Friday, October 19, 2007

Ponte Vista Propaganda

Here is a letter that offers basically nothing new from Bob Bisno, even after such a long debate and much discussion from the community:


October 2007

Dear San Pedro Resident:

We are fellow community members much like the thousands of area residents who support Ponte Vista. We would like to take this opportunity to give you the latest information about this wondeffd new residential community. (I will make no changes from the WORD document that this letter was copied from. All typos will be left intact.)

Ponte Vista is located at the former Naval housing site on Western Avenue at Green Hills Drive. The new community is currently in the planning and approval process with the City of Los Angeles.

What Ponte Vista Provides Our Community

Senior Homes. As planned, Ponte Vista will include 850 one level condominiums built specifically for seniors, age 55 and older, in a secure, gated community. Ponte Vista will allow our seniors to downsize while staying close to family and friends in the community they love, in a neighborhood with activities and facilities planned for their active lifestyle.

Homes for working families. Ponte Vista will also provide 1,100 condominiums and town homes that will offer new housing opportunities for the community. Pricing that starts in the mid to high $300,000's will give first time homebuyers and local working families an opportunity to stay in San Pedro. A choice of styles, sizes, and prices will also be available for a variety of families and income levels.

What is so special about Ponte Vista? Ponte Vista will be designed with over 40% open space.

The centerpiece of the community will be a beautiful two-acre water concourse with numerous outdoor plazas, lush gardens and fountains. The community will also feature a 2.5-
acre village green with an abundant network of connecting walking trails and bike
paths"aToperT to the public.

But what about traffic? At Ponte Vista, community concerns about traffic are taken very seriously. Ponte Vista is providing significant traffic improvements for the Harbor Area that include:

• 20 synchronized traffic lights on Western Avenue and at 5 intersections on Gaffey to improve traffic flow

• A new traffic signal at Peninsula Verde Dr. on Western Avenue in response to requests by area residents

• Funding to create dedicated turn lanes at shopping centers on Western Avenue to takes hoppers out of the flow of traffic a key recommendation of the Western Avenue Task Force
Street widening and turn lanes at key intersections. Improvements to on and off ramps at Figueroa on the 110 Freeway

The City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation AND an independent traffic study commissioned by the Northwest Neighborhood Council agree that each and every intersection significantly impacted by the traffic generated by Ponte Vista will be fully mitigated by the traffic mitigation measures paid for by Ponte Vista.

The City of Los Angeles has completed a draft Environmental Impact Report of Ponte Vista and concluded that in addition to temporary construction noise and emissions, the only significant impact that could not be completely mitigated would be the noise from the games at the ball fields located at the park donated to the community by Ponte Vista.

Smart Growth is a principle that we strongly believe in and Ponte Vista has been designed to be environmentally friendly with energy efficient buildings and appliances and recycled water for our water features. Ponte Vista is a walkable community that will take traffic off of Western Avenue by providing on-site retail and a shuttle service for residents. A concierge service will match up residents who commute to work in the same direction and we are working with the MTA on a commuter bus stop in front of the development — all ideas to get people out of their cars and into effective transit solutions.

You may be saying. ...this all sounds great but what if I don't want to live at Ponte Vista? What is the benefit for me?

Community Benefits. As a part of the new residential community, Ponte Vista will be donating a six-acre public park to the community as well as a permanent road to the new Mary Star of the Sea High School for students, parents and faculty to help reduce the traffic burden on the Taper Avenue neighborhood.

Economic Benefits to Our Community and the City Of Los Angeles

Ponte Vista's economic impact on the Harbor Area is significant and will not be a drain on local resources. The Ponte Vista community will generate nearly $100 million in annual household spending in the area providing a boon for local business and downtown San Pedro revitalization.Most importantly, Ponte Vista will contribute up to $5.8 million in new net revenue every year to the City of Los Angeles. Revenue which can help pay for city services like police, fire,paramedics, street and pothole repair and for keeping our community parks clean.

At Ponte Vista we are continuing to work with the community, the Council Office, and the City of Los Angeles as the development moves forward to the City Planning Commission. We invite you to learn more about Ponte Vista at or you can call the Outreach Team at (310) XXX-XXXX to visit the site and take a tour of the property,

We hope you will join us in supporting this beautiful addition to the San Pedro community.


Sandy Bradley
San Pedro Resident
Ponte Vista Advisory Board Chair

Suzanne and Louis Dominguez
San Pedro Residents
Ponte Vista Senior Board Coordinators

Did anybody find anything new, other than the number of units and types of units now being considered by Bob? After over two years of discussions, meetings, debates, and considerable challenges to all of our neighbors, shouldn't Bob and his bunch at least try to talk about compromises, instead of towing the line Bob demands and having hand-picked residents attempt to "sell" this weapon of mass development on OUR community?

Every time anyone supporting Bob's plans for Ponte Vista writes about the economic impact Ponte Vista might have on the local economy, you all must realize that the positive economic impact will come to construction workers who will spend their incomes where they live, which is NOT in San Pedro, new residents of Ponte Vista who will not have the opportunity to spend their income withing a five-mile radius of Ponte Vista and still be in the City of Los Angeles, for the most part, and the "5.8 million dollars" coming from Ponte Vista residents will not fund the infrastructure that must be created to build and maintain the project, in the first place.

If residents of OUR community, and I don't see why Bob insists in ignoring places other than San Pedro feel development is necessary, then they only need to look at downtown San Pedro, Torrance, and other local areas to find that development going on.

Right now a senior can purchase a one-bedroom condominium home for under $300,000.00 at the corner of Arlington and Sepulveda Blvds, in Torrance. It must not be that far from the Ponte Vista site because a Vice President of the Ponte Vista project recently bought a non-age restricted condo extremely near the senior housing. If it is good enough for her, why wouldn't seniors feel they needed Ponte Vista at a higher price?

Now lets write about the "beautiful addition to the San Pedro Community". Have any of you stood outside the fence along Western and viewed the "beautiful" site? Bob is seemingly creating more blight in his attempt to sway decision makers to allow him to build whatever he wants. If Bob really appreciated the community he is trying to force into accepting his giant project, shouldn't he be community minded enough to remove the blight, overgrown weeds, unsafe and unprotected units that are in defiance of municipal codes that require abandoned buildings to be properly boarded up and within an area that doesn't foster fire, vagrants, and acts of vandalism?

Where is Bob's wish to provide "Community benefits" right now when he is attempting to propagandize Ponte Vista and create delusions of grandeur in folks who seem to wish for something new without regard to the actual consequences of what those new things will bring to the community?

I know very well that as part of the stipulations required to build the new Mary Star campus where it is being finished, a road to Western must be provided. If folks read the stipulations, agreements, and authorizations they will find that a road is, in fact, stipulated, but it does not fully indicate who has to pay for the road and where that road would be placed.

I am among a very small minority of area residents that feels that having the youngest, least experienced drivers, and parents of students who may be late for school, is a bad idea for Western Avenue and all the other folks that must use Western Avenue in the course of their busy days.

I can't help feeling that with the new Marshall's opening up, the new "apartments" causing more traffic on Fitness Drive and Western Avenue, commuters, and everyone else needing to use Western Avenue would be better off if the "Community Benefit" of a road between Western Avenue and the new Mary Star campus would be a real burden to OUR community and not a benefit at all.

I don't know where Ms. Bradley lives, but I know where I live and many others who have Western Avenue within earshot of their homes. Mr. and Ms. Dominguez will have much bigger things to deal with if and when SRHS 15 moves further along and I fell for their issues concerning having a new high school built so close to their existing home. That issue came up long after they came on board in support of Bob's plans, miles from where their home stands.

I also wonder why only leaders withing Bob's advisory groups are willing to stand out and be counted in support of Bob's plans. During the many days R1 petitions were being gathered outside supermarkets, there were very, very, very few individuals who claimed to support Bob's plans. I did get quite a chuckle when one of the R1 petition gatherers approached Ms. Dominguez to ask her to sign an R1 petition. I applaud her for her gracious response, but I couldn't get to Gabriel in time to let him know Ms. Dominguez would not sign the petition he was offering her.

Where are the "thousands" of others, not on any advisory committee or board who would sign a letter like the one "written" by Ms. Bradley and Mr. and Ms. Dominguez. Could it be there are enough folks who wish for some kind of compromise in terms of numbers of units and may be willing to create letters in favor of that?

It is also important to repeatedly note that when anyone views a letter with the Ponte Vista letterhead on it, somebody got paid some money to produce the letter. I am certainly not stating that Ms. Bradley or Mr. and Ms. Dominguez accepted any money for writing the letter, but we all must remember that correspondence, petitions supporting Ponte Vista, trinkets, events, and everything else surrounding support of Bob's current and former plans were in some way paid for, but Mr. Bisno and/or his organization. The letterhead on the letter that was written contained the Ponte Vista at San Pedro logo and that means somebody paid something for its generation.

So in a sense, this letter is another paid-for piece of propaganda. This is a normal way for developers to try and get their message across. It is legal, and some even believe it is moral, just, and worthwhile.

Of course I use propaganda to attempt to sway folks toward thinking like I do. I do have thoughts and ideas that are far apart from folks who are much more demanding of keeping Ponte Vista with its current zoning. I have faced quite a bit of criticism, discussion, and debate for coming on board as late as I did and calling for looking toward many different compromises as I tried to look at.

I still consider myself the odd duck on many issues related to Ponte Vista. I still truly wish for some type of senior housing on the site, but I can't stand to think of any unit becoming a rental unit, if there are condos in non-age restricted areas.

As I wrote above, I am really the odd duck out of the pond when it concerns the road from Western Avenue to Mary Star. If everyone had actually tried to come together and get a new road from Western Avenue to Gaffey Street built, something I have called for, since day one, then who really knows what would be happening at the Ponte Vista site, today. I would probably have supported a much higher density than I do now and I surely wouldn't have any trouble with sharing that road between Western and Gaffey with all the wonderful people at the new Mary Star campus.

I don't know if there is still time to get that road and its proposal on board the planning train. All of these discussions would be vastly different with such a road and perhaps the Dominguez' and Wells' would get back to enjoying dinners together at the Whale and Ale where we all like to dine.

With the road between Western and Gaffey, I can even believe that I would be watching grading machines today, preparing the Ponte Vista site for new construction.

But still we have debates, propaganda, disillusionment, challenges to our neighborhoods, confrontations between supporters and opponents of Bob's current plans, and ongoing sorrow about how OUR community is still split so very far apart on the issues.

I think we all need to hear and read what is coming out of the Planning Department, and the sooner, the better.

The Planning Department still does not have enough of the necessary documents and studies from Bob and his bunch and conditions along Western will change dramatically once Marshall's and Target opens their doors.

While Bob continues to demand what he demands and is slow to provide the necessary things required of him and his organization to members of the Planning Department, letters of propaganda, like the one posted here does no good and only takes us farther apart, and that is very sad.


Jim said...

When Ponta Vista was first proposed, a road between Western and Gaffey was pitched but the military said it would never happen. I guess they don't want a public road going through their fuel depot.

As far as traffic being generated by Marshall's, how does one figure retail makes 4 time as much traffic as residential. That doesn't make sence. New residential will always add more car trips because you are adding people who wern't here before. How can a new store in town add car trips. People are going to buy things reguardless if a Marshall's is there or not. If they don't go to Marshall's, they will go someplace else.

M Richards said...

Thanks Jim,

The old, outdated, and completely inappropriate Institute of Traffic Engineers (ITE) trip generation tables, which can't truly apply to real world situations in L.A., but are having to be used, because D.O.T. is not capable of thinking for themselves, lists traffic from retail establishments as well as residential types of projects.

The ITE states that traffic generated by retail businesses is four times what condominium and town home trip generation numbers state.

The L.A. Department of Transportation has been incompetant to accurately address traffic in the region it is involved with, so it sticks to ITE numbers which are identical to numbers for just about every other city in the U.S., including major cities with subways, light rail, and other mass transit venues that far surpass what we have to deal with.

We are stuck with a system that never could have worked for a giant city built in a desert, but we still are.

Marshall's is a retail outlet replacing a retail outlet. Traffic counts were studied for retail when The Terraces was built, or at least they were considered.

It doesn't matter that Do-It Center had fewer cars parked outside it than are expected for Marshall's, retail is retail.

You are so very correct that new housing will add cars and car trips. That is one reason Bob is trying to get San Pedrans to buy units at Ponte Vista. He is thinking that folks won't realize that when San Pedrans move in San Pedro, nobody comes in to backfill the houses the San Pedrans left.

This is one more example why I feel Bob thinks we are all stupid dupes that will fall for anything. He is claiming "San Pedro first" trying to give the impression that traffic numbers might stay low, but their pattern would change. He feels that the old houses may just get torn down and nothing and no one will move onto the vacant land.

Well, I would suspect that when older houses are vacated, especially in areas zoned for more dense housing, somebody might by the older house, tear it down and build units of some kind.

Just think, a senior, having lived in their home for forty years, sells his house, moves into a Senior Housing unit at Ponte Vista, and the buyer of the vacant house tears it down and builds four units. Now what does THAT do for the density?

Too many seniors who are full of B.s. (Bisno support) would love to do just what I have been writing. I don't think any official has considered this concept and the potential impacts to San Pedro.

A couple moves out of a house, and 12-16 humans eventually move in on the same land the 2 humans used to live. Do that several hundred times, and I think your calculator will show a rise in population!

As for the road between Gaffey and Western, there have been military folks who state that the road will never be built. But I have been under the impression that the Military is paid for by us, and works for the People of the United States of America.

I know when I was in the U.S.A.F., I thought I worked for all of us.
If WE own the military, why can't WE tell the military what to do with approximately 3 acres of land?

I think there is not enough will by the elected leaders, who by the way, are paid for by US, and a particular developer who wishes to maximize profit at the expense of OUR community.

If there truly was a will by elected officials and the folks who are paid salaries with taxes, and a particular developer who believes he can get ANYTHING he really wants, the road between Gaffey and Western would probably already being surveyed, today.

If we can put human beings into space and replace hearts in sick people, a new road between Western and Gaffey is a no-brainer.

Anonymous said...


you're making an unfounded assumption that new residential development attracts people from out of the area. ponte vista's own p.r. team, whose economic information is highly questionable, is claiming that a lot of the buyers will be people from within san pedro.

thus, if ponte vista's claims are true then it follows that something like marshall's will create more traffic.

M Richards said...

Thanks anonymous 10:58 PM,

It could be that Jim questions the ITE trip generation tables like so many of us do when he contends that traffic deailing with Marshall's maybe shouldn't be 4 times what residential development causes.

I feel, after going to Do-It Center as many times as I did and also living so close to the parking lots of The Terraces and Park Plaza, I believe that there will be considerably more traffic going to and from Marshall's compared to what the Do-It Center had.

But retail is still retail and the folks at Ponte Vista should not only know that, but also have considered "What if" questions like: What if a retail space replacing a closed retail space opened up on Western and attracted considerably more traffic than the old retail space attracted?

Marshall's may also allow all of us to view shoppers who take a gander at Ross, then drive to Marshall's to compare, considering they are retail stores that are more alike than different.

Most folks don't drive to Ralph's and then to Albertson's and they are both supermarkets. But I think that when there are two discount clothing stores so close together, that means smart folks will shop at both stores to get the best selections overall, at the best prices.

It also may be true that Jim hasn't read all the propaganda from Bob which states that he IS marketing to folks who currently live in San Pedro. Not only has he created a marketing scheme called "San Pedro first", he claims to be offering financial insentives to folks currently living in San Pedro to purchase units at Ponte Vista IF they are built.

I think the three of us might find agreement that a new set of traffic counts must be accomplished AFTER Marshall's is open to determine what impact that will have on Western Avenue, and how that could impact what Bob wants to build at Ponte Vista.

Jim said...

It does matter where Ponta Vista's buyers come from, you are still adding people to the area. If they are from Pedro, someone will move into their previous home, and that someone has to come from somewhere. Somewhere down the line, there will be a vacancey filled with someone from out side the area.

I don't see how Marshall's can add car trips. If Marshall's wasn't built, people would still have to go somewhere to buy what they wanted from Marshalls. Unless they come from outside the area, then...

I can't help agree with the military not wanting a road going through their (our) fuel depot. Besides being disruptive to daily operations, a road going through the middle of the fuel depot could be a major safety and security risk. There is a maze of pipelines, pumps, and underground storage tanks. It would be just like a public road going through a refinery.

Regardless of anything else said here, Ponta Vista MUST remain R-1. There are too many people jammed into San Pedro now, we most certainly do not need five, six, or seven thousand more residents fighting for space on Western Ave that doesn't even exist.


M Richards said...

Howdy again Jim and thanks for your comments.

If you like digging around, you may want to dig into this blog and look for the illustration I made for a possible road between Western and Gaffey, which also includes new access to the 110 freeway.

My thought about a road going on land now used by the Defense Fuel Supply Depot is that only about three acres of land would need to be acquired, and that land would be on the very edge of the property and not running "through" the depot.

You are absolutely correct is stating that piping would need to be moved, and probably even one of the underground tanks would have to be moved. But if you look very closely at Google Earth's view of the southeast portion of the depot, you will see that a forty-foot wide road and access area could be placed to Gaffey Street from the eastern edge of Ponte Vista.

The portion needed from the depot would run along the fence line now viewed as the edge of the Mary Star campus. Essentially most of the new road from Western would run through Ponte Vista, meet the parking lot of the new Mary Star campus, then run along the edge of the depot to Gaffey.

If you look closer at the Conoco-Philips refinery, you will see a small road running where I would like to see a larger road built right next to the newer warehouse.

It is through the refinery where I would suspect the most movement of piping would be necessary. There is also one tank that appears to be a problem if a road could actually be engineered to access the 110.

There has been talk for years and years about placing a new set of ramps to the 110 freeway and Gaffey. Most of the talk has dealt with areas closer to the old trash incinerator site.

If a new access was placed where I would like it to be placed, then it would not conflict with any future uses of the old incinerator site, which may become a sports complex, one day, if folks are willing and our government is able.

I watched the Space Shuttle take off this morning on T.V. I saw the views taken from a camera mounted on the external liquid fuel tank.

There were acceleration monitors, altitude monitors, and speed indicators on the screen, too.

If we can get a space shuttle to go from zero to 16,000 mph in eight minutes, from sitting on the ground to earth orbit in that same amount of time, I can't imagine how we can't have a road between Western and Gaffey built.

But without the will, there is no way and Ponte Vista will have to stay R1. Without the road I drew so long ago, there can be absolutely no rational talk of allowing so much density and too many cars, accessed only by Western Avenue.

I could wish until cows actually jump over the moon for some Senior Housing units at Ponte Vista, but with only Western, it's only R1!

Jim said...

In my last comment, I meant to write "It doesn't matter where Ponta Vista buyers come from".

Weather or not a road is built, Ponta Vista must remain R-1. That property was zoned R-1 when Bob bought it. There are more people and cars than the infrastructure can handle now. The quality of life in our community can not be ruined just because some arragant, out of town developer wants to build something that nobody wants, making over a half billion dollars in the process.

R-1. Period

Thank You