Thursday, October 18, 2007

Last Call for Forum

Tonight, everyone is invited to a Candidates Forum for the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council election.

All five candidates for the three seats being contested on the November 6 election will gather for a Forum on Thursday October 18, 2007, beginning at 7:00 PM, in the auditorium of Crestwood Street Elementary School. The school is located at 1946 Crestwood Street, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA.

When you come and sit in the auditorium, you will be sitting in one of the two Los Angeles Unified School District schools that are actually within the borders of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.

Along with all the topics the candidates will talk about and field questions on, there are three topics that will get special attention.

The Storm Drain issue and the two measures concerning it, will be discussed.

Ponte Vista.

Complete and permanent inclusion and immersion by "Eastview" area students into the Palos Verdes Unified School District, and the education portion of property taxes being shifted from L.A.U.S.D. coffers to P.V.P.U.S.D. coffers.

The majority of time during the Forum will be spent answering questions from audience members.

I encourage audience members to ask questions that will provoke thought, debate, and much discussion by all the candidates. I don't think questioners should be "shrinking violets" when it comes to asking hard questions to all the candidates.

It is perfectly honest for audience members to ask candidates running for office how they may assist residents in the area in dealing with many issues.

During other Forums where candidates met and were asked questions, the top of crime in Rancho Palos Verdes came up. In truth and with facts, it can be shown that crime has not really increased in Rancho Palos Verdes over the last several years, and it may come to pass that some folks are centering around crime as an issue to swing away from far more controversial issues like the Storm Drain fee/levy/tax, or development on the borders of Rancho Palos Verdes in several places.

I don't plan on asking questions of the candidates tonight, because as the moderator, I want audience members to ask the questions, for the most part. But if I do get a chance to ask a question, I am going to deal with a matter that is in the back of the minds of the decision-makers within Rancho Palos Verdes, that is also very controversial.

Rancho Palos Verdes is like all other cities in that, it needs to accommodate a number of low income housing units that are mandated by State and Federal guidelines.

I believe Rancho Palos Verdes will be required to find room for, and availability to build 37 "low income" housing units. The big "elephant in the room" is where to put those units.

Several individuals in positions of knowledge and some power have indicated that the least expensive land, and the "least unsuitable" land to build these "low income" housing units is along Western Avenue, in Rancho Palos Verdes.

For me, the problem is not having "low income" housing on Western Avenue, but it most certainly is that the type of units that would be built, condominiums, will probably be more straw that will already be heaped on a camel, who back is already broken by Ponte Vista.

I can't imagine another condominium development being built on Western Avenue, within the limits of Rancho Palos Verdes. If the powers that be wish to convert existing condominium units already along Western Avenue, then that would be fine with me, but there can be no way that we can allow or afford any more new condominium structures along Western Avenue, in Rancho Palos Verdes, or L.A., or Lomita, or Harbor City, for that matter!

My question that I would ask each candidate to respond to is how they feel about placing "low income" housing along Western Avenue, and why do they have the opinion they do.

Audience members may also feel that they can ask questions that are really litmus tests for the candidates. Questioners should not avoid asking questions that would make or break their vote for one candidate or another.

What I must be tonight, is fair to every candidate and audience member at the Forum. Tomorrow I will create a post to let folks know who I support and why, and I will also provide my opinion and reasoning on what I think about Proposition C and Proposition D, which both deal with Storm Drain issues.

Proposition C is a measure that sets a sunset clause of 10 years for the collection of fees and creates more oversight for the Storm Drain issue.

Proposition D involves whether the fee/levy/tax remains, or if it is repealed.

I expect to have some lively debate among candidates and audience members concerning the two measures, and I think we will have audience members and "spin doctors" who will offer their opinions and try to sway voters to whatever side they support.

Please come to the Forum, especially if you live on the east side of "The Hill" in the area commonly called "Eastview".

No comments: