Monday, July 23, 2007

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.


Anonymous said...

i made the mistake of going to "tom's" site today. what a class act his photo shows him to be.the filthy mouth commenter and tom are the same. any fool can see right through. his site is almost excluslvely a pathetic rant about you. how dare you get in the way of plans to ruin san pedro. 20,000 signatures!

Anonymous said...

i will not shop aroun here anymore.
why the hell should I? ther can just trade my money for ponte vista customers. oh, that's right, we don't know what's behind curtin number 3 yet.