Thursday, July 03, 2008

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

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