Friday, May 30, 2008

Odds and Ends 67

Nothing officially new to report from the Planning Department.

It appears that there will be a 45-day notification of the next hearing, which some feel will be in July. Since notice may be given 45 days prior to the hearing, it probably can't happen until the second half of July, if that soon at all.

There is nothing new in Bob's ads to indicate that he wants anything other then 1,950-condominiums. Even if they are called "Town Houses" or "Town Homes" the big units he wants to build are still considered condominiums.

Here is some news from our friends at "CARA" the group opposed to allowing Bob to use Baldwin Park's right of eminent domain to take about 125 acres of land with residences and businesses, to create a new civic center for Baldwin Park.

From the Los Angeles Times

New generation of L.A.-area Latino leaders aren't as friendly toward 'amigo stores'

Cities like Baldwin Park are turning away from ethnic-oriented retail projects in favor of mainstream businesses. Starbucks is welcome.

By Hector Becerra Los Angeles Times Staff Writer May 28, 2008

It was as if the developers were talking about tacos, and the Latino politicians were talking about apple pie.

Baldwin Park Mayor Manuel Lozano and other city officials listened as the developers said they had studied the demographics of the city and could bring in a retailer known for offering credit to undocumented immigrants and a shopping center with a "Latino feel."

To Lozano, it was another case of developers typecasting his suburb, which is about 15 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. He didn't want to see more of what he calls "amigo stores."

The meeting ended like a bad date, with handshakes and excessive courtesy. But afterward, Lozano made it clear he was not happy.

"We want what Middle America has as well," said the second-generation Mexican American, recounting the meeting. "We like to go to nice places like Claim Jumpers, Chili's and Applebee's. . . . We don't want the fly-by-night business, the 'amigo store,' which they use to attract Latinos like myself."

Call it "immigrant" store fatigue. It's happening in cities that are overwhelmingly Latino, with Latino political leaders and with large immigrant communities.

For decades, these cities attracted working-class and immigrant-centric retailers: check-cashing businesses, Latino supermarkets, discount gift stores, bridal shops and Mexican western wear stores. Some are independent, and some are chains such as La Curacao, an appliance and electronics retailer that offers credit accounts to immigrants who lack the documentation for conventional credit cards.

Until relatively recently, cities like Baldwin Park, South Gate and Santa Ana had few options beyond "Latino" retailers. But this year, Baldwin Park -- a city of 70,000 in the San Gabriel Valley -- enacted a moratorium on new payday loan and check cashing stores. The city is now partners with Bisno Development Co. on an "urban village" of mixed-income housing, theaters and mainstream restaurants such as Claim Jumper, Applebee's and Chili's.

To make it happen, the city is considering a plan that could require the use of eminent domain power to clear a 125-acre area.

That would result in the loss of more than 80 homes and more than 100 small businesses.

The huge project has prompted charges that the City Council, composed of Mexican Americans, is ashamed of its culture.

"I'm proud of my roots," said Rosalva Alvarez, as she stood in her beauty store on Maine Avenue, which is in the redevelopment area. "I was born in Mexico and raised in this country. I agree we need some change. But what they want to bring here is totally unrealistic. Applebee is good, but a Kabuki? And also a Trader Joe's? Come on, I don't even go to Trader Joe's."

Some opponents say that one councilwoman had told critics to "go back to [Tijuana]."

"I don't know where they got that," said Councilwoman Marlen Garcia. "What I said was 'We're striving to insure Baldwin Park doesn't look like Tijuana.' "

As he wiped down the counter of his Via-Mar Family Restaurant, Mexican immigrant Audon Diaz, 36, wonders if one day he might be pushed out too. It took him eight years just to get established, often having to repair the busted street lamps in the parking lot himself.

"It's like they want Baldwin Park in the style of Capistrano or like Hacienda Heights," Diaz said. "The restaurant industry is pretty hard to make it in. Eight years, and I'm barely hanging on. It's like the city wants to make it hard for you."

But Mayor Lozano is undaunted.

As he rode through the streets of his city, past the rows of low-slung mini malls with signs in a mix of English and Spanish, Lozano complained that downtown Baldwin Park had too many discount gift stores, too many beauty salons, too many Mexican restaurants and way too many pawnshops.

Lozano and his allies believe that mainstream retailers now fit better with Baldwin Park, where many of the residents are second-, third- and even fourth-generation Latinos with little interest in stores aimed at immigrants.

Now that the city has choices, he said, it should send a clear message to "amigo store" promoters, like those who introduce themselves with business cards decorated with the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

"They're pitching their 'Latino' type agenda," Lozano said.

Anthony Bejarano, a Baldwin Park councilman and graduate of Georgetown University law school, is a fourth-generation Mexican American who says he speaks "very little Spanish."

He said that the proliferation of what the mayor calls "amigo stores" forces him to go to other cities to shop.

"I love to go to traditional Mexican restaurants. I shop at Vallarta [supermarket], but I can't get everything I need," he said. "At the end of the day, it's all Mexican restaurants here. When we want Italian, when we want sushi, where do we go? If I want a pair of Kenneth Coles, I have to go to Arcadia."

Cities like Baldwin Park and Santa Ana used to struggle to get national retailers. Some residents tried letter-writing campaigns to lure Starbucks and others.

The response by many retailers was often "This is not our customer," said Luis Valenzuela, executive vice president for NAI Capital, a commercial real estate brokerage firm. "The difference now is that corporate America has realized there's tremendous buying power in these communities."

Valenzuela, who worked on Lynwood's popular Plaza Mexico, cites the El Paseo shopping center in South Gate as a turning point.
The sprawling center opened about a decade ago near the 710 Freeway.

The Edwards theater there was the first to be opened in a city that was not only majority Latino but also largely Spanish-speaking, he said.

And after the Starbucks opened in South Gate, it became one of the chain's leading seller of Frappuccinos, Valenzuela said. "You had some mainstream stores who really took a risk, for the first time really going into a predominantly Spanish-speaking area," Valenzuela said.

"After that, you really saw Ross, Marshall, Applebee's, Chili's and a lot of those businesses in Latino areas," he said.

Although the South Gate shopping center, which does include a La Curacao and other ethnic businesses, is considered a success story by many, change has at times been rocky in Santa Ana.

There, the all-Latino City Council has sought to transform downtown.

They contend that there is an over-concentration of immigrant-focused Mexican western wear, discount gift, notary public and especially bridal stores along historic 4th Street.

As he stood amid Stetson hats and colorful leather boots made of ostrich and stingray at his Mexican western wear store, Ray Rangel, 78, said it seemed as if City Hall was trying to winnow away 4th Street's immigrant customer base with downtown plans that included higher-end housing.

"I'll tell you one thing about the City Council," he said. "Before, when the council was more mixed, we could get along with them. Now that they're all Hispanics, we have more trouble getting things. They want the upscale, something more Anglo."

Santa Ana Councilwoman Michele Martinez said a lack of cultural pride was not the issue; it's just that not all Latinos are immigrants.

"I have nothing against 50 quinceaƱera shops, but I don't shop there. Many of my friends don't shop there," said Martinez, a fourth-generation Mexican American. "Parents and grandparents may shop there, but young kids are not going to shop there, unless they're immigrants."

The debate has resulted in some testy exchanges.

Sam Romero, 73, owner of St. Teresa's Catholic Gift Shop on 4th Street, said he once cracked to a local paper that one local politician "broke every glass and mirror in the house so he wouldn't have to see a Mexican."

On a recent day, Carol Castillo, 31, an immigrant from Mexico, stood in her family-owned Marlen's Bridal Shop.

She said she was aware that the bridal shops, which also sell dresses for quinceaƱera coming-of-age celebrations, were used as an example by City Hall.

Three other bridal shops are directly across the street, and there's one next door.

"It's a fact, they want us out of here," Castillo said. "There's a lot of chatter going on. The people pushing this, most of them are Latinos, unfortunately."

Martinez said the city was not looking to push anyone out. She said a compromise could be reached to keep 4th Street a "Latino district" while developing around it.

Like Santa Ana, Baldwin Park is divided between immigrants and the U.S.-born.

Councilwoman Marlen Garcia, said she was tired of pining for the Islands, Chevy's and Jamba Juices of neighboring West Covina.

She still remembers the doomed pitch by the developers who wanted to bring in immigrant-focused stores.

"As soon as they said 'La Curacao,' I said, 'That's it,' " Garcia said. "We're not against our culture, nothing like that. But we want something that speaks to every culture."

Save $100,000.00 on a new loft at Centre Street Lofts, in San Pedro*

* Offer begins May 27, 2008. Must purchase by June 8, 2008 to receive savings.
Not valid with any other offer. Pricing subject to change without notice.See salesperson for details.

So it appears that not all of the lofts at Centre Street Lofts have been sold. What is good about their ad at: is that, as of right now, they are not offering lease-to-own or rent-to-own units, YET!

Let's hope that both Vue and Centre Street Lofts do not have to go the route so many other developments in San Pedro have had to resort to.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What is Bob Up To?

An individual from the Ponte Vista Outreach Team replied to an Email stating that my name will be removed from lists that have my Email address on them and dealing with support or general information about Ponte Vista.

Since I am still getting Emails from Ponte Vista, I thought it would be good to place the item I got on this blog.

Folks may wish to contact Ponte Vista and have their names removed from any Emails list, and supporter lists, which may also be Email lists, but you may want to do it soon because I was informed that their lists will be updated in early June, according to the Outreach Team member.

(Click over image to enlarge for easier reading)

Bob seems to be throwing money around like he really thinks he will get whatever he wants at Ponte Vista.

NOTHING HAS BEEN DECIDED OR VOTED ON, so far as City Government is concerned, for whatever might be built at Ponte Vista.

In fact, we may be months to even a year or so away from knowing what ordinances are finally passed for Ponte Vista (just my opinion) and there is still no living human being on this planet or orbiting this planet who knows what may finally be built at Ponte Vista.

With print ads, television ads, sponsorship of events, I am still wondering what Bob is doing at this particular time.

I can still imagine that he is trying to gain support and prospective buyers before the comments to the Draft Environmental Impact Report is issued, if they are going to be separate from the Final Environmental Impact Report that may be a long, long time coming.

Everyone needs to be reminded that once 'entitlements' are granted for whatever Bob could build at Ponte Vista, he will most probably have the right to sell those 'entitlements' and chop up the property as he wishes to.

There continues to be absolutely no guarantee that Bob Bisno and his company will built anything new at Ponte Vista, no matter what he writes, says, or advertises.

Opponents to Bob's current plans for Ponte Vista know that the ONLY type of housing anyone can build at Ponte Vista, without a zoning change is single-family housing, like most of the housing in San Pedro and R.P.V..

Might Bob be spending all the money right now and then declaring bankruptcy on this particular project?

Do you think Bob will attract more support and prospective buyers he MIGHT be truly seeking now?

Do you think Bob and his Outreach Team is trying to speed things up so he can do whatever he is considering as soon as possible?

Should current supporters and prospective buyers of Bob's current plans be wary of these newer attempts to gather more support and more prospective buyers?

What were the results of any latest telephone survey that may have been conducted? Bob had a press conference/meeting on the release of an earlier survey. Could these new ads and things be a result of a more negative survey than the earlier one?

How might the issues of Ponte Vista be hurting or helping Bob's City Place project and his efforts to use eminent domain in Baldwin Park to redevelop the civic center area, there?

I do need to thank Bob and his companies and Outreach Team for helping to make a very dull time into something more interesting for all of us to ponder on.

As Bob is attempting to gain more support for Ponte Vista, I hope readers of this blog and the blog at:, understand that the opposition to Bob's current plans has not eroded much over time, it is believed.

The L.A. City Planning Department, Councilwoman Janice Hahn and her assistants, the Rudderless Steering Committee of R Neighborhoods Are 1, four out of five Neighborhood Councils, and thousands of folks have not forgotten about Ponte Vista, and I hope you keep visiting the two blogs that deal with opposition to Bob's current plans, now and well into the future.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Wondering Why So Many Ads and Sponsorships

IF, as Bob's folks seem to claim, there are so many supporters of Bob's current plans for Ponte Vista and IF, there are so many "prospective buyers" willing to buy a condo at Ponte Vista, why is Bob and his Outreach Team spending so much money attempting to attract more business?

Not only are we again seeing full-page print ads for Ponte Vista, the commercial is now appearing and 'Ponte Vista' is sponsoring many activities around OUR community.

Now aren't we in a real housing slump right now?

I wonder if Bob is attempting to add to his bases of support so that when the Planning Departments comes out with a much lower number of units they feel Bob could build, he will have a larger base to use when and if he tries to sue for a larger project than what might eventually be approved of.

Bob's folks may be as clueless as to when the Planning Department will come out with their thoughts and he may be trying to increase the numbers in an effort to pressure the Planning Department to come out with higher numbers of units than they might actually wish to do.

Bob seems to be spending lots of marketing money at this time when other developments are either having great financial difficulties, or they have gone from 'for purchase' units to 'least-to-own' or 'rent-to-own' types of projects.

Does anybody detect any desperation on the part of Bob and his Outreach Team, concerning the true support for his plans for 1,950 condos?

I am certainly not savvy enough to be able to answer the question, but I know of other developers and others in the real estate industry who may know the answer.

Perhaps it is time for R Neighborhoods Are 1 to remind folks why so many of us are against having so dang many units built, having only Western Avenue for use.

It might be time to remind everyone that over crowding of schools, shopping areas, parking lots, infrastructure needs, and just about everything else that is bad about having a 'weapon of mass development' the size of what Bob currently wants, would be disastrous to OUR community.

I think it is time I write to the rest of the members of the Rudderless Steering Committee and try and get another demonstration set up to remind all of us why we are doing what we are doing.

We haven't had a great honking, waving, and sign-showing demonstration in quite a long time, and perhaps we can get even more folks to join us.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Odds and Ends 66(6)

It is with some sadness that I have to report that everyone who attempts to comfortably watch the Lakers' games during the playoffs will be mistreated to seeing the Ponte Vista ad, sometime during the broadcast.

I tried without much success, I have found, to get removed from the Ponte Vista Emails that come to folks. I wrote to the V.P. in charge of their Outreach Team and was informed that I would have my address removed, but alas, I got an Email with their announcement that those viewers of the remaining games, will have to either view the ad, or go take a poop or something else more worthwhile, in my opinion.

There has still not been a date certain set, as far as I can tell, for the hearing that will be held concerning the certification of the Draft Environmental Impact Report.

I have started a new blog to deal with issues other than Ponte Vista and the McCowan's Market site redevelopment. It is listed with other links and you are welcome to visit it, if you care.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Ponte Vista's T.V. Commercial

A good friend of ours called us earlier this evening to tell us she has view the Ponte Vista commercial on the Food Network channel.

I went back to the revamped Web site and also was able to see the commercial streaming on the site.

Watching Bob spend his money, knowing that any construction of anything at Ponte Vista is still a long way away, seems to be more entertaining to many of us, than just watching the commercial.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Odds and Ends 65

I apologize. Mea culpa. I am so sorry. Lo siento. My bad.

I allowed hope to overtake reason in dealing with the upcoming public hearing that may occur in July. The hope I had over reason caused me to think that something big was finally going to happen, after about 1-1/2 years of virtually nothing going on with the Ponte Vista issue.

The hearing, which has not yet had a date officially set for it, is probably nothing more than certification by the L.A. City Planning Department, of the Draft Environmental Impact Report DEIR.

You may remember that comments to the DEIR were due by January, 2007. It looks like it has taken the Planning Department quite some time to deal with the comments. It also seems it has taken a good deal of time for individuals and groups representing the Ponte Vista issue, to respond to the comments sent it for the DEIR.

These processes may be ending soon and to those of us who wish to keep close to the Ponte Vista debate, the hearing is probably of interest to us.

For those who do not follow the processes as close as others do, I think they can just wait until the blog update and news from the media.

I am truly sorry that I had used more optimism, instead of realism, with this latest announcement.

Something is coming and the processes seem to continue at what may seem is a snail's pace.

There is no news on what the Planning Departments believes Bob could successfully build at his site in northwest San Pedro. This type of news would trump the release of the certification of the DEIR, but I have absolutely no idea when this much more important bit of news will be coming out of the Planning Department.

Again, if I have gotten any one's hopes up for something big to happen within the next few months, I am sorry.

For those of us who are looking forward to reading the comments to the DEIR and responses to them, I just hope we will be able to do that, after the July hearing, or whenever the hearing is held.

For Ponte Vista supporters and others wanting information about Ponte Vista, the folks with the Outreach Team have revamped the project's Web site. You are invited to view the continuing statements that suggest folks other than taxpayers are paying for signal synchronization.

You can also view a floor plan for an "850" square foot studio and an "800" square foot 1-bedroom, 1-bath unit. I am still looking for the floor plans in the 600-650 foot range that many of us were given the impression that those were the smallest-sized units Bob would be offering.

I haven't been able to find the price range for possible units at Ponte Vista. I wonder if I have to sign up as a prospective buyer to get that information? At this point I do not consider myself a prospective buyer of anything at Ponte Vista.

I wasn't able to find "1950" as the number of units Bob wants to build at Ponte Vista, but I did find information the Web site directed me to, and please look below.

When I went to the "Go Green" area of the newly transformed Web site, I found a link to the DEIR.

So far, what I have pasted below, is the only source of information I can find, via the newly transformed Web site, for the total number of units Bob wants to build at Ponte Vista.

Case No. ENV-2005-4516-EIR
State Clearinghouse Number: 2005091086
Council District: 15
Wilmington-Harbor City
Project Address: : 26900 S. Western Avenue
Project Description: The Project proposes a Specific Plan (proposed density is approximately 37 units per acre), General Plan Amendment, Zone Change, and Vesting Tentative Tract Map for the subdivision, construction, and operation of a 2,300-unit townhome and condominium development including approximately 10,000 square feet of ancillary retail use to serve the convenience needs of residents. Twenty-five percent of the proposed units (575 units) would be reserved for seniors only (age 55 and above). The proposed units would have floor areas ranging from approximately 700 to 3,000 square feet. Approximately 40 percent of the Project’s post-development acreage would consist of landscaped common area to include the following: a 2.5-acre central park (with community clubhouse and pool), a two-acre waterscape concourse, a 0.5-acre senior community park, and a publicly accessible six-acre park potentially featuring two little league baseball fields. The Project would also provide an access road from Western Avenue to Mary Star of the Sea High School. The Project site is approximately 61.5 acres. The Project would involve the demolition and removal of all existing improvements on the site, which include 245 residential units, a 2,161-square foot community center, and a 3,454-square foot retail convenience facility which were constructed in approximately 1962 by the U.S. Navy for the purpose of housing and accommodating personnel stationed at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard. The site (formerly known as “San Pedro Housing”) was closed in the late 1990s.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I would appreciate someone from the Outreach Team clarifying for me the location within the newly revamped Web site, where I can find "1950" as the total number of units Bob wants to build.

I did find the number, "9771" in the "Need for Housing" section, of the Web site. Bob has applied for 1,950-units at Ponte Vista, and several of us have copies of that application.

So Bob wishes to build almost 20%, (19.9570%) of the residences the Web site claims is needed in the harbor area, all on one site, his site. Do we want 1/5 of the suspected need for more housing, all using Western Avenue and no other major street?

And now, from the great "Your Mama" at: comes part of a post that deals with Beverly Hills own Bob Bisno.

It seems he is again finding ways to remain in the house he still may owe millions of dollars on a loan he took out, for whatever reasons.

Bisno Bizness Update

"In other luxury property foreclosure bizness, we've learned that controversial Bev Hills based real estate developer Robert Bisno has once again managed to obtain a "temporary restraining order" to push back the date of his scheduled foreclosure auction to June 4, 2008.

The children will recall that the really rich Mister Bisno somehow landed himself in some financial hot water and his gigantic Beverly Park mansion was scheduled to be sold (see third item) at auction over what the Priority Posting website shows is a defaulted debt of $5,382,794.02.

Your Mama is flabbergasted that a man with Bisno's big bank accounts seemingly can't juggle his numbers and work his abacus in such a way that he would scare up five and some million clams to save his 11,984 square foot house. But who knows?"

Thank you "Your Mama", you have come through again!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Peace and Unity Rally and a Wonderful Blog

( Click on any part of flier to enlarge)

The flier announces a wonderful way to come together and help heal wounds and work for something good in OUR community that doesn't involve dealing with Ponte Vista.

The flier was sent to me by Diana Chapman, a blogger who has a wonderful blog at:

My wife and I have been planning to attend the rally for some time and we hope we see the stands at Pirate Stadium filled with good members of OUR community who want to come together more than staying apart.

The Peace and Unity Rally is one good way we can demonstrate what is best about San Pedro, the people who join together for good purposes and support the younger members of OUR community.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Odds and Ends 64

Another week goes by with no real news to report.

I did see some workers using week whackers down by the ball field on the Ponte Vista site. It seems like it looks a tiny bit cleaner behind the fences and gates.

And no, I didn't see any of the Clean San Pedro vehicles doing the cleanup.

Fast Tracking SB1818 is Dead Wrong

Land Use Revolution
By Ken Marsh

Please consider weighing in on the issue of Fast Tracking SB 1818, the state law that trades developer’s bonuses for affordable housing.

It is imperative that we challenge the global-warming-ignorant, pro-development culture that pervades our city government. At stake are both affordable housing and a sustainable urban environment in Los Angeles.

Our best hope is a moratorium on development to allow proper deliberations on a citywide policy to define both long and short-term housing and general planning.

The Backstory
(Excerpted from LA Weekly, April 23, 2008)

Angelenos Sue City Hall over Prodensity “Affordable Housing”
Pretense by D. Heimpel

".... When the legislature passed Senate Bill 1818 in 2005, they hoped it would entice developers to include affordable housing in their projects. In exchange, developers would be allowed to reduce the number of parking spaces, exceed height limits — and pack in more units to reap higher profits.

But Los Angeles critics see the city’s interpretation as a “Trojan Horse” which all but prevents community debate over much bigger projects than are allowed by the zoning, letting developers erect inappropriately dense and tall luxury apartments and condos.

If the developer devotes just 11 percent of the building to “very-low-income units,” the building can blow past zoning rules. Under the new ordinance, such projects are deemed “ministerial” — a technical designation that allows them to ignore California Environmental Quality laws.

In other words, there will be no environmental-impact review of proposed new construction under the new law....

Doug Carstens, representing the coalition of community groups suing City Hall, points to California cities like Albany, Santa Cruz and Palos Verde’s, which have implemented Senate Bill 1818 — but didn’t try to end-run environmental laws as did Los Angeles...

In early April, attorney Noel Weiss made similar claims on behalf of homeowner Sandy Hubbard of Valley Village. Weiss calls the ordinance “one of the grossest examples of political malpractice and ineptitude... The City Council is being led around by the nose by [bureaucrats in the] planning department and the city attorney."

For urban development in a time of global warming there can be no business as usual. Commercial and residential projects, affordable and otherwise, must conform to a new set of business-as-unusual prerequisites to establish the necessary balance between growth and protecting the environment for the long-term survival of life.

When it comes to the effects of climate change, we are all NIMBY -- "Not in my back yard" is the only sane response to any and all development that adds population density, traffic congestion, environmental pollution and aesthetic degradation to the areas surrounding it.

Private interest can no longer dominate decision-making by governmental bodies entrusted with the stewardship of the infrastructure and development of our cities. In the face of growing threats to the health of the planet, public interest must be subsuming.

Those who would benefit financially by the erection of a project must provide the infrastructure that will mitigate the project's negative impacts or it must not be allowed to proceed. Fast Tracking SB 1818 is dead wrong and the leaders who support it are like Jim Jones administering the poisoned punch to gullible followers.

A moratorium on housing projects, including demolitions of existing "affordable housing," needs to be in place so that a city housing policy that defines both long and short-term planning can be developed, including preservation, protecting and expanding rent stabilization and new programs for the homeless. Home renting and owning need to be treated with equality.

The city must be mobilized for survival: fight Fast Tracking SB 1818, support a moratorium on development and encourage engagement of the neighborhood councils in a citywide effort to establish a plan for a sustainable urban environment -- Make LA Livable. (Ken Marsh is a long-time community activist and a member of the Mar Vista Community Council board.)

Vol 6 Issue 38

Some talk has been growing in OUR community about the Clearwater Program, the Sanitation District's new tunnel project that will impact many somebodies somewhere.

You can look up information about the program at:

I sure hope we can all get together in our own homeowner groups, residents associations and create a coalition that makes sure that when the 500-foot deep shaft is drilled, the tunneling machine is carefully dropped in and then the thousands and thousands and thousands of truck trips to remove the dirt, it doesn't get drilled in any neighborhood, anywhere.

Terminal Island is my first choice, but that is only one of over a dozen sites the Department is going to study to find their best place to sink the shaft.

We have plenty of time to bond together and make funny motto's and statements like' "We don't want OUR neighborhoods to get shafted".

One of the other sites appears to be Ken Malloy Park, close to P.C.H. and the Harbor Freeway.

There are three sites residents living along the coast of San Pedro sure don't want to see get 'shafted'. Royal Palms, White Point Nature Preserve, and even part of Angel's Gate is on the list for having the required five acres of land necessary to dig the shaft and have all the machines, offices, and materials on the surface while having a giant deep shaft on the site to lower stuff in and take lots and lots and lots of dirt out.

Since the two older tunnels/pipes run basically, underneath Western Avenue and out into the Pacific at Royal Palms, there is some concern that the Sanitation District will look more favorably on the three sites along the coast and Eastview Park, which is on land they already own.

We'll wait to see what commotion is stirred up at the annual election meeting of the Palisades Residents Association, the folks with the three sites, and how Councilwoman Janice Hahn will approach the subject during the meeting.

The future looks to be quite interesting for OUR community, so take a ringside seat, join a group supporting or opposing whatever you wish, tighten up your seat belts, because it will become even more of a bumpy ride.

I would hope Bob Bisno and his supporters would like to join groups opposing the placement of the shaft at Eastview Park, near the corner of Western and Westmont. Here is one more example where folks like me would be glad to join again with Bob and his supporters to accomplish things for OUR community like we did when LAUSD attempted to come up with plans to build a 2,025-seat high school at Ponte Vista.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Odds and Ends 63

I'm getting more information as to the hold up in finding out what the Planning Department feels Bob should build at Ponte Vista.

The comments to the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) were submitted by January 4, 2007 if I remember correctly.

Those comments had to be studied by the Planning Department folks, first.

The aides within the Ponte Vista project then had to respond to the comments submitted to the Planning Department's CEQA office.

It appears that the Bisno side of the issue has not completed submitting all their responses to the comments created for the DEIR.

To me this means that there were more than quite a few comments generated and that the responses to those comments may be tougher to do than first imagined.

I sent in three sets of comments at various times during the comment period. The set of comments from both the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council and the City of Rancho Palos Verdes were long and very detailed.

So let's continue to wait patiently and see what comes out, whenever it comes out.

For your reading "pleasure" here is an article from the San Francisco Chronicle:

Need to deal with water needs crucial

05-01) 18:48 PDT -- Two parched years - punctuated by the driest spring in at least 150 years - could force districts across California to ration water this summer as policymakers and scientists grow increasingly concerned that the state is on the verge of a long-term drought.

State water officials reported Thursday that the Sierra Nevada snowpack, the source of a huge portion of California's water supply, was only 67 percent of normal, due in part to historically low rainfall in March and April.

With many reservoirs at well-below-average levels from the previous winter and a federal ruling limiting water pumped from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the new data added a dimension to a crisis already complicated by crumbling infrastructure, surging population and environmental concerns.

"We're in a dry spell if not a drought," said California Secretary for Resources Mike Chrisman.
"We're in the second year, and if we're looking at a third year, we're talking about a serious problem."

Chrisman stopped short of saying the state would issue mandatory water rationing, which appears possible only if the governor declares a state of emergency. Rather, the burden will fall on local water agencies. Many, such as San Francisco and Marin County, have asked residents and businesses over the past year to cut water usage voluntarily by 10 to 20 percent.
Others have taken more drastic steps.

In Southern California, the water district serving about 330,000 people in Orange County enacted water rationing last year, due in part to a ruling by U.S. Judge Oliver Wanger reducing water pumped from the delta by about a third to protect an endangered fish.

The East Bay Municipal Utility District announced in April that it was considering water rationing, price increases and other measures in response to critically low reservoirs. The district, which serves 1.3 million customers in Contra Costa and Alameda counties, will vote on the measures this month.

"If you catch a third (dry) year, then you're looking at a supply that's so low you can't manage it well anymore," said Charles Hardy, spokesman for the district. "That's when its starts to hurt businesses and people across the board."

No industry faces bigger changes than agriculture, which uses about 80 percent of California's available water; the remainder goes to urban areas. Some experts say they believe the balance could shift toward urban areas.

Already, some farmers are switching to crops requiring less water and letting fields go fallow. One water agency official recently talked to a Southern California avocado grower who cut his trees back to stumps and won't begin growing again until water supplies recover.

"We have a lot of water, but we also use a lot of water," said Jeffrey Mount, director for watershed sciences at UC Davis. "From an economic perspective, it makes sense moving water from agriculture to urban uses."

In fact, some farmers are already selling their water to urban districts. But there is no easy system for transporting that water, and the infrastructure required would be extremely costly.
Californians have suffered through droughts before.

A deep, two-year drought in the late 1970s drew discussions about dragging glaciers down from Alaska or filling huge plastic bladders at river sources and dragging them by tugboat to users, Hardy said. Consumers endured rationing during a longer drought in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

After those dry periods, water conservation initiatives kicked into high gear. Low-flow toilets and showerheads became the norm, and homeowners started filling their yards with drought-resistant plants. Today, that might not be enough in a state with a population expected to reach nearly 50 million by 2030.

In addition to possible restrictions on watering lawns and washing cars, water prices could spike - at least for those who use too much.

The district serving 330,000 customers in Orange County has developed a type of water profile based on household size, yard size and average temperature in the area. Using that data, water managers have come up with base water allocations; above that level, water bills jump.

"If you really want to use more water there, you're going to pay for it - and (the district) uses the extra funds to finance conservation investments," said Ellen Hanak, a senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California in San Francisco. "There's a lot of room for innovating in that area - some places are doing it, but there's hardly any penalty for the extra water."

It is unclear whether this dry period is a full-blown drought. Much like economic recessions, droughts can be diagnosed only in retrospect.

However, it is certain that if the dry conditions that began with the low 2006-2007 snowpack levels continue, they could have a cascading effect. The dryness of 2006-2007 contributed to this year's poor water supply totals, said Elissa Lynn, chief meteorologist with the California Department of Water Resources.

"We're losing a lot of what we did have as snow melted into the ground," Lynn said. "It's either in subsurface, waiting to come down, or it's going into soil moisture because we had a dry fall."
There is also a small chance that dry windy conditions blew snow straight from the mountains into vapor, she said.

Not all Bay Area agencies face the same challenges, because they get water from various sources: San Francisco and the Peninsula from Hetch Hetchy, East Bay Municipal Water District from the Mokelumne River watershed and the Santa Clara Valley Water District from a combination of reservoirs and the delta. Some local water managers say their supplies look good. Marin County, for instance, said its reservoirs are at more than 100 percent of capacity.

Nevertheless, stricter water controls could be a continuing part of California's future. So might large-scale projects that aim to use water in new and better ways.

"We're facing some pretty grim circumstances that call for some bold action - recycling water, desalinating water," said Tim Quinn executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies. "Above and beyond that, we have to invest in the sustainability of this system that our grandfathers constructed in the middle of the last century. It was developed with the convenience of human beings in mind, not aquatic beings."

So it seems Bob want San Pedrans to sell their existing homes and move into Ponte Vista.

I don't think Bob is concerned with what happens to those homes that are sold in San Pedro so folks can buy in Ponte Vista. Might he think all the homes will be torn down or that drought resistant humans will be the only ones that move into those homes?

Sales of cactuses might rise in the San Pedro area.

Some people who object to having a new high school built at the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur ask me about the Ponte Vista site and why a new campus to relieve over crowding at San Pedro High School can't be built on Bob's land.

I remind folks that a high school campus was proposed to be built at Ponte Vista to relieve over crowding at both Narbonne High School and San Pedro High School.

That 2,025-seat 'fiasco' was quickly and correctly turned upon by Bisno supporters and folks like me.

In May, 2007 LAUSD decided to build two new campuses; one at Ponte Vista to relieve over crowding at Narbonne and one at the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur to serve students that would have gone to San Pedro High School.

Several months later it became apparent to LAUSD officials that they did not have the bond money to build a new campus at Ponte Vista, or anywhere else, to ease suspected over crowding at Narbonne H.S.

For the record, while in a "mothball" status, the 810-seat campus to ease over crowding at Narbonne is still at the "preferred" site inside Ponte Vista, but there is very, very little chance it would ever be built there.

As a matter of trivia too, high school students who lived in the old Navy housing in the Ponte Vista and Mary Star area, attended Narbonne High School as their home school, and not San Pedro High School.

During that time, even high school students living in the norther parts of the "Eastview" area had their choise of attending S.P.H.S. or Narbonne H.S.