Friday, October 31, 2008

Odds and Ends 89

No news begins this post. I still have nothing to report on a letter sent to L.A. City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo concerning possible conflicts of interest by members of the Harbor Area Planning Commission, as it regards Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

One Commission member was contacted by an individual who suggested that the member inquire on their own behalf whether the City Attorney considers that member's position in an organization that received funds from Mr. Bisno's Bisno Development Co, LLC, constituted a potential conflict of interest.

I think people on all sides of the issues are planning on attending the Harbor Area Planning Commission meeting in November, with some folks hoping the meeting is canceled beforehand.

R Neighborhoods Are 1 has joined in a lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles. The lawsuit was brought about by a group called "The LaBrea Coalition" and it seeks to require the City to follow existing laws it has not followed for about eleven years now.

The City is required by law to update its General Plan every year, but has not done so since 1997.

The General Plan includes provisions about growth in the City and how much development should occur as a percentage, each year.

Since the General Plan has not been updated, as required by law, many developments have been approved for construction that may have increased the growth of the City by more than the percentage allows for.

Since the laws and guidelines have not been followed, neither have the necessary studies to determine whether new traffic and infrastructure requirements fall into what can actually be reasonably dealt with.

The judge who will hear the case has been selected, lawyers representing the Coalition and all the groups that have signed on have met with the group, and the lawsuit is moving forward.

It is not known at this time whether the Plaintiffs in the lawsuit will ask for an injunction to stop the Los Angeles City Planning Departments from allowing developments to continue going forward while the lawsuit is going through the court system.

Why might this be important to Ponte Vista at San Pedro?

If it turns out that the City has violated the law and must produce a new General Plan, it may cause developments like Ponte Vista from going forward until it is determined whether large developments would put too much strain on the City's infrastructure, traffic, and other elements. ______________________________________________

A blog or Web site produced by folks at Ponte Vista is tauting ideas and promises that Ponte Vista will be a 'green' development and have "LEEDS" certification.

For all of us, it would be beneficial to have Ponte Vista built using 'green' techniques and having "LEEDS" certification. It also may become mandatory due to new laws recently enacted within the City of Los Angeles to build developments with such amenities.

Since absolutely NOTHING has been legally approved of to build on the 61.53 acre site, I need to remind everyone that whatever comes out of Ponte Vista's Outreach Team or Development Company is still things like promises, hope fors, wishes, and proclamations.

Every time you read the word "will" on any document or site supporting Bob's current plans for Ponte Vista at this time, you should all replace that word with "might".

Since Eastview Little League is again in the picture for having fields at Ponte Vista IF Bob gets what he wants, it should be noted that there is an upcoming meeting concerning the space Eastview Little League is currently using.

Please visit: or to find out more information about a meeting concerning Knoll Hill
I am now wondering who is "I"?

On a blog supporting Ponte Vista, by someone working for Ponte Vista and/or its Outreach Team, the post begins with the blogger identification as "I".

There is nowhere on the blog's page where I can find out who "I" is. Why won't they identify themself?

We have all read items from folks who wish to remain anonymous, for some reason. It doesn't seem to be a good idea to put for information without even identifying the 'Blogmaster' or 'Blogmistress'. Where is there any credibility in reading something who won't even provide any type of identification?

The name of the blog suggests that Ponte Vista is mine or belongs to persons other than Bob Bisno. Or maybe that blog is meant solely for Mr. Bisno's reading, but I highly doubt that.

The actual post where "I" is not even identified is about zero uses of water to do landscaping.

Since there has been nothing written from the folks at Ponte Vista suggesting they are going to use 'gray water' or replenished water in their landscaping efforts, even when they claim the 61.53 acre site will have "40%" worth of open spaces.

If 24.612 acres are left as 'open space' and much of that is landscaped, water must be used for keep the plants alive. 36.918 acres will be used for buildings having residents and guests using all kinds of water in their daily lives.

I am glad that "I" is informing folks that there is a water problem in our area. Perhaps "I" will acknowledge that building such a large project in the local area will cause more water needs for the local area, too.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Before You Read the Next Post, Here is Some Information

On the post below, you will read about the auction of 40 units at Bob Bisno's City Place in Santa Ana.

Here are some facts before you read further.

The auction is a marketing option that is NOT because the units or project is bank-owned, yet.

I spoke to a representative of Accelerated Marketing Partners who informed me about how the auction happens.

The development company hired Accelerated Marketing Partners to provide a one-month program for selling at auction, 40 selected units.

On November 9, 2008, the marketing company will hold a "one day" auction, according to the representative I spoke to.

The auction is another type of sales tool to assist in the selling of properties. It is not a foreclosure auction.

This type of marketing tool may be a sign of worse things coming for the development and the developer if the units are not sold. But I can't write about what would happen if the units are not sold.

The minimum bid for some of the units look low enough to be affordable to persons who might buy some of them and then lease or rent them out.

It may even be a good idea to lease some of the types of units, rather than purchasing them because nobody knows if the business conducted in the condos will survive.

I would hate to be stuck paying a mortgage on a property that housed my failed business on the ground floor and not have some other business moving into the space.

The matters relating to City Place may be interesting if applied to units at Ponte Vista should anything similar were to happen at Ponte Vista, compared to City Place.

Please remember that many of the units at City Place are VERY different than anything that would be found at Ponte Vista. But there are strictly residential units at City Place that could possibly compare to units envisioned at Ponte Vista.

If I had the money and wanted to buy a condo close to major shopping, great transit options, and in a reasonable area, and priced like those at auction at City Place, I would jump towards City Place before I got anywhere near Ponte Vista.

If where you live in a condo project is not that important, you might just want to take a drive down to City Place in Santa Ana and have a look-see.

City Place is perhaps, the largest residential development attempted by Bob Bisno and it looks like it has some real trouble selling out.

A Spire In Bob's Empire Crumbles

Bisno-ess Not So Good For Controversial SanTana Developer

Originally posted by Gustavo Arellano in Notes from the Banana Republic, Shmortgage Board
October 21, 2008 2:07 PM

"What is it about SanTana's power structure that attracts them to moron landlords?" I wondered out loud as a friend drove up Broadway.

We passed by a meticulously landscaped building--pretty really. But when it was owned by mega-landlord Mike Harrah a couple of years ago, the structure seemed pulled from Beirut.

In fact, most of Harrah's buildings that aren't a manifestation of his ego (e.g. Orange County Pavilion, Santora Building, Original Mike's Restaurant) are similarly slummy (full disclosure, but a good one: Harrah was for years the Weekly's landlord, so we know what we speak of when we criticize Harrah's properties. Plus, his workers are little better than goons--again, an observation borne from experience).

I reiterated my remark as we drove past City Place, the lofts across the street from Main Place owned by Robert Bisno, the developer who loves to dick with SanTana politics by giving tens of thousands of dollars to dubious politicians and measures. Maybe Bisno should pay more attention to his business instead of trying to buy influence.

We drove into City Place, almost near completion. Most of the lofts were empty; some had auction signs. Yes: Bisno is so desperate to unload his City Place project that he's scheduled an auction for Nov. 9. Minimum bids are $295,000 for lofts once priced at $824,000.

Look: I know the housing market is down, but why on Earth do SanTana politicians continue to do business with men as delusional as Bisno and Harrah, who's still insisting he's going to build his 37-story One Broadway Plaza Freudian monument yet hasn't secured more than 50 percent occupancy at a time where "FOR LEASE" signs litter SanTana like Mexicans after Mass? You can find your answers in the campaign finance reports, which I'll report on later in the week!


(This is a post from

It looks like the vaunted City Place development isn’t quite working out for developer Robert Bisno.

Gustavo Arellano has written a post over at the OC Weekly’s Navel Gazing blog, revealing the fact that Bisno is dumping his overpriced City Place condos for as little as $295,000 - when they were supposed to fetch as much as $824,000! Maybe Bisno can get back some of the thousands of dollars he has given to Team Pulido?

The good news is that $295,00 condos ARE low priced enough to qualify as workforce housing! I don’t think that was what Pulido and Bisno had in mind. I also don’t think that working families are going to dig the overpriced yogurt at Pink Berry, or the tofu at the still not opened City Place Mother’s Market.

Here are some comments to the post

anon Says: October 23rd, 2008 at 10:44 am
Radio spots have been announcing this great auction in Santa Ana. Hope Mother’s survives.

Keoniana Says: October 23rd, 2008 at 10:51 am
Talking about a ‘can you hook a brother up’ scheme with these condos? That’s what Bisno gets for dealing with such a pathetic bunch of supposed civic leaders…

These condos were doomed even before construction started. If you kept track of how long it took for these condos to be constructed from start to finish, the writing was GLARING on those walls that there would be a problem in selling these suffocating boxes they call ‘condos’.

Even though there is a pretty significant reduction in price for these cracker boxes..the average working class resident of SA still cannot afford to purchase one due to the economic conditions currently sidetracking us all….

CQT96 Says: October 23rd, 2008 at 1:39 pm
What kind of idiot wrote that flyer up above? “Previous price” has nothing to do with current market value!

It doesn’t say what the association dues are either. I bet they are quite high too which reduces these units affordability.

After carefully considering all factors. I believe the lowest price unit in this disaster is only worth $137,000. It is more that I sold my 2B/2B unit at the Redwoods. That is how much I am willing to bid and pay on one of these low end units. I can go as high as $219,000 on the high end ones.Yes, those are my final offers!

BTW, what is the supposed draw to live at this complex? Looks to be just another failed attempt at “urban” living just like the units at 4th & French as was the case at Flower and First. Don’t these clowns ever learn?

Let us all thank Bisno for all these soon to be “affordable” condos supported by “Section 8″ funds.

anon teacher Says: October 23rd, 2008 at 1:45 pm
These things have always confused me. Is everyone who owns one supposed to live and work there? Or are most of them just supposed to be businesses? Who would want to live next door to something like, for example, the Harvey’s purse store? If they sell them for $100,000, I might bite though.

Danielle T. Says: October 23rd, 2008 at 2:17 pm
anon teacher..I would LOVE to live by Harveys.They have great bags.
HAHA..not the point I know but still fun.

Ben Says: October 23rd, 2008 at 10:40 pm
They have 2 tiny condos with a minimum reserve of $295,000, all the decent units are a minimum reserve of $405,000 - $495,000. Minimum bids that high says to me; this is not a real auction, but a marketing technique. Unfortunately $495,000 is still overpriced. The previous $750,000 was insane. I’m be interested in seeing if anybody actually shows up to this “auction.”
The assosiation dues are $160.00 to $220.00 an month.

I wonder what the prices will be once they foreclose on the developer…
F&E Fan Says: October 23rd, 2008 at 11:31 pm

I don’t understand the concept of a 1BR/2.5BA condo.I can see a 1 bedroom with a master bath en suite and half bath for guests, but what’s the point of the second FULL bath?That just seems ridiculous.

Ben Says: October 24th, 2008 at 10:35 am
“what’s the point of the second FULL bath?”

I agree. There isn’t a point. The bathroom on the bottom floor (where your business is suppose to go) is HUGE. It’s about the size of the retail space. It also has a GIANT stand-alone shower. Why? Complete waste of sq footage. I have noticed some of the buyers of these units (very few) ripping out this bathroom on the bottom floor, which is exactly what I would do.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Odds and Ends 88

Here is some information about the synchronization of traffic signals in much of the local area.

ATSAC schedule for San Pedro.

Here is the latest information I have received:

Design is about 65% complete.

Design should be completed by January 1, 2009.

Bid and Award will be between January and March, 2009.

Construction will be between April 2009 and April 2010.

The information came from the offices of Councilwoman Janice Hahn from a request made by an individual.

As the discussions continue concerning a new high school campus in San Pedro, it should be noted that there are still individuals who are showing support to build South Region High School #15 on the Ponte Vista at San Pedro site.

Really, there is no chance that the particular Proposed Project would actually be built at Ponte Vista, but it is part of the Alternatives selected for study by the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The prospect to build South Region High School #14 on the Ponte Vista site is also just about nil.

However, that Proposed Project is still technically 'on the books' for construction at Ponte Vista, but it will never happen there.

Documents dealing with Measure Q, the SEVEN BILLION DOLLAR school bond measure on the Novemer 4 ballot include wording that seems to indicate if the bond passes, a new campus built to relieve crowding at Narbonne High School would come back into real consideration.

In May, 2007, the LAUSD School Board changed their proposal for South Region High School #14 to become a 810-seat high school campus on between "6-8" acres of land on the site of Ponte Vista.

In December, 2007 those plans were placed in 'mothball' status because LAUSD claimed that Narbonne High School no longer needed a new campus in that area and that funds to go forward with the project were not available.

The Golden State Pops Orchestra begins a new season of concerts on Saturday October 25 with its annual Halloween concert.

We love the concert season and it is a really great gathering spot for supporters and opponents of Bob's current plans for Ponte Vista to get together, enjoy a wonderful concert, really enjoy talking with each other WITHOUT dealing with Ponte Vista, and having a good evening.

Please Bookmark: for information about the new season of concerts.

R Neighborhoods Are1 has retained Chatten-Brown & Carstens, an experienced environmental law firm, to help prepare our response to the Planning Department recommendation. Their experience includes previously litigation against this developer. The involvement of an attorney at this point is vital because what can be argued later is limited by what is presented to the Planning Commission now.

I am glad that we are now able to let folks know that the group has hired legal representation. I have wanted to let folks know that we have some fairly high-powered 'guns' available to those who oppose Bob's current plans.

There are other people who have been involved in issues that we choose not to identify, but now that we can publicize the fact that we have at least one lawyer on our side that has been involved with issues related to Bob Bisno, and that the lawyer has been victorious, I think those of you who have wanted to know more about R Neighborhoods Are 1's Steering Committee's actions, will find this information useful.

Thanks to everyone who has already help fund this cause, but additional contributions are still needed to help pay the attorneys' fees.

You can donate to the cause by sending a check payable to:

“R Neighborhoods Are 1" to:

R Neighborhoods Are 1
1840 S. Gaffey St. #316
San Pedro CA 90731-5361

Please note on the check that it is for the legal defense fund. We are keeping track of donations. If there are funds remaining after all the legal work is completed, we may be able to return some portion to the donors.

Volunteer to help get the word out. We are developing a list of individuals who will help get the word out in their respective neighborhoods.
Please e-mail us at with your contact information if you are willing to help.

Check for the latest information.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Let the City Attorney Decide.

Please click over letter to enlarge.
The letter placed above is the result of a motion passed on Monday night during the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council's Board of Governors' meeting.
I think it is fair to post it so all have the opportunity to read what is actually being mailed to City Attorney Mr. Rocky Delgadillo.
It should not be up to anyone from Coastal, Ponte Vista, or other group to make the determination as to whether a conflict of interest is judged, specifically with the individuals named in the letter.
I would have not problem with the City Attorney considering whether the other two members of the Commission may have conflicts of interest in this matter.
Some folks feel it really should be within the realm of good ethics practiced by every member of the Harbor Area Planning Commission to determine whether they might have a conflict of interest in any matter such that they would need to recuse themselves from participating some matters that may come up.
Basically, three individuals are employed by groups that have received contributions from Mr. Bisno's organization(s) and could that mean that those employees working for entities that have received funds are now ineligible to consider and vote on matters related to the Ponte Vista at San Pedro development.
Opponents of the giant project can claim that the three individuals must recuse themselves as it is within their right of free speech.
What is being done with this letter is to have the City Attorney make a determination as to whether there are any conflicts of interest.
Everyone will need to deal with whatever the City Attorney determines and it should not be left up to either supporters or opponents of the current plans for the site.
If the City Attorney opines that there is no conflict of interest by members of the Harbor Area Planning Commission, then we must accept that, whether we like it or not.
However, if the City Attorney opines that three members of the Harbor Area Planning Commission have conflicts of interest in matters related to Ponte Vista at San Pedro, then with only a total of five members of the Commission, no quorum could be held to discuss, debate, or vote on anything related to Ponte Vista at San Pedro.
Whether I feel that the three individuals have a conflict of interest is of really no matter. I can offer my opinion, but it certainly is not necessarily the opinion of the City Attorney, whose opinion is really the one that counts.
The opinions of attorneys representing all sides of the issues can be presented to the City Attorney, but it needs to be left up to the City Attorney to determine whether a conflict of interest is found with any member of the Commission.
I hope we can learn what the City Attorney determines as soon as possible so we can move off of this particular sticking point.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Google Alerts to Contra Costa Times The to My Computer

The following article appeared on Page A3 of today's Daily Breeze but is also came to me via my Google Alerts for Ponte Vista that pointed me to the Contra Costa Times to find the article.

Never the less, here is the article:

Lomita to consider ethics rule
COUNCIL: Changes to the code of conduct would bar city officials from lobbying for clients.
By Nick Green, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 10/19/2008 10:16:07 PM PDT

You could call it the Mark Waronek rule.

Well, you could, but neither Lomita Mayor Margaret Estrada nor Councilman Ken Blackwood evoked the former mayor's name in backing a proposal on tonight's council agenda to tighten up the city's code of conduct.

The proposed change would ban "council, board and commission members from representing any client or interest as a consultant on matters that may come before or involve the city of Lomita."

That language could be added to the city's code of conduct or even inserted into an ordinance if a "stronger enforcement tool" is preferred.

"It's an excellent idea," Estrada said. "You should be on the City Council for one reason and one reason only, and that's to make the city a better city, not to benefit yourself and not to use your title - (if you're) a lobbyist or consultant - to get clients."

Estrada may not have mentioned Waronek, but it's clear that the proposed policy is aimed at the conduct of the lobbyist and consultant before he lost in the last council election.

Blackwood ran against and defeated Waronek in large measure because he was aghast at Waronek's ties to businesses with interests in or near Lomita that posed the potential for conflicts of interest, including the controversial Ponte Vista development in San Pedro.

Waronek stepped down from his role as a consultant to the massive Western Avenue housing project shortly before last fall's election, but voters apparently remained unconvinced of his motives.

"It's for the future, not the past," said Blackwood when asked who the proposal was targeting.

"It would seem inappropriate for someone to be sitting on the council and representing someone who might be before the council," he added. "That doesn't seem right."

Nevertheless, Blackwood conceded the proposal was the fulfillment of a campaign pledge he made to voters last year.

Unpretentious Lomita was taken aback by the slick brochures and high-powered political connections employed by Waronek.

Candidates in the two-square-mile city usually are more inclined to trek down every street rather than send out expensive campaign materials.

Waronek's campaign expenditures exceeded what his two rivals spent combined - yet he received 300 fewer votes than either of them.

The proposal would also prohibit officials from representing clients with business before the city for a year after that person had stepped down from his or her post.

That would bring the city into line with others such as Los Angeles, which has a similar policy, Blackwood said.

Torrance also recently enacted an ethics policy that includes similar language.

Blackwood indicated he was leaning toward an ordinance rather than just adding it to the City Council code of conduct, but wanted to hear the views of his fellow council members.

"The ordinance has a little more teeth to it," he said. "The ethics code hasn't any provisions for enforcement - it's self-enforcing."

Council members will discuss the proposal before indicating their preference to city staff, which will either write an ordinance or add language to the code of conduct.


What: The Lomita City Council tonight will discuss a proposal that prohibits elected officials and volunteer members of advisory boards from representing any client or interest as a consultant or lobbyist that may come before the municipality.

When: 7 p.m.

Where: Lomita City Hall, 24300 Narbonne Ave.


I am not convinced a new ordinance really needs to be written. If representatives police themselves and recuse themselves during discussions and voting on matters they have a larger interest in, then that might just do what is needed.

If the member was not willing to recuse themselves, then that does illustrate their lack of real interest in ethics in government.

We might get to see how ethical three members of the Harbor Area Planning Commission are if they truly believe they do not have a conflict of interest receiving comments as a Commission member and/or voting on matters related to Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

There will be more information about the members of the Harbor Area Planning Commission coming out soon and the information will be placed on this blog.

Here is an update to the story concerning Lomita.

Lomita tables talk on officials lobbying
From staff reports
Article Launched: 10/21/2008 10:43:12 PM PDT

The Lomita City Council tabled until Dec. 1 a discussion and possible action banning public officials from lobbying the city on behalf of clients.

The City Council was scheduled to propose an ordinance or changes to its code of conduct Monday, but postponed the issue when only four of its five council members were present at the meeting.

With the possibility looming of a deadlocked 2-2 vote, essentially killing the proposal, the council opted to delay the issue until the Dec. 1 council meeting.

The proposed ban on "council, board and commission members from representing any client or interest as a consultant on matters that may come before or involve the city of Lomita" was prompted by the activities of former Mayor Mark Waronek.

He served as a consultant to the company developing the proposed Ponte Vista housing project on Western Avenue in San Pedro before stepping down from the role last year, shortly before an unsuccessful re-election bid.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Another Article For Consideration

First I must thank and apologize to 'mellonhead' for several things.

Thank you 'mellonhead' for reminding me about the article I am posting below. It may not have that much to deal with Ponte Vista right now, but with Credit Suisse now having some problems and the economy slowing, things may add up to sink Bob's vision of Ponte Vista.

Also 'mellonhead' I apologize to you and others who don't think this blog should offer political posts. But I felt just one more was needed.

I felt that because of Pete Manghera's race for an office he is seeking is based, in large part, on his opposition to having Ponte Vista built using Bob's vision, I decided to endorse him on a post farther down on this blog. The endorsement is also included on my R Neighborhoods Are 1 and San Pedro Issues to Ponder blogs. But I wanted a wider posting.

I think I may only have about three or four posts that deal specifically with politics on this blog that has 610 posts, so far.

Now here is an article that can be found on the Web at:

The article was originall published in The Daily Breeze:

Housing projects nosedive

By Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press
Article Launched: 10/17/2008 11:09:35 PM PDT

WASHINGTON - The nation is on track to build fewer homes this year than at any time since the end of World War II, adding to the woes of an economy that analysts said Friday has almost certainly entered a recession.

While the economic outlook darkened even further with bad reports on layoffs and consumer confidence, it was one of the quietest days since the financial meltdown began a month ago. Wall Street's tumultuous week turned out to be its best in five years.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 127 points Friday but turned in the strong week because of two huge days of gains - a record 936-point jump on Monday and an increase of 401 points Thursday.

Friday was still marked by the huge swings that have become typical lately. At various points the Dow was up nearly 300 points and down nearly 250, and it finished with a triple-digit move for the 22nd time in 25 trading sessions.

A monthly survey by the National Association of Home Builders showed sentiment among home builders hit a record low in early October.

David Seiders, chief economist for the group, said builders are being hit by a double whammy from the financial turmoil: It's harder for them to get loans to pursue new houses, and more difficult to sell those they do build.

He forecast that builders will keep slashing production in coming months, with construction starts for new homes and apartments totaling just 936,000 this year, the lowest level since

"The builders are telling us that the financial crisis is really hurting because people justifiably have no idea where things are going," Seiders said.

Before the markets opened, President Bush went to the headquarters of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to say that the $700 billion financial rescue package was "big enough and bold enough to work."

But he cautioned that it would take time to unlock credit markets.

Adam Levitin, an associate professor at Georgetown University Law School, said that even with the government's injection of billions into the banks, the high debt loads carried by consumers and shortage of creditworthy borrowers could continue to chill lending.

"Who's going to lend to GM right now?" Levitin said at a conference organized by the American Bar Association. He also asked what banks would lend money to homeowners with troubled mortgages.

Analysts said new data released Friday showed it's probably too late for the economy to avoid a recession.

Many of them said they now had recessions in their forecasts, believing that the overall economy, as measured by total domestic production, probably shrank in the July-to-September quarter, dragged lower in part by the continued plunge in housing.

"I don't think there is any ambiguity with respect to whether we are in a recession," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "I think it actually started at the end of last year, and because of the financial panic we are going through now, it is likely to last another year."

Other economists said they were looking for at least three consecutive quarters of contraction, reflecting in part the fact that consumers, who account for two-thirds of total economic activity, are showing the strains of the biggest upheaval in the financial sector in 70 years.

A new University of Michigan/Reuters survey showed consumer confidence plunged in early October to its second-lowest level in the past 28 years.

"Concerns about falling employment, incomes and wealth have overshadowed relief from lower energy prices," said Sara Johnson, an economist at Global Insight, a Lexington, Mass., forecasting firm.

The Commerce Department said Friday that construction of new homes and apartments dropped by a bigger-than-expected 6.3 percent in September to an annual rate of 817,000 units, the second weakest performance in government statistics dating back to 1959. The only weaker monthly showing occurred in January 1991, when the U.S. was in a recession and going through a similar painful housing correction.

In a bleak sign of future construction, applications for new building permits fell a sharp 8.2 percent to an annual rate of 786,000 units, the weakest level in more than 25 years.

The government also sharply revised lower its construction data for July and August. That was after dismal news earlier this week that retail sales fell by 1.2 percent in September.

Influential billionaire investor Warren Buffett said in an opinion piece in The New York Times that he sees opportunity in the Wall Street chaos. He's been moving his personal investments from safe Treasuries into U.S. stocks.

"To be sure, investors are right to be wary of highly leveraged entities or businesses in weak competitive positions," Buffett wrote. "But fears regarding the long-term prosperity of the nation's many sound companies make no sense."

The market eventually will turn around. "So if you wait for the robins, spring will be over," he said.

On the housing front, while the sharp cutbacks in production will help reduce huge inventories of unsold homes, the problem is that rising levels of foreclosures are dumping more homes on the already glutted market.

Zandi said he believed that home prices, which have already fallen by 20 percent, will fall by another 10 percent and will not stabilize until the middle of next year.

How this will play at Ponte Vista is still unknown, except to probably Bob, Allen, and the two gentleman who have been claimed to be representing Credit Suisse in its dealings concerning Ponte Vista.

A Political Endorsement Specifically Relating to Ponte Vista

On ballots within the specific area, there is a race for a member of Division 2 or the Water Replenishment District of Southern California.

The two candidates are Robert E. (Rob) Katherman, listed as "Director, Water Replenishment Dist. of Southern California" and Pete Manghera, listed as "Teacher/Athletic Director".

Water and the ability to supply water to more developments is of great concern. The ability to allow large developments to be constructed in our particular area when there is already not enough water to go around is of great concern to many people.

Pete Manghera opposes the construction of Ponte Vista at San Pedro, using Bob Bisno's current plans because he believes there is not enough evidence to suggest that a project of that size can be built and not have a detrimental effect on water resources for all of us.

There is some evidence to suggest that Robert Katherman worked as a lobbyist trying to get water to at least one project he supported, but it is not Ponte Vista.

Pete Manghera has been officially endorsed for a seat on the Board of Directors of Division 2 of the Water Replenishment District of Southern California by the Southern California Chapter of the Democratic Party.

Pete strongly believes we must protect our dwindling water resources by not allowing large developments being constructed in areas where water is becoming more precious.

Pete Manghera strongly opposes the placement of the Outfall System access for the Sanitation District's new tunnel in a residential area. He feels the access must be constructed on Terminal Island.

Pete considers saving water for current residents and businesses is more important than having Ponte Vista built as Bob Bisno wants it built.

To be honest, I have known Pete for over 35 years, have appeared on his television show, "Pete's Place" (Bob Bisno has been on it, too.), and talk with him from time to time at various events all around OUR community.

Pete is a Social Studies teacher at San Pedro High School, coaches the J.V. Football team there, and works with the recreation program at the high school on Sundays.

I endorse Pete Manghera for a seat on the Board of Directors, Division 2, of the Water Replenishment District of Southern California.

The office is non-partisan and I do not know or care about the political parties either of the candidates belong to because it should not matter in this particular race.

Pete is very dedicated to the causes and issues he supports and he has volunteered to help youth sports for over a generation.

Please vote for Mr. Pete Manghera and allow him to help deal with the water issues facing Southern California.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Odds and Ends 87

Terri provided me with an article dealing with Credit Suisse and UBS.

Credit Suisse has been given to me as the financial instution providing backing for Bob's current plans.

"Credit Suisse announced a third-quarter loss of $1.12 billion as a result of heavy write-downs in its investment bank, mostly stemming from problems in the hard-hit structured products and leveraged finance units. "

A document recently obtained from some friends of mine suggest that the Los Angeles Unified School District is going to change the boundary areas of Narbonne High School to allow 150 seats at the proposed South Region High School #15 to go to students who would have normally attended Narbonne High School, if the boundaries were to remain as they currently are.

The new campus is proposed to have 800 seats and the major reason for building the new campus was stated by LAUSD to ease overcrowding at San Pedro High School.

At this time I have no idea where the new boundary lines will be drawn and there is no confirmation that any part of the Ponte Vista site is going to be changed.

Historically, public high schoolstudents living on the site now called Ponte Vista at San Pedro attended Narbonne High School as their 'home school'.

I think we all have a stake in finding out where the new boundary lines might be drawn.

Sometimes I need to write some humor that isn't really part of the issues dealt with on my blogs.

Since my employment with ATT has been "terminated" effective on October 9, 2008 and the economy the way it is, I find humor is needed during some tough times to help us all carry on.

It is for many reasons that I include, on this post, some things I find funny that have nothing directly related to Ponte Vista.

"Joe the Plumber"

The gentleman's name is Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, yet John McCain think his name is pronounced "Joe Wurzelburger".

'Plumbers do not need a State license to work in Ohio, but they do need one in cities like Toledo, where 'Joe' claims he has worked for fifteen years.

'Joe' doesn't have a plumber's license or even a contractor's license for cities he claims he works in.

'Joe' doesn't like Senator Obama's tax plan and he has a tax lien against him to prove he doesn't like taxes.

'Joe' has never been listed as a plumbers' Union member and there is no record that he ever served an apprenticeship.

'Joe' claims he wants to buy a business that makes "$250,000-$280,000" per year, yet his income for 2006 was recorded to be approximately $40,000 for the entire year.

The business 'Joe' claims he wants to buy isn't worth anywhere near the figures he gave to Senator Obama.

'Joe' would most certainly benefit from the tax plan proposed by Senator Obama.

'Joe' claimed to be an Independent, although he is registered as a Republican.

And now for some more humor.

I'm a little confused. Let me see if I have this straight.....

* If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're 'exotic,

* Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, a quintessential American story.

* If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.

* Name your kids Bristol, Willow, Trig and Track, you're a maverick.

* Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable.

* Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.

* If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first
black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive
that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law
professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over
750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.

* If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6
years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the
governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become
the country's second highest ranking executive.

* If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2
beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.

* If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your
disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.

* If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper
use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.

* If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other
option in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teen
daughter ends up pregnant, you're very responsible.

* If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a
prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community,
then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent

* If your husband is nicknamed 'First Dude', with at least one DWI conviction
and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was
a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your
family is extremely admirable.

OK, much clearer now.

"I do wonder about Obama hanging around with his former bomber friend. I mean this guy bombed military installations. If civilians got hurt that was just "collateral damage." All of this to try to hasten the end of the Viet Nam war. Then he got caught and sent to prison for a few years. In spite of this bad beginning this fellow became a respectable citizen and even got involved in politics. Some say that this makes it OK for Obama to hang with him. By the way, his name is.................John McCain."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Another State Law Broken

The following article was first posted on and I ultimately found it posted from Citywatch L.A. while I was reading

Judge Puts a Crack in City Hall’s ‘Circle of Deceit’—Demands Transparency in Agendas

The City
By Ron Kaye (Posted first on

In a far-reaching opinion Superior Court Judge David Yaffe ruled this week that the city's efforts to use agendas to obscure what they're doing like referring to an item with major environmental consequences as ENV-2007-2939-MND violates state law. How would anyone know what that means, which is the argument attorney Robert Silverstein made on behalf of the La Mirada Avenue neighborhood in Hollywood. The community claimed the city Planning Commission's agendas explained the issues before it except when it came to those that are often the most important -- issues covered by CEQA, the California Environmental Quality Act.

"The evidence before the court, which is uncontradicted, shows that the City Planning Commission of the City of Los Angeles repeatedly posted agendas of its meetings during the year 2007 that clearly disclosed each action that it intended to take or to discuss at a meeting except actions to be taken or considered under (CEQA)," Yaffe wrote in his opinion.

That wasn't the case when CEQA issues were on the agenda. All they got was the cryptic reference of a file number.

"Such cryptic references are meaningless to most members of the public and do not in any way describe the particular action to be taken...such descriptions not only violate the Ralph M. Brown Act (open meeting law), they also violate the fundamental purpose of CEQA."

Clear and complete information sufficient for the public to understand what is at stake is the goal of both laws, Yaffe ruled. And he is prepared to issue a broad order requiring the City to be transparent in this regard in the future -- a ruling that can be applied more widely to much of what City Hall tries to do in the dark, hidden from the public.

Interestingly, the City Council went into closed session two weeks to consider whether to settle this case. Did the City Attorney advise settling the case or fighting it? We don't know but we do know Council President Eric Garcetti came out and the council voted unanimously -- which suggests another violation of the Brown Act -- to reject settlement, to reject transparency, to disrespect the law and the public.

Judge Yaffe in equivocal terms told the Planning Commission its practice on CEQA issues is "unlawful and is to be discontinued" and that it must provide the public with the same "clarity, particularity and detail" it provides on other issues before it.

This ruling is a milestone that should encourage communities across the city to demand full and open disclosure of everything the city does.

Secrecy and back room deals and rigged council votes and staged meetings -- they are as much responsible for what's broken in L.A.'s political cultural as the influence of special interests.

(More Ron Kaye and more info on his Saving LA Project at

Vol 6 Issue 82
Pub: Oct 10, 2008

There will probably be no ramifications concerning ENV-2005-4516-EIR.

Whether the Harbor Area Planning Commission and the Los Angeles City Planning Commission meet soon concerning Ponte Vista, some important information to be looking for on their agendas deals with "ENV-2005-4516-EIR" or "ENV-2005-4516-XXX".

Volunteers of America are Back With Plans

Here is a bit of news brought to us by the Planning and Land Use Committee of the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council.

The Volunteers of America have plans to convert the 76 units of their property (behind the Ponte Vista at San Pedro site) to a "Navy Village", Section 8 housing for homeless veterans.

Do the Volunteers of America have the money to create that type of housing. "You Betcha" thanks in large part to Mr. Robert H. Bisno.

Here is a breakdown on the money spent to purchase the total of 61.53 acres that we now know of as Ponte Vista at San Pedro:

The U.S. Navy ended the auction for 41.95 acres if Ponte Vista land on March 7, 2005. The winning bid of $88,000,000.00 was placed by Mr. Bob Bisno and the Bisno Development Corporation.

An additional 19.58 acres within the Ponte Vista area was conveyed to a homeless advocacy group using a “Housing Assistance Conveyance” from an act that became law in 1994.

Mr. Bisno purchased the 19.58 acres of land for $34,000,000.00.

Breakdown of acreage and cost:

41.95 acres at $88,000,000.00 equals $2,097,753.40 (approx) per acre.
19.58 acres at $34,000,000.00 equals $1,736,465.78 (approx) per acre

61.53 total acres for $122,000,000.00 equals $1,982,772.63 (approx)
Per acre.
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So you see, the Volunteers of America (VOA) should have plenty of money to convert the 76 existing units on their land that is a bit of a struggle to see, but has been on the old Navy land for quite some time.

There will be a lot of hurdles the VOA will have to jump through in order to have homes for low income veterans on the site.

The site may be too close to the native habitat of the butterfly commonly known as the Palos Verdes blue.

Since the Federal government can build housing anywhere it wants to, now that the units do not belong to the government, there will be plenty of issues to consider.

I bet the folks who have to use P.V. Drive North between Western and Five Points, along with all those residents of whatever is built at Ponte Vista who will need to do the same, won't be all that pleased by more housing and access issues along that roadway.

Marymount College currently has an 86-unit off-campus housing site near the VOA site and a Draft Environmental Impact Report for a redevelopment of the College has Alternatives that add housing and athletic facilities on their off-campus site known as "Palos Verdes North".

Is Rolling Hills Prep going to expand and have more students on its campus?

What about all the bru-ha-ha that folks were involved with years ago with the prospect of bringing more homeless people into the area?

Might the residents of Ponte Vista living in their premium housing on beautiful grounds find objections to sharing the area with less fortunate folks?

What might the marketing strategy become for Ponte Vista? Might Bob object to having more Section 8 housing closer to his site?

There is Federal property that will remain between Ponte Vista and the VOA for years and years to come, it is believed.

But what about the long-term future? If the Federal Government gave away land already to the VOA, who is to say they wouldn't do something like that when the Defense Fuel Supply Depot closes down and is removed?

Could we find the possibility, a generation from now, at having Ponte Vista residents share a boundary with Section 8 recipients?

During the time I was not living where I live, there was a storm by folks not wanting 'homeless' folks living so close to them.

What might this news bring to those who claimed to have fought hard against housing for 'homeless' persons and families on the 19.58 acres the VOA sold to Bob?

I'll try to learn more and get back to this blog with information I learn.

I would appreciate anyone who has more information about this issue to contact me at the Email address on the top of this blog.

My personal thought is that it might not be a bad thing for the VOA to redevelop the area they still own.

I have been to the Fresh and Easy Market on P.V. Drive North and Western and it looks to be a wonderful store for small families on limited budgets.

I'll write something about the new market on


Here is some more news I picked up on the VOA Web site. I don't know how old it is and I do not think it revolves around the area on P.V. Drive North, but I may be wrong.

Here is the link to the page:

Here is the paragraph of interest found on that page:

"We are about to receive at no cost between 150 and 200 three and four bedroom homes in an attractive San Pedro neighborhood, part of a Navy base closure, to provide up to five years transitional housing for formerly homeless families, including veterans. As these families’ incomes increase they will be able to pay higher rents that will create a surplus that can be reinvested in other critical community services."

I am still 'out of the loop' on this information which I will try and learn more about shortly.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Odds and Ends 86

This post begins with some important information.

Several high-level City representatives communicated about what is currently happening with the Ponte Vista at San Pedro issues going forward.

Here is some of the timeline/information that was revealed.

The hearing officer is still drafting his recommendation. This recommendation will include either approval or denial, as well as an analysis that will most likely include a number that the department would be more willing to accept. However, just having the number in the analysis does not mean that a project of that size will be accepted--all of the other factors will still have to be considered.

The report will be ready for the Harbor Area Planning Commission on November 18.

The recommendation is anticipated to be going before the Los Angeles City Planning Commission on December 11.

After the L.A.C.P.C. makes its recommendations, all of the recommendations will go to the Planning and Land Use Committee of the Los Angeles City Council.

Sometime after the Committee deals with the project, it will move to the full City Council.
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I am taking first crack at providing commentary to the information found above.

Anyone is more than welcome to create their own comments or even provide their own post concerning the information.

The hearing officer is still drafting his recommendation. I am surprised by this sentence.

Perhaps many of us thought that the hearing officer had finished drafting the recommendations some time ago. Maybe so much information was provided to him verbally and in writing that it is taking much longer than many imagined it would.

This recommendation will include either approval or denial, as well as an analysis that will most likely include a number that the department would be more willing to accept.

This sentence was not a surprise to me and it illustrates that something will be coming out of the Planning Department with regards to a possible number of units the Planning Department is willing to suggest going forward with.

However, just having the number in the analysis does not mean that a project of that size will be accepted--all of the other factors will still have to be considered.

I find that sentence very interesting and powerful. It means that the Planning Department is not just going to throw out a number and then not deal with the "other factors" it feels are very important.

The sentence also suggests that there may be some doubt that the project would be accepted by the City Planning Commission, the Planning and Land Use Committee, and/or the L.A. City Council.

What is also read between the lines of the statement is that the Planning and Land Use Committee, then the full L.A. City Council will most likely not deal with Ponte Vista at San Pedro until sometime in early 2009.

'Back in the day' Bob anticipated building would already be underway in 2009, with the first phase of the project.

I don't think Bob or anyone else anticipated the economic problems we are all facing now and perhaps holding off construction or the talk of construction is good for everybody, right not.

It is thought that the dates for the two Commission meetings is still tentative and I will update this blog as more information comes in about them.

The Harbor Area Planning Commission meeting concerning anything to do with Ponte Vista at San Pedro is problematic on its face.

That body has only five members. It is strongly believed that at least three of the members must recuse themselves from dealing with Ponte Vista on the Commission because of their ties to groups supported by funds from Bisno Development, LLC, the developers of Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

There could be some real ethics violations occurring if there is a meeting and especially a vote to approve the project, by that Commission.

For many members of OUR community the Harbor Area Planning Commission is a 'stacked deck' in favor of Bob's plans and is not impartial, objective, or able to deal with the project reasonably and responsibly.

If the Harbor Area Planning Commission meeting attempts to go forward considering the Ponte Vista at San Pedro project, it will have to meet under the watchful eye of the L.A. City Attorney's office and some 'watchdog' agencies.

A post may be created soon regarding the membership of the Harbor Area Planning Commission and some of its members past and current ties to Bob Bisno and his project.

R Neighborhoods Are 1 is still strongly seeking donations to its defense fund, fighting against Bob's massive project.

Please visit. and make your donation. We are a long way from having the funds necessary to deal with all the legal teams and hurdles Bob and his bunch will throw supporting his vision for One Thousand Nine Hundred Fifty condominium units on just 61.53 acres of land in northwest San Pedro.

Bob still want to have the population of San Pedro increase by more than 10% by building on less than One Tenth of One Percent of land in San Pedro.

When we consider the prospect of population increased in San Pedro, it needs to be understood that Bob's plans include a great deal of 'back-filling' of people in San Pedro.

With Bob's older "San Pedro First" plan, and his current plans, he wants to have San Pedro residents move from their older homes in San Pedro to Ponte Vista, in San Pedro.

Then he wants residents to come to San Pedro and fill the old homes left vacant by those who move from San Pedro to San Pedro's Ponte Vista.

Of course, Bob has not revealed the number of bedrooms he wants built at Ponte Vista, so we have absolutely no real idea of the potential population of Ponte Vista, do we?

Another store has opened where anyone living or working at the Ponte Vista site MUST use Western Avenue to access the new store.

I can't imagine that nobody from the site offices has not visited our new Target Store on Gaffey Street yet.

These are the last hours to access the parking lot before it really becomes full during the rest of this weekend and on into the future.

Bob and the Ponte Vista gang has graciously supported the arts in San Pedro and I thank him and everybody for that. has a new post about "Bat Boy, the Musical" that opened last night at the Warner Grand Theater.

The post also includes "School for Scoundrels" opening tonight at the Little Fish Theatre Company's theater in downtown San Pedro.

Bob and Ponte Vista have supported the arts in OUR community and I hope he and his group continues to do that.

We all know that he is trying to attract more support for his proposal, but it doesn't seem to be working all that much.

I haven't heard Bob or Elise's take on Mayor V.'s proposals for more 'affordable' housing in Los Angeles.

Ponte Vista has been designed for "Market Rate" housing and I haven't found any component of that project that would be set aside for truly 'low income' housing or housing specifically designed for families bringing in the Mayor's idea of "$90,000" per year of income.

Now there MAY be condos at Ponte Vista that would be in the price range of those making around $90,000 per year, but I doubt that an entire family with children, would want to live in a studio, loft, or one-bedroom unit.

I still imagine that the median cost of a unit at Ponte Vista is currently priced around $475,000, but it may be somewhat higher.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


My cart outside Target after my first experience in the San Pedro store.

Once upon a time, no that long ago, back in the day, in the past history of OUR community, there was no Target Store open in San Pedro.

At 8:00 AM this morning, all that changed.

This was one change a whole lot of members of OUR community were waiting for, even though there was no real crowd in the store during my time there.

I arrived about 9:45 AM and found all the employees greeting me and ever other shopper and I greeted them back and acknowledged that I was happy they were there.

The parking lot looked to be less than 10% full, but I suspect that it was about the last time we would see that few number of vehicles in the lot during operating hours.

There didn't seem to be any 'hoop' or 'la' going, but that will surely change on Sunday October 12, at its 'Grand Opening'.

I checked on some prices and I wasn't all that impressed compared to the other Targets, K-Mart, and what I suspect would be at "The Evil Empire".

I was not pleased to find Coca-Cola 12-packs of cans going for $5.49 each and 2-Liter bottles of Coke products going for $1.25.

We all may need to shop for the best prices for food items at other stores in the area, but the 'extended grocery' section had food and drink items.

By the time I checked out at 10:15 AM the receipt totaled $66.90 for four bags of items.

The tax revenue my purchases provided to the city of Los Angeles totaled 23.9 cents, so I did help L.A. out.

The wait is over. No open Target Store in San Pedro is now relagated to the history books and memories. Change has occured in the community.

There were absolutely ZERO Eastview Little League protesters viewed around the outside of the store.

Eastview Little League officials had claimed they would boycott the store and put up pickets at the entrances, but nobody looked the least bit disturbed anywher near the site.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Another Blog, Another Blogger!

I found another blog and blogger discussing issues in OUR community!

The blog deals with many issues and it is wonderfully different than my blogs.The more discussion sources, debate, and views on subjects important to us, the better.

There is a post on the blog dealing with Ponte Vista and how it needs to be "green" no matter what is built there. I certainly agree with that.

Jeromy wants SRHS 15 built on the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur.

He has included his comments to the DEIR on his blog. It is one of the few sets of comments I have been informed of in support of building SRHS 15 on the Preferred Site.

Mr. Rogan is also considering the waterfront development issues and provides a link to the DEIR for that massive project.

I hope folks look at the blog so they can see different takes on similar issues.

Good luck Jeromy, We'll be reading your blog.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Odds and Ends 85

A Web site affiliated with support for Bob's plans at Ponte Vista still contains wording and a photo attempting to state that ILWU Local 13 supports Bob's plans.

There is a fellow identified as "Dave" on the site and in the body of a post, it states that the Union supports Bob's Ponte Vista.

I guess the Web master or Web mistress is not yet willing or able to remove something that is simply untrue, on that site.

I don't think I need to post the letter from the ILWU again, illustrating that the Union does not support Bob's plans for Ponte Vista.

Our Marie Callender's remains temporarily closed while it is undergoing renovation.

I have been out of the informational loop lately concerning Ponte Vista issues but I am getting back on track.

This post is number 602 since I started this blog in September, 2006.

Thank you to the many thousands of visitors to this blog.

Unless something radical happens next week, I will be 'separated' from AT&T.

Since I became restricted from climbing poles and AT&T failed to find me a position during a job search period, it looks like I will find myself dealing with retirement from the companies that finally became AT&T, after almost 28 years of employment.

Maybe I'll have even more time to deal with Ponte Vista, but I hope to find a real job sooner than later.

Perhaps I may start a book about my experiences working in some amazing places and being close to so many 'celebrities', business people and environments, heads of states, and many of the places I worked at.