Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Odds and Ends 54

If you are reading this post early Friday morning and you don't have much to do in the morning and early afternoon, you may want to attend a particular foreclosure sale scheduled for 11:30 AM today February 29, 2008 at 350 West Mission Blvd, Pomona, California.

If the sale is actually held at that scheduled time, you might be able to witness and even place a bid on a house currently owned by Robert H. Bisno.

The taxable value of the house on the L.A. County rolls is $7,028,101 for the house with a living area of 11,894 square feet. I feel I should let you know that the almost 12,000 square foot house has just four bedrooms listed and I don't know if one of those bedrooms is for a housekeeper's quarters.

Getting back to the foreclosure sale, the judgement value is: $5,382,794, and the Default Amount is: $4,622,128, which happened on 04-20-2007.

****All the facts, figures, and amounts are publicly available on the Internet, if you know where to look!

The house has a square foot value of about $590.oo per square feet, which is less than the median price per square feet of condos in Bob's currently proposed, Ponte Vista site.

It appears that the "San Pedro First" program from the Outreach Team at Ponte Vista, where San Pedrans got the first crack at purchasing units, at a slightly reduced price, at Ponte Vista has been replaced by the "Harbor First" program, where residents of Harbor City and Wilmington are also added to the list of potential buyers who would get first crack and some slight discount on the price of particular units at Ponte Vista IF Bob gets to build according to his current proposal.

I first heard about this at the Wilmington Neighborhood Council meeting. It seems the Outreach Team has to reach out farther and farther to attempt to attract interested folks.

I'm waiting until they offer the first two years of ownership without HOA dues or other fees.

I'm also waiting for when they change their tactic even more and offer the first two or three months free RENT, IF the project ultimately a giant apartment complex, just like Newport Bluffs, the apartment complex Ponte Vista has their buildings modeled after.

Have I warned you enough about the Marshall's Grand Opening on March 6, 2008?

It will be a great addition to the sales tax revenue base Rancho Palos Verdes needs. So please take the bus or park a distance from The Terraces and walk to the new store, because I don't wish any frustration and possible collisions because traffic will probably be at least as bad as when the storm drains were being repaired.

We're still waiting for the Planning Depart to finish reading the 1,000+ pages of responses to the public comments in the Draft Environmental Impact Report, and let all of us know what their Specific Plan for Ponte Vista at San Pedro will be.

The loss of More San Pedro, an insert to the Saturday edition of The Daily Breeze has been confirmed.

With the loss, the newspaper has laid off Ms. Justina Ly and Ms. Rachel Jones.

More San Pedro served me quite well and I think many others in OUR community will be a bit angry when we look for it in The Daily Breeze, but it won't be there.

I wonder if the cannibals at the company that owns so many newspapers will also can San Pedro Magazine, the monthly free publication from the folks that publish the Independent-Press Telegram.

Perhaps the profit margin has shrunk so low that newspapers all have to become cookie-cutters of simply one type and L.A. is heading towards having only one newspaper similar in the lack of community coverage that U.S.A. Today is.

No wonder so many folks actually believed that the military shot down the doomed satellite because of the fuel on board.

Saturday mornings used to all start with looking through More San Pedro before I went on to read the rest of the paper.

I am also sorry that another two journalists are losing their jobs. It is even worse when I feel the two of them did a great job for OUR community.

It looks like we are going to have to deal with Less San Pedro, and live with options that can be cut and pasted to just about any other newspaper in the L.A. area.

Wilmington Neighborhood Council Action

At Wednesday's scheduled meeting of the Wilmington Neighborhood Council a motion to support Bob Bisno's current plan for Ponte Vista at San Pedro was passed.

Before I go any further, any negative comments about Wilmington's action will be sent to the uncensored blog and won't be printed here.

I don't blame Wilmington Neighborhood Council members one bit for taking the stand the majority of members voted for.

I am sad, which is quite true, but I feel these good folks learned as much as they wanted to learn, listened to speakers, and decided for what they feel is in the best interest of the residents they have volunteered to represent.

Each member of the Council should have had the opportunity to read the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) paid for by Bob Bisno. All of the members seemed very intelligent and I was very proud to see these volunteers support their folks as they did and should have.

I am sorry though that many of them didn't read the Bisno paid for DEIR in which states there would be only "199" school aged children living in the 1,725-unit non age restricted portion of the proposed project.

I did inquire of the gentleman who questioned what would happen to the ramps of the 110 Freeway at Anaheim and P.C.H. and asked him and the rest of the Council's members if they had seen any illustrations for the proposed mitigation of those sites. Apparently, the folks at Bisno Development did not provide Council members with those illustrations, if they exist at all.

Some Council members stated a belief that since the Ponte Vista site is actually within the Wilmington/Harbor City Community Plan area, there should have been a resident of Wilmington on Ms. Hahn's Community Advisory Committee (CAC) for the Ponte Vista project.

As a former member of that committee, I am not able to tell them if a member of that group lived in Wilmington or not because we did not know where Ms. Adams lives. Perhaps she does, in fact live in Wilmington, but perhaps, she does not.

In any case, the membership of that committee was not determined by the members of the committee, but it seems we were blamed, anyway.

There was a member of the Neighborhood Council who stated that opponents of Bob's plans didn't provide any facts to back up their opposition. I stated exactly what the DEIR stated, which was paid for by Mr. Bisno's company. "199' is written in the DEIR and perhaps she wasn't willing to believe me, for some reason or another.

When Mr. Nave spoke, he supplied Council members with more facts in two minutes than he normally does. That didn't seem to sway members who seemed to have made up their mind before my public comments were entered into the record.

Some members of the Neighborhood Council remembered their tour of Newport Bluffs APARTMENTS!!!!!!!! They seemed to agree with me that it is a beautiful site, all 1,100 APARTMENT units!

I suspect they were taken to the same sites the CAC toured on two of our trips.

It also didn't seem to matter that every single resident of whatever is built at Ponte Vista automatically become stakeholders in NORTHWEST SAN PEDRO NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL and not necessarily a stakeholder at Wilmington's Neighborhood Council.

Members also stated loud and clear they wanted the Ponte Vista at SAN PEDRO project to remain in the Wilmington/Harbor City Community Plan Area, even though a resident who lives in Wilmington correctly suggested that such a large development remaining in that Community Plan Area, will limit future developments, in that Community Plan area.

I wished more Wilmington Neighborhood Council members had attended Neighborhood Council meetings in the San Pedro area where the Ponte Vista outreach team talked up their SAN PEDRO FIRST plan and where no mention of any Harbor Area First was made.

Had the members read an earlier post on this blog, they would have been able to view the ONE bus route that Metro has that goes by the Ponte Vista site. They would have read that to get from P.V. Drive North to the Artesia Transit Center, it takes 56 minutes and to get all the way to the Imperial Metro Station takes one-hour and 12 minutes.

Of course they heard about the plan to provide a DASH route for Ponte Vista, but I don't believe that the DASH vehicle goes anywhere near the Artesia Transit Center or the Imperial Metro Station.

Members of the Wilmington Neighborhood Council demonstrated their support for the folks they feel they represent. That is exactly what they should do, I feel.

The Ponte Vista outreach team didn't let them know that the suggest current price proposed for the smallest unit at Ponte Vista will be $300,000.00 for a 600 square foot studio, without including taxes, HOA fees, and other costs.

The outreach team did state that Bob is working with the Mayor's office to create plans for units that may appear to be for lower priced units that may be priced in a range that folks in the San Pedro area, having the median income might be able to purchase. Since the median income for San Pedro is higher than Wilmington (2000 Census data) there was absolutely no mention whether a resident of Wilmington, having the median income for Wilmington would be able to afford to purchase even the lowest-priced unit at Ponte Vista IF Bob gets to build all 1,950 units UNLESS, he tries for a density bonus on top of the 1,950 units.

All of the facts are available, for anyone to look for, download, print, read, or make paper airplanes out of.

I have hard and soft copies of the entire DEIR, including all three Technical Appendices. Let me know what information you are looking for and I will try to send it to you.

Three of the storm drains failed under Western Avenue and yes, traffic counts were taken for Ponte Vista during the time the Avenue was reduced to one lane, each way, and yes many persons who would have normally used Western Avenue took alternate routes.

And yes, there are still four more storm drains under Western Avenue whose middle section was made with corrugated steel and will probably fail in the future.

And yes, in the entirety of the DEIR there is no public documentation of the number of bedrooms Bob actually wants to build with his 1,950-unit project, so no, in fact, we have no way of knowing how many residents might live at Ponte Vista.

And yes, most contractors that have been questioned about the actual costs of build-out of 1,950-units have answered that costs would, in no way, approach anywhere near $500 per square foot, the price Bob wants to charge for a 600 square foot unit.

And yes, it appears that there still is no illustration of the smallest unit planned at Ponte Vista on their Web site.

And yes, even though Bob announced in public on June 18, 2007 that he was lowering his total unit count by 350 units, it wasn't until November 13, 2007 that the application for that change was made to the Planning Department.

I'm not making this stuff up folks, we have documentation all over the place to back these things up.

But the majority of the members of the Wilmington Neighborhood Council distanced themselves from the Boards of the four other Neighborhood Councils serving the Harbor area, by voting to approve a motion that no other Council supported.

I hope they don't regret their vote. I'd feel bothered to live with that on my mind.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Two Pieces in Sunday's Daily Breeze.

Sunday's Daily Breeze blew in with two pieces important in the ongoing discussions revolving around Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

The little blurb that could have been easily missed involved the City of Lomita joining the City of Rancho Palos Verdes in their calls for a new environmental impact report to be circulated for the Ponte Vista development.

While there has been a reliable source within the City of L.A.'s administration claiming that the Planning Department will probably not require a new report to be circulated, it should be continued to be noted that many of the traffic counts taken on Western Avenue were taken while the roadway was impacted by two storm drain failures at one time, and another failure that occurred at a different time.

Now please remember folks, there are seven storm drains that go under Western Avenue between Palos Verdes Drive North and Summerland Avenue. Three of them have failed and been repaired.

The storm drain repair work that is being done in the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, does not impact Western Avenue at all, because the storm drains under Western are County owned, and not City owned.

And now, without further adoo or adon't, is the other article in Sunday's Daily Breeze.

I am going to post it here for the folks who don't receive the paper (shame on you) or those who don't live in the area, yet still don't read it online. (Andy, you are fine, cause I know you read it back in K.C. online, all the time).

1930s streets meet 2008 traffic
By Donna Littlejohn, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 02/24/2008 01:24:52 AM PST

Forget freeway congestion.

For San Pedro commuters, the morning rush-hour headache begins way before they ever hit the Harbor Freeway.

Making their way through the early-morning fog, locals often encounter the first of the traffic as soon as they round the corner heading out of their quiet hillside neighborhoods overlooking the harbor.

From there, coffee-sipping motorists travel down First, Seventh, Ninth, 13th and other heavily traveled connector streets onto one of only three major arteries that lead in and out of town.

Once they turn onto Gaffey Street toward the 110 Freeway, they sit some more. Traffic signals change from red to green - and often back to red again - while commuters wait to inch through the clogged intersections.

Paul Escala is a veteran of the San Pedro commuter drills.

He's experimented with taking different routes to get to the freeway from his home near Peck Park.

He's tried leaving home earlier. He's tried leaving his office in downtown Los Angeles a little bit later.

But Escala rarely manages to shave more than a few minutes from his commute time.
The bottom line about San Pedro's traffic: "It's gotten a lot worse," said Escala, 30, director for joint use development for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

"Traffic is now starting to back up (on Summerland Avenue) right around Leland Park," he said. "I'd say it takes about 10 minutes to get from my house to the freeway."

That's a distance, he said, of about 1.5 miles.

So traffic is bad, what else is new?

After all, coping with traffic is a way of life in Southern California, a place of booming development where the car is king.

A 3-year-old report issued by the California Department of Transportation calculated that commuters in the Los Angeles-Orange County region spend three days a year sitting in traffic.
But in San Pedro - situated at the end of a peninsula - the problem is compounded by several factors.

The community is isolated by geography - hedged in by the Port of Los Angeles on the east, the ocean on the south and the Palos Verdes Peninsula to the west.

San Pedro's population was 74,176 in 1990. Census estimates for 2006 stood at 80,879.

Since the 1980s, growth also has exploded at the Port of Los Angeles, sending huge container trucks onto the community's eastern roadways to jockey for space with family sedans and SUVs.
And finally, the area's once-thriving hometown industries that employed so many local residents - fishing, the canneries and shipbuilding - have withered over the years. Most locals now commute out of town to work.

As a result, the three primary arteries leading in and out of San Pedro - Gaffey Street, the Harbor Freeway and Western Avenue - have become increasingly overburdened with traffic.
There aren't any easy, quick or cheap fixes.

But community leaders over the past few years have begun to grapple with how San Pedro's traffic dilemma can be addressed in the future.

"All of this needs to be looked at as we grow and as we look toward building a waterfront that will attract people from out of town," said Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who represents the area.

Traditional bottlenecks are getting worse while new ones are developing: First Street and Western/Weymouth avenues, First and Gaffey, 13th and Gaffey, Channel Street at North Gaffey - and just about anywhere along the 4.3-mile-long Western Avenue when about a half-dozen public and private schools open or let out each day in adjacent neighborhoods.

Motorists desperately search for shortcuts through residential neighborhoods. Others are willing to consume more gas and travel miles out of their way to avoid the crunch, circling around or cutting through the scenic Palos Verdes Peninsula to reach the South Bay.

If residents think it's bad now, they could have more to gripe about in coming years.
New housing developments already are going up in San Pedro's downtown district. While the nearly 600 units provide needed new housing and a potential boon to local retailers, they also bring more people and more cars.

The proposed 1,950-unit Ponte Vista housing project on Western is still moving through a city study process.

A new cruise ship terminal in south San Pedro is being pushed by port officials who envision moving passengers through town by some kind of rail line or shuttle service.

Marshall's, a popular designer discount clothing store that boasts a high customer draw, will open soon at the Terraces Shopping Center on Western.

And a new Target store is scheduled to open in October at Gaffey and Capitol Drive, not far from more new homes under construction on that stretch of Gaffey.

It doesn't require advanced math skills to know what all of that means.

"We're going to see a big increase in traffic," said Diana Nave of the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council.

Building new major roadways leading in or out of town isn't a viable option, and not much can be done in the way of widening the main roads that do exist.

So what can be done?

Traffic planners are relying in large part on a sophisticated traffic light synchronization system. Intersections along Western and Gaffey have both been targeted.

"We're very pleased with what we're seeing from signal synchronization," said Doug Failing, regional director for the California Department of Transportation.

Other improvements in progress or being studied being done or studied include more dedicated left-turn lanes and arrows, pull-out lanes for motorists entering the many shopping centers along Western, and more restrictive curbside parking hours to open up far right lanes on some busy streets.

Building wider ramps - or adding new ramps - to the Harbor Freeway and Vincent Thomas Bridge also are in the works or at least being talked about.

Future possibilities also include extending the city's light rail transit system into San Pedro. The San Pedro Community Plan process, now under way, has outlined several objectives to improve traffic flow, including new freeway on- and off-ramps, widening and restriping some streets and extending or reconnecting others.

To keep more residents from having to commute to jobs outside the area, port officials have recently joined forces with the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce to encourage environmentally friendly businesses to come to town.

The Port of Los Angeles also is moving forward with several multimillion-dollar projects designed to improve traffic on streets near the harbor, said Sue Lai, port senior traffic engineer.

A $21 million project, set for completion around 2012, will improve traffic flow and reduce truck-to-car conflicts on freeway ramps at the 110 Freeway and C Street by separating them into different lanes.

Farther south on John S. Gibson Boulevard, at a cost of $40 million and on a similar time schedule, trucks and automobiles will be given separate lanes in which to access the freeway.

In the future, the port also will look at creating new on-ramps and off-ramps to the freeway and bridge along Front Street, Lai said. One possibility is hooking a new ramp around the existing one, near the south side of Knoll Hill on port property now used as a temporary dog park.

Hahn would like to see a new Harbor Freeway off-ramp at Westmont Drive to accommodate the "choke points" created by the many trucks delivering and picking up goods at the
Port Distribution Center.

"We need to get those trucks off Gaffey and Channel where they are clogging commuter traffic," Hahn said.

The councilwoman sees one of the best solutions as extending a mass commuter rail line that would take San Pedro residents to downtown Los Angeles and to Los Angeles International Airport.

But that's more than a few years off.

In the meantime, planners continue to brainstorm on how to make San Pedro's streets and intersections, many dating back to the 1930s, more efficient.

And the residents? Most are trying to adjust the best they can. Escala said his commute time over eight years has "progressively gotten longer."

"Back in 1999, when I first started (working in downtown Los Angeles), it was about 45 to 50 minutes," he said. "Now it's at least an hour."

Commuting by bus? He's tried that, too. But that takes two hours. To catch the express bus going downtown, Escala said, San Pedro residents first must go to a transit center near the South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach where the local line currently originates.

"Look, there are no more lanes (to add), we can't widen Gaffey any more," he said. "The traffic light synchronization? I don't think that's the answer either."

He agrees with Hahn that better mass transit would go a long way toward easing the commuter crunch.

"The bottom line is there are no alternatives for people to get out of their cars and to get onto public transportation," he said.

Some residents have given up and tried to escape. "My brother and sister-in-law left San Pedro three years ago because of the traffic," said Kay D'Ambrosi, 69, a retired registered nurse. "They couldn't take it anymore."

She added, however, that traffic since then has also multiplied around the couple's new home in Orange County.

"We really have to be careful," D'Ambrosi said. "Growth is necessary, but we have to be very careful about it because our quality of life is being impacted dramatically. I hope we can do something. We don't want to lose our small-town flavor."

Now it is with a great amount of wonder that I wonder if the Ms. D'Ambrosi quoted in this article is related to the other Ms. D'Ambrosi who stood up during a CAC meeting and made one of the most infamous quotes ever heard in San Pedro; "Bob Bisno is going to save San Pedro."

If you read farther into this blog, you can read about the signal synchronization that is going to take place in San Pedro and on Terminal Island between now and February, 2009.

I thank Ms. Littlejohn again, for writing another great article about what we are facing, traffic wise in OUR community.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Take 205 and Save the Drive!

The name of this post can be freely used by the Ponte Vista outreach team as another slogan they can use to attempt to get folks interested in buying a 1/3 Million Dollar condominium at Ponte Vista, or one priced more.

In researching the Metro Transit systems bus availabilities for the Ponte Vista at San Pedro project I found all the Metro lines that go past the project's site, both northbound and southbound.

My total of number of bus lines going past Ponte Vista, as far as Metro goes is.....ONE.

Below is a map of the route of good old 205 and below that is the timetable for Mondays through Fridays.

Now you can left click over the items to enlarge them, or right click over them, if you are using a P.C. type of puter, to save an image or print the image of your choosing.

So what does this information tell us about the mitigation Bob is proposing for his weapon of mass development?

First we find that Ponte Vistans, (Gee, I think I just made up a new moniker for residents who buy dwellings at the site) have the opportunity to walk to the corner of Palos Verdes Drive North and Western Avenue to catch the one Metro Rapid Transit line that serves the project.

We then find that if these good people wish to travel all the way into downtown L.A., they will have two stops that they can change transportation vehicles at, to get to possibly, their jobs downtown.

It takes a mere 56 minutes for the bus to travel to the Artesia Transit Center where they can take a Rapid bus along the Harbor Freeway and into downtown.

They also can take the one-hour, twelve minute ride to the Imperial Transit Station to catch either the Blue Line, into downtown, the Green Line either east or west, or catch another bus to continue their journey, wherever the buses go.

Now, do you feel that this can be considered "smart growth" when the development's site is almost one hour, by bus, from the closest rapid routes into downtown and twelve minutes longer than an hour to get to the light rail lines?

I'm still not seeing anything "smart" about that.

I gathered the timetable while attending an symposium related to how south bay municipalities may deal with the future where "Baby Boomers" enter the age of being senior citizens.

I learned quite a bit of stuff that doesn't seem to jive with the marketing go on for Ponte Vista, but since I learned information from PhDs in fields directly related to demographics, transportation, and other issues, perhaps Bob is smarter than all of them.

Statistically, Baby Boomers tend to remain in the homes they lived in since their forties and early fifties. Baby Boomers are considered to be Americans born between 1946 and 1964 when the economy showed growth enough for our parents to have more children than younger generations are having now.

Baby Boomers' parents gave birth to an average of four children. But Baby Boomers tended to start smaller families and seemed have an average of only two children.

What this means is that when Baby Boomers live into their eighties and nineties, there will be fewer younger folks to assist them and provide a tax basis for the services the Baby Boomers will need.

Baby Boomers tend to live longer in one home than folks in the generation preceding them. Baby Boomers' parents lived through the depression so they made sure that their kids had more opportunities than they did.

In 2030, The U.S. will have over 83 Million drivers considered to be Senior Citizens.

Baby Boomers drive longer, by age, than previous generations did. What this means is that Bob's claims that seniors who buy condos at Ponte Vista will, in fact, keep their cars longer and drive more than he probably figured for.

Since medical advances have increased the lifespan of Americans, the mere size of the Baby Boomer generation, as compared to generations before and after them, will create the highest need for infrastructure services for these seniors between 2010 and 2030.

Baby Boomers are also much more active in their retirement years than the generation preceding them. Bob's senior housing will have a large percentage of seniors still working and doing more recreational activities than he may have considered.

These seniors, keeping their cars longer, driving more, and doing more work and activities, will suggest more like they are actually folks in their forties and fifties, instead of in their sixties and seventies.

In the symposium the attendees were warned that cities and governments are not yet prepared to deal with and care for a population which lives longer and thereby needs more assistance in their later years than earlier generations did.

One of the transportation mitigation Bob mentioned is transportation for seniors between Ponte Vista and their doctors', shopping areas, and other activities.

With the American with Disabilities Act, the small bus transportation companies like Paratransit have costs they won't be able to cover in the long run without tremendous support from local governments.

Case in point. A senior needs to go to the doctor's for a visit. The senior calls the Paratransit company to arrange for transportation. the senior may be charged $5 or $10 dollars for each way on a round trip, but the actual cost to the paratransit company for EACH WAY of a round trip is, on the average, in the south bay, $29.28 for the company to drive each rider, each way.

But on the other hand, many of these same seniors will keep their cars longer and keep their licenses renewed unless they are challenged by the DMV.

The majority of transportation now given to seniors who no longer drive is by a member of that senior's family.

If there are no family members living nearby, that can create problems.

My sister and I drive our mom wherever she needs to go. We are typical of families living in this area and the rest of the south bay.

I learned quite a bit today and I think I need to rethink my "dream" of allowing 55o senior units at Ponte Vista. Seniors who may live there should be treated like non-age restricted residents as far as traffic and transportation goes. That would change Bob's vehicle counts and daily trips generated by residents of Ponte Vista.

I'm done.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Odds and Ends 53

Bob Bisno revealed his "new" plan for Ponte Vista at San Pedro on June 18, 2007.

Bob Bisno and/or his associates filed the application for the "new" plan on November 13, 2007. He missed delaying his application by five months, by a mere five days.

These are things that make one go, DUH.

Apparently a developer hired a lobbyist to assist them in a development project. The lobbyist decided that with the added income from the developer, he would move his family to a new house.

The lobbyist found a house extremely close to a tennis club which had outdoor aerobic activities, pool activities, and other activities that included amplified music and lighted tennis courts.

The lobbyist knew full well, before they bought the new house that there would be noise coming from the athletic club as well a bright lights shining on tennis courts at night.

So what did the lobbyist do? The lobbyist bought the house, moved the family in and than began complaining about all the noise and lights.

Now I am not claiming to state the names of the developer or the lobbyist, but for my money, if I were the developer, I would get another lobbyist.

Don't it make you want to say, DUH?

A fellow has several bouts of pneumonia. To get cured of the illness, he is prescribed steroids. He takes the steroids a prescribed, not know all the complications, but knowing full well the major complications that taking steroids normally cause.

Come to find out, this fellow had small blood vessels in his hip die and cause his hip bones, the round part that fits into the socket, to die also.

Who should have thought that by getting cured of a lung illness, one hips would be destroyed.

Now that really made me go, DUH!

A traffic count was ordered for an environmental impact study on a four-lane state highway, near a development.

When the traffic count was conducted, the four-lane state highway had been reduced to a two-lane state highway, with many normal travelers taking alternate routes because the state highway had lanes closed due to storm drain failures.

So the traffic counts the developer used in the impact report showed fewer cars using the state highway than when it is normally in use as a four-lane highway.

OK everybody, let's say it together......DUH!!!!!!!!!!!!

A developer who owned property in another city wanted to tear down the dwellings that were rent controlled, to build condominiums.

One thing the developer did was tear out all the foliage to make the area around some of the buildings look so bad that the city's government would side with the developer.

The neighbors living in the apartments found the dirt where the plant had been torn out.

So what did they do? The planted vegetables!

Now, everybody in Santa Monica shout, DUH.

A reliable source has told us that Bob Bisno's organization has finally responded to the written comments to the DEIR which were sent in by January, 2007.

The number of pages answering the comments sent in by people, organizations, and other government entities, was in excess of 1,000 pages.

"Lucy, you got a lot of explaining to do."

There is still no word yet from the Planning Department concerning when they will reveal what they feel Bob should be allowed to build at Ponte Vista.

But at least they are 1,000+ pages a bit closer, perhaps.

It is with sadness that I report here, the passing of Mr. Mark Majestic.

Mr. Majestic attended almost every single CAC meeting and he kept notes no matter where he could be found.

Mark and I talked about the work he did, the fact that both of us had to use crutches and canes at times, and some issues not relating to Ponte Vista at all.

He was a supporter of a larger development than I would like to see at Ponte Vista, but we both agreed to disagree on that issue and we both shared opinions openly.

I learned about a side of banking and property facilitation that I was not familiar with, so he taught me things that I never knew before.

R.I.P. Mark Majestic

From This Unionized Worker to Other Unionized Workers

Ironworkers' Union Local 443 is asking their members to attend the upcoming meeting of the Wilmington Neighborhood Council.

Since Bob has pledged to use unionized workers to build whatever is built at Ponte Vista, I feel as a union member myself, that announcing the meeting is in the best interest of unionized workers.

Being a proud member of CWA, I am posting the Ironworkers Union Agent's letter for all to read.

I wonder however, if Bob will still use unionized workers at Ponte Vista if he isn't allowed to build the number of units he currently wants to build.

What I do know though, is whatever is built at Ponte Vista will probably have communications cables going back to the San Pedro Central Office, and those workers are unionized, just like me.

February 15,2008

Dear Brother and Sisters,

There is an upcoming meeting for a project is the San Pedro area. The project is off Western and is called the Pointe Vista Project. Bisno Development Co. is planning a 1,950 residential units consisting of townhouses and condominium units. Bisno has agreed to build this project under a Project Labor Agreement with the Los Angeles and Orange Counties Building Trades Council. I have met with Bob Bisno the CEO and this project will be built with Union Ironworkers. I will speak at the meeting for the Ironworkers. Your union and I need everyone who lives in the area to be at this meeting. Plan now to be at this meeting/The information is listed below; please join me to help this project move forward.

Wilmington Neighborhood Council Meeting
February 27,2008 @ 6 PM
Wilmington Senior Center
1371 Eubank Street Wilmington, CA

This letter was from Mr. Moxley, and Agent for the Union Local 433.

I will certainly support having unionized workers building single-family, detached dwellings at Ponte Vista, just like I'll support their fine work if my "dream" number of units are built.

"Look for the union label,
When you are buying a coat, dress, or blouse.
You know that somewhere
There's someone sewing,
And wages going,
To feed the kids and run the house............."
(From the ILGWU song)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Odds and Ends 52

I know I am tardy posting this Odds and Ends, but I feel it was well worth the procrastination.

You may want to take a look at:

It's the blog that shows a photo of Bob Bisno's Beverly Park North house....the one that is apparently in foreclosure.

Yup, you read the last word in the paragraph correctly. I wonder what Bob's response is going to be when questioned at the February 27 Wilmington Neighborhood Council meeting where he is going to try and get support from that group for his weapon of mass development?

It this just too rich, or what? I imagine the majority of us "ranting elitists" as Bob has called us, aren't in the foreclosure state that Bob is in.

Now, is this the same house Bob's neighbors sued him over because of some gate issues? I'll have to check my files to see if it was this house, or the house he used to own, in the same area.

The "Mardi-Gras" event held last weekend at the site apparently shed no new light, according to an attendee, on what we already know about Bob's current plans.

Anybody remember former L.A. City Councilman Rudy Svornich? Last year, according to City records, Bisno Development LLC paid Svornich and Associates over $152, 700.00 for their lobbying efforts on Bob's behalf.

It seems that after you are paid by L.A. City for being a "servant of the people" you get to spend the rest of your working life "serving up the people" to folks who are willing to pay for them.

We are still waiting for the Planning Department to reveal what they believe Bob could build at Ponte Vista.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

57 Intersections and the Funding for ATSAC

Before we really begin, below in red, is the area where it appears that 127 signalized intersections will have ATSAC completely installed by (hopefully) February, 2009.

After viewing the map, FIFTY-SEVEN signalized intersections will be posted so that you can see where the work on these first intersections, actually are.

There are, however, some very important intersections not covered by the City of L.A.'s Traffic Department, as far as ATSAC installation goes. Those intersections, important in the Ponte Vista discussions are also posted below.

Here is the list of the FIFTY-SEVEN signalized intersections that will have ATSAC fully installed according to a timeline that will be addressed further down the post.

You will learn that between May, 2008 and February, 2009, these FIFTY-SEVEN intersections, including many on Western Avenue, will get the installation completed. There is no evidence, in the funding listed below, that Mr. Bisno has placed funds in the "Available Developer Fees" section. I believe he has stated that he would put something like "five-million dollars" into the funds available for traffic mitigation.

The information provided from traffic engineers from the City of Los Angeles, are stated below:
1st St. at Cabrillo Ave.
1st St. at Gaffey St.
1st St. at Harbor Blvd.
1st St. at Pacific Ave.
1st St. at Walker St.
1st St. at Western Ave.
5th St. at Gaffey St.
5th St. at Harbor Blvd.
5th St. at Pacific Ave.
6th St. at Harbor Blvd.
6th St. at Pacific Ave.
7th St. at Gaffey St.
7th St. at Harbor Blvd.
7th St. at Pacific Ave.
7th St. at Weymouth Ave.
9th St. at Bandini St.
9th St. at Cabrillo Ave.
9th St. at Gaffey St.
9th St. at Pacific Ave.
9th St. at Western Ave.
9th St. at Weymouth Ave.
11th St. at Pacific Ave.
13th St. at Bandini St.
13th St. at Cabrillo Ave.
13th St. at Gaffey St.
13th St. at Pacific Ave.
15th St. at Pacific Ave.
17th St. at Gaffey St.
17th St. at Pacific Ave.
19th St. at Gaffey St.
19th St. at Pacific Ave.
19th St. at Western Ave.
22nd St. at Gaffey St.
22nd St. at Mesa St.
22nd St. at Miner St.
22nd St. at Pacific Ave.
25th St. at Alma St.
25th St. at Anchovy Ave.
25th St. at Gaffey St.
25th St. at Patton Ave.
25th St. at Walker St.
25th St. at Western Ave.
36th St. at Pacific Ave.
Byner Dr. at Western Ave.
Capitol Dr. at Gaffey St.
Chanel St. at Gaffey St.
Crestwood St. at Western Ave.
Gaffey St. at N/B Harbor Fwy On-Ramp
Gaffey St. at Summerland Ave.
Gaffey St. at Westmont Dr.
Harbor Blvd. at Harbor Fwy On/Off Ramps
Ofarrel St. at Pacific Ave.
Park Western Dr. at Western Ave.
Summerland Ave. at Western Ave.
Trudie Dr./Capitol Dr. at Western Ave.
Western Ave at Westmont Dr.
Weymouth Ave. at Western Ave
Now it is sadly true that the following signalized intersections are not listed, because these intersections fall completely within the City of Rancho Palos Verdes or Lomita, and would be installed by Caltrans and not the City of L.A.

Western Avenue at Avenida Aprenda
Western Avenue at S. John Montgomery/Green Hills Drive
Western Avenue at Caddington
Western Avenue at Toscanini
Western Avenue at Palos Verdes Drive North
Anaheim/Gaffey/Normandie/Palos Verdes Drive North....Five Points.

I don't have any documentation yet, on the status of Caltran's work on these intersections.

It is also demonstrated by ommission that the following freeway ramps are also not mentioned on the document.

Anaheim at Harbor Freeway
Pacific Coast Highway at Harbor Freeway.

Now, here is how the funds are found and dispersed:
Total Project Cost: $8,015,600.00


$3,825,000 "MTA Share by Agreement"
$185,000 "Available Developer Fees." (These fees are already in the coffers)
$4,005,600 "Proposition C Funds Required in FY 2007-08 and Beyond Budtets"?

I will try, in the next few days, to get the SEVENTY other signalized intersections posted and try and get more information concerning the intersections near the Ponte Vista at San Pedro site that are not listed on either of the lists.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

R.I.P. SRHS 14, Welcome SRHS 15

As all the regular readers know by now, South Region High School #14, the High School origanally planned for inside the Ponte Vista at San Pedro site is now long dead and quite buried.

What isn't buried, but in fact sprouting to life is South Region High School #15.

That proposed High School is planned for a "preferred site" at the upper reservation area of the former Fort MacArthur/Angels Gate area of south San Pedro.

Since the newly planned school is so far from the Ponte Vista site, I will write about it on my R Neighborhoods Are 1 blog at: www.rneighborhoodsare1.blogspot.com.

The only information that may be of interest to folks considering the Ponte Vista issue is that I brought up the question whether J.F. Cooper Continuation High School, located at Taper Avenue and Barrywood was being fully utilized. According to Rod Hamilton of LAUSD facilities department, it is his opinion that Cooper is being fully utilized and he expects no changes in the near future for that facility.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Simple Quote

In today's (Sunday Feb. 10) Daily Breeze, this simple quote was written;

"It sounds like the developer is listening to the community and wants to build a project that is compatible with the Neighborhood"

The quote is from Councilwoman Janice Hahn. One of the best things about the quote is that it revolves around a neighborhood which finally organized neighbors to oppose a proposed development that they felt was too large for the area.

The worst thing about the quote is that the developer the quote was considering, is NOT Bob Bisno.

Mike Rosenthal finally began to really listen to the neighbors living around the former McCowan's Market site on the corner of 20Th Street and Walker Avenue.

Possibly after the meeting Mr. Rosenthal will have with leaders of Vista del Oro Neighbors Condos and representatives of Ms. Hahn, a compromise may be reached that becomes a win-win for all parties.

Could this signal some kind of compromise proposal from Bob Bisno, that is real and possibly genuine? Well, he hasn't seemed to really listen to the neighbors living near the Ponte Vista site. What makes anyone truly believe he will be willing to read about the compromise porposal for the McCowan's site.

Bob must have seen pictures of the various demonstrations outside Ponte Vista. I know he has heard from the CAC and so many others. I also know representatives of Bob's read this blog.

So, for over two years, Bob has refused to look, listen, read, or speak of true compromise, while Mike Rosenthal closed down McCowan's about one month ago and has already changed his proposals to be more compatible with the local neighborhood and offer compromise to the neighbors living near that site.

I guess Bob is deaf, dumb, and blind when it comes to really dealing with OUR community, when so many members of OUR community are so opposed to his weapon of mass development.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Odds and Ends 51

Construction on the new Marshall's Store on Western Avenue, on the top level of The Terraces Ends a few days before its Grand Opening on March 6, 2008.

All week long a hiring fair has been held at the Torrance EED office. The fair will end at 5:00 PM, today, Friday.

O.K., here is the beg........If you are trying to get to the new store by heading north on Western Avenue, please, please, please consider turning left at the Caddington signal. The left turn pocket on the south side of The Terraces is already way to short to handle traffic trying to turn left during PM drive time when lots of folks are heading to Bally's, restaurants, and other businesses.

At Caddington, you don't get that much more left turn pocket, but you do get a left-turn arrow to proceed up Caddington and closer to the new store.

The Odds are we are all going to have to live with the new traffic patterns following the opening of both Mary Star High School and Marshall's.

Bob Bisno is scheduled to give one of his talks during the February 27 Board meeting of the Wilmington Neighborhood Council.

The good folks in Wilmington will hear what WILL be at Ponte Vista, and how it IS going to provide for just about every income lever. There will be folks at the meeting to remind listeners that there still is no living human being on this planet or orbiting it in space that knows what will be built at Ponte Vista, at this time.

By now, Ms Hahn has probably had her meeting with Ms. Goldberg. Hopefully we will know soon what comes from that discussion.

A developer is willing to talk to neighbors about a compromise! That's correct folks. Mr. Mike Rosenthal has contacted leadership for the Vista del Oro Neighbors Against Condos group to offer to pair down the development he initially envisioned, to be more compatible with the surrounding neighborhood.

Originally Mr. Rosenthal had stated that he or his partners, would built up to 18 condominium units on the site of the former McCowan's Market, and build three single-family houses on the lots currently zoned for just that type of residence.

Then, Mike changed his mind and stated he wanted to build duplexes on all six lots that made up the store's building and parking lots.

Now Mr. Rosenthal is willing to meet with the neighbors (something that up until now he has refused to do) and suggest two single-family houses on the south-east corner of 20Th Street and Walker Avenue, and eight duplexes on four lots on the north-east side of Walker Avenue and 20Th Street.

The neighbors have been contacted and will meet to consider this latest proposal. It should be up to the neighbors in that neighborhood to decide whether they will take this latest proposal and accept it, take time to study it more, or reject it and offer their own compromise.

What is refreshing though, is that a developer is finally willing to enact a compromise proposal so he and his partners can get to work building whatever is going to be built. And that the "whatever" is agreeable with the local neighbors that will be affected.

Hey Bob, can you take a hint?

So far, I have found only a few people who are opposed to all development of residences at Ponte Vista. I am not against a development of some type on the 61.53 acres and neither are the majority of Rudderless Steering Committee members. Everybody in their correct mind knows that something is going to be built at Ponte Vista.

Mr. Rosenthal is going to build something on the corners of 20Th Street and Walker Avenue. It appears that what he builds will be comfortably compatible with the local neighbors, if all parties can come to a compromise proposal.

Why is what Mike Rosenthal seeing fit to attempt, not compatible with Bob in asking the neighbors what they would be comfortable with at Ponte Vista and then working for a compromise?

If Rosenthal will compromise, don't you think Bob could too?

Friday, February 01, 2008

Bob and His Weapon of Mass Development in Baldwin Park

It didn't take long for one great comment to arrive for Odds and Ends 50.

Thank you very much to "THEMOMMA" who, apparently, has left her first comment on this blog.

I did exactly what the comment suggested we all do. I went to Google.com entered "Bob Bisno Baldwin Park" and presto! Looky what I found in the first few seconds.

This is the site that looks like Bob has created for a 125-acre development in downtown Baldwin Park.

See the neat photo of the railway station? That might have gotten me to think that Bob is finally going to come up with a development that doesn't harm or displace local residents.

Wrongo Bucko!

Take a look at: http://www.baldwinparkfuture.com/index.php

Then, before you get all warm and fuzzy for Bob, take a look at the Blog: http://www.theorangejuice.com/2008/01/bisno-to-take-500-homes-and-businesses.html

Now if you are beginning to get a little hot under the collar, how about taking a look at these next two items:

Property Owners protest Eminent Domain -

To Burn City Eviction Notices
by CARA Wednesday, Jan. 09, 2008 at 11:59 AM.

Property Owners protest Eminent Domain - To Burn City Eviction Notices Baldwin Park, CA –

While city council members publicly claimed for weeks that there were no immediate plans to seize over 500 homes and businesses by eminent domain to benefit the wealthy and politically connected Bisno Development Company, over the Christmas Holiday over 100 of the 500 threatened property owners received notices from the city informing them that they stand to lose their homes and jobs by eminent domain. The city has also been criticized for sending English only letters to Spanish speaking property owners.

And here is more:

Home and Business Owners to March on City Hall

According to campaign finance reports posted on the city's website, the Bisno Development Company and other development interests contributed thousands of dollars to city council candidates in the 2007 election, all of which support displacing hundreds of local residents.

WHO: Community Alliance for Redevelopment Accountability (CARA), a group of concerned homeowners and small business owners have organized to stop the City of Baldwin Park from using eminent domain to seize their homes and small businesses to benefit the politically connected Bisno Development Company and their investors.

WHAT: Property owners to march on city council meeting and burn eminent domain letters sent to over 100 of 500 property owners.

WHEN: Wednesday, January 9, 2008 WHERE: March will commence at 6:00 p.m. on the corner of Clark Avenue and Maine Blvd. Council Meeting will commence at 7:00p.m., Baldwin Park City Hall, 14403 E. Pacific Avenue, Baldwin Park, CA 91706

BACKGROUND: Baldwin Park home and business owners have united as CARA to fight the proposed demolition of homes and businesses to make way for a project the size of about 125 football fields by Century City-based Bisno Development. Local property owners are concerned that the city is working to expedite eminent domain proceedings in order to acquire over 500 homes and businesses prior to the June Election. A 1/5/2007 letter from the developer to the city reveals that the developer's investors are concerned that their project, that requires the use of eminent domain, is threatened by the "California Property Owners and Farmland Protection Act," an eminent domain reform ballot measure slated for the June ballot that protects all private property from eminent domain abuse. ______________________________________________

I guess after Berkeley, Santa Monica, San Pedro, Baldwin Park, Santa Ana, and elsewhere, we are going to need to watch Bob even more closely than we have been, in the pastl

Odd and Ends 50

First off, I would like to thank the small group of regular readers and give a big THANK YOU to everyone who makes comments about the posts. The weekly visits are very slowly returning to the number of visits that were metered last year during the height of the CAC discussions.

I'm still here and I appreciate all the comments we all get to view on this blog.

The Ponte Vista at San Pedro development's discussion is ongoing behind the scenes. As Councilwoman Janice Hahn meet with the Honorable S. Gail Goldberg, Director of Planning for the City of Los Angeles next week, we can be assured that the two leaders will take much of the time talking about Ponte Vista.

Ms. Hahn has remained a supporter of keepin the zoning as it currently is, (R1) at the site.

Ms Goldberg seems to continue her beliefs on where large developements should be built and how the impacts of traffic and transportation are affected by large developments.

Since we are still waiting for some real hint as to what the Planning Department is considering for their take on what should be built at Ponte Vista, I think I will take the opportunity in this post to remind readers about another project Bob Bisno was a major player at and the chronology that was placed into an article in a newspaper in Santa Monica several years ago.

Bob Bisno once owned Lincoln Place, a development of multi-family dwellings. Whether he was full owner, sold half of his interest to the largest private apartment management company in the country, or after he sold all of his interest in Lincoln Place, the chronology listed below shows a timeline where the residents tried to save their homes from redevelopment by Bob and/or the rental management company, AIMCO.

Lincoln Place has been the subject of a long-running and contentious battle between preservationists and the property’s owners (see “Chronology”).
There were originally 52 buildings on the 33-acre site.
Seven have already been felled.

A Chronology

1986: Robert Bisno’s TransAction Corporation acquires Lincoln Place.

1991: Transaction applies for a permit to demolish all 52 buildings and replace them with 706 condominiums.

1996: The Los Angeles City Council rejects the project and the owners file lawsuits against the City, as well as Ruth Galanter and other individual council members.

Summer 2000: Bisno starts a six-phase “rehab” project, demolishing two buildings and announcing the start of renovations on the remaining 50.

September 2000: Tenant Sheila Bernard (now president of the Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council) nominates Lincoln Place for designation as a cultural landmark.

Cultural Heritage Commission staff experts recommend approval, but the Commission declines to endorse the nomination, although earlier in the year, Chase Knolls – a development designed by the same architects – was declared a landmark by unanimous vote of the City Council.

In the same month, Bisno wins his 1996 lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles. The City files an appeal.

June 2001: AIMCO becomes a 50% partner in the rehab project. AIMCO (Apartment Investment Management Company) is second only to HUD in apartment ownership in the U.S. Lincoln Place appears as a redevelopment project in AIMCO’s quarterly statements for three quarters, than disappears from the redevelopment category.

September 2001: Rehabilitation of one building is completed, except for two apartments, which remain unfinished.

October 2001: Fifty-nine tenants in five buildings on Lake Street are served with eviction notices, ostensibly so that major rehabilitation can be performed. All but one accept $1,000 to “voluntarily” vacate, waiving their right to return.

November 2001: The rehab project is abandoned.

May 2002: The Los Angeles Conservancy nominates Lincoln Place to the National Register of Historic Places.

The idea of building an L.A.U.S.D. high school on land within the Ponte Vista fences has, seemingly, long ago flown off all the radar screens in northwest San Pedro. Thankfully, that idea is gone. But the idea of building another L.A.U.S.D. High School in San Pedro is still on the local and district radar.

To that end, there will be another meeting about South Region High School #15 (SRHS 15) on Wednesday, February 13, 2008. I will post the announcement on a post directly following this post.

Bob and his outreach team are still active in attempting to grow support for his "weapon of mass development". While we all wait to learn some information coming out of the Planning Departments, opponents of Bob's massive plans are also not remaining on the bench.

Last Tuesday, the members of the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council approved a letter to be sent to Ms. Goldberg calling for a recirculation of the Environmental Impace Report. The letter, produced with the help of Mr. Kit Fox, the Associate Planner for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes site many of the items Mr. Fox wrote about in the comments to the original report that was produced in November, 2006.

The City Council whole heartedly supports the idea that the zoning should not be changed on the 61.53 acre site of Ponte Vista.

A statement was also added to the letter calling for student generation counts and student counts for four surrounding zip codes; 90732, 90731, 90275, and 90274, so that the project's proposed student generation count matches more closely with what is currently found in the area and not what is found in the greater L.A.U.S.D. area.

During the City Council meeting where the letter was discussed and approved of, not one supporter of Bob's current plans or any employee in Bob's outreach team bothered to show up and speak about not allowing the letter to go forward.

The City Council of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes is not alone in their call for a new Environmental Report be circulated. Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council has drafted and approved a resolution to be sent to Ms. Goldberg and the rest of the Planning Department calling for a new Environmental Report.

Several Homeowners' Associations have also written letters or created resolutions calling for a new Environmental Report.

Citing flaws, errors, and ommissions in the first report, there will be more groups calling for a new Environmental Report to be circulated.

I think I am going to increase usage of a word that I should not take credit for creating, because I am sure that others have thought of this word before I ever used it.

The word is "condoization". I am first using it in posts relating to the attempts to build up to 18 condominiums or apartments on the site of the old McCowan's Market in San Pedro.

Because the neighborhood where the market stood is made up so much with single-family residences, the word condoization seems to create the meaning that a developer is attempting to change the very nature of a neighborhood by building units that are not seen just about anywhere else in that neighborhood.

I think the word "apartmentization" has probably been around for some time, too.

Since there are condominium units and (future) apartment units directly next door to Ponte Vista, critics can say the use of the words condoization and apartmentization should not be used when considering Ponte Vista.

Well, if Bob is seeking to change the zoning from R1 to Specific Plan or anything else that would allow for multi-family buildings to be built, the use of both words can be done with Ponte Vista, in my opinion.

Please stay tuned for next week's Odds and Ends. Hopefully there will be lots more to report, on what may be going on at the Planning Department.

Another Meeting