correct thing and rescind the "endorsement" of Ponte Vista and Bob until their wounded foot has a chance to heal.

They also might want to think about storing the gun in a place where they will not step on it again.

I must note that Mr. Sal Satomayor and Mr. Jack Baric, both members of the Chamber's Board and members of Ms. Janice Hahn's Community Advisory Committee for the Ponte Vista project,
DID NOT VOTE on the endorsement by the Chamber of Ponte Vista.

These two fine gentlemen have worked very hard on the CAC and they not only have not been a part of dropping the gun, they probably tried to warn the Chamber that the gun was below the Chamber's foot just before it went off.

Sal and Jack must be commended for refraining on voting on the Chamber issue and their words and deed on the CAC should always be remembered with honor for the services they have performed. Mr. Satomayor was also a member of the Western Avenue Task Force and that also deserves our praise to him as well as our many thanks.

Wednesday was a great day for many of us. Not only did we learn that OVER 10,000 signatures have now been gathered on the R1 petitions supporting keeping the current zoning as it is at the Ponte Vista site, we also saw a reasonable, realistic, responsible, and respectful resolution concerning Ponte Vista adopted by the Board of the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council.

It needs to be repeatedly stated, for those Bisno supporters who seem to have trouble reading, that IF standards are met that meet expectations of the Board of the Council that call for higher density than R1, the Board will objectively look at any and all proposals that meet or exceed the standards. While the resolution states the current call for R1 at Ponte Vista, it does allow for discussion on a development of greater than R1 density.

Thursday seemed to be a bad day for many of us, until we realized how fouled up the Chamber's endorsement of Ponte Vista really was.

Too many individuals had to deal with an Email sent by "Tom Field" suggesting they visit a fictictous blog, that not only is written against blogging standards, but also contains evidence of a criminal act, according to the City of Los Angeles and not me. This is another shameful act of desperation by an enraged person or group of individuals, probably associated with Bisno Development or their advisory board(s). I cannot say for certain though, who "XXX" really is, but more and more details are leading people other than me to actively speculate as to the true identity of "XXX" and how he is associated with Bob and the gang.

Now that at least 10,236 signatures have been gathered on the R1 petitions, wouldn't 20,000 signatures be even that more wonderful? Right now there are about 77,000 households in San Pedro alone. More households in the surrounding areas add to the resources available to find more caring and thoughtful members of OUR community who may wish to sign the R1 petition.

The fight to keep OUR community from over development is just beginning. Continuing to collect signatures from individuals who believe that quality of life is more important that quantity of profit, is something we must do.

"Petitions" may be signed online by visiting http://www.rneighborhoodsare1.org/ and you can also download and print paper petitions to gather more signatures with.

It looks like R1 petition gatherers will be at McCowan's this weekend and at Point Fermin Park on Sunday.

Ponte Vista's paid petition gatherers may also be at Point Fermin on Sunday as well. Last Sunday one of them was followed and listened to by an intelligent and resourceful fellow who had to stop that gatherer and tell them that they were stating untruths. The paid Ponte Vista gatherer was using statements that are untrue and was challenged when they attempted to get signatures from uninformed victims.

There have been communications made by individuals to Ms. Swanson at the Ponte Vista site about paid petition gatherers using misstatements, falsehoods, and what turns out to be factual errors. Ms. Swanson has stated that she would look into the matter and offer corrective action. Well, it has been a long time since complaints have been communicated to employees of Bisno Development LLC, yet still as of last Sunday, paid petition gatherers are still making misstatements and offering falsehoods to unsuspecting individuals.

The proof seems to be in the pudding, I feel. When the folks at Bisno Development continue to allow their paid petition gatherers to spread misinformation and the gang continues to seemingly condone foul mouthed supporters and individuals who create fictitious blogs, and not bother to assist in opposing such outrageous acts, we get a clearer picture by their actions and inaction how they really feel about OUR community.

As today progressed, I learned even more about the Chamber's endorsement. I received an Email from Ms. Towsend and it included a letter to the editor of the Daily Breeze. I will include that letter once it is published in the paper.

The Chamber unfortunately was the victim of appearently sloppy writing by the reporter. However, the reporter who wrote the first story also wrote the second story, so I don't know why the Chamber did not request another reporter if they considered the first reporter's work to be "sloppy".

Either way, it appears that the Chamber did not wish to wait to see what the Community Advisory Committee or the local Planning Department officials thought of the plan before they made their endorsement. Both the CAC and that portion of City Planners who sat in on so many meetings represent the community the Chamber also believes it represents, but is couldn't wait to make their endorsement any longer, it seems.

I guess now the best way to put it is that the Chamber, in their attempts to jump the gun, actually stepped on it and it shot them in the foot. The reporting of the "shooting" may have been sloppy, but the folks at the Chamber are attempting to recover the bullet as fast as they can and clean their wound out.

Perhaps the proper "medical" attention they should try is to recind their endorsement until after the two other groups that represent them and the rest of us, tell us what they think.

Quick thought to seniors wishing to buy at Ponte Vista. Why not move to Miami? There is a glut of condos and more being built forcing a 30% reduction in prices for many of the units, according to Bloomberg news.

They Are Already Digging for the Bullet

In today's Daily Breeze, there was a new article about the San Pedro and Peninsula Chamber of Commerce's endorsement of Ponte Vista, where it seems they have recognized that even with study and time, they managed to shoot themselves in the foot.

The digging for the bullet has begun, it seems. I think however, that using the injured foot to back peddle isn't in their best interest, I feel their Board of Directors shoud, extremely quickly, vote to recind any endorsement of Ponte Vista or any development with the size proposed by Bob and consider waiting for the Planning Department and the Community Advisory Committee to weigh in on what they believe is best for OUR community.

It's not that they jumped the gun so much as they stepped on it and it went off.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

First, Let's Raise Our Voices and Get a Little Cranky

Do you oppose the recent actions by the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce?

Perhaps we should begin our commenting about what the Chamber did by raising our voices. How about when we enter a business that is a member of the Chamber, we ask to speak to the manager and/or owner? Since we all may have different opinions and our own thoughts on the matter, I think it is reasonable, responsible, realistic, and respectful for each and every person who does not agree with the Chamber's endorsement of Ponte Vista, to let folks know what you think.

What may happen if 5,000-10,000 customers, or even 40% of customers raise their voices in opposition to the managers and/or business owners? How many folks might need to complain long enough and loud enough before Chamber members get a feeling that support for Bob's plan creates more tension within their businesses.

How might employees of businesses feel about what the Chamber did. How might they want to signal their opposition to what the Chamber did?

Along with speaking to each and every manager/owner, I think letters to the editor of newspapers might also be a good start....by hundreds and thousands of folks.

Also individuals might consider writing to each and every business they deal with and sending a copy of that letter to the Chamber of Commerce.

As I have written in a comment, I love San Pedro and so many of the businesses in San Pedro. Personally, I do not feel a boycott of businesses is in order. I can not speak for any other member of the R1 group or anyone else, but I can't imagine not going into to The Whale and Ale. I do think letting the good Mr. Andrew Silber know that I am not pleased with the endorsement by the Chamber and perhaps writing a personal letter to him with a copy to the Chamber is something that can be done. Mr. Silber is just one of many Chamber members who might just get a little fed up with numerous complaints directed to the Chamber through him, and or other business owners, that they may wish to reconsider their support of Bob's outrageous plan.

Mr. Silber and many, many other Chamber members have done their best to review the plans and they did take their time and effort to finally come up with what many folks believe is an incorrect endorsement. But to not be willing to eat some fish and chips from his restaurant is not something I would do. I use Mr. Silber only as an example of a business owner and member of the Chamber of Commerce. I have dined and will continue to dine at The Whale and Ale and I do recommend it to anyone for its great food and comfortable atmosphere.

So I do feel it is high time to raise our voices, grab our pens or use our keyboards to state how we feel about the Chamber's recent actions. But I hope we can do this without hurting any businesses and the employees who belong to OUR community. Rattling the cages is a good thing sometimes, letting the tigers loose, can be a real problem, in my opinion.

I've Created a New Blog

Since I have learned of a fictional blog, complete with fantasy comments supposedly written by me and Doug Epperhart, I decided to counter that blog with a new one of my own.

www.rneighborhoodsare1.blogspot.com is the address of my newest blog. You can visit it or view the other blog that lives in the deluded mind of its creator. One blog you will quickly view the comedy of the intent, but the tragedy of the lack of person hood of its creator. Of course the other blog won't even allow for anonymous comments, but the creator's comments are all found in his sick mind anyway, so why bother with comments from others.

I do have to use moderation with my newest blog as well. I have decided to move comments I find truly objectionable to me, my family, you, your family, or OUR community to my uncensored blog, which I hope you do not visit.

Blogging still remains fun for me and gives regular folks like the vast majority of us know we really are, the opportunity to contribute to the dialog.

Please continue to visit this blog if you wish and give my new blog a look, if you are interested. So far it only has one post, but I think it will grow in time. I might even decide to use that blog as a place for some humor, something akin to what the other blog is attempting. I would like to suggest that anyone wishing to create fantasy comments, complete with fictional names of real persons, you might want to post comments on the blog.

Who says if "Tom" and that foul-mouthed fellow can have fun, we can't.

Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council Resolution

On Wednesday July 18, 2007, the Board of the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council adopted the following resolution:

WHEREAS, the Ponte Vista property on Western Avenue is zoned R-1, allowing single-family dwellings; and

WHEREAS, Bisno Development LLC has applied for a specific plan amendment to allow it to build 2300 condominiums, but had informally presented a plan for 1950 units; and

WHEREAS, the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council has an interest in the development of the Ponte Vista property, including but limited to concerns about increased traffic, pressure on the level of City services, increases in population density, crime, air pollution and impacts on local schools; and

WHEREAS, the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council area will be the most affected of all neighborhood council areas in the City of Los Angeles once the property is developed; and

WHEREAS, on November 14, 2005, the NWSPNC adopted, as part of is comments on the scoping of the project,

"The current R-1 zoning of this property is in concert with the rest of the community. The density proposed by Bisno Development for Ponte Vista fundamentally alters, for all time, the nature not only of the immediate neighborhood, but of the entire north side of San Pedro, and sets a precedent for potentially irresponsible over development of other propertied in the Harbor area. ...The issuance of the Inital Study implies an assumption by Bisno Corp. that there will be a change in the current zoning. We reject this assumption and oppose any change in the zoning."; and

WHEREAS, on January 22, 2007, the NWSPNC adopted the following language as part of its cover letter accompanying its comments on the DEIR:

"The current R-1 and Open Space zoning of this property fits well in the community and is appropriate zoning. The density proposed for Ponte Vista fundamentally alters, for all time, the nature of the immediate neighborhood and the entire north side of San Pedro....The DEIR implies that there will be a change in the current zoning. A change of this magnitude should be considered as part of the Community Plan update process, not as an isolated request." and

WHEREAS, the existing San Pedro Community Plan would allow an increases of almost 15% in our population as a matter of right, with no analysis of traffic impacts on our schools, but neither the City or Bisno have taken this potential growth into account when predicting the impacts of the Ponte Vista development or in evaluating whether additional new housing is needed in San Pedro; and

Considering that the City and Bisno have repeatedly failed to adequately analyze the traffic impacts likely to be generated by the Ponte Vista development, particularly on Western Avenue but also on feeder streets onto Western;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council reiterates its support for R-1 zoning on the Ponte Vista property;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that any development on the property R1- or other wise should satisfactorily address increased traffic, pressure on the level of City services, increases in population density, crime, air pollution, and impacts on schools; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the potential impacts of any proposed plans for the Ponte Vista property will be subjected by this Neighborhood Council to objective comparison to the impacts likely to occur if the property were developed under the current R1 zoning.