Friday, August 29, 2008

Pondering a New Blog Concerning a Proposed Public School

The following information deals with a proposed project that has, as one Alternative, the placment of an 810-seat senior high school within the site of Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

It is somewhat important to the discussions about Ponte Vista because the public, the Ponte Vista organization, and other groups have the opportunity to make comments about the proposed school and attend an upcoming community-wide meeting.
------------------------------------------------------------------ is up and running and it deals with the proposed South Region High School No. 15 (SRHS 15) which members of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) want to build on the Upper reservation of Fort MacArthur on land now more commonly referred to as "Angel's Gate".

The site contains pages of information and should become the major source of information for those opposed to building a new 810-seat high school campus on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

I hope everyone bookmarks the new site and visits it regularly.The site was published to the web shortly before a very important meeting by LAUSD to provide more information, take questions, and receive comment on the proposed school's Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR).

Information about the meeting can be found on the post directly below this post.Whether you support the building of SRHS 15 on its preferred site or not, learning as much as you can and want to about the project, is not a bad thing.

Odds and Ends 80

Didn't sometime back, a supporter of Bob's plans admonish everyone to "play nice" concerning discussions and debates about Ponte Vista?

When a supporter and member of Bob's Senior Advisory Committee attacked this blog by claiming it is "some obscure blog" I find that is offensive to the good regular readers of this blog and it comes from a member of a group that want's everybody to "play nice".

I guess only opponents need to "play nice" and supporters get to attack, continue to deny truths and spell out "facts" they believe will occur even though nothing has been legally decided yet.

This "ranting elitist" who writes this "some obscure blog" knows quite well the tactics Ponte Vista supporters and some members of the Outreach Team will go in attempts to secure more support for a project that is just too large for OUR community.

When members of the Outreach Team, includint the Vice President of the company offer dinners, meetings, trips and other things to members of a Board of an organization receiving direct funding from the city of Los Angeles, isn't that also called lobbying?

When a Vice President uses funds from the organization he or she represents to provide meals, local trips, and meetings to members of the quasi-L.A. government funded organization, shouldn't that person be a registered lobbyist with the City of Los Angeles?

Shouldn't members of an organization that uses that organization's funds to offer meals and other things to folks who receive who sit on a board that receives direct government funding be required to register as lobbyists and follow all the laws and regulations set out for registered lobbyists?

For the folks who received meals, local trips, and other incentives from an organization that attempts to have the group process and agree to resolutions favoring a developers' wishes, should those folks state that they received some incentives paid for by the group seeking support?

I do not know all the facts that members of the Ponte Vista Outreach Team know about their attempts over the summer to influence members of the Board of Governors of the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council, but perhaps the resolution passed at Central's last meeting was possibly created and passed by folks whose organization receives direct government funding, yet did not disclose what they received from the developer's agents, employees, or those that might just be considered "lobbyists".

Don't we all deserve to know the truth of how the resolution was influenced by the Ponte Vista Outreach Team?

I am looking for answers that will probably not be provided to this "obscure blog".

Maybe someone in local government or within the City Attorney's office will provide answers to whether some on the Outreach Team might be considered lobbyists and whether they should probably be registered with the city of L.A. as such.

The blogger on this "obscure blog" may know more about things than what the blogger is willing to reveal. For Ponte Vista supporters it is great that they consider this blog as "obscure".

I might now be able to provide more truths and facts I have on file that I wouldn't normally publish..............NOT!

There will be a public hearing conducted by the R.P.V. Planning Commission on the Marymount College Expansion Project.

Why, might you wonder, is this of any importance to the Ponte Vista debate?

Marymount College has as one of its Alternatives to its preferred plans for expansion, the addition of more dormitory rooms on Palos Verdes Drive North between Western and Five Points AND the relocation of the athletics department to the site in northwest San Pedro.

Traffic would be the major issue that supporters and opponents would come together on to oppose any expansion at the northwest San Pedro, Marymount-owned site.

Currently there are 86 duplexes housing students and faculty members at the site. That is actually two more duplexes than is currently allowed for a site similar to the site, but a variance was allowed from the City of L.A because the 86 duplexes were originally built as military housing and the military can ignore local zoning issues.

I'll probably announce the date, time, and location of the hearing on one of my more "obscure" blogs, the San Pedro Issues to Ponder blog.

If you wish to know when there might be a reveal from the Planning Department, you are welcome to contact the Ponte Vista Outreach Team for their opinion.

The team may include information on their own blog which I can very well believe is more obscure than this blog.

Did you read that the folks behind Think Cafe and Think Bistro are thinking of building a larger restaurant and bar at the site of the former Blue Crab restaurant.

It is said that we locals believe there is a curse on the site of the former Tasman Sea Restaurant.

So far, if you read the history of restaurants trying to make a go of business at the site on Western Avenue, you may also come to believe that the place is cursed.

Whether it is truly cursed or not, since the Tasman Sea Restaurant closed down more than a generation ago, just about every single restaurant failed within a short time or didn't even open in the first place.

We all waited and waited for a Russian restaurant to open on the site, but it never did.

We only had a very short chance to enjoy the Brazilian restaurant that lasted too short of a time at the site. The meat dishes at that venue were very enjoyable and extremely filling, in my opinion.

I think Think didn't do enough due diligence on studying the site and we will again view a failed restaurant in too short of a time.

A temporary Halloween costume and supply store is going in at the former site of Big Town Liquor.

It is going to be fun watching the Katelynn and Mackensie learn more about Halloween from their brother Kyle, now tah the twins are approaching two-years old.

What do you think about the possibility of finding a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf business goin into the spot where P'skettie is trying to make a go of it, in the future?

P'skettie is a drive-thru restaurant. How long it survives being so close to both Domenick's and Niccolo's is something we will just have to see.

I have enjoyed meals from P'skettie, but it is less expensive than both of the two other restaurants and it is equil distance for us to go there or Niccolo's.

Please remember that the Alternative to building SRHS 15 at Ponte Vista rather than its preferred location on the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur is more of a joke than a real Alternative.

Nobody should have the slightest bit of worry or anxiety that an 810-seat public senior high school would ever be built at Ponte Vista if Bob and thousands and thousands of us have any say in the matter.

And now for a truly obscure trivia question:

What was she wearing when she was afraid to come out of the locker and water?

(Answer will come in a comment to this post or next Friday within Odds and Ends 81.)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

San Pedro Magazine and Ms. Valle-Sedillo

For a second time in two months, Ms. Yolanda Valle-Sedillo has been given space in San Pedro Magazine to provide information.

In this month's edition, Ms. Valle-Sedillo finally revealed that she is a member of the Ponte Vista Senior Advisory Board.

Whether the publisher of the magazine was informed by Ms. Valle-Sedillo of her connection to Ponte Vista or not, is something I still do not know.

I hope that Ms. Valle-Sedillo was the instrument to not fully advise Mr. Josh Stecker of her closer connection and not something Mr. Stecker simply failed to reveal at that time, last month.

In this month's issue, the editor included "Yolanda Valle-Sedillo is a San Pedro resident and a member of the Ponte Vista Senior Advisory Board" which is something he should have included last month, HAD HE KNOWN.

Ms. Valle-Sedillo opined that she learned information "on some obscure blog" that there was a complaint that someone had not been forthcoming about her connection to Ponte Vista.

If this blog is so "obscure" than how did she know about my complaint?

Does or did she read this blog?

Who among the regular readers of this blog that also support Ponte Vista let her know about the complaint? If folks don't think this blog is regularly read by at least one person in the trailers inside Ponte Vista, they would be misinformed.

This blog continues to be read by a small group of regular readers who have opinions about Ponte Vista at San Pedro, whether Ms. Valle-Sedillo thinks this is an "obscure" blog or not.

It may very well be an obscure blog, but because it has such a limited focus and limited range of issues, it is perfectly reasonable to concede that this blog can be considered "obscure". So what?

Again Ms. Valle-Sedillo trumpets fictional items as being real, true, and approved of things that "will" be included at Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

Since absolutely nothing has been legally approved of to change the current zoning to a specific plan zone that Bob wants, how can anyone, including Ms. Valle-Sedillo make such claims?

It is extremely correct that the Ponte Vista site has been used as training grounds for a large number of different departments. It was used that way when the U.S. Navy still owned the land.

the part of the site that most folks can't see from Western is some of the best training areas within our state and country. I have written more than a little about these facts since this blog and my R1 blog was created.

If Ms. Valle-Sedillo wishes to find an even more "obscure" blog, she is welcome to attempt to find the blog that is supportive of Ponte Vista and created by someone within the Ponte Vista at San Pedro organization or Outreach Team, I believe.

Don't you wonder why a development might wish to offer to police persons, firefighters, nurses, teachers, and others a rebate to purchase condos within the development?

Why doesn't the developer offer units in a price range that wouldn't require rebates, other financial incentives, or a "Harbor Area First Program"?

If someone needs a rebate or some other developer incentive to get into a condo, shouldn't that condo be considered unaffordable for that someone who doesn't get the rebate, incentive, or refuses to accept the financial incentives?

It seems to me that units that need rebate incentives to be sold to folks who would not normally be able to purchase them are overpriced for the folks who might want to live with them.

Might Bob offer rebates and other financial incentives with the HOA dues, management fees and other fees he will have his management company charge condo owners IF he actually builds anything on the Ponte Vista site?

If someone needs a rebate to get into a unit, might they run into problems down the road with the fees and dues required for living in a development like Ponte Vista?

Aren't rebates and other buyer incentives used when something becomes hard to sell, over priced, or the market for the thing dries up?

How often to we see rebates for Honda vehicles compared to rebates for Fords, GM vehicles and especially Chrysler products?

And another thing. If it took so long for Ms. Valle-Sedillo to learn about how the Ponte Vista site has been used for years, perhaps she doesn't live closer to the site and/or she doesn't know all that much about the history of that land and how it had been used for generations.

How about Ms. Valle-Sedillo and I sit down in a room and tell each other what we actually know to be the truths about the history of the area, the history of the Ponte Vista marketing, purchase, and the applications concerning what Bob wants to do at the site.

We can also share with each other what we know to be true with just about everything in northwest San Pedro, Western Avenue, and the possible effects of what could occur if 1,950 units are approved for construction at the site.

I can also share why Bob chose "2,300-units" as opposed to any other number in his first application.

I have always contended that everyone should know as much as they possibly can about the proposed project whether they support it or not.

I would very much love to learn how much a well connected individual such as Ms. Valle-Sedillo really knows about the application, the applicant, and all the proposals and facts surrounding Ponte Vista.

I fear though, from reading her last two entries carried in San Pedro Magazine that she is, like too many others, less informed about Ponte Vista than she probably should be.

So from this "obscure" blog and blogger, I hope Ms. Valle-Sedillo didn't deliberately attempt to mislead Mr. Josh Stecker, by her not revealing last month, her connection to Bob Bisno and his Ponte Vista at San Pedro project.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ponte Vista's Blog and What is Not Included

There is a blog most probably written by someone who receives money, in part, for writing and maintaining that blog, that has one item of some interest this blog will report on.

One of the posts is regarding Councilwoman Janice Hahn's signing of a pledge supporting more options for different types of housing for people with different amounts of income.

What the post fails to mention is that Ms. Hahn opposed Bob's current plans at Ponte Vista, even with the different income levels of proposed condominiums that may be offered at the site.

The post also fails to reveal that Ms. Hahn continues to keep the same opinion as she stated over one year ago that she has seen no adequate reasoning to allow for any changes of the current zoning at Ponte Vista.

Whether you view the photo included on that blog of a smiling Councilwoman, please understand that she continues to oppose Bob's current plans for the site, she was "shocked" by the very small number of total units that Bob lowered in his most recent application, and she still sees no reason to have the current zoning changed, or allowing for a specific plan zone to be approved, at this time.

Ms. Hahn and many of us strongly believe that "something" will be built at the Ponte Vista site, but she and thousands and thousands of others believe that Bob's current plans call for too many units at the site.

I just think folks ought to know more information when they view a photo of a smiling Janice Hahn on a blog supportive of Bob's current plans at Ponte Vista.

If anyone were to consider Ms. Hahn's smile as something of any kind of endorsement of Bob's current plans, they would be so very wrong.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Celebrating What?

Above is my interpretation of a card sent out by the Ponte Vista Outreach Team.

Apparently the folks at Ponte Vista are celebrating something. What they are really 'celebrating' is something I don't know.

There has been no decisions made by the Planning Department, Planning Commission, or L.A. City Council that I know of, and I learn lots of things that are going on.

Maybe it is Bob's way of saying "thank you" to his supporters just prior to evacuating the site, folding up shop, and leaving town.....don't we wish!

It could be a way of saying thanks to the fact that the number of supporters claimed by the Outreach Team has been resolved down from "20,000" to "about 18,000". and the correction is being celebrated.

It might be one way of 'paying' supporters for their continued support and providing them with more incentives to continue to support a project that is simply too big for OUR community.

If Ponte Vista and its Outreach Team needs to continue thanking folks for their support and encourage them by using incentives to keep their support, isn't that something that demonstrates some futility in their cause and case?

I doubt that Nels will be attending the celebration. He needs to reprimer his jeep, cut his dog's nails, shampoo his hair, and watch paint dry, all things he finds better to do than being thanked by folks representing Ponte Vista.

But everyone else is encouraged to attend and report back to M Richards as to what transpires at the event.

Heck, it is the end of Summer and free food, even with propaganda, is still free food.

Have a happy Labor Day weekend all, which is the weekend BEFORE the celebration.

I do need to give a great shout out to the Outreach Team for using unionized printing for their card. Thanks for that, Elise.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Once again the Los Angeles Unified School District has provided evidence that it has its head placed firmly, securely, and completely in a place on a human body where the Sun should never shine.

The Draft Environmental Impact Report for South Region High School No. 15 (SRHS 15) was published today and one of the 'alternatives' is to build the school within the area of the Ponte Vista site.

Now this is such a bad idea for so many reasons that it can only be described as a further attempt to single out the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur (the project's preferred site) as the only one LAUSD is serious about.

It is also another indication that LAUSD is disengenuous to OUR community, ignorant of even their own boundaries, and fairly completely deprived of trustworthiness.

If SRHS 15 was built within the Ponte Vista site, no high school students living within the area would be able to attend because the site currently falls within the Narbonne High School boundaries.

Didn't LAUSD learn anything when they tried to propose placing South Region High School No. 14 (SRHS 14) within Ponte Vista.

Not only did Bob Bisno object to that idea, but he was joined by many many community members, including me and a whole bunch of the members of R Neighborhoods Are 1 in creating such a firestorm for LAUSD, they packed up their bags, placed their tails between their legs and created a phony excuse for leaving that proposed school in limbo.

I just thought everyone interested in issues regarding Ponte Vista should know, now that the SRHS 15 DEIR is out, that we all need to provide our objections to the alternative of placing the new campus at Ponte Vista.

Really, Dr. Vladovic, what was your Facilities Division thinking?

Odds and Ends 79

I am still trying to figure out the new conundrum that is now facing the Outreach Team and supporters of Bob's plans for Ponte Vista.

Here are some stated issues.

Bob's Outreach Team claims that $70 Million Dollars per year in added revenue will come from residents of Ponte Vista within a five-mile radius of the site.

They claim that will be beneficial to the economy of Los Angeles even though there really is not the same about of revenue generating businesses within the five-mile radius and still within the city of Los Angeles.

Enter one Mr. Moxley, the Ironworkers' union representative who has signed an agreement with Bob, apparently.

Mr. Moxley shouted out to all at the last Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council meeting that anyone doing business at the San Pedro Target store opening on October 12 should be ashamed.

He stated "Shame on you!" to anyone shopping at the new Target Store because it was not built using union labor.

Here is the problem. If folks go to the Target store in Carson that was built using "100% union labor, for the most part" according to Mr. Moxley, then sales tax revenues generated at that store would be within five-miles of Ponte Vista, but would NOT add any revenue into the city of Los Angeles.

So Mr. Moxley is encouraging folks to spend their money outside the city of Los Angeles, but demand that union workers are used to build Ponte Vista.

I would very much like to see union workers build Ponte Vista, but Mr. Moxley also spilled the beans that even my 'dream' number of 1,080-units, way too high a number for most folks, would NOT allow for unionized workers building Ponte Vista.

Mr. Moxley let a cat out of the bag, hammered the very folks the Outreach Team is trying to win over, and is demanding something that almost certainly will not be done at Ponte Vista.

I think the hard-line R1 supporters may have a new hero in Mr. Moxley.

If even staunch supporters like Mr. Moxley condemn San Pedrans, what might that say for others within the inner circle of Ponte Vista supporters.

I have been getting some feedback concerning the city of Rancho Palos Verdes and their government officials needing to agree with traffic mitigation proposals presented by Bob and his organization.

Since the opinion has come down from the L.A.D.O.T. that R.P.V. has rights to consider mitigation within its boundaries, concerning Ponte Vista, there may be new discussions that can be held by the residents of Rancho Palos Verdes and their city's representatives.

Oh my. I happened to be the one to suggest a public forum for the benefit of the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council to learn what folks, especially R.P.V. residents think about Bob's current plans and traffic issues.

I opined that the Rancho Palos Verdes Traffic Safety Commission hold a public hearing and provide the members of the City Council the opportunity to learn what the Commission learns from the hearing.

The City Council of R.P.V. have been very good when it comes to their opposition to Bob's current plans.

I do feel however, that since the Council may be in a much better position to deal with Bob, a hearing to learn what residents and others think, can only assist them in their efforts and provide evidence that many, many people living on the eastern side of R.P.V. and in other areas consider Ponte Vista to be a real threat to their current lifestyle and future.

What we could use from 'Eastview' residents is more pressure from more people to 'assist' the City Council to realize they have more muscle than they may think.

More residents are needed to encourage the R.P.V. City Council to learn even more from their constituents and others, regarding the impacts a large Ponte Vista development would have.

I hope more residents will bring to the City Council their thoughts and 'help' them to desire a public hearing on this matter.

A public hearing will also be able to attract more eastern Rancho Palos Verdes residents to become more interested in their government and the folks who are leading their city.

The Draft Environmental Impact Report for South Region High School No. 15 will be out on Friday August 22, 2008.

The proposed new 810-seat campus is NOT the one originally slated for inside Ponte Vista.

That project known as South Region High School No.14 has been put in 'mothballs' for the time being.

That project MAY reappear IF voters back the $7 Billion Dollar school bond measure on the November ballot.

Not to worry, there is no real chance that South Region High School No. 14 would ever be built inside Ponte Vista, if it does come back to life.

It's time once again to start monitoring traffic in the early morning and mid afternoon near the Ponte Vista site.

As Mary Star of the Sea High School returns to a new school year, traffic patterns will go back to the way they were, if not worse, than they were last May.

It is going to be interesting to watch what happens to traffic patterns once Mary Star is back in session and the new Target Store is open, on October 12.

When the rush to check out the new Target fades, we may see a more typical pattern develop.

Please remember, the slogan for Target is NOT: "Open, open, open." That is the slogan for Mervyn's.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

If Bob Can Do It, So Can I

Bob Bisno has signed agreements with unions to use their laborers to construct buildings at Ponte Vista.

Never mind that nothing has been legally decided to the number of units that could be built at the site.

Never mind that a union official claimed that my 'dream' total of 1,080-units would not be enough for Bob to use union labor.

Never mind that nobody is willing to state the minimum number of units that could be built using union labor.

Never mind that nobody is willing to publish those agreements between Bob and the building trades unions.

So if Bob can make agreements, I think I can also make one agreement and even bring it to the public, and out in the open.

See folks, I am now agreeing to give up one acre of the moon I purchased while attending Cal State Long Beach.

If Bob Bisno gets entitlements to build more than 1,080 units, and ASSUMING that he doesn't then sell of those entitlements before construction is set to begin, I will give up one acre of the Moon to the Rancho Palos Verdes Film Retrospective.

See, I can make an agreement, too.

If you don't believe me that I own an acre of the Moon, just look below, I am even willing to publish the certificate of ownership.

Even though we can't see Bob's agreements, you can carefully view my very own certificate that I have kept in pretty good shape for over thirty-three years! (I bought actually two acres of the Moon in 1975, for a salesman calling himself 'Moonman')

Now I know what you are probably thinking. How can anybody own an acre of the Moon?

Well, there is the certificate and that is more evidence that Bob and the unions are willing to publish with their agreements.

What in the heck is the Rancho Palos Verdes Film Retrospective?

That organization has been around for over fourteen years and retrospective attendees have enjoyed the festivities and been entertained by many many productions over the years.

What would the Rancho Palos Verdes Film Retrospective do with an acre of the Moon?

Well, if and when any attendees finally get to visit the Moon, they may wish to look for the acre of land the organization may acquire. Future attendees may want to use at least part of the acre in a promotional video for the organization.

So when Bob tells you he will live up to his agreements, without mentioning limitations to those agreements, then I feel strongly that I need to provide an agreement I will be held accountable for and I am now doing this by offering an agreement to provide an acre of the Moon to a great organization.

I have been mentioning that I owned an acre of the Moon and now was the time I felt I needed to step up to the mat and provide more details.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Rancho Palos Verdes and (or Versus) Ponte Vista

A member of the Los Angeles City Department of Planning who has been very involved with the Ponte Vista project sent in a reply to an Email generated by a Rancho Palos Verdes resident.

The Rancho Palos Verdes resident (who I know) wondered whether the city's government had any real say in aspects of the Ponte Vista at San Pedro project and whether the R.P.V. City Council has any relevant jurisdiction regarding any decisions, mitigation, or the potential size of the project.

Here is a copy of the body of one Email sent by the Rancho Palos Verdes resident:

"RPV city council seems to think the Ponte Vista traffic mitigation measures on Western Avenue do not require RPV's cooperation regardless of the fact most of Western Avenue between PV Drive North and Summerland lie within RPV city boundaries. I believe I read in the LADOT informational material that RPV's cooperation is required.

I would really appreciate clear facts in this regard. Are traffic mitigation measures outside RPV jurisdiction entirely? Or does their position and that of their residents have zero value.

Thank you for your time."

Here is the body of the reply sent to the resident from the member of the Planning Department:

"I apologize for the delayed response but I needed to speak with someone from our Transportation Department regarding this issue. To put this in the simplest terms, any mitigation measures that occur within RPV boundaries need to be approved by RPV.

Hope this helps."

These Emails are important because it shows that the city of R.P.V. has more leverage than many folks might think.

I also means that residents of Rancho Palos Verdes have greater rights and abilities to influence the project than they may think.

It means that R.P.V. residents can challenge their City Council for more 'redress of grievance' and it means that the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council needs to work with its residents more in learning and acting on behalf of the residents.

I must state for fact that, so far, all five members of the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council have positioned themselves to be against such a huge development on a shared border that could come from the Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

It also must be stated that these five gentleman have instructed individuals to create documentation that provides some of the best arguments and comments against Bob Bisno's plans to bring 2,300 or even 1,950-units to northwest San Pedro.

We must not condemn most of the actions of the R.P.V. City Council at this point, but there is much more that they can do and it appears they have more power than many people have considered they have.

As a member of the Rancho Palos Verdes Traffic Safety Commission, I proposed in its upcoming work plans a public forum where the public can provide testimony to the Commission, concerning Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

I did this for two true reasons; I feel strongly that more R.P.V. residents need to state to their city leaders their opinions concerning Ponte Vista and I want residents, primarily living in the 'Eastview' section of eastern R.P.V. greater chances to become more involved with their city government.

The public forum which I suggested would not have the Traffic Safety Commission do anything other than provide members of the city's government and staff the chance to hear from more of the public. I did not imagine that the Traffic Safety Commission would do anything other than be a venue for public comment and a resource the City Council could use in learning more about the affects of what Ponte Vista might to those residents living closest to the project, especially in Rancho Palos Verdes.

The Traffic Safety Commission, in my opinion, does not need to make any recommendations on its own, but it can be a channel for information, from the governors to the public and the public to the governors.

I have always stated my appreciation for the work our city's leaders have done, concerning Ponte Vista.

The comments written by Mr. Kit Fox, a member of the Planning Department of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes are about the best set of comments written to the Draft Environmental Impact Report, and I have repeated that information by voice and in print numerous times.

But it now has been explained that the city of Rancho Palos Verdes can have a larger role in determining what could be built at Ponte Vista.

There is a stretch of Western Avenue that has commercial, retail, and residential structures, on both sides of the avenue and are also within the boundaries of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.

Both that stretch and the much longer stretch of Western Avenue that has Rancho Palos Verdes on the west side and the city of Los Angeles on the east side, are with the area that Bob must mitigate traffic issues with, if he continues to seek approval of his application to build 1,950 units.

Since it is the opinion of the Los Angeles City Department of Transportation that mitigation falling within Rancho Palos Verdes must be approved of by that city, then it should stand to reason that the city of Rancho Palos Verdes can even demand greater mitigation within its boundaries, approve the current mitigation, or disapprove mitigation already suggested.

It is because Rancho Palos Verdes has more power than many people think, it is essential that the city of Rancho Palos Verdes to its utmost to include its residents in helping to decide what mitigation measures should be adopted, improved upon, or denied, I feel.

The members of the City Council will decide, but it is up to the residents who are their constituents to assist them in making their decision.

The City Council needs to work for us and we need to work for the City Council and the government and staff of Rancho Palos Verdes to ensure the best future for OUR city.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

More About the Fray at Central

"San Pedro News" which can be found by visiting: had a good representation of what happened during the last Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council meeting where a resolution was (perhaps) passed that may have been considered an endorsement of the Ponte Vista at San Pedro project.

I am going to use their item on this blog because they wrote about it better than I did and I hope more folks will visit "San Pedro News" more often and bookmark that page.

Here is their item:

Ponte Vista Vote Questioned

The Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council passed a motion supporting elements of the Ponte Vista housing proposal amidst questions over conflicts of interest.

Heading into Tuesday’s meeting, the council was set to vote on a motion to endorse the 1,950-unit complex as proposed.Before the vote was taken, questions were raised as to whether some councilmembers had conflicts of interest that might disqualify them from voting on the issue.

During the public comment period, Doug Epperhart, a boardmember of the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council and Ponte Vista opponent, presented a letter alleging conflicts of interest on the part of councilmembers Joe Gatlin, Mayra Perez, Pam Foster-Newsom, Joe Donato and Larry Henderson.

The City of Los Angeles ethics ordinance, which applies to neighborhood councils, says it is not in the public interest for individuals to act on a matter if they do not believe they could act impartially or if the public might reasonably reach that conclusion.

The letter states that four councilmembers have conflicts because they are employees or officers of entities that have received donations or contracts from Ponte Vista. Another councilmember serves on Ponte Vista’s own community advisory committee, a group organized by the developer and considered an advocacy body.

Councilmember Kara McLeod moved to postpone the Ponte Vista motion for a month so that the board could get an opinion from the city attorney about the alleged conflicts of interest.

McLeod’s motion was defeated 7-5 and the board went forward with a vote on the Ponte Vista resolution.Councilmember Andrew Silber voluntarily recused himself because he is a board member of the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce. The business group has received significant monetary support from Ponte Vista and favors the project.

Councilmember Sue Castillo proposed an amendment to change the motion to endorse the general concepts of traffic mitigation, union jobs, housing for senior citizens and other such facets without affirming total support for the developer’s proposal.

Boardmembers voted to approve Castillo’s amendment. They then passed the Ponte Vista motion as amended on a vote of seven ayes, two nays and two abstentions.

I talked to Ms. Castillo about her amendment because I really didn't hear it that well and I wondered what her intent was.

I wrote a comment to the news item I read at "San Pedro News" and here is what I wrote:

According to Ms. Castillo, her amendment was to endorse the "aspects" of the points displayed in the "WHEREAS" section of the motion.

The aspects that the Council now supports states nothing that endorses the number of units that Bob wants.

Also according to Ms. Castillo, her belief is that "20%" of the units Bob wants to set aside for 'working families' is 390-units, which is 20% of the total number of units Bob wants to build.

I doubt highly that 'working families' constitute those who would live in the senior section and those who would occupy the 'town homes' which will be the highest priced condos at Ponte Vista.

It is probably more realistic to believe that the "20%" figure should apply to those types of units that 'working families' could actually POSSIBLY afford. This would make 20% of that amount, 200 units and not 390 condos.

The 'aspects' Ms. Castillo seemingly refers to are the points which look very much like they come right out of the talking points the Ponte Vista Outreach Team has been using for some time.

It appears highly unlikely that Mr. Henderson, the councilmember who offered the original motion, created the motion without any assistance from anyone on the Ponte Vista Outreach Team.

Since no actual number of units was mentioned in the 'aspects' AND Central's acceptance means they believe that unionized workers will be used for constructing whatever is built at Ponte Vista, perhaps the councilmembers who voted to adopt the motion didn't really consider what they actually approved.

The consideration of whether the adopted resolution was done correctly is still ongoing.

Whatever Central did, it DID NOT specifically endorse Bob's plans for Ponte Vista, having 1,950-condos and that is basically the same type of resolution they adopted last year.

According to Ms. Castillo, the other resolution covered only five points and the new one covers twelve.

All this fuss over seven items and the leader of the Outreach Team has acknowledged that 1,950-units won't be built.

My, isn't Central fun to watch?
I am still holding firm that Mr. Henderson and Mr. Donato both actually believe that Bob will use unionized labor to build the project.

Since it is extremely likely that Bob won't ever get entitlements to build 1,950-condos, and both Mr. Henderson and Mr. Donato should know that, I am still wondering what number of units would be the threshhold for using unionized labor.

It is an answer I can't get from anyone on the Outreach Team or Bob himself.

All of us who attended the meeting did learn from a union source that 1,080-units would be too few for a developer to make any money using unionized labor to build out the project.

Perhaps there should have been a different resolution attempted that would accept the notion that more housing is needed in San Pedro, that the needed housing should be offered to different catagories of home-seekers, that there be a planned neighborhood unlike most others in San Pedro, and that such a development use 'green' engineering and building practices.

Since absolutely no suggestion of the total number of units was resolved, then that type of resolution would fit better and be less challenged.

We all still have the opportunity to change the Board at Central and lead it toward becoming great.

The election for five spots on the Board happens on September 9.

More folks have told me they think Mr. Joe Gatlin, Mr. Joe Donato and Ms. Myra Perez might become late write-in candidates.

I will suggest that we all offer both of these gentlemen and the one gentlewoman hail and hearty thanks, handshakes for their services, and good-byes to remaining on the Board at Central.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Odds and Ends 78

You may have guess that Odds and Ends 77 was not created while I was in the area.

August is the month I hoped would be more void of Ponte Vista news, so we had our Page family camping trip in Terri's family's favorite place, the Rock Creek area of the eastern Sierras.

I hope all readers of this blog get a chance to have some sort of vacation from issues revolving around Ponte Vista.

Perhaps the senior member of the Ponte Vista Outreach Team has done just that.

I haven't received any reply to an Email I sent to Ms. Elise Swanson regarding the "20% of 'workforce housing' or 'housing for working families'" that she contends will be provided at Ponte Vista.

I wanted to learn the actual number of units "20%" referred to.

How about readers of this blog give us your thoughts on how many units it might be.

Please remember that

20% of 1,950 is 390.
20% of 1,100 is 220.
20% of 1,000 is 200.

But what if "20%" means 20% of each type of unit?
Would it be 20% of 850, which is 150?
What about if you add 20% of 100, which is 20?
Then take 20% of 1,000, which is 200.
Perhaps the "20%" figure is 370 units.

***Please note that when I stated that there wouldn't be 1,950-units built at Ponte Vista, I was able to write down the quote I heard from the same individual; "Well, I know."

I still haven't gathered enough information to be able to pass along whether the resolution adopted by Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council on Tuesday night, and whatever the amended end of the resolution is, was all legal, ethical, and is a true resolution that can remain adopted.

I hope somebody that has the written amendment that Ms. Castillo made will place it in a comment to this post, so we can all read what was adopted, whether legal or illegal.

Mr. Costa opined that he thought the goats he has seen inside the Ponte Vista fences should probably be unionized.

I am sure Mr. Costa's comments were meant in jest.

HOWEVER, I have seen maintenance workers, human weed cutters and know there are probably clerical workers and security folks at Ponte Vista all the time.

If Bob is so agreeable to having unionized workers work at Ponte Vista, shouldn't the security staff, the maintenance staff, and the non-management workers working inside the Outreach trailers be union represented right now?

If Bob has agreed in writing to walk the walk, I think he should have a demonstration of that with the workers currently working at the Ponte Vista site, I feel.

I was grateful to see that all the ships and boats involved in the parade of craft during the opening of the Festival of Sail didn't have any Ponte Vista logos displayed.

What did bother me to almost no end was the narrator who was reading out of a scripted book about the area and the ships.

This happened at the far end of Ports O' Call where Whalers' Wharf used to be.

The gentleman stated over and over again, the words, "San Paydro" instead of "San Pedro" which is the name of the suburb of L.A.

"San Paydro" is in the country of Belize and there is actually a "San Pedro High School" in that city.

So to the out of town boaters who moor their crafts in our harbor, but visit the area only to play with their "floating money", the area is San "Peedro" and not the city at the top of South America.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Contribution of a Post

From time to time, individuals create posts that I place on this blog.

Here is another post not created by me, but by Mr. John Stinson.

Mr. Stinson lives in OUR community, he is a professional photographer, an artist, and is active in community issues.

Mr. Stinson is a member of the Rudderless Steering Committee of R Neighborhoods Are 1 and is also the Treasurer of the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council.

Here is Mr. Stinson's post:

Dear R-1r's

An amendment to the motion by Sue Castillo, board member, short circuited the actual endorsement of the project.

The actual wording has not been made available, but the essence of it is that it supported features and proposed benefits that were presented during the evening, not the size of the project itself.

This is primarily the position that the council took before.

Perhaps someone expected different results this time around.

It seemed counterproductive for Bisno Developemnt that Elise Swanson and her team were somewhat combative during the presentation as well as the Q&A.

She was obviously and visibly unhappy with the outcome.

We will see what kind of spin the Bisno marketing machine will try to put on this.

I've included an attachment with a report of the proceedings and my thoughts on the matter along with the original resolution sans the amended "therefore be it resolved" portion.

When available, it will be added.

This will appear on the home page of the

BTW As the events of the evening unfolded, some good candidates emerged that we should be able to support in their candidacy for the board. More info to follow.

Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council falls short of endorsing Ponte Vista as proposed, again.
7 to 2 vote supports features of the project, but not the size.

At the August 2008 board meeting held Tuesday the 12th, Central Neighborhood council once again heard from the Ponte Vista team, headed up by Elise Swanson, on the host of features and proposed benefits that the project would bring to San Pedro and the harbor area.

While painting a glowing picture, the team failed to allay the fears of the council that this project is still just too big at 1950 units and the motion, brought to the board by board member Larry Henderson, was amended to to state that the council supported the proposed features and mitigation that were presented during the evening, but did not include an endorsement of the project itself.

Emotions ran high during the discussion of the project with some speakers nearly breaking into tears and others angrily shouting their support of the negotiated union labor component that has been touted in recent Ponte Vista ads.

In the end, it was admitted that the labor agreement would be honored only if the project was built at 1950 units. A Ponte Vista representative also stated that anything less than 1080 units would make using union labor noncompetitive because it would not be cost effective.

R Neighborhoods Are 1 proponents and others supporting R-1 density have always said a project could be built at the old Navy housing site, but have long voiced their concerns that the proposed density, be it the original 2300 or the officially submitted 1950, be in line with the current property zoning of R-1.

In short, it has always been about density and the adverse effects on infrastructure.

Build it with union labor, sure. Build it green, sure. Provide housing at affordable prices, sure. Include a public park, sure. Build a senior component, sure. Mitigate traffic, absolutely. Who can argue that these elements are all desirable and shouldn’t be part of the final approved development?

In the end, the debate is not that the proposed benefits or features are desirable, but is the project, built at the its proposed size, beneficial or detrimental to the communities in San Pedro and the harbor area. So the question that really needs to be asked is “if the a project is to be built at all, what kind of project and what size of a project, given all the factors, will be the most beneficial and least detrimental on the quality of life for all residents here?”

If a consensus can be reached on that question, the community will be able to move on and the project could actually materialize.

Will it be possible? That’s the $64,000 question.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The following is the original resolution (motion) presented to the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council.

The exact wording of the amended motion on the “Therefore be it resolved portion” has not been made available at this time and is not included now, but will be added to this document when it is.


WHEREAS, Ponte Vista will provide a quality mixed-income residential community and will create diverse housing types including studios, lofts, condominiums and single level townhomes in order to provide housing for a variety of family types;

WHEREAS, Ponte Vista provide a 6-acre public park to be improved and dedicated to the City of Los Angeles and a 2.5-acre central green as well as outdoor plazas, gardens and fountains for the enjoyment of residents and the public;

WHEREAS, Ponte Vista will offer a 5% pricing incentive through its Harbor Area First Program that can be used towards down payment assistance or for an upgrade on interior amenities to individuals who live or work within the Harbor Area;

WHEREAS, Pursuant to the proposed Development Agreement 20% of Ponte Vista’s homes will set aside at prices affordable to working families placing them within reach of police, firefighters, nurses, teachers, and unionized workers;

WHEREAS, Ponte Vista’s development will be governed by a Specific Plan (land use ordinance) that would ensure high quality development by regulating architecture, landscaping, and streetscapes;

WHEREAS, 44% of Ponte Vista’s homes will be for seniors 55 and better, allowing them to downsize and live in a resort-like community;

WHEREAS, Ponte Vista will provide retail space for community amenities such as a coffee shop, dry cleaners, post office, and sundry store to meet residents’ needs assisting in the reduction of off-site vehicle trips;

WHEREAS, Ponte Vista has signed a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) with the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council that ensures the utilization of union labor. It is estimated that Ponte Vista will create over 5,400 construction related jobs’ over the project’s build out period;

WHEREAS, Ponte Vista will mitigate its traffic impacts and fund additional traffic improvements;

WHEREAS, Ponte Vista will fund the acquisition of a DASH Shuttle Bus to extend DASH service along Western Avenue. Ponte Vista will also provide shuffle service for its residents to entertainment venues and retail establishments located in Downtown San Pedro to supplement the MTA Route 205, which runs every 20 minutes during peak hours from Ponte Vista site into Downtown San Pedro;

WHEREAS, Ponte Vista will comply with the City’s new green building ordinance, which will ensure that Ponte Vista is build in accordance with LEED standards;

WHEREAS, Ponte Vista will fund all of its community benefits and off-site traffic mitigation and improvements prior to the final certificate of occupancy for any residential building;

THEREFORE, be it resolved that the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council…

Thank you John, for your post.

I'd like to add some comments because a few of my own ideas were included and there is clarification needed, I think in some of the "WHEREASES".

Mr. Stinson used my 'dream' figure of 1080-units in his post.

Actually during the meeting, the Ironworkers' Union representative stated that no unionized workers could be used if the number of units was "1080", even without noting any lower number of units than that.

This information was subsequently reaffirmed by a Ponte Vista Outreach Team member (at least one) when I spoke to that person about compromise numbers of units.

If I remember correctly, in Ms. Sue Castillo's amendment to the resolution that was accepted by the Board, it mentioned that Central resolved to support the 'assertions' made in the "WHEREAS" portion of the resolution. There is no statement of the total number of units in that part of the resolution, as I read it.

Does this mean that Mr. Henderson, Mr. Donato, and the five other members who voted for the resolution are resolved to believe that unionized labor would be used to build out Ponte Vista no matter what the number of units are finally approved of?

According to at least three sources I talked to, there is no way that Bob would use union labor to construct 1080 units AND there was absolutely no indication by anyone on the Ponte Vista Outreach Team that would give me a minimum number of units Bob would use all-union labor to build.

It seemed last night, that union labor would be used for 1,950 units, and no less, according to the unwillingness to provide any further information by members of the Outreach Team, including its Vice-President in charge of that operation.

I asked that the labor agreements made between unions and Ponte Vista become public so OUR community, a strong union supporting community, could learn more about the pacts made between Bob and unions.

Should those of us who are union members, as well and non-union folks learn what may impact OUR community for generations?

I was NOT amused by "WHEREAS, 44% of Ponte Vista’s homes will be for seniors 55 and better, allowing them to downsize and live in a resort-like community;"

It seems to me that all of us must allow seniors to live in a "resort-like community" according to Central's Board.

Just who in the H E double toothpicks think those folks are to support something every single person attempting to use Western Avenue, shop at local stores, or just try to get around, will have to put up with so a few number of our seniors can live in a "resort-like community"?

If that isn't elitist, I think the dictionary needs to be checked, rechecked, and changed.

If seniors want to live in a "resort-like community" I know of quite a few places within driving distance of San Pedro where they can live that in that lifestyle.

The Outreach Team has been mentioning that Ponte Vista would be built to achieve "LEEDS" certification.

What they haven't bothered to mention is by the time any new buildings are actually ready for occupancy, new rules, laws, and requirements being established will require Ponte Vista to have elements that will surpass "LEEDS" certification standards, it is strongly believed.

Let them hype "LEEDS" and placing grass on the roofs of buildings like Bob was heard mentioning more than a year ago. It seems they will have to do what they are now claiming they are volunteering to do.

At Central's meeting, it was mentioned that Ponte Vista is the ONLY proposed project in California to have agreements with building trades unions prior to decisions on what may be built at the site.

If Ponte Vista is the ONLY proposed project currently having such agreements, shouldn't that raise a red flag because of its uniqueness?

If the agreements are so good, why aren't other proposed projects and their developers making agreements, that may not be worth the paper they are printed on, if things don't turn out the way Bob wants them to turn out.

MTA bus line number 205 was mentioned in the resolution and at Central's meeting.

Yes it runs every 20 minutes during peak hours.

Yes it runs all the way to the 110/105/Green Line interchange.

Yes it is the ONLY current bus line that runs past Ponte Vista and there currently is no other bus line that runs directly near Ponte Vista to the major shopping areas of Torrance, Rolling Hills Estates, or Long Beach, where the larger stores and shopping malls are actually located.

"WHEREAS, Pursuant to the proposed Development Agreement 20% of Ponte Vista’s homes will set aside at prices affordable to working families placing them within reach of police, firefighters, nurses, teachers, and unionized workers;"

20% of what?

Is it 20% of 1,950? That would be about 390 units if all applied for units are built.

Is it 20% of 1,100? That would be about 220 units because it would take in the "town homes" for 'working families'.

Is it 20% of 1,000? That would be about 200 units because only about 1,000 units would be in the non-age restricted part of the complex, and not be among the 100 most highly priced 'town home' units that would probably not qualify as available housing for 'working families'.

So for all of the "police, firefighters, nursed, teachers, and unionized workers" in the area that might qualify for the availability to purchase a set-aside type of unit, those folks may need to be pretty quick on the trigger to get the chance at one of the 200 or so units that may actually become available.

Of course, it also means that all 1,950-units would have to be approved of for building and even an Outreach Team member has been quoted as agreeing that 1,950 units would NOT be built at Ponte Vista.

How Much Is That Condo With The Windows?

O.K., let's let Bob's FEIR do the talking.

Below is a pricing chart found in the Ponte Vista Final Environmental Impact Report.

I am using it to let all of you consider whether you could afford a unit at Ponte Vista.

Please click on the chart to enlarge and please pay particular attention to the bottom of the chart.

When you look at the chart and pay attention to the three 'Pricing Contingencies' at the bottom, you might get confused, or you might understand perfectly what you are reading.

Pricing Contingency 1 allows for the applicant to vary the price plus or minus 5%, depending on what?

It is very correct to state that the prices are not intended as guarantees.

Bob's Outreach Team has announced plans for rebates and something called something like 'Harbor Area First'.

I wonder if someone who lives in Rancho Palos Verdes would get a rebate or be eligible for 'Harbor Area First'?

A strong Ponte Vista supporter like Ms. Viramontes lives in R.P.V. and when I first heard about the special pricing for "San Pedro" residents, then "Harbor Area" residents, no mention of R.P.V. residents was heard.

Pricing Contingency 2 stated that the estimates for pricing per square foot are based on "current construction costs".

It appears that the figures quoted for construction costs are from 2006 Engineering Indexes and may be underestimated.

However, in my talking to several contractors, they feel a great condominium project could be built somewhere in the neighborhood of $370-$400 per square foot.

Pricing Contingency 3 states that "all estimates assume the project will be comprised of 2,300 units as described in the Draft EIR."

Didn't Bob lower the number of units in a November 2007 application to 1,950?

If he keeps the construction standards he set in his first plan, might the actual pricing for units in the lower number of condos be greater?

After all, so many supporters claim that the lower number of units built would mean each unit would be more expensive.

In fact, that is one of the big arguments supporters have about building single-family, detached houses. The fewer number of units, the more costly each unit becomes.

So it should be somewhat reasonable to consider that if fewer units than 2,300 are built, each unit would have a higher price, even though construction costs for the overall build out may be less.

Now lets think about Homeowner Association Dues.

To consider what they might be for units at Ponte Vista, we can look to further than to Playa Vista, not so far away.

For a 642 square foot, one bedroom, one bath unit listed at $345,000 at Playa Vista, the current dues are $520 per month.

The HOA dues at Playa Vista are dependent on the size and price of the unit one purchases.

The highest dues level shown at Playa Vista is $987 per month.

It is probably more reasonable to consider HOA dues comparable to Playa Vista than the $450 per unit in column one and the $330 minimum dues in column two are understated to what they may actually be.

The information about the HOA dues at Playa Vista and possible dues at Ponte Vista are contained in a letter sent to the Planning Department by the Chair of the CAC which I was a member of, until I accepted a spot on the R.P.V. Traffic Safety Commission.

At the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council meeting, Ms. Diana Nave read the calculation that suggested that a 600 square foot, loft or studio unit at Ponte Vista would cost a buyer about $2,600 per month.

Who among us would pay $2,600 per month for a studio or loft unit where it is called 'workforce housing', 'housing for first-time home buyers', or a home for a young family?

"20%" of the total number of units at Ponte Vista would be set aside as "work force housing" according to Ponte Vista Vice-President Ms. Elise Swanson.

So 390 units would be the type of housing the Outreach Team is hyping, along with Senior units.

Or is the "work force housing" actually only 220 units because of the 850 Senior units that might not be included in the "20%"?

I hope I can get a clarification on that soon to update this blog.

Would there be any "work force housing" in the age-restricted portion of the project?

Many of our more aged members of OUR community still work very well or they will need a job late in life to be able to pay for a Senior unit at Ponte Vista.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

I attended my first Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council meeting on Tuesday evening/night and it was more than interesting for all in attendance.

It was also extremely confusing for many on the Board it seems, many in the audience, and also to the several reporters who were in the room.

Trying to explain all that went on during most of the meeting needs to be left to real reporters and somebody who could follow the follies better than I could.

But there was one very important revelation that was made that I consider part of 'The Good', so I will attempt to explain it as best as I can.

Bob Bisno and his Outreach Team have made agreements with various unions representing building trades.

The agreements have not been made public, and I highly doubt that they will be.

The agreements suggest that unionized labor will be used for the development of Ponte Vista.

Two Board members of Central stated, seemingly as fact, that union labor WILL be used in the construction of Ponte Vista.

Of course since nothing has been legally agreed upon as to what could or would be built at Ponte Vista, I still wonder how the two individuals could state as fact, something that is not known at the present time.

Anyway, one of the representatives of the Ironworkers' Union spoke at the meeting.

This individual also spoke at the Wilmington Neighborhood Council meeting I also attended.

The gentleman was extremely supportive of Bob's plans because he strongly believes that his union members will be used to build part of Ponte Vista.

After the gentleman spoke, I asked Ms. Elise Swanson what seemed to be a long-winded question.

I stated that since there has been no legal authorization to build anything at Ponte Vista AND since Bob Bisno still maintains the right to sell any and all entitlements to whatever is allowed at Ponte Vista, it should be considered a misstatement of fact that unionized labor would actually be used in any construction at Ponte Vista.

Well, the fit hit the shan.

I was derided by the two board members who thought I was anti-union.

I reminded folks during my long-windiness that I have been a proud union member (CWA) for over 27-1/2 years and that I supported unionized labor in the construction of anything at Ponte Vista.

I also reminded the meeting that I 'dreamed' of 1,080 units and said NOTHING about R1 during my questioning.

Now here is the 'Good' thing that we all learned at the meeting.

When the Ironworkers' Union fellow got up to disclaim my bit and Bruce Horton's comments, he acknowledged that even 1,080 units being built at Ponte Vista was too low of a number of units to allow for unionized building trades members being utilized at Ponte Vista.

So for the first time publicly, a person within the knowledgeable circle of Ponte Vista supporters has acknowledged that even over 1,000 units at Ponte Vista would not allow for union workers to build.

Later in the meeting I attempted to ask two members of the Outreach Team if there was a minimum number of units that Bob could build using unionized labor.

I was not given that information, even by the Outreach Team member who works with the unions and the agreements.

Now about that Ironworkers' Union gentleman. He was also very critical of any of us shopping at the new Target Store when it opens on October 12, 2008.

He said that his union members were not used in the construction of the new store. He did say that his union workers were used in the recent rebuilding of the Carson Target, but he admitted that the City of Carson mandated unionized workers on much of that construction project.

The fellow stated that "100%" of the construction was done by unionized workers, then he added, "almost".

So even the Carson store did not use all unionized workers in its rebuild.

The bottom line of this point is that nobody knows if unionized workers may be used if Bob doesn't get his 1,950 units AND nobody is willing to reveal the agreements signed by Bob and the unions which state whether Bob would use union labor if anything LESS THAN 1,950-condos are built.

Bob is using union workers against union workers and union supporters in his attempt to build Ponte Vista according to his plans, and in this union town, I think that stinks!

'The Bad' is the motion passed by the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council.

I wish I could tell you what the motion exactly was, but in its amended form, it is quite possibly not a specific endorsement of Bob's plans at all.

But I do have to report that whatever the motion was, it passed with 7 Yeas, 2 Nays, 2 abstaining, and the honorable Mr. Andrew Silber, recusing himself.

(Eat at the Whale and Ale more!!!)

'The Bad' means that the Ponte Vista Outreach Team can attempt, once again, to consider that one out of three of San Pedro's Neighborhood Councils approve of Bob's plans. But then again, it might just not be actually correct.

Now, 'the ugly'.

It appears to some knowledgeable stakeholders that what was done with the consideration and passage of the motion violated several laws, guidelines, and other issues.

A Board member created a motion to table the motion to support Bob's plans for Ponte Vista until the next meeting so the Board would have the accurate knowledge that what it was doing was legal, ethical, and correct.

The motion failed and the Council's President made sure that the vote would be held on August 12.

I thought much of the problems that Central had been having in the past were pretty much leading to repair after their last election.

I guess I was incorrect, big time.

But wait! We have another chance on September 9, 2008 to vote five new members onto the Board to continue improvement at Central.

But wait, but wait! It is also believed by a few more than a few people that the officers of the Council who have not filed to election to another term, at this time, might soon place themselves on the ballot as 'write-in' candidates.

So, I think folks should not be surprised if folks like Mr. Joe Gatlin and other officers who are not already on the ballot, might seek another term.

If the August 12 meeting was fun, I think the next meeting on September 9 should be so much more fun.

Now a disclaimer.

I support unions. I feel very strongly that unions have helped all workers at their job sites, in their benefit options, and their higher quality of life for all endeavors.

Even though it was acknowledged that union workers could not be used if only 1,080-condos were approved of, I still suggest that if Bob wanted to, especially with the average per square foot cost for condos at approximately $450.00 per square foot (Source: Ponte Vista FEIR), he could have skilled unionized workers build out the project, if he doesn't sell off his entitlements once he receives them.

I also have to claim that I work for a company that involves public utilities and therefore unions like mine will be represented in work done at Ponte Vista, no matter what.

If Bob is so supportive of quality union workers and he truly wants to have a quality project built, no matter what size it is approved for, then his best bet is to use union labor to build it and maintain it.

So to 'Larry', you are so very wrong that I don't support unions. Your single mindedness that Ponte Vista must be approved of for 1,950-condos because you want union workers to build it, even though there is still no guarantee that Bob will not sell off his entitlements, means that I feel you are short-sighted towards the San Pedro community and that you are not looking at the larger picture, rather you are looking only for your union to have jobs, and only during any construction phase.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Let's All Support the Tri Art Festival!

The second annual Tri Art Festival, in downtown San Pedro is going to be held on Saturday September 13 and Sunday September 14.

Bob and the Ponte Vista gang offered financial support last year, but it appears they are no longer involved in financially supporting the Festival.

I attended the first annual Festival last year, and it was so much less than what is planned for this year's Festival.

After I attended the first Festival, I wrote a post encouraging folks to attend last year's Sunday day. I also wrote that I would support future Tri Art Festivals.

The Tri Art Festival is run by Mr. Joe Caccavalla. He and I do not see eye to eye on our ideas for Ponte Vista, but this great gentleman is putting together another wonderful event for OUR community and I strongly urge everyone to try out Tri Art, this year.

This year's Festival will offer so much more and be quite a bit bigger than the first Festival.

Artisans from all over California Will be participating in a juried exhibition.

There will be lots of different types of art for viewing and purchasing.

"Cars as Art", a classic and custom car show will be held, with awards presented in different classes.

Several car clubs have been invited to participate, including San Pedro's Rascals and the Woodie Cars Club.

To me, this photo represents art in the form of an engine compartment of a car so many ridiculed, yet would very much like to have, right now.

It got decent gas mileage, it carried folks wherever they wanted to go, it was affordable in its day, and it was so simple.

Yes, it is a photo of the engine and engine compartment of a Pinto. Look how clean the lines are and how simple it was to look at, maintain, and enjoy, back in 1971.

There is much more to the Tri Art Festival than the art we enjoy on walls, under hoods, or sitting on tables.

There will be a Mario Lanza movie featured at the Warner Grand Theater and two days of other entertainment at the Warner Grand.

The late tenor's movie will be shown on September 14, at 1:00 PM and if you haven't seen one of Mario Lanza's musical movies, I think you might have a wonderful experience watching the movie in a theater designed to treat the eyes and ears and stir memories of movie watching in bygone days.

But wait, there's more!

7Th Street will be alive with music both days of the festival. There will be two stages set up to provide musical and dancing entertainment from many of L.A.'s finest entertainments groups.

For those of you who love dance, Sunday September 14 will be filled with dances and dancers from throughout the area, including our own San Pedro City Ballet.

As I learn more of the schedules for the Tri Art Festival, I will create more posts.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Odds and Ends 77

Elise Swanson and another member of the Outreach Team will be speaking at the upcoming Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council meeting on Tuesday August 12, 2008.

According to the Council's agenda, she will be giving an update about the project.

There also may be a resolution presented to suppport Bob's plans for Ponte Vista.

It should be a fun meeting to be involved with.

Let the vacationing days of August continue!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Odds and Ends 76

In the most recent edition of San Pedro Magazine published by young Mr. Josh Stecker, a column appears authored by Ms. Yolanda Valle-Sedillo.

The title of Ms. Valle-Sedillo's column is "Ponte Vista Opponents: CAN'T WE PLAY NICE?"

On the page where the column appears there is no mention that Ms. Valle-Sedillo is a member of at least one of Bob Bisno's Advisory Boards for Ponte Vista.

Either Ms. Valle-Sedillo doesn't want you to know her affiliation with Ponte Vista or Mr. Stecker simply omitted a piece of information that many readers may have found valuable.

If Ms. Valle-Sedillo intentionally left out her close affiliation with Ponte Vista, as demonstrated by her picture and quote being found on the Ponte Vista Web site, it is just another bit of misinformation or misdirection that some Ponte Vista supporters feel they need to have.

In the column, Ms. Valle-Sedillo stated, "Ponte Vista agreed to set aside $8million to pay for ALL of the improvements recommended by the Western Avenue Task Force."

Eigther Ms. Valle-Sedillo did not read the recommendations and summary made for the Western Avenue Task Force, or she is simply using what the Ponte Vista Outreach Team mentioned to her.

In fact, the recommendations included widening Western Avenue to three lanes in both directions between 25Th Street and well beyond Palos Verdes Drive North.

Since Bob has no intention of widening all of Western Avenue, Ms. Valle-Sedillo's statement is an error of fact.

Ms. Valle-Sedillo also failed to mention that excess funds that are not obligated to mitigating traffic for the project, would be able to be spent on other traffic-related issues, but not necessarily in the San Pedro area.

Ms. Valle-Sedillo continues to use the 'talking points' about agreements signed by Bob Bisno and various unions, Eastview Little League, and other entities.

The fact Ms. Valle-Sedillo does not include is that when Mr. Bisno is challenged to answer whether any or all of those agreements would be honored if he is not given the right to build the number of units he wishes to build, would he still honor those agreements?

When I informed Ponte Vista personnel about what happened in once instance, that information should have been passed along to all Advisory Board members. Apparently information did not get to Ms. Valle-Sedillo, or she chose to ignore it.

There was an instance where and individual used a disgusting, completely inappropriate, foul, harmful, mean, bad, and completely false term, concerning some Ponte Vista supporters.

That individual was immediately rebuked in public and private, by many of us who are more
visable in the opposition to Ponte Vista, and that person has not appeared again in person or in print, concerning anything regarding Ponte Vista.

Ms. Valle-Sedillo should also know that when someone accepts food, items, gifts, or other things to encourage them to show up and support a particular side of a discussion, that can be thought of as receiving something for their participation.

Bob is offering lower prices and other benefits to those living in particular areas or having particular jobs. Folks in Rancho Palos Verdes have not been offered the same pricing advantages as Ms. Valle-Sedillo and many others have by living where she lives.

It should be interesting to read what comes out in the next issue of San Pedro Magazine.

I think Mr. Stecker has the opportunity to allow for an opposing view of the issues.

I can't let this next paragraph of Ms. Valle-Sedillo's go without some fact-checking.

"Everywhere I go, people ask me why I support Ponte Vista. I think I have some real good answers; It will be union built. It will be affordable for young families and seniors. It will address the traffic issues. And it will provide a home for the Little League. And it will be beautiful."

"It will be union built". How does Ms. Valle-Sedillo know that? Even though Bob signed agreements with unions, there is absolutely no written proof that he will actually build anything at Ponte Vista.

Mr. Robert H. Bisno will have the right, one entitlements are received, to sell them off, as he wishes, without developing anything at Ponte Vista.

The above information came from Mr. Robert H. Bisno himself.

"It will be affordable for young families and seniors." Really? How do you know that for sure, Ms. Valle-Sedillo.

What is the average income of 'families' living within the Wilmington Harbor City Community Plan area, where Ponte Vista is located?

What is the average income of 'families living in the San Pedro area, also where Ponte Vista is located?

Do you know that the average income of families within both areas would not be sufficient to purchase the (currently) least proposed price for a multi-bedroom unit, at Ponte Vista.

I have the data Ms. Valle-Sedillo, do you?

Seniors may truly find Ponte Vista attractive. I have envisioned 550 senior units in my 'dream' for Ponte Vista.

I used 550 as a number of potential senior units because I do not believe that there are many seniors who could actually afford to buy and then keep paying user fees, HOA and maintenance fees associated with living at Ponte Vista.

Many seniors already live in houses that are already paid for. They should be able to use the selling price of their larger homes to move into a much smaller place at Ponte Vista.

They MIGHT even be able to take their Prop 13 advantage with them.

But if a senior sells their home they bought after Prop 13 went into affect, the new place at Ponte Vista would be taxed at its selling price. Could many seniors continue to pay property taxes on a unit that is fairly pricey?

"It will address the traffic issues". This statement is made by someone who has not studies the DEIR or the FEIR as far as traffic goes.

It also demonstrates an individuals belief that the Los Angeles Department of Transportation is a body that can be believed, as far as real traffic patterns and the future of traffic goes.

There is absolutely no possible way to adequately mitigate traffic conditions of a 1,950-unit condominium project being built out along Western Avenue, on the northern end of San Pedro.

I would be more willing to accept a larger number of units than the density of R1 if a new road between Western Avenue and Gaffey Street were built, but we have gotten nowhere on that issue.

Ms. Valle-Sedillo, please do your reading and research. Please do not live by what you read or are told by those on the Outreach Team, or by information produced by supportive firms of Ponte Vista.

Ms. Valle-Sedillo, I challenge you to park somewhere along Western Avenue between Delasonde and the entrance to Ponte Vista. Face northbound when you park on any weekday in early September, between the hours of 6:30 to 8:30 AM or between 2:00 to 4:00 PM on those days.

Then, if you find that there is no traffic on Western Avenue in your opinion, please write back.

You live far away from the actual area and you really do not have to deal with the traffic issues thousands and thousands of your neighbors have to deal with in northwest San Pedro and eastern Rancho Palos Verdes.

"And it will provide a home for the Little League." Again Ms. Valle-Sedillo, how do you know that is a fact?

If, and I mean IF there is a six-acre park at the site, it will probably be deeded to the Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation. That way, the condo-owners would not be required to pay for the maintenance out of HOA dues and fees.

The Dept. of Parks and Rec MAY allow Eastview Little League to play on the fields, IF they pay for the right to do that.

I think if Eastview Little League were given a free pass to play on Dept. of Parks and Rec. land, there would be quite a commotion created by other leagues who have to pay to play.

It would be nice if fields were built on the site of the field that is already there and could have been used by Eastview for about two-years now.

But if Bob is not allowed to build the number of units he wants, is there a strong belief among supporters that he would provide the park out of his own goodness?

"And it will be beautiful." On this issue I have no disagreement with Ms. Valle-Sedillo if it is built looking like the Newport Bluffs apartments it was designed like.

I don't think there will be anywhere near 1,950-units approved of at Ponte Vista, so I can only hope that the designs will reflect what has already been published, with many fewer buildings.

There has been some misconception and misinformation about what Ms. Hahn and her Advisory Committee' majority opinion hold.

Ms. Hahn supports the population density equal to what R1 type density would bring to Ponte Vista without actually calling for single-family, detached housing.

The CAC also held the same recommendation.

Only R Neighborhoods Are 1 strongly suggests and calls for single-family, detached housing on lots of not less than 5,000 square feet, at the site.

What is 'R1 density'? As yet, I can't accurately give you a number.

R1 density could be the number of residents of a 429-house neighborhood. It may also be the number of residents in a 733-house neighborhood.

If density bonus population numbers are applied to Ponte Vista, then perhaps 1,080 units (my dream) might be very close to the population density of R1 with a density bonus.

What could be built at Ponte Vista with those numbers?

My guess is just about anything Bob wants, as long as the population density is equal to the approved number.

I think if 550 senior units were built that would be about 1,100 seniors.

Let's give Ponte Vista 130 large town-house, or patio-style houses at about 5 residents each and we might see about 650 residents in those units, with their added number of cars.

If my 'dream' holds for 400 regular condos, with some having three bedrooms, then I can guess about 3.5 residents per unit, or about 1,400 residents.

Adding the three types of housing together, I can imagine a population of about 3,150 people.

Now, why in the heck is that not more than enough additional people for northwest San Pedro?

However, as long as Bob continues to be unwilling to make a meaningful compromise in the number of units he wants, there is still absolutely no reason to allow him to receive any zoning changes on the property.

Bob is the applicant. It is up to him to come up with the compromises and not the community's.

He is the one wishing to come to OUR community. He is the one who should proactively bend.

If he won't, then it is quite simple: R1, NO COMPROMISE!

P'KETTI is the name of the brand new restaurant right next door to Marie Calendar's.

Their Lunch hours are between 11:00 AM and 2:30 PM and their dinner hours are from 4:30 PM to 9:00 PM as of this, their first day opened.

They sell spaghetti with sauces, and meatball, sausage, or chicken, salads and drinks. They are still too new for a menu, but their drive-thru is up and running.
It also looks like that curse of the Tasman Sea has struck again.

There is new paint on the outside of the former Tasman Sea on Western Avenue and it looks very likely that The Blue Crab has crawled away.
Sunken City Skateboards have left their most recent location, in Rancho Palos Verdes.