Saturday, September 29, 2007
I liked his "B.S. Bingo" for meetings. I know I will feel constrained if folks use "Ponte Vista", "Bob Bisno", and "over development", but I feel confident that "Bob's blight", "monstrously over-sized project" and "future apartments" might get through meetings.
Another part of Doug's piece dealt with exactly why the great folks supporting Eastview Little League did what they did when offered diamonds by Bob Bisno. I have decided to copy this section of Doug's piece, and I hope he doesn't mind because it is so important.
"In July 2006, Molina asked Eastview why the deal between Bisno Development and the league did not work out. The reply from league president David Stanovich follows:
"We have backed off on the Bisno site because of his insistence on us signing an official contract with him to exclusively back his project of 2,300 condos. In this contract, it states we will no longer look for alternative sites for our junior/senior fields.
"Another reason is his unwillingness to deed the land to the city or Eastview before his project receives all of its permits to build. To rely on a temporary site and the hope he builds his project is too much of a risk to put all of our fields in his hands.
"His timetable for permanent fields is 2008-2009 if he gets approval from the city. He will only build the fields if he gets a zoning change to R3. As you told us in the meeting, that is not likely to happen. So, Bisno as an option is not looking real good, even for the junior field.
"As we told you in the past, he is not happy that he received 17 cards in favor of his project, out of 570 from the parents of Eastview. In his own words, he is not getting his money's worth out of the league.
"If you need any further explanations, let me know. We have told him from the beginning we will support anything he gets approved from the city. Never once have we said we support 2,300 condos.""
Indecently 17 out of 570 cards equals about 2.9% approval rating for Bob's original plans.
I can imagine about 3% of the total population of OUR community really supporting Bob's current plans.
Included in that article are segments concerning what the future holds in store for the new site in northwest San Pedro.
There are many individuals, including 15Th. District Councilwoman Janice Hahn who want to have a road built between Western Avenue and the campus. I am not a supporter of this idea any longer.
When the campus was being discussed, proposed, planned, and in limited knowledge of the majority of residents in the larger area, folks got together and insisted that if the campus is built where it is now being built, a route between Western Avenue and the campus was mandatory.
If the school opens around Christmas time, either students and parents will use the Taper Avenue entrance, or they may be required to use a temporary route through the Ponte Vista development site, if the representatives from Mary Star and Bob Bisno can come to terms.
According to a very well placed source, the route between Western Avenue and the campus was and will be part of the conditional use permit for the new school.
What was not publicized was the fact that if a route between Western Avenue and the new campus if provided, students and parents would be required to use it, while the faculty, staff, deliveries, and visitors would still be allowed to use the Taper Avenue access, which would not be closed.
Western Avenue is already too crowded in most people's mind. Adding the youngest and least experienced drivers along a portion of Western that will already be filled with commuters and students and parents trying to get to and from Dodson Intermediate School will create even more headaches, I feel.
I don't know if your high-school age children are ever late for anything, especially in the morning. The thought of late students driving to get to class along Western Avenue does not set too right with me. Also adding into the mix are all the Dodson students that cross Western Avenue. Late, young high-school drivers and intermediate-school students crossing a four-lane road, do not mix well at all.
I attended Dodson during the time the Navy Housing was occupied, and I wish someone in a position to know would publish the number of pedestrian-car accidents that happened at Avenida Aprenda and Delasonde, as they intersect Western Avenue.
Some folks have suggested that students who have cars and parents dropping their kids off for the new campus, should have an alternate parking lot and be bussed into the new campus.
I wonder if there was any discussion during the development and planning processes about the "what if" question was ever asked and answered: "What if there can be no road between Western Avenue and Mary Star?" Actually, in talking with folks well informed about that time frame, I heard that the very strong promise of a road was necessary before the homeowners association closest to the campus would approve the new site.
I do not believe Western Avenue, the commuters, children, and adults who must use that road every day should be subject to the wishes of a homeowners group, in this manner.
I like the idea of Mary Star having a brand new campus and I do wish everyone well, but I don't think we all should pay, in traffic respects, for having even more individuals needlessly using Western Avenue.
The Taper Avenue access goes to Westmont. Westmont has intersections to both Gaffey and Western Avenue. Many students and others live in the central and southern San Pedro areas, and they probably would not like traveling on Western Avenue during the morning and afternoon "rush" hours.
The idea of a road between Western Avenue and the new campus came up well before Ponte Vista was created. As I understand it, the Navy, when they owned the site, was prepared to open S. John Montgomery as the route between Western and Mary Star.
Bob Bisno has always wished to provide a "community benefit", being the road, as another way to insure that he gets the highest density zoning he possibly can. Bob and L.A. City folks are at odds as to whether he would be required to provide any road if the property were to remain with its current R1 zoning. In this particular instance, I agree that Bob would not be required to provide land or a road, if the property remains R1.
Once again I must repeat for my friends and neighbors, I am very supportive of the new Mary Star campus and I have been from the first day I heard of it. I do not support any road between Western Avenue and the new campus, especially since there will already be access to the new school that will remain in use.
Friday, September 28, 2007
Lots of us are concerned about Bob's blight and his creation of a ghost project at Ponte Vista.
I feel that the real power to confront L.A. leaders and bureaucrats about dealing with the blighted property, which is a nuisance to look at, drive by, and may be hazardous to surrounding residences in the City of Los Angeles, should come first from the residents and citizens of the City of Los Angeles.
It does little good for someone like me who does not live in the City of L.A. to complain on behalf of myself and/or my neighbors because we don't have the power of the ballot behind us in the fight and we may not have standing in a litigation that could be considered.
Residents of the City of L.A. along with Homeowners Associations, Neighborhood Councils, and other impacted groups would have more influence, I believe, to try to get Bob to clean up his mess.
I have taken some time lately to begin dealing with the L.A. Municipal Code. I have found some interesting ideas to put forward and some codes that may apply to get Bob to clean up the property.
Here are some ideas that came up while I was reading parts of the code:
I don't know if the abandoned dwellings at Ponte Vista have asbestos in them, but I know that asbestos was used in construction when those buildings were built.
There are codes dealing with fire protection and keeping abandoned buildings from becoming fire traps by sealing broken window, clearing dead brush, cleaning up rubbish and debris. These codes appear to have been created to keep any fire started on a property from spreading to nearby areas.
In my most recent drive past Ponte Vista I have noticed dead brush, broken windows that have not been properly covered to comply with coding, rubbish and debris piled on the private streets, and other things that might be considered violations of L.A. Municipal codes.
This next bit is about nuisances created by abandoned buildings and vacant areas. It is three sections of the Los Angeles Municipal Code. These codes may seem long, but I feel they apply in this instance.
SEC. 58.01. NUISANCES – SUMMARY ABATEMENT.
(Amended by Ord. No. 175,596, Eff. 12/7/03.)
When the Health Officer, acting under any authority vested in him or her, orders the abatement of a nuisance or condition within the City of Los Angeles that endangers the public health, safety and welfare, and the person or persons responsible for the creation or maintenance of the nuisance fail to comply with the order, the Health Officer may request the Department of Public Works or any other department having the necessary workforce and equipment, to perform the work required to abate the nuisance.
All costs incurred pursuant to this section shall be a personal obligation against the person or persons responsible for the creation or maintenance of the nuisance and the owner of the property, recoverable by the City in an action before any court of competent jurisdiction. These costs shall include an amount equal to 40 percent of the cost to perform the actual work, but not less than the sum of $100.00, to cover the City’s costs for administering any contract and supervising the work required. In addition to this personal obligation and all other remedies provided by law, the City may collect any judgment, fee, cost, or charge, including any permit fees, fines, late charges, or interest, incurred in relation to the provisions of this section as provided in Los Angeles Administrative Code Sections 7.35.1 through 7.35.8.
SEC. 58.02. WEEDS, RUBBISH, ETC. – PUBLIC NUISANCE.
(Added by Ord. No. 160,171, Eff. 8/22/85).
A. The City Council finds that weeds (as defined in Article 2, Chapter 13, Part 2, Division 3 or Title 4, commencing at Section 39560 of the Government Code of the State of California), rubbish and other material dangerous or injurious to neighboring property or to the health or safety of residents of the vicinity constitute a public nuisance.
B. Every owner of any parcel of land or premises who, after receiving notice as provided by Subsection B. of Section 22.325.1 of the Los Angeles Administrative Code, fails to abate a public nuisance thereon consisting of weeds, rubbish or other material dangerous or injurious to neighboring property or to the health or welfare of residents of the vicinity by the date specified in the notice or the date upon which the City is authorized to abate the nuisance pursuant to Section 22.325.1 of the Los Angeles Administrative Code, whichever date is later, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
SEC. 58.03. NUISANCES – SUMMARY ABATEMENT OF MOSQUITO BREEDING SOURCES.
(Added by Ord. No. 176,240, Eff. 10/23/04.)
A. Any standing water on private property which has become a breeding source for mosquitoes is hereby declared to be a public nuisance and an immediate threat to the public health safety and welfare of the citizens of Los Angeles.
B. When the Health Officer or an officer of any Los Angeles County Vector Control District acting under any authority vested in him or her finds any standing water on private property which has become a breeding source for mosquitoes, said officer may issue a written order to abate the standing water or other condition within the City of Los Angeles that endangers the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Los Angeles. The owner or other person or persons responsible for the private property where the breeding source was found shall have 72 hours to abate or eliminate the condition which created the breeding source for mosquitoes. Upon the issuance of the notice to abate the nuisance created by the breeding source for mosquitoes, the owner or other person or persons responsible for the private property may at no cost to the owner or responsible person request that the vector control district abate the standing water as a source of breeding mosquitoes. The owner or responsible person may also choose to abate the nuisance within the 72 hours allowed. Any owner or responsible person who fails to comply with a 72 hour nuisance abatement order issued pursuant to this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor pursuant to L.A.M.C. Section 11.00(m).
C. If any officer as described in this code who is lawfully on private property finds a nuisance as described above and is unable to contact the owner or other person or persons responsible for the private property in question within twenty-four hours, said officer may summarily abate the nuisance at no cost to the owner or responsible person. If a nuisance has been abated without the knowledge or permission of the owner or other responsible person, then the abating officer shall post a notice on the property in a prominent place that explains exactly where and what steps were taken to abate the nuisance.
D. If an owner or responsible person who has been cited to abate a nuisance within 72 hours fails to do so, any officer described herein may then summarily abate the nuisance. All costs incurred to abate the nuisance pursuant to this section shall be a personal obligation against the owner or person or persons responsible for the creation or maintenance of the nuisance, recoverable by the abating organization in an action before any court of competent jurisdiction. These costs shall include an amount equal to 40 percent of the cost to perform the actual work, but not less than the sum of $100.00, to cover the costs for doing the work, administering any contract to do the work and/or supervising the work required. In addition to this personal obligation and all other remedies provided by law, the abating organization may collect any judgment, fee, cost, or charge, including any permit fees, fines, late charges, or interest, incurred in relation to the provisions of this section as provided in Los Angeles Administrative Code Sections 7.35.1 through 7.35.8.
Above is the address for learning about a program to deal with problem properties. This program appears to deal with primarily smaller sites and ones that are not guarded, but I am not so sure the guard(s) at the Ponte Vista site can be everywhere on the property, all at the same time.
All one needs to do is view the graffiti on any of the old units, even the ones surround by dead weeds to know that the site cannot be protected when folks wish to trespass. I don't think the surrounding neighbors in San Pedro or elsewhere should be required to continue to have to live with the conditions as they currently are, at Ponte Vista.
Below is a copy of the page dealing with the program.
Office of the City AttorneyRocky Delgadillo
CITYWIDE NUISANCE ABATEMENT PROGRAM (CNAP)
The Office of the City Attorney Citywide Nuisance Abatement Program is a coordinated, multi-agency task force charged with targeting abandoned structures, nuisance properties and blight plaguing neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles. The CNAP program is comprised of personnel from five participating agencies: the Office of the City Attorney Office, and the City of Los Angeles Police, Housing, Planning, and Building and Safety Departments.
CNAP spearheads a number of specialized, community-based programs designed to target and prevent criminal activity and improve the quality of life in Los Angeles's (sic) neighborhoods.
Problem Property Resolution Teams (PPRT's) identify and pursue abatements against nuisance properties, and also develop long-term strategies to criminal and nuisance activities in designated neighborhood block projects.
The Narcotic Eviction Team (NET) assists property owners in evicting tenants who engage in narcotics activity or gang-related crime.
The Narcotics Enforcement Surveillance Team (NEST) coordinates law enforcement and prosecution resources to effectively remove conspicuous drug markets from residential neighborhoods.
Kid Watch LA recruits and coordinates volunteers who assist the police in ensuring that children have safe paths to and from schools.
Operation Healthy Neighborhoods (OHN) targets quality of life crimes and code violations in designated areas.
CNAP encourages participation from residents and local area businesses in solving the crime issues and problem properties plaguing Los Angeles's (sic) neighborhoods.
To report abandoned buildings, or buildings plagued by ongoing nuisance activity, such as narcotics dealing, prostitution, or gang activity - Call the Citywide Nuisance Abatement Program hotline (310) 575-8934 or email email@example.com
Problem Property Resolution Teams (PPRT's)
Problem Property Resolution Teams (PPRTs) are staffed by personnel from five core participating agencies:
The Office of the City Attorney Office
Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD)
Department of Building and Safety (LADBS),
Housing Department (LAHD)
PPRTs receive referrals of problem properties and neighborhoods from Council Offices, the police department, other city agencies' personnel, area businesses, and residents. Once referrals are received, the CNAP prosecutors assigned to the PPRTs are responsible for:
Narcotics and Vice Building Abatements: abating narcotics, vice, and other nuisance activity at occupied residential and commercial locations;
Abandoned Building Abatements: abating vacant structures, open to unauthorized entry, which are sites of drug, gang, or other criminal activity or which are considered fire hazards.
Neighborhood Block Projects: in conjunction with the Narcotics Enforcement Surveillance Team (NEST), implementing neighborhood block projects in each of the LAPD's four geographic bureaus, with efforts focused on crime reduction and prevention, physical improvements and enhancements, and community outreach.
I strongly hope that individual residents, groups of residents, and organizations representing homeowners in San Pedro/City of Los Angeles can start working harder on getting Bob to either clean up his blight, or have the City of L.A. do it and charge Bob Bisno.
The construction of Marshall's continues, but I don't have an opening date yet.
The Candidates' Forum for the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council election is scheduled for October 18, 2007 at Crestwood Street Elementary School. I will have lots more information next week on a separate post.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
First, thank you so much to all of you who wished me well. Endoscopic Core Decompression Osteotomy of the right hip is not only nothing to sneeze at, but I think sneezing right now would hurt quite a bit.
The surgeon will be able to tell if the bone graft took, in a couple of months and then all we have to do is see if the left hip needs the same operation. Getting old is not as much fun as I hoped it would be.
Bob Bisno now longer owns Lincoln Place in Santa Monica. When he did own it, before he sold off the rest of his interest to the largest rental company in the country, he worked on trying to transform the apartments into condos.
The methods Bob and the subsequent company used was found to be illegal, according to a recent judgement by a Federal District Court.
Bob started the process, according to some of his supporters by tearing out the existing plants and creating a blighted complex in order to redo it as a marketing tool for the future condos.
I don't know what will happen to those evicted from his then-rent controlled complex, before he sold his interest, but it will be interesting to watch.
I received a very funny "comic" book while I was in the hospital. It turned out to be the September 2007 Ponte Vista at San Pedro newsletter.
Bob, or his agents spend a great deal of space objecting to keeping the site as it is currently zoned, and he does include some of the amenities he is promising. I think it is high time that if he can't defend his plans without continued attacking the current zoning and it's supporters, then he continues to show all of us how failed and poor his plans currently are.
On the back page of the "comic" newsletter is a picture of a wonderful family consisting of a mom, a dad, and three young children. Everyone in the picture, except the baby is smiling.
The caption identifies the Woodwards and San Pedro residents and teachers in the Palos Verdes Unified School District.
Now one might think that these smiling school teachers will be wanting a new home at Ponte Vista. Well, by reading further along we will find that the Woodwards want their parents to move from Palm Springs to Ponte Vista to spend more time with their grandchildren.
And wouldn't you know it, Paul and Jennifer Woodward "strongly believe that Ponte Vista will provide opportunities for first-time buyers and working families to afford new, quality homes."
Nowhere in the caption do we find any mention whether the Woodwards would ever wish to, or could even afford to move their five-member family into Ponte Vista. But their Parents, now living in the remote, desolate desert area known at Palm Springs, might be able to buy a senior condo at Ponte Vista. What might grandpa think when he learns that the big green lawn across Western Avenue is not a golf course?
Again in the newsletter, we find reference to "smart traffic solutions." This is a term that is used to confuse many people into thinking that Ponte Vista falls under any "Smart Growth" plan in the greater L.A. area. Please do not be confused. Ponte Vista at San Pedro can not qualify under the terms of "Smart Growth" The traffic and transportation issues no where near qualify Ponte Vista in just about every category. If you ever read or hear the words "Smart Growth" in conjunction with Ponte Vista, you are being deliberately miss led.
Ponte Vista folks will use terms like smart traffic, smart construction, smart planning, smart building, smart transportation, but none of those terms actually deal with the Smart Growth policies, practices, and qualifications.
Ponte Vista claims that they have received "more than 20,185 signatures to date!" Please understand that every single signature was gathered, processed, or otherwise dealt with by at least one person getting paid by the developer or his agent(s).
You may also find their method of calculation a bit strange when you read their list of advisory board members. Not only do the names of the leaders of the various groups appear at the top of each list, their names are repeated again in the regular list of members. There is also a new co-chair of the Advisory Board(s). It appears that Sandy Bradley has replaced Louis Dominguez as co-chair. I don't know if Ms. Bradley lives in San Pedro, but Ms. Viramontes lives in Rancho Palos Verdes.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Mr. Richards is unable to get access to check comments or create any new post, other than this one.
When Mr. Richards is released from his incarceration (note from the wife who is typing this for him, this means he's in the hospital), he will create new posts and review comments.
Thank you for your understanding and your visits to this blog. Bob still needs to continue attempting to defend his over-development, but so many folks simply know that 1950 units in Northwest San Pedro is still way, way way too many units.
I continue to be R1 NO COMPROMISE.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Ponte Vista may appear out of the spotlight for the time being, but events, issues, and other over development projects can affect what may come out of the Planning Department.
The fact that Seaport Homes is now going to be a project of 136 leased units has an impact on Ponte Vista. I bet Bob is not very pleased to have such a large apartment complex on the southern border of his property and he will need to have his folks consider these new facts when the new environmental studies are done.
The developer of Seaport Homes is in a position where he is not bothered with lenders and many financial issues that Bob is. According to a reliable source, the bureaucrats in downtown L.A. were not surprised that Seaport's developer made the major switch.
Having an apartment complex sandwiched between two condominium projects, all three access by nothing more than what appears to be an alley, is not something that is going to be very pretty.
Talks are still going on between Bob and the good folks representing the new Mary Star campus to allow for access through the Ponte Vista site. This was talked about when Bob first purchased the property and many have always believed that Bob would open up access through his property for students and parents going to and from the new campus.
Water. It is looking more and more like this necessity may become a real thorn in the side of Bob's attempts to build too many units. With our longstanding drought, there simply may not be enough water available for 1,950 new units in San Pedro.
Long Beach and Torrance are working hard to get folks to voluntarily conserve, and Long Beach may even consider mandatory rationing. I know these two cities are not part of L.A.'s DWP, but our desert community is facing reservoirs at historically low levels.
Playa Vista was dealt a blow due to a 114-page District Court ruling that shut down construction of Phase II of the project.
According to the judges, the environmental report was insufficient in three areas. Traffic was not considered by the judges however.
If Playa Vista's EIR was successfully challenged by folks who looked very carefully at it and the environment in that area, perhaps we should continue to be vigilant in our research of the Ponte Vista EIR and OUR community's environment.
The Rudderless Steering Committee of R Neighborhoods Are 1 continues to meet and you can read my report of the meeting by visiting one of my other blogs at:
This is the real blog for the group.
Please continue to visit the great blog: Life on the edge at www.laharbor.blogspot.com The good writers for that blog provide information on a wider range of topics in OUR community than my blogs do. Of course, they also deal with Ponte Vista occasionally.
Construction of the new Marshall's is going on and it looks to be a fairly large store. I still don't know the opening date yet, but when I learn it, I'll post it.
The now croutons shaped old bakery is being hauled away and in its place will be the Target store.
The Kinder-Morgan property where JCC homes intends to build 134 condominium units, as patio-style homes, has not been turned over to the developer. When the very last trace of anything that could be considered hazardous is removed from not only the property, but also some of the surrounding area, then a complete inspection can take place. If all is cleaned up, then JCC homes can begin construction of Highland Park, on North Gaffey Street.
At the corner of P.V. Drive North and Western Avenue, it appears that as Jo-Anns leaves, Mules will begin constructing its new bar/restaurant.
There has been nothing from Walgreen's lately about building a store at the corner of Western Avenue and Trudie Drive. This has been an on again, off again issue, so I just put it in the back of my mind and ask about it from time to time.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
You are all welcome to visit their Web site at: http://www.seaport-homes.com/.
The lowest priced RENTAL is stated for the 763 square feet unit to be $1,500.00 per month and the largest 3-bedroom unit will be RENTING for $2,750.00 per month.
According to an extremely reliable source, the developer of the project claimed that only 15% of the units had been pre-sold.
It seems that a developer can plan, get approval for, begin constructing, and selling condominiums, then change his mind and change the project to APARTMENTS.
I am glad that we now see what can happen to a condominium project that finds so few buyers next to Ponte Vista. This is an very powerful warning that we must keep focus on Ponte Vista, what Bob really intends on doing, and how we must question whether he should be allowed to build 1,950-units, with some or all potentially becoming RENTAL units.
If Seaport had to go with LEASES, what makes anyone truly believe that Ponte Vista might suffer the same fate, IF Bob gets his way and starts building 1,950 units?
This is one, rock solid reason why Bob must not be allowed to build anywhere near even 1,200 units and it makes the argument for R1 at Ponte Vista, that much stronger.
I am sure that by the time that any construction is approved of at Ponte Vista, the housing market will probably be better, but with the current conditions and not really knowing the future, we must stay away and concerned about the potential of having any condominiums at Ponte Vista becoming APARTMENTS.
Seaport Luxury Homes now gives us the opportunity to watch how folks move in and what kind of turn around we may see with APARTMENTS instead of condominiums. Having "only" 136 units, it can give us clues to watch out for.
Traffic will get worse on Western Avenue because Seaport is going to leases and I am not sure why they either didn't get, or do not need approval to change the type of housing they are building. Many of us will be looking into that in the coming days.
I don't know if or how the change of Seaport will affect decisions by decision-makers. I have no idea what Bob thinks of this change.
It is true that leases can differ from rental units, but even with a lease, units can be turned around more often than usually occurs with purchased units.
Whatever happens adds some more interesting tidbits into the mix, I think.
Saturday, September 08, 2007
I arrived at the site on Mesa between 7Th. Street and 6Th. Street and took the first photograph about 3-1/2 hours after the Festival began.
This Festival has Ponte Vista as a major sponsor and I was told to "be nice" by an unnamed individual who knows me and knows a great deal about Ponte Vista.
I do wish to "be nice" because I like art and like the idea that San Pedro is a town that is friendly to artists and appreciate art of all kinds.
I have visited the Web site for the Festival at www.triartsfestival.com and read that there would be crowds of artists and others visiting the site.
I have decided to let readers of this post fill in the blanks dealing with what they think of the Festival.
This is a photograph of the main artists' tents for the Festival. Looking at the picture we can tell that the crowds were ______________.
Also there are ________artists showing their art and all some of the tents are _________.
This is a photograph of _________ classic cars along 7Th. Street between Mesa and Centre. The number of cars __________ the street.
The single most number of model types at the show consisted of Ford Pintos, I kid you not. The shiny Pinto on the right of the picture is covered in small square mirrors and that is very _______.
This picture was shot almost 4 hours after the beginning of the Festival and you can tell that the number of folks looking at the Car Show was ______________.
I liked the mirrored Pinto so much I took a picture of myself in the reflection of the mirrors. That was the _________________ aspect of the Festival.
The promoters of the Festival indicated on their Web site that their would be shuttle buses from various locations, including the Ponte Vista site, do to the expected crowds. This last photo is of the parking lot on 7Th. Street, just below Pacific Avenue. You can tell by this photo taken 4 hours after the beginning of the Festival that the parking lot is _______________.
In truth, I enjoyed my visit to the Festival and I bought a piece of art there. I also visited the gallery at 339 W. 7Th. Street and looked again at the display of photographs by Mr. John Stinson.
One of the problems with this particular Tri-Art Festival is that it is slated to run on the second weekend of the month, but First Thursday this month was just two days prior to the Festival. That may have had something to do with the ___________ turnout.
It seems to be a funny thing that a Festival sponsored by Ponte Vista had the most representation in the Car Show by Pintos. Perhaps Bob might want to consider changing the name of his project to "Pinto Vista" considering the number of Pintos in one place, at the same time, in the Town of San Pedro.
Friday, September 07, 2007
Bob is helping to fund the Tri-Arts Festival in downtown San Pedro this weekend. I know that there will be at least one R1 petition gathering location in the vicinity. If you haven't signed the R1 petition, you should be able to find out where it is, if you know a member of the Rudderless Steering Committee of R Neighborhoods Are 1.
The Rudderless Steering Committee continues to meet and I will update some of the goings on, with the next "Odds and Ends".
I am still working on the multi-part posts dealing why many folks feel that having a 1,950-unit condominium project built in a town that already has terrible traffic on Western Avenue. If you would like to suggest reasons other than the ones I am thinking and writing about, I would appreciate learning those reasons and pondering on them.
Look for more parts coming up.
There are over 11,000 signatures now on the R1 petitions and there is still no reason to stop collecting signatures, whenever and wherever possible.
We are finding that most of the great folks who shop at local grocery stores have signed the petition so we are considering other places to collect signatures. Any suggestions?
Research and learning are continuing on the part of volunteers helping R Neighborhoods Are 1 and education has been, is being, and will continue to be provided, concerning the issues surrounding Ponte Vista at San Pedro. Nothing on the opposition side has stopped and we are keeping our eyes and ears open.
The City of Rancho Palos Verdes will be electing members to fill three seats on the City Council. We are trying to have a candidates' forum, hopefully at Crestwood Elementary School, sometime in the second half of October. More information to follow once we have a date confirmed.
Three incumbents are running for reelection and there are two other candidates seeking to capture two of the seats in the election.
I will post information about the candidates and/or how to find out more about them on this blog.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
I am now going to attempt to deal with what is wrong with Bob's attempts at building such a large development on the 61.53 acres of land on Western Avenue. To make this attempt, I have decided to create separate posts, because one post would be too long and would muddy the very many issues and obstacles such a large project would create.
This first part deal with one very simple fact: San Pedro is a town and is too small to accommodate such a large development like what Bob is planning.
San Pedro is a town. It is not a city. It is part of a very large city, but unto itself, it is only a town.
Jack Baric created a great work called "Port Town". I am sure he had many good reasons for not calling his work, "Port City". It would be wrong to characterize San Pedro as anything other than a town, I strongly feel.
When a nurse who works in the surgery unit of our local hospital knows as much about the insides of her neighbors and friends as she sees on their outsides, it is one example of how San Pedro is really a town.
People know people in town. families are intertwined in San Pedro. Memories are shared by vast numbers of folks in town, too. In very many places in San Pedro, folks actually know and/or are related to their neighbors.
When there are only historical references to San Pedro being a city, that also suggests the San Pedro is a town.
The government which runs San Pedro is not in San Pedro, but only has a few representatives in a building owned by the City of Los Angeles, then that also suggest that San Pedro is a town.
There are thousands and thousands of folks who know in their hearts and minds that San Pedro is a town.
Towns around the area do not have very large developments that are far and away different than other developments in town. Bob's plans for Ponte Vista have no other similar projects like them in any town around the South Bay.
To put such a large development in any town is counter to the character and lifestyles of people living in towns.
The West Side of L.A. is part of the larger city. San Pedro has always been somewhere you have to go to and not through, which makes it very different than the West Side of L.A. Look at the over development of the West Side and imagine what would happen if Bob gets his way and puts a development which is similar to projects on the West Side of L.A. in the town of San Pedro.
There is absolutely, positively nothing wrong with San Pedro being a town. It has always been a town even when it had its few years as an independent city.
Downtown L.A. is part of the bigger city, and even though San Pedro is part of the City of L.A., there is no way San Pedro's downtown compares to downtown L.A.
A development the size and type of building Bob wants belongs in a "city" and not a "town".
If Ponte Vista were built on the West Side, or in Long Beach, or in the San Fernando Valley where density is already high, then that would be much better than building it in places like San Pedro, Lomita (even though it is a City unto itself), Harbor City, or anywhere on The Hill.
Ponte Vista, as Bob is planning it, would fit into Palm Springs, Las Vegas, or other outlying areas, but to put a project in a town on a peninsula, is just plain wrong.
Bob's Ponte Vista would be a crushing influence on the town of San Pedro. It would be too big, too different, too costly, and out of character with the towns that surround it. Simply put, it would overwhelm San Pedro and the neighboring areas.
It is hard to find comparisons of having such a large development or project in a town, anywhere around the area, I feel. It just can't fit into San Pedro.
San Pedro is a great, wonderful, spectacular, and lovable town. It is not looking to be a city and the folks who have roots going back generations in this town do not wish for it to ever be anything other than a town.
Character, size, scale, and quality of life in the town of San Pedro must be taken strongly into account when developments of any size are suggested. We must not and can not become more like the West Side of Los Angeles and the town of San Pedro and OUR community needs to stand together and tell everyone that San Pedro is a great town and we intend to keep it that way!
The Western Avenue Task Force found that Western Avenue, between Palos Verdes Drive North and 25th Street handles 37,500 vehicles per day. Well actually, that was the number of cars measured on Western in 2005.
The WATF also stated that, even without any new large developments built in the area, the number of vehicles traveling on Western Avenue would rise about one percent each and every year between 2005 and 2030.
The WATF was published before any information about Bob Bisno's plans for Ponte Vista were known.
One of the main suggestions that the WATF made was that Western Avenue be widened to three lanes in each direction between Palos Verdes Drive North and 25th. Street.
With all the recommendations the WATF made, including adding lanes, reworking intersections and driveways, they estimated that there could be up to a 12% reduction in the time it takes to travel from Palos Verdes Drive North and 25th. Street IF all the suggestions were implemented, but without having any information about Bob's plans for Ponte Vista.
Traffic has always been the number one problem facing any ideas about what should or should not be built at Ponte Vista. Not only is traffic a problem for the mind to deal with, it also is the most emotional aspect of trying to support or oppose whatever is built at Ponte Vista.
An extremely troubling problem with the traffic issue is that there is actually know real way of predicting what may happen with traffic under Bob's current plans.
The L.A. Dept. of Transportation and the engineers who are paid by Bob all have to follow outdated rules that do not accurately apply to Los Angeles and the uniqueness of the City of Los Angeles, as far as traffic goes.
It also did absolutely no good the Bob tried to use high-rise condominium and townhouse rules for a development where the tallest buildings were going to be only 6 stories tall. The old rules allowed him to fudge that way and he did exactly what he was allowed to do. Now that there will be no 6-story buildings, he cannot use the high-rise numbers, but he still can use the ITE trip generation tables that are the same for New York City, Philadelphia, Nashville, Dallas, and Pedly.
Los Angeles is unique and to use traffic rules that apply nationwide for such an area as the greater L.A. area, has created the problems we have been having and will have until the government wises up and created tables specifically for the L.A. area.
Since there appears to be a lack of will on the part of Bob and the bureaucrats in L.A. to find a way to get the Navy to give up land for an eastern exit onto Gaffey from Ponte Vista and the new Mary Star campus, Western Avenue will have to take all the traffic from Ponte Vista and some of the traffic from Mary Star, if a new access road is built.
The Los Angeles Department of Transportation, in the matter of Ponte Vista has been a sorry mess. Not only have they withheld information, they seem to really be in the back pocket of Bob, it seems to many individuals. They have appeared incompetent, ill informed, mismanaged, and generally out of touch with the people who pay their salaries.
There is no way anyone should rely on the L.A. D.O.T. when it comes to Ponte Vista and that is one more reason why Bob's current plans are so wrong for OUR community.
Target, Seaport Luxury Homes, Marshall's, and probably Highland Park (134-units on Gaffey) are four projects that will also impact traffic in northwest San Pedro. Western Avenue and Gaffey Street are going to get very much more crowded long before anything is built at the Ponte Vista site.
OUR community has lost trust with the Department of Transportation and we still haven't found any real reason to trust Bob Bisno. No matter what coating anyone puts on the issue of traffic, the coating will be poison to San Pedro and the surrounding areas.
Bob Bisno has stated from the very beginning that as his major traffic mitigation, ATSAC will be installed. Well Bob, ATSAC is being installed whether you build one unit or 429-units. Claiming that you will put money into a trust fund is nice, but L.A.D.O.T. has already claimed that trust fund money can go where it wants the money to go, and that could be Venice.
I have always trusted Jerry Gaines and Sal Satomayor and the other members of the Western Avenue Task Force when it comes to traffic issues. These volunteers did their work without prejudice about any new developments or projects. They also did their work when there were real counts taken and objective observations meant that nobody had anything to gain or lose.
If Jerry and Sal and the other members of the WATF say you can't build 1,950-units on Western Avenue, I believe them. It simply can't be done.
I feel on this issue, I am going to stick with objective volunteers over an out of town developer, as far as traffic goes.
OUR community is made up of several towns, none of which can support a 1,950-unit condominium project. Traffic will get worse no matter what is built at Ponte Vista, but 1,950 units is very much too big for the town, and the traffic.
I feel "infrastructure" is not quite broad enough for this part, but it may give you an idea of what I am trying to get accross, once you read this part.
The infrastructure of building 1,950-units at Ponte Vista would cause a great deal of disruptions during the long building processes. Not only will Western Avenue have to be dug up, but Gaffey Street and Taper Avenue will also need to be torn up to install the much larger utility lines and services the site would require.
In the 2,300-unit configuration, according to the DEIR, 7 new sewer lines would have to be layed into trenches and connected to existing systems. Four lines were documented to go under Western Avenue, and three would attach to the eastern legs via Taper Avenue.
There is already a very high pressure natural gas line under the slow lane of northbound Western Avenuse, so that is probably where Ponte Vista will get Natural Gas.
The new telephone lines will be undergrounded, and probably the electric lines will go from the big poles on Gaffey and then underground into Ponte Vista.
As for the storm drains for Ponte Vista, perhaps they will connect to the existing system a little south of the site.
This infrastructure for the site development is only part of what will happen to the area if Bob gets to build so many units.
I feel the current residents of the entire area within several miles of Ponte Vista, especially in San Pedro and eastern Rancho Palos Verdes, will have to deal with massive changes in how we currently deal with shopping, travel, and how we school our children.
From just about the very beginning of the discussions about Ponte Vista, I have challenged folks to do one thing: When you visit Ralph's, Albertson's, Trader Joe's, and now Henry's, just before you go into any of those stores, stop, turn around, and imagine 300 more vehicles trying to find spaces in the parking lots of those stores, at the same time you are shopping.
There may be some mitigation as far as entrances and exits from parking lots, but there is nowhere in any document any reference to the fact that up to 5,000 more cars will be added to the area and drivers living at Ponte Vista will want the parking spaces you are also trying to find. The problem is that there is not evidence that any parking lot will be enlarged to meet the needs of all the new residents AND the current residents.
Parking is an issue, but there are more.
Some of you know that there is a public park on the east side of Western Avenue, in Rancho Palos Verdes. It is called Eastview Park. It is a nice park for the area, but it is not the largest park in the area. Eastview is only one park that will find itself very much more crowded if Bob gets his way. The six-acre park Bob envisions at Ponte Vista would probably get quickly swamped if he gets his way.
The six-acre park that Bob envisions has never been illustrated with any basketball courts, tennis courts, or much of anything other than diamonds.
There is no off-street parking for Averill Park. Will the parking lots at Peck Park need to be enlarged? If so, who pays.
Where do you really shop? Do you shop in downtown San Pedor exclusevily? If so, you are probably in the minority of folks who shop.
Like so many other shoppers, we go to Del Amo, the Avenues of the Peninsula, and other shopping areas outside our local area. The variety is so much greater shopping in one area that has many different types of shops, that it is hard to find everything we want in downtown San Pedro, not that we haven't tried.
Are you going to shop at the new Target? I know there are folks who will boycott the Target and they have every right to do so, in my opinion. Even without those folks who will not shop at Target, it appears that Target will have all the shoppers it needs, and probably more.
Target is a large department store that can supply so much of what folks are looking for, all under one roof, that the traffic, parking, and local transportation trends will be forever changed.
Target will actually cause more traffic issues than Ponte Vista, BUT, the folks from Target worked very well with the Neighborhood Council and others to do the best mitigation possible, which is something Bob has not done.
There has been a great deal of talk about getting folks off of the peninsula if the needs arise. San Pedro is part of the peninsula, too.
Some folks claim that Western Avenue is the "only" escape route. I don't claim that is the truth, but Western is certainly a major route that thousands of people use every day.
I have written quite a bit about the roads leading away from San Pedro and eastern Rancho Palos Verdes, but I will repeat some of the information because if Bob gets to build 1,950-units, especially with the Senior Section being the northernmost homes in San Pedro, there will be quite a bit of trouble if we all need to leave.
Would it be wise to excape San Pedro over the Vincent Thomas Bridge? That would have to be the individual driver's decision. The port has been identified by the Federal Government and a potential spot for terrorism. I don't think I would use the bridge.
The Harbor freeway and Gaffey Street have a bit of a problem. They both border a refinery. Gaffey has the added problem of the giant Amerigas storage tanks that do actually have the potential to go, "BOOM". If they go "BOOM" many of us will not get the chance to try and leave.
So both the Harbor Freeway and Gaffey Street, even though they are clear routes now, might not be the best solution.
Palos Verdes Drive South is constantly moving and has a 0.8-mile stretch where the speed limit is 10 miles per hour, for good reason. If folks could get towards the coast, the road can't handle many cars or heavy vehicles.
Palos Verdes Drive East may be the only route that is far enough away from the port, the refinery, and the chaos that might come to San Pedro. It is one-lane each way north of Crest Road and it dumps out on a major route that would probably be just as crowded.
If things turn out that we have the chance to get out, I'm heading for P.V. Drive East.
Western Avenue would probably not be able to be used by folks in San Pedro. If Bob builds 800 senior units, the folks living in them would have the first chance to head north on Western, in San Pedro.
Even though Bob wants seniors who are "55 or better", many drivers who would get on Western Avenue would be senior citizens and just think how they would deal with an evacuation.
Folks on the eastern side of Rancho Palos Verdes, except probably for those of us with good access to P.V. Drive East, would have to take Western Avenue. Then I bet folks who live in the Highlands or Westmont will try to use Western.
By the time folks living south of Summerland try to get to Western, it will probably be stopped dead.
Where will all the kids go to school?
Crestwood is maxed out. If you drive by Taper Avenue School, look at all the temporary buildings that have had to be placed to teach all the kids.
Dodson Intermediate School also has "temporary" classrooms. Puting so many new students in these schools will lower the ability to teach the children of folks already living in the area.
When Bob's DEIR stated that a 2,300-unit Ponte Vista would only have "199" school-age children living at it, that was a number that was completely challenged by at least three independent studies. The student population for 1,725 non-age restricted condominiums was found to be at least 600 students, depending on the study.
Parking, Parks, Shopping, Evacuation, and Schools are just five of the areas that would be critically and excetionally impacted if Bob gets to build anywhere near 1,950-units. There are more issues I will write about and if you have any other issues, please comment.
Bob want's to give buyers of his units a great home and community. He is attempting to do by wanting to make fundamental changes in the way we, the people who currently live in OUR community, live. Why should he be able to change our lives so much? Why should we pay?
I know there are many more reasons that other people can give me to also oppose this over development.
Earlier this morning I had a good discussion with a representative from Mayor V.'s office. This gentleman who I have discussed many things with, during my time on the CAC is clearly interested in learning what all folks think about the need for more housing in the L.A. area, and how it can be provided under the best terms possible.
In our discussion, I think I was able to gel together some basic points that I feel makes a development of 1,950-units a very bad idea for the San Pedro area.
1,950 units is a remarkably over sized development for the community. San Pedro and the five-mile radius around Ponte Vista, within the City of L.A. cannot create the tax structures to fund not only the infrastructure it needs, but infrastructure always needed for the rest of San Pedro.
When I talked to the Mayor's rep, I said that other areas of the City of Los Angeles would effectively be subsidizing Ponte Vista and San Pedro's infrastructure and those areas would lose benefits their tax payers feel they deserve.
The town of San Pedro has a character, lifestyle, environment, and population that should not be tasked with accepting such a giant development within it. Might government services go to the loudest voices if Ponte Vista has so many units? How would that affect others in San Pedro?
The transportation infrastructure of the entire area will not allow for such a huge project.
There is absolutely no way the great L.A. area can continue to develop with a complete change in how the area deals with traffic, traffic mitigation, and traffic engineering. Using the data that has been used for so many years has gotten us into the fix we are in. We must not allow continued over development and the engineering of these massive projects, until we have a new set of rules and regulations concerning traffic.
The needs of those of us who have to deal with traffic on a daily basis far outweighs any need for more housing in the area.
Placing so much development so far away from downtown San Pedro means that necessary development such as a supermarket closer to the port than Von's currently is, and other downtown community needs will probably be opposed because of all the combined development, including Ponte Vista.
The Mayor's representative was curious about how we allow for the "need" for more housing in our area. I suggested that a development of the size Bob currently wants, is NOT the way to go.
Needs, concerns, and wants of the current residents of the area
It just doesn't fit into OUR community
These four basic issues really form a definite basis for opposing such a large development anywhere in San Pedro or on the peninsula.
Is there really a "need" for more housing in the L.A. area? I can't truly say, but I do know that if the issue of traffic isn't completely studied AND re-engineered, there should be no new developments approved of UNTIL that happens.
I did tell the Mayor's representative a number of units that I would not oppose. As there are zealots on both sides of the Ponte Vista issue, I do not count myself as one of them. If you have read previous posts, I do feel there can be a compromise number of units.
Supporting R1 doesn't have to mean anyone must demand only R1, no matter what Bob and the Planning Department finally come up with, but as long as Bob refuses to even consider any reasonable number of units, folks calling for R1 must stand their ground. Bob MUST move first, and a 350-unit drop in total number of units is not first, by a long shot.
If there truly is a need for housing, where should it be built? This is a very loaded question. There is an area in San Pedro that I have been told can have allowances for up to 45 units per acre. I doubt highly that residents near that area would appreciate that much development.
IF the same density of The Gardens were used at Ponte Vista, the Bob would be able to build about 650-units. It that enough, too many, or too few?
Years ago the large Channel Heights neighborhood's housing units were torn down in spurts to make way for Tarragonna and other developments. Should an area of existing housing units be leveled to make room for housing with greater density?
Bob Bisno's current plans call for a housing project that is out of character with the entire community, would cause extremely bad traffic problems, will not be able to have enough revenue generated withing the City of L.A. to fund its infrastructure and infrastructure in other areas of San Pedro, and would contain far to many units in the area.
Sunday, September 02, 2007
There is absolutely nothing in the area that remotely compares to what is already found in the area.
It's grand. It is larger and more upscale that every other low-rise development in the south bay.
It's unique. Illustrations and propaganda make it seem like it will be the best development in the area.
It offers something for seniors.
It is different than anything and everything else.
Many folks want change, and perhaps this type of radical change is something they may want.
I must admit that when I first heard about the development in 2005, I found myself to be somewhat excited about something new and different on the old Navy property. I listened to what the developer had to say and also to rumors about the project.
My wife Terri, was thinking about applying for a position at the site.
I think people like new ideas and things. It is probably natural to look quickly at concepts and issues and make a preliminary idea about what someone thinks about things.
There are true benefits to many seniors who wish to move into a Senior Housing section, but some of those benefits can be found elsewhere, too.
OUR community hasn't really seen any new development on any large scale recently, so it is natural to feel that a new large project might be welcome.
Unfortunately for many of us, reality sinks into the spotlight and even the best marketing and salesmanship can't overcome a project that is simply too large for the area, and may not be wanted or needed.
I have written quite a bit about my wish for some kind of Senior Housing, even though with R1, that type of housing can't happen.
Seniors who have paid off their existing homes and have lived in them since before 1978 would have a great tax advantage if there were housing for seniors, or any other type of housing built at Ponte Vista, that has selling prices lower than what they can sell their existing homes for.
If a senior sells their "Prop 13" or "Prop 60 or 90" home and purchase housing for a price lower than the selling price of their existing house, they can move their property tax benefits one time. Financially, there is no wonder why Bob is pushing so hard for a Senior Housing section.
I can certainly imagine that if Bob had not put into his development's plans, a section specifically for seniors, his plans would have been laughed right out of San Pedro. Bob is counting very heavily on the senior housing component and the seniors to support him.
Without Senior Housing, Bob has no development. We must remember that Bob purchased the property thinking he could get the zoning changes, and he is gambling on that.
There are probably supporters who believe that Bob will go back on his word to have his new 1,950-unit plan, open access to the public. It seems that many non-seniors wanted the unique private enclave mini-community and may still seek the exclusivity that a gated community brings.
We haven't been able to find out if there was a fall off of support or a gaining of support when Bob changed his plans, but I imagine there are still so many folks who wish for this new type of community, that the numbers may not have changed much.
When something is new, flashy, different, and marketed like Ponte Vista is being marketed, there are a considerable number of individuals who do not wish to know the real facts about the project. There are still too many gullible people out there and too many of them have stumbled into Bob's trap.
There are two axioms I think apply to Ponte Vista at San Pedro;
"If is sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
"Advertising is getting people to buy things they don't really want."
We have seen that advertising and marketing for Ponte Vista has brought thousands of folks towards supporting something that is years away from actually being built. Not only has Bisno Development effectively used advertising and marketing to sway many of the members of OUR community, they have done so knowing that there is still no human on the planet that knows what actually will be built on the 61.53-acre site. Now that takes some real skills to market imagination over facts.
When facts are marketed over imagination, we find ever growing numbers of members of OUR community who believe Ponte Vista at San Pedro and Bob's current plans are NOT in the best interest of OUR community.
I can't blame folks for wanting something new. I compare this somewhat to when we look for a new car. Much of the time we get what appeals to our vision, heart, and wants, instead of what may be the best vehicle to meet our needs and be affordable.
I feel if and when many supporters take a step back and think about how Bob's plans would really affect their lives, many supporters may see Ponte Vista as more of a problem than a solution.
It is fun to want, it can be trouble to have.