Friday, July 25, 2008

Odds and Ends 75

The new Target Store on the corner of Gaffey and Capitol is slated to open on October 12.

So, as the Knights of Columbus parade down streets in our country, there will very likely be a very large parade of cars from all directions heading for the new store.

Here is a letter to the editor of The Daily Breeze from a local Assemblyman:

Put limits on development

Kudos to the Daily Breeze for pointing out that it would be "reckless" to continue pushing for dense developments in the midst of a water shortage. ("A planning drought," July 8). The water crisis is real. Because of climate change, California's snowmelt in the Sierras has shrunk, and the state has had one of the driest years on record. A federal court recently cut off a major source of water by restricting pumping at the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta. Last month, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued an executive order certifying California is in a drought.

Dense or large-scale developments strain our region's water supply. Just because land may be zoned for residential development does not mean the developer automatically has the right to build housing, without any thought as to the impacts on traffic, schools and water supply. That is why I opposed, and continue to oppose, dense residential development at Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance.

I also oppose Ponte Vista, a massive 1,950-unit project in San Pedro. Since water use is regional, the water needed to sustain Ponte Vista's mammoth development would affect not just San Pedro, but also other communities, such as Venice and Westchester.

As a member of the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee, I have consistently voted for water conservation measures, such as AB 2175, which requires a 20 percent per-capita reduction in urban water use by 2020.

Land-use decisions, however, are primarily in the hands of cities and counties. Given the severe water shortage, local governments should follow the Daily Breeze's recommendation and refrain from approving any new dense or large-scale developments.

Assemblyman, 53rd District, Torrance

The letter appeared in the Thursday July 24 edition of the paper.

At the location of the former Planet Kids store, there is a new clothing store that sells school uniforms.

Right now it seems to be a cash only store, from our reading of the sign on the front door.

It also appears that the clothing is being sold a favorable prices.

Once upon a time there were quite a few yellow signs on the Western Avenue side of the fencing surrounding Ponte Vista.

Now it seems, most of them are gone and the remaining ones have three pieces of paper taped to them, with some kind of legal description on them.

The larger number of signs were placed along the fencing just before the public hearing on the project.

The same type of signs were carried by unionized construction workers outside the site of the public hearing, which was held at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.

The Ponte Vista Blog for the support of the Ponte Vista project has been updated recently.

So far, I haven't seen any comments on any posts.

Their blog tauts the concept that unionized workers will be the builders of Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

As a proud member of the Communications Workers of America, I certainly would like to see only unionized workers build whatever is going to be built at the site.

But since ABSOLUTELY NOTHING has been approved of for actually building at Ponte and NO ACTUAL numbers of units have been approved of, it is certainly going to be something if Bob stands by his agreements if he doesn't get the number of units he wants.

Their blog also showed photos of local residents speaking in support of the project.

I have seen most of these folks speaking at previous meetings.

There are more than quite a few 'regulars' on the opposition side that speak regularly, too.

I was quite amazed though, to see so many new faces speaking at the public hearing in opposition to what Bob wants to do to OUR community.

Many folks who spoke in support of Ponte Vista, at the public hearing, have a financial interest in having a large development being built in northwest San Pedro.

It is logical to suggest that if there is financial gain possible for someone, because of construction of a large development, they are more willing to speak in support of the project, no matter what it may do to the community.

I wasn't able to identify anyone speaking in opposition to a huge Ponte Vista development that would make any money if it was not built.

This blog MAY take a real break from having postings in August.

I've been remiss in writing on two other blogs, and one of them may actually turn into a book someday, perhaps.

Please remember that no matter what our 'dreams' may be for what Ponte Vista could look like, as long as Bob continues to seek so many units at Ponte Vista, it must remain R1, NO COMPROMISE!


Where did 2,000 Ponte Vista supporters go?????????

I have read and heard from many sources tauting support for Ponte Vista that there are 'more than' "20,000" supporters of Ponte Vista in San Pedro.

In reading their blog, I read "more than 18,000" people continue to support Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

So, where did 2,000 folks go?

Could it be they just don't care anymore?

Might it be that a significant percentage of those 2,000 "supporters" didn't support Ponte Vista in the first place?

Could it be just a calculation error on the part of employees of the Outreach Team who get paid for dealing with supporters and/or materials from suspected supporters?

Might we have 2,000 more converts to the opposition?

Could it be that we are all now closer to about a 50/50 split among folks who care, in support or in opposition to what Bob wants to build?

I can't tell for sure, but I wonder if the opposition side has lost 2,000 or so of its members.

I don't thinks so and I certainly hope not. I hope opposition to Bob's current plans continue to grow as more folks learn the true facts about what could happen to OUR community if such a huge development is built so close to San Pedro's borders, and so far from downtown San Pedro.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wasn't Western Wonderful Wednesday?

Westers, anywhere near Caddington was NOT wonderful, especially during the noon hour.

We got a bit of a reminder of how Western Avenue was like when each direction was narrowed down to just one lane.

Work was being done on both sides of Western right at Caddington.

The northbound lanes were clogged back to Trudie.

The southbound lanes were clogged from at least Delesonde/Westmont and folks trying to turn left onto Western from Westmont found it a difficult task.

If you don't remember when Western Avenue was reduced down to a two-lane road for some months, then if you experienced the problems that we are now seeing, it was a little like then, what we are seeing now.

I hope all supporters of Bob's didn't mind the traffic congestion one bit. Because you are the ones that will have to share the congestion with the rest of us who are none to happy when congestion gets as bad as it did on Wednesday.

I hope folks realize that if Bob gets anywhere near the number of units he wants at Ponte Vista, traffic congestion like we have seen recently, will probably become the norm for Western.

Bob does indicate that he is willing to add a lane on Western Avenue.

Of course the lane he wants to add is just on the northbound side of Western and about as long as his property line is, along Western Avenue.

With the congestion we are seeing recently, with one or two lanes closed, it really won't make much of a difference if there are turning and merging lanes on Western, because nobody will be able to pilot their vehicles faster that about 10 mph, perhaps.

Maybe someone will write a letter to the editor of the Daily Breeze concerning the congestion we have recently been having to deal with, near Caddington. Someone may write about how much traffic will be congested if anything is approved of at Ponte Vista with a larger density of what R1 would bring into the area.

I keep trying to suggest a new road between Western and Gaffey, through the Ponte Vista property. Something like that would certainly cause a lot less traffic on Western and provide everyone with more options for their journeys.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Odds and Ends 74

Let me start with an example of a developer who seems above the law of the city where his development is located.

You can either copy and past the link or click over the title of this post.

This same developer also has some plants growing in his property that violate the laws and ordinances of the city.

I have a post from another blog that is suggesting that Bob's project in Santa Ana, City Place, is not selling at the pace that seems satisfactory.

The post, which I may run an a couple of weeks, states that the marketing segment of that project is willing to pay individuals who bring in buyers, who actually buy a unit at that development.

I have two posts at that I wrote about City Place.

I don't really understand the concept of a work space/living space loft, but there are several units that have businesses on the ground floor with living spaces on the upper two floors.

It is true that I opined that City Place is much more identifiable as being part of 'smart growth' as compared to Ponte Vista.

City Place is literally steps away from a large mall, some decent shopping (but no Supermarket nearby), and is very close to three freeways.

There is still much reading to do concerning "Bob and His Six New Blogs".

Some of the sites look to be just Web sites, with some of them not taking comments.

The blog established to let folks know more about Ponte Vista still contains the requirements that if you wish to post comments, a name and Email address is required.

Even if you use a fake name and a rarely used Email address, I think any negative comments might not be printed.

By the way, Nels McGook Hoopnoodle does not have his own Email address. Neither does Sven Ludvquist O'Brien.

On my R Neighborhoods Are 1 blog is a photo of the letter sent to folks living in the area of the former McCowan's Market site on 20Th and Walker.

The letter indicates that the zoning on three parcels of property purchased by an out of town developer has been formally changed to allow only single-family, detached houses on lots of not less than 5,000 square feet, to be built on the commercial lots.

Of course it is a small thing compared to Ponte Vista, but it is a huge issue to those good folks who needed to maintain their neighborhoods and it is something we all can be proud of.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Letter to an Editor

Here is a letter to the editor of The Daily Breeze.

Hahn has been consistent

I was taken back by the letter from Jane Barton attacking City Councilwoman Janice Hahn for not taking a position on Ponte Vista ("Hahn should take a stand," Monday).

The councilwoman has consistently said at public meetings and in private that she has heard nothing to make her believe that the zoning should be changed from R-1. At the public hearing Barton references, she asked the Planning Department to outright deny the developer's proposal, to start anew with something the community could support.

Barton implies that the councilwoman could have reduced the time that this project has been under discussion. Evidently she does not understand the lengthy process followed by the city.

One determining element of any project requesting approval of a specific plan is the need for the developer to provide the necessary documents. In this case, the developer has tried to substitute vague "sales documents" for real information.

Additionally, Bob Bisno is not the typical developer. Most other developers would have responded to the concerns of the council office and the community by sitting down to discuss what type of project the community could support.

Instead, this developer has, from the outset, treated this project as a sales job rather than a planning process.

Frankly, he apparently thinks that if he spreads enough money around the community, we will ignore the negative impacts of his proposal. His not working with the community, not working with the councilwoman, and not submitting realistic and necessary information to the city are the reasons for any delay.

I applaud the councilwoman for standing up for the community and asking the Planning Department to recommend outright denial of the project. I hope they take her recommendation.

San Pedro

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Two Articles, With Just a Few Comments

Here are two articles, back to back, concerning development in the city of Los Angeles:

New LA Housing Plan will be Based on Faulty Info

LA Needs to Know
By Ken Marsh

Pending the imminent action on the New Housing Element, here's something residents of Los Angeles need to know.

The City has NOT been meeting certain requirements of its General Plan that are prerequisite to moving ahead with a New Housing Element.

A New Housing Plan is required every eight years -- the 2006-2014 planning period is to be voted on by City Council in July.

Specifically, at issue with the Plan's New Housing Element is an environmental impact report (EIR).

An EIR would look at the infrastructure and the proposed increase in housing to assess environmental and economic impact, information needed to qualify new housing proposed for the 2006-2014 planning period. The City wants to use the seven-year-old EIR that was done in 1996 and updated in 2001, claiming it is good enough.

But, neighborhood organizations disagree. The General Plan's Framework Element requires Annual Reports on Growth and Infrastructure, essential to monitor and mitigate serious environmental impacts. But the Annual Reports on Growth and Infrastructure have NOT been done by the City since 1998.

Two Public Records Act requests for the reports have been filed and on both occasions the City has admitted that NO monitoring has been done.

Without the reliable, up-to-date information the required reports would provide and a new EIR to assess the impacts, moving ahead with the New Housing Element will perpetuate the environmental and fiscal irresponsibility that has characterized planning in the City of Los Angeles for decades.

The lawsuit that was recently filed against the City is to enjoin it from approving any further zoning ordinances, specific plan amendments, general plan amendments, development agreements, or tentative subdivision maps, unless and until the City complies with the Plan's mandatory requirement to establish a monitoring program, a transportation database and the Annual Reports on Growth and Infrastructure for years 1999 through 2008.

No one knows the true state of our infrastructure. The Annual Reports on Growth and Infrastructure were meant to let us know if we have enough water, power, schools, police, and fire. What is the state of the sewer system? Which Community plan area's have gotten capital improvement funds in the last 10 years? Etc.

The list of those who gave input on the New Housing Element does NOT include Neighborhood Councils, long-established homeowner groups, renters groups -- in a word, the People.

Some City Council members are talking about laying low on this issue. To lay low on this is to be complicit with perpetuating business as usual.

Issues of NIMBYism vs. developer greed aside, city government accountability is at stake.

There is an opportunity for a sea change in our municipal government culture that will be missed if requirements of the General Plan are allowed to be ignored. Every elected officials accountability is in question. The long-term impact will be significant, however this goes. Again, not a time for those in positions of decision-making to be allowed to lay low.

We must demand that our elected officials represent the People of Los Angeles in the public interest!

Support the demand that the Mayor and City Council direct the Planning Department to complete the Annual Reports on Growth and Infrastructure from 1998 to the present and require a new EIR, before they vote on the New Housing Element or update any more Community plans.

Ken Marsh was the Mar Vista Community Council, Zone 3 Director from 2005-2006.
This message originated with James O'Sullivan, Miracle Mile Residential Association, and has been edited by Ken Marsh, stakeholder, Mar Vista Community Council.
For further information: . For info on the LaBrea Willoughby Coalition law suit to stop the City at: )

CityWatchVol 6
Issue 54
Pub: July 4, 2008

Coalition Sues City; wants Approval of Zoning Ordinances, Development Deals, Put on Hold

The City
By Ken Draper

Taking a unique tack to slow unbridled development in Los Angeles until the city’s General Plan is brought up to date, the LaBrea Willoughby Coalition and its president, Lucille Saunders, have sued the City.

The group is asking a Superior Court Judge to stop the City from approving any zoning ordinances, General Plan amendments, development agreements or Specific Plans until the City … in particular the Planning Department, obeys the law.

In short the brief says that the Planning Department, by law, is required to monitor population growth, infrastructure and services … and provide an annual report on the results of that monitoring … so that decisions made by the city on development, zoning, transportation and Specific Plans can be done so with real and timely knowledge on whether the LA is prepared to support those decisions.

The Coalition argues that the City issue close to two million construction permits for new building just in 2nd quarter of this year, yet the last annual report, which helps determine if the city’s infrastructure and transportation system can handle those permit approvals, was issued in 2000 for the years 1996-1998..

Saunders says that her Coalition is concerned that these plans, like Housing Element Framework for which somewhat controversial hearings are currently being held, continue to perpetuate polices and approve developments based on outdated information … in the end, harming all of LA’s neighborhoods.

The suit is not asking for any monetary recovery but wants the Annual Report produced post-haste, as the law requires.

Vol 6 Issue 53
Pub: July 1, 2008

During the time Bob Bisno's house was going through foreclosure proceedings, at least two temporary restraining orders were written to place holds on the sale.

Eventually, the house issue was settled.

Perhaps if Bob can get temporary restraining orders approved to stop foreclosure sales on his personal house, someone may take Bob's Ponte Vista project and get a temporary restraining order against any further processing and/or development until the lawsuit is settled.

In case you don't know, Bob's organizations have begun SIX new Web sites and/or blogs.

There is one blog created for his Ponte Vista at San Pedro project.

I took a look at the blog and when I tried to use its "Search" icon for 'the truth' I couldn't get "Search" to find 'the truth' on that particular blog.

Perhaps the blog master/blog mistress will open up the "Search" icon to allow folks to read Bob's version of the truth.

The blog also mentions the Southern California Area of Governments (SCAG) as a source for some information.

I might need to post the many, many criticisms of SCAG just to show folks that it is not a very reliable source.

According to a member of the R.P.V. Emergency Planning Committee, SCAG has opined that if it is necessary for the residents of R.P.V. to evacuate that city, they are to gather as much as they can carry, and WALK towards Ventura.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bob and His Six New Blogs

Bob Bisno and his companies have joined the ranks of bloggers with not one, but six blogs trying to spread their version of development on communities.

I visited the blog for Ponte Vista and noted very quickly that to place a comment on that blog, your name and Email address is "required".

If Ponte Vista is such a great project, why does the blogger 'require' the name and Email address?

Of course I am not going to supply the blog's address on this blog, but as that blog places more posts, it can be found via Google.

Also, if you choose to believe things like Ponte Vista is a project that follows "Smart Growth", I still have my one acre of the Moon to sell you.

I haven't spent time looking at the other blogs, but you can probably guess that the blogger(s) are getting paid to create those blogs, but folks like me, don't receive a dime for my blogs.

Thanks to Just4fin for directing me to the fiction that is Bob's blog for Ponte Vista.

I guess I'll have to write counter-posts to the tales Bob's blogger tells.

And another thing, if you happen to visit Bob's Ponte Vista blog, you might just find yourself on a list of 'supporters' of his plans.

Oh well, let the fun begin.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

July 11, 2008

Here is the body of an Email sent out by a member of the opposition to having 1,950-condos built at Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

"We went downtown today to file petitions, postcards and surveys with City Planning.

We took about 11,000 petitions, 2600 postcards and various comment letters. When we got there, (a member of the Planning Department) showed us an additional 650 postcards that had been mailed in, an astounding number! I was hoping to see maybe 100-150. In addition, there were maybe 400 emails and letters that had been sent in.

The picture attached is of the combined submittals. 3300 postcards in basically eight days is amazing to me. By the way, the City expects more cards to arrive through perhaps Tuesday."

Of course Bob and his Outreach Team will counter with their "20,000" cards and other things of support for their side. That is to be expected.

Of course every single item of support gathered by Bob's team were handled or otherwise administered by persons receiving pay for the services rendered.

Of course, every single piece of paper or card stock viewed in the photo above was collected, presented, written by, and/or mailed in by persons receiving not even a single penny!

Postage for over 700 cards in one instance, was donated by a great member of the Ponte Vista opposition force.

It's becoming ever easier to see that Bob's vision of Ponte Vista is not a vision that OUR community can tolerate or live with for generations.

Now, the waiting period returns. We get to wait while the hearing officer and the Planning Department deal with all the written and oral comments from all sides of the issue.

Perhaps as early as October, we may see something of a recommendation going to the Planning Commission, from the Planning Department as to the applicant's proposals for Ponte Vista at San Pedro and how the recommendations differ from what Bob wants.

Happy Vacation!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Odds and Ends 73

This first item is from Mayor Sam's Sister City Blog at:

Antonio's Faustian Transit Deal

So what kind of faustian deal is Mayor Villaraigosa doing to get LA County residents to pass a new sales tax for transportation boondoggles?

Well the Feds are requiring that LA County implement toll roads in order to get transit funding. The original plan was to place those toll roads on the 210 freeway through cities in the San Gabriel Valley.

Antonio wants pols in San Gabriel Valley to support the sales tax scam. Electeds in the Foothills don't want the toll roads so Villar is pushing to have the toll roads moved to the 110 Freeway in Los Angeles to placate folks in Azusa, Monorovia, Pasadena, etc.

So not only will you be taxed more for transit you won't use, you'll have to pay to use the freeways you do.

For those of you who do not know the name of the "110" Freeway, from San Pedro to the Four Level Interchange, it is the Harbor Freeway. From the Four Level to the north end, it is the Pasadena Freeway, the first "Parkway" or "Freeway" on this planet.

A Bisno support had her letter to the editor published earlier this week in The Daily Breeze.

The author used words that were long, but understood by most of the readers, I hope.

Mr. Irv Davis, from Harbor City, wrote a letter to the very same editor challenging the other author's facts and then he used "chimerical", a word I hadn't seen or heard before, so I looked it up.

Here is what Merriam-Webster Online has for that word:


Main Entry: chi·me·ri·cal
Pronunciation: \kī-ˈmer-i-kəl, kə-, -ˈmir-\
Variant(s): also chi·me·ric \-ik\
Function: adjective
Etymology: chimera
Date: 1638
1 : existing only as the product of unchecked imagination : fantastically visionary or improbable 2 : given to fantastic schemes
synonyms see imaginary
— chi·me·ri·cal·ly \-i-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Thanks Mr. Davis, for increasing my vocabulary.
Yes, I am chimerical and darn proud of it.

I still dream of a new public road from Western to Gaffey, then to ramps for the 110 Freeway.

My dream for what I could live with at Ponte Vista is still valid for me.

I dream that more supporters of Bob's will see the real truths and decide to no longer be followers of the out-of-town developer who doesn't really know what is best for OUR community.

If you are reading this post before the close of business on Friday July 11, you still have time to submit written comments to the hearing officer.

If you read this post after the close of business, thank you for sending in your comments opposing Bob's plans for Ponte Vista at San Pedro, or you have run out of time.

For those of use who need a break from Ponte Vista matters but still want to ponder other issues, I will be updating two other blogs this weekend with information NOT about Ponte Vista!

At you can find a number of things to ponder about.

At I think I am going to return posts regarding South Region High School Number 15 to that blog, as well as keeping information about the school on my pondering blog.

There are now neighborhoods withing two Neighborhood Councils that have acted on motions opposing placing a new high school campus on the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur, so the issues seems to have become more relevant to a greater number of members of OUR community.

I am also going to create a post concerning the redevelopment of the Cabrillo Beach area and have some good news about things that are happening at that historic site.

Please don't fret though, if you need your Ponte Vista news, I'll keep looking, writing, and opposing Bob's plans for that part of OUR community.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Take Back Los Angeles

July 9, 2008,

The Jewish Journal

Take back L.A.

By Rob Eshman

If you want to see the city of Los Angeles' own version of MTV's "Punk'd," go to the Western Avenue terminus of the Metro Purple Line.I was there last week when a group of German tourists approached me holding an MTA transit map of the city.

"Where is the beach?" a young man asked me.

They had boarded the subway near their downtown hotel, the women wearing cover-ups over their bikinis, the men sporting flip-flops and shorts.

"The subway doesn't go to the beach," I said.

"It stops here?" the man asked, pointing at the map. Two of his fingers pinched the distance from Western Avenue to the huge expanse of blue farther west.

I wanted to offer them a ride. I wanted to tell them how to transfer to the bus, but the last two times I used the MTA's Web site to map out a bus route for my son, we ended up standing for a half-hour at discontinued stops. Instead, I looked up from the map, smiled and said apologetically, "Welcome to L.A."

I love Los Angeles, but let's face facts: We're fast becoming a second-rate city.

Public safety is broken. Jews in Los Angeles were rightly outraged in June when Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza killed one Israeli in Sderot. But in one weekend of that same month, 14 Angelenos were murdered in gang-related shootings.

The Israelis in Sderot asked me how people living 45 miles away in Tel Aviv could ignore them.
I told them that in Los Angeles, many on the Westside ignore worse violence going on six miles away.

Education is broken. The Los Angeles Unified School District dropout rate is just over 50 percent, meaning that a little more than half of entering ninth-graders fail to graduate on time. At Manual Arts High School, only 1 percent of the students who are not in a magnet program tested as proficient in math in the 2006-2007 school year.

Public health care is broken. The Board of Supervisors fights tooth and nail over an additional dozen or two dozen hospital beds in the neediest areas, as basic services continue to deteriorate.

Transportation is broken. We spend our days idling in world-record traffic, spewing the fumes from $5-a-gallon gasoline into the air. Meanwhile, Portland, Berlin, even Bogota, develop cutting-edge public transportation alternatives.

Did you catch that? Bogota, Colombia, with 8 million people, has state-of-the-art public transit, while we fight endlessly over widening freeways and calibrating signals.

What separates cities that are flourishing and advancing from Los Angeles, which seems to be stagnating?

Leadership, for one.

Anyone who follows L.A. history and politics knows that our leaders are too often elected or appointed officials beholden to either unions or developers. The strings that get pulled don't run from City Hall to strong neighborhoods but from downtown to powerful or wealthy special-interest groups.

I once remarked to a civic activist how remarkable it is that so many Jews have held public office in Los Angeles.

"Yeah," he said, unimpressed. "Claim them and blame them."

The truth is, there is plenty of blame to go around.

Those Neighborhood Councils don't have enough power, the L.A. City Council and Board of Supervisors have too many constituents and the mayor, well, that's complicated.

I like Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa -- he was elected as a tough local guy full of good ideas and visionary promises. I still hold out hope that he will see through one great, map-changing accomplishment for Los Angeles, but time is running out. If his legacy ends up being a failed bid to take over the schools; a few parched, newly planted trees; and a subway-to-the-sea that ends at the Wiltern Theatre, he will have spectacularly raised and shattered expectations -- yet another reason for us common folk to despair of our leaders.

Or, perhaps it's a reason to point the blame elsewhere: at ourselves.

We Angelenos are famously lethargic when it comes to civic activism. Blame the sun, the transient nature of the city, the rootlessness of our neighborhoods, even the influence of the film industry, which treats Los Angeles more like a backdrop, not center stage.

Now there is a movement afoot to change that. The unlikely agitator is a middle-aged Jewish man in Woodland Hills, Ron Kaye.

Kaye, the former editor of The Daily News, has put together the Saving L.A. Project (yes, SLAP).
The idea is to inspire and empower citizen activists across the city to voice their anger at the way things are, and to come up with a "Contract for L.A." outlining a bold, future-oriented agenda for the city.

The group will hold its first rally on Monday, July 14, at noon on the steps of City Hall. "People from around the city of Los Angeles will come together," reads the group's Web site,, "to demand that our city leadership join the people in making Los Angeles a great city.

"I took issue with Kaye when he backed Valley secession back in 2002. It struck me as a misguided protest, whose end result would be to create another huge bureaucracy side by side with Los Angeles' existing one.

But now I think he's onto something.

"I came to the conclusion that the problem is us," he told me by phone. "We don't seize power. We let them use our money to run circles around us."

The Internet has leveled the playing field somewhat, helping citizens organize, spreading important local news in a town whose main paper has all but abdicated that role. Saving L.A. hopes to inspire "a lively public discussion," said Kaye, and stiffen the spine of leaders like Villaraigosa. "If we have enough energy and can define the agenda," he said, "maybe these people will do what they have to do."

Monday, July 14, at noon Ron Kaye will be on the steps of City Hall -- mad as hell.I'll be there, too.

I'm taking the subway from Western.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A Planning Drought

Folks, sometimes information, opinions, and other comments just fall into our laps without our even knowing it.

Here is an editorial from today's Daily Breeze.

A planning drought

Article Launched: 07/08/2008 07:28:00 PM PDT

Should city of L.A. impose a moratorium on growth?

We hear all the time about Los Angeles' water shortage.

The county Board of Supervisors has issued a water-supply and conservation alert, urging residents to cut water usage by 15 percent to 20percent. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared the first statewide drought in 16 years. And county officials warn that water rationing could become a reality as soon as next year.

All of which makes one wonder why Los Angeles city officials continue to push for densification - seemingly oblivious to the fact that we scarcely have sufficient water to accommodate L.A.'s existing population.

For years, city officials have rubber-stamped developments without so much as a thought to the impact on long-term water supply. Indeed, last week Angelenos learned that a Hollywood-area community group has taken on the job that city officials have manifestly failed to do - demanding that the city halt all growth until officials have first conducted a sufficient analysis of L.A.'s infrastructure needs.

The group, the La Brea-Willoughby Coalition, contends that City Hall is supposed to produce an annual report that analyzes the city's infrastructure needs. Those needs include transportation, sanitation, schools and police service - the necessities that ought to figure into any reasonable assessment of city growth.

But L.A., which has long lacked any sort of a coherent, well-defined growth plan, has, according to the lawsuit, failed to update the Annual Growth and Infrastructure Review since 1998. Worse yet, La Brea-Willoughby reports that the city has approved nearly 2million construction permits during that time.

So the growth has continued, unabated, but without the sound planning and assessment that logically should precede it. Coming from a city that is in the business of awarding density bonuses - allowing developers to build more than an area is otherwise zoned for, without providing sufficient parking - this should come as little surprise.

No wonder the coalition is seeking a moratorium on future development until the city determines just how much expansion and densification its infrastructure and services can support.

And given the state of the local real estate market, if ever L.A. could accommodate a moratorium on development, this would be it. Better to plan carefully and wisely for future needs than to be reckless and create a future in which water rationing isn't merely an occasional threat, but a constant certainty.

I have saved articles and other editorials about the drought and thoughts of restricting development during these dry times.

Perhaps our cities should take time now to rethink development in a desert along the coast of the Great Basin of the Mojave Desert.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Aloha from the "ranting elitist", just back from Maui and Kauai.

It was wonderful to get a break in the action and have some time to not think about all the issues going on in San Pedro and elsewhere.

May I recommend spending a couple of hours at the summit of Haleakala'a volcano. The quiet, peacefulness, and wonder is so very refreshing.

The silence of just a breeze passing one's ears allows many folks to clear their minds of thing they thought were so very important, but are nothing compared to the majesty of what Mother Nature can provide.

I will probably post pictures and a short story on my Caveman Dairy blog, but not just yet.

Are you not tired of watching yourself in the tele yet?

Here is the body of an Email that tells us where we can go and watch us again, and again, and again.

I haven't had the time or will to watch me leaning on the wall.

This is another avenue for folks to watch the replay of the public hearing. The link below will take you to the page for on-demand content on the City's website. Simply click on your program title (Ponte Vista) on the right side of the screen.

My inbox has received articles about growth, density, and problems currently being felt in the housing market.

Growth and density are issues that I will continue to post articles on.

The current housing crisis may not be of any impact on what is finally approved of and/or built at Ponte Vista.

Actual construction of anything that may be approved of is still years away. I think Bob, realtors, folks who wish to sell their homes, and the rest of OUR community are hoping the current market issues end, long before the bulldozers crawl around northwest San Pedro.

I hope each and every one of you can spend some time NOT thinking about Ponte Vista. We all need a break and the Planning Department is giving us one as they peruse the comments from the hearing and create their recommendations for the Planning Commission.

I hope their decision does not come for more than several months, but some folks think the recommendations may come as early as October.

Once you have finished your vacation from thinking about Ponte Vista, you will come back refreshed and willing to continue to take on Bob's weapon of mass development.

I think you should know that there are supporters of Bob's who are trying to convince folks who have opposed the project, to now state their neutrality or go over to the supporters' side of the issue.

If you feel they are becoming more desperate, then that is your opinion and I will not argue with that.

Bob is apparently taking a tour of his City Place project in Santa Ana on July 12.

According to our new friends at CARA, the opposition group to Bob's use of eminent domain in the city of Baldwin Park, Bob is scheduled to arrive between 10 AM and 11 AM on that day.

City Place is a loft/commercial project in the city of Santa Ana that is probably almost done with initial construction of the lofts.

Bob has been talking about building a 32-story condominium tower across the street from City Place. One illustration of the building actually showed two towers of condos.

Perhaps CARA, R Neighborhoods Are 1 and the group in Santa Ana which opposes the towers can get together and form a large network to try and stop Bob, no matter where he goes or what he tries.

If a network is formed, it may also suggest to other developers and government folks that over development has met its match in the greater L.A. area and it is time to put the breaks on, until WE THE PEOPLE decide what is best for OUR community, even if it is the size of L.A..

Thursday, July 03, 2008

We're onthe Tele Again and Again

Here is the body of an Email that was sent to me by a wonderful fellow:

Hi Mark,

FYI, the Ponte Vista public hearing will be shown on LA City Channel 35 at 11:25 PM on Friday, July 4th. It will repeat once immediately afterwards. This is service for households in the City of LA that receive this channel.

For residents outside the City boundaries or those who prefer to watch it online, there will also be a hyperlink to the City's website early next week so that folks may view at their convenience. I will send you the link once it is up and running.

I hope you all watch the broadcasts and see it online. I think as you see and hear each speaker, you will get a better understanding of why so many of us oppose Bob's current plans.

You should also be able to not see or hear from many of Bob's 'supporters' who came as a group. Sure those folks has a speaker speaking for them, but what interested them was the 'agreement' signed by Bob and the Union.

There was a representative for Walden House speaking about those gentlemen were hoping for more employment from Bob.

Seems to me that those two groups were after financial benefits from Ponte Vista. How is that different from 'being bought' as one opponent opined?

You will also see and hear from representatives of business groups and several business owners. Now don't you think it is quite natural for those speakers to support the possible added income pointed their way by residents of a massive development?

And how is that not 'being bought' by Bisno's fairy tale of a plan?

I hope you all remember, while watching the tele, that folks who claim support for the '10,000 square feet' of retail within Ponte Vista understand that that part of the project is slated to be the last thing built IF the project heads to build out, instead of not finishing all phases of the project.

You will be able to watch, and hopefully tape (6-hour mode) all the folks who oppose Bob's current plans.

Of course traffic issues were repeated, but Bob has acknowledged privately and publicly that traffic issues are the number one through about a thousand of the first issues.

David Shinder, Bob's traffic engineer told Bob that "2300" was the maximum number of units he thought Bob could build and still successfully mitigate all traffic issues.

Mr. Shinder's opinion was the reason Bob came up with "2300" in the first place and not because he wanted to provide the area with more or fewer units, but because it was always based on traffic.

I have written my recollections of my discussion with Bob directly on that issue. Bob may deny it, but I think folks trust me more than Bob.

When watching the hearing you will also see the diverse reasons, beyond traffic, that are given in opposition to Bob's plans.

On the supporting side there is:

"Bob will mitigate traffic"

More jobs will be created in the community.

More spending will come from residents and into the community.
Seniors need housing.

There is a great need for "workforce housing" in the community.
It will be "affordable".

There will be on site retail.

Eastview Little League will get fields and Mary Star will get a road.

Now, let's contrast those reasons with just some of the reasoning given by speakers, during the hearing:

Traffic mitigation is already being constructed at taxpayers' expense.

The site is within the blast zone of twin 13 Million Gallon LPG/Propane tanks.

Residences at Ponte Vista will have residents who will not be able to spend enough money within the five-mile radius of the property, in the city of Los Angeles to fund infrastructure.

There are only 6/10 of a job per resident in San Pedro meaning that most employed residents of Ponte Vista will have to commute.

Bob is not legally bound to build anything. Once he receives entitlements to the properties, he has legal rights to sell some or all of them off.

The closest stop for any direct mass transit system is in the middle of the Harbor Freeway at P.C.H.

Nobody has objectively asked members of the community whether they feel they want or need the types of housing Bob is planning on building.

It's just too big.

Ponte Vista sits at the "front door" of Rancho Palos Verdes, a city unto its own that Bob has not actively worked with constructively.

Western Avenue may still be victimized by more storm drain issue.

Residents will shop at Target or at stores in other cities and thus not generate enough income to maintain even the infrastructure of Ponte Vista, leaving other Angelenos to cover costs with their taxes.

The only ingress and egress road for Ponte Vista is also one of the very few access routes out of San Pedro should terrorists strike or some other disaster strikes the Port of L.A.

It is NOT "affordable" within the framework of true low-income housing.

Bob claimed that the starting price of a condo (600 square feet loft) would be approximately "$330,000" or "mid 300,000's" with a median price of "$467,000" at this time. There would be units at Ponte Vista exceeding 1 Million Dollars in price.

Supporters did not site the monthly fees and costs associated with living in a condo project.

How can Eastview Little League use a public park owned by the city of L.A. and how would EVLL compensate the Dept. of Parks and Rec. for the use of fields?

Student generation numbers used by Bob's organization are extremely flawed.

Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council DOES NOT endorse Bob's current plans no matter what their President (a Bisno supporter) says.

Traffic counts, tables used to calculate traffic, levels of service, and just about all of the traffic studies undertaken for Ponte Vista are flawed and do not accurately represent what might truly be at a built-out Ponte Vista.

I could continue to illustrate the diversity of the opposition to Bob's plans and how they contrast with the far fewer reasons given to support the development, but is would be like shooting fish in a very small barrel.

I don't get the city of L.A.'s channel at my house, so I'll have to watch the Internet and take notes.

Because it is being shown before July 11, you all have more chances to get ideas on what you want to submit in the form of written comments to the hearing officer. Goody!

Odds and Ends 72

I know this post is a day early for me, but it is a little more than a day early for just about all regular readers.

I am writing this in your future, and because July 4 is Terri's and my 16th wedding anniversary, I may or may not be dealing with this blog that day.

I loved the letter to the editor from Sheila. It was right to the point. Ms. Bernard is extremely familiar with what Bob did at Lincoln Place.

Her letter, copied below, is from last Monday's Daily Breeze.

Bisno's tactics didn't work

Concerning Robert Bisno's Ponte Vista project in San Pedro: At the Thursday hearing, speaker after speaker, including Councilwoman Janice Hahn, upheld the integrity of the community in the face of the developer's attack on quality of life and common sense.

The developer brought busloads of workers needing jobs and seniors needing to downsize their lives but remain near their children. In the hope that he could divide and conquer, the developer pitted the honest need for jobs and affordable senior housing against the honest need of a community to protect itself from traffic strangulation. That tactic didn't work this time.

Speakers pointed out that the workers would not be able to afford Bisno's condos, which would start at $350,000, and the seniors would be exposed to high and rising condo fees. The project does not include the kinds of environmental designs that would make the units cost-effective in the face of our looming energy and water shortages. Speakers also pointed out that the process for evaluating traffic impacts is fraught with deception and needs a major overhaul. I had attended the hearing in order to share my experience of Robert Bisno's disastrous actions in my own community, the historic Lincoln Place Apartments in Venice. But I held my fire. The sophisticated neighborhood councils in the San Pedro area already know how to resist the onslaught of mindless and harmful development.


President, Lincoln Place Tenants Association,

The good folks opposing Bob's foray into Baldwin Park have contacted R Neighborhoods Are 1, and me specifically.

Now we are many more neighborhoods, stronger than ever and willing to take on Bob's fiascoes in at least two places in the greater L.A. area.

When we combine with the community and neighborhoods opposing Bob's new plans for attacking the Santa Ana area, we will be a triangle of talented individuals and a great number of neighborhoods standing firm against Bob's plans wherever they are and also we will become a true voice against over development in the entire L.A./Orange County area.

Politicians, if you think you may run for statewide office or perhaps for State Senator or Assembly, take notice, we will not hesitate to call anyone out if they support developments by Bisno and developments many feel are too large for the area.

Once again the Outreach Team from Ponte Vista has drug out their "smart growth" opinions regarding Ponte Vista.

Is Ponte Vista within walking distance of any light-rail system?

Is Ponte Vista within walking distance to a Metro station having transportation directly to major transportation hubs?

Is Ponte Vista within walking distance of any major shopping mall or area with a wide variety of shopping needs?

Is Ponte Vista commuter-friendly by having unfettered access to freeways?

Does Ponte Vista have multiple ingress and egress roads?

Is Ponte Vista located in an area with similar types and densities of units?

Will Ponte Vista have traffic pattern compatible with the local communities' traffic patterns?

How smart is it to have a development the size Bob wants it to be, on a peninsula?

Is Ponte Vista close to any sites deemed to be of interest for possible terrorist activities?

How smart is it to build a project with three times the density of The Gardens when both are in the blast zone of two giant tanks and a refinery?

You still have time to create and submit written comments to the hearing officer. Your time will end at the close of business on July 11, Please submit your thoughts and feelings about how Bob's current plans will alter your quality of life.

Remember, if you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

Whoever started the rumor that Bob's financial managers have told him his primary backer for developing Ponte Vista has backed out of the deal, stated something that is simply not true.

I have talked to enough people who I can rely on and I can now write that the rumor is just that, and not the truth.

HOWEVER, according to a very highly placed source that knows what he knows, Bob Bisno has the right to sell entitlements, once granted, to whomever he wishes to and he is NOT legally obligated to build anything according to any plans approved of by the L.A.City Council.

Again, once Bob receives entitlements, he has the legal right to sell them.

Now, according to this very highly placed source that knows what he knows, Bob is intending, at this time, to have the site developed according to agreed upon ordinances passed by the L.A. City Council.

In other words, Bob plans to build if he can receive agreements he is comfortable with.

So now that the rumor is put to bed and Bob may build what he comes to a set of agreements with the City of L.A., we can settle back and deal with how we are going to continue to challenge Bob and his weapon of mass development, because it is just too big.

If we are unlucky or unfortunate enough, Bob may get a recommendation from the L.A. City Department of Planning, sometime in October.

I hope we all can submit written comments that are long enough and concerned enough that the hearing officer needs extra time to review comments from as many folks as possible.

When does 429 equal about 700? When does 1,950 equal 2,633?

If Bob attempts to have a density bonus tacked onto a strictly R1 Ponte Vista, as it is currently, he would actually get to build over 700 units.

If Bob gets all 1,950-condos he is asking for AND then decides to have a density bonus tacked onto the site, he could be allowed to build as many as 2,633-condos.

This is one of the main reasons we need to fight to keep the number of units approved of at Ponte Vista as low as possible.

Bob continues to state that he is building "market-rate" housing which would not qualify for a density bonus.

However, Bob also said he was building 2,300-condos and he has changed his tune with other aspects of the project.

Bob's offer to build ball fields for Eastview Little League with no strings attached, is also a change of strategy, it seems.

Berkeley, Lincoln Place, City Place Santa Ana, Ponte Vista, Baldwin Park, where is the trust we can have in Bob to not screw us and lower the quality of life in OUR community?

Bob has never attempted to do what he wants to do at Ponte Vista and to OUR community.

Where are the studies that demonstrate objectively that seniors in OUR community want to live in a place like Ponte Vista?

Where are the objective studies to indicate anybody surveyed wants to live in a development like Ponte Vista?

Focus groups, conducted by a developer or representatives for a developer can be sent in a direction favoring whatever a developer wants by the type of questions asked of them.

It's time for an independent study to be conducted to determine what members of OUR community feel they need or want.

OUR community consists of more areas than just San Pedro and more folks that those within 10-15 years of retirement.

IF senior housing is really needs and wanted in San Pedro, then perhaps a big chunk of the "G8" project could be developed for seniors.

I may add to this post if I see something interesting to write about on Friday.

As I write this, it is still Wednesday where most of you are.

Be well